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2 LinQ // APRIL 2017
_M @ LinQ
IN THIS ISSUE
VOL 39 / NO. 4
FEATURE PCSO CELEBRATES 40 YEARS pgs 18&19
Christopher R. Bauer, PCSO Board President, provides a brief overview of the PCSO’s extensive history and invites everyone to celebrate the anniversary of its founding.
TRANSKY LEX PRIDE FEST pg 21 Paul Brown, Lexington Pride Festival Chair, tells us his thoughts on the art of drag, from his first show as a young audience member all the way up to when he performs later this month.
ADVOCATE pgs 10&11
Tuesday G Meadows writes that healthcare should be a concern for all of us in our community but especially for those of us who have reached senior status.
ICK NEWS pgs 6&7
H.M.I.M. Empress XXXV, Aurora Cummings’ reign is coming to an end soon but there are lots of activities planned for the next couple of months, culminating with the always spectacular Coronation weekend and Bourbon Ball in June.
THE TANNING MONTHS pg 9
Carol Taylor-Shim explains how racism can rear its ugly head in many different ways, even in something as simple as that “perfect tan”.
HUMOR ADVOCACY CULTURE
FEATURE COMMUNITY CALENDAR APRIL 2017 // LinQ 3
by Helena Handbasket
hat a special event! I am so glad that I was there for it. Or was I? I know what you’re thinking... there she goes again. What is she rambling on about this month? Well, I’m glad you asked. Do something for me right now. I want YOU as you are reading this to think of one of your favorite memories in your life. Something that happened in your past that you cherish the memory of. Maybe it was your graduation day. Maybe it was the day you got your braces removed. It might have been when you got to meet your favorite celebrity (or drag queen). Maybe it was the day that you took your daughter to buy her first prom dress. Maybe it was the day that your parents got married (think about it). So that is YOUR memory. That was a moment that is still special to you - a special time that you hold in your heart, right? But are you sure you were there? Oh yes... you were in attendance but were you present?
4 LinQ // MARCH 2016 . HUMOR
Someone very special to me recently had this thought and shared it with me. It has made me more aware and so this month I knew I had to share it with you. Her experience - it was a Saturday morning and she and her daughter who is a junior in high school had been planning this for weeks. Today was the day that they were going to go and have one of those special mother and daughter moments when they would go and find the perfect dress for her to wear to her first junior/senior prom. They were there for what seemed like days and she tried on dress after dress.
There were a few that she liked a little bit but she wasn’t in love with any of them. Out of slight desperation, the lady in the dress shop brought out another dress, which no one else had looked at or even bothered to try on. It was a pretty dress but not one with the stronger, bolder colors of the other dresses. The mother and daughter looked at it, and although neither of them was particularly impressed while it was on the hanger, the daughter agreed to try it on anyway. When she came out of the dressing room everyone in the room (which was full of other mothers and daughters also looking for that special dress) suddenly stopped what they were doing and turned to look at her. She looked stunning in the dress. They knew it was the perfect choice. Even the ladies from the boutique gasped at how lovely she was in the dress that they all had underestimated. It was one of those moments of pride that a mother lives for. In the car on the way home she realized that she was so taken by the moment and the image of her daughter in the amazing dress that
she forgot to get out her phone and take a picture. And as she started to chastise herself for missing the moment she realized that in actuality she hadn’t missed the moment at all. As a matter of fact, she had her own Ah-ha moment right then. Since she was not focused on making sure she captured the shot on her phone she was more present for the experience. All of the feelings and the focus was on what was happening. The memory didn’t disappear because there was no photographic evidence. And maybe, just maybe, the memory was even more special because this time she was not just in attendance... she was present. What a gift it was. What a special memory they made. Just a reminder... don’t let technology rob you of the special moments. Allow yourselves to BE IN THE MOMENT. Give your full attention to the special moments in life. You will never regret it and just maybe the fact that you didn’t capture the perfect shot will keep that special memory just between the two of you. After all... contrary to current social media addictions, not everything has to be shared with 110 likes to make it real or special. Think about it.
