Brian Whisenant is currently the Community Relations Coordinator for the Oxford Treatment Center, the LGBT Programmer for the Oxford Film Festival, a director with Theater Oxford, and runs AwardsWiz.Com, a website devoted to the Oscars, film, television, and pop culture. He is an advocate for both LGBT issues and addiction recovery. Brian graduated from Alcorn Central High School in Corinth, MS in 1994 and then attended North East Mississippi Community College’s music program and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Theatre and Dance in 1999. Following college he moved to Omaha, Nebraska where he briefly worked in a theater company before moving to New York, then Los Angeles, then back to Mississippi. Brian talks about growing up in a small town and identifying as gay in college. He briefly discusses the gay bar scene in Omaha, his move to New York and how it was both personally liberating and at the same time fed into his increasing addiction. He discusses how his addiction affected his professional work, part time jobs, and relationships in both New York and Los Angeles and gives his impression of each city as an outsider moving in. Brian talks about how his addiction led him to move home to Mississippi to get support as he began the recovery process and how, as part of that process, he formally came out to his parents in what proved to be a difficult multi-year process. He also discusses life in Oxford with the broader perspective he has gained since living in New York and Los Angeles. He mentions the fear he felt after Trump’s election and his concerns about laws the Mississippi Legislature has passed that would potentially allow him to be denied access to restaurants, hospitals, and other places.
Whisenant, Brian and Smith, Jonathan, "Whisenant, Brian" (2018). Queer Mississippi Oral History Project. 24.
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