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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.

Wordsmith rediscovers home in Queer Kentucky

Sarah Gardiner – Gay/Lesbian, She/Her/Hers

Owner of Nanny Goat Books, writer, editor, and small-press publisher

Queer is a word I’ve only recently adopted. When I came out at 19, Gay was the umbrella term used for anyone in my LGBTQ+ circle. I was living in DC at the time, and though the community was incredibly inclusive, diverse, and of course, political, “standard” terminology was still the go-to for those around me.

Though I am a lesbian, that was never a word I adopted or was used to describe me, and queer was simply not used at all. Perhaps that was due to the age of many in my circle who had lived through a time when that word was thrown at them like a bullet rather than a badge. Or perhaps it was because we were still fighting for marriage equality and many felt that simplified language would help us win our basic rights. Whatever it was, it is changing, and I couldn’t be happier by that shift.

The first time I heard queer as a positive identifier, it felt radical and beautiful. It was the perfect fit for the umbrella of a community made of up so many unique and diverse members. It felt like the opposite of standard. We’ve always been radical, and words that support our fight are more important now than ever.

I’m from Louisville and, after being away for a while, moved back over a year ago. Moving back to Kentucky has been one of the most incredible decisions of my life. I left to go out and explore other places and, particularly after I came out, much of that exploration revolved around discovering queerness elsewhere. When I left Kentucky at 18, I had no idea just how wonderfully queer the state can be. I was pulled toward more “traditionally” LGBTQ+ spaces, but in doing so I missed the beauty of Kentucky and our community. Coming home and rediscovering that community has been wonderful on so many levels.

To any/all struggling with their identity, You are not alone. I know exactly where you have been. We all do. And it isn’t easy, but it is the most beautiful journey I have ever been on, and I believe you will feel the same with some time. The journey is the difficult part, but there is a community out here for you who have been through it and support you every step of the way. I was lucky enough to have many incredible influences within the community while coming out and as I found my footing in life. The care of others and the knowledge that I was not alone in my journey helped me become the proudly queer person I am today. In the end, it is amazing where life takes you after all the twists and turns. And that destination is beautiful beyond belief.

My queer identity influences so much of how I carry myself and interact in this world. From the way I present myself to the people I surround myself with, LGBTQ+ culture is at the core of who I am. As a writer, publisher, and bookstore owner, I also find myself considering how I can promote queer writing and ideas on a daily level. Amplifying the voices of the community is one of my driving factors personally and professionally.

Because of this, I feel at my best, on a day to day basis, at my bookstore. It is a place I built with my own two hands and a place really filled with care and love. Plus, who doesn’t like to be surrounded by books everyday?

On days I am out of the office, I find nothing more relaxing than being out strolling through the the rolling hills and trails that make Kentucky so uniquely beautiful. I grew up hiking down to Harrod’s Creek through winding paths cut in forests that felt untouched by time and society. These woods and rolling hills were what called me back home to the to the land I love. The spirit of this state has a way of seeding itself deep into the hearts of Kentuckians. This place is ours.

Pronouns Matter, using them with respect saves lives

by Sarah Gardiner

Pronouns matter. Apart from name, they are the main way we address other humans in conversation, thought, and identity. So understanding them and getting them right is vital.

Let’s start by defining the concept. Pronouns are the words we use when referring to another person. The three sets you will hear most often are:

The feminine: she/her/hers

The non-binary/gendered: singular they/them/theirs

The masculine: he/him/his

While other sets exist, these are the ones by far most utilized in everyday language. The feminine and masculine are the most commonly used because of the ingrained binary that society has faced prior, but it can be harmful to guess pronouns. If you have not been expressly told someone’s gender, do not assume it.

The singular “they” (which has a long history of non-gendered use within the English language, dating back to the 1400’s and used by authors like Jane Austen and Shakespeare) is the most commonly adopted gender-neutral noun, though others do exist. We already use “they” in everyday language. Think of the phrases: “Who do they think they are?” or “You showed them!” We use this language daily, so we have all the skills already. We just need to learn to use them.

