Sex Health

Melanin Pride, Pride-Games set for September in Louisville

Interview with Event Founder, Desiree Carr

What is the event date?

This year the Pride Games are September 13 – 15.

September 13th – 2816 Crums Lane

September 14 – George Rogers Clark Park, 1024 Thruston Ave

September 15 – 723 south brook Street 

What are the pride games?

They are fun safe space where people of the LGBTQ community can be themselves while bringing back a child hood playfulness with different events and games. We’re having all kinds of events for all ages of the community. We do welcome everyone to be part of the fun.

When did it come to be?

We started in August of 2017 with just one day of fun. It was just a basic game of kick ball between six teams. We let each team come out and play each other to win prizes and trophies donated by local businesses who wanted to participate.

We had free food, cotton candy and snow cones for everyone the whole day. We wanted to create a day where no one had to worry about  money. All they had to do was come to the park and we had the rest, good music, vendors and fun.

Who is involved with it?

The event was conceptualized and started by Desiree Carr and Chan Ponder with a small amount of businesses participating. Now, it’s us and all kinds of sponsors wanting to be participate in what we have slowly been building the last two years.

What does the day entail?

On Sept 13 from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., we will be having the “Melanin Pride Stuck in the 90s” party. We will have a drag show while we enjoy nice drinks and great food.  We would love for people to dress up but they don’t have too.

On Sept 14, we will have our PrideGames field day. Six teams playing six or seven different games. We will have lots of water games and more! The last two teams standing this year will play a game of kick ball to determine the winner. We will have some good food by Twin Moore, free cotton candy and snow cones. We will also provide HIV testing.

September 15 is the poetry slam where we have 10 people giving there all for a chance to win 200 dollars cash.

What do you hope to do with this event in the future?

Consistency. I want to keep everything going and have a whole weekend of fun every year. I want to add more people to the weekend too. We have so many people in the community who are so gifted, why not have everyone sit down and create a way we all can win? Because that’s the goal — to see the LGBTQ community win and give us hope and a place to say this is for us and by us and smile while saying it knowing every word is true.

Why do you think this event is important?

Because we don’t have anything for the black LGBTQ community really to call our own. I want this to be one of the places they can say, “this is a place for me.” All are welcome!

HIV/AIDS fundraiser serves up chocolate realness: Chocolate Fest 2019

Chocolate, liquor, auctions and more!

Kentuckiana AIDS Alliance’s annual Chocolate Fest fundraiser is Aug 3 at the Mellwood Art Center. The event is from 7 p.m. — 11 p.m.

The KAA unites local non-profit agencies to provide a unique system of support for those affected by HIV/AIDS. They serve 19 counties in and around Metro Louisville. In 2018, Queer Kentucky partnered with KAA by providing them condoms to distribute at their testing and marketing events.

Their mission is to advocate for those with HIV/AIDS and unite and empower the local HIV/AIDS service organizations that serve them. KAA honors those who have gone before through education, celebration and remembrance. And through their signature events, the Louisville AIDS Walk and Chocolate Fest, they rally support and raise funds for those affected by HIV/AIDS across Metro Louisville and Southern Indiana.

KAA reserves the right to use any photograph/video taken at any Chocolate Fest without the expressed written permission of those included within the photograph/video.

Grab your tickets here!

GENERAL ADMISSION – $45.00 ($55 at the door)

Includes:

-Decadent chocolate

-Lite bites

-Unlimited spirits

-Dazzling entertainment

-Free admission to PLAY Louisville (8/3 only, must show wristband)

…and MORE!

VIP – $100.00 ($125 at the door)

Includes all G.A. benefits PLUS:

-Access to VIP lounge

-Designated waitstaff in VIP lounge

-Signature VIP cocktail

-Swag bag

…and MORE!

Purchase tickets ahead of time and save (ticket portal closes at 4 p.m. the day of)!  Tickets are non-refundable.

PnP culture is killing us: Queer man leaves the parTy, embraces pride

Story by Jimmy Cheatham, Lexington

Art by Joshua Riley

Queer. To me, that word means living outside of the heteronormative/cisnormative world that we see everywhere we look. I’ve been queer long before I identified as a cis gay man. Growing up in rural Kentuckiana I always knew there was something queer about me and that I did not fit into the mold that my society and culture expected of me. I’m 35, and while we still have a long way to go, LGBTQ+ representation was not a thing you saw in the media when I was a child and it certainly wasn’t taught in grade school. To Wong Foo was released in 1995, I was 12. Ellen came out on her television series in 1997, I was 14. Will & Grace first aired in September 1998, I was 15. Prior to this, I had no knowledge of any LGBTQ+ culture and thought my queerness was something to reject. Conforming to the norm felt obligatory, yet was unachievable.

Addict. Such a cringeworthy term to most. Not something one would aspire to become. The word itself comes from the Latin word addictus which means to sacrifice, sell out, betray, or abandon. Those definitions ring true to me. What began as recreational drug and alcohol use at 16 to escape my inability to erase my queerness, eventually led me to inadvertently sacrifice everything else of any value in my life. Smoking weed and drinking booze led to snorting coke and popping pills. Every line I said I would never cross, was eventually crossed with ease. I would never be a “junkie”, I may do a lot of things, but I’ll never be as bad as “that person” …until I became “that person.” By the age of 25 I was injecting meth and life was a spiraling shit storm with a one-way ticket to rock bottom. Rock bottom happened in 2012, at 28, when I was arrested and eventually told I had 2 options: jail or rehab. A queen would never choose jail, so I chose the latter. I’m grateful that I didn’t choose to keep digging to make my bottom even lower {insert gay joke here}.

