“(Never) Meant to Survive,” a portrait series honoring LGBTQ Activists and Icons at Regalo


Kentuckiana Pride Foundation and FEVA proudly present “(Never) Meant to Survive,” a portrait series honoring LGBTQ Activists and Icons. The installation includes 13 recreated historical photos of figures including James Baldwin, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Edie Windsor, Sylvia Rivera, Harvey Milk and more, utilizing similarly identifying local Queer folk as models.

2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which were the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ Rights Movement. The fight continues, and in light of this anniversary and the current political climate, it is more important than ever to learn about Queer history. As we pay homage to LGBTQ activists and cultural icons by recreating their images with inspiring Queer folk in our community, we’re connecting generations and demonstrating the power of the icon’s legacy through the life and survival of their modern counter-part.

The title, ‘(Never) Meant to Survive’ is inspired by the poem, “A Litany for Survival” by Queer Woman of Color, Audre Lorde, and it’s refrain, “we were never meant to survive.”

A Litany for Survival’ describes the lives of those who have been marginalized and experienced suffering in a society that casts them to the edges. It describes the lack of choice and constant fear these individuals experience at every turn, persecuted and silenced, “never meant to survive.” And yet the speaker proclaims, they have triumphed by surviving this long and need to use this power/voice to ensure further survival and that of future generations. The icons we are honoring in this show, dedicated their lives to using their voice to ensure the survival of future generations.

We added the parentheses before and after “Never” as reclamation of the statement- we were meant to survive and we did.

The portrait series debuts at Kentuckiana Pride Festival on June 14 and 15th and makes its way to Regalo for the celebration on the 28th of June, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots.


562 S 4th St
Louisville, Kentucky 40202

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