CONNECTING THE BLUEGRASS LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY
Judge Ernesto Scorsone PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
I’M OK, YOU’RE NOT OK Page 6
DO YOU STAND IN YOUR LIVING ROOM? Page 8
NOVEMBER 2017 - VOL 39 / NO. 11 - A Publication of the PCSO
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IN THIS ISSUE NOVEMBER 2017 VOL 39 / NO. 11
FEATURE JUDGE ERNESTO SCORSONE Past, Present & Future
page 14 This month we celebrate Judge Ernesto Scorsone, Past, Present & Future. He is well know throughout our community for all of his work in the past, but find out what he is up to now and his plans for our community’s future.
IMPERIAL COURT OF KENTUCKY NEWS
For 36 years, the Imperial Court of Kentucky has remained strong and vibrant within our community. Nicole Diamond, Minister of Protocol, tells us how we can get involved to help them support the many charities that they provide funds for yearly.
DO YOU STAND IN YOUR LIVING ROOM?
Carol Taylor-Shim shares her view on the National Anthem and wonders if some only stand when people are watching.
ADVICE ADVOCACY CULTURE
THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT page 4 Helena Handbasket asks how we respond when someone has done us wrong. She tells us what it means to take the “High Road.”
TransKY ADVOCATE I’M OK, YOU’RE NOT OK page 6 On November 20. we will observe Transgender Day of Remembrance. Tuesday G Meadows reviews her own life and those of others in the Transgender Community in context of what another TDoR coming and going means to her.
FEATURE COMMUNITY CALENDAR NOVEMBER 2017 // LinQ 3
by Helena Handbasket
ou need to do the right thing! You should just take the high road! Haven’t we all heard that advice when we have been faced with a situation when someone either hurt or angered us and we felt like seeking revenge? Of course we have. It is so easy to fall into that trap of wanting to “get them back” or “teach them a lesson”. I’m guilty of it myself. Call it pride or whatever, but it is easy to exhibit that behavior of lashing out at those that we feel have wronged us. And to those who so freely offer that advice, it really is easier said than done sometimes. So, I ask each of you...of the times when you have altered your actions in such a way that you could get revenge, was it worth it? Did humiliating them or making them hurt or feel bad actually give you the feelings of vindication that you expected or thought you wanted? The funny thing is, I have never once had someone tell me that it helped the situation but rather it most often made the situation worse. Such actions usually result in prolonging the conflict and it goes back and forth until eventually you don’t even remember what the problem between you was in the first place. This is where “holding a grudge” becomes a reality. Plus, if you have a conscience at all, those feelings of guilt creep in that make you feel even worse. Guilt because you knew in your head and your heart that you shouldn’t be that way and seek to “pay them back”. And trust me on this one–when you have completed the action of revenge, the person you directed it to rarely, if ever, comes to the realization that they did anything wrong. Just the opposite is true. Now they feel justified 4 LinQ // NOVEMBER . ADVICE MAY 2017 .2017 HUMOR
in their hurtful action because now they can point out how awful you are and use your own action of vengeance as proof against you. But remember, taking the high road does not mean that you should lay down and let the offender continue their hurtful behavior. You have every right to defend yourself and refuse to allow the person to hurt you. And some would say that you should wait for them to expose their behavior so that their “true colors” will shine through for others to see. This is where the idea of karma will “pay them back” comes in or “reaping what you sow”–basically saying that what you put out into the world is what you will get back in return. If your practice is to ridicule and judge then you open yourself up to be ridiculed and judged. In thinking about all of this, it led me to ask, just what does it truly mean to “take the high road”, and this is what I found. When you “take the high road” it means doing the right thing even if it’s not popular or easy. If a person wrongs you there should be no need to let it worry you. “Take the high road” and let them take the low road. In the long run, that person will have probably wronged many people and their reputation will be tarnished, making their own road rougher. On the other hand, if you don’t let it bother you and stick to doing the right thing, life will more likely work out for you because you are not bothered by the negative stress and your reputation won’t suffer. Metaphorically speaking, with a high road (freeway / highway) the view is often better and you can travel faster, while the low road is slower and