Q Send comments or suggestions to helenahandbasketKY@gmail.com
HUMOR . OCTOBER 2016 // LinQ 5
IMPERIAL COURT OF KENTUCKY NEWS by H.M.I.M. Empress XXXV of the Imperial Court of Kentucky, Aurora Cummings
ith our reign coming to a close in a few months, Emperor Russell Drake and I would like to take a moment and invite everyone to The Imperial Court of Kentucky Presents: The Bourbon Ball on June 9th - 12th. The festivities will kick off on Friday, June 9th at Crossings Lexington for our In-Town Show, Saturday, June 10th at the Hilton Downtown for the Out of Town Show, Sunday, June 11th at the Hilton Downtown for The Bourbon Ball, and ending with the Victory Brunch at the Hilton Downton on June 12th. Overnight rooms are now available at the Hilton Downtown along with tickets for The Bourbon Ball, which are available on our website at www.Imperialcourtkentucky.org. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for The Bourbon Ball please
6 LinQ // APRIL 2017 . ADVOCACY
send an email to Nicole Diamond: nicolediamond1 @aol.com. If you would like to buy an ad in the Coronation program, then please visit our website and click Coronation 36 for more information. We still have so many amazing shows and pageants planned for the next few months. We have our sisters and brothers from the North coming down to give us a little entertainment on March 31st at 10:30 p.m. at Crossings for the Cincinnati Invasion Show. Join the Imperial Court of Kentucky on April 5th at 9:30 p.m. at Soundbar as Nicole Diamond and a special guest raise money for the International Court Systemâ€™s Stonewall 50 event. Ladies, have you ever wanted to be as fabulous as the queens are? Well now is your chance! We have the Inner Diva Pageant coming up at the end of April. We will pair you with a queen and they will help you to get painted and pulled until we mold you
into their image. Then, take the stage for a number to duke it out for the crown and the title of Inner Diva. Whoâ€™s ready for Derby? Pull out your hats and flowers and get ready to see if you have what it takes to be Miss Derby Pride. In May the Imperial Court of Kentucky will Crown a new Miss Derby. Make sure to watch the Imperial Court of Kentuckyâ€™s Facebook page for information about upcoming events and pageants. Emperor Russell Drake and I would like to thank everyone who has supported us during this year, I would not trade a minute of this experience. For many years now the Imperial Court of Kentucky has been a second family to me. I have met so many amazing people and made new friends that all hold a special place in my heart. If you would like to be a part of this amazing organization, we will welcome you with open arms.
Q For more information about our organization please visit www.imperialcourtkentucky.org
ADVOCACY . APRIL 2017 // LinQ 7
8 LinQ // FEBRUARY 2017 . ADVOCACY
MONTHS by Carol Taylor-Shim, MSW
As we approach the tanning months, know that there isn’t a black person in the world who wants to hear ’I’m almost as dark as you.’” When I read that on the interwebs, I giggled and then I was immediately taken back to those super awkward moments years ago when someone I worked for would say this at least once between late April and June. Well, not exactly that, but a version of it. I started to replay those interactions through a completely different set of eyes. The ones worn from watching intersecting oppression pop off at every point in my life. When it first happened I wasn’t aware of all of the implications of a statement like that. But it was never lost on me how my culture was revered and reviled all at the same time. When Bo Derek came bouncing across the beach with the braids and beads glistening in the sun like diamonds, I knew what was up. That image is synonymous with the 80s. That was the first exposure White people probably had with braids and beads. For us, that was everyday life. Still is. For the longest time I thought the person making these comments to me was doing so because they saw me as a safe enough Black person that I would be cool with it. Their intentions were pure and if I just really thought about it was a compliment, really. It’s what I wanted to believe to be honest. For me it was an indication of how beautiful this melanin skin that I’m blessed to be in really is. That was my
truth. And it IS the truth. But 2017 “tanning season” is here and I see it differently. I recognize how racism and colorism also impacted my acceptance of my skin color. It obstructed my Blackness on levels I’m just now able to examine without fear. I always felt like I wasn’t Black enough for Black people growing up. But I knew I was just Black enough to be able to navigate White spaces with a pinch less discomfort than my darker skinned folk. I knew it was a privilege, but at the time I only used it for me. The minute you accept the privileges you have that afford you chances to be a little less traumatized by hatred in this country is the minute your rose-colored glasses shatter. Or at least they should. Especially now. I’m sure some folks would swear it was really a compliment. I know that’s what the owner of those words would say. But that’s not what it feels like anymore. And it really didn’t feel like it back then. My Blackness is a weapon that others get to use against me, without my consent or control. It is demonized and lusted after at the same time: from White girls who are making good paper money to behave in a manner that would get a Black or
