Rae Garringer

Rae Garringer holding and kissing baby goats

Rae Garringer (they/them) is a writer, oral historian, and audio producer who grew up on a sheep farm in southern West Virginia, and now lives a few counties away on traditional S’atsoyaha (Yuchi) lands with a large family of dogs, goats, ducks, and a cat. Rae is the founder of Country Queers – an ongoing, multimedia, community-based oral history project documenting rural and small town LGBTQIA+ experiences.  When they started this project in 2013, Rae had no formal training in media production or oral history. But they did have an intense frustration with the lack of easily accessible rural queer stories at the time, and a deep personal need to meet and learn from other country queers. Since then, the project has grown to include a collection of over 75 oral history interviews, a traveling gallery exhibit, instagram takeovers by rural LGBTQIA+ folks all over, and a podcast. Rae completed a BA at Hampshire College in 2007, and an MA in Folklore & American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017. They gained audio production chops as the Public Affairs Director at Appalshop’s community radio station WMMT 88.7fm in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky from 2017-2020. Prior to their storytelling work Rae worked as a youth advocate and educator for many years, and they’re a proud alumni of The Stay Together Appalachian Youth Project (STAY). Rae is white, queer, nonbinary, and a hermit-introvert who prefers to be surrounded by animals and mountains. They are resolutely committed to rural people and places – most especially the central Appalachia region and it’s rich organizing legacies and future possibilities.