Growing up gay in Appalachia

( Sacred Activist Production ) We asked two young gay men from Roanoke, Virginia what it was like growing up gay in Appalachia. What was their means of community before the Roanoke Diversity Center and how has the RDC helped them as an individual and the LGBT community at large.

Special Thanks to Josh Olinger and Daniel Vandeberg

Learn more about the Roanoke Diversity Center at:
and on Facebook at

Royalty Free Music by

a Sacred Activist Production

Please watch: “Shamanic Frequencies – Gwilda Wiyaka and Bernard Alvarez (TJBS)”



  1. So important for people to see and hear these stories, especially people where these young people are from. Maybe with visibility others will not feel so alone and isolated. And, maybe folks who aren't LGBTQ will begin to see that there are LGBTQ folks in every region, from all walks of life, and all families and communities. One of the difficult things for me in listening to these type of stories is the language that keeps being perpetuated that "people don't agree with LGBTQ people" … that's like disagreeing with green eyes or curly hair. Being gay isn't an opinion or choice, no matter how much some people want to say that it is, don't make is so. Thanks for this project!

  2. My dad was from Virginia near the TN and KY border. I love the Appalachians, it's so beautiful there. I know what the people there are like. But I'm from Texas, where there's also a lot of negativity about being gay. I didn't think I could ever talk to my parents about being gay, having gay feelings. I didn't come out until after they'd passed away. This video means a lot to me because it describes a lot of how I grew up, even though that was in Texas in the 80's. I hope there will be more friendly people and places to support gay teens and adults in the area. There has been progress, but there is still so far to go, just like these guys in the video say. Thanks. … I wish people could really understand what it's like to grow up gay (or LGBT) and why all the negatives are so damaging and why support and love, acceptance, are so needed. Love. Don't hate.

  3. … maybe because they somehow feel accepted also when they're around him, and they feel a sense of belonging as a group. Nowadays, there are more gay children in our town and are mostly the ones who excel in school and in Iife in general. They have an easier time "coming out of the closet", thanks to those who went ahead them who embraced their uniqueness. 😉

  4. I have a gay brother and grew up in a small town. We come from a conservative, Christian family also. If you'd ask a gay person from our town this question, he'd also have the same reaction as these two. But since my brother embraced his sexuality since he was a kid, you probably even won't ask this question because you wouldn't feel like his different than any other person ….so no one really feels any "separation". I watch other gay children (and adults) flock around him all the time …

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