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In the Deep South, a Search for Queer Identity

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DIARY OF A MISFIT: A Memoir and a Mystery, by Casey Parks There was the elementary school gym teacher rumored to have been in a lesbian relationship with the woman who taught science.

There was the hair stylist who flicked his wrist when he spoke and only half-hid hints of his nightlife in drag. There was the androgynous ticket-taker at the art museum who gave back a knowing glance, the softball player, the tween poet and painter.

There was Matthew Shepard. Figures like these frequently populate (and sometimes haunt) the childhoods of L.G.B.T.Q. people, our first brushes with queerness, those “Ring of Keys” moments when we recognized the obfuscated parts of ourselves in someone else.

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