But, at a time when the urban-rural divide is as politically polarized as it’s ever been, fans of gay rodeo have come to appreciate it as a place where rural signifiers—big hats, big trucks, George Strait songs—have a different valence. “People think, O.K., you’re country—you’re a white, conservative, small-minded person. And that’s just not how it is,” Aurielle said.

The Renewed Importance of the Texas Gay Rodeo