CONNECTING THE BLUEGRASS LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY
Keisa Fallin-Bennett, MD, MPH Director of UK Transform Health Clinic Page 16
WORDS CAN’T BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PEOPLE Page 8
OVERCOMING “IT” Page 20
OCTOBER 2017 - VOL 39 / NO. 10 - A Publication of the PCSO
Bauer pher R. - Christo f ie ows h n-C G Mead Editor-i Tuesday g tead in s S dverti - Barb ditor/A Editor E y t p n o ta ows C d Assis G Mea uesday T & er e e r R. Bau na D. L ristophe wn, De h ro C B t h u Sara & Layo raphy nity Design Photog Commu e Pride th r de fo y and The Pri onthly b munity. m m o d c e h d s n ns a publi mbers a envisio LinQ is tion me ization a n a iz n rg l. a O s Org ices dividua Service nity Serv s each in te ra b Commu le and ce be accepts on can ity that n u m m formati co in d n . a oky.org articles or@pcs it All LinQ d e r Edito d to the Editor/ submitte ssistant A e th h -3233. ged wit 859-253 be arran n r a te c n e ts emen ride C Advertis PCSO P length. with the All LinQ r o rg tent and .o n y o k c o s c th s@p for bo ing - ad e edited Advertis ertiser, s may b n io s is d/or adv m uthor an All sub of the a e PCSO
ose and th solely th O. LinQ LinQ are didate. the PCS in r d o e s Q s in y or can re cal part ose of L ions exp ti th li in t o p n p o e s y ll A e an not repre r endors and do upport o do not s
e: LinQ Q Onlin
f e lives o prove th im l to a s n work of Centr anizatio munity g r m O o c s e e rvic unity pansiv unity Se nder ex g comm y. e Comm y and ge powerin it m r e o , mmunit y in o The Prid it c sexual m g visibil ng said e ti in c c th a n p a in h by en sues im people ntucky about is tern Ke e public th g n and Eas ti rs educa rs, and f Directo membe Board o d n a e itte e Comm t xecutiv residen P r, PCSO E e u r R . Ba e h p to t is n e Chr e Presid wn, Vic Paul Bro r re u as oyd, Tre ry Jacob B , Secreta k o ro a F h a n amming Min u, Progr re b A . L Roberto Liaison y, Youth a D h s Jo rs eb / I.T. s / Senio atter, W Wellnes & Amy H ising th a a r e d H hnson, ride Fun P Jo , y k r d a e M Kenn e Wilkie ia Katherin ial Med c g . Lee, So D a vertisin n d e A D adows, e M G Tuesday nager ffice Ma taff ollins, O PCSO S C rle p Wam Y 40504 Carmen gton, K enter in C x e e L , id r 0 ite 10 PCSO P nue, Su ller Ave 389 Wa 3 -32 3 859-253 soky.org www.pc ours: .-5 p.m. Office H ay : 1 p.m id r F . Tuesday . - 3 p.m y : 11 a.m a rd y a tu d a S & Mon Sunday Closed
2 LinQ // OCTOBER 2017
_M @ LinQ
IN THIS ISSUE OCTOBER 2017 FEATURE
VOL 39 / NO. 10
KEISA FALLIN-BENNETT, MD, MPH Director of UK Transform Clinic
page 16 Dr. Keisa Fallin-Bennett, Joanne Brown, and Megan Walden are three of the individuals behind UK’s LGBTQ+ health program that is trying to make healthcare better for our community.
TransKY ADVOCATE page 6
WORDS CAN’T BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PEOPLE page 8 In the world in which we live in today, so many have taken off the mask to spill their hate to just about everyone who is willing to listen. Carol Taylor-Shim tells us that she will never say that these people don’t have a right to exist, but don’t expect her to sit back and be silent either.
2018 Lexington Pride Festival page 20 Paul Brown writes that there are still many that need to overcome their fear of revealing their sexual orientation or gender identity and for those of us who have overcome that fear, explains how we can help those who haven’t learned to face “IT.”
HUMOR ADVOCACY CULTURE
Tuesday G Meadows tells us of her journey from being a regular church-goer for her whole life until now, when she says that she will never be part of a congregation again.