Brown person killed where she stood to the newly-activated, sociallyconscious, justice-minded diversity avenger crying for solidarity that just showed up with a little pink helmet of crocheted armor. All those years ago I knew the power differential was too great for me to overcome in the event I didn’t laugh along. That fear was real. That fear is real and will be for the rest of my days on this earth. Fake news is a thing, but so is fake history. Just because more people realize they actually have real skin in the game doesn’t mean folk get to overlook or rewrite the past. You work to get yourself together so you don’t continue to make the same mistake of discarding the impact of your words and actions in favor of protecting your own intent. So, I’m absolutely 100% here for that post in all its gloriously petty glory. A true public service announcement. Follow me on Twitter @ctshim71
ADVOCACY . APRIL 2017 // LinQ 9
TransKY ADVOCATE by Tuesday G Meadows
AGING IN THE LGBTQIA COMMUNITY
“Are these times contagious/I’ve never been this bored before/Is this the prize I’ve waited for/ Now as the hours passing/There’s nothing left here to insure... Is there a cure among us?/ From this processed sanity?/Have I got a long way to run/ Yeah, I run” Run, Collective Soul
ur society has worshiped “youth” since before I was one. In the LGBTQIA community, that worship is on steroids. The slogan “It Gets Better” does not necessarily apply to those of us who have reached a certain age… the age where we may become old, sick, ignored, and increasingly invisible in society and within our own community. One day, I turned around and said, “dang, I’m 63! How did that happen so fast?” Yes, I reached senior status, and I have some thoughts about how to support all of us throughout our life span. A new National Institute of Health funded study tracking more than 2,400 LGBTQIA adults shows gaps in their physical and emotional health, as well as widespread concerns
10 LinQ // JANUARY 2017 . CULTURE
about safe options for accessing high-quality health care and long term care. Seniors in our community have more chronic conditions, higher rates of disability, and more psychological distress than our hetero counter parts. Older gay and bisexual men are more likely to have general poor health and live alone. Older lesbian and bisexual women have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and are more likely to have multiple chronic conditions.* In short, my generation is facing some dire consequences with regard to healthcare and the younger generation will face a similar fate if we don’t all get busy now. Why the discrepancies? Our community tends to higher rates of smoking and tobacco raises the risk of chronic
pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD), lung cancer, and heart disease. There is also a great reluctance for some to seek out preventative health exams like mammograms as well as medical treatment for existing health problems due to concerns about health care biases. Reluctance to seek health care is even worse for transgender individuals and racial minorities in our community. Societal discrimination and victimization are the strongest predictors of poor aging.* Isolation is also a risk factor for negative health outcomes. Marriage confers numerous health benefits but was an institution denied to many of us until recently. As a widow, I know that community, friends, and family are important but they provide different support than a life partner. Unfortunately, many of us older folks will end up in nursing facilities. As far as I know, no one ever set a goal of living in one of these facilities nearing the end of their life. It just happens. Many LGBTQIA folks either say they have a general feeling of uneasiness or suffer out and out discrimination in many long-term care facilities across the United States. Some religiously-affiliated facilities will even refuse to care for us. Having decent health insurance is also a factor in the health of us older folks. Unemployment has plagued our community due to unconscious biases and covert prejudice. Fortunately, I not only have had decent health insurance, I also have had a penchant to be pro-active with my health. Last year I was able to have my first mammogram, with some help from
the Susan G. Komen Foundation. My own healthcare providers were unsure about recommendations for transgender women until I showed them Komen’s educational material. I’ve been the source of information to several of my healthcare providers about the unique aspects of caring for transgender women; I have also helped to remind them that not every health issue is related to being transgender. You will never hear me say that the younger generation has it better or worse than me or that the way I lived my life was right or wrong. The way I lived was just the way I lived. No one else had to experience it but me. I’m extremely happy that the younger generation can live life as their true selves. Now we need to fight for all of us to have a good quality of life and access to healthcare for our whole lives. We are still a long way away from having adequate and fair healthcare throughout our country for everyone. It seems the new political climate will only add to worsening conditions for us as we age. The only way things will actually “get better” for the next generation is for all of us to get involved with making the systems, especially healthcare, better now for everyone in our community. More than likely you will turn around one day and say, “dang, I’m 63!” You may write me at tmeadows828@ gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @trishgigi. Now Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
*Information from US News & World Report. Wellness Report from Lisa Esposito.
