Date of Award
M.A. in Southern Studies
University of Mississippi
In May of 2016, Oxford, Mississippi, held its first LGBTQ+ Pride parade in recent memory. That first Oxford Pride was part of a wave of LGBTQ+ celebrations that began in the state in 2015 and 2016 and continue to the present day. Though the pandemic forced many to cancel or go online, communities across Mississippi have continued to organize Pride parades and other celebrations of LGBTQ+ identities since 2015, a marked contrast from earlier periods. In a state often depicted as actively hostile to queer people, these Pride events make queer southern communities visible in new ways, while also revealing limitations understanding and organizing around queerness in the South. For this MFA thesis project, I documented three Pride events in north Mississippi: Tupeloâ€™s first in fall 2018, Starkvilleâ€™s second in spring 2019, and Oxfordâ€™s first after the onset of the pandemic, in the summer of 2021. Documenting these Pride parades and events in Mississippi reveals two truths: the state can be both an oppressive place for queer Mississippians and a space of joy. Focusing on these events foregrounds the strength and joy of the community without forgetting or erasing the violence or despair.
Campbell, Ellie, "Seeing Queer Joy in Mississippi: Pride Parades in Tupelo, Starkville, and Oxford" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2358.