Dear Nashville,

In a way, the loss of insideOut Nashville can be marked up to it becoming the victim of its own success. Without the trails being so thoroughly blazed by people like Linda Welch for so many years, many of the pleasures Nashville's queer community now enjoy may not have come along so easily, if they came about at all. It was the presence of things like iOut, which made other people look at Nashville and see the potential the city had for the queer community.

 

iOut was more than just a trailblazer in queer journalism and community building in Nashville. It was also a signal to those outside Nashville of how solid our community is and a signal to queers within and around Nashville there was a place for them here. And for myself, a young queer entertainment writer from lower Alabama, it became home.

 

It was the summer of 1999 when I wrote my first column for what was then still called Xenogeny. My music reviews had already appeared in a handful of regional "mainstream" publications in Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. But, I had  relocated to Nashville shortly after being dragged kicking and screaming out of the closet. There was simply no going back either to the closet or to Alabama. Nashville was my home now. It wasn't long after moving here I was introduced to Xenogeny's publisher Linda Welch and my first ever Nashville work - not to mention my first ever work for a queer publication saw print.

 

While I would go on to publish work in queer and mainstream publications around the nation, it was through working with Xenogeny (which would soon change its name it insideOut Nashville) how I came to know so many people in Nashville's queer community and became so deeply involved in its workings. I wasn't just in the community any longer. I was a part of a greater whole working toward a shared goal of advancing Nashville's queer community into the coming millennium.

 

Even as other publications like Out & About Nashville came to the fore, iOut never faltered, never failed to stand proud and strong for the people to whom it meant so much. Like most cities, Nashville's queer community has people of all walks of life, all races, all ages, all income brackets. However, in Nashville - unlike so many other places I have spent time - there is a real sense of family within our often disparate community and much of that can be attributed to the solid foundation laid over the years by people like Linda Welch and my other colleagues who contributed to iOut's pages. We may not always agree but we are always there for each other and that is what community is all about.

 

It's not easy to see what I have come to regard as my home publication close its doors for good. I have been blessed beyond measure to have the privilege of serving my community through its pages. Linda and iOut have opened more doors for me and made more opportunities available over the years than I can even begin to count. It boggles my mind to think how things may have progressed had DJ Phil not introduced us so many years ago.

 

Nashville still has a long way to go and there is still much to be done. It is in no small part due to the hard work of publications such as iOut we have been able to come as far as we have. Though we must continue on the journey ahead without one of our strongest and most visible sails, we would never have made it this far without it.

 

Thank you, iOut for giving me, and so many more, a sense of home and community from within your pages and for leading the way in such a crazy time. I miss you already. Isaac Newton once said, “If I am able to see farther, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants.” Never were truer words spoken.

F. Daniel Kent

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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