Date of Award
Master of Science
Latoya E. Eaves
Derek Alderman, Nikki Luke
In this thesis, I uncover narratives of joy and love for a queer and trans drag family in Knoxville, Tennessee. Considered to be in a region that is openly hostile towards queer folk, I use documentary filmmaking to see how a family trans drag entertainers create queer space for themselves and others in the South. Current legislature is slashing rights for queer folk in Tennessee, directly affecting the lives and wellness of my participants. Through interviews I discover how this drag family, The House of Commitment, bands together to navigate their conservative surroundings, and form deep connections of home here. Centered around their drag mother Daphne, the group works as a team to make sure everyone’s needs are met. I explore what allowed each of them to do drag, what led them to become a part of their families, and what inspired them to transition. The strength, resilience, and joy of the family can be seen throughout my film, and their experiences in the South being trans drag entertainers are detailed in my thesis.
Kelly, Devyn J., "“Knoxville is Home Because I Have Made it That Way”: Drag Family and the Politics of Joy in Knoxville, Tennessee. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2023.