interview

Letter to Editor: Gay Kentucky man challenges Mitch McConnell for Senate

Dear Editor, 

I wanted to reach out to the readers of Queer Kentucky and announce my candidacy for the United States Senate. I am a native of Kentucky, a mental health counselor, and a proud gay man that advocates for the LGBTQ+ community. 

I grew up in rural Simpson County, raised by my grandparents and attended church regularly as a child. I feared coming out due to the stigma within both my family and the community I lived. Today, I live in the same community, but discovered the courage to live my life and pursue my career and my dreams. I graduated from college and took off to see the world. Those experiences allowed me to discover the man I am today.

I elected to go back to school after twenty years in retailmanagement and become a mental health counselor. I did accomplish my goal of becoming a counselor and now provide gay affirming therapy in addition to substance and mental health counseling. I strive to be a positive role model within not only mycommunity, but the state and hopefully soon on a national stage. I am the President of the Kentucky Association for LGBT Issues in Counseling (KALGBTIC), a Division of the Kentucky Counseling Association. I also serve as the Vice-President of the South Central Kentucky Mental Health Counseling Association and Chair the Advocacy Committee. In the past few months I have drafted letters to the Bowling Green City Commissioners advocating for the Fairness Ordinance. I plan to hold the first LGBT Mental Health Conference in the state early 2020 and win the 2020 Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.  

I am running against the third most powerful Republican in the United States. I have the goal of defeating and unseating Mitch McConnell in 2020. It is time that Kentucky’s Pride is restored and true representation for Kentucky takes place. As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community I was tired of business as usual in Washington. Seeing continued failure to get any work done in the U. S. Senate, like not bringing the Equality Act to the Senate floor. Our community deserves equal protect and equal representation.  

I support many progressive policy ideas like free education, student loan debt forgiveness, healthcare for all, mental healthcare expansions, affordable prescriptions, immigration reform, living wages, term limits, tax reform, common sense gun legislation, balancing the budget, climate change and most importantly equality for all, including women’s right to govern their own body and reproductive rights, in addition to EQUALITY for the LGBTQ+ community. 

I am a hardworking individual that lives paycheck to paycheck like so many American’s do, I don’t have deep pockets, wealthy friends, or special interest groups funding my campaign. I do have a passion, a vision, and heart. I would like to have the support of the LGBTQ+ community, labor unions, farmers, hardworking families, teachers, and any man or woman that is tired of not being represented in Washington. 

I want to restore the duty of Congress. I am about the people’s interest and not my personal interest, providing true leadership, and demanding both action and accountability from leadership. I am humbly asking for your support of my candidacy. I would like to request both an endorsement of Queer Kentucky and the support of Queer Kentucky readers. 

Together, we can give a voice to the voiceless, expand equal rights, and build a bridge to the Equality. My campaign is about building bridges not walls. Stand with me and you stand for Equality, you stand with me we can defeat and unseat Mitch McConnell and keep Kentucky moving forward. Together, we will change the direction on policy, equality, and basic human rights. 

Sincerely, 

Jimmy Ausbrooks, M. Ed., LPCA                                                                                                                     Candidate for the United States Senate 2020

‘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.

West Louisville woman aims to inspire Queer, black business owners

I identify as a Lesbian an my pronouns are she, her and hers.

I grew up in West Louisville on 40th and Market Street. Growing up for me was pretty dope and from growing up in the west end, urban community, I’ve definitely seen a lot.

My mom was a single parent and broke her back to take care of me. I also attended traditional school all my life and graduated from male high school in 2009. Back in the 90s growing up, it was bad but not as bad as you think. I definitely was living in the hood, but growing up…it just wasn’t that bad for me there.

In high school I was in the closet of course. I probably didn’t really come out as a lesbian until after high school at 18. It was rough coming out and growing through that, but it also wasn’t bad. I dealt with a lot of family issues. The outside world accepted me, but family didn’t.

When it comes to issues, I can walk around with my girlfriend’s hand and feel comfortable, but racial issues are worse than LGBTQ+ issues with me. I get blatant disrespect for being black sometimes, but not for being a lesbian. Maybe it’s the way I carry myself with confidence, but I tell myself all the time I need to brace for homophobic remarks.

For anyone struggling to come into their own, just keep growing. Keep doing the self-work. Keep learning yourself. Keep paying attention to who you want to become and who you want to be. Not just sexuality, but even as a person as whole. Work on becoming an inspiration to the person that’s just like you. Don’t give up don’t let anybody change you. People will ridicule you and make you second-guess yourself. Don’t question yourself and don’t change for nobody. Stick to it. Whatever you want to be. And if you’re a parent with a queer child — do not beat them up. Your kids are dealing with enough outside bullying; they don’t need to go home to the same thing — that’s shitty. Be there for them.

People are really killing themselves over this. I’ve been there! It took me a while to dig myself out of that dark place. And we have to do it by ourselves so often.

When it comes to issues within the LGBTQ+ community, there is no unity; there’s not togetherness. It’s not there. When pride and stuff comes, its very white oriented. You see a lot of white pride. Racism is bad right now and going into pride, I wanna feel welcome regardless of what color I am. Minorities can be scared to come out to white focused events.

There isn’t a lot of stuff for black queer folk to do.

I think supporting one another and standing together and being behind each other would help unify us.

Let’s Mix

I feel my best when I’m bartending. When I’m doing something for my business and myself. Helping people, serving people.

Let’s Mix started in 2016 when I graduated college and had degree in electronics and decided to go to bartending school.

Next thing you know on Facebook, everyone started inboxing me that they needed me to bartend so I thought I’d turn it into a business. That’s how it happened.

Some of my goals for my business are getting a mobile bar built and teaching bartending classes.

Eventually I wouldn’t mind opening up a bartending school! I want to inspire someone else who wants to bartend. We so, so many small girls are the face of bartending. You don’t see many people looking like me. I want to be a voice to anyone who wants to start a business. No matter your race, sexuality. No matter how big or small. Hopefully my story will be an inspiration and people can learn from it.

I want to be looked at as this person who made it — someone from West Louisville and someone who is gay as well.

For more information or booking, Contact Chan at letsmixent@gmail.com (502) 298-8017.

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!

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