CONNECTING THE BLUEGRASS LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY
And Other Advocates Supporting Our LGBTQ+ Youth Page 14
TransKY ADVOCATE On The Pulse Massacre: Page 8 Who is Left Out of the Current Discourse?
APAGE Journey Home 10
Lexington Interfaith Encounters
Books To Transform a Trump Administration
Pride And Love And Success
Pride Came & Pride Stays Page 18 PAGES 16 & 17
AUGUST 2017 - VOL 39 / NO. 8 - A Publication of the PCSO
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2 LinQ // AUGUST 2017
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IN THIS ISSUE
VOL 39 / NO. 8
FEATURE SUPPORTING OUR LGBTQ+ YOUTH page 14
Meet some everyday heroes helping make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth here in Central Kentucky.
FOR OUR LGBTQ+ YOUTH
THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT page 4
Even though Helena hates change, her life is about ready to take a very big change. Her alter ego, Anthony, just took on a new important community outreach job.
BECOMING ME TransKY ADVOCATE
A JOURNEY HOME
Lexington Interfaith Encounters
Tuesday begins her 4th year writing for LinQ Magazine, looks back at her journey, and takes a “leap” forward.
Stan “JR” Zerkowski shares his thoughts about the first UNITED IN DIGNITY Pride Interfaith Service that was held the day after the 2017 Lexington Pride Festival at the Lyric Theater.
PRIDE AND LOVE AND SUCCESS page 18
2017 Lexington Pride Festival Chair Paul Brown looks back at the successful 2017 Pride Festival here in Lexington with an eye on improving next year’s event.
HUMOR ADVOCACY CULTURE
FEATURE COMMUNITY CALENDAR AUGUST 2017 // LinQ 3
by Helena Handbasket
hange is hard! But then again, sometimes it isn’t. Here it is August and time for my latest confession. I hate change. I am one of those people that arrange the furniture the way I think it flows best and then I am happy to leave it that way almost forever. It drives the husband crazy because sometimes he feels like updating or changing something and then I come home and explode. Well… not really explode, but I’m not always nice. I don’t know if it is a nesting instinct in me or what, but I just struggle with change. We have had a certain cable TV company for years and I know where all the channels are located, and all of the numbers and tricks to get to the things I like to watch. This cable company has been so difficult to deal with and won’t come help when we have issues with the internet or anything else that might go wrong. Over time they have gotten so expensive as well. I came home one night and he proudly announces to me that he has been on the phone all day and he has switched to a new cable provider. I should be happy and supportive but NOOOOO. I am aggravated to no end. Now I have to relearn it all. Where do I go to find TCM? I can’t live without my black and white classics. And what about all of the movies and episodes of my favorite shows that I had recorded? Now those will be lost forever. Sometimes I hate change. But then sometimes an 4 LinQ // AUGUST 2017 . HUMOR MAY 2017 . HUMOR
opportunity comes along and I would be a fool to pass it up… but it requires that I change my habits. I must change my daily routine… my daily processes… and even the way
I think about some things. I recently had one of those days. On that day I got a phone call from someone I admire and respect who asked if I might take a little time and meet him for coffee. On that day we discussed his place of employment and his passion about what he does. And on that day he mentioned that I might be a good addition to his team. Of course, I am talking about a job offer. I was not particularly unhappy with my current job at the time. I love most of the people that I worked with and I enjoyed many aspects about what I did. But as time passed, I started to realize that I was losing my passion for what I was doing. I felt that I was not making a difference. I felt that my contribution to the world could be so much more meaningful if I did something I was passionate about. And after speaking with Jon Parker of AVOL, I could tell that his passion was contagious and was what was lacking in my own life. So, I swallowed hard, said a little prayer, had a discussion with the husband (who knows I hate change), and I accepted
the job. I am proud to say that my employment at AVOL began July 31st and I am the new Community Engagement Manager. I will be working with volunteers who are making a difference in our community and elsewhere on a regular basis. I will be so busy learning to do new tasks and involving myself in things where I can feel like I have a purpose and my opinion matters. I am so thankful for this opportunity. One of those tasks will be helping to coordinate volunteers for projects and events, so don’t be surprised when YOU get that call or e-mail or Facebook message asking for your participation or contribution. Together, change can happen. And just maybe, when I see the amazing difference it makes in other’s lives, I will learn not to be so inflexible and set in my ways. Yes, they do call me Mamaw, but I too can change and even LIKE it. It will be necessary to grieve the necessary losses like walking away from the current team where I work. They have been like a family to me. Yes, change is hard. But sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is necessary. And sometimes change is given back when you don’t spend the entire dollar. (giggle). Until next month ya’ll. Mamaw loves ya!