Recovery. A refreshing term that insinuates survival. That’s what it means to me. I survived a sinking ship. Addiction typically leads to either jails, institutions, or recovery if you’re lucky. The unlucky ones get buried. With the rate that our fellow humans are perishing from overdose related death, I consider myself to be very fortunate. When I began my journey of recovery, I didn’t really know who Jimmy was because I had spent so many years hidden behind the veil of substances. After completing a 28-day treatment program, I entered a long-term 12-month recovery program for men. I began to get a sense of who I was and who I wanted to be. A vision for a future began to materialize and, for once in a long time, I had hope. I worked low paying jobs in the beginning, but I was the happiest I had ever been. I made friends who were also in recovery and I no longer felt alone in life. Eventually I began to unlearn all those toxic ideas about my queerness and I began to embrace it lovingly. Not only was I recovering from addiction to substances, but I was also recovering from the indoctrination of dangerous societal and cultural beliefs and dogma that being LGBTQ+ was inherently wrong. The need to feel like I had to conform slipped away and I embraced, and am still in the process of embracing, every little part of me. There are no good or bad parts, there only parts that are more difficult to embrace.

Pride. One definition is “delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship.” That is the definition that most resonates with me. I take delight in being a gay man. I take pride in standing as an ally to every person who identifies as LGBTQ+. Being a minority has taught me to empathize with others who are oppressed and marginalized, and I am proud of that. I am proud that I took adversity, in the form of addiction, and turned it into a strength in my life. I am turning my life experience into a career and will be entering grad school in the fall, with an end goal of becoming a clinical social worker and helping other LGBTQ+ individuals with substance misuse issues. I am so proud that I have chosen to travel this path. As queer folx, we all face many obstacles in life, even if substances aren’t a part of everyone’s story. No matter the obstacles, there is always hope to be found and pride to be had.

QKY and VOA Fit talk PrEP

By Pablo Archilapablo chill

HIV is 100% preventable. We aren’t just limited to condoms and hand jobs anymore, there’s medicine that can prevent HIV infection called PrEP. PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a once daily pill taken to prevent HIV infection. Think of it as the birth control for HIV. Meaning, it only works if you take it.

Deciding to get on PrEP is entirely up to you. Once you’ve decided that you want to do it, here’s how you get it. Only doctors and APRNs can prescribe PrEP. So if you have a PCP that you’re already established with, and feel comfortable with, you should go to them and have a conversation about getting on PrEP. If you don’t, find one. Whether or not you chose to get on PrEP, going to your doctor is so important, especially for queer folks who can have non-traditional health needs. Depending on where you live, finding an LGBTQ*competent physician can actually be somewhat easy, and there’s plenty of databases online for doctors sensitive to queer healthcare.

Once you have a prescription, now it’s time to get help paying for it. On its own, a one-month supply of PrEP can cost around $1,300, in addition to doctors and lab visits. Most insurances, including Medicaid, cover it. However, it may not cover all of it; here’s where Gilead, the manufactures of PrEP, can help. If you make less than about $50k a year, they should be able to cover all of it. They have a voucher, or co-pay, card that you can sign up for online at gileadadvancingaccess.com to help offset the cost, possibly at no cost to you. There are also resources if you have no insurance too.

Once you have the meds, doctors say you should wait about 2 weeks after taking it daily, to be protected by it, and have sex. You can chose to also use condoms to provide more protection, especially against other STIs, as PrEP only protects against HIV. However, studies have shown that PrEP is helping to reduce chlamydia and gonorrhea infections by up to 40%. Remember, you should be seeing your doctor and doing labs every 3-6 months while on PrEP to make sure it’s working well and not causing any health issues. PrEP does have side effects, and its long-term effects are not known completely. Talk to your doctor regularly.

Although you should take your meds every day, ideally within an hour window, missing a few doses here and there shouldn’t hinder its effectiveness. Most healthcare professionals won’t tell you this, but studies have shown that even taking it 4 times a week still provides the same protection as those who take it every day. You should still do your best to stay on track with dosing.

To sum it up:

  1. Decide that you want PrEP
  2. Find a doctor that will prescribe it to you
  3. Get help paying for it
  4. Take as directed
  5. Attend your follow-up appointments

 


VOA PrEP Guide Click link for full PDF versions of the below images.

VOA PrEP Guide

VOA PrEP Guide 2.jpg

Queer condoms commence!

 

After the 1,000 condoms are dispensed out into the Kentucky community, we will start planning our NEXT condom giveaway. Any business can partner with us on this program. We love community and we love partnership.

We are advocates for health here at Queer Kentucky, and we realize that not everyone has access to safe sex tools. AKA, rubbers.

We have committed to donating 1,000 condoms to Kentucky community organizations including, Kentuckiana AIDS Alliance. KAA’s mission is to advocate for those with HIV/AIDS and unite and empower the local HIV/AIDS service organizations that serve them. They honor those who have gone before through education, celebration and remembrance. And through their signature event, the Louisville AIDS Walk, they rally support and raise funds for those affected by HIV/AIDS across Metro Louisville and Southern Indiana.

“We are very excited to receive and help distribute condoms courtesy of Queer Kentucky,” said Marshall Kellner, KAA Board President. “We acknowledge facts and recognize that 58% of new HIV diagnosis in Kentucky over the past 5 years are among men who have sex with men.”

He added that having an outlet like Queer Kentucky to hear others stories and express your own can be incredibly valuable in establishing support and confidence to be a healthier version of one’s self.

“There are a variety of barriers for many people to obtain condoms, so having community entities step up and help provide access to these potentially lifesaving objects is a helpful step towards ending the spread of HIV,” Marshall said.

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