Op-Ed

Pride month is no laughing matter. Let’s celebrate it together in unity.

Photo Slideshow : 2018 Lexington Pride Festival

A photo slideshow from the 2018 Lexington Pride Festival at Courthouse Plaza in Lexington
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A photo slideshow from the 2018 Lexington Pride Festival at Courthouse Plaza in Lexington

Recently, news broke about a “Straight Pride Parade” planned in Boston later this summer. Of course, social media has had a field day with the possible hilarious memes about such an event.

LGBTQ Pride is no laughing matter. In many areas of the country, people can still be fired because someone complains they do not feel comfortable working with someone who is gay or transgender. LGBTQ people still face violence and are still being beaten and even murdered for being who they are. Some of us remain in the closet for fear of being kicked out of our church, or worse, our family. These realities are no laughing matter.

June is Pride month. Everyone should have pride in who they are, but Pride month is a celebration that marks LGBTQ pride specifically. In spite of the enormous societal and personal obstacles, the LGBTQ community is Proud. We invite everyone to celebrate the LGBTQ community at Lexington Pride, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Lexington Fairness Ordinance.

The tireless work of LGBTQ community and Mayor Pam Miller in Lexington to promote fairness and non-discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations has had many positive ramifications in the 20 years since the ordinance was passed. This year is also the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Riots in New York City that ushered in the modern era of LGBTQ Pride. Led by transgender women Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera and many others the people at the Stonewall, said “no more” to harassment and bigotry.

If you would like to learn more about Pride and the fight for fairness in Lexington, there will be lots of opportunities this month such as at the Lexington Public Library Central Branch, which is hosting an exhibit about the passing of the fairness ordinance beginning June 17 and a discussion of the passage by people who were there on June 23, both are free and open to the public. June 23 is Pride Day at the Legends Game. On June 28 , the Kentucky Fairness Hall of Fame Awards will honor 4 individuals and the Fairness Ordinance Steering Committee from 1999.

Of course, Friday evening June 28, and all day Saturday, June 29 downtown will host the annual Lexington Pride Festival. And it will wrap up with the city of Lexington recognizing the 20th anniversary of the Fairness Ordinance on July 1.

“Straight Pride” is another attempt to make a wedge issue and divide us at a time when we need unity more than ever. Having pride as an LGBTQ person does not diminish the pride of a straight person. In fact, if people ever start getting discriminated against for being straight, I will be the first person to march beside you in your parade. Until then, let us celebrate the accomplishments and acknowledge the challenges of the LGBTQ community through Pride. Happy Pride Month.

Tuesday Meadows is Chair of Lexington Fairness

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