Q Send comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
HUMOR . OCTOBER 2016 // LinQ 5
IMPERIAL COURT OF KENTUCKY NEWS by Daniel Honeycutt, Board Member
ow, what a whirlwind summer this has been! Between speaking with old friends and meeting new ones at events like the Pride March, The Bourbon Ball, Fairness Awards, the Pride Festival, and the 4th of July Parade, I can honestly say our community is ready for the challenges of tomorrow. As the Imperial Court of Kentucky embarks on its 36th year of service, we too are looking to the future. For those of you who are
6 LinQ // AUGUST 2017 . ADVOCACY
familiar with the Imperial Court of Kentucky, it will be noticed that we have no Monarchs this year. The Board of Directors along with the College of Monarchs have determined it is time to strengthen our organization by building new ties within our communities as well as reinvigorating old ones. As such, the Board of Directors will be working directly with individuals and organizations to refocus our efforts and better serve you. To make this venture
successful, we strongly encourage all members, prospective members, other organizations (come on intersectionality!), or those just curious to come to our meetings on the second and fourth Sunday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the PCSO Pride Center and voice your opinions. In the meantime, come have a blast with us on August 6th at Crossings to raise money for school supplies at our annual Back to School Show. Q
“AIN’T I A WOMAN?” by Carol Taylor-Shim, MSW
trans women? Cis women playing Oppression Olympics and swearing up and down they crossed the finish line first? GTFOH with that. Where does male privilege come from when you have to hide who you are every minute of the day while your soul aches to live your truth? I cannot imagine living like that. Is that even living? For some folks it absolutely is,
but is it the best life they could have? I don’t know. But what I do know is their mere existence shouldn’t be a barrier to living life on their own terms, free from the affliction of transphobia. But it is because cis men and women make it that way. We are quick to claim an ally or accomplice identity to trans women. I’ve done it. I call myself an aspiring accomplice to the trans community, but even that isn’t sitting well with me as I write this because I shouldn’t be comfortable with just saying it. I shouldn’t feel the need to announce it. What I should do is show it. Well, look at that, a moment of clarity!!! See, if you aren’t constantly checking your own messy,
privileged baggage, you will cause harm. And your intent won’t matter. We are all complicit in the oppression of the entire transgender and gender nonconforming, non-binary community. All of us. To question how much “woman” someone is and to determine they aren’t enough is transphobic. To claim yourself as the only owner of the answer to “What is a woman?” is the height of cis privilege. And you need to stop it. What do cis women lose by recognizing that the experience that is “a woman” looks different on so many levels and all of them are real and valid? Why is power over trans women and other female identifying people so important to cisgender women? What makes you being cis any different than the system of oppression known as patriarchy? There are some trans women and other female identifying folks who have blessed my life with their love, friendship, and humanity and who have welcomed me into their family with arms open wider than many of my own blood family. I owe it to them to do better each day; to learn when I make those inevitable mistakes. But we all have that same obligation, right? Saying trans women are not women is violence. If that is what you intentionally peddle out in this universe, then you are no better than your own oppressor.
n 1851, Sojourner Truth stood before the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio and asked the question that to this day people have trouble with. Black women and female identifying people are the absolutely most disrespected group in this country. Then you layer that with homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism, misogyny, misogynoir, socio-economic disparities, and the ever-constant fear that the next breath you take will be your last. And, for the record, when a person speaks truth to their trauma and you cannot manage to express some level of empathy for another human being who lives in a constant of fear, you are contributing to that person’s trauma. I experience that on a damn near daily basis, in a multitude of places and arenas. I can only imagine what other people with far less privilege than I battle with for their very survival. Ok, back to my original point. What I’m really talking about is this vitriol dripping from mouths of cisgender women. And it ain’t just cishet women. I hear this same mess out of the LGB community too. Some women who were assigned female gender at birth seem to be of the opinion that trans women have somehow benefited from being assigned a gender that did not match their true selves. I just cannot wrap my head around the callousness of that line of thinking. Women denying the experiences of
Q ADVOCACY . AUGUST 2017 // LinQ 7
TransKY ADVOCATE by Tuesday G Meadows
O A ADVOCACY
“Something has changed within me/Something is not the same/I’m through with playing by/The rules of someone else’s game/Too late for second-guessing/Too late to go back to sleep/It’s time to trust my instincts/Close my eyes and leap! It’s time to try Defying gravity/I think I’ll try Defying gravity… And you won’t pull me down.” Defying Gravity, written by Steven Schwartz (from Wicked)
s I begin my fourth year writing for LinQ magazine, I reflect not only on the last few years that I’ve written about my life but upon my entire life and my journey. It has taken a lifetime to become me, the person that stands before you. The good, the bad, and even the mundane have helped make me the woman that I am today. I know that many of you think that I am confident and brave, but for the last 4 years writing or talking about myself, the name Thomas has frightened me. Well, not really the name but people finding out that was the name that my parents gave me at birth. Even though I’ve had my name legally changed and I’ve changed, I am not going to be afraid anymore of people knowing my previous name or anything else about my life, past or present. A name is just what we are called and not who we are. Tuesday actually comes from Tiw, the Norse God of War. Thomas means twin. People who know me know that I can be quite combative and I certainly have two distinct personalities. So, both names still apply to my personality. But only call me Tuesday. At a very young age, I knew that my body didn’t look and my 8 LinQ // AUGUST 2017 . ADVOCACY
voice didn’t sound like most other girls. My two older brothers made it their mission to beat the girl out of me whenever I showed any outward semblance of my femininity. Even with my brothers’ torture I didn’t hate them. but I did learn to hate myself. Much of my younger years were spent dreaming how everything might be corrected. Much of my teen and young adult years were spent not caring whether I lived or died because all I could see was how cruel the world would be if I tried to live outwardly as me. For most of my life I worried too much about what people might think, to my own detriment. I was lucky that I was able to confide in my mom, my wife, and later my daughter. Although I started my medical and social transition 4 years ago, it’s been an entire life of transition trying to become me. I am not the same child that prayed and dreamed of waking up and having this great injustice fixed. I am not the teen or young person who tried to kill myself. I am not the adult who wanted to make sense of it all. I am not the middle-aged person who plotted and planned to make everything right. My view of who I am (and who I was) has evolved greatly.
