After a three-year absence, the Outsports Tailgate Tour is back, with Todd Heustess making his first stop of the 2009 season at Boone, N.C., home of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Heustess writes: "Boone, affectionately known as the 'Boulder of the East,' is not just a liberal-leaning, outdoor sports-orientated college town in a somewhat conservative part of the state, it has one of the highest per capital lesbian populations in the country (Subarus are everywhere — in fact it's where I bought mine) and a very active LGBT student and faculty population.
"There is an intriguing growing connection between the LGBT students and faculty on the campus of 16,000 and the gay and lesbian professionals who have either bought second homes in the area or have moved or retired to this bucolic, lush college town smack in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains."
Boone is the second-foggiest city in the country behind San Francisco and although the weather was foggy and a little cold, Todd writes that "the atmosphere and setting was as fun and appealing as any of the other bigger venues I've been and at and the game was enjoyable as ASU continued to rebound from their 0-2 start with its fifth straight victory, 52-16, over longtime rival Georgia Southern."
Appalachian State "offers as many 'soft' domestic partner benefits as they legally can (gym memberships, parking passes) since domestic partner benefits are not offered by the state of North Carolina (ASU is a state-supported school) and that sexual orientation is part of the school's non-discrimination policy."