LGBT

Local News
6:30 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Growing Up Gay in Appalachia: Whit Forrester, Defining Fairness

The thought of growing up gay in rural Eastern Kentucky would make many Louisvillians cringe. But how much of that reaction is rooted in stereotypes we hold about rural Kentucky? Whit Forrester spent some of his childhood in Leburn, Kentucky—a town in Knott County, with a population of around eight hundred people. Whit says when people hear he's from Appalachia, they think, "barefoot, pregnant, in a trailer, and you know how to change a propane tank."

Whit Forrester spoke with WFPL’s Phillip M. Bailey and Laura Ellis about growing up gay in Appalachia.

Read more
Local News
6:30 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Beyond Pink and Blue: Rebecca Grant, Defining Fairness

Rebecca Grant was a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard. Twelve years into her military career, a fellow soldier found and circulated a picture of her wearing a dress. The Army took issue with the photo because she had enlisted and had been serving as male—her biological sex.

Rebecca is now the president of Sienna, a transgender social, educational and support group, and has come out as transgendered and a lesbian. But embracing her identity hasn't been without challenges. "Right now, I'm able to still marry, let's say, my partner, a female, legally," she explains. "But once I have my sex change, I would not have that opportunity. And that seems completely wrong."

Read more
Local News
11:58 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Chosen Families and the Ballroom Scene: Jaison Gardner, Defining Fairness

Jaison Gardner describes ballroom shows as "akin to fashion shows, akin to a talent shows," and says they started with LGBTQ people of color, mostly gay men and transgender women, in 1970s and 80s Harlem.

Gardner was one the founders of our local ballroom community—but if you haven't heard of it, he's not surprised. "The ballroom scene has historically been an underground scene," he explains, "much like hip-hop was back in its early days."

Read more
Local News
11:51 am
Tue May 22, 2012

LGBTQ Community More Than Black & White: Tiff Gonzales, Defining Fairness

Tiff Gonzales is a fourth-generation Mexican American, native to Texas, who identifies as queer both in gender identity and sexual orientation.

Tiff moved to Louisville five and a half years ago. She says when we talk about race in Louisville, we're generally only talking about black and white. Latino issues are rarely part of the conversation, and when they are, it often only includes immigrants. "There's so much that draws me to this city," she says, "but that invisibility is something that I, on a regular basis, would struggle with to determine whether or not I can continue to live here."

Read more
Local News
6:30 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Bringing Faith to the LGBTQ Community: Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard, Defining Fairness

File photo

Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard was born in Promised Land, South Carolina, the son of a Southern Baptist Minister, and says, "I grew up in church as much as I was in home." He was given his nickname at the age of three, when his grandfather noticed his ability to replicate any dance move he saw.

When he came out as a gay man, he experienced rejection from the church. "I was angry at God," he says. After struggling to reconcile his faith with his sexual orientation, he says he came to the conclusion that, "I was created like this, so I can't believe in a God who would create me bound to hell, as they're telling me I am." 

Read more
Local News
6:30 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Legal Protection in Louisville: Diane Moten, Defining Fairness

When asked to describe herself, Diane Moten says: "I’m just a simple person. I work with the homeless. I’m a part time nanny. I like to bike, I like to run and walk. Actually, I’m also a minister. The church ordained me last year. I say that in some situations to be helpful to folks when I do jail visits or hospital visits. I’m a pretty outgoing person, and I’m the type of person, if you’re willing to ask me a question, I’ll answer any question anyone wants me to answer."

Years before the city of Louisville offered legal protections to residents based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, Diane Moten was working at a daycare center when coworker asked her if she was a lesbian. She answered yes, and was fired within a week; her employer said she could no longer be trusted around children.

Read more
Local News
2:59 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Life without Labels: Walter W. Walker II, Defining Fairness

Walter W. Walker II has lived in Louisville since his family moved here in 1986. Here's how he describes himself:

Honestly, I would say I'm Walter. I think that everyone is different, everyone has their own identity, everyone's unique, and I think that I'm a unique person. I do consider myself an African American, a Christian, a Presbyterian, and also a gay man. When you put yourself in these boxes and you start labeling, you know, being African American you're going to experience the African-American experience. Being gay, you're going to experience the gay experience.

When I was younger, before I did come out, I was living in those boxes. So as I matured, as I got older, as I got comfortable with myself and started loving myself for who I am, I've kind of stepped away from those categories. And that's the reason why I say, I'm just Walter.

Read more
Local News
6:57 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Fairness Campaign Praises Landmark Extension of LGBT Protections

Louisville Fairness Campaign leaders are praising a landmark decision by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ruled that discrimination based on gender identity qualifies as sex discrimination under existing federal law.

The decision is being heralded as a "sea change" by gay rights advocates and came about as part of a resolution to a case filed by Mia Macy and the Transgender Law Center in California. Macy says she was denied a job as a ballistics technician at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms because she is transgendered.

Louisville Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman says the EEOC's decision is a landmark achievement for the gay rights movement and elevates a marginalized community.

"This is huge for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, but particularly transgendered community. What this decision does is really elevate the transgender community to a level of protections that not even lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals enjoy on a federal level," he says.

Read more

Pages