I don’t worry about myself any longer, I am finally doing OK. But now I spend my energy trying to help others find the same inner peace that I have found. I was, and have always been, female from the very beginning. Once that I finally had the epiphany that I was who I was meant to be all along, my anger at God ended. God had indeed made me this girl. A girl not like other girls but a girl never the less. I was then able to stop being angry at others including myself. Having peace motivated me to redirect my life. The people who hate me, the self-righteous that scorn me, and even the society that tries to break me and perpetrates violence against people like me can’t define me. Only me. They can’t make me hate them, I refuse. Instead I will use my energy for the rest of my life to help people understand, and more importantly support, all trans, gender queer, and gender variant individuals. Over the last 4 years, I’ve taken measures to make my body line up with my mind. I’ve had medical procedures. I’ve had therapy. No, I see nothing wrong with what I’ve done. No, I have not made a mistake. They are my decisions and no one else’s decisions to make except me. I
Now, you may think all of this reflection and inner peace has softened me. I guarantee you, it has not. Please remember Tiw, Norse God of War, who I am named after. I will not hate others, but I will continue to work to tear down the walls of hate that are built to prevent people from becoming themselves. No matter where that hate comes from I will fight, be it large well-funded religions groups and organizations, small hateful churches, businesses, governments, hate organizations, politicians, or even those individuals within our own LGBTQ+ community. I will speak out and not compromise one little bit with those who try to cisplain my life to me. I will work hard to help others, volunteer, and donate my time to worthwhile projects. I will not be friends or even friendly to people who are closed-minded when it comes to any marginalized
group. Nearing the end of life, there are the ‘what ifs.’ I try not to think of what my life could have been. Reflections are OK, regrets are not. I’m not ever going to wish that I had been a girl like other girls my entire life because that is just a waste of time and energy. It was a difficult journey, but it was my life’s journey and mine alone and no one will ever define it except me. Helping others is now my life quest. I’ve heard that the secret to happiness is how we handle life’s adversities. Maybe the real secret to happiness is more about how we finally figure out how to help others with their adversities. You may write me at tmeadows828@ gmail.com or please follow my blog at: tuesdaysgonewiththewind. wordpress.com. Now, Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
don’t have to explain myself to anyone. I could not care less about those who do not not understand, but I expect my friends to try to understand. I will never speak for all of the gender variant identities community. We are much too diverse to ever speak with one voice. Much of the problem I’ve had with Caitlyn Jenner is that some have thought that she should be our de facto spokesperson. She most certainly is not but neither am I. What I write about and speak about are only my experiences and my life. If there are any similarities with others, then that is great. I know that many have it much harder than me, including transgender women of color, young gender variant individuals, and those with disabilities. We are as varied as the society in which we live. Additionally, so are our struggles.
22ND SEASON BEGINS WITH ANNUAL PICNIC, REHEARSAL STARTUP AND MORE!
ou’ve heard us sing for years at the Lexington Pride Festival. Now, it’s time to plan to join SisterSound, the Lexington Women’s Chorus for its 22nd Season! Kicking things off will be the Annual Prospective and Returning Members Picnic on Sunday, August 27, 6 p.m. at Shillito Park, Shelter #5. If you are female, at least 18 years old, and have thought about singing with SisterSound for the first time or rejoining after a few semesters away, come to the picnic and meet other SisterSound members. We are a non-audition chorus and if you can match pitch with those around you, we would like to have you singing with us. If you can’t come to the picnic, Rehearsals for the 2017-2018 season begin on Sunday, September 10 at Centenary United Methodist Church Choir Room, 2800 Tates Creek Road, Lexington. Join us at 5:00 p.m. for
ntral Kentucky with PRIDE all year e C g lon vin g! Ser
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10 LinQ // MAY 2017 . COMMUNITY
snacks and conversation with rehearsal from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Plans are in the works for the 2018 Concerts, so put them on your calendar now! Both concerts will be at Crestwood Christian Church, 1882 Bellefonte Dr, Lexington (next to Glendover Elementary School). Concert dates are set for January 20, 2018 and May 19, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. And, last but certainly not least, make plans to attend the annual SisterSound Yard Sale, 8 a.m.–2 p.m., Saturday, September 16 at 2290 Alexandria Drive, Lexington, 40504. Come and shop ‘til you drop! Want to donate items for the sale? Call Teri at (859) 361-4869. Have questions or need more information? Give Patti a call at (859) 806-0243.
