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Lu Fields, Barbourville

What do you identify as? Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything?

I am a Proud Transgendered Woman from the small city called Barbourville in the County of Knox.

What does the word Queer mean to you?

Queer has many meanings to me as a Trans Woman who proudly fights for all LGBT and minorities.

I’ve heard the word Queer in the derogatory form my entire life.

I have been called the word Queer many times as well in a hurtful way! I believe however the word is best defined by me personally as happy and openly proud!

Where are you from and explain what it was like growing up/living in Kentucky?

I grew up in Barbourville, Kentucky. My entire life I’ve fought for equality and to simply be treated as a human being. My first memory of hate is scorched in to my memory like an iron burning flesh.

I was in the fourth grade when a bully relentlessly attacked me. My father told me I had to fight back or he would whip me when I got home.

The boy started poking and hitting me first thing the next morning so I fought back “after he stabbed a pencil threw my hand” which I bare the scares of still to this day! Instead of the teacher reprimanding the student who had hit me everyday the teacher grabs my arm dragging me into the hallway! She beat me with a paddle so severely it fractured my tailbone & legs!

As I cried in pain she told me I’d learn to act like a lil boy or get beat every day!

What would you say to anyone struggling to come into their own identity?

Dig deep inside yourself to find your loudest voice because you’ll need it! Surround yourself with only positive people to lift you when you are challenged or have fallen!

Stay Strong like a Willow Tree as my grandmother used to tell me! The Willow branch bends but does not break she’d say! To me that meant take time to listen to understand their perception. Take time to inform and educate but do not allow them to harm you with negativity until you break!

Bend like a branch in the wind but never let them break you!

How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?

I carry myself with such Pride. I do so for many reasons. One of the most important reasons is there are people watching that are struggling and may see you as a light.

What issues do you see in the queer community?

I hate that there is division in the Queer Community over silly things! We should all love and support each other! I also think there should be more outreach for the struggling youth! Finally, we should have an education program in place for disease prevention and drug abuse!

What do you think would solve those issues?

Love is the only answer for bringing us together to stand against such hate in these hostile times in our country! By loving each other we can stand stronger & former against these assaults!The more united we are the fewer the numbers would be caught in situations that allow abuse!These situations are not limited to verbal & physical abuSe either.

We could help solve a lot of this recruitment by traffickers who exploit our abused LGBT members! Our community feels so alone & isolated that most simply want to be loved!

Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?

I don’t feel excluded but it’s because I travel so frequently to other areas in the United States making new friends. These friends make my alliances stronger not only for me but everyone in my LGBT community!

Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)

I made a promise to myself a very long time ago to live my best life. I have never lived in true fear until this administration took office!

Now I’m constantly waiting for new laws stripping my rights daily! Even though I am fearful of the growing hate I live my best life!

We must be bigger! We must be better and we must rise!

Who influenced the life you live now?

My biggest influence was probably my Grandmother. My grandma loved me endlessly and always told me to be proud of myself! She always loved me just as I was! I will be forever thankful for feeling loved enough to simply be me!

Queer Kentucky

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