Anecdotally Queer: The Then and There of My Prairie Home

Jonathan Petrychyn

Abstract


This paper considers two contested spatial and temporal thresholds in relation to queer and trans life: the threshold between urban and rural, and the threshold between past and future. Through a discursive analysis of Chelsea McMullan’s 2013 documentary on trans singer-songwriter Rae Spoon My Prairie Home, I explore the queer possibilities situated between these thresholds and provide an opportunity to rethink our assumptions about queer and trans identities in rural spaces. Drawing together recent queer theory that reconceptualizes queerness as undecidability, Meghan Morris’s theory of anecdotal identity and Michel de Certeau’s philosophy of spatial stories, I argue that My Prairie Home offers us an anecdotal vision of queer rural life. The rural becomes queer and thus becomes an undecidable space that we cross on our way home. Contrary to the common perception that the urban is the only spatial configuration in which queers can flourish, I rescue the rural as a necessary approach to thinking queer life.

 KEYWORDS: space and time; rural; anecdote; queer; transgender; futures 

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