Learning new pronouns when your brain has been wired to the binary normative of feminine and masculine can take practice, but learning and growing are an important part of our community and being a human in general. Don’t be afraid to mess up — messing up is part of life. As long as you learn from mistakes, get better, try harder, and be more considerate.

Pronouns are some of the most fundamental ways we can be good allies and considerate humans. To respect someone’s pronouns is to respect them, their experience, and their identity. Pronouns can evolve as well, both situationally and because of the fluidity of gender. Respecting pronouns is one the simplest, easiest, and most fundamental ways to show respect and consideration for others.

Listen and respect when someone tells you how to refer to them and understand that they owe you no explanation if their pronouns or identity do shift. Believe and respect what people tell you. It is not for you to question. It is not yours to decide. What people say about who they are is valid. No questions asked.

Oh, be joyful!

Joy Wilson, 39, Lexington, Kentucky

Queer is a personally affirming identity that encompasses a larger umbrella of an LGBT scope. I identify as queer and use the pronouns she, her, they and them. I identify as dyke as well, so I can say the word casually. It’s a confident self-affirming female and I think it’s (the word dyke) making a comeback. We are reprogramming and reclaiming that language.

I never identified well as a lesbian and I never felt at any point in time I was a part of that community. Had I been 20 years younger, I would have had more thought about gender, gender non-conforming and gender reassignment. That concept was not even a thing in Kentucky when I was growing up. Until I knew I was gay I didn’t know what gay was.

I graduated high school in 1996. There was no RuPaul or Ellen. The only thing my parents had to go on was Indigo girls and Freddy Mercury of Queen. Ellen didn’t come out on TV until I was in college. It’s pretty wild to think about being a teenager in Kentucky.

I feel like I had a pretty blue-collar family in the middle to upper class and I was raised in the church. Ministers were on my mom’s side of the family or big people in the church. I played sports and all my free time played out in the church. That was the standard childhood of that region.

I had a conservative family but super loving family. When they found out I was gay they were completely accepting, but concerned about me living in Lexington—rightfully so. I moved out of there once I graduated.

Moving to Louisville was better then Lexington because there was a small Queer scene in Louisville.

It’s very important to really try to find a community that suites you. If you’re not in a community that feels right to you, move to one that does. Even with times changing, I feel like it’s really important to fit into a community where you fit.

I don’t fit in with lesbians here because I didn’t “look like” the other lesbians. I found my community in Chicago. I lived five years in Chicago and it took that to feel confident with myself.

For me, by the time I left for Chicago in early to mid 30s, I needed to have that time for a community and realized there were other people like me. I didn’t have to explain why I didn’t shave my legs or under arms.

I can’t say enough about location and being in communities and the people that you’re around. It’s either the most helpful or detrimental to your growth.

Now I am a parent to my girlfriend’s kids in Missouri and I’m comfortable in a city where people ask me about my gender all the time. It’s so helpful to figure out who you are and be really true to that. I felt I was flailing before Chicago.

Being a parent is by far the hardest experience I’ve ever encountered. I’m coming in after a cis white male was in their household. Now, I’m in a stepparent role to 3 and 5 year old girls.

We live in a very upper class neighborhood in Columbia and I’ll be out mowing the lawn with tattoos everywhere, with breasts and it’s a constant…

“what the fuck is that?”

That’s what creates change. It’s the sign of the times because I’ve found nothing but great people there.

My looks is a very stereotypical queer look wearing non-gender specific clothing. I look like a cut out of the machine that looks like Chicago Queer.

In a rural town, it’s a daily conversation or a passing glare that I have to communicate about or process internally. I also think about that when I get dressed going out in public. I don’t want to overdo it. I won’t be masking who I am when I go out because I want myself to be visible. Never try and hide who you are. Before I lived in Chicago, I did try to hide who I was.

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