Notes from Rural North Carolina: Queers Ain’t Welcome


Queers ain’t welcome in Cleveland County, North Carolina, according to a roadside sign.

Flickr user obryanplumbing posted this photo with the following caption: “I noticed this sign along the side of the road while driving toward my parent’s house in the Golden Valley area of Cleveland County, NC. Recent activity at a nearby campground has caused controversy amongst the locals regarding an apparant colony of gays, lesbians and transsexuals under the name of camp lickalotta.”

The Gaston Gazette recently reported: “The founders of a camp geared toward gay, lesbian and transgender nature lovers have received threats, but won’t back down from their dream. Joanie Beasley, who along with Nancy Leedy developed the idea for the camp, said the couple had received threats since a news article was published Tuesday. She was not specific on the threats, but said, ‘We will proceed and take the proper precautions. We are not going anywhere now.’ Some residents found the name of the camp disagreeable, but Beasley said the name — Camp Lickalotta — would not change. Leedy said the name was chosen for three reasons. She said the goal of the camp was to: Lickalotta prejudice. Lickalotta pollutants. Lickalotta pessimism.”


  1. Marc says

    A straight person definitely made the sign. It lacks imagination and color. But the black does make it look slimmer!

  2. jimmyboyo says

    ain’t ……………ain’t a word

    You know it is bad when I am correcting somebody’s grammer. Probably one of the signs of the apocolypse.

    Anyway; Is it just me or is the sign not hanging straight?

  3. crispy says

    I appreciate the exclamation point. You can almost feel the excitement in their bigotry!

  4. Jon says

    Oh Marc, I have to disagree…

    1. The thoughtful public service message is spelled in high-quality masking tape (or is it packing tape?) in ‘BT Bold Redneck’ font, ranging from 40 to 236pt type, at angles between 4 and 42 degrees – a very bold choice of style!

    2. The impressive attention to grammatical detail is astonishing. Notice the carefully taped apostrophe in the word “ain’t” (most poor fools leave it out these days).

    3. And everyone knows that yellow text (or near yellow, in this case) on black is the most readable display.

    I say, ‘Kudos to the bigots!’ Well done!

  5. ian says

    i’m sorry. what’s going on? i was completely distracted by the arts and crafts sign that was horribly made.

    …and that’s why queers ain’t welcome.

  6. ian says

    i’m sorry. what’s going on? i was completely distracted by the arts and crafts sign that was horribly made.

    …and that’s why queers ain’t welcome.

  7. taodon says

    Lickalotta? Seriously? What the heck is that? Here we are, trying to gain civil rights, and this person’s response to our plight is to create a camp with a sexually suggestive name? And don’t bother telling me that it won’t be thought of as that, because it will – particularly by bigots. It’s hard to make the case that we are more than just the sex we may or may not have when our own people go out of their way to do crap like this.

  8. Joe says

    Well said Taodon. One might as well of named it Camp Buttf*ck. I’m thinking the rubes who were meticulous enough to use an apostrophe in “Ain’t” are more aware.

  9. says

    I lived in rural Vermont when Civil Unions was a hot button issue and every other redneck had signs that said “Real Vermonters Spread Shit They Don’t Pack It” or “Take Back Vermont.” I feel for the queers of NC. Seeing that kind of public homophobia is enough to make someone move to a large Norther City… hmmm.

  10. Derek says

    What do you call a lesbian dinosaur?

    A Lickalottapuss…

    This is an old joke and it’s a bad name for a gay campground.

  11. says

    The whole point of inclusion and acceptance is that if those lesbians want to call their campground “The Hot Pink Vagina” they have the right to do so without being harassed and attacked by the outside community. I’m sure there are some straight strip clubs in that area that have some suggestive names.

    I hate when gay people attack other gay people for doing something fun and sexily tongue-in-cheek. Straight people do it all the time so get over it and let the lesbians lickalotta if they want to!

    Oh, and trust me, no queers WANT to go there, where ever the hell that is…

  12. anon says

    Great joke, Derek! What a stupid name for a camp. Now that they’re being kicked out have they learned their lesson??

    That sign took a lot of effort, sort of like when they screw in lightbulbs there. I’m thinking, though, that it might be fake.

  13. says

    Well, it’s a terrible name unless you’re a giggly college student. But it’s pure insanity to lash out at the camping queers for making it harder for the rest of us. They’re not the ones making it harder here, nor is whether or not being gay is about sex relevant to us having civil rights.