has more obstacles and traffic lights. There is a very old song that you may recognize, not by the title but by the lyrics that popularized the reference of taking the high / low road called The Bonny Banks o’ Loch Lomond. This song was written by a MacGregor of Glen Endrick, who was jailed, along with a friend in Carlisle, England in 1746. The author had been condemned to death for his support of Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 1745 uprising, while his friend was going to be set free. The song refers to the old Celtic myth that the soul of a Scot who dies outside his homeland will find its way back home to Scotland by the spiritual road, or the low road (thought in the song to mean the grave). So, the condemned man says to his friend: “Ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road, and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye...But me and my true love will never meet again on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond...” (because he is sentenced to die). So, what does all this mean? Well...could it be that there really is good reason to “take the high road”, to not “hold a grudge” and to actually (dare I say it?) forgive those who we feel have wronged us? Hmmm...ya’ll better pray for me that I am able to take a big gulp and swallow my pride so I can prevent burning a bridge and actually take the high road. Nobody said this would be easy. Until next month, my friends. (Send your comments or suggestions to HelenahandbasketKY@gmail.com)
IMPERIAL COURT OF KENTUCKY NEWS by Nicole Diamond, Minister of Protocol
Empress are intended to be the figureheads of the organization that will represent the organization and lead the fundraising efforts. As you may know, the Imperial Court of Kentucky did not crown a new Emperor or Empress at our annual coronation ball last June. The reason for this is simple; there were no applications received from any members who felt that they were prepared to become figureheads of the organization. We have seen similar situations happening throughout the International Court System. Times are changing, and we as an organization are being forced to adapt our policies and standards to fit into today’s busy world. This year we decided not to name a Regent Emperor or Empress, but instead have a year without titles. Our College of Monarchs, consisting of past Emperors and Empresses of the organization, and a newly elected Board of Directors are working hard to promote and produce viable fundraising events for our local charities. We are asking the community to come together as a united force and help us to raise money for the programs and services that are near and dear to our hearts. We are asking our charities to join hands with us and promote and elevate the level of fundraising that we know this community is capable of providing. We are asking past members, current members, and new members to search deep within your hearts as we enter into our election season for next year, to consider seeking election as Emperor, Empress, or as a Board Member. WE NEED YOU!! We are using this year as a renaissance/regrowth for this charitable organization that has served the Bluegrass community for 36 years. We hope the 2018 elections will find us with a
membership of volunteers, a newly elected Board of Directors, and an Emperor and Empress eager to continue the great work that has preceded them. While this has created hurdles that we must overcome, we are still raising money and going strong. We greatly appreciate the community that we serve and thank you for always digging deep in your pockets to aid in our fundraising efforts. For example, our community helped us raise over $2,400 to provide back to school supplies for kids in need, over $600 for Dragging Out For Life, benefiting AVOL, and almost $700 at our annual Julie Vaughn Memorial Closet Ball. Upcoming events for November include a Crockpot Cook-Off at Crossings benefiting Moveable Feast on November 19 and another ICK Show November 15 at Soundbar. We invite you to come out and join us as we raise money “one dollar at a time” for the charities of the Bluegrass. Our Board meetings are open to the public and are scheduled the second and fourth Sundays of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the PCSO Pride Center located on Waller Avenue. We invite you to come and join in the fun and be a part of the great work that is being accomplished. For 36 years, this organization has remained strong and vibrant within this community. We feel confident that with your support we can continue making a difference for those in need for many more years to come. For additional information on how you can get more involved, please contact Nicole Diamond, Minister of Protocol of the College of Monarchs, at email@example.com or visit our website at www.imperialcourtkentucky.org.
