The Rust Belt is often described as a vestige of industrial strength. In the simplest terms, these are places where our collective victimhood — from the fall of unions, globalization and a contracting middle class — sometimes builds affinity. But those challenges raise questions, including, how do we survive places that don’t love us back in the way we want them to? What do we do with places that don’t offer us the necessary amount of money, health care, economic opportunities or public infrastructure? How do we maintain our love for places like Detroit, when its insufficiencies leave so many people’s needs unmet?
This idea that somehow we sort of move beyond poverty or trauma or the places that we’re from doesn’t feel realistic especially in the case of folks who experience complex trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder… It stays with us.” — Raechel Anne Jolie, author of “Rust Belt Femme”
Listen: Exploring what geography and place mean for our identities and stories.
Raechel Anne Jolie is a writer and the author of “Rust Belt Femme,” which was a winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award in LGBTQ Nonfiction and an NPR Favorite Book of 2020. Jolie says the cities and towns in which we grow up leave marks on our lives that last forever. “This idea that somehow we sort of move beyond poverty or trauma or the places that we’re from doesn’t feel realistic especially in the case of folks who experience complex trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder … It stays with us,” she says.