Heather Laine Talley

Professional Affiliate

Heather grew up in South Louisiana, where she was first mobilized by queer, Cajun Catholic workers who organized for redistribution of wealth while building wildly inclusive community. Since that time she has found a political home with wide-ranging community organizations and grassroots projects organizing for queer justice, a transformed criminal justice system, the eradication of white supremacy, and a world where women and girl’s lives are valued and celebrated. She established her roots in the Blue Ridge mountains of Asheville, NC in 1998, drawn here by vibrant queer and deeply Southern community. Heather has worked as a sociology and gender studies professor, writer and editor at The Feminist Wire, facilitator and program developer, and group fitness instructor. Currently, she works for the Tzedek Social Justice fund where works to move money and tell stories to resource and inspire new ways of living and being. Regardless of what her paid work is, she aims to use transformative hospitality, sincere words, delicious food, deep analysis, and honest storytelling to heal herself and her community. Heather has a Ph.D. in sociology from Vanderbilt University. Her book Saving Face: Disfigurement and the Politics of Appearance is the winner of the biennial Body and Embodiment Book Award presented by the American Sociological Association. Her greatest joy is cooking for and feeding her partner Lee, their child Hollis, and her abundant and beloved chosen family. When she is not working and parenting, Heather is tending new writing projects and holding space for people at the end of life and those navigating grief.