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Queer Sanctuary on the Borderlands

by Joel Zapata

“Eight hundred miles or so west of the South Texas border, I also found the perfect place for me.”

During the summer of 2009, I arrived at the El Paso–Ciudad Juárez borderplex as a teenager seeking sanctuary. I did not arrive from south of the border as most Americans might imagine but from the Texas Panhandle, and with a southern twang in my voice. I still remember my first few months there when I unconsciously said “fixin’” to the bewilderment of others. I carried that word from the rural, profoundly southern, Baptist, and—perhaps more deeply than anything—conservative town I grew up in, north of Amarillo. Like many rural towns in the Panhandle, some of which are majority-minority, my hometown was about half Latina/o (mainly Mexican). But the region and its communities were, and continue to be, white ruled.

This article appears as an abstract above, the complete article can be accessed in Project Muse
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