bisexual

‘The word Queer means strength’

Briana Patterson, Ft. Knox/Radcliff

So here’s my story, the very short version:

I’m originally from Kentucky. I grew in an emotionally abusive household where I traumatized by my alcoholic father.

I moved to San Francisco when I was 18 to go to school for Graphic Design. I fell in love with SF and the culture. Over the years, my depression and childhood trauma began to surface and I began to battle with it on a daily basis.

I had abusive relationships of my own, began to self harm and attempted suicide multiple times.

My sexuality identity was the only thing about myself that I didnt hate. I got involved with the Kink community in SF and I realized that I wanted to start my own loose leaf tea business and become a Massage therapist so I could lead erotic massage workshops. I met my most recent ex at a kink event and it was love at first sight.

Fast forward a year. I had the most painful mental breakdown of my entire life when I quit my job to focus on my tea business. I couldn’t make enough money with my business and was no longer able to still life in San Francisco.

That was devastating. I moved in with my ex and was completely crippled by my depression. I began going to therapy and my life turned around.

I was able to work again and was feeling hopefull. My ex broke up with me because of the depression after almost four years together. Since I was getting better, he told me that I could handle the breakup. This was October 2018.

So I moved back home. December 2018.

Since I moved here, I walk beside my depression and anxiety. I’m not ashamed of them. They are part of my story and they do not define me.

What does the word queer mean to you? How do you identify?

The word Queer means strength, overcoming adversity and not answering to anyone about who you should be or who you should love. I identify as Queer because I love people and their stories regardless of gender or how they choose identify.

Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything at all?

I used to get so caught up in labeling myself because I thought I needed one to be able to communicate to people who I am and who I am attracted to. It used to cause me so much stress and I found my self always having to answer questions like “Why?” or “Since when?” or “Are you sure?”

Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?

I’m originally from Kentucky. I was born in Ft. Knox, moved around a little bit when I was younger and spent most of my childhood in Radcliff. I lived in an abusive household, so honestly I hated Kentucky. I associated everything about Kentucky with my father.

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

Listen to your inner voice and separate yourself from expectations.

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

I used to think I should always be feminine. I would always wear makeup, wigs and dresses. I thought I needed attention and acceptance from guys. When I came into my identity, I rock my natural short hair, wear makeup occasionally and i’m not afraid to dress boyish if I want to. I don’t watch what I say around people anymore regarding my lifestyle. There’s a huge weight lifted without me needing a label of lesbian, bi or straight.

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

Yes, because i’ve had boyfriends, people dont see me as Queer. Maybe I don’t give off a “gay” enough vibe?

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

Outdoors!

Who influenced the life you live now?

Not so much as a “who,” but San Francisco was life changing. What I saw there and who I became there influences everything I do now. Depression and PTSD have also been an influence to guide me down paths that have made me stronger.

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.

Lesbian Heaven existed, and it was located in Germantown

By Sarah Gardiner, Nanny Goat Books

Photo by: Camilla Jasis-Wallace

The first time I walked into Purrswaytions was on New Years Eve 2015. 

I was supposed to be on my way to New York, but the flight was canceled and I was desperate for any sort of lesbian energy. Pulling out my phone, I googled the nearest queer bar, saw the word “dive” in the description, and knew I’d found my home for the night. 

Stepping over the threshold was like stepping into a different Louisville than the one where I grew up. This Louisville was loud and glittery and very, very full of lesbians. Femmes and dykes, studs and chapsticks, queer women of every kind milled around the bar. Even more people gathered around pool tables in a room off to the side, and I could hear the unmistakable thump of a dance floor in the back. 

Lesbian Heaven existed, and it was located in Germantown. 

Since that night, Purrswaytions has become something of a home base for me and my queer life in Louisville. Some of my best friends have been made over beers at the rainbow lit bar, and I’ve had the joy of getting to know the lovely owners, Matt and Tina, who care more about their community than any other bar owners I’ve ever met. Over the 7+ years they have owned Purr, they’ve truly created a family of regulars who support one another and take care of each other in times of need. If someone is sick or in need of a little help, they have time and time again hosted fundraisers and benefits to bring the community together and lend whatever support they could spare. 

