Date of Award
M.A. in History
University of Mississippi
Charlottesville, Virginia, is a small city full of contradictions, especially with regard to queer community. In this article, I explore those contradictions by examining five queer Charlottesville residents’ experiences of queer community through oral history interviews. Specifically, I try to understand how narrators’ ambivalence about the existence of queer community in Charlottesville and the necessity of such community has changed since the 1970s. These five narrators see and feel some aspects of queer community in Charlottesville but feel disconnected from queer community in others; for example, they highlight the well-attended Pride festival but do not feel like they know many queer people outside of their immediate circle. Similarly, they see Charlottesville as a post-gay space in some ways, with several narrators describing all bars in Charlottesville as “welcoming” to everyone, but narrators still express a desire for connection with other queer people specifically, lamenting the lack of a gay bar in Charlottesville today. However, their ambivalence is moderated by factors such as race, gender identity and expression, and stage of life. I also discuss the impact of ambivalence on historical methodology, including oral history methodology, more broadly.
Parks, Cecelia, "Queer Community in Charlottesville, Virginia: Contradictions, Ambivalence, and Fragmentation" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2560.
Available for download on Saturday, September 13, 2025