reetings, we appreciate your continued support of the Imperial Court of Kentucky’s mission. The purpose of the Imperial Court of Kentucky is to sponsor and promote community programs and efforts. We are a part of an international organization, The International Imperial Court System, consisting of 70 chapters throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Imperial Court of Kentucky, as well as other chapters, is organized exclusively for charitable purposes, raising needed funds and then making distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your support has helped us meet the continuing financial needs of special charity groups, including AIDS Volunteers (AVOL), Lexington Fairness, PCSO, Moveable Feast, JustFundKY, and more. With donations from you, our organization has provided 36 years of continuous service and encouragement to those in need in our community. Since 2000, we have donated over $500,000.00 to other charitable organizations. The Imperial Court of Kentucky remains a strong viable organization within the Bluegrass and has a passionate desire to continue producing fundraising events to benefit other local charities. Our governing documents require that all business decisions for the Imperial Court of Kentucky be made by a group of individuals, otherwise known as a Board of Directors. A Board of Directors consists of individuals who volunteer their time and talents to assist the Imperial Court of Kentucky in its mission. A Board of Directors typically consists of nine individuals that would include an Emperor and an Empress. The Emperor and
ADVOCACY NOVEMBER 2017////LinQ LinQ5 5 HUMOR . OCTOBER 2016
TransKY ADVOCATE by Tuesday G Meadows
I’M OK, YOU’RE NOT OK “Trying to make some sense of it all/But I can see it makes no sense at all/Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor?/’Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore/Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right/here I am stuck in the middle with you.” Stuck in the Middle With You, Stealers Wheel
he death of Scout Schultz on the Georgia Tech Campus in September made a deep-dark impact on me. Scout identified as non-binary and was shot dead by campus police when they allegedly came at several police officers with a knife. I absolutely will not speak for the dead, but I will tell you where my thoughts went to when I heard about this terrible tragedy. My first thought was, “I wonder if Scout would have died if they had been cisgender?” Of course, then I thought of the tens or even hundreds of times that I attempted to kill myself and make it look like I wasn’t trying to kill myself. My entire life I’ve been lucky enough to have bounced back. I’ve bounced back from physical ailments, mental anguish, financial setbacks, and a host of other problems. I am not sure why I’ve been resilient, but I have. The hardest problems to bounce back from, of course, were caused by my gender dysphoria. Maybe because my gender dysphoria wasn’t a problem, but was really just me. I took the blame–and yes, the shame–that went along with not being “normal”. I thought that if only I had been like everyone else then I could skate through life. Of course, I wasn’t like everyone else. In fact, I felt like I was the only person ever whose outside didn’t match her inside. I thought I was a unicorn. A one of a kind. If only my body and my mind had lined up like the majority of our
society, maybe I wouldn’t have to bounce so much? People still tell me I shouldn’t have “chosen this” if I had wanted it easy. Thanks, I never thought of that! I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone tell someone suffering from cancer, heart disease, or diabetes that they shouldn’t have chosen to have those ailments, but I am sure there are some idiots that have said that to people. Easy Street is just an illusion, no one really gets to live there. I am lucky that I am still bouncing after so many bounces. Many of us run out of bounces and can’t do it anymore. I am guessing that maybe Scout ran out of bounces. My thought is that we shouldn’t have to bounce from the terrible things that society does to us. We shouldn’t have to bounce back from the constant misgendering, the fire and brimstone thrown at us, the amateur psych evaluations, or the constant demands to explain ourselves. We shouldn’t have to bounce back from a president that tells transgender people that we are defective. All humans have things they have to bounce back from, but those of us who are transgender have more. On November 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) will be observed. Please join me at 7 p.m. at the Main Building at UK. There have been over 20 murders of transidentifed people this year. Mostly women of color. Honestly, I struggle on TDoR. We will light candles, maybe
