Queerslang continues to spark conversation, awareness


Provided by Ethan Fedele, WRFL Design Director

Editorial Board

Imagine a college campus and surrounding community where straights, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered individuals, and anyone anywhere in between on the spectrum can walk around freely, in unison, knowledgeable of one another and accepting. WRFL’s Queerslang festival allowed UK and the Lexington community to do just this, and sparked further conversation and awareness of the existing LGBTQ community right here among us. 

For one week, an array of events took place on UK’s campus and around Lexington that brought awareness and tolerance about the LGBTQ community right to the surface and allowed students, faculty, staff and locals to learn more about a subject many people shy away from. 

It is not uncommon to come across an act of hate and intolerance in the world we live in today with the current political climate, whether it be in regard to race, religion, gender or sexuality. It has become the norm to hear about yet another incident on the news in relation to racial discrimination or religious intolerance. It is not as common, though, to hear on the news about the teenager who committed suicide because of homophobic bullying or the homeless youth who was kicked out of their home because of their sexuality. 

According to speakforthem.org, suicide is the leading cause of death nationally among gay and lesbian youth and 30 percent of gay youth attempt suicide around the age of 15. In addition, approximately 1.6 million youth in America experience homelessness each year and 40 percent of these individuals are members of the LGBTQ community, according to truecolorsfund.org.

Queerslang sought to bring this issue to light for those unaware and uneducated about the LGBTQ community, but it also served as a celebration of pride for the local community and its allies. 

Many LGBTQ individuals do not grow up in an environment where their differences are accepted and celebrated, which leads to depression, homelessness and attempted suicide. This festival allowed these individuals to experience an overwhelming amount of support that they may not have had before, letting them know that there are people out there who acknowledge, accept and praise their unique sexualities. 

WRFL kicked this year’s Queerslang off with an informational event at the Bowman’s Den walkway that allowed those walking by to take the time to stop and learn more about LGBTQ issues in the community. A lot of the problem in today’s society surrounding the LGBTQ community comes from a general lack of education about it. This informational session was a productive and effective way of educating and raising awareness that people otherwise may never take the time to get on their own. 

Later in the week, Jim Gray, Lexington’s openly gay mayor, held a panel discussion for students and locals to ask questions about LGBTQ issues in the community in an open setting. This platform was an efficient way to start a back and forth discussion, giving individuals the opportunity to bring forth their questions regarding sexuality and LGBTQ issues and have them answered by someone who has experienced them firsthand, making it an eye-opening experience for those who were in attendance.  

Over the years, WRFL’s Queerslang has continued to make an impact on UK and the local Lexington community. It is an essential event to spark the continuance of an open, educated and tolerant discussion about a community that exists and thrives among us. It should continue to raise awareness for many years to come.