ADVOCACY . MARCH 2016 // LinQ 11
FEATURE . NOVEMBER 2016 // LinQ 13
14 LinQ // FEBRUARY 2017. FEATURE . ADVOCACY MARCH 2016
AROUND THE LIBRARY reviewed by Ashley Householder
When the Moon Was Ours written by Anna Marie McLemore
her role as an adult woman after years of living as a boy.” Though I don’t believe the word transgender is ever uttered in this book, it’s very clear that Sam is undertaking a very powerful journey toward understanding his identity throughout the novel. I thought it was interesting to see this very personal journey tied into the practices of another culture, as it adds to the diversity and stylistic nuances of the book. Another thing this novel helped me to understand was the plight of two teenagers who love each other coming to terms with their sexual and gender identities. Before I realized Sam was transgender, I had no issue with the (very tastefully written) sex scenes in the book. Once I knew he was physically a girl, however, I’m ashamed to say that I felt a bit uncomfortable reading about their romance. I kept wondering, “Well, how does that even work?” and my curiosity was piqued. Even though I felt I was already open-minded about LGBT issues, this story helped open my eyes and my mind a little bit more, and for that I’m grateful to McLemore. It’s entirely possible to feel like a certain gender without having the genitalia to match, and it’s entirely possible to be attracted to someone who doesn’t have the genitalia you expect for that gender. I generally avoid thinking about what sex and dating might be like for someone who is transgender, mostly because I understand that it’s none of my business but also because I don’t want to think too hard about it. This fictional tale of two teens fighting to be together despite these circumstances allowed me to examine these issues without hurting anyone else or invading personal space, and I think this novel is a great way to help explain gender and sexuality to someone who has a very close-minded view of these concepts. This book taught me that, despite my progressive views, I don’t know everything about the LGBT community and that this is perfectly okay.
The important thing for allies to understand is that we don’t know everything, and we need to make our best efforts to listen to the plights of others to understand their feelings better. As Miel herself explains in the novel, “[E]ven if they were the same inside their jeans, he was so different from her that she could not imagine his body as her own… No matter what their bodies had in common, she and Sam were not the same.” If this book could help me to understand this sometimesdifficult concept, I can only imagine how much it might help someone struggling with his or her own gender identity or someone questioning their own sexuality because they happen to love someone who is transgender. Though Miel loves Sam, and is constantly teased by the Bonner sisters for “liking girls,” she does not consider herself to be a lesbian. She sees Sam as he wants to be seen, as a boy in every way. To me, this creates a beautiful love story, as it shows that the right person will accept you no matter what, despite your deepest flaws and insecurities. This book explores love and gender identity in very meaningful ways, and I think it could do a lot of good for a teen who is going through some of the same issues. If you’re ever feeling adventurous, or just want to give something new and unusual a try, then this is a perfect story for you. It also explores sensitive issues in an extremely real and heartfelt way, and I think it could do a great deal to help teens feel more comfortable in their own skin. When The Moon Was Ours can be found in the PCSO Pride Library under YA FIC M.