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say a few words, feel sad, and then go home and do absolutely nothing about the problems. No one gets angry, and most of the time we don’t even talk about those who have taken their own lives. We don’t talk about how our society has destroyed many of our lives. We don’t talk about the stress and depression that has left many of us crippled. Along with the murders of the innocent people we talk about on TDoR, we should also mention how our society has also managed to kill others much more silently. So I’ve done the only thing that I have been able to do my entire life. I bounce. Today I stand before you as an openly queer woman. I know many of you do not like that word queer because it has been used derogatorily so many times. The word queer just feels right to me. I’ve been a woman with a penis most of my life and if that’s not queer (different), then I guess I just don’t know what is queer. I will never run or hide from who I am ever again. Today I not only embrace my difference, I celebrate it. I shout at the top of my lungs that I am a unicorn. But our society is not ready for unicorns and as I approach the end of my life, I wonder how many bounces I have left. I just wish our society didn’t make us bounce so much. You may write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow my blog Tuesdaysgonewiththewind. wordpress.com. Now Tuesday’s gone with the wind. Q
DO YOU STAND IN YOUR LIVING ROOM? by Carol Taylor-Shim, MSW
hen I was about 10 or 11, I started going to football games with my parents and my aunt and uncle to see my cousin play at EKU, back in the day when they owned Division II football. He played left cornerback and snatched interceptions out of the sky like a hawk. One year we went to every single game the entire season. I got my entire football life. Another year, I somehow found myself trapped in Girl
Scouts on Saturdays. Someone thought that would be a good place for me. Not one person could talk about sports, only macaroni art and badges. I was going to spend four quarters crafting at my church. Oh, the horror. I lasted two torturous Saturdays in a horrible shade of green before my parents returned me to my sense of normalcy and my seat in the stadium. My love for football has been there for as long as I
can remember. I also remember how every single person in the stadium stood when that song came on. I never really gave it much thought back then. I never considered what it really meant and what this country expected me to do while that song played. I saw men take their hats off and cover their hearts. I saw women shift babies on their hips so they could place their hand over their heart. But
they were packing that boat. Why would they? Why would they sing to celebrate their oppression? Now before folks get their Twitter fingers all hot and bothered, I completely understand why some people love this country to their core and cannot for a moment comprehend how another American could possibly have a critical opinion of the nation we all call home. This country, when it works for you, I mean it really, really works for you. You can go through life with a particular amount of certainty that you won’t be targeted for the color of your skin, the language that you are the most fluent in, or how you made it to America in the first place. No one is going to weaponize your identities through legislation and absolute political power. For so many of us that is our
reality. I wish this country loved me as much as it loves people who hold all of the dominant identities. One thing that I’m fascinated by these days is this: Do people stand in their living rooms when that song comes on? Do people stop making cheese platters and hot wings and pledge their unwavering loyalty to this nation via song? Are you offended when the flag is on a beer koozy or boxer shorts? Do folks hold off on bathroom breaks in order to stand? For those folks who cannot stand the sight of people “disrespecting the flag” or “refusing to honor our veterans,” do you stop in the happiest place on earth, WalMart, when the song comes on in the TV section? Or is standing only expected when there’s an audience? Q
I also saw people who smoked, who bought hotdogs, took a swig out of their flask and made their way into the bathroom. It looked like the only people who were standing where the ones in the stands. You could hear the song playing all the way in the bathroom, so I know people looking for mustard heard it too. But no one ever stopped and put their hand over their heart. No one stopped talking. No one stopped moving. So fast forward a few decades and here I am again, wondering what this country expects me to do when that song comes on. For weeks on end the discourse of patriotism and nationalism has raged because some people choose not to stand for a song. I’m pretty certain the Mayflower passengers didn’t bust out in God Save the Queen when
THE JOURNEY HOME A RECIPE FOR MIRACLES:
COURTESY OF MY MOM & FATHER CHRIS by Stan “JR” Zerkowski, Founder of Lexington Interfaith Encounters
was 17 years old. It was Thanksgiving morning, about 11:30 a.m. I worked as a church musician throughout high school and had just finished the Thanksgiving Mass. I spoke with some folks after the service–the usual fare, “Where are you going today?” Some had plans for a sumptuous meal with family or friends, and some had no plans at all. There was a telephone in the room where the ministers got ready and I walked over to it and called my mother. It was a reflex action, really. I knew she’d be home; she was preparing Thanksgiving dinner for, if I remember correctly, 14 people. When she answered the phone, I told her that I had spoken to some people who had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving and would be alone. I