AROUND THE LIBRARY Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe page 12
The PCSO hosts the second largest library in the state dedicated to LGBTQ+ publications and media. Librarian Ashley Householder reviews one of these books, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
FEATURE COMMUNITY CALENDAR OCTOBER 2017 // LinQ 3
by Helena Handbasket
here is God? What is God? Why does Helena talk so much about God? Can’t she write about anything else? I know that all of my readers aren’t into the whole religion thing. I get that. Believe it or not, I’m really not trying to cram the whole God thing down your throats. I have grown over the years and I have discovered that, even though I am more liberal thinking, I tend to follow the Christianity road (which, to me, is very different than the fundamentalist thinking). However, many of my dear friends follow a different path–everything from Buddhism to Islam, and some are non-believers. I love and respect
each one. Because of my own personal faith, I believe that whatever or whoever it is that guides you will lead you to the realization that works for you and gives your spirit peace. But I tend to write from the direction of what I know or at least what I think I know and so this topic sometimes comes up. And, sometimes, several people ask me questions that I have to think about and look within to find if I know the answer or not. 4 LinQ // OCTOBER . HUMOR MAY 2017 2017 . HUMOR
And if I don’t, I try to research it and find an answer, which, I must admit, I am not always successful in doing. Sometimes I don’t have the answers and I have to be okay with that. Recently, I learned of someone who was well thought of and loved in our community who left us way too early. Circumstances of his passing will never completely be known, and when this happens, it opens up a lot of questions such as, “Where was God?” We will never know the pain that he might have been feeling or what
his last thoughts, words, or even prayers might have been as he took his last breaths. We will never know how great his pain was or why leaving us was the best option. I also wrote a little while back about someone who was a friend of mine from Washington state who chose a path of managed suicide to end the pain and suffering she was experiencing from cancer. One of her last requests was that I record her favorite hymns and send them to her through YouTube so she could be comforted by those
as she transitioned to whatever is in the great beyond. I spoke with her the day before she left us and she felt that God was very much in her decision making and she felt that God was going to be there welcoming her into a place where there would be no more pain. For her, she felt that she knew exactly who and where God was. I have also had a situation in my own life recently where people who I believed cared
deeply for me have not only turned their backs on me, but have tried to defame my character (and I’m not even sure of the reason why). The saddest part of that story has been hearing other people speak out in front of a large group before asking me what my side of the story was, which has drawn more attention to the situation and led to people who weren’t previously involved now drawing lines in the sand and taking sides. Rather than helping the situation, this has created more hurt and division. Where was God in that? I’m still trying to understand it myself. I have said over and over that sometimes God has a way of doing for you what you don’t have the courage to do yourself. Maybe
will do what I want to do instead. Sometimes I will even let pride get in the way, which in those times is a perfect example of me not living up to being the best I can be. That doesn’t make me evil. That makes me human. And when that happens, I believe that God wants me to forgive myself and just try to make a better decision the next time. So… Where is God? I believe God can be everywhere, but it is up to us to recognize that presence or not. Who is God? I believe that only you can answer that. God to you might be the sun that the planets revolve around and the moon that determines the power of the ocean waves and since our bodies are mainly made up of water, gives us our direction as well. God to you might be that voice inside your head that
you refer to as your “intuition” that internally guides you in the direction you take each day. God to you might be that big Dude that lives somewhere up in the sky that sets the bar so high that no human can live up to His expectations, so you just refuse to have anything to do with it. Or, simply put, maybe God really is just LOVE. God is love–and when you show love, you show God–to yourself and to the world. Could it be that simple? Maybe… just maybe it is that simple. Until next month ya’ll… Mamaw loves ya! (Lookie there… a little God moment.) Send comments or suggestions to email@example.com
HUMOR . OCTOBER 2016 // LinQ 5
in the big picture I needed to get out of the way to let new things happen and if I had stayed, I would have gotten in the way or somehow hindered growth. Or, maybe God needed me to move in a different direction because I am needed someplace else. Look, I am never going to say that I have all the answers. I am never going to say I am perfect or any better than anyone else. But I will say that I am as good as anyone else. I will say that each day I try to do the best I can and be the best that I can be. I truly try to listen to that inner voice (which I believe to be God) and I try to follow the call to do what I need to do or be where I need to be. But, I am human and sometimes I won’t hear that voice or sometimes my desire will overpower what I should do and I
TransKY ADVOCATE by Tuesday G Meadows
“I thought that I heard you laughing/I thought that I heard you sing/I think I thought I saw you try/ But that was just a dream, just try, cry, why, try/that was just a dream” Losing My Religion, R.E.M.