CULTURE . APRIL 2017 // LinQ 15
hen the Moon Was Ours follows the story of two teens, both of whom are known for being the odd ones out in their small town. Samir, nicknamed “Sam” or “Moon,” is known best for painting and hanging moons all over town and in the forest, moons that help young children sleep at night. Miel was discovered when she was only five years old, toppling out of an old and rusted water tower as it was torn down. This, however, is not the only strange thing about Miel; she is best known for growing roses out of her wrists, roses that will not wilt or die after being plucked. Also in town are the mysterious Bonner sisters, four inseparable girls believed by the rest of the town to be witches. For many years, they could charm any boy in town, but after one of the sisters is sent away for getting pregnant, the sisters seem to lose their mysterious powers. Desperate, they seek out Miel, believing her roses have special powers. The sisters begin to blackmail Miel, threatening to share every secret she’s tried desperately hard to hide if she doesn’t give up the flowers that grow from her wrists. What follows is a slowly unraveling mystery, as both Miel and Sam attempt to discover who they really are. McLemore’s story hearkens back to old folklore and cultural practices. One such practice is the idea of bacha posh, “a cultural practice in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan in which families who have daughters but no sons dress a daughter as a boy. This daughter then acts as a son to the family. As an adult, a bacha posh traditionally returns to living as a girl, now a woman.” I was absolutely fascinated by this phenomenon, as I know very little about Afghani culture and couldn’t imagine growing up as a boy. Samir, who comes from this culture, imagines himself as a bacha posh, but feels he can never go back to living as a girl after being a boy for so long. McLemore goes on to explain that “often a bacha posh has difficulty adjusting to
OF THE TOWN by Reinette F. Jones
eet Mr. Willie. His formal name is William McArthur Bowles. Awd D. Wallie was his stage name. “Spell it anyway you want to, Baby, just pronounce it right!” Mr. Willie performed drag at the Lyric when there were individual and group performances such as the Larry Darnell Brown Skin Review. He says that he was the envy of the town. “I swung from the rafters in Paris at the American Legion down in Lylesville. In Winchester, I was at a White country club. They didn’t know if I was a man or a woman, and some of them were so drunk that they didn’t care. They loved me! I did a calypso number in tights, I had a ponytail, earrings, sandals, and lots of luck.” “Big Daddy, Charles Bishop, handled all of the arrangements. He had a band that played for me. So did Duke Madison. Then Reverend W. T. Neal called me into his office one Sunday morning. Said he was going to put me out of the church if I didn’t stop. I ain’t been back since. My momma would not like it if I got put out of the church.” Mr. Willie’s mother, Jimmie Tate Bowles, died when he was ten. He comes from a large family of nine and was the only boy. They lived in Tallapoosa, GA. The year his mother died, Mr. Willie went to work at Cole’s Café. “Stood on a grape box at the sink and washed dishes for $2.” He also worked on the family farm. When his sister moved from Birmingham, AL, he came along; they were the last of the family to move to Lexington, KY. Mr. Willie worked as a houseboy at the University of Kentucky Kappa Sigma house on 16 LinQ // APRIL 2017 . CULTURE
Photo Credit: Kopana Terry
South Broadway. He set the table and served food to the White fraternity members. At night, he did drag. He was introduced to the stage by a cousin. “I did my number and got off the stage. That was the start.” Mr. Willie would get dressed at home, then climb out the window and make for the bus stop; he didn’t want his sisters to know. “I’d ride the city buses. Sit on the last seat in the back with a handkerchief over my mouth. When I got to my stop, I would push those back doors open and fly off that bus!” In 1955, Mr. Willie gave up public drag at the insistence of Reverend Neal. He joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in France. He was a police officer with the 64th Military Police. He also learned to drive while in the Army. “I brought all the drunk soldiers back to the post.” Mr. Willie said that he once had lots of scrapbooks and pictures of him in drag and other times in his life, but all the pictures are gone. Everything was lost in the move from Kentucky to Florida and back to Kentucky. But he has memories and he doesn’t mind sharing them. William McArthur Bowles lives at the Pine Meadows Healthcare facility in Lexington, KY. He is the widower of
Earlease Simmons Bowles, and the father of Jeffery, Debra, and William Jr. Mr. Bowles said that he is looking forward to attending Reflections: a Drag Show at the Lyric Theatre on April 9, 2017. Sponsored by Bluegrass Black Pride, Inc. and the Lyric Theatre. “I got to get my hair done!”
NOTES: 1. The old Lyric existed from 1948-1963, and reopened as the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center in 2011. 2. Larry Darnell was the stage name of Leo Edward Donald, Jr. who would become an R&B superstar. (born 1928 – died 1983) 3. Big Daddy was Charles Edwin Bishop. He had a band, and is remembered for his club at the corner of 8th and Lylesville Streets in Paris, KY. (born 1920 – died 1995) 4. Rev. W. T. Neal was pastor at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Lexington.
