Podcast sorts through issues around gender identity, growing up gay in the Adirondacks
By Megan Plete Postol
Peru native Colby Jeannine Fortin has launched a podcast that addresses LGBTQ+ issues in rural areas and has served as a catalyst to share her own experiences of growing up in the Adirondacks.
Her podcast, Adirondack Queer, is available on all major streaming platforms. Fortin’s mission in starting this project was to organize and create a space for her thoughts on her identity as a queer, rural, Gen Z person, and to reach out a proverbial hand to other youth with similar experiences.
“I like to think of it personally as an ode to my high school GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance) or to young queer people in the Adirondacks,” she said. “I so wish that (while growing up) I had access to this thought archive, although it is flawed and imperfect.”
Fortin’s goal in podcasting is not to point fingers, but to “call for change” and to shine a light on discrimination she has witnessed in a way that is respectful to her roots. In it, she shares personal stories about her life in the Adirondacks and beyond, culminates Adirondack-specific resources, shares ideas for youth to access resources, and helps break down terminology and ideology for listeners that seek to know more about understanding LGBTQ+, and how to be a more helpful ally.
Reconciling different identities
Fortin loved growing up in the Adirondack Mountains and considers it home.
“I am first and foremost from the Adirondacks and my second identity is queer.”— Colby Jeannine Fortin, creator of Adirondack Queer podcast
“There is such a high physical quality of life in the Adirondacks in so many ways. I loved being able to hop in my car and drive for ten minutes and be at the base of a mountain. Also the air quality is better. The air quality of the Adirondacks is such a blessing. The way you breathe is lighter.”
Adirondack Queer was born out of a longing for home during a time when home felt unreachable. It was in the midst of the pandemic and she was in California.
“I longed for home,” she said. “No one understood and I felt so isolated. I had no one to talk to about how much I missed and loved my home. For me this was a way to place that love, and have a space where somebody was going to listen to it. Or maybe nobody was. But it was out there, and it felt released and seen in some way.”
The next round of Adirondack Queer episodes will feature special guests, deep dives into exploring race, and the integration of racial and queer power dynamics in the Adirondacks.
She is hoping her podcast helps to facilitate conversation about acceptance and inclusion in the Adirondacks, and even illuminates areas where there is room to do better.
Fortin encourages anyone who wants to share their story in relation to these issues in the Adirondacks to reach out to her via email at [email protected].