A Look Into the Lives of Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi

Marszalek headshot

Photo source: Marszalek’s website


History, sociology, psychology, and memoir are all disciplines that can bring greater understanding and perspective to how people live their lives, form communities, and create relationships. Mississippi-native Dr. John F. Marszalek III brings all of these disciplines together in his book Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same Sex Couples in Mississippi. 

Weaving together narratives from one-on-one interviews, historical events, and statistical data from national polls, surveys, and academic studies, Marszalek creates a memoir that delivers for both general and scholarly audiences. And this was Marszalek’s intention, as he describes in a Q&A:

I intentionally wrote the book so that it would be relatable to both general and scholarly readers. I think it will provide readers with a glimpse into the lives of same-sex couples living in the rural and small-town south….The stories, both heartbreaking and hopeful, come through in the dialogues between the couples and me about meeting and falling in love, marriage, and their experiences with their families, communities, and churches.

Marszalek says that he wrote Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet to also “challenge the stereotype” that gay and lesbian couples would not choose to live in Mississippi. He includes insights from his own life “as a gay, married man living in Mississippi”, which personalizes the memoir even more.

In addition to his memoir, Marszalek hosts a podcast that illuminates the experiences of queer individuals while also discussing queer politics and studies. Marszalek is also a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor in Mississippi and has been a counselor educator for over 20 years, with numerous articles on counseling published in research journals.

Learn more about Marszalek and his memoir and take part in the discussion about the experiences of same-sex couples in this latest discussion in the Community Learning Series. Click here to register now.

About Dr. John F. Marszalek III

Dr. John F. Marszalek III is a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor in Mississippi. He is author of Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi, published by University Press of Mississippi, and winner of the 2020 Digital Book Worlds Award for Best Nonfiction and Best Published by a University Press.

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