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Photo by Michael O. Snyder

Fresh Storylines

“The Queens of Queen City” is photographer Michael Snyder's immersive photodocumentary, nearly a decade in the making, of the drag community of Cumberland, Maryland, in northern Appalachia. Just a few images into it, I was struck by what its premise asked of me, because, by engaging with it and being honest about the surprise that drew me in, I had to confront a reflexive bias: How can drag culture thrive in such a deeply conservative part of the country? This paradox gives the project its magnetic pull, but the dissonance is illusory, and purposefully so, as it mirrors Snyder’s own edification about the region where he grew up. Of course queer communities have claimed space in Appalachia. That’s because it is far more complex and nuanced than we tend to give it credit for being.

Greatest Nigger Who Ever Lived

September 8, 2020

in the selfie he is currently texting to “Lula Mae,”
the man next to me on flight 4853
to Columbia, dressed in a black turtleneck
and a thick double chain,

p r i d e

Give me memories as 

slow to leave as snails. 


In foreign    and perhaps 

fragile years    I’ll still be able