Hidden America: A Queer Gardening Homestead in Rural Tennessee
Check out this fantastic, self-sustaining LGBT community in the middle of the Bible Belt.
For those who think the coastal metropolises of Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco are the beginning and end of interesting queer culture in the United States, allow us to introduce you to Idyll Dandy Acres, or IDA for short.
Though it's been around since 1993, IDA was only recently highlighted in the America Recycled documentary project, which finds filmmakers cycling across America in search of unique stories. And IDA is about as unique as it gets.
Situated on 200 acres in the middle of Tennessee, IDA is an LGBT community of visual artists, performers, and gardeners that seeks to offer a safe, self-sustaining homestead to queer and transgender people from around the world. It's currently large and functional enough to sustain 10 full-time residents and hundreds of guests, and those numbers grow every year when IDA hosts "Work Hard/Stay Hard," a week-long event in which full-timers and volunteers work to improve IDA's infrastructure and make it even more livable.
One need only watch the America Recycled mini documentary above to see how life-changing IDA has been for people over the years. "We end up putting on all these layers of ... denial about who we are," one IDA resident tells the camera. "And we have to find places where we can peel off the layers. I can't imagine what's more important than learning how to be ourselves." Hear, hear.