‘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)


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.

‘It takes confidence to break the rules’

To mean queer means the freedom to be as “weird” as your heart desires. I think that’s why conservatives hate us so much, we get to live out their wildest dreams & darkest fantasies like it’s everyday life.

I identify as PRINCE! I don’t feel the need nor the obligation to anyone (besides who I’m fucking) to clarify. I’m androgynous. I’m very in touch with both male & females sides of myself.

I’ve always just been obsessed with being pretty. That translates beyond gender. As I’ve gotten older pretty has evolved into sexy, as such my style has as well.

I’m a mission kid, very similar to an army brat I’ve lived all over. Born in Morocco, moved to Atlanta when I was about 5, then settled in Louisville around middle school. No matter where I go in the states, Louisville always feels like home tho. It’s slow enough to build a practical life, yet fast enough to explore your options while doing so. I love being apart of the city’s growth as opposed to going to a bigger more established city tryna find your footing.

I’d tell anyone struggling with their identity to just be themselves. There’s no rule book on the game of life, but I guaran-Fucking-tee, it sucks getting to the end of it and realizing how much time and energy you wasted trying to please everyone but yourself. I’ve been there. Coming from a strict ass religious(mission) family, having 4 older brothers, moving to the south. All I wanted, all I tried to do was be a normal “boy” but that’s not who I am. I’ve always beat to my own drum. I was the first boy cheerleader in elementary school. I used to design and sew my own Barbie clothes. Even started my own business selling doll outfits in the 3rd grade. Happiness lives where honesty begins. Free yourself, live your best life. Fuck whoever doesn’t get it, it’s YOUR life.

I carry myself fearlessly, I think that’s a very literal interpretation of my identity. It takes confidence to break the rules. It takes balls to be a “boy” in daisy dukes, no matter how hard I have to hide them. I love myself, and I think that’s one thing that’s been consistent in my life. My bravery, my confidence, in myself.

I see the queer community as very cliquy, and almost segregated honestly. For us to be a rainbow, we lack diversity as a whole. The queer community (much like the black community) could rule the world, if they just stopped feeding into the stereotypes they used to fight against. I wish we supported each more outside of PRIDE. I wish we loved each other more outside of white straight male Americans standard of beauty. Don’t get me wrong, the queer community is definitely making moves to make sure we’re represented, just not has strong a force as I feel we could be. Gay people also need to free Nowhere and other spaces that we helped make popular as they no longer cater to our culture. It’s time for us to create a new wave of energy, as we control what’s cool!

We have to stop supporting businesses that don’t cater to our power. We bring people, we bring money, we bring creativity & energy. That’s something you truly can’t put a value on. We need to support queer events & queer curators more. It isn’t easy being a POC queer androgynous kid in Kentucky. On paper the odds are definitely stacked against me, but created a land to myself. I don’t look for acceptance from anyone, and I think people gravitate towards that. I try to create spaces that are all inclusive, and I think my events reflect that. Rather I’m providing a twerk fest dance party or a mental health support group, I want any & everyone to feel welcomed, appreciated, & valued.

I don’t really feel excluded for anything mainstream, as I’ve somehow made my way by my own rules into that space. I’d say I’m more aloof to people, like they know of my existence, but they don’t really know me. I often show up to parties by myself, but know everyone at them. I was the first “boy”/androgynous mermaid at Forecastle, and it was amazing. They really believed in me, as I’ve participated in party cove a few times. And it was a wild experience. I made my own costume, and it was definitely over the top. But I tell you what it was so much love in the crowd! They didn’t give a shit if I was a guy or a girl, they just loved that I loved them being there. I think the world could use more of that in all communities.

I feel at my best… Most of the time. I know that’s kinda corny, but it’s true. I’ve been on a spiritual, self care journey over the last year, & I’m truly happy in my skin. Everyday. Not all day everyday, but everyday. I’ve never felt more focused on my creative projects, I’ve never felt more loved by my family & friends, I’ve never felt more sexy, or confident.

My biggest life influence is my Mama Critt (my grandmother). She was this beautiful creole woman, with impeccable style, gorgeous flowing silver hair, and a sassy ass attitude that would rival any Dynasty diva. I remember everything always being perfectly coordinated. The earrings had to match the necklace, the clutch had to match the shoes, it was always a spectacle to watch her get ready. She drove a mint green Cadillac, and everyone in town knew her. They still do. She was a double amputee, both legs below the knee. It was hard to watch her go through that change. But she was a fighter, much of where I get that attitude from. It was the late 90’s early 00’s and the technology isn’t what it’s like today. She hated her new flat legs, so she marched into her doctors office demanding legs she could wear her heels with. And I’ll be damned if she not only got them, but she walked in the no assistance. Slow mind you, but she was walking. I remember being a kid so inspired by her audacity, to still want to feel like her true self. No matter what life threw her way. I miss her greatly, but I know she glows from within everything I am. A fabulous, intelligent, radiant, unapologetic, Black Kween!

Louisville Ballet Dancer showcases diversity through the arts

Sanjay Saverimuttu, Louisville Photo by Sam English (Headshot for Choreographers Showcase 2019)  What does the word queer mean to you? How do you identify? Why? The word “queer” to me means expressing your gender or your sexuality in a manner that risks being disadvantaged by society. This world hasn’t been designed for our success, and yet …

Louisville Ballet Dancer showcases diversity through the arts Read More »

Scroll to Top


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