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asked her if I could bring them home for our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. She said, “Yes, of course.” Then she asked me how many. I said, “nine.” She said, “ok.” So, I marched out to the church and invited everyone that would have been alone–they ranged in age from 20-something to 80-something– and told them my mother said they were welcome to come home with me. Ultimately, eleven people came and were welcomed as family. It was miraculous; there was enough food for everyone. We had tables in the formal dining room, the kitchen, and, as I recall, a smaller one in the family room. My mother prepared for 14 and fed 25. Everyone came home for Thanksgiving. Our home became their home. We talk about that Thanksgiving until this day. In September, Father Chris, with whom I worked for 15 years in my first parish position in Florida, passed from this life. He taught me so much about not being afraid to get my hands dirty in the stuff of real life, he taught me to work hard. We began an AIDS Ministry in the late 1980s when it was very risky–in church circles–to minister to those who suffered from a “moral disease”, as judgmental as that
notion was. We provided funerals for those whom no one else would because they died of AIDS. He challenged me to embrace sisters and brothers with HIV/AIDS, eat with them, and care for them because, “God is calling us to do that.” His vision was ahead of his time; we prayed “for those who suffer with AIDS” out loud, at every Mass celebrated in St. Anastasia Church. It was prophetic, especially for a straight man who risked a lot by standing publicly with gay men who often had no faith leader willing to stand with them. It was a time when most of the church looked the other way or simply wrote these sisters and brothers off as moral reprobates. Not Father Chris. No! For him, these sisters and brothers were part of one human family and it was our mandate to love them and care for them, not out of pity, but out of a relationship born in One who created all of us with an inherent dignity. Understand that Chris had every right to be angry at life; he lost his parents when he and his 11 sisters and brothers were little children, Chris was 3. When New York State authorities found out his older sister, Helen, who was little more than a child herself, was taking care of all of her siblings, he became a ward of the state and was consigned to an orphanage. No one ever chose Chris to be adopted because he was a victim of polio. He saw other children being chosen for adoption and going to a home. Not him though. Chris taught me how to be bold, prophetic, and unwavering when standing with those who are
consigned to the peripheries, especially those with no voice. He understood what it felt like to be on that periphery. In the final years of his life, friends of 30 years, parishioners where Father Chris and I ministered for those 15 years, became his own family who cared for him after his stroke 2 years ago–they made room in their home for him. And in that home, surrounded by them–his family–he passed from this world. What he longed for, he received in his final years: a family, a home, complete with children coming and going. Dawn, Bob, and their family, gave a man who shared his entire life with countless others the one thing he never had: a home and a family. When I was 17, my mother opened our home and gave people–who would have been alone–a family with whom they could share a Thanksgiving meal in a home. My mom, Chris, and so many others have taught me that love and generosity is a recipe for miracles! We’re on a journey home, all of us. The One who loved us into being designed it that way. And, we’re going home together. Whether we walk through the open doors others provide, or we open doors to provide for others, our love and our generosity will create the miracle of bringing us all home as one human family–for Thanksgiving and, ultimately, forever. Contact JR at email@example.com
AROUND THE LIBRARY reviewed by Erin Michelle Weber
A Name of the Quilt: A Story of Remembrance
hough written in 1999, Jeannine Atkins’ A Name of the Quilt: A Story of Remembrance creates a modern and relatable picture of losing a loved one to AIDS. A young girl, Lauren, and her family have decided to create a memorial quilt in honor of Uncle Ron, who died a few months ago. Lauren worries that her younger brother, Bobby, will mess up the perfect quilt and dishonor Ron’s legacy. While they cut and sew letters to form Ron’s name, they share stories of Ron’s unbridled enthusiasm and love. Bobby suggests sewing his own
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written by Jeannine Atkins socks, a gift from Ron, into the quilt. Lauren begins to understand that Bobby misses Ron just as much as she does, and Uncle Ron would have loved Bobby’s mistakes like he loved Bobby and Lauren. This story reminds readers that pain comes in all shapes and sizes, but so does joy. Ron’s outlook on life and his family’s desire to honor him will inspire children and adults alike. A Name on the Quilt: A Story of Remembrance can be found in the Children’s section of the PCSO Pride Library under C FIC A. Q
