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12th Kentucky city adopts LGBTQ+ Fairness Ordinance!

DAYTON — With a unanimous vote of 5-0 tonight, the Northern Kentucky town of Dayton, population 5,338, became the twelfth city in the Commonwealth with a Fairness Ordinance prohibiting LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

“Dayton is extremely excited to be able to join the other eleven cities, out of 419 in the Commonwealth, to continue to be the welcoming community we know and love,” said Dayton Mayor Ben Baker upon the ordinance’s passage. “If any other river cities need help in embracing the Fairness Ordinance, please reach out. We urge our state leaders to adopt these protections—in Kentucky, y’all means all.”

Dayton City Councilman Joe Neary added, “I genuinely hope this carries up to the state level so cities don’t have to deal by this city by city. I can’t believe we’ll only be the twelfth in the Commonwealth.”

“We expect Dayton will be the first in a series of Northern Kentucky cities to adopt Fairness Ordinances,” shared Northern Kentucky Fairness leader Bonnie Meyer, who also helps run the Northern Kentucky Pride Festival. “We were proud to see Covington challenge its peer cities to follow their lead on LGBTQ rights.”

Eleven other Kentucky cities have adopted local Fairness Ordinances, covering just over a quarter of the state’s population—Louisville (1999), Lexington (1999), Covington (2003), Vicco (2013), Frankfort (2013), Morehead (2013), Danville (2014), Midway (2015), Paducah (2018), Maysville (2018), and Henderson (2019). 2020 will mark the 20th anniversary of the introduction of a Statewide Fairness Law, which has only ever received two informational hearings in the Kentucky General Assembly. This year, nearly a quarter of state legislators co-sponsored the measure.

Northern KY Art center kickstarts inclusive, safe space

The Lodge is an artist’s dream studio, with over 9000 sq/ft of space for many different disciplines. We offer screen printing, photography, painting, audio recording and rehearsal space. Over the last eight years we have been working to make this dream of creating a community arts center a reality, and with your help we can …

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Kentucky Artist, Joshua Jenkins

My parents have been separated my entire life. I was primarily raised with my mother (along with 5 other siblings) in Poughkeepsie, NY. I spent the Summers with my father in the Elizabethtown, KY area and eventually lived with him permanently during my High School years. I have been a Louisville resident since 2011 and currently live with my partner in the East End.

Growing up I’ve always felt different. In High School (and some of college) I went through so many phases and tried to fit into a variety of “clicks.” I tried being a nerd, a prep, a skater, an emo, and a hippie. I was always putting on these false personas just to fit in. By the end of the day I think I was really just trying to find “my tribe”. I never did find it with any of those groups. I always had more interests than what could be boxed in by a label. Then of course when I discovered my sexuality I thought that maybe the gay community might finally be the tribe I’ve always been seeking.

I officially came out as gay when I was 21. Unlike some gay men it took me a while to realize my sexual preference. I didn’t even question my heterosexuality until a year prior. This may of been due to my religious (Church of Christ) and somewhat sheltered upbringing (being homeschooled up until High School.) Growing up I (awkwardly) chased girls around, because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. As I later learned during my pubescent years my attraction to girls felt odd and forced. There was never really that sexual attraction for me that I saw other guys have with girls. I always thought maybe I just didn’t meet “the right girl”. Little did I know then that I really just never met the right man.

Today I can trace deep homosexual thoughts back when to I was a child, but I always ignored “those thoughts” and didn’t really explore them until my best friend at the time came out to me when I was 20. I think having someone close come out ultimately gave me a chance to discuss “certain things” with someone that I otherwise wouldn’t of felt comfortable doing so. It also made me question what being gay actually was. My friend coming out completely broke this boxed-in-stereotype I had wedged in my head growing up. Up until this point being gay meant being a man who was either extremely flamboyant or who was a creepy child molestor type. Little did I know then that being gay was far from being so black and white.

