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I always cherish any opportunity that I have to come home to West Virginia. Marilyn and I will be traveling to Morgantown this Saturday for the Women of Appalachia Project’s Women Speak reading at West Virginia University. This was not always the case.

My very first Women Speak reading was at West Virginia University in 2019, before the pandemic shut everything down. That started me on my journey of embracing my identity, not only as an Appalachian, but as a Queer Appalachian. I did not know it at the time, but it has been one of the most meaningful journeys of my life, after my transition, of course.

I find this reading to be particularly meaningful since one of the sponsors is the WVU LGBTQ+ Center & Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. I will be reading my poem “Roadblocks” that is included in Women Speak Volume Eight.

A copy of this Anthology, edited by Ohio Poet Laureate and Executive Director of the Women of Appalachia Project Kari Gunter-Seymour, may be purchased at:

Barbara Marie Minney is a transgender woman, award-winning poet, writer, speaker, and quiet activist. She is a retired attorney and a seventh generation Appalachian. Now based in Tallmadge, Ohio, her first collection of poetry entitled “If There’s No Heaven” was the winner of the 2020 Poetry Is Life Book Award and the Akron Beacon Journal Best Northeast Ohio Books 2020. It is available through this website at Barbara is also the author of the "Poetic Memoir Chapbook Challenge." Follow her at

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