n June 2014, unbeknownst to many, I got a divorce. Not from my wife, but from something else that I cherished and loved, my church. It was not of my doing, but when I was told that the congregation would not accept me as me, my only option was to walk away. I still proudly tell anyone that I am a Christian, but I also say that I am “unchurched” (thank you, Vicki, for that term). When my church kicked me to the curb, I felt pretty abandoned. I also felt very sorry for my wife. When I came home from my meeting with our preacher of over 14 years, I told her that he said that the church would not accept me. Her reaction was, “Well, if they don’t want you, then they don’t want me either.” I’ve only
6 LinQ // OCTOBER 2017 . ADVOCACY
been to one actual church service since I parted with my church and that was at Bluegrass United Church of Christ. Even though they were very nice to me and my granddaughter that day, I realized that I could never be part of a congregation again. It was a tough pill to swallow after attending church for my entire life. I was forced to think about my beliefs, my religion, and where I can go from here. I could have easily abandoned my belief in God (and Jesus), but I did not. I’ve been told by so many so-called religious leaders that Jesus hates me because I am a transgender woman. So, it would be easy to start thinking that they are right or to hate them in return, but again, I do not. In some ways, it would be the path of least resistance to become a nonbeliever. If I have learned one thing through my experiences, it is that I must be true to myself, and I am a believer. Although my mom believed with all of her heart in God and Jesus, my dad was not a believer in much of anything. He told me a thousand times, “Don’t believe in anything you hear and only half of what you see.” Yes, I am skeptical because it isn’t something we can physically see or hear and yet I still have faith. That’s the definition of
faith, isn’t it? There have been many times I’ve heard transgender individuals say that God put them in the wrong body. If that’s what they believe, then that’s fine with me. But for me, I believe that this is the body that I was meant to have. My body is not a mistake. My life is not a mistake. I do have gender dysphoria, meaning my body and my mind are at odds with each other, but I was given this by God for a reason. This is the person that I have always been, you just didn’t know it. I think God cares more about our soul than he/she does any physical features we possess here on Earth and whether or not we feel the need to change those features. The religious leaders who seem to make a pretty good living off of hate will tell their flocks that God controls everything. Really? Then where does all of this “free will” stuff fit into that? They will tell their followers that because of who we are we are sinful, abominations, Anti-Christ, or whatever to keep the money rolling into their bank accounts. So, no, I don’t believe that God thinks any of those things, only these charlatans who spout these awful words insist on this hate. They are killing Christianity as we know it. We are all God’s children and she/he (great time to use the pronoun they) loves us the same no matter who we are. We are physical beings from the second we are conceived
and physical things happen after that. Before you attack me, I believe in women controlling our own bodies and therefore I am pro-choice. God could care less that we gain weight, lose weight, who we are attracted to, change our physical bodies, get our PhD’s, or drop out of High School. God doesn’t give people disabilities, cancer, or diseases, those all occur because we are physical beings, but I also believe that God gives us opportunities to help each other. I believe that my opportunity is that even though I am female, and have always been female, that I was given a body that was unlike most females. Now it’s up to me how to best use that gift. We are our souls, not our bodies. God gives us one command and that is to love one another. Not only is it a command, but it’s a gift. One of my favorite sermons is the one where Jesus taught his disciples to fish with a net and not a line and bait. In other words, all fish are important, not just the ones that someone here on earth deems important. Yet my church deemed me unimportant, even after I was in the net, and they tossed me back in the water. I still believe in God, I love Jesus, but I have no use for most organized religion. Going back to my dad, he often said that, “hanging out in a garage doesn’t make you a mechanic.” I’ll use that same philosophy one step further: a person who goes to seminary, leads a church, and tells everyone how to be a Christian isn’t necessarily what they claim to be. You may write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow my blog at Tuesdaysgonewiththewind.wordpress.com. Q
WORDS CAN’T BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PEOPLE by Carol Taylor-Shim, MSW
ny of you out there who know me personally know that I have a knack for weaponizing words in a variety of ways and arenas. I can gather your edges in 10 words or less from across the room. And those who know me also recognize that when I take it there, someone has 99% earned it. But one thing no one will ever be able to say about me is that I use my words to brutalize someone. I most certainly can make you mad, hurt your feelings, all of
that. But what I won’t ever do, is attack your right to live in this world. I won’t make you feel like you and “people like you” should be exterminated like roaches and bed bugs. People may not have enjoyed their encounter with my lethal linguistics, but they certainly didn’t walk away feeling like I was bent on denying them their right to exist. I was engaging in my First Amendment right too, or does that not apply to people like me? These days,
people no longer feel a need to mask their true feelings and their innermost violent desires to eradicate entire communities demonized by America. Literally, no more masks. They are a welloiled machine, spreading their tentacles across the nation and the world. The person who installs our cable. The emergency room doctor. The elected official. The sweet grandmotherly lady pumping gas next to us. Individuals who profess
We are gifted with the constantly reinforced sentiment that it is more important to protect someone’s ability to vomit hate than it is to protect the existence of the people on which said hate is spewed. This isn’t a sticks and stones kind of situation. We no longer live in a world where we had to wait until reams of paper with pretty pictures and colorful words were delivered to our front door to inform us of what is occurring all around us. It’s all at our fingertips. Words, such as “send” or “post”, add so much more ammunition to the war of words that so many of us must battle every single day like a scene out of 300. Discourse in exchanging ideas is not what I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about “Let’s just agree to disagree.” The truth of that is this: “You are wrong and I have no interest in
creating space to understand your perspective in any way, shape, or form.” How does that bring about anything other than further marginalization? Further inequities? Oh wait… never mind. For those of you who have never been on the receiving end of hate speech, because your identities match the institutionally preferred checkboxes that provide all the protection you need, do you really not give a single solitary damn about the impact on the rest of us? When did words become more important than people? Better yet, when will it ever change? Will we ever respect the existence of others who experience this world very differently from us as much as we respect our own?
themselves to be messengers of God. Out of the mouths of babes on the playground during recess. In classrooms. In social media photoshoots. Outlets feeding their version of the “news.” You name it and it’s mask off. Hatred is a claim to fame these days. It’s a career. A lifestyle. A moneymaking machine. Hate is hella profitable these days. But what happens when the people, who under a constant stream of hate speech that is constitutionally protected, attempt to access that same protection? We incur an abhorrent amount of risk in speaking truth to power. We risk our safety, our sanity, our careers, our homes, everything. What little bit of “progress” we’ve made can be snatched from us. We risk the loss of our ability to take care of ourselves and our families, in every possible way.
