As Modern celebrates pride with this issue, the concept of recreating the very first pride flag only seemed natural. The original flag had eight colors and was crafted by Gilbert Baker in San Francisco in 1978. The flag gave symbolism to each color and carefully tied it to the LGBTQ community. The flag, much like our LGBTQ community, has seen much change and evolution, but I believe now more than ever we must unite, combine the symbolism and manifest as one loving body of people. We have chosen individuals as representatives who embody the symbolism behind the colors that stand for the love our community possesses.” – Gunnar Deatherage
The Derby City Sisters exists as a modern order of 21st-century nuns dedicated to community service, fundraising, outreach, advocacy, education for safer sex awareness and a ministry of presence*. Humbly promoting human rights and respect for diversity, it is their goal to empower our LGBTQ family and the Louisville community at large to embrace their unique beauty and to fully realize their self-worth.
The Derby City Sisters spread the message of joy and love to all who will listen. They use humor, irreverent wit and wisdom imparted from our history to expose the forces of bigotry and guilt that chain the human spirit. They vow to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt through public manifestation and habitual perpetration. The sisters gladly welcome all races, genders, creeds and sexual orientations.
*Ministry of presence is what they have to offer the community – whether it be a shoulder to cry on or someone to lift your spirits, their members are available to create the space to share joy and suffering in a safe, affirming light. Presence is representative of physical space, but also awareness, cognitive connection and a safe place for sexual and spiritual expression.
The idea of summing the inspiration of life up in a few sentences is near impossible, but choosing a duo who embrace and live life to the fullest was a bit easier. Trista works as a freelance makeup artist and fashion stylist, while Jack works as a hairstylist at Louisville’s J Michaels Spa and Salon. The couple has cultivated a small family comprised of Trista’s two goldendoodles and Jack’s two Boston terriers that merged together in a “Brady Bunch” manner. A recent trip to the vet gave way to some undesirable news about the health of one of the couple’s goldendoodles, Tina. Upon hearing the news, Trista and Jack decided to tie the knot to ensure the presence of Tina at their wedding. The situation has shone light on the respect and love for life that Trista and Jack have. Living each day to the fullest, with Tina, is inspiring everyone around them to learn from their renewed appreciation for life, love and family.
Healing means to make free from injury or disease, to make sound or whole, to make well again and to restore to health. MedWater works toward universal access to safe water and basic sanitation across the globe. Through a socially inclusive process, MedWater believes that change comes when people not only have their basic needs met but also when they feel valued, participate in the process and can live with dignity.
Chana’s introduction to the need for safe water and sanitation came during her first medical mission trip to Managua, Nicaragua, in 2010. She spent a couple of weeks watching patients be treated for waterborne illness or water-related illness. Patients would take medications at home with dirty, unsafe water filled with parasites, or they would place the medication on a shelf and save it for a time they were really sick with no doctors around and take it in hopes of feeling better. Chana couldn’t stop asking how this could be done better.
Founded in 2013, MedWater now does W.A.S.H. programs (Water And Sanitation Hygiene). By collaborating with primary stakeholders, medical providers, government services, community leadership and YOU, MedWater implements W.A.S.H. solutions so that rural communities have access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene practices.
Safe water is good medicine.
Syimone is a local DJ, showgirl and activist. She can be seen performing as a resident DJ at Nowhere Bar every Sunday and Below Zero Lounge in Cincinnati every Friday. She is a seasoned performer who loves dance and connecting with her audience at her Drag Brunch at Somewhere Restaurant, which can be attended the last Sunday of every month. She recognizes the platform she has been given and uses it for her philanthropic endeavors. Syimone understands the impact that she has on the community and wants to give back to those who have helped her grow and find a voice in this world. She is passionate about bringing resplendent light, love and knowledge to our ever-growing LGBTQ community.
“You can’t control the world, but you can control your attitude and your eyebrows.” — Syimone Taylor
He goes by John Haley, not just John – the full extent of his name. Folks in town find it to roll off their tongue just as easily as the traditional first name. John Haley volunteers as president for the entry-level professional group The Cultivators of Waterfront Botanical Gardens. He remembers the first time he stumbled upon the whimsical and progressive architectural renderings for the future facility and being awestruck by its potential. Since his initial inspiration, he has been eager to see the site’s completion while also motivated to ensure its reach to those who he believes will benefit from its offerings. He has been striving to connect the Gardens with the children at Americana World Community Center as a P.O.C. leader, and with the teachers at Portland Elementary School, whose eyes sparkle just at the idea of incorporating the Gardens into their curriculum.
“Being president of The Cultivators of Waterfront Botanical Gardens is my response to a world so destined to put me out: I’m here and growing new connections to ensure a more enlightened future! Education isn’t the only thing pursued; I’ve also been seeking out opportunities to diversify our events by working with a team that makes them intellectually compelling, unique in using existing infrastructures – such as Beargrass Creek and community garden networks – and focused on connecting Louisville to a proactive sense of society. All of it combined is an abundant source of love, ambition and hope, which marks me as a fortune man surrounded by inspiring and motivated people. All in all, the future is bright and I want to see everyone in its light!” — John Haley
JD is a locally grown explorer and artist, constantly suffering from a bad case of wanderlust. He has been the proud co-owner of Regalo – a carefully curated gift shop and art gallery that offers one-of-a-kind jewelry, accessories, contemporary art and fine decor – for 16 years with his husband Jon and sister Laura. JD is a photographer, jeweler, writer, painter, illustrator, graphic designer, fantastic baby sitter/“guncle,” and parent to a menagerie of dogs, cats and chickens. He is an all-around jack-of-all-trades. When not at the store, you can catch JD on whimsical and exploratory adventures all while in the comfort of his beat-up Honda.
David Brandt is a practicing Thai Yoga therapist in Louisville. A Vedic Thai Yoga treatment, by definition, manifests as a flowing dance that synthesizes the cumulative knowledge and techniques from various disciplines like Yoga, Āyurveda and Oriental-style massage. Through these practices, a wordless exchange of communicating benevolence, friendliness, health and empathy is achieved. Every facet of David focuses on finding inner peace, promoting positivity and developing a flow of energy that ignites a movement of absolute harmony between soul, body and mind. David practices locally in a variety of studios as well as Indianapolis, but is bracing for the opening of his own studio in Louisville.
The Human Spirit
Nate and Drew are two extremely high-spirited individuals in the community. Their nights are spent in carefully clad frocks that range from Harajuku daydreams to the glam rock era of David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust. The embodiment of the nightly characters met with the vivacious personalities of this duo is reminiscent of the New York “club kid” era. The sense of freedom and embracing of individuality is not only inspiring but contagious. Nate spends his days as a master stylist at The Springs Salon and Spa, and Drew spends his days as a freelance graphic designer and evenings as a manager at Big Bar. Every aspect of their life is about acknowledging the human spirit and lifting it to its peak.