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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Most people do not expect gay or transgender people to create country music, and certainly not in earnest. This essay explores the music and approach of two North American innovators of gay and transgender country music, Patrick Haggerty of the band Lavender Country and Rae Spoon, spanning the early 1970s to the present. Both musicians cultivate an aesthetic of sincerity, which is discussed in relation to possibilities for queer and transgender expression and ideological critique, as well as for camp performance. One longstanding challenge for “othered” folk musicians is that they are expected to be both exotic and yet also relatable. Their aesthetic of “queer sincerity” aids their navigation of this “outsider populism.”

Keywords: country, folk, gay, queer, transgender, sincerity, camp, Patrick Haggerty, Lavender Country, Rae Spoon

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