  14. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    What is with G/L “activists” that every organization must have “gay”, “pink”, “triangle”, “lambda” or some not-very-clever sexual double-entendre in it’s name? I used to belong to a nation-wide club for G/L car enthiusists but I dropped-out; everything had to had a hypersexualized-label. And most events and club chapters had “drag-names” that you couldn’t even mention in “polite society” without embaressment, giggles or needing to apoligise….and that just plays into hands of the “haters”. They couldn’t even print a fund-raising wall-calendar of members cars without resorting to cheap beefcake and pussy drapped over the cars and cheesy sexual double-entendres and drag-references. Is there any “real” reason why the annual membership directory of a “car club” needs to mix images of bare-chested, suggestively-posed cute guys amongst pictures of old cars as-if advertising stripper-night at the local gay bar?

    At what point does awareness, activism and social-conscienceness descend into parody and self-loathing and hyper-sexualization? …Or the “dirty” punch-line for 11-year-old boys’ naughty jokes?

  15. Jeff says

    Sometimes I’m just embarrassed by people in our community. I applaud these people for having the guts to start a camp in a rural part of North Carolina; however, I think it was just plain dumb to even think that naming the camp Lickalotta wouldn’t raise the ire of local homo haters. Sometimes you just have to think: Hmm, I want this camp to succeed, I don’t want to be harassed or to put campers in danger…Maybe we should change the name….Sometimes bigger battles are won by not playing into stereotypes. Think, people. Think.

  16. the queen says

    re some of the comments here, i never thought i’d see the day when queers are ashamed of a little camp humor, and yes i mean that in both senses of the word… queers monitoring themselves for acceptance by a straight society that will never accept them, what a joke! … take some advice from a an old queen and just be yourself and to hell with the rest of the world… if you can’t be yourself then why did you come out of the closet?

  17. Leonard says

    So it starts with these bigots FORCING them to change the name of their camp, and it ends where? Lickalotta has every right to name their camp whatever the damn well they want to and the opinion of BIGOTS should not matter. They’ve explained that it stands for:

    “Lickalotta prejudice. Lickalotta pollutants. Lickalotta pessimism.”

  18. beergoggles says

    Wow, I’m amazed at the amount of self-hating self-censorship displayed here for all to see.

    If them faggots didn’t kiss other men, it’ll be easier to tolerate them..

    If them faggots didn’t want to marry each other, we won’t have to beat them..

    Apparently being campy is asking for it – just like being gay is asking to be bashed. Congrats folks, you’ve successfully capitulated to the bigots by selling out the most vulnerable and outspoken of our population.

  19. Wheezy says

    It’s a free country…and the Lickalotta camp can call their camp any damn thing they want up to and including Camp Butt-f*ck. Remember that lil’ old amendment about free speech?

    Pandering to homophobes by trying to be normal is stupid. They’re never going to like you no matter what you do, you’re gay! Pandering is just another form of Closeting.

  20. Dennis Wayne Crotts says

    I think the name is pushing things WAY to far or as we would say since I am from North Carolina you trying to force your lifestyle down my throat and this is from a gay and proud man. You should respect your neighbors straight or gay and do what ever it takes to keep trouble down but the owners of the camp is trying just to force their lifestyle on the community and I hate to say it they do not Give A Damn who they hurt and the group they are hurting is the gay community and ever thing it has worked for and gotten. They should close up shop and rethink what they have done and apoligize to the locals and see if they will forgive and maybe give them a second chance but with their attitude I know I would not.

  21. Zeke says

    Yeah DENNIS WAYNE CROTTS, you’re just dripping with pride!

    I’ve NEVER heard a proud gay man call homosexuality a “lifestyle” and I’ve never heard one using the right-wing, anti-gay “forcing the gay lifestyle down our throats” line.

    I wonder what other anti-gay talking points you’ve bought into.

    I don’t personally care for the name and I think it was a pure choice, considering the location, from a purely business standpoint, but I think it’s a stretch to act as if this attempt at camp humor somehow reflects poorly on the whole gay population.