THE JOURNEY HOME A PANTRY: WORDS MADE FLESH by Stan “JR” Zerkowski, Founder of Lexington Interfaith Encounters
little girl knocked on the door of her parents’ room and said, “I can’t sleep.” One parent gets up, goes with the little girl back to her room, gets her back into bed, and says, “You know that we love you, right?” “Yes,” nods the child. “And you know that God loves you, right?” “Yes,” says the little girl. “And you know that God will be right here with you, watching over you all night long. You know that, don’t you?” The little girl says, “yes,” and smiles as the parent kisses her good night and turns out the light. A few minutes later, the little girl comes back to her parents’ room and says, “I know God is with me all night long. But can I still sleep with you? Right now, I need God with skin on.” More than 25 years ago, a friend, whom I call Pantry Dave, and I began a food pantry at the Treasure Coast Community AIDS Network in Fort Pierce, Florida. Then, HIV/AIDS was rampant and fear was palpable. People were losing their jobs, becoming very ill, and living in what amounted to solitary confinement. Many lacked food; they were afraid
10 LinQ // OCTOBER 2017 . CULTURE
to go into stores or restaurants, even if they were feeling well enough. One person, in particular, moved me and changed me; he challenged me to look at life and faith, hope and reality, differently. His name was Johnny. He was, by anyone’s definition, a classically handsome young man in his mid 30s. He had a wife and two young children–two sons. He left his home, wife, and children when he was diagnosed. He had to. He lived in a small one room efficiency. I would bring Johnny many of his evening meals and talk with him as he ate. I was never afraid, as many were. Some just dropped off food at the door. While he ate, I learned a lot: he was a veteran, a Catholic, a doting father to his sons, enjoyed racquetball and watching the Phillies play. We never talked about how he contracted HIV. It didn’t matter. I knew a lot about Johnny, his life and his beautiful thenbroken heart. He went from being a husband and father, immersed in living and loving, to being shunned. He went from having a full life to engaging with a volunteer-turnedfriend several times a week, besides his doctors. Disease consumed him and took his life within 16 months of his diagnosis. Johnny discussed dying with me on many occasions. He was unafraid and embraced the thought of beginning the next part of the journey without disease,
loneliness, or pain. The one thing he wanted was a Catholic Funeral Mass when he died. I arranged that; he got it. Sadly, the shunning he experienced during his illness was magnified at his funeral. My pastor, three parishioners, the funeral director and I were the only ones at the Mass. A couple of years later, I reached out to Johnny’s wife and his sons. I stopped by their house. They welcomed me warmly and they cried as I recounted those last months. I wasn’t trying to make them feel badly, I just wanted them to know how brave Johnny was and how much he loved them. He asked me to do it. The pantry was a hard-sell, at that time, in church circles. HIV/ AIDS was perceived to be a morally reprehensible disease and the thought of sharing food, via a pantry for people with HIV/AIDS was rather radical. With the cooperation of some local faith and community leaders, the pantry became a reality that has been sustained–and has grown tremendously–through all of these years. It provides food, of course. But, it provides so much more. For those who feel shunned, discounted, or plainly condemned, words like dignity, pride, welcome, embrace, and acceptance, surely ring hollow. Words only become meaningful if sisters and brothers encounter God with skin on: words made flesh. And that is you. That is me.
TAKES WORK. IF YOU’RE READY TO WORK, THEN JOB CORPS IS READY FOR YOU.
Whitney M. Young Job Corps Simpsonville Frenchburg Job Corps Frenchburg
Earle C. Clements Job Corps Morganfield
Great Onyx Job Corps Mammoth Cave Muhlenberg Job Corps Greenville
Pine Knot Job Corps Pine Knot
Carl D. Perkins Job Corps Prestonsburg
After completing the application process, your Admissions Representative will connect you with the center that best fits your training, education, and career goals.
recruiting.jobcorps.gov mifuturo.jobcorps.gov (español)
(800) 733-JOBS 
Job Corps is a U.S. Department of Labor Equal Opportunity Employer Program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. TDD/TTY telephone number is (877) 889-5627.