THE PCSO CELEBRATES
by Christopher R. Bauer, PCSO Board President In 1971, a small group of UK students formed the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), Lexington’s first public group to organize specifically around the LGBTQ+ identity. The GLF was created as an alternative to the bar scene with the intent of forming other spaces where LGBTQ+ could live out and open among the rest of the straight community. The GLF and its successor, the Gay Students Organization, unsuccessfully sought to establish an officially recognized student group at UK, although they did set the stage for Gay and Lesbian United Students (GALUS) to achieve this goal later in the 1980’s. On April 28, 1977, after the dissolution of the GLF and the Gay Students Organization, activists formed the Lexington Gay Services Organization (GSO). The mission of the GSO was to move away from strongly political and controversial activities to “assisting gay people in handling problems often taken for granted by straights, problems such as housing, medical treatment, and religious conviction.” The GSO affirmed the original purpose of the GLF, providing visibility and a space for the queer community as an alternative to the bar scene. Composed of current and former UK students as well as other community members, the GSO quickly grew. The GSO met at Comprehensive Care at 183 Walton Avenue thanks to member Edwin Hakney’s employment with the company. Soon, the group set up a phone line, began holding lectures and workshops on a wide range of issues, hosted events in the Bluegrass, and began publishing a newsletter, The Gayzette, which, although undergoing many name changes, has been published continuously ever since, now existing as LinQ. In 1981, the GSO had a proposed budget of $2,884.44 and in July began renting space at 729 East Main Street. Up until the mid-1980s, the GSO also had office space on Broadway and Pine Street but because of financial constraints, the GSO office closed, once again leaving the bars as the only meeting space for the LGBTQ+ community. 18 LinQ LinQ // // FEBRUARY APRIL 20172017 . FEATURE 18 . COMMUNITY
Although the GSO’s membership included women, it predominantly consisted of gay men. Birch Land was the GSO’s first female president in 1979 but it was not until 1986 that the group changed its name to the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) to also be representative of their female members. In 1992, the Diversity Business Coalition, Stonewall Network, and the Pride Center Task Force began raising funds for a new Pride Center. Most of these funds came from sales of the Pink Pages. In 1996, the Pride Center Task Force incorporated as the Pride Center of the Bluegrass and in 1997 moved into the Pride Center at 387 Waller Avenue. At the time, Terry Mullins was running the day-to-day operations of the Pride Center and when he became a GLSO Board Member it was decided that the GLSO would take over management of the Pride Center. In 2001, the Pride Center moved to its current location at 389 Waller Avenue and held its grand reopening during Pride Month. Beginning in the mid 1980s, the GLSO hosted an annual Pride Picnic at Jeter’s Farm. Although the organization didn’t host the event every year, by the late 1980s the Pride Picnic had grown into a week-long series of Pride events and was held at many locations, including at Jennifer Crossen and Joan Callahan’s Windy Knoll Farm. June became Pride Month and was filled with all sorts of Pride-related events. In 2008, the decision was made to move Pride out into the open for all to see, and in cooperation with other organizations such as Lexington Fairness, the GLSO presented the first Lexington Pride Festival, which was held on the old courthouse grounds. In 2009, the GLSO took over the organization of the Lexington Pride Festival and in 2010 relocated it to the Robert F. Stephens Courthouses Plaza. Since then, the Lexington Pride Festival has grown to an estimated attendance of 25,000+ with 100+ vendors, and this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.
In 2015, it became apparent to many that the name Gay and Lesbian Services Organization no longer represented all of the community that the organization served. After a very deliberative process which included a climate survey and a rebranding committee that included community members from other community organizations, the GLSO announced at the 2015 Lexington Pride Festival that it was officially changing its name to the Pride Community Services Organization (PCSO) in order to represent all members of the continually growing alphabet soup it serves. The PCSO is the oldest LGBTQ+ organization in Kentucky, on April 28th it turns 40 years old! Over the years, the PCSO has served as the parent organization for many of Lexington’s LGBTQ+ organizations, including as the start-up organization for groups that have gone on to be independent, such as AVOL, Act Out, and the Rainbow Bowling League. Currently, the PCSO is home to Company Q, a theater group for LGBTQ+ youth; Seasoned Independent People, an LGBTQ+ senior group; Lexington GSA, a gay-straight alliance for youth; the Heart to Heart Discussion Group; TransKy and TransLEX for the transgender community; the LGBTQ+ Sci-Fi/Horror Group; New Song in the Bluegrass, an LGBTQ+ community chorus; the Pride Community Prom; the LinQ newsmagazine; the Bluegrass Pink Pages; an LGBTQ+ specific lending library, and the Lexington Pride Festival. The PCSO has continuously evolved to grow and expand to meet the community’s needs and, in 2017, is stronger than it ever has been. The PCSO has always been a volunteer led organization and it is because of all of the tireless efforts of a countless number of Board members, volunteers, and donors that we are still here today! On this special occasion, the PCSO is hosting the GSO/GLSO/PCSO 40th Anniversary Banquet at the Four Points Sheraton on Saturday, April 29th at 6:00 PM (tickets can be purchased for $40 before April 15th at anniversary.pcsoky.org). So, let’s celebrate the PCSO! Stop by the Pride Center (the only one in Kentucky) and check out a book, join one of our many groups, write an article for the LinQ (Kentucky’s only monthly LGBTQ+ specific magazine), dance the night away at the Pride Community Prom, and celebrate your Pride at the Lexington Pride Festival!
