Lexington’s Queer Community Takes a Stand for Equality – Petition Demands Political Leaders Protect LGBTQ Rights

Lexington, Ky.–A grassroots movement called “Lex Have Pride” launched in Lexington, Kentucky, this week. The movement is demanding concrete protections for the LGBTQ community in the city. Following the launch of the change.org petition, nearly 2,000 Lexingtonians signed up, asking their leaders to take action to respond to anti-LGBTQ legislation in Frankfort, and to take 15 specific actions to improve LGBTQ equity in the city.

“Lex Have Pride” lists its demands on a new website, and a rally is scheduled to be held on Thursday, March 9, at the Lexington Government Center at 6:00 p.m. The group is demanding that leaders at all levels of government, from City Council to Washington, make a strong commitment to protect the city’s queer community.

Glenn Means, one of the organizers of “Lex Have Pride,” says, “Lexington’s officials have an opportunity to demonstrate true leadership. They set the tone of our city’s approach to marginalized communities. They need to fight against the criminalization of the LGBTQ community in Kentucky. And we need to do everything we can to continue to fight inequalities and inequities wherever we see it.”

The list of petition items has been co-signed by a dozen local organizations and businesses, with more expected to follow. The demands include commitments to include medically approved transgender health care services for city employees, increase funding for LGBTQ-specific housing insecurity interventions, and require LGBTQ cultural competency training for organizations that receive funding.

The group is also demanding the inclusion of LGBTQ-owned businesses in minority vendor programs and the execution of prosecutorial discretion to prioritize the penalization of actual risks to youth health and well-being.

Means added, “Foster care systems are overwhelmed, social workers are quitting, and nearly 18,000 substantiated child abuse cases occurred last year – and none at the hands of a drag queen. Certain leaders are causing more harm while ignoring real harm. Lexington’s leaders must step up.”

Political leaders across the US, including in Kentucky, have launched legislative and cultural attacks on the broader queer community. These attacks aim to revoke parental rights and individual freedoms, and they place young lives at risk of depression and suicide.

As residents and citizens of Lexington, the “Lex Have Pride” movement is demanding a multi-layer government response to protect the LGBTQ community in Lexington. The group wants Lexington’s leaders to demonstrate leadership and actively seek meaningful improvements in public services and protections to ensure the marginalized are protected.

“Lex Have Pride” is also calling on the city to expand minority business criteria for vendors to include LGBTQ-run businesses and permit permanent residents to benefit. They are asking for automatic reporting of demographic data across all boards and commissions for minority groups.

Among the political leaders the movement is targeting are Mayor Linda Gorton, Vice Mayor Dan Wu, and the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government City Council. The movement is calling on them to publicly condemn anti-LGBTQ legislation and stand up for trans kids. They are also demanding that LFUCG not discriminate against transgender individuals in healthcare, and fund and develop responses to LGBTQ youth housing insecurity.

The rally is expected to bring together residents, organizations, and businesses that support “Lex Have Pride” to show that the city is committed to protecting its queer community.