Judge Ernesto Scorsone
Past, Present & Future
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” A favorite quote of Ernesto Scorsone’s from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second inaugural address in 1937, but still relevant today. by Tuesday G Meadows
or the LGBTQ+ community, our history is often never mentioned in books or in the mainstream media, so we may never know the real impact that any one person plays in making a difference. Even if we know some of our LGBTQ+ history, it is usually not about someone who is local to us. We need to work harder to preserve and learn our history, because it is quickly lost. One person, who comes to mind here in Kentucky, has truly made an incredible difference for many and is still very involved in making things better. This person is Judge Ernesto Scorsone and he is truly someone we should honor. Ernesto was born in Palermo, Italy and his family emigrated to the United States when he was 8 years old. He earned his bachelor’s in political science from the University of Kentucky and his Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law. After earning his law degree, Judge Scorsone worked as a public defender for a year and then went into private practice in 1977. Ernesto began his political career in 1984 when 14 LinQ // NOVEMBER 2017 . FEATURE
he ran for and was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives for the 75th district, where he served for twelve years. In 1996, he was elected to the Kentucky State Senate for the 13th senatorial district, where he served for an additional twelve years. Judge Scorsone was the first openly gay member of the Kentucky General Assembly. In 1998, Ernesto ran for the United States House of Representatives, but lost to Ernie Fletcher (the seat now occupied by Andy Barr.) In the Kentucky legislature, Ernesto co-sponsored a bill to curb school bullying, spearheaded efforts to improve quality of care in nursing homes, promoted better health and safety of students in schools, chaired a taskforce that recommended creating family courts, and helped pass tough telemarketing laws. It’s easy to see Judge Scorsone’s compassion coming through in all of his political efforts. Ernesto has worked on many different LGBTQ+ issues throughout the years, but one of the most important came 25 years ago with the Kentucky v.
GSO/GLSO/PCSO 40TH Anniversary Banquet, where Ernesto was honored with a Founder’s Award.
Wasson court case. He says that Wasson was so important because, for the first time in Kentucky, the Courts analyzed human sexuality science and found that there was no justification to treat LBGTQ+ individuals any differently than any others in our society. The science showed that our sexual desires were as “normal” as anyone else’s, thus striking down the sodomy law that had put so many LGBTQ+ people into trouble with the legal system. In 2008, Governor Steve Beshear appointed Ernesto Scorsone as Fayette County Circuit Court Judge and later that year, he was elected to that post where he still serves today. Judge Scorsone says, “Being a judge allows me to do my part in making sure the legal system is fair and sensitive to all participants, not just the rich and powerful.” In his private life, Ernesto lives in the Historic Western Suburb Neighborhood in Lexington with his husband, John Davis. Ernesto and John have been together for 23 years and they love traveling together. Ernesto is an avid runner who has finished 5 marathons and more half marathons and 10Ks than he can remember. He has participated in three Gay Games, the last one in Cleveland, where he earned a bronze medal in his age group. Much of Ernesto’s private time is spent on local, civic, and advocacy efforts. Even though he gives his time and serves on several boards, his great passion is for JustFundKy, which was started in 2006 to create an LGBTQ+ endowment for Kentucky. With the help of hundreds of volunteers and supportive businesses, JustFundKy’s Cliff Todd Endowment is now at $1.4 million and growing. Each year only the earnings from the endowment are used to fund LGBTQ+ work around the state and the principal is not touched. The workload for our community around the state continues to increase and the endowment needs to be ready to Judge Ernesto Scorsone speaks about LGBTQ+ rights at Lexington’s meet those challenges. Individuals are encouraged to National LGBTQ+ Rally & March on June 11, 2017. include JustFundKy as a beneficiary in their wills, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts to help the Endowment grow. Ernesto is optimistic that we can have a lasting impact for future generations if we can create a robust revenue stream through JustFundKy. The fight for fairness and equality for the LGBTQ+ community in the Commonwealth will go on for many generations and our community needs to be prepared and wellfunded. Ernesto says, “We need an endowment that will be around in perpetuity.” Through his past service as the first openly gay member of the Kentucky legislature, present work with JustFundKy, and his fight for equality on the bench, Judge Ernesto Scorsone continues to build a more just society for the future for all of the LGBTQ+ community. Judge Ernesto Scorsone (right) with his husband John Davis at the
