Fairness for All in Lex
By Craig Cammack
“You gotta give them hope.”
Pride and Fairness Gain Strength in Kentucky with the Lexington Fairness Awards (Friday, June 26) and Lexington Pride Festival, Saturday, June 27. Last yearÂ¹s recipient of the Political Leadership Award, state Senator Kathy Stein, says, “I was very honored to be the very first recipient of the award. The community has many stalwart, smart and hard-working leaders. I have enjoyed watching the exponential growth in support of Fairness issues over the past 12 years.”
It is no accident that the Lexington Pride Festival is held at Cheapside Park, the location of American SlaveryÂ¹s hold in Lexington. This is where Kentuckians would come to purchase humans held under bondage of their owners. Since those days over 150 years ago, Lexington has transformed into a city of pride and fairness.The Civil Rights Movement has provided equality for African-Americans and now, the spotlight has been focused on LGBT Americans. Gays and Lesbians living in Louisville, Covington and
Lexington are protected under city-wide Fairness Ordinances. However, not every Kentuckian enjoys the privileges of being protected against systemic discrimination.
Forty years ago, on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Riots broke out. As a result of the New York City Police Department raid on the Stonewall Inn, the gay and lesbian rights movement officially began. Since that time, LGBT Americans have fought a hard and long battle for equal rights under the eyes of the law. What started so long ago continues today and will be celebrated
during the Lexington Pride Festival on June 27 at Cheapside Park. Over the past year, LGBT and Heterosexual Kentuckians alike were able to strike down a clear and blatant legislative attack on the rights for same-sex and unmarried couplesÂ¹ rights to adoption. Kentuckians were able to celebrate a Statewide Fairness Rally. Legislators, such as Kelly Flood, Kathy Stein, Diane Lawless, Jim Gray, among many others, came to the support of the LGBT community in helping preserve and increase the rights of
everyone in Kentucky.
All of these events are to be celebrated, while at the same time we should continue the fight for a Statewide Fairness Law protecting all LGBT Kentuckians from discrimination under the law. We must also not keep our vision focused on Kentucky, as the wave of equality spreads across the nation. We have seen same-sex marriage or civil union laws upheld in Iowa,
Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New Jersey. However, we battled against Proposition 8 in California, which was upheld by the California Supreme Court, banning same-sex marriage.
From the words of Harvey Milk, “You gotta give them hope,” and thatÂ¹s what KentuckyÂ¹s fairness organizations are striving to do. Hope was the keyword for the Obama Presidential Campaign, but it has long been the focus of the LGBT movement. As Louisville and Northern Kentucky wind down from their respective pride celebrations, the focus turns to Lexington. It is our time to celebrate the LGBT community and press for continued and expanded equality in Kentucky. Today is the day to start understanding that no
matter your race, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation, all men (and women) are created equal and MUST be recognized equally under local, state and federal law. That is what pride festivals are all about: showing our communities that we are among you, working beside you, living as your neighbor and contributing to community growth. The time has come that the LGBT taxpayer receives the same rights as any other citizen.
LexingtonÂ¹s Fairness celebration begins on Friday, June 26th with the 2nd Annual Fairness Awards and Dinner. Lexington Downtown Hotel: Celebration of the recipients of the Lexington Fairness awards, which recognize individuals who have shown
exemplary political and fairness leadership in the community. Info, http://www.fairnessawards.org. (Dinner, jazz vocalist Robbie Bartlett and entertainment by The Judy Show.)
Lexington Fairness Chairman, Paul Brown thinks “it feels wonderful to honor leaders of our community with a Fairness Award—we can never presume to put an amount of quality work these people do—an award is the least we can do
for these people.”
On Saturday, June 27th, Cheapside Park will be an entire day of reflection and entertainment. You can visit booths from many of the communityÂ¹s non-profit organizations, commercial vendors and take in some wonderful food and drink concessions (yes: you should expect to find Funnel Cakes as well!).
Starting at 11 a.m., the day-long event will enable both gay and straight Lexingtonians to come and enjoy time together. The day will culminate at 8 p.m. with entertainment by singer Josh Zuckerman. DonÂ¹t forget the many businesses who hope to see you following the day of events, including MiaÂ¹s, Pulse Nightlife (their opening weekend), The Bar Complex, SoundBar, Crossings and the Kentucky Theatre (which will be showcasing The Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight). With the purchase of a Lexington Pride Festival wristband, you can receive discounts at all of these businesses. Info, http://www.lexpride.com.
Help continue the spread of equality across the nation. By showing your support, you can help ensure that equal rights protections are guaranteed for all Kentuckians and Americans alike.