AROUND THE LIBRARY reviewed by Ashley Householder
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“Sometimes parents loved their sons so much they made a romance out of their lives. They thought our youth could help us overcome everything. Maybe moms and dads forgot about this one small fact: being on the verge of seventeen could be harsh and painful and confusing. Being on the verge of seventeen could really suck.”
had a feeling I was going to love this book before I picked it up, and I wasn’t disappointed! After reading and enjoying Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (which I thought was incredibly sweet, funny, and adorable), I could tell this was going to be another favorite of mine. I’m happy to say that I was not wrong on this account. This story follows two teens (named Aristotle and Dante, as the title implies) with Mexican heritage who meet one summer at the local pool. Aristotle, nicknamed Ari by his friends and family, is quiet and thoughtful, and has trouble making friends and meeting new people. Dante, on the other hand, is bold and loud, entirely unafraid of articulating himself. As the story progresses, the two form an unshakable bond of friendship that slowly grows into more (though neither boy is quite prepared to deal with the ensuing emotions). The novel deals with themes such as homophobia, family, friendship, and assault, and does so without ever feeling preachy or over-the-top. As to be expected, my favorite part of this novel was the relationship between Dante and Aristotle, which holds all the simplicity and innocence of first love while speaking to the difficulties of being an LGBTQ+ youth. As Dante slowly comes to realize that he likes boys more than
12 LinQ // OCTOBER 2017 . CULTURE
girls, Ari finds himself pulling further and further away, uncomfortable and ashamed of his own feelings. This idea of shame is further solidified when Ari learns that his estranged aunt has been living with another woman for almost his entire life, causing
her to be shunned by a majority of Ari’s family. Not only does Ari feel guilty for harboring feelings for Dante, but he also begins to feel guilty about never reaching out to his aunt (who he used to be incredibly close to), especially after her death later in
the novel. Both Dante and Aristotle are fortunate enough, however, to have incredibly loving and understanding parents, parents who encourage them to accept their feelings and be who they are. I found this to be incredibly important, and something that more young adult stories need to embrace. Not all parents are homophobic and intolerant, and I think it’s important for questioning or LGBTQ+ teens to see that there are supportive adults in the world. At one point in the novel, Ari confesses to Dante’s parents that he admitted to liking boys more than girls, and Dante’s parents are shocked and hurt that their son would be afraid to confide in them (mostly because he didn’t want to disappoint them). It’s heart-breaking and powerful, and a true testament to the bond of love shared between parents and children. Surprisingly, I failed to notice Ari’s inner turmoil as the novel progressed, as it seemed much more like he was asexual than bottling up his feelings towards Dante. Although he comes to accept his feelings in the end, their relationship seems one-sided at times, with Dante falling fast and hard while Ari struggles to feel any physical urges for anyone (male or female). I was sure that he was going to be revealed as being either asexual or demi-sexual at the end, as he didn’t seem interested in the discussions
prostitute when Ari was still very young. This is yet another subtle look into homophobia/transphobia, as well as the relationships between family members that permeate the novel’s many plot threads. Aside from the relationship between the two titular characters, I really appreciated the themes of love and support found throughout the novel. Not only do Ari’s parents learn how to heal from their own emotional wounds (Ari’s father has PTSD from his time in Vietnam, while his mother constantly grieves for his imprisoned older brother Bernardo), but they also encourage their son to express his own feelings instead of holding them in. There is also quite a bit of discussion about Dante and Ari’s Mexican-American heritage, and what exactly makes someone “Mexican” or “American” enough to pass. Though it was a small part of the story (taking a backseat to the LGBTQ+ themes throughout), I appreciated this small
acknowledgement of those who come from mixed cultural backgrounds. I think this helps to reassure young people that it’s okay not to feel as though you truly belong to your culture, as we are all trying to figure out who we are and where we fit in during our teenage years. There is a lot of beauty in the interwoven plot lines throughout this story, and I like that they all come together to share a message of being open and supportive of those we care about. We never know what private battles someone is struggling with, so it is crucial to be sympathetic and understanding toward others, even when their actions seem to make little sense. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and it is one of the best young adult novels I’ve read this year. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe can be found in the Young Adult section of the PCSO Pride Library under YA FIC S.
