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Queer Owned in Rural Georgia: Meet SQNF's Screen Printers

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Many queer people face similar hardships, but having a queer owned business in rural Georgia has it’s own set of highs and lows. Meet Laura Mae and Ollie. They are the owners of Bad Dog Creative Foundry in Dahlonega, Georgia and the badass women who print and design most of our apparel at So Queer No Fear.

First of all, let’s just say their family is #goals. Laura Mae and Ollie have a beautiful partnership in raising the cutest little boy I’ve ever met alongside his best friend Homer the blind cat. Together, they enjoy growing their ever increasing brood of plants and having amazing hiking adventures (yes, even the cat is an expert trailblazer).


Being openly queer in rural Georgia has been a grab bag of experiences. Dahlonega itself seems to be a safe haven—they have even been celebrated in their local newspaper for running a queer owned business. However, once they step foot outside city lines, things can get dicey. Ollie shares stories of them having been ‘encouraged’ to get their barbecue plates to-go (when they had every intention of dining in) and have even been stalked maliciously while shopping at Goodwill.


One thing that brings them comfort while exploring the Southeast is the little rainbow flag on storefronts. Laura Mae describes the sticker as a sign that “somebody’s got your back.” They agree that some of the best ways allies (and LGBTQ+ folx) can support the queer community is by buying from queer owned business, especially things your purchase regularly like beer or soap.


As the founder, I love that Laura Mae and Ollie get to the heart of what So Queer No Fear means. Laura Mae says the word queer is “about community. It’s an umbrella term to describe all types of people.” That’s exactly why I first fell in love with the word. It was the first place that I felt included. It seemed to bring the separate ‘letters’ of LGBT under one roof where it was finally cool for lesbians to hang out with trans folx and gays to accept bisexuals and for genderqueer, aromatic, pansexual, and so many other identities to be part of the party. More than that, queer was the first label that helped me communicate who I am without it feeling like a rigid definition. As Ollie describes the term, it “can mean just about anything. You don’t have to have the details of it, but you have that immediate feeling of community and inclusion.”


We know that in today’s world, living without fear is impossible. Instead, we push forward in spite of fear. We are strong. So many of us have been bullied as adolescents, kicked out of our homes as young teens, discriminated against at work, denied healthcare, dealt with daily microaggressions, and even been stalked or attacked simply for loving others and ourselves. So no, we cannot live without fear. We live in spite of fear.


It is in our community that we find solace. There, we can shed the weight of fear. For every friend, colleague, employer, family member, and distant acquaintance who has said, “I support you,” I breathed a sigh of relief. The world is changing. Sometimes it feels like one step forward and two steps back. But there is always a storm before the rainbow.


At So Queer No Fear, we hope to be that sigh of relief. If you need support, we are here. Please feel free to reach out at hello@soqueernofear.com or DM us on Instagram @soqueernofear .


Remember: you are loved, you are valid, and you are never alone.



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