Q Many thanks to Jeffrey Alan Jones, author of Hidden Histories, Proud Communities: Multiple Narratives in The Queer Geographies of Lexington, Kentucky, 1930-1999 for compiling the history and information from which much of this article was informed.
FEATURE . APRIL 2017 // LinQ 19
PRIDE AROUND by Paul Brown, 2017 Lexington Pride Festival Chair
are transfixed on the queens’ performances. I am amazed as I watch patrons form a queue at the stage and hand up dollar after dollar after dollar as if held captive by a spell forcing them to turn over all of their money. I did not have much money to hand up. Some things never change. Nearly 20 years later, I have seen hours and hours of drag. No longer so naïve, I see all the work that goes into being a queen. They endure the stares and the snickers of those outside the community who have never seen a show. They do not care what others think. They buy women’s clothes in outlets where the workers give judgmental glances and ask probing questions. They do not care. They put on their high heels and pantyhose, shave their chests, and dance as if they were really Lady Gaga to the applause of the crowds still transfixed and handing up their dollars. They
believe in themselves even if no one else does, and they are proud. So, why have I chosen to write about the queen clan? On April 12th at Crossings Lexington, the Lexington Pride Festival will have a turnabout. For those who do not know, a turnabout is when the folks who work the door trade places with the queens and do the drag. What does this mean? It means that people on the festival planning committee and the PCSO Board of Directors including yours truly – complete and total drag novices – will paint their faces, put on wigs and lashes, and wobble around on too-small high heels while lip syncing “watermelon” or “banana” to songs we have not quite learned. The effect should be comical, but we will do it and hopefully entertain some folks and raise a few dollars toward putting on the Pride Festival. From a personal perspective, the four pairs of panty hose that cover my beastly legs are rather uncomfortable. The fake nails and lashes feel unnatural. The bobby pins holding the wig on straight up hurt, and heels – well, they are the ninth realm of Dante’s Inferno. But what is more important than all the drag is that I will wear pride. All of the performers that night will wear pride. Our performances may or may not be pretty, but we will do them with pride. And hopefully all the patrons will watch with pride. Join us April 12th even if it is just to take pictures of 40-year-old me battling a too-tight dress. Bring a couple of dollars to tip me. That money will go to the production of the Pride Festival. And wear your pride today, tomorrow, and every day.