FEATURE . NOVEMBER 2017 // LinQ 15
by Paul Brown, 2018 Lexington Pride Festival Chair
or the fourth time, I am serving as the chairperson of the Lexington Pride Festival. In that role, I should be the proudest out man in Lexington; however, I admit that lately it has been difficult to be proud. I am always proud of who I am as an out man. There is no shame in the gay game. Regardless, Pride is a function of more than intrinsic self-worth. Pride develops from participating in a culture, a community, a society, a nation. I embrace LGBTQ+ culture, and I think Lexington does a wonderful job of integrating LGBTQ+ into our local community. I cannot speak for all LGBTQ+ persons because I speak from a place of White male privilege, but I can honestly report that I have never found a reason to feel uncomfortable about my sexuality in Lexington. So, what is weighing on my conscience? Taking Pride in being a part of our nation. All too often these days, I open the news on my phone to find that our president’s administration and the Department of Justice have executed another attack on the LGBTQ+ community. They summarily dismissed Obama-era protections on transgender people. They have written amicus briefs to support an employer’s ability to fire someone based on sexual orientation. They refuse to denounce Neo-Nazis walking through the streets brandishing swastikas. Then, just yesterday, I read multiple news outlets reporting that Trump joked about Vice-President Pence wanting to hang all gay people. I do not know which is worse, the president joking about LGBTQ+ genocide, the non-perplexed acceptance of the vice president’s views,
or the fact that Pence has not denied the joke or its message. What I know is that my life and the lives of my LGBTQ+ family are not jokes. However, when the people elect a president who barely attempts to conceal his disregard and finds it appropriate to denigrate a group of people, it starts to feel as if we have no place here or there or anywhere. It is all too easy to acquiesce to the belief that we do not have a seat at the table. So, we watch the small amount of equality we worked so hard to attain over decades start to crumble to dust and blow away in less than a year. We start to feel alone. We start to hurt. When pushed to obscure, solitary corners, it is all too easy to give in to the darkness, to the anger, to the hatred, to the violence. All too often, I see friends post on social media about their hate. When you read the reports that drove them to such aspersions, it is all too easy to agree and to become part of the broken, warped tit-for-tat. So, perhaps I write this article as advice to our readers, but perhaps I write it as advice to myself. We cannot afford to buy into the hatred. We do not have to like what the darkness offers, but we can choose to find joy whenever and wherever possible. We must make the choice. Many times, I heard Michelle Obama say, “When they go low, we go high.” I am choosing to make this one of my personal mantras. This is not to say that we should overlook or turn the other cheek, but it does mean that we fight with love and ethics. It does mean that we live visibly and that we demand respect for our being humans. It does mean that we employ every opportunity to educate everyone about
16 LinQ // NOVEMBER 2017 . COMMUNITY
who we are, what we are, why we are. It does mean that we remember and we forgive. It does mean that we come to the table with love and light. So, soon, to coincide with Thanksgiving, you will see paper turkeys go up for sale in the bars for $1. This is similar to the shamrocks you see in various restaurants and supermarkets. You buy it, sign it, and hang it in the establishment as support for the cause. The cause is the Lexington Pride Festival. Every dollar goes to put on the festival that helps so many feel joy even briefly and changes thousands of lives and minds for the better. This year I plan to buy several and write the names of those our community has lost to violence or who have suffered lasting physical and psychological scars at the hands of abuse and anguish. I am writing their names on turkeys to remember and never forget but also to realize that we have to move forward. It is okay to grieve and to feel anger, but we cannot let those feelings take over. We must meet the lows with the highs. We must come and demand our seat at the table but come to the table with love. If we always go high with love, then no matter what, we can always claim Pride. No matter what the dark side does, takes, diminishes, we can stand in Pride. So, check out our social media and www.lexpridefest.org for the turkeys and other fundraising opportunities. Call the Pride Center at 859-2533233 or email volunteers@lexpridefest. org to find ways to get involved. Most importantly, come with love always, and you will know Pride.
PFLAG Board with guest speaker Dr. Charlotte Tate at their October 10th meeting. From left to right: Debbie Rickerd, Shondele Hall, Dr. Charlotte Tate, Jonathan Phillips, Linda Angelo, Jesse Ruble & Beth Leistensnider.