A JOURNEY HOME Lexington Interfaith Encounters by Stan “JR” Zerkowski, Founder of Lexington Interfaith Encounters
and celebrate who each of us is and who we are together. So magnificent was this beautiful diversity, it made the top story on the evening and nightly news and even was featured on National Public Radio! I wonder what the news was, really. That the LGBTQ+ community gathered with straight, Hispanic, Anglo, Black, Asian, believers, non-believers, a diverse cross-section of the Bluegrass, and celebrated a common dignity? That the LGBTQ+ community had dozens of faith leaders stand with them in prayer and Pride? That the LGBTQ+ community was willing to embrace faith leaders who represented traditions that did not always embrace them? That prayer and encounter found a place within the LGBTQ+ community? That the LGBTQ+ community was reaching beyond itself, yet again, to touch the lives of children in a generous and loving way though the offering taken up to establish a scholarship for children with special needs at the Child Development Center of the Bluegrass? For me, the news that day was that we began a new journey, a journey home. If you are estranged from participating in a faith community, I invite you to consider rejoining a faith community and allowing people to know you and love you—to take Pride in your dignity. False impressions, stereotypical assumptions, and biases crumble
when we encounter another and learn who another is. You hold the key to unlocking a different future where sisters and brothers are cherished, loved, valued, and celebrated. Go, open doors; the closet is not the only door that must be opened. We celebrated Pride, for sure, and dignity. But, we celebrated love, really. Not love covered in doctrine, couched in religion, or loaded down with caveats and conditions; no, love that is the foundation of a diverse community that understands our common humanity and our common dignity. You might find it odd that these pages contain an article on faith. But, the truth is, faith communities need you, your gifts, your dignity, your heart, and your hands. March forward on the journey home–united in dignity— and take your place at the table. I will, too. Q
t is true: organized religion— or, sometimes, disorganized religion—has hurt, alienated, and discriminated against LGBTQ+ persons. I have heard so many reveal the depth of pain, anger, and confusion that is rampant. So, it was a hopeful sign when twentythree interfaith leaders—Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, Jewish, Methodist, Muslim, Spiritualist, United Church of Christ—stood, prayed, and sang together at the UNITED IN DIGNITY Pride Interfaith Service, at the Lyric Theater, on June 25th. A 60-voice interfaith choir, more than a dozen community and civic leaders, our mayor—nearly one hundred on the stage—were a powerful witness to the welcome and embrace that is available to the LGBTQ+ community. I believe our real Pride is the dignity each of us possess and share. When we reach out and build bridges with our hearts, attitudes, creativity, laughter, tears, talents, goodness, stories, welcome, and love, we create reasons to be proud. We discover our Pride by sharing ourselves; in fact, we have parades and festivals to share ourselves. We have a right to bask in the Pride that is ours—and everyone’s too—in our common humanity. For 90 minutes, at the end of the Pride celebrations, we came together—for the very first time—to stand, united, before a Common Creator, to give thanks
CULTURE . AUGUST 2017 // LinQ 11
12 LinQ // AUGUST 2017 . FEATURE
Supporting Our LGBTQ+ Youth by Tuesday G Meadows “No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus.” Former Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr.
hings have changed, and not necessarily for the better. As reported by The Daily Beast, a new study done by RTI International found rates of anti-LGBTQ+ school bullying to be at an “unprecedented high.” The report goes on to say that since they have been tracking these statistics since 1992, not only have matters gotten worse, but many of these students who are bullied feel like they continue to lack support from school officials. According to The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), 75.8% of all transgender students say they feel unsafe at school. Middle school through college life can be difficult for LGBTQ+ students. Often teachers, faculty, staff, administrators, and others say that they lack the training to stop bullying and violence. That aforementioned survey by RTI International also said that, with training, those dealing with bullying or instances of violence often gain the tactics and confidence to prevent them. Meet some local people who are trying to make a difference from high school to college: 14 LinQ // AUGUST 2017 . FEATURE
Rayne Parker Education Outreach Coordinator in UK’s Office of LGBTQ* Resources
Rayne Parker, Education Outreach Coordinator and Lance Poston, Director, in UK’s Office of LGBTQ* Resources
gender marker in the system more accurately reflect their identity. The Office is launching Welcome Home UK, a service open to all students to share a meal or home with a UK faculty or staff member over long academic breaks. In partnership with the UK Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives, OUTGrad events are offered throughout the year for Graduate and Professional students. Alumni are able to join Pride Cats, the LGBTQ* alumni group, to sustain community. Learn more about the UK’s Office of LGBTQ* Resources by visiting their website uky.edu/lgbtq or following them on Facebook or Twitter @ukylgbtq. Amber Faris GSA Advisor at Dunbar High School Amber has been an English teacher going on 14 years at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and has been also been the GSA Advisor for 11 of those years. She grew up in Western Kentucky where she says that there just wasn’t much diversity, but where her parents instilled in her a desire to treat everyone as an extension of herself and to be kind, no matter what. Once she moved to Lexington she