I’ve traveled a lot, lived in major cities with queer scenes bigger than my younger, Kentucky-bred lesbian self could dream of. But none of these bars and none of these places have ever felt as welcoming as walking through the doors of Purrswaytions and being greeted on a first-name basis. 

There are awesome people everywhere, and Louisville is lucky enough to have an abundance of queer-owned and queer-friendly spaces, but to make a community into a family you need to have a home. Purrswaytions is an underrated home in the Louisville queer community. Give it a chance—hell, give it a few—you just never know who you’re going to meet at such a queer staple. And, in the mean time, you’ll have the chance to support your local lesbian bar and hang around some truly lovely people. 

Night life entrepreneur, Louisville’s ‘Cherry’ Bomb blazes a Queer trail

What does the word queer mean to you? How do you identify?

Queer to me is the defiance of gender and sexuality. It’s anarchic. It’s as equally controlled or chaotic as you want to be. Some people use the term queer as an umbrella term for all people in the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and some people dislike the word because of it’s pejorative roots. But let’s get one thing straight – we aren’t – and anything we want to call ourselves shouldn’t be considered anything less than what we want it to be, even if it originated as a rude or hateful term. Being queer to me is not needing to be masculine or feminine or anything beyond or between. It’s absolving yourself of the guilt of saying “this isn’t what boys do” and allow yourself to express your feelings without any boxes. It’s moving past concern about what others may think about what makes you happy, or who makes you happy. It challenges what a partner or partners means for you, they can be masculine or feminine presenting, non-binary, trans, or any other identity or a combination of. I identify as queer.

Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything at all?

For a long time I identified as just gay. Like a lot of young people growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s – I assumed for a long time that I was bisexual because of society telling me I should be one way, and my brain and heart telling me another. But as I have grown to love myself, and those around me more – I have identified as queer for the abilities to make the word what I want it to be. I am attracted to more than just cis males, I have built strong friendships and romantic relationships with people who identify all over the spectrum, and I don’t think just saying I’m gay can withhold my identity anymore. Though sometimes I use gay and queer interchangeably, I find less of an issue with reclamation of queer than I do gay, having grown up in the heyday of teenage boys calling everything under the sun gay when they disapproved. I have never been called a queer in a derogatory way, not saying this is the same for everyone, just my personal experience.

Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?

I am born and raised in Louisville KY. I grew up in a somewhat bizarre upbringing – as I can’t remember my parents ever being married (I think they divorced when I was 3?) and my mother raised myself and my sister in Louisville, while my dad had joint custody of us and lived on a farm in Elizabeth Indiana until I was about 9 or 10. We moved a lot, my mother got remarried to a wonderful man who taught me a lot about loving people who are not your blood family, but chosen family – and I gained two siblings from this marriage. My dad eventually remarried again and moved to the Highlands where I spent my teenage summers riding skateboards down Bardstown Road, going to shows at Pandamonium and the BRYCC House, and immersing myself in punk culture – where I learned a lot about saying fuck you to rules and boxes. I also learned a whole lot about queer theory, vegetarianism, anti – capitalism, atheism, and a whole bunch of other subjects through those older than me who were always quick to teach young kids that punk was more than just angry music – it was about fighting against what society says you should do. Living in Louisville is such a wonderful experience and I am so happy to see how the city has grown and become super accepting almost everything. I would see the artsy and

forward thinking thriving city during my custodial weekends spend in the Highlands, and the down home southern family experience with my mother in the south end. I feel like these two parts have made me who I am today.

