racism

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.

Racism within the Queer Community runs deep

Derek Guy, Kentucky by way of Atlanta, Georgia

What does the word queer mean to you? How do you identify? Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything at all?

Queer means that I am as fluid as the colors surrounding us. I identify as a queer transman and my identity grows with me and changes to match my heart. I believe that my life and my identity is a living document and I don’t believe that even queer is overlapping enough to encompass my identities but it’s the language that I have now that I feel fits the best.

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

I am originally from Atlanta, GA. Living in Kentucky has been the most demeaning, dehumanizing experience of my life. I never thought being black or being transgender was a negative thing until I have had the experiences I have had here in Kentucky. It’s an incredibly backwards state that has a way of showing the worst of itself over trivial things. I highly dislike living in this state but for now, it’s the only option my family has. Running for office in this state was the scariest and most disheartening thing I have ever done. I don’t think this state is safe for black transgender people to be out and open with their identity in this state.

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

Find your people. They are out there and you can find a family that fits you and loves you no matter what. I believe for everyone there is someone and there is a group for everyone to belong to.

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

I’m ever cautious and aware of how present my presence to others. I have noticed that I have gone from a woman who is timid, to a scary black man overnight and that is sometimes hard to deal with. I am often over cautious of how I speak, how I carry myself, how much of an imposition I am being to others. It’s hard to live in a world that hates the color of my skin, without knowing the man in this skin.

What issues do you see in the queer community?

The queer community is racist ASF. It’s the most disheartening and disgusting thing for there to be so much racism and transphobia in the lgbtq+ community. There is only safety in the lgbtq community if you are white. I often experience more racism and transphobia from white lgbtq people than any others in the community.

What do you think would solve those issues?

Getting rid of ignorant hierarchy and people acknowledging that once they have come for me, they will come for you.

Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?

Yes because it’s often white transgender people or attractive transgender people. I often see black transgender men in any aspect mainstream queer community.

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

At home in the comfort of the people I know who do love me unconditionally.

Who influenced the life you live now?

My life is influenced by the people who are no longer with me in this world. I go on for those who can’t anymore. But I am also influenced by my son and the kids and women I work with every day. I work hard to be the best man I can be, and I work hard to be an example of positivity for them. I love my work and the kids and women I work with and they inspire me every day.

‘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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