was quickly exposed to a wide array of people. She says that, shortly after relocating here, her hair dresser became her first openly gay friend. She knows that when people have friends or family that are LGBTQ+ that it becomes more personal. Once she got involved with the Dunbar GSA she quickly realized how marginalized this group of people had been treated. She says that she continues to grow as an accomplice and an ally for her LGBTQ+ students and the community as a whole. Amber is married to Kevin Faris who is assistant principal at Woodford County High School and they have two children. The Dunbar GSA has been in existence for 15 years and consistently has had 20 to 25 members with many others attending as their schedules allow each year that Amber has been involved. They meet every Monday and frequently have guests come to talk to the students about various subjects. They will usually watch a video, a movie, or just have an open discussion about what is going on in the world. On National Day of Silence they will often have over 100 students show up in support of the LGBTQ+ students for that day. For this event they also will design and sell t-shirts throughout the school. They love it when they can partner with community organizations to promote fairness and equality and to
They comes from Franklin, Tennessee and is an alumnus of Transylvania University where they majored in Gender Studies. Prior to their work in higher education, they was a high school Language Arts teacher in North Carolina. While in high school, Rayne began their school’s GayStraight Alliance. An invitation to serve as faculty sponsor was placed in each of the faculty and staff mailboxes, but only one teacher responded. The first several meetings were attended by students who either wanted to learn more about LGBTQ* identities or those who were offered extra credit by teachers for attending, it also served as an accepting and affirming hub for LGBTQ* students in the school and still exists today. As a gender non-binary person, Rayne has faced some opposition when working in and with K-12 schools and organizations. Most of this opposition is due to enforced misgendering due to uncertainty of how to explain gender variance to children, youth, and their families. Through their work at UK, they advocates for students, faculty, and staff to ensure no one is discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Office of LGBTQ* Resources at the University of Kentucky is the central hub for accessing information, groups, and services related to diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. The campus-wide office supports the Office of the Vice President for Institutional Diversity in making sure UK’s community is a welcoming, safe, and supportive place for all students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The Office seeks to connect and collaborate with community groups and friends across the City of Lexington and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Office’s mission focuses on the three core pillars of education, advocacy, and community building to ultimately highlight the wonderfully diverse experiences of LGBTQ* Wildcats while working to decrease marginalization in all forms. These goals are accomplished by supporting student organizations, offering professional development opportunities for campus groups, and advocating for LGBTQ* individuals from many walks of life. The Office of LGBTQ* Resources offers SafeZone workshops to provide an overview of LGBTQ* identities, discrimination individuals may face for their sexual orientation or gender identity or their perceived identity, and tools to take to make spaces safe and to advocate for LGBTQ* individuals. The Office also offers presentations and workshops on a range of topics by request. Throughout the academic year, lunchtime sessions are hosted to present research related to and affecting the LGBTQ* community. Among the myriad of other events, each year the Office hosts UK Trans* Week of Awareness in November and UK Pride Week in April to provide community building events, education opportunities, and highlight advocacy work. This November, the Office will also host the inter-collegiate Come Together Kentucky conference for LGBTQ* students and allies across the state. In partnership with UK HealthCare, the Office of LGBTQ* Resources has begun the Transform Health Clinic, which offers LGBTQ* inclusive and specific services to the UK and GreaterLexington communities. Members of the UK community have the ability to place their preferred name on their Wildcat ID card and students also have access to gender marker forms to have their
FEATURE . AUGUST2016 2017 //// LinQ LinQ 15 15 FEATURE . NOVEMBER
years ago in 2015. The club has around 30 active members and other students who show up when it fits their schedules. The club members came up with their own mission statement: The purpose of this club is to be a safe and accepting environment for anyone who needs it. Our mission is to maintain an open-minded forum for those who are seeking support or understanding from their peers. Through this all-inclusive club, we hope to raise awareness and inform people about the LGBTQ+ community, while also being a support group for issues that may arise in any individual’s life. Club meetings may include: discussion, the viewing and analysis of short films, brainstorming ideas for community involvement/awareness efforts such as preparing and promoting the “Day of Silence,” etc. Amy says that what she truly admires about these students who sparked the idea for the club is their loving and open-minded approach. With their mission for the GSA, the students not only promote fairness and inclusion for all members of the LGBTQ+ community but for all people. She says that their club invites and welcomes all who may want a safe and accepting place to share ideas and goals that deal with promoting kindness and collaborations as humans. Amy states that she is proud to be the advisor for this group that is willing to stand up for those that are marginalized by society.