  22. John says

    I’m so tired of all you self-righteous, “all-accepting” gays dictating what the rest of us should think and believe. In your world, gays can do no wrong and should be allowed to make asses of themselves whenever they step out the door or open their mouths. I’m sorry, but I have a little more pride than that. And it has nothing to do with “giving in to” heterosexual norms. Yes, these camp organizers should be allowed to name the camp whatever they want, but I wonder how many of you would be saying that if an exclusively straight camp agreed on a name that you deemed offensive or unacceptable in some way.

  23. says

    “how many of you would be saying that if an exclusively straight camp agreed on a name that you deemed offensive or unacceptable in some way”

    It’s not like Camp Lickalotta should be particularly offensive to straight people? (And if it was, so what?) Since most of the world is one big straight camp–with plenty of offensive names in it–I find it ridiculous that the camp owners should have to worry about the delicate sensibilities of the poor straight people.

  24. Caligula says

    I am from Europe and visit Charlotte, North Carolina quite ofter because my sister recently relocated there. Charlotte is a banking capital and tons of money is pouring in. I really enjoy it. This however is not very appealing to me. I have not heard of this on the local news here. All I can say is that I have traveled throught this state and have never experinced any hatred, only curiousity. I am a model and have a very distinct look. I guess this has opened my eyes to reality and I will pay more attention when I am in the mountains and lakes on North Carolina on my own. I couldn’t imagine driving down a road and seeing a sign like that in my country or most of the European Union. We have people that are anti-gay, but they don’t do such things. Who has time to do such stupid things. I really think that every one who is even 1% gay should do something about such issues. The US goes by power and when you unite in the US you can accomplish just about anything. I am Greek and I see how Greek-Americans unite and get the American government to do things on Greece’s behalf. The gay communities wont get anywhere until we form a greater unity. We can’t have our own country, but we can do better than GLAAD and other organizations. I for one will raise hell here in Charlotte and mention this to everyone I know. My sister lives in Ballantyne, a wealthy part of Charlotte. I will make sure that the country club, golf clubs and the top fashion stores get news of this. When I am threw at least Greece, Italy and France will cease to fund projects here. This is what everyone should do. If we were Jews, Arabs, Christians or even the deaf, we would have combined forces and Anderson Cooper, among others would be broadcasting 360 from that tree. So, ciao all and come visit us in Europe and have a bit of fun.

  25. Lucas says

    I just want to take a can of black spray paint and cross out that word “ain’t.” Which I do believe has been added to the dictionary. Then I want to paste up some pink flamingos and gold glitter. Or silver glitter. Viva Camp Lickalotta!!!

  26. Rick says

    If you live in a neighborhood of white-sided frame homes with white picket fences and you paint your house bright red and fill your front yard with Venus De Milo reproductions of varying sizes your neighbors are going to hate you. (Maybe hate is too strong of a word.)

    If you live in a quiet rural town and name your camp Lickalotta, guess what?

  27. says

    If bigots think that queers are gathering in their midst, possibly–gasp–naked and having fun, they could call the camp Straight People Rule and they’d still hate it. The name is a red herring.

  28. Zeke says

    I think JACK! and ERNIE have hit the nail squarely on the head.

    Really, who needs straight homophobes when we have so many gay ones?

  29. Carolyn says

    Hello…any one know how to get in touch with Nancy or Joanie? I am a reporter in WNC and would like to interview them.

  30. Carolyn says

    Hello…any one know how to get in touch with Nancy or Joanie? I am a reporter in WNC and would like to interview them.

  31. says

    Read some of the comments to the news articles at the Gaston Gazette site: these people aren’t up in arms about the name of the camp, they’re arguing “abomination to God” vs. “tolerance.” (and, yes, mere tolerance is about as good as it gets.)

    The name controversy really is a red herring, as someone said above. But it also sounds as if these two camp directors didn’t think a lot of things through. The other news stories describe a casual, verbal agreement with the owners of the property that didn’t outline the uses of the camp up front at all. I think the name choice just reflects their general approach, which may be well-intentioned and even fun, but not exactly effective in getting something accomplished.

    I think camp (in the kitsch sense) is still mostly appreciated in gay culture, but it’s not everyone’s cup-of-tea dance. (And, frankly, it seems less popular among lesbians than among gay men, usually.) A rough analogy might be seen in gangsta hip-hop culture, since its most vocal critics are in the African-American community. Criticizing camp, drag, etc., aspects of gay culture isn’t automatically “self-hating” (though it can be); it’s also often a result of class consciousness — or, more likely, class ambition.