Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story

Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story is an autobiographical documentary depicting the “pollen-amorous” love affair between artist couple Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, and the biodiverse Appalachian Mountains. This documentary follows Stephens and Sprinkle on a journey home to Beth’s native West Virginia, to talk to rural community members, environmental activists, family and friends in order to speak out against mountain top removal (MTR) mining practices, which are destroying the forests, towns, and people they love. Told first-person through interviews and ecosexual actions that connect them to the earth, Goodbye Mountain, braids together three main themes –the joys of ecosexuality, the destruction of MTR, and Beth’s upbringing in the heart of a West Virginia coal mining family – to address issues of environmental and social justice in the most poverty-stricken regions of the USA. Their goal is to begin mobilizing the gay, lesbian, bi, trans, inter-and eventually eco to stand up against environmental injustice everywhere. As Beth says in the film, “Gays and Lesbians can live without getting married, but they won’t survive unless they have drinking water and clean air to breath.”

The film’s structure juxtaposes ugly and beautiful, sadness and humor, to make the fight against MTR a little more sexy, fun, hopeful and diverse. We join locals in extreme tree hugging, sky gazing, rock kissing, and singing to the earth, and the film climaxes with a purple themed wedding to the Appalachian Mountains. Many of the locals interviewed gather to vow to love, honor and protect this region, which is – after the Amazon – the second most bio-diverse mountain region on earth. Through all this, we ask, how can we change our relationship from Earth as mother, to Earth as lover? Can romantic love for nature mobilize others, before it’s too late, to fight for social and environmental justice? Can the Earth feel our love? How does one ask a tree for permission before giving it a hug? How can we fight the fatigue environmental activists feel after prolonged fighting against multi-billion dollar corporations?

This is the story of how Stephens and Sprinkle came to marry the Appalachian Mountains and join the fight to abolish mountain top removal. It’s a compelling story of small communities facing destruction for short-term corporate gain, but it’s also about hope and how, finding strength together, we can resist, and fight for justice in our own queer ways. These two humans are artists, environmentalists, and ecosexuals living in San Francisco who go home to West Virginia to visit Beth’s family. During their visit, they learn about the devastating practice of mountain top removal (MTR) strip mining, which is in full swing – as are its devastating effects on the mountains and their communities.


These film credits will grow as the film nears completion:

Director: Elizabeth Stephens

Associate Director: Annie Sprinkle

Produced By: Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle Associate Producer: Jordan Freeman

Gaffer: Danyel Ferrari

Photo Stills: Paul Corbit Brown

Photo Stills: Vivan Stockman

Production Stills: Danyel Ferrari

Original music by: Joan Jeanrenaud

Cinematography: Jordan Freeman Aerial Footage provided by Paul Corbit Brown

Editing: Jordan Freeman, Julia Reardin

Audio Producer: Rich Reardin

Hospitality: Anne Harless, Damon Cater and Susie Cater

Catering: Anne Harless

Participants In Order of Appearance: Elizabeth Stephens Annie Sprinkle Catherine Moore Stephanie Tyree Wedding Participants WV PFAG Gathering Anne Harless T. Paige Dalporto Larry and Carol Gibson Cindy Lilly Joe Hampshire LeRoy White Vivian Stockman Keith Spangler Jack Spadero Patricia Spangler Kitty Baughan Cole Paul Corbit Brown Grumble Damon Cater

Thank you: Stray Dog Antiques


This film has been generously supported by the UCSC Arts Research Committee and the Academic Senate’s Committee on Research

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