How my HIV status inspired my fashion business and saved my life— Honey by Reckon Issue #9

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Hey y’all,

Happy holiday weekend and safe celebrating! This week we’re talking about southern, specifically Appalachian sayings, and where they came from like “hung the moon” and “jimber-jawed.” We’re also talking about Bill Cosby’s overturned conviction and what it means. We also have our last Pride month edition of the Your Voice essays, which you don’t want to miss.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our LGBTQ Southerners series in this week’s Honey essays. We want to continue sharing these stories, your stories, so keep ‘em coming.

Keep in touch! Email meslide in my dmstweet me

Jennifer K. N. Heinmiller on the stories contained in Appalachian English

Have you ever heard of menstrual cramps being called your agonies? Did you know “twichet” was a word for the female genitalia in 1800s Appalachia? In this week’s episod of the Reckon Interview podcast, John talked to Jennifer K. N. Heinmiller, co-author of the new Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English, about the process of gathering and investigating words to include in the collection, the way Southern Appalachian English has changed with new technologies and some of her favorite terms and phrases that are included in this edition.

Click here to listen.

Your Voice: How my HIV status inspired my fashion business and saved my life

Each week the Honey newsletter includes a column from women and LGBTQ folks in the South, in collaboration with See Jane Write. We’re always looking for more stories from you. Click here to learn more about how to get published.

By Daniel Grier

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”  — Dr. Seuss

Growing up a Black, gay man from the South born into a super religious family, my sexuality was always up for discussion—even though, I didn’t know for sure that I was gay until much later. Still, people spread rumors about me my entire childhood and bullied me in school. Everyone was always trying to figure me out. I felt very misunderstood, out of place, like I didn’t belong to any certain group or tribe. I felt like I was always walking around holding my breath.

During those years I was scared of gay people, too. I didn’t understand them, and I didn’t think I fit in with them either. No matter what I would do to blend in or conform to societal norms I would still stand out for just being myself.

Then I found the freedom of fashion. It was really the only place that made sense, the only place where I could just be me.  It’s what came natural to me. It was my comfort and my creative outlet. As a child I would use any fabrics I could find to make outfits that I would imagine top stars wearing on the red carpet. And I’d use my allowance to purchase fashion magazines. My secret weapon has always been my style and the way I dress. I have the eye, as they would say.

Fashion is my superpower. And in 2013, fashion saved my life. In the summer of that same year, as I was finishing up my junior year of college, I went in for a routine checkup and found out I was HIV positive.

I spent the summer on the couch feeling depressed, hopeless, and even suicidal. But I decided not to end my life physically but that I had to end the previous life as I knew it to move forward. I dropped out of college, quit my job, and set out on a completely new path. In the fall of 2013, I founded my clothing brand, Splashed by DKG.

Click here to read the rest.

The Junk Drawer

The Junk Drawer isn’t really junk, but a curated collection of things from around the internet that you didn’t really know you needed, akin to the paper clip, flashlight, hair tie and the $2 bill that hang around in that one kitchen drawer.


Remember the tweet thread about Zola, a  Florida exotic dancer being scammed by her new friend Stefani? Well now it’s an A24 movie and I need everyone to go watch it so we can talk about it when we come back.

If this is something you enjoy, please share in the sweetness and tell your friends.

That’s all I’ve got for today.


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