about masturbation or kissing. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but it was something I picked up on as I read the novel. Regardless, I appreciated seeing this brought up or implied in a young adult novel, as I haven’t yet seen an author tackle the concept of asexuality before now. I still really enjoyed the relationship between Dante and Aristotle, however, as it showed the importance of having people in your life to lean on and confide in as a teen. Even if Aristotle hadn’t turned out to be gay, he immediately accepts Dante for who he is, growing incredibly protective of his friend and resistant to any sort of homophobia hurled his way. This is evident in the way he hunts down the boys who beat Dante up near the end of the novel for kissing another boy, bringing out a rage in Ari that he wasn’t even aware he possessed. This also ties into Ari’s relationship with his estranged brother, who was jailed for killing a transgender
CULTURE . OCTOBER 2017 // LinQ 13
Keisa Fallin-Bennett, MD, MPH Director of UK Transform Health Clinic
by Tuesday G Meadows
“Embrace chaos, make plans, offer hope” from a talk given by Dr. Warren Newton
ransform Health Clinic began a little over a year ago in July 2016. The purpose of the clinic is to better serve LGBTQ+ students as well as the local Central Kentucky LGBTQ+ community. Dr. Keisa Fallin-Bennett conceived of and is the Director of the University of Kentucky’s Transform Health Clinic, located at 2195 Harrodsburg Road in the UK HealthCare Turfland Clinic, formerly the location for Turfland Mall. Dr. Fallin-Bennett, along with other team members, takes a comprehensive approach to issues that are unique to the LGBTQ+ community. Keisa wanted to start a separate clinic because she felt that people sometimes feel intimated to ask their healthcare provider for specific healthcare related to their LGBTQ+ status, such as hormone therapy, PrEP (preexposure prophylaxis of HIV), or mental healthcare that can be provided through Transform Health. Transform Health strives to be the primary healthcare home for LGBTQ+ patients of all ages to receive evidence-based, quality care in a safe place. The mission of Transform Health is to become the central resource to train students, faculty, and staff in LGBTQ+ care, to contribute to the body of knowledge through ethical research, and to provide outreach and resources throughout the state. Transform Health Clinic services include primary care, preventive care, PrEP, adult hormone therapy, counseling, and tobacco dependence treatment. Dr. FallinBennett also created TransTrack, a residency training track at the University of Kentucky Department of Community and Family Medicine that focuses on residents receiving in-depth training in transgender patient care and advocacy. Dr. Keisa Fallin-Bennett received her medical degree from the University of Kentucky and then completed her residency at Greater Lawrence Family Health in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She then completed a fellowship at Georgetown University and the Robert Graham Center in Washington, D.C. She grew up in Western Kentucky in the small town of Murray. Keisa has volunteered and given much of her free time to helping others. While working with UK’s Health Occupation Professionals for Equity (HOPE) group, she met her wife, Amanda. It was while they were working together on an event that brought in Dr. Marci Bowers, the famous surgeon, to speak on gender affirming surgery that they first connected, or almost connected. Soon after, Amanda went to San Francisco to work on her post doctorate and they began a long-distance relationship that resulted in them being married in California 16 LinQ // OCTOBER 2017 . FEATURE
Keisa Fallin-Bennett (left) with her wife Amanda.
two years later. Amanda and Keisa now both live in Lexington and work for the University of Kentucky. Keisa says that she is so intent on making Transform Health successful because she hated that when she was in high school and college she could not come out to her primary care doctors. She felt that her healthcare providers were even a source of discomfort about her sexuality. She says that medicine had a culture of being either anti-LGBTQ+ or ambivalent about it. She wanted to train the next generation of doctors to do a better job of making their patients feel more comfortable talking about their sexual orientation or gender identity. Transform Health is still in its infancy and Keisa has lofty goals. Most of us in the LGBTQ+ community want this to succeed, very few of us have patience, and many of us are quick to criticize. Right now, she is fighting a 40 percent no-show rate for appointments. This makes the wait to see her even longer and makes the program unable to ask for more days to see these patients. She has to show the UK HealthCare administration that there is more need for this service so that she can add more hours and more days to the clinic. Most clinics have a noshow rate of 10 to 15 percent, which is considered bad in and of itself. Training new doctors and teaching medical students is a slow process; four years of medical school and then the usual three to five more years of residency. With all of that said, it would be easy to think that Keisa would maybe throw up her hands, but knowing her I would never count her out. She will succeed and we will all be better for it.
Meet Some of the Other Team Members of Transform Health Megan Walden, BSN, RN-BC Megan grew up in Lexington, Kentucky and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Eastern Kentucky University. She has been with UK HealthCare since 2009 and works as a Central Monitoring Nurse Coordinator. Megan also serves as the Nurse Educator for the University of Kentucky’s Transform Health Clinic. Megan says that she is passionate about creating an inclusive clinical space that provides high-quality care for all LGBTQ+ patients. In 2013, she founded UK HealthCare’s Equality Index Committee. This initial group expanded into the Enterprise’s Inclusive Care Committee and has managed the process for successfully accrediting UK HealthCare as a national leader on the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index two years in a row. From this involvement, Megan was asked to sit on the Board for Transform Health. She is Chair of the Patient Care subcommittee and is a member of the Education subcommittee. She has served
Joanne Brown, DNP, ARNP Joanne says that she first began collaborating with Dr. Keisa Fallin-Bennett in 2011 after they received some feedback from LGBTQ+ patients that were being seen at the University Health Services (UHS). The feedback was very helpful in that it highlighted areas where there needed to be improvement for healthcare for LGBTQ+ individuals. Keisa and Natalie Wallis provided training for clinicians and staff of UHS and that was the start of the effort to improve care for all LGBTQ+ patients at the University of Kentucky. Joanne says that she keeps finding new areas to improve care at UHS and to improve care for all students. Joanne says that she has learned from many different people and was enlightened when she worked with a Counseling Psychology graduate student from California who had been practicing in a Transgender Healthcare Clinic and with other psychologists at the UK Counseling Center. It was apparent to her that there was this big gap (need) at UK for these services. After speaking with Keisa informally about the need for better healthcare services for transgender individuals and more focused care for other LGBTQ+ patients, she says that she jumped at the opportunity to contribute when it came along. Joanne is originally from the east end of Long Island, New York and she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from State University of New
Megan Walden (left) with her wife Francesca and daughters Zoe (left) and Kenya.