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

Only you can decide who you are. And what you may be right now doesn’t have to be your final form. Humans are constantly evolving, your tastes will change as you grow, you will experience things for the first time and maybe hate them and years later you’ll do it again and love them. Don’t feel like you have to have all the answers RIGHT NOW, some things just come with time. Your friends and family have must listen to your desires in identity when you speak about them, and you do not have to maintain a relationship with anyone who is toxic or blocks your happiness. There is always someone out there for you to connect with, and luckily in 2019 we can do so via the internet much easier than approaching someone in public.

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

My identity allows me to wear whatever I want, to connect with people over so many different topics, and to make strong bonds with my chosen family. It gives me an excuse to be me in whatever way that is for the day.

What issues do you see in the queer community?

If your fight isn’t intersectional, it isn’t a fight to be had. We create a lot of spaces for white, cisgendered, able bodied people without the second thought on if the space is welcoming, accessible, or comfortable for someone who is POC, non binary, trans, disabled, or any combination thereof. As a white queer man in society, I am afforded a lot more liberties than someone who is anything else. People fought so hard for gay marriage, but some forget that our battle will constantly assume new forms and we must continue to fight until everyone is on the same playing field. LGBTQ+ people (especially QTPOC) are more likely to commit suicide, be assaulted or murder, or find themselves homeless than their straight or cis counterparts.

While I have been lucky to not see much in my own community, I still see a whole lot of racism, sexism (that goes for y’all “vaginas are gross” gays out there), transphobia, and ignorance (especially involving HIV) in other places and it really bums me out.

What do you think would solve those issues?

Besides cis white gays pulling their heads out of their asses? Probably people educating themselves on how we have evolved and grown as a culture, as a community, and as something more than just a “disease” that they used to kill us for. Ask people their pronouns, work on volunteering your time somewhere, create a safe space for your friends to meet and enjoy themselves, recommend your friends you trust for jobs, check in on them (IMPORTANT!),

and most lastly, if you see something (and it’s safe) say something. Remove problematic language from your vocabulary, get tested and don’t refer to being HIV negative as “clean”, and that you vote with your dollar aka stop giving shitty companies money!

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

I don’t really know what I call mainstream anymore? Sure I love drag performances (support your local queens as much as you do Ru girls!), I enjoy the first couple Lady Gaga records, I saw Cher perform earlier this year, I’ve been to gay bars in other cities and gay weddings here and far. I probably still know most of the words to La Vie Boheme from RENT. I go to Pride most years and sometimes in other cities. I think most things that are “typically queer” can be fun, and some of them I don’t care for. Just like I enjoy listening to Beyonce as much as I do Converge, watching MS3TK as I do ANTM, and seeing bands play in the basement of Spinelli’s downtown as I do travelling 3 hours to watch Lizzo perform – I don’t expect everyone to enjoy the things I do, and what they enjoy (so long as it isn’t hurting anyone) doesn’t bother me. My only hope is that mainstream queer culture is inclusive to ALL LGBTQ+ people as it grows, and not just the white ones.

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

Some of you probably know me from my proclivities as DJ, or playing an instrument in a band – and that’s a feeling I always find to be one of the best. Expressing my art for people to consume and enjoy themselves. I feel at my best surrounded by friends dancing, watching drag, sharing a meal, or relaxing at someone’s house. My chosen family makes me feel as safe as my real one does, and I would give my last dollar to any one of them should they need it.

Who influenced the life you live now?

My mother. She’s always accepted me for who I am. She let me be a weird theatre kid (bet you didn’t see that coming, did ya?) through middle school, a wild and loud music playing young adult, and has always told me she loves me for the person I grew up to be. She taught me a lot about compassion, about putting others before yourself when need be, how to listen, how to laugh things off, how to cook, and most importantly, how to accept everyone for who they are no matter who you think they should be. She was always letting 5 and 6 of my same aged step-brother and I’s friends stay the night on weekends. She drove us to Bardstown road to go to shows or terrorize the neighborhood. She’s accepted every partner I’ve brought to a family function and still reminds me constantly that a smile is the best gift you can give to someone you don’t know yet.

