PRIDE: CHAMPIONING LGBTQIA+ LEADERS & ALLIES
Not everyone makes it to the city to live out their queer urban fantasy—and they shouldn’t have to. In this talk, singer, songwriter, and bandleader Paisley Fields discusses the intersection between rural queerness and religion, how the internet has revolutionized the experience of queer people in rural areas, and what local solutions to promote acceptance of rural queerness might look like. Paisley Fields splits his time between Brooklyn and Nashville.
Active since 2013, Paisley Fields is a singer, songwriter, and bandleader splitting time between Brooklyn, New York and Nashville, Tennessee.
A touring member of the newly reformed Lavender Country, Paisley also played keyboard on their album “Blackberry Rose”. On his new album, "Limp Wrist", he draws inspiration from queer icon Andy Warhol and the myraid drag artists with whom he’s collaborated. His years of experience in Manhattan piano bars did not diminish his love for country music, and he released two albums that pay homage to the music of his youth.
“Limp Wrist” is an exploration of where rural queerness intersects religion. Paisley’s family were devout Catholics, and he served as the official church pianist in his parish throughout his teens, playing every Sunday.
The songs on the album are deeply personal, and often touch on what it was like to grow up closeted and queer in rural Iowa in the early 2000s. “Black Hawk County Line” tells the story of Paisley being outed by a former friend his senior year in high school, “Dial Up Lover” is about logging on to gay AOL chat rooms to find other queers in the area, and “Plastic Rosary” recounts the experience of being told he’ll never get into heaven while praying the rosary.
The most personal and biographical moment comes during “Iowa”, which recounts the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard, and the visceral fear he had to wrestle with since he was already aware of how different he was.The album ends on an uplifting note, sharing a message of friendship and hope with "Tomorrow Finds a Way".
Meg Alexander joined the PowerToFly community as a job-seeker in 2014, eventually landing her first remote role working for PowerToFly's Delivery Team. Her professional experience includes roles as a Talent Advocate, Head of Purchasing for a window factory, audiobook publishing, & more than 5 years as a paralegal. She has a bachelor's degree in Art History from Indiana University (mint condition, never been used!), where she also earned a varsity letter for Women's Rowing. She loves DIY projects and will never say no to french fries. She lives in Toledo, OH with her husband Aaron, an engineering technician, and their dogs, Radar & Cake.