Amber Faris, GSA Advisor at Dunbar High School, with her husband Kevin and their children
be “mouthpieces for change.” The students at Dunbar, along with Amber, want to see GSAs in all schools, including middle schools in the area. The Dunbar GSA students have in recent years reached out to feeder middle schools in hopes of helping them form their own GSAs. Amber said that freshmen often seem to be in dire need of resources when they get to high school to help them survive and thrive. Middle school is a tumultuous time where many teens are grappling with their sexuality and gender, so having resources for them early only seems logical. She said that she wants to see more training provided for faculty and staff, especially teachers and counselors on LGBTQ+ issues. She says that GSAs are essential to the well-being of her students, and that she is proud to help them learn and grow and, most importantly, promote inclusion and safety in their lives
Amy Schwarz GSA Club Sponsor at Woodford County High School
Amy has been an English teacher in public high schools for 10 years. She grew up in a family that moved a lot and she says that she was exposed to varieties of geographical locations and the cultural characteristics of each of those areas in which she lived. Moving helped her learn to adapt and develop a sense of compassion and appreciation for all types of people and their life stories. Being the “new kid” often, she says that she understands what it feels like to be on the outside of the group and that can be a lonely and scary place to be sometimes. Amy tries to draw from those memories to remind herself that everyone has a story and a struggle to bear and to be sensitive to the internal work that we are all doing everyday. Woodford County High School GSA officially began two 16 LinQ // AUGUST 2017 . FEATURE
Amy Schwarz, GSA Club Sponsor at Woodford County High School
Josh Day PCSO Board Youth Liaison & L exington GSA Advisor
Together with long-time advisor Mary Crone, Josh Day has been helping to lead a group of advisors of the 13 to 19-yearold PCSO Pride Center Lexington Gay Straight Alliance. Josh says that, after the presidential election, he knew that he wanted to get involved to help advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. After talking to a member of the Pride Community Services Organization, he decided to start volunteering with the Lexington GSA that meets weekly at the PCSO Pride Center. Since then, Josh has also joined the PCSO Board and has taken the role of Youth Liaison. He thought he could best serve the LGBTQ+ community by helping to work with this group of middle and high school youth that often have it rough at school and at home. Josh himself is a senior at the
Josh Day, PCSO Board Youth Liaison & Lexington GSA Advisor
University of Kentucky in the nursing program and works at Baptist Health Lexington. He moved to Lexington from Ohio when he was 6 years old and attended primary and secondary school here. During the GSA weekly meetings, the youth come to the PCSO Pride Center, which is considered a safe place for all LGBTQ+ persons and especially LGBTQ+ youth, where they discuss a variety of topics ranging from their daily lives to pop culture to politics. He says he enjoys hearing the different perspectives and experiences of all the teens that come to the meetings from all over Central Kentucky. The advisors offer advice to the kids about things like school and personal and professional relationships, but their main purpose is to make sure that these youths have someone to listen to them. The advisors also lead discussions on topics that are relevant to all of our lives as part of the LGBTQ+ community. In the last year, the Lexington GSA has hosted events such as the Pride Prom as an alternative to the high school proms, Halloween and Valentine’s Day parties, and presented the documentary Gender Revolution at the public library during the Lexington Pride Festival. Josh has made it a personal goal to help the Lexington GSA grow in numbers as school gets back in session this Fall. He hopes to visit high schools in Lexington and let students know not only about the Lexington GSA group at the PCSO Pride Center but also about other ways that they can get involved with the community. He said that he plans to do more outreach events in the future such as movie nights and game nights to help promote the Lexington GSA. If you are 13 to 19 years old and if you would like more information about the Lexington GSA, contact Carmen at 859-253-3233.
Lafayette Gay-Straight Alliance. Julie lives with her soon to be wife, Angie, and is the mother of 3 children, two of whom still live at home. She says growing up in a home with parents who were homophobic, so much so that her mother said that she never hugged Julie because she didn’t want to make her gay, made Julie resolve to do better. Julie said that with her own daughter coming out in middle school, she not only supported her, but it also was a way for her to practice not only all that she had learned academically and experimentally—but to also put into practice being the person, mother, and social worker that she so desperately wanted to be. When Julie began working for FCPS in 2009, she saw the critical need for students to feel safe and supported while at school and in their homes regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/ expression. She says that she believes that educators and school systems have an obligation to ensure that all students are prepared to acknowledge and respect the diverse world in which we live, and that long-term sustainable institutional change can only occur when all members of the school community, from principals to parents, playground monitors to school counselors, classroom teachers to bus drivers, and everyone else involved all share an understanding and commitment to create a school where all students feel welcome and safe. The Lafayette GSA holds a “Lunch and Learn” program for all teachers and support staff so that they can learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. The Lafayette GSA has had a transgender adolescent panel discussion put on for district social workers, counselors, teachers, and others. Last year, Lafayette GSA spearheaded the first annual GSA picnic where other school GSAs were invited to attend. They also created a GSA video that encourages Lexington and UK health professionals to do more healthcare locally for transgender health needs. Their GSA has grown to 92 members last year and was nominated as GSA of the year by GLSEN (a national nomination), taking an Honor Roll placement at the 2016 GLSEN Respect Awards. The Lafayette GSA students will again be working with other GSA’s in the region and several community organizations to host the second annual GSA Pride Picnic at Shillito Park from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 27th. If you are involved with a local GSA, please plan on joining them at Shelter #1 for food and entertainment. Q