I’ve met a lot of people over the years, probably too many to name, who have shown me new and exciting things in the world and expanded my mind in how people evolve and grow. I am truly blessed to have such a great partner, friends, and co-workers. To work for a company who gives young LGBTQ+ a place to serve good food, listen to Panic At the Disco and connect with all kinds of people local and visiting. Bars and spaces who give me the room to throw parties focused for queer people, drag shows, or a space where people can enjoy themselves. Older LGBTQ+ people who show me that getting older shouldn’t be something we’re afraid of, but something we should look forward to. And those who have educated me and given me the opportunity to learn about the way other people are and present themselves, you are the true stars.

I invite all of you reading this to connect with me, let’s build a stronger network of queer people to create our own spaces and allow ourselves to celebrate life together. Let’s bounce ideas off each other. Let’s all remind each other that we are not alone in this world, and that our uniqueness is what makes all of us incredible people.

Catch me at any of these and come say hi. Let’s be friends!

Titty Tiki Tuesday at the Limbo (a weekly drag and variety show, every TUESDAY) Qiergarten at the Limbo (a LGBTQ+ patio party – June 1st and July 6th are the next ones) House is Home at ALEX&NDER (a super cute day party June 9th thrown by some of the best DJs in the city – Rhythm Science Sound)

Emo Nite (yes, like you used to listen to in 8th grade) at Barbarella – June 14th

HAUS Louisville at Barbarella (a monthly drag & burlesque show & dance party) – June 15th

Bowling Green native joins Queer Kentucky as editorial intern

Jasmin Kowalski

I grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky on a 34-acre farm in a creaky cabin down a long circular driveway. Growing up, I was either outside causing trouble in the neighborhood or inside glued to my T.V. playing my favorite role-playing video game. (It’s Final Fantasy IX by the way and no, VII is not better). I didn’t know what make-up or a straightening iron was until I was in eighth grade, as I was always in baggy basketball shorts, an over-sized t-shirt and some type of skating shoe.

I knew that I was into more than just boys at a pretty young age, but I didn’t quite understand it. All I knew was when I looked at and spoke to a girl, I felt the exact level of attraction as I did while looking at boys; growing up in the Bible Belt taught me that that was not something to mention.

I was constantly surrounded by friends and family who were devout Southern Baptists and learned from them very quickly that relationships were strictly between men and women. Pretty cliché, am I right?

It was easy for me to play along with my peers and what their beliefs were; hell, I didn’t even know what I believed in. I was Super-Glued to another one’s way of life and views and had no clue how to get out or find my own wavelength of thought.

I didn’t truly find my voice and try to experiment with my sexuality until I was in my early twenties after a long-term relationship was ended. What I learned was something totally different than what I initially thought. I consider myself bi and to be quite honest, I don’t care what gender someone is at all.

I’m attracted to minds; the way they function and view the world. What does queer mean to me? Queer is anything that goes against the heterosexual norms of course, but to me it is much more than that. It is the way that I view the world and the people within it.

It is the way that my mind processes what I experience. It is something different and beautiful. It is colorful and free. It is organic and natural. I’m very excited to write for Queer Kentucky and show my voice. It’s something that I was afraid of displaying until recently.

My goal is to unravel the tension that we feel within our own community and shout out what needs to be heard. I want to have a voice for others who were in the same position I was only a few short years ago. Stuck. Paralyzed. Silent. I want to make a difference, even if that difference is in a single human.

Side notes: I am a full time student majoring in Gender & Sexuality studies along with Psychology.

My plan is to work my way through my PhD and become a safe place for anyone and everyone.

I started collecting used bags and stuffing them with essentials for the houseless (homeless is not the word I like to use).

I plan to start sculpting vaginas and uteruses to sell and send the profits to charities that help fund humans with uteruses searching for assistance on abortions.

Scroll to Top

SUBSCRIBE TO STAY UPDATED

Stay up to date with Queer Kentucky by subscribing to our newsletter!