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In Plain Sight emerged out of the research of Dr. Carly Thomsen, an Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Middlebury College. Thomsen interviewed 50 LGBTQ identified women in rural South Dakota and Minnesota for her book Visibility Interrupted: Rural Queer Life and the Politics of Unbecoming (2021). The film was originally inspired by Thomsen’s desire to translate some of the queer theoretical arguments she makes in her book into an alternative medium and for audiences beyond those who might find themselves in a Gender Studies or LGBTQ Studies classroom.


In the summers of 2016 and 2017, Thomsen worked with Ellie Vainker (Rice University) to re-interview on film some of the women she interviewed several years prior, and to interview new people as well, including gay rights activists and rural queer studies scholars. In the summer of 2018, several Middlebury College students joined Thomsen to work on the project. As a result of their efforts and talents, the project has morphed into something far beyond the original visions that inspired it--including the production of this website and the incorporation of animation into the film. We created this website to contextualize that which appears in the documentary, and also in hopes that it can go beyond what the film offers. Here, you can find pedagogical resources related to the content of the film, rural queer studies texts that inspired the film, and analyses of the media referenced in the film, among other things.

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