people of color

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.

From Brazil to the Bluegrass

Matheus Rezende-McCubbins

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

Queer to me means to embrace all parts of who you are, and being proud to be a part of a community that fights everyday for nothing but acceptance and recognition of our rights.

To be queer is also a part of a political, cultural and economic disruption of what is by some defined as “standard”… englobing the entire LGBTQI+ community as a family, and to know that you can be loved and accepted regardless of how you dress, how you look, or how you identify. With that being said, I identify as a cisgender gay man, who wants to contribute what I can to ensure inclusivity and to spread love to all my Queer community out there.

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

I am finally comfortable with the fact I am a cisgender gay men. It took me a while to figure out who I was, and where I would fit while growing up. I didn’t have any queer people around me…not even on T.V. (we had four channels back then), so you can imagine how lost I was when I started to feel attracted to boys…while being a boy! I had a to go through a lot before understanding the differences between sexual orientation, and gender identity.

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

I was born and raised in Brazil, land of soccer, Carnaval, and happy people. Also a country that kills the most LGBTQI+ people on the globe.

Unfortunately that had it’s role in one of the reasons I decided to move away. I was a little concerned about moving to the conservative state of Kentucky. Thankfully, I found Louisville to be a progressively Queer-friendly city, and I’ve met amazing people that helped me to finally fully accept myself for who I am.

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

You can be going through a rocky road right now, and you might feel lost with understanding the feelings you have about yourself. Be patient, try to find others that are going/have been through the same,  surround yourself with people that love and accept you for being your colourful self even if it’s not your “birth family,” and you will find nothing but joy when you learn to love YOURSELF.

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

I try not to let the way I identify myself to be the only way I live my life. Some days I like to just feel my oats and embrace more of the colors on the board, and that’s why I love the amplitude of being Queer, you don’t have to put yourself inside a four walled room… I definitely need more windows than that!

What issues do you see in the queer community?

It’s crazy to think we would have issues inside our own community that already suffers so much with everything else on the outside just for existing. But unfortunately, this is a very harsh reality. Growing up I remember always being bullied for being too girly, or for having a high pitch voice. Ironically, one of the bullies would come out as gay just a few years later.

There’s still a lot of internal homophobia within our community, specially when sub-categories are created to label people based on their own individualities. I can’t count how many times I heard someone was “too fem” or “didn’t have the Instagram body” therefore they were automatically not a “match.”

What do you think would solve those issues?

Acceptance is the key. The Queer community needs to grow together to be able to face obstacles daily, as well as to create more support systems to protect our own, while educating other people.

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

Being away from my home country and family has taught me that the “where” I feel at my best is not a place, but anywhere I can be surrounded by the people that make me complete.

Who influenced the life you live now?

My mom, my husband, Britney Spears and some of the most amazing people I met when I came to the U.S. back in 2014 for my study abroad program.

My mom for raising me to be a good freaking human being. My husband, that joined me on this life adventure, and that is the reason why I can call Kentucky home.

Britney for getting me through some tough times when I was just a baby gay boy, amen Blackout era.

As well as my Ohana, all the amazing people I met in 2014 that were my support system when I finally opened myself to who I really am.

‘Ban conversion therapy Kentucky’ Executive Director’s call to action

For me the word queer is liberating. Growing up in Southern Indiana, where there was minimal support for LGBTQ people, I didn’t know what supportive LGBTQ spaces looked like.

Moving to Louisville, Kentucky, I started coming into my queer identity and learning how my other identities influence the way I exist in various spaces. For myself, the queer community has given me purpose.

Being involved in activism and fighting for the queer community is a passion of mine.

I am heading a project to make conversion therapy illegal for minors in Kentucky. Hearing the horror stories from survivors of conversion therapy, we wanted to take action to show queer kids that someone is fighting for them. No one should have to experience this torture and should be able to be happy and celebrate who they are.

Though we have made significant strides as a community in the United States– our fight is far from over. In addition to the work we have ahead of us as a country, we as community have so much work to do.

I believe that Queer people and all people will never truly experience liberation until we as a community actively address the oppression that still exists in queer spaces.

We will not truly be a community until we fully support queer folks who are black and brown, undocumented queer folks, our queer folks with disabilities, queer folks of all body types, as well as many other identities that intersect with queerness.

I am excited for the progress that will come with future generations — it seems that today’s youth are more caring and unapologetic in their queer identities than ever before.

Gender, color, sexuality

Jerika Jones, Kentucky

What does the word Queer mean to you?

I think Queer means living a life that is otherwise considered different from mainstream and also heteronormative lifestyle. I choose words carefully because gay lifestyles are becoming more “mainstream,” but often tend to fall into heteronormative ideas and I’m reluctant to call all gay life Queer. But that’s an argument for another day. I don’t really identify as Queer per say. But I don’t think it would be wrong for someone to call me Queer. I definitely identify with being at least sexually fluid. But I identify more with a cis gendered feminine life style more than anything else.

Where are you originally from?

I did not grow up in Kentucky, but I do think that I spent important years here. I was mostly a teenager in Kentucky. When I moved to Kentucky, I became aware of what my skin tone really means. I never knew the gravity of being a black girl until I came to Kentucky and had people call me a nigger and threaten me because of my race.

How do you understand Ideas of gender

I have an interesting stance on Gender. I really never knew how much of a fluid idea i had of cis femininity until I went to college. I remember having the hardest time understanding what cis gender meant in relation to what I was reading because I never understood femininity to mean docile, submissive, emotional attentive etc.

I have only been around black women who provided for my family when the men couldn’t, being the pillar of strength when no one else would, speaking up when others were silent, and being the voice of authority. All of these things I have come to learn are associated with masculinity. This is the narrative for black women. In a lot of ways, I have learned that being a cis gendered black woman meant being somewhat masculine. But given my experience growing up in a Black family it is a no brainier that I would be confused.

But with that said, I have made some POC, GNC and Trans friends, and I have come to learn more of the nuances of gender that way.

And I have learned that even though I have a fluid sense of gender because of my race, my identity as a black cisgendered woman is still the normal of abnormal femininity. Gender is far more intricate of a thing than I can even understand because I don’t have the first-hand experience to know. So, I have come to understand the tricky bits of gender by being friends with people who are more oppressed than I am, who rely on my voice as a cis aligned black female to elevate theirs.

This doesn’t give a clear-cut answer to “how do you understand gender and what does it mean to you” nor does it give a sufficient answer to “how do you see your identity ” because to give a clear cut answer does a disservice to experiences that I can imagine that by siblings in race experience.

I have also come to understand gender by watching people react to my own gender performance. I kinda present tomboy but very feminine at the end of the day. I think people readily ascribe Queer to me because I don’t really perform high femme. But I’m definitely femme. And usually, it’s Queer folks that incorrectly gender me. They tend to either make me into more Queer than I actually am or not recognize being just sexually Queer as legitimately queer. It’s like people want to see a particular type of Queer performance. For me my Queerness come in a form that’s largely unseen, which is my sexuality.

Now that I think about this question more – I actually think this is the best way to demonstrate my cis privilege. Because at any time I can perform more high femme it wouldn’t make me feel a type of way at all but I want to be more tomboy-ish because I’m lazy — not because I truly identify as androgynous.

Do you feel excluded from the queer community

No, I do not feel excluded from mainstream Queer community because it is people like me who are creating the caricature of it. The actual Queer community looks different from what mainstream media would say it does. And while I don’t feel excluded from it, I am very aware of my role in relation to other people who can only find community within the queer community. At any time, I can go into non-queer communities and be OK.  And I have to be mindful of that.

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