Mountain Grown – A project of 100 Days in Appalachia. Head back to 100 Days’ Homepage.

Steve

Kermit, West Virginia

“Our state is like glass, and it’s fragile. There’s a lot of things that we can do to make it better, but we just have to work together to make it better.”

0:00

“I believe everyone should have equal rights, no matter who they are. As a gay person in Appalachia, that’s something that’s rough, I guess, for people to understand, and it’s tough for them to really wrap their minds around it because they just are genuinely uneducated, and that’s probably the worst part. That just doesn’t go with being gay either, it goes for people of color, too, because people don’t really understand how their lives are.”

0:00

“Homophobia, I’d say, probably the worst of it happened during high school, when, you know, during middle school, I was coming to terms with who I was, why I was and when all this was happening, but during high school is when I really fully got ahold of myself and my ideas and beliefs and just basically didn’t shut the fuck up about it. People really had a problem with that, of you speaking your mind and all that. So, there were instances of bullying, a few threats here and there because, you know, people just don’t really understand, which really caused a lot of anxiety just to live in Kermit or even Mingo County in general.”

Click image to enlarge. Photo: Curren Sheldon/100 Days in Appalachia

Click an image to enlarge and move through the gallery. Photo: Curren Sheldon/100 Days in Appalachia

Click to play the video. Credit: Curren Sheldon/100 Days in Appalachia

Click image to enlarge. Photo: Curren Sheldon/100 Days in Appalachia

0:00

“I have Facebook still. I know I’m old – I’m not old, but I’m old per se just because I still have Facebook and I use it a lot just to shitpost because it’s fun. It’s fun making people angry. I feel like if you can make someone angry during the day just because you say something, then it’s been a good day.

“I have Instagram as well. I do a couple of photos here and there, but I haven’t done really anything since I’ve been busy with everything. I’d say like the last photoshoot I did was in September. And then I have my Snapchat which I talked to my friends from just about everywhere, from Chicago to Boone County.”

0:00

“I’ve seen a lot of posts – by posts I mean I’ve seen a lot of people spreading hate towards other people just because of their beliefs. I’ve seen some people post some klan photos, which is unbelievable.


Basically, you know just scrolling through Facebook and I just happen to see someone who shared a quick little sneak photo of their little klan uniform. Yeah, I’m like, this is gross. This is gross. It’s fucking 2020.”

Click image to enlarge. Photo: Curren Sheldon/100 Days in Appalachia

0:00

“With the groups I’m in for Appalachia and everything, we do have quite a few connections. There’s been some friends from, actually Knoxville, around that area, who’ve shared some things about sexual predators, racists, white supremacists, all these people who are going to continue with what they believe in and spread hate everywhere, and they would post mugshot pictures, information about them, usually what they do, what they’ve done. So like things spreading around like that, as well of getting the word out like, these people are shit, be wary of them.”

0:00

“I’d say what gives me hope is the new generation that’s coming up in West Virginia. I feel like a lot of us are doing a lot of things – a lot of good things – that can really help the future of the state and Appalachia as well because a lot of connections run through a couple of other states as well.


I feel like another thing to be hopeful for is that people really start understanding that our state is like glass and it’s fragile. There’s a lot of things that we can do to make it better, but we just have to work together to make it better.”