The SFA Take: Love and Cookies

Campbells Wedding Cookies
Mitchell Moore, of Campbell’s Bakery in Jackson, Mississippi, expressed his opposition to HB 1523 in a Facebook post: “I have a deeply held religious belief that I am here to serve. I am not here to decide whom to serve. We are open for everyone and always will be. We find HB1523 appalling and objectionable. We are whole heartedly against it and will fight it any way we can.”

If someone picked up a newspaper today, this political shuffling is all they’d hear about Mississippi. But listen to our oral histories, watch our films, read our texts, listen to our podcasts. You’ll find something deeper and more complex than this bill.” ~Sara Wood, SFA Oral Historian

Last week’s SFA Take, in response to recent anti-LGBTQ legislation in North Carolina and Mississippi, urged readers to dig into our well-documented South for a clearer perspective on the diversity that defines our region yet rarely makes headlines. Today, we’re making it easy for you to do just that.

Our Nathalie Dupree Graduate Fellow Kate Wiggins compiled resources from SFA’s recent work that deal specifically with sexuality through the lens of food. And we made a short Storify of responses from Mississippi residents who oppose HB 1523. We hope you’ll take some time to look, read, and listen to these stories that many times are muffled by politicized rhetoric and monolithic stereotypes about the South.

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In 2014, Southern chefs hosted a Big Gay Mississippi Welcome Table dinner in protest of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The event was held on the eve of New York’s annual Mississippi Picnic in Central Park, which was canceled this year in protest of Mississippi’s HB 1523.


Author, pastry chef, and editor Ben Mims talks about sexuality in Southern kitchens at the 17th Southern Foodways Symposium.


Leading up to our 2014 fall symposium Who Is Welcome at the Welcome Table?, Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff took their Big Gay Ice Cream truck on a tour of Southern cities. Southerners in Raleigh, Charleston, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Oxford stood in line for hours to show their support for the LGBTQ community.

bgic oxford line


The life and legacy of Bill Neal, who changed the face of Southern restaurant cuisine when he opened Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1982.


What does *not* eating meat say about you? In one young biracial man’s family, his dietary change was construed as white, elite, even feminine. In this episode of Gravy: the cultural politics of going vegetarian.

Blog Posts

Director’s Cut: Shameful Legislation 50 Years After Civil Rights Act of 1964

June 13: Big Gay Mississippi Welcome Table, a benefit dinner

Tea Cakes for Everyone

In the news

Eppes, Mary Grace. “Local baker’s Facebook post on religious freedom bill goes viral.” MS News. April 11, 2016.

“Iles, Grisham, Eubanks, Reed, Smith, Stockett, Laymon, Tartt Among 95 Mississippi Writers Opposing Anti-LGBT Law.” Jackson Free Press. April 11, 2016.

Russell, Susan. “An Antidote to Christians Making Jesus Look Bad in Mississippi.” Huffington Post. April 6, 2016.

“Wedding Cake Baker Finds Fault With Mississippi’s Religious Objections Law.” NPR Morning Edition. April 6, 2016.

Other resources

ACLU of Mississippi

LGBT Rights Toolkit

Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center

PFLAG of Jackson, Mississippi

The Sarah Isom Center For Women and Gender Studies

UM Pride Network

Unity Mississippi

University of Mississippi Gay Straight Alliance