COMMUNITY . APRIL 2017 // LinQ 21
hen we think about the proudest of people in the queer community, there are many options that come to mind. One option that a lot of people forget is that of the drag queens. In all sincerity, I have never seen a prouder group than the drag queens. They often take a brutal clip, too. People frequently belittle the profession and say, “That ain’t nothing but a man in a dress. Can’t sing or dance – just stand waving his hairy arms while lip syncing.” The truth is not that. The truth is that these people work to put on a show that entertains hundreds if not thousands of people. I will never forget the first time I saw a drag show. Picture it: It’s 1998 at Connections in Louisville, Kentucky. I am a green 21-year-old. The drag room is crowded with people and alcohol. Cigarette smoke clearly clouds the not-so-well lit room, but the queens flame more brightly than a supernova next to a black hole. All eyes
The ‘Seasoned Independent People’ host their potluck at the PCSO center on Friday, March 17th
Tuesday G Meadows speaks at the “Women’s Health in the Age of HIV” event, sponsored by Bluegrass Black Pride, Inc. photo via Instagram @pcsoky #LinQbyPCSO
COMMUNITY & SOCIAL GROUPS
CALENDAR & DIRECTORY
Saturday, April 1 10:00 a.m.-Grief Support Group (Ahava Center) 7:30p.m.-TransKentucky Meeting Wednesday, April 5 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center) Thursday, April 6 6:30 p.m.-PCSO Board Meeting (PCSO Center) Saturday, April 8 9:00 p.m.-Kentucky Bourbon Bears Board Meeting (Crossings Lex) Sunday, April 9 6:00 p.m.-Imperial Court Meeting (PCSO Center) 6:00 p.m.-Refelections: A Drag Show Tribute to Days Past, presented by Bluegrass Black Pride, Inc. (Lyric Theatre) Tuesday, April 11 6:30 p.m.-PFLAG Meeting (St. Michael’s Church) 9:00 p.m.-Sci-Fi/Horror Group (PCSO Center) Wednesday, April 12 5:00 p.m.-Richmond’s Alphabet Soup Support Group (UU Fellowship Hall) 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center) Saturday, April 15 Editorial & Ad Deadline for LinQ Magazine Sunday, April 16 1:30 p.m.-Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in Central/ Eastern KY(PCSO Center) 8:00 p.m.-Turnabout Fundraiser for PCSO (Crossings Lex) Tuesday, April 18 KY Gives Day (kygives.pcsoky.org)
National Transgender HIV Testing Day (Lexington locations: Lex-Fayette Co. Health Dept, AVOL, Moveable Feast, Planned Parenthood) Wednesday, April 19 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center) Thursday, April 20 6:30 p.m.-LexPrideFest Planning Meeting (PCSO Center) 6:30 p.m.- Screening of Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, presented by PFLAG of Central KY & Lafayette High School GSA (Lafayette High Library) Friday, April 21 7:00 p.m.-Senior’s Potluck (PCSO Center) Saturday, April 22 10:00 a.m.-Librarian Work Session (PCSO Center) Sunday, April 23 3:00 p.m.-Sci-Fi/Horror Group (PCSO Center) 6:00 p.m.-ICK’s Board of Directors/Membership Meeting (PCSO Center) Wednesday, April 26 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center) Thursday, April 27 7:00 p.m. Mr & Miss Lexington Pride Pageant (Kentucky Theater) Friday, April 28 6:00 p.m.-GLOW: A Coffee House, presented by Woodford Co. High School GSA (Versailles Presbyterian Chruch) Saturday, April 29 6:00 p.m.-PCSO 40th Anniversary Banquet (Four Points by Sheraton)
For more details on events, view the full calendar at pcsoky.org at the bottom of the webpage
24-Hour National Crisis Line
24-Hour Teen Crisis Line
24/7 Veteran’s Administration Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255, Press 1
Arbor Youth Services
Council for Peace and Justice
Fairness of Louisville
Gay-Straight Alliance, Teens
“Heart to Heart” Discussion Group
Imperial Court of Kentucky
KY Survivors Area of Narcotics Anonymous
Lexington Fair Housing Council
Lexington Human Rights
Lexington Pride Festival
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
PCSO Pride Center
PFLAG Central Kentucky, Inc.
Rainbow Bowling League
SAGE Elder Hotline
Social Services, Lexington
Transgender Youth Family Allies
Trevor Lifeline 24/7
VA, Lexington LGBT Veteran Care Office
859-233-4511, Ext. 3482
COLLEGE STUDENT GROUPS Berea College ACE
BCTC Gay-Straight Alliance
Centre College BGLA
EKU Alphabet Center
EKU Pride Alliance
Morehead State University
UK LGBTQ* Resource Center
RELIGIOUS GROUPS Ahava Center for Spiritual Living
Bluegrass United Church of Christ
Faith Lutheran Church
First Presbyterian Church
Hunter Presbyterian Church
Lex Friends, Quakers
Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church
St. Martha’s Episcopal Church
St. Michael's Episcopal Church
Unitarian Universalist Church
Woodland Christian Church
HIV/STD TESTING, SERVICES, & INFO AIDS Volunteers of Lexington (AVOL)
Health Department, Fayette County
Health Department, Woodford County
HIV/AIDS Legal Project
Northern KY Region
UK Adolescent Medicine
CALENDAR & DIRECTORY . APRIL 2017 // LinQ 27