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It’s Pride Y’all: Mechanical and Organic Solidarity’s Impact on White LGBTQ+ Individuals in the Deep South
Deviant Behavior  (IF1.982),  Pub Date : 2022-03-18, DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2022.2050443
Sarah Donley, Tina H. Deshotels, Katelynn Shadoan


To date, most research on LGBTQ+ individuals and communities tends to be based in metropolitan areas of the United States, largely in New York and California. This research analyzes data from 23 white LGBTQ+ individuals in the Deep South through the lens of Durkheim’s mechanical and organic solidarity. We argue that experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals in the rural south resemble the characteristics of Durkheim’s mechanical solidarity and analyzing their experiences through this lens will help us better understand how LGBTQ+ people in rural/non-metropolitan areas across the Deep South negotiate and resist being labeled deviant in small, isolated, homogeneous communities. We found that for some, the strongly held beliefs of rigid normative conformity was oppressive. However, for others, they were able to bond with likeminded people in their community and were accepted because of mechanical solidarity. Though oppressive experiences remain a feature of being LGBTQ+ in the Deep South, some respondents reported positive experiences and commented on increasing acceptance and tolerance in some areas. Finally, findings indicate while in some ways it is difficult or impossible to eschew the label of deviant, some LGBTQ+ individuals value rural living and can negotiate, resist, and thrive.