Julie Bennington, MSW, CSW Fayette County Public Schools Social Worker at Lafayette High School
Julie is in her 29th year as a social worker, receiving her Masters of Science in Social Work in Social Administration (Mental Health and Community-Based Service tracks) in 1998 from Case Western Reserve University. She has worked as a child and family therapist in an outpatient setting for 11 years specializing in conduct disorders, substance abuse, grief and trauma, adoption, adult and child psychiatric care, and LGBTQ+ related issues. She is an active board member of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Bluegrass Chapter, serves on Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) Crisis Response Team and is Faculty Advisor for the
Julie Bennington, Fayette County Public Schools Social Worker at Lafayette High School (Right), with her partner Angie
FEATURE . AUGUST 2017 // LinQ 17
PRIDE AND LOVE AND SUCCESS
by Paul Brown, 2017 Lexington Pride Festival Chair
ot that long ago, I watched a TED Talk featuring a principal of a high school in a bad place: dismal failure rates, poor college and career ready stats, high crime rates, etc. She had achieved amazing results in turning her school around. Every time her school had a success she gave a quick “Hooray” with her faculty to keep up morale. Then, she followed up with, “So what? Now what?” That phrase has stuck with me ever since. There is no such thing as perfection, but the limits of our reach are boundless. Now I find myself applying her attitude to the Pride Festival. While it takes a while to sort out all the bills and critiques, as of this writing, it looks like 2017 was one of our most successful years, if not the most successful to date! I, the Chair, do not take credit for that success. I hand every ounce of credit to the team of people who took the myriad of pieces and put it all together. I have said before and will say again that they are all immensely more talented than I. They dedicated a year of their time. They brought their various talents. They came with Pride and Love. They crafted success. To them, I come with Pride and Love and Gratitude. Their efforts brought nearly 30,000 people to downtown Lexington in the name of Pride and Love. Their efforts will allow the PCSO to run the Pride Center for another year because all the money raised goes into maintaining a Center that provides services to many in need. For more information on either
18LinQ LinQ////AUGUST MARCH2017 2016 . . COMMUNITY FEATURE 18
the Festival or the Pride Center, visit www.lexpridefest.org or www.pcsoky.org. As part of our wrap-up, we circulated a survey regarding the community’s assessment of the 2017 Pride Festival. This survey helps future Pride Planning Committees ensure that they meet the needs and wishes of the community in the years going forward. The survey was reviewed at the 2017 Lexington Pride Festival Wrap-Up meeting on July 27th, where we discussed both our reported shortcomings and successes. The survey received 164 responses in the two weeks it was up and made available to the community with a reported “overall” rating of the festival as Excellent – 42.9%, Great – 27%, Good – 21.5%, Average – 6.7%, Fair – 1.2%, and Poor – 0.6%. If you would like to see the rest of the results of the survey, they are posted to the www.lexpridefest.org website and available in hard copy at the
PCSO Pride Center. So, YAASSSS, GURRLL, I am happy and proud beyond what even I can comprehend. But I am now left
with that principal’s attitude. “So what? Now what?” I want to challenge my teammates to revel in the victory but to start thinking about what is to come next. We had phenomenal attendance, but does every single person feel comfortable coming to a Pride Festival? Does every single LGBTQ+ person feel liberated in who they are at a Pride Festival? Or are there people who want to participate and do not? Are there people who feel anxious and nauseous at telling their most cherished loved ones that they belong to the queer community? Until we can answer the first two questions with an unequivocal “yes” and the last two with a “no”, we can do better! Every Pride Festival educates and changes minds, but are there still haters? Do people still come to tell us that we are going to hell and that we rape children? You bet, and until we make being LGBTQ+ as ordinary as washing dishes, we can do better! My point is—So What? Now What? What can we do to be even better in year 11? Because we will come back bigger and better! It is our responsibility to do so for the middle-aged lesbian struggling to come out, for the bisexual African American teen grappling with his emotions, for the deaf trans person who feels isolated from the world, for the entire rainbow that is LGBTQ+. We will come with Pride, and we will come with Love, and we will enjoy Success! If you saw something this year that needs improving or you have ideas
for future Pride Festivals or if you would just like to see how you can use your talents to benefit your community, get involved. The Lexington Pride Festival is YOUR Pride Festival—the entire Lexington LGBTQ+ community and its allies chance to show Pride and solidarity in who we are. We will hold elections for the new Pride Committee August 24th at 6:30 p.m. at the PCSO Pride Center. You can see bylaws governing elections and positions at www.lexpridefest.org or in hard copy at the PCSO Pride Center. You do not have to be an officer or subcommittee chair to get involved in any piece of the Festival. All of us are volunteers and we can all use help. All we ask is that you come with Pride and with Love. If you come with those two things every day, we will educate, enhance, and empower our community—both the LGBTQ+ community and the larger community. We will dine on success together! Beyond that, you can show your Pride today, tomorrow, and every day. Pride is not simply a function of a one-day festival. Pride is a way of life that happens 365 days per year. Show your colors. Show your Pride. Because you are perfect the way you are, because you deserve to feel good about who you are, because you change lives when you are proud. Pride today, tomorrow, and every day! So now what? To be honest, I do not know. I do not have Miss Cleo’s divinations to guide me. However, I plan to be at the table doing my best to help create what is new, what is next, what is now, in the knowledge that it will be bigger and better and even more successful. I hope you will join me. Q
COMMUNITY . AUGUST 2017 // LinQ 19
2016-2017 MEMBERS & DONORS
With the help of these members and donors, our programs to help all of our community have been able to continue and expand to reach more individuals than we otherwise could. These members have fulfilled their listed level of commitment for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2017. Many thanks to each of you for your membership, donations, and ongoing support!
