Lexington Youth Take a Stand: Walkouts Target Anti-LGBTQ Bills

Lexington, Ky.–High school students in Fayette County staged walkouts Friday morning to protest against anti-LGBTQ legislation being considered by the Kentucky General Assembly, according to a Herald-Leader report. The rallies, which took place at Paul Laurence Dunbar and Lafayette high schools, saw hundreds of students walk out of class to protest against the proposed bills that have been deemed discriminatory towards LGBTQ students.

Flyers posted on the Dunbar Theatre Facebook page read, “I Want My Rights Back Right Now,” and called for a walkout to protest against “the bills being passed against trans and LGBTQ+ people.” Multiple bills have been introduced that have been criticized as anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ, including Senate Bill 150, which would allow teachers to choose if they want to use a student’s pronouns, and House Bill 470, which bars gender transition services for minors.

At Lafayette High School, hundreds of students walked out of class and gathered in the back parking lot for a rally, where multiple LGBTQ students spoke out about their personal experiences and disapproval of the proposed legislation. Joey Hester, a sophomore at Lafayette, said the point of the walkout was to show legislators that “we’re here and we will not be quiet, even though they continue to try and infringe on our rights.” Meanwhile, at Dunbar High School, dozens of students walked out of the building, wrapped in colorful capes and waving the LGBTQ flag, holding signs that read “Love thy neighbor” and “Love is love.”

The rallies come amid a wave of similar protests across Kentucky, and even at the Kentucky Capitol. While some legislators have defended the bills, saying there is “misinformation” surrounding them, students remain resolute in their determination to have their voices heard. Samantha Petrey, a 10th-grader at Dunbar, said, “We think it’s important that we get our voices out there for what a lot of us kids stand for when it comes to this kind of debate.”

Top image: Flyer for the walkouts produced by Dunbar Theatre. (Facebook)