Representatives from PCSO and Pride Cats at Capitol Pride in Frankfort on October 14th. From left to right:Tuesday G Meadows, Amy Hatter, Michael DeLeon & Greg Bourke.
Panel at SoundOff: Making Modern Families, an event hosted by Transform Health and UK Office of LGBTQ Resources at Soundbar on October 19th. From left to right: Francesca Hessing, Megan Walden, Amanda Fallin-Bennett, Anna Bard, Christina Bard & Benjamin Payne.
Ross Ewing speaks at SoundOff: Making Modern Families, an event hosted by Transform Health and UK Office of LGBTQ Resources at Soundbar on October 19th.
Attendees at Morehead Pride on October 7th.
Attendees at Capitol Pride in Frankfort on October 14th.
PCSO tables at EKU’s Disability Awareness Day on October 5th. Betsy Donelson, moderator of PCSO’s new support group for disabled LGBTQ+ (“LoveABLE”), provides information about the PCSO and LoveABLE to attendees.
Community members enjoy a free lunch and learn about the PCSO Pride Center during National LGBT Center Awareness Day on October 19th.
COMMUNITY & SOCIAL GROUPS
CALENDAR & DIRECTORY
Wednesday, November 1 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center) Thursday, November 2 6:30 p.m.-PCSO Board Meeting (PCSO Center) Friday, November 3 7:00 p.m.-TransLex Free Gender Confirming Clothing Exchange and Social Event (PCSO Center) Saturday, November 4 10:00 a.m.-Grief Support Group (Ahava Center) 2:30 p.m.-Bluegrass Black Pride Meeting (Northside Library) 7:30 p.m.-TransKentucky Meeting Sunday, November 5 7:00 p.m.-Miss Kentucky Large & Lovely (Lyric Theatre) Monday, November 6 7:00 p.m.-United in Thanksgiving for a Compassionate Lexington Encounter (St. Paul Catholic Church) Wednesday, November 8 5:00 p.m.-Richmond’s Alphabet Soup Support Group (UU Fellowship Hall) 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group Friday, November 10 6:00 p.m.-Come Together Kentucky Conference (UK Jacobs Science Building) Saturday, November 11 9:00 a.m.-Come Together Kentucky Conference (UK Jacobs Science Building) 9:00 p.m.-Kentucky Bourbon Bears Board Meeting (Crossings) Sunday, November 12 9:00 a.m.-Come Together Kentucky Conference (UK Jacobs Science Building) Tuesday, November 14 6:30 p.m.-PFLAG Meeting (St. Michael Church)
9:00 p.m.- LGBT Sci-Fi/ Horror Group (PCSO Center) Wednesday, November 15 Editorial & Ad Deadline for LinQ Magazine 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center) Friday, November 17 7:00 p.m.-Senior’s Bistro (Potluck) (PCSO Center) Saturday, November 18 6:00 p.m.-Bluegrass Black Pride Awards Banquet (Four Points by Sheraton) Sunday, November 19 3:00 p.m.-Kentucky Fried Sisters (PCSO Center) Monday, November 20 7:00 p.m.-Transgender Day of Remembrance (UK Main Building) Wednesday, November 22 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center) Thursday, November 23 Thanksgiving Day Sunday, November 26 3:00 p.m.- LGBT Sci-Fi/ Horror Group (PCSO Center) 6:00 p.m.-ICK’s Board of Directors/Membership Meeting (PCSO Center) Wednesday, November 29 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center) Thursday, November 30 6:30 p.m.-Lexington Pride Festival Committee Meeting (PCSO Center) Friday, December 1 WORLD AIDS DAY 6:00 p.m.-Feast On Equality (Carrick House) 7:00 p.m.-”Celebration of Life” (Lyric Theatre)
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
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass
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
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 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 . NOVEMBER 2017 // LinQ 23
FEATURE . NOVEMBER 2016 // LinQ 24
LinQ is the only monthly magazine that focuses on the Kentucky LGBTQ... community. LinQ is published monthly by and for the Pride Community...