RAINBOW (BUSINESS): Imperial Court of Kentucky, JustFundKY, and Kroger PLATINUM: Roberto L. Abreu & Christopher R. Bauer, Jacob Boyd, Paul Brown, Jamie Carpenter, Katherine & Lucas Kennedy, William F. Loggins, M.D. & Tony Burgett, Tuesday G Meadows, Jane Minder & Ginger Moore-Minder, Shelby Reynolds & David Bartley, Dell Rosa, and Matthew Wells GOLD: Mike Averdick, Douglas Burnham, Lee Guice, John Hodgkin, Kathy Schiflett & Reinette Jones, and John A. Wade III SILVER: Lawrence & Maureen Bauer, Anthony Berndt, Brent Bruner, Teresa Combs, Judy Goldsmith & Andrew Klapper, Edwin Hackney & Gary Key, Gerald Hann & Allen Williams, Steven Hansel, Amy Hatter, Elizabeth Hill, Tony Huston, Liza Levy, M.D., Steven Rosenberg, Ernesto Scorsone & John Davis, Keith Stewart, Lisa Thompson, Dana Wallingford, and Frank Winchester BRONZE: Lanny Adkins, Linda Angelo, Rebecca Callihan, Hellena Carroll, Colby Cohen-Archer, Jonathan Coleman, Jennifer Crossen & Joan Callahan, Preston Gibson, Jill Hanna & Rich Haley, Irvine “Dusty” Jones, Jon Parker, Sharon Rostosky, Carol Ruthven, Arturo Sandoval, Wendy Sharp, and Shane Wilson
COMMUNITY . APRIL 2017 // LinQ 20
Chase Bush (Right) congratulates Alicia Ferrere (Left) for winning the 2017 Lexington Pride Festival Pride Idol contest.
Friends gather at the PCSO Pride Center for the SIP Senior Bistro on Friday, July 21st.
COMMUNITY & SOCIAL GROUPS
CALENDAR & DIRECTORY
Wednesday, August 2 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center)
Thursday, August 3 6:30 p.m.-PCSO Board Meeting (PCSO Center) Saturday, August 5 10:00 a.m.-Grief Support Group (Ahava Center) 11:00 a.m. - Lyric Back to School Carnival (Lyric Theatre) 7:30 p.m.-TransKentucky Meeting Sunday, August 6 9:00 p.m.-ICK Back to School Show (Crossings) Tuesday, August 8 6:30 p.m.-PFLAG Meeting (St. Michaels Church) 9:00 p.m.-LGBT Sci-Fi/ Horror Group (PCSO Center) Wednesday, August 9 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, August 12 9:00 p.m.-Kentucky Bourbon Bears Board Meeting (Crossings Lex) Sunday, August 13 2:00 p.m.-Justin Ryan Concert (Scott County Public Library) Tuesday, August 15 Editorial & Ad Deadline for LinQ Magazine
Wednesday, August 16 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center)
Friday, August 18 7:00 p.m.-Senior’s Bistro (Potluck) (PCSO Center) Sunday, August 20 1:30 p.m.-Kentucky Fried Sisters Board Meeting (PCSO Center) Tuesday, August 22 4:30 p.m.-UK LGBTQ* Welcome Back Resource Fair (University of Kentucky) Wednesday, August 23 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center) Thursday, August 24 6:00 p.m.-2017 Lexington Pride Festival Volunteer Thank You Meal (PCSO Center) 6:30 p.m.-2018 Lexington Pride Festival Committee Elections (PCSO Center)
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
Saturday, August 26 7:00 p.m.-Love v. Kentucky Screening (Center for Health & Educational Research) Sunday, August 27 3:00 p.m.-GSA Picnic (Shillito Park - Shelter #1) 3:00 p.m.-LGBT Sci-Fi/ Horror Group (PCSO Center) Wednesday, August 30 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center)
Ahava Center for Spiritual Living
Bluegrass United Church of Christ
Central Christian Church
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
For more details on events, view the full calendar at pcsoky.org at the bottom of the webpage
If you would like for your meetings and events to be included on our online calendar and in LinQ, contact Carmen at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-253-3233.
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 . AUGUST 2017 // LinQ 23
In 2015, six couples from Kentucky walked into the U.S. Supreme Court case to argue their right to marriage equality. Love v. Kentucky chronicles their journey and the story of how an unlikely group of attorneys from the Bluegrass State and across the U.S. came together to challenge their countryâ€™s definition of marriage.
Documentary Screening Followed by Q&A with Attorneys and Couples
Saturday, August 26, 2017 at 7:00 PM Center for Health and Educational Research (CHER) 316 West Second Street, Morehead, KY
Donations to Rowan County Rights Coalition accepted, but not required. Find more information at www.rowanrights.org or www.lovevkentucky.com. Questions? Email email@example.com. Presented by Rowan County Rights Coalition through the courtesy of Informavore Media. Sponsored by Morehead Tourism.
LinQ is the only monthly magazine that focuses on the Kentucky LGBTQ+ community. LinQ is published monthly by and for the Pride Community Se...