Like most gay men I came out with a bang. I started listening to only dance/pop music, wore fashionable extra small clothing, and even started frequently saying the word “girrl”. I tried hard to fit into a world that I really had little in common other than my sexual preference. Eventually I realized I was just putting on another false persona to try and fit in. I also realized that I would never find “my tribe” or ever fit in to any group. These realizations helped me accept that I was just Queer and being so was actually a blessing. I’ve learned that as a queer man I don’t have to live up to expectations of any specific “tribe” or play by any of their rules. I am simply free.

You can view my artwork at www.joshuajenkinsart.com.

Like myself I feel that my work is also queer. Although it’s definitely inspired by past art movements it still never really “fits in” to any particular one.

Mitchell Martin on The Laramie Project and Queerness

My first experience with the word queer was that it meant weird. I remember driving home and my mom asked my friend how his day at school was. He sighed and said, “queer”, and then he explained to me that queer meant odd, or weird. Years later, I found out it was a gay slur, butwe’ve taken it back, I think. It does mean weird. I can’t tell you one person who would describe me as “normal”. I’m weird. I’m gay. I’m queer.

Louisville. Born and raised. I knew I was gay when I was in kindergarten. I had crushes on boys and I had a hard time relating to them, so most of my friends were girls. I learned quickly that being gay was looked down upon and I kept a part of myself locked in. That kind of shame plays on you, and you learn to live with secrets. I was always observing the subtleties with which people can hate. I remember watching HBO’s The Laramie Project in middle school which made an impact on my life that I’ll never forget. That was the first time for me that people weren’t censoring themselves on what they thought about homosexuals. It wasn’t taboo, or this fun, sly thing where people make jokes with a smirk. It was real issues, out in the open. I came out when I went to college in Illinois. I didn’t want to deal with coming out in high school. I knew most of their opinions, and I didn’t feel safe.

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“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” I’ve been there. Its not easy. You’re not alone. Talk to a friend who doesn’t mind who you are.

I think being closeted for so many years taught me how to act “masc”, or like a traditional straight dude. Unfortunately, society’s norms on men is that we are emotionless, strong, or protectors. However I’ve always identified with traditional “feminine” stereotypes: I’m sensitive, empathetic, and very compassionate. So what happens when you have a young boy who feels these emotions that are considered “weak”? If they can’t cope, they overcompensate and become aggressive or indifferent. We’ve started calling that toxic masculinity, but its not a new idea–look at The Laramie Project: two young men in 1998 had such a problem with the fact that another man might actually have “feminine qualities” that they killed him. I make a point to be unapologetically me. I laugh when something is funny, and I’m not embarrassed to cry. I show strength in sensitivity. My hope is that young people, especially young men, will see that they don’t have to fit in this “man means strong, woman means weak” mentality that I definitely grew up with.

Cast line silo

I love the queer community. I think we are just trying to find ourselves in whatever 2018 is. I wonder what life would be like if we grew up without gender roles, and stereotypes. There are major problems with body image. I view myself as “gay fat”. I’m “gay fat” because I don’t have a six pack. That doesn’t make me fat–that just means I love pizza. I think it changes with TV and movies: until we start showcasing NORMAL looking people in roles where maybe they are made to be the love interest, we are still going to have this airbrushed view on what we should look like. Good luck with that.

I don’t party as much as my friends, and have been called, “the worst gay” on multiple occasions. I don’t really feel excluded from the mainstream gay culture … If I wanted to be included, I would (and do) insert myself. However, I’d like to meet more gays at not bars… and not apps.

I’m at my best when I’m in a rehearsal room working with others. Devising. Creating. I love to collaborate and come up with something that couldn’t have been made by just me. It’s different as an actor, and a director. I’m used to mostly acting, but as the director of The Laramie Project, I’ve done a lot of improvising. I come in with a plan, and then realize that we need to hit point A, B, C, and D before we can do what I need to. They key is being adaptable.

I’ve had so many teachers who taught me what its like to have a sense of humor. On the opposite end, I’ve had a lot of teachers teach me what it’s like to hate your job. I think that the greatest ability one can have is the ability to laugh at themselves. In the end, we have one life to live, so we might as well giggle our way through it.

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