A Safe Space in Athens
Atlanta is known for its historic landmarks and diverse community. About 12 percent of residents in Atlanta identify themselves as a part of the LGBT community, making the city one of the most liberal and gay-friendly cities within the United states.
However, about an hour and half north of Atlanta, you will find a much less prominent gay scene. The City of Athens has a population of around 120,000, within that less than 1 percent identify as a part of the LGBT community. Trevor Jackson a Junior fashion merchandising major and studio art minor at the University of Georgia identifies within the community and expanded upon his experiences within the North Georgia city.
Trevor says, ” Athens is very liberal in the context of the south.” He states, “the towns west of Lumpkin are very liberal and have a more eclectic, art, and queer vibe to them versus the towns east of Lumpkin which are more white, traditional, and conservative.” Trevor who is originally from the city of Stockbridge Georgia says “going to high school in Stockbridge Georgia, I was more so stifled, in Athens, I definitely feel more free to be myself.” Trevor’s style and sense of dress often clash with societies’s gender roles. Trevor states “I definitely get stares, but I’m used to that.” Trevor notes that these stares have never lead to any direct discrimination in Athens however.
Trevor stays active in the LGBT community of Athens as Boybutaunte is one of the LGBT-oriented organizations Trevor takes pride in participating in. The organization raises funds for programs that provides funds for people living with AIDS/HIV in Northeast Georgia through various drag events. Trevor states “it’s essential to make sure that these events are within a safe space and that they involve more college students so the city continues to grow more accepting, along with raising more money for the foundation.”
Within the University of Georgia Trevor has been able to find an outlet for his creative as a fashion merchandise major. Trevor is one of the founding members of the BOLD modeling agency at the University of Georgia, an organization which focuses on highlighting black culture through fashion in Athens. Trevor says “Bold lets me positivity affect the experience of minorities on campus through fashion events, while being able to express myself.”
Through his various activities in Athens Trevor says “I’ve been able to grow into myself and create a space of love.” Trevor states that ” In the future I hope more LGBT students are eager to come to UGA, as it is more open than most are lead to believe.”