as Health Educator for Transform Health Clinic since it opened. Megan is currently a graduate student at George Washington University, pursuing a graduate certificate in LGBT Health Policy and Practice. Through this program, she is completing a Healthcare and Community Outreach Internship with the Office of LGBTQ* Resources at UK under the direction of Lance Poston. She has been married to her wife, Francesca, since November 2016 and has two daughters, Kenya (9) and Zoe (5). She loves horror, sci-fi movies, and cosplay inspired from those movies, so she says Halloween, of course, is her favorite holiday. She loves to travel (Paris is her favorite place on earth) and read (her favorite books are the Harry Potter series). Megan is such a delightful, friendly, outgoing person, even as busy as she is these days.
FEATURE . OCTOBER 2017 // LinQ 17
York, College at Plattsburgh. She received both her Master of Science degree in Nursing and Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Kentucky. She is nationally certified as a women’s health nurse practitioner, as a family nurse practitioner, and as a tobacco treatment specialist. She is a member of the UK LGBTQ Advisory Board and several regional and national nursing organizations. She is very active in the American College Health Association where she holds leadership roles. Before joining UHS, she worked as an ARNP in a private OB-GYN practice and for a community-based clinic. Joanne has lived in Lexington for 24 years and has been married to her husband, Bill, for 34 years. She has 3 grown children and 3 grandchildren who keep her very busy in her free time. She says that she loves being a grandmother and loves to read in her “me” time. When she has time to travel, she heads to the beach near where her parents live. When working, Joanne is an integral part of Transform Health Clinic. Under the umbrella of UK HealthCare’s Transform Health Clinic, she can provide care for UK students at UHS with PrEP, hormone therapy, and preventive and problem-focused care. Joanne says that she loves helping others and is proud of her contributions to the betterment of healthcare for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Joanne Brown with her husband Bill.
18 LinQ // OCTOBER 2017 . FEATURE
by Paul Brown, 2018 Lexington Pride Festival Chair
his weekend I went to see IT with my good friend Amy Hatter. I like to do things for my friends that I would not normally do, but I was apprehensive to say the least. I hate horror films. Embarrassingly, I am a 40-year-old who walks away from horror films thinking a menacing specter might actually pop up in my bathroom intent on serious battle. Regardless, I decided to suck it up and go with Amy. Oddly, the movie was not even remotely scary. Perhaps it was often illogical but not scary. The antagonist, a clown called Pennywise, did some creepy things but did not scare me. I can still go watch some Hadi Shrine clowns pop out of a Volkswagen. In the end, I felt the movie had a powerful lesson: overcoming fear. Pennywise terrorizes the kids of the town. A core group, no older than 12, has to confront their fears in order to wage war on Pennywise. Most of the kids have sub-stories that force them to overcome their personal fears. It turns out that “IT” is not a malicious, psychopathic clown; “IT” is our fears. So, what are some fears of the LGBTQ+ community? Being out, being visible, being proud. Many LGBTQ+ people have grown up being told they are abnormal and ungodly. Just telling their friends and family they have a non-heteronormative orientation or gender identity causes excessive stress. Those who pass that hurdle often are not visible. That is to say that they will not express their identity or orientation freely in the same manner as our heteronormative counterparts. They fear the
20 LinQ // OCTOBER 2017 . COMMUNITY
repercussions that can come in losing friends, employment, and housing. Moreover, those who are visible are not always proud. They may fear what is inside them. They may believe their feelings are abnormal or participate in self-destructive behavior such as voting in opposition to their own best interests because they fear they are not worthy of love, respect, or dignity. Now that I have droned on about the fears ever present in the LGBTQ+ community, what are the benefits of beating those fears to a pulp? You achieve pride. When you conquer your internalized fears around your sexuality or gender identity, you achieve a status where you can be relaxed and proud of who you are. With considerations to pride and being proud, we now embark upon planning for Lexington Pride Festival 2018. In September, elections were held to elect the new Planning Committee. The committee is composed of talented, brave individuals of many orientations and identities. All of these people went through the process of overcoming “IT” in order to be a proud individual. These people have now gone farther to the point that they want to create something that will help other people overcome “IT.” They will work for the next year to make Pride 2018 the most successful and proudest yet. They have committed to bringing you a festival that by its very existence serves to conquer “IT.” Join me in congratulating these fearless people on their recent election: Paul Brown – Chair Katherine Wilkie Kennedy – Vice Chair Carmen Wampler-Collins – Secretary Jacob Boyd – Treasurer Jeremy Ellis – Activities Chair Anthony Smallwood & Shannon Wampler-Collins – Entertainment Co-Chairs Andrew Morgan – Food and Beverage Chair Clinton Nowicke – IT/Website Chair Paulo Raya-Guffin – Logistics Chair Sarah Brown & Tiffany Dupont – Marketing/Advertising Co-Chairs Sarah Brown & Tiffany Dupont – Merchandising Co-Chairs Dena D. Lee – Social Media Chair Lydia Frazier & Morgan Fry – Sponsorship Co-Chairs Haley Marie – Vendor Liaison Amy Hatter – Volunteers Chair These people overcame “IT”. They are proud, and they are working hard to bring you Pride 2018. On a side note, you can still get involved. Meetings are the 4th Thursday of each month and open to the public. They take place at 389 Waller Avenue, Suite 100. Come with love and pride.
