This year Northern Kentucky as a community celebrated the 10th Annual Pride! The festival, taking place in Covington, saw city leaders attend, including an openly LGBTQ public official, from Covington and Dayton, Kentucky, State Representatives Buddy Wheatley and Dennis Keene participate, local organizations, and others helped celebrate the strides we have made towards equity for LGBTQ+ community members.
As KFTC marched in the parade, numerous people called out thanks for the work we do! Celebrating our voter guide, the work we do to connect allies in the community, and appreciation for our vision. Many people had met us during Pride at one of the various events: from the kick-off of Pride at Bircus Brewing (where they released the Y’all Means All Ale), to The Future Is Queer party at Lil’s aimed at bringing together under 21 members of the LGBTQ+ community, and finally attending Pride that day. Throughout these events we registered 15 voters, talked with dozens others, and celebrated the progress that has been made locally.
However, we know there is work to be done. LGBTQ+ people are impacted by all of our issues, because the community is everywhere. To help recognize this, and think about how to create spaces of belonging, the Northern Kentucky chapter partnered with Northern Kentucky Fairness and the Community of Reason for a workshop to build a community where ‘Y’all Means All’.
The workshop was led by Bonnie Meyer, the LGBTQ Resource Director at Northern Kentucky University. After a brief introduction to each other, those in attendance discussed what a Fairness Ordinances is (anti-discrimination against LGBTQ people in housing, employment, and public accommodations), and which cities in Kentucky have one. And while this is an important step, it alone will not lead us to achieving our vision.
Bonnie shared stories of undocumented students who are members of the community, who face violence and discrimination based on who they are, where they are from, and who they love. Of students facing insecure housing at college after coming out, or losing financial assistance from family members at school. People shared stories of the hate they experienced in their community, and their lives.
Those in attendance also talked about an increasing lack of spaces for LGBTQ people, and how Governor Bevin’s shortsighted economic policies especially harm LGBTQ people. From pension policies that put health departments at risk (whose services are especially important in communities like northern Kentucky, where the only local hospitals are under the direction of local Catholic Diocese, have failed to respond to the Human Rights Campaign, and have to date turned down the opportunity to promote their services at Northern Kentucky Pride), proposed changes in coverage and work requirements in Medicaid put low-income lgbtq+ with even fewer options, and where regressive tax changes underfund services for all Kentuckians.
While many in government, both in Kentucky and in the country as a whole, are trying to roll back progress, we have seen great steps over the last 15 years. People also shared stories about how much more support of the community there is across the region, and were hopeful that some basic steps forward would soon be made at the city level in nearby cities.
As Pride celebrations in northern Kentucky end, it reminds us why we need this celebration so much. Representation matters. We must see all members of our community, celebrate what they bring, and we need to create spaces that have conversations on how to celebrate, welcome, and honor them. We also need to work where we are, or else others who need this here will continue to be left behind. And we must remember that just as Black History doesn’t end on February 28th, Pride shouldn’t end on June 30th.
Reposted from http://kftc.org/blog/northern-kentucky-celebrates-10th-annual-pride