Friday Flowers

Kenyatta, 24, Louisville

What does the word queer mean to you?

The work Queer to me means someone who’s not afraid to be themselves and live free without a care in the world.

How do you identify?

I identify myself as a non-binary pansexual.

I’ve came to a point in my life where where you not only have to accept the masculine but you also have to accept the feminine to be aligned with what the universe has to offer.

I also don’t really like to label myself but I do to help others try to understand but everyone isn’t meant to be understood. When you label yourself I feel you just put yourself in a box just to fit society but I commend those who don’t identify.

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

Born and raid here in Louisville, Kentucky. I grew up in Clarksdale Housing Project. I was always loved playing outside and very fascinated with nature. I didn’t play too well with others I was the one throwing sand and had all the popsicle sticks in my behavior pocket at the end of the day so school was never cake for me at all. I always enjoyed art class my favorite thing to draw was flowers when it was Friday.

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

Do it on your own time. Don’t let anyone for you to do anything you’re not ready to. Go within and love yourself and due time you’ll be ready.

How does your own identity run how you carry yourself?

Coming into my identity allowed me to not follow societies ideal of what I should be. My sexuality allowed me to realize I don’t have to fit one specific role in society I can play multiple.

What issues do you see in the queer community?

Some people here build their own categories and stereotypes about each other which builds a “wall” and puts tension within the community.

What do you think would solve those issues?

Some people should try to step outside of their comfort zone and actually get to know someone before you make assumptions about them.

Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community?

I feel excluded from mainstream queer community cause I’m not a sir, a twink, an otter, a bear, and you catch my drift. Sometimes I got out and they throw specific events for main categories I just don’t fit into at all and would never classify myself as one just to fit in.

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

I feel happy when I’m on the go I’m a Capricorn so I like to stay productive especially when I’m working. I’m the night owl and the early riser. Who said you need 8 hours of sleep? That’s for lazy people. I love to catch the early morning fresh air before everyone gets out and hop in their cares and start polluting the air.

Who influenced the life you live now?

Dr. Mufundishi Baba Serikali. He’s my spiritual father and Mufundishi. He not only introduced me to meditation but he also introduced me to Tai Chi which taught me to be more mindful and conscious. Tai Chi is an ancient, yet modern, form of meditative exercise, effective regardless of age and physical ability, and practiced by millions of people worldwide. The study and practice of Tai Chi is based on the belief that health is not just the absence of disease, but is a true balance of physical, emotional and social well-being.

Tai Chi

• Improves balance to prevent falls

• Lowers high blood pressure

• Improves shallow breathing

• Facilitates curing respiratory illnesses such as asthma, colds & bronchitis

• Strengthens joints in knees, ankles, wrists & hips

• Aids in physical & emotional adjustment during menopause

• Improves posture, aligns the spine & strengthens the lower back

• Helps to metabolize blood sugars

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.

Queer means Power


Daniel Bond, Kentucky

The word queer to me means a lot, but if I had to put it down to a word it’s “power.”

Some of the best people I know and love are queer. I identify as pansexual and male. I don’t necessarily care for the gender of the person, just as long as their chill/cool.

I am from Louisville, Kentucky. My experience in Kentucky has been OK…yeah there are a few bad apples from time to time but that doesn’t spoil the whole batch.

To anyone struggling to identify themselves, I say take as much time as you need. You may not discover who you really are today, tomorrow, or even for years but you will, people always do. And that feeling of finding yourself can match even the greatest of feelings.

I guess I don’t really feel excluded from the mainstream queer community, I just don’t really involve myself as much as I should. I feel at my best when I’m with my friends or my mom. No one really influenced the life I live now, if anybody did, I’d have to say my mom. But she more just gave me the tools to build the best life I could.

Queer family


Amanda, Madisonville, Ky

To me the word queer means that there is fluidity to my life and to my sexual attractions. I identify as queer or pansexual because I am attracted to who I am attracted to and their gender identification is not a factor in that attraction.

I am originally from a rural part of the state near Madisonville, Ky. I grew up in a dysfunctional Southern Baptist family. I knew from an early age that I was queer, but didn’t talk about it.

I struggled a lot with being ashamed of myself during my childhood and teen years.

It takes time to come to terms with who you are and can sometimes feel overwhelming. Just know that you are important and loved.  My queer identity has lead me to create my own “chosen family” of folks who are not biologically related to me, but are my Family. I feel at my best when I am spending time with my queer family and we are living our best lives. There is something magical about sharing space with people who just get you.

My identify has also led me to get involved in social justice and mental health. It shapes how I interact with the world.

One of the main issues I see in the queer community is that it is “whitewashed.” What I mean by that is that when you see representation of queer folks it tends to be cis white able bodied queer folks.

Why are we not lifting up the voices of black and brown queer folks? Trans and non-binary folks? Folks who are differently abled? Fat folks?

Even just looking around at all of the queer organizations here in Louisville they are mostly cis white folks and we have to change that. When we don’t make space for everyone at the table then we are being complicit with systemic racism. I would like to see organizations putting other folks in leadership positions and actively ensuring that they are representing EVERYONE in the queer community.

I may not personally feel excluded, but if there is no room in an organization or community for my queer friends and family to feel comfortable, then it’s not the space for me and I feel that the “mainstream” queer community again is very cis white and able bodied.

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