PCSO & LexPride Dine Out for Life at Sidebar Grill on September 14th. From Left: Christopher R. Bauer, Roberto L. Abreu, Lydia Frazier, Paul Brown & Haley Marie.
Dine Out for Life at Columbia Steak House on N. Limestone on September 14th. From Left: Anthony Smallwood, Ron Johnson,Tom Clayton, Dale Virgin, Belinda Tarpley-Sottung, Mike Ledford, Richard Hembree & Dean Rogers.
Dine Out for Life at Lussi Brown Coffee Bar on September 14th. From Left: Ali Deane, Sarah Brown & John Cable.
Kentucky Fried Sisters Dine Out for Life at Bourbon Nâ€™Tolouse on September 14th. From Left: Mimi Pickme, Mindy Antonchak, Hugh Bris, Peeping Thom & Ken Tagious.
Particpants at the Fostering Goodwill Conference, co-sponsored by Bluegrass Black Pride, Inc. & Fostering Goodwill at the Downtown Lexington Public Library on September 14th. From Left: Elizabeth Finley (Sexual Health Educator at UK University Health Service), Joanne Brown (UK University Health Service & Presenter), Chorya Morton (Fostering Goodwill), Christopher Hagans, Illya Adams-Jones (Co-chair of BBP, Inc.), Reinette Jones (Co-Chair of BBP, Inc.), Kathy Schiflett & Dr. Kristen Mark (UK Arts & Sciences & Presenter).
PCSO tables at Louisville Pride Festival on September 16th. From Left: PCSO Office Manager Carmen Wapler-Collins & PCSO volunteer Evan Wampler-Collins.
PCSO tables at the Lexington Roots and Heritage Festival on September 9th. From Left: PCSO Office Manager Carmen Wampler Collins & PCSO volunteer Sophonie Bazile.
PCSO Board Member Roberto L. Abreu tables at Festival Latino de Lexington on September 16th.
PCSO Board Members Jacob Boyd & Dena D. Lee table at the Kentucky Black Pride Festival on September 16th.
Katts & Kittens dance troupe performs at the Kentucy Black Pride Festival on September 16th.
Alexis Clairborne performs at the Kentucky Black Pride Festival on September 16th.
Northside Michael Jackson performs at the Kentucky Black Pride Festival on September 16th.
PCSO Board Member & Bluegrass Black Pride, Inc. Secretary Mark Johnson and his partner of 21 years, John Moses, were married on Sunday, September 24th at the Lyric Theatre.
CAMDEN-CARROLL LIBRARY CAMDEN-CARROLL LIBRARY
COMMUNITY & SOCIAL GROUPS
CALENDAR & DIRECTORY
Wednesday, October 4 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center)
Thursday, October 5 6:30 p.m.-PCSO Board Meeting (PCSO Center) Saturday, October 7 10:00 a.m.-Grief Support Group (Ahava Center) 10:00 a.m.-Morehead Pride Festival (Moonlight Stage, East FIrst St.) 2:30 p.m.- Bluegrass Black Pride Meeting (Northside Library) 7:30 p.m.-TransKentucky Meeting Tuesday, October 10 6:30 p.m.-PFLAG Meeting (St. Michael Church) 9:00 p.m.-LGBT Sci-Fi/ Horror Group (PCSO Center) Wednesday, October 11 NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY! 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, October 14 Capitol Pride in Frankfort 9:00 p.m.-Kentucky Bourbon Bears Board Meeting (Crossings)
Sunday, October 15 Editorial & Ad Deadline for LinQ Magazine 1:30 p.m.-Kentucky Fried Sisters (PCSO Center) Wednesday, October 18 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (PCSO Center)
Friday, October 20 7:00 p.m.-Senior’s Bistro (Potluck) (PCSO Center) Sunday, October 22 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, October 25 7:00 p.m.-“Heart To Heart” LGBT Discussion Group (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
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
Thursday, October 26 6:30 p.m.-Lexington Pride Festival Committee Planning Meeting (PCSO Center) Saturday, October 28 11:00 a.m.-Georgetown Pride Cookout (601 E. Main Street, Georgetown) Sunday, October 29 7:00 p.m.-ICK Diva of Darkness (Crossings)
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: email@example.com or 859-253-3233.
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 . OCTOBER 2017 // LinQ 27
FEATURE . NOVEMBER 2016 // LinQ 28
LinQ is the only monthly magazine that focuses on the Kentucky LGBTQ... community. LinQ is published monthly by and for the Pride Community...