A Queer Kentucky Safe Space: The Merryweather

Queer Kentucky has partnered with Louisville Magazine for our fourth print issue. We asked Louisvillians and Kentuckians at large about their queerness and its relationship to the city, where they feel at home, who was there for them when it felt like nobody else was, the biggest issues facing Louisville’s queer communities, and much more. We would love it if you — whether you live in Louisville or not — would answer the questions too. If you’d like to, you can find the interview here. In this issue, you will find stories of Queer Kentuckians telling tales of their beloved safe spaces, paying tribute to the loved ones who uplifted them when no one else would, laughing about their coming out stories, and so much more. Kentucky, and Louisville, have a lot of work left to do when it comes to embracing the queer community. But hey, it’s not as bad as people think it is. Read on, you’ll see. You can purchase the print version of this issue here.

photo by Sarah Davis

Illustration by Andy Mendoza

Queer Experience by Tajah McQueen

Germantown, she/they

Besides your own house — or the house of family or friends — what Louisville place makes you feel at home?

The Merryweather is homebase for my friends and me. It really became a staple after COVID vaccines became available and I felt OK venturing back out into the world. It’s one of the only places I’ve ever felt comfortable showing up alone — knowing someone I know will be there to chat and share a drink with.

Who was the person you chose to come out to?

I don’t really subscribe to the idea of coming out. I think it helps to keep people othered. Heterosexual people are never asked or expected to come out. For me, it was just more of a recognition for myself that I am interested in people in general, and that gender doesn’t stop my attraction to people.

What’s the biggest issue facing Louisville’s LGBTQ+ communities? What do you think would help solve that issue?

Acceptance within the LGBTQ+ communities. I do think there is a real issue with racism and people feeling like they’re being made to prove their queer- ness in order to fit in. I love Louisville, but this city as a whole has a LOT of work to do when it comes to fully accepting and honoring all of the folk that are under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.