Welcome To Gayetteville

Welcome To Gayetteville

Gayetteville Manifesto

The queers of Northwest Arkansas are divided. We exist in numbers, but we don’t have community. We at Gayetteville believe the following: That in order to exact change, we must be united, that the existing support structures in NWA presume that we come from a position of weakness and that the most effective way to organize is to empower each other through community. Our marginalization is the source of our power and identity — not a sign of weakness. We must use our collective experience to make the changes we deserve.

Welcome To Gayetteville

By Richard Davis

TFW Staff Writer

Cody Davis is one of the minds behind Gayetteville — content devoted to developing a sense of community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer folk and promoting equality.

Cody Davis had been an occasional photography contributor for the Free Weekly. When he mentioned doing a story on his efforts to start up a Gayetteville magazine, I thought, “Hey, great idea.”

Of course, starting up a print magazine isn’t necessarily an easy project, particularly if you don’t have boatloads o’ cash lying around. I told him no worries, just let me know when things started to gel.

Then it hit me.

Duh, I run an alternative weekly newspaper (and website!). Why not have a Gayetteville section in the Free Weekly?

So, a couple of weeks later, here’s the start to Gayetteville with a commentary on being gay in Arkansas by Jon Cox, an interview with Central EMS dispatcher Brandy Roper and some questions answered by Cody to kick the whole thing off:

Q: The most obvious question first: When did you realize you were gay?
CODY: When did I realize I was gay? That’s difficult, because there was never really a point when I had an epiphany where I was like “Oh my god! I’m gay. Who knew?” I always had more of an interest in guys throughout my life, but I of course kept that to myself.
I had a few girlfriends in middle and high school, but it was the type of thing where I didn’t even want to hold their hands. I did like them I suppose but only emotionally; it just felt kind of fake. When it came to physical contact, I was just completely uninterested, and I got very anxious. Even just holding a girl’s hand felt unnatural.
My junior year in high school, I met a guy, and that finally made me acknowledge that I was gay. I realized that I could no longer deny it to myself because all that did was send me into a deep depression. I came out to my best friend first, then my mom and sister.
It was difficult at the time, but now I couldn’t be happier that I did. So to answer your question, it’s not so much when did I realize I was gay, but when did I stop denying it?

Q: I’ve read your manifesto, but in your own simple words, what’s your goal with Gayetteville?
CODY: My goal is to educate, inform and raise concerns about what’s going on in gay politics and discrimination issues while also creating a defined LGBTQ community in Fayetteville/NWA.

Q: Where did the idea for Gayetteville come from?
CODY: My friend Blake Wilkins (president of the Fayetteville High School Gay-Straight Alliance) and I were carrying on a conversation one day, and out of nowhere, he said something like “What if we started a gay magazine in Fayetteville called Gayetteville?”
I thought the idea was absolutely hilarious. I couldn’t understand why someone hadn’t already came up with that name for some kind of gay organization in Fayetteville. It’s so simple.
We got to talking about it, and we both got really excited and ideas just started pouring out. Blake is finishing up his senior year in high school so he hasn’t had much time to commit to it, but he told me that I can take control as long as he gets credit for the title. So here you go, Blake.
When we first started talking about Gayetteville, we had no clue that it would evolve so fast. Now I’m doing an interview for the Free Weekly. What a great accomplishment this is.

Q: What are some of the things you’d like to offer readers in the Gayetteville pages?
CODY: Like I already stated, I want to educate, inform and raise concern about what’s going on in gay politics. I also want to list events within the gay community and highlight local queers who are positively contributing to society. I want to give you a little insight into their lives and what they have experienced. It’s necessary to raise awareness and make people realize that being gay is not a psychological issue, disorder or setback. It’s always existed throughout history, and it will continue to exist. When the public acknowledges this, that’s when change will start to happen.

Q: What would you say to anyone who might think terms such as “Gayetteville” or “Queer of the Week” are insensitive or possibly poking fun?
CODY: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer; all of those seem to have negative connotations, and there is no reason for that. I’m using them in a positive context, and I don’t see why there would be a problem. Gayetteville and Queer of the Week are both titles to be taken with pride.

Q: Where would you like to see Gayetteville in five years?
CODY: Well, I know I’d like for it to be it’s own independent magazine, and I know it will be. It’s been time for a media source connecting the Northwest Arkansas gay community for a while now, and I am here to do just that.
I would eventually like to see Gayetteville connect with organizations in other Arkansas cities so we can form a solid Arkansas gay community, not just Northwest Arkansas and not just central Arkansas.

Q: Would you like to see readers’ suggestions for Gayetteville content? How should readers contact you?
CODY: Not only would I like to see suggestions, but I NEED them. That is the point in community. I want everyone to contribute.
If you have a good idea for an article or would like to write one, just talk to me. If you would like to submit an event to the calendar, let me know. If you have art or poems or music or anything like that at all, let me know. Please don’t be hesitant to get in contact with me. The Gayetteville blog is in the works and we need all the content we can get, so even if it’s not published in the Free Weekly, we could for sure put it on the blog.
If you haven’t already done so, you should “Like” the page at Facebook.com/weareeverywhere. You can contact me and stay updated there. If you don’t want it to be public, you can also email me at GayettevilleAR@gmail.com.

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