western Kentucky

Smedley Yeiser to host Pride Riot in Western Kentucky, honor OUT Paducah

PADUCAH – Many small rural communities are creating safe spaces and pride events for their communities. Western Kentucky activists with OUT Paducah are leading this movement and were asked to be the guest of honor for a large Pride event.

On June 29, Smedley Yeiser is hosting Pride Riot, a one night only pop-up venue to honor 50 years of pride since the Stonewall riots. OUT Paducah is the guest of honor for the event.

It’s also to celebrate where Paducah is now, where it’s been, and where it’s going with LGBTQ+ Pride, said Pride Riot event coordinator Jeremy Byassee. 

“With political, religious and moral debates, especially here in the Bible Belt, I don’t think there’s any other way to get fairness and equality without coming together despite those issues with diversity,” Byassee said. “I genuinely feel everyone is seeking support from one another with that common goal of tolerance and freedom.”

The mission of OUT Paducah is to provide an accepting environment to enhance the personal growth of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in McCracken County. OUT Paducah advocates for community awareness and acceptance of young people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. 

Through outreach, OUT Paducah, service providers learn about and increase their sensitivity to the needs of sexual minority youth. OUT Paducah provides LGBTQ youth with positive role models. It promotes their self-esteem and the integration of these youth into the larger community. OUT Paducah assists families with resources and referrals.

The venue for Pride Riot, Smedley Yeiser+Juniper Room, is owned by very supportive and wonderful straight allies, Byassee said.

“There will be a stage set up with 12 various entertainers, plus me, your host,” he said.

There will be Pride Drag King and Queen of Southern Illinois, and the rest are all local queens, belly dancers, a few burlesque artists and a fire breathing act!

“My event, PRIDE RIOT, has had very little backlash,” Byassee said. “And it doesn’t faze me a bit. It’s beyond humbling for me to have an outweighing amount of support. When I was 21, I know things would have been a lot different if I could go to space to see or maybe even perform in a drag show”

After show party will include dancing and karaoke! The show cover is $10 and the entire event is for 21 and over.

Pride in the Bluegrass!

“From metro streets to Appalachian trails, these are our stories.”

Queer Kentucky is beyond happy to announce THIS many Pride celebrations throughout our state in 2019!

We love watching our community come together in different regions to lift their voices in LGBTQ+ pride. We will add more events as we learn about more events.

June 2

Owensboro Pride Picnic
English Park, Owensboro

June 9

NKY Pride

Goebel Park, Covington

June 14-15

Kentuckiana Pride

Big Four Lawn, Louisville

June 28-29

Lexington Pride Festival

Courthouse plaza, Lexington

August 24-25
Western Kentucky Pride Festival

Noble Park, Paducah

September 13-15

Kentucky Black Pride Festival

Lexington

Sept. 14

Shelbyville Pride

Clear Creek Park, Shelbyville

Sept. 21

Louisville Pride Festival

Bardstown Road, Louisville

Sept. 28

Mad City Pride

Downtown, Madisonville

Sept. 28

Mad City Pride

Downtown, Madisonville

October 12

Capital Pride KY

Old Capitol lawn, Frankfort

October 12

Pikeville Pride Celebration

Pikeville City Park, Pikeville

https://www.facebook.com/bgfairness/

Oct. 12

Elizabethtown Pride

Location TBA, Elizabethtown

A Western Kentucky Queer

Austin Norrid, Hopkinsville

The word queer to me is about chosen family. For many queer folks, relationships with our given families can be strained at times, but we have the opportunity to create families of our own within the queer community. What the word queer offers that LGBTQ* doesn’t, is one word for our entire family to embrace and call our own.

I identify as queer.

I’m originally from Hopkinsville, KY. Growing up I had no examples of out queer people who were my age, and very limited examples of older people who were out.  I went to a small school with only 33 people in my graduating class. I was the only one to come out before graduating, which at times was isolating.

To people who are struggling to come into their own identity, I’d say that living your authentic self doesn’t require a specific label first. Experiment. Experience. Try new things and meet knew people. Ask questions. Finding yourself is an act of liberation and rebellion against heteropatriarchy. The tendency to compare yourself to others is neither queer nor liberating.

My identity influences my teaching praxis as I strive to be a positive example of a queer adult, which I didn’t always have when I was in school.

In the queer (and especially gay male) community I often see folks being shamed for being “femme.” This is just an aspect of heteropatriarchy. Queer bodies that are masculine are valued over those that are femme, much as our culture values male bodies over female bodies. Until we as a community can learn to value queer femme bodies, we will continue to be enacting the violence of heteropatriarchy on ourselves.

I don’t feel a need to search for a “mainstream” queer community because I feel I have made my own queer community.

I feel my happiest when I am making music with my students in South Louisville and when I am relaxing with my partner, Sanjay.

All of the queer pioneers like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Harvey Milk have definitely influenced me the most. As a teacher, I feel that it is my duty to advocate for the needs of my students, especially the needs of my queer and POC students. When they are in my classroom I want to make sure they know they are safe, respected, loved, and valued, and that I will fight to make the world a better place for them.

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