Rebecca Case was a closeted bisexual for years and didn’t come out until she was 24 and already married to a man.
“People thought I was kidding,” she said.
Case attended Sunday’s Lexington Equality Rally and March at the Courthouse Plaza. The Lexington march and rally was one of more than 100 across the United States that coincided with the Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington D.C. , which was held to address concerns about the political landscape contributing to the persecution and discrimination of LGBTQ + individuals.
Case said she has experienced discrimination because of her orientation.
“I’ve had lesbians that tell me I’m a lesbian and shouldn’t be liking guys,” she said, adding that she has also had bottles thrown at her because she doesn’t look girly.
However, Case said it got better as she got older.
“The world is changing,” she said.
Josh Mers, chair of Lexington Fairness, said Sunday’s rally was not a protest and members of the LBGTQ community “will not go back into the closet.”
“No matter what folks in Frankfort have to say or what folks in Washington, D.C., have to say, we will not protest them. We will celebrate who we are. We will celebrate our unity. We will celebrate equality. We will celebrate that fairness is a virtue that is important to each and every one of us,” he said.
During the rally, Mers recognized Lexington as being of the first cities in the south to pass a fairness ordinance, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.
However, Mers said the state still has to make progress in ensuring that all LGTBQ Kentuckians are protected. He suggested a statewide fairness ordinance be passed.
“If you live in Fayette County, but you work in Jessamine County, you can be fired from your job, but not evicted from your home. If you live in Georgetown, you can be denied that cup of coffee,” he said.
Ernesto Scorsone, the first openly gay member of the Kentucky General Assembly who now serves as a judge, also spoke at the rally. Scorsone said national changes, such as the Supreme Court declaring the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples in 2015, have been the result of local, smaller rallies.
“It has been the product of a tremendous amount of work that people like here in Lexington, in Louisville, in Berea, in Vicco and Morehead, it is that building-block work that makes those success on the national level possible,” he said.
Following the speakers, about 1,000 people marched into the streets of downtown Lexington chanting phrases such as “What do we want? Fairness. When do we want it? Now” and “Out of the closet, into the streets.”
Morgan Shipps, who is originally from Florida, said she came to the event because it would be a good chance to familiarize herself with Lexington. Shipps has also participated in previous Pride events and said with several groups against LGTBQ rights and women rights, it was important for people to show up at events like Sunday’s rally.
“I do believe that showing up and having numbers at these events matter,” she said.
Lexington’s annual pride festival will be June 24.