Wynston Sanders grew up in Union, South Carolina in a household that was not particularly affirming and attending a church that was even less welcoming to LGBTQ people. He graduated from Converse College in Spartanburg and then moved from the rural area to Greenville, SC, where he found a more vibrant community of LGBTQ people. Wynston identifies as a transgender man and a transgender queer person.
He knows that for many LGBTQ people in rural areas, life is improving – and even as he’s seen rural folks face barriers to quality health care, respect, and local LGBTQ community, he’s also seen the value of living in rural Southern communities.
“At one time, I thought moving to San Francisco would change my life,” Wynston told USA Today. “Maybe life would be better in a bigger mecca. But I like the small-town feel.” He knows that the transformation in rural communities is happening all over the South. “It’s happening all over, in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina. We are making the South a new place where LGBTQ people can thrive. When people look at you as a person – besides your LGBTQ status – that’s what it’s about.”