Council Releases Statement in Response to LGBTQ Advocacy Group’s Petition
Lexington, Ky.–Members and allies of Lexington’s LGBTQ community presented a petition organized by Lex Have Pride to the Urban County Council Thursday. The group says the petition has over 4,000 signatures.
The petition read as follows:
We, the undersigned, affirm the value we place in Lexington’s LGBTQ+ community. We affirm that LGBTQ+ peoples contain inherent value, best demonstrated in our City’s largest festival: PrideFest.
Every year, the region’s LGBTQ+ community comes together with their allies in downtown Lexington to celebrate love and life as members of a vibrant and diverse community. The festival also demonstrates to people of all ages that being a visible member of the LGBTQ+ community is valued. This celebration brings untold annual revenue to the City and local businesses but also promotes visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ Kentuckians.
We believe that removing LGBTQ+ people from public spaces is harmful to our city- not just economically- it harms our reputation as a diverse, growing, vibrant, and attractive City to move to and build a life.
We affirm that Lexington is a welcoming city and that the LGBTQ+ community belongs in all its public spaces. We affirm that any legislation designed to limit the public visibility of the LGBTQ+ community is harmful to our great city.
Additionally, Lex Have Pride lists the following demands of LFUCG on their website:
PUBLICLY CONDEM ANTI-LGBTQ LEGISLATION, AND STAND UP FOR TRANS KIDS
Affirm that the LGBTQ lives have value, and denounce the current attacks on them. Demand that legislative leaders stop victimizing LGBTQ youth.
DO NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS IN HEALTH CARE
LFUCG does not treat its transgender employees equally when it fails to specifically include documented commitments to health insurance coverage of medically approved transgender health services. Failure to treat transgender-inclusive healthcare as legitimate healthcare is unacceptable. It is currently a metric tracked by the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, and Lexington fails to meet this important test of transgender equality.
FUND AND DEVELOP RESPONSES TO LGBTQ YOUTH HOUSING INSECURITY
The LGBTQ youth housing-insecure population remains disproportionately high (28% of queer youth report housing insecurity in their lifetimes), and Lexington must provide additional funding for more beds and more programming to intervene in this specific type of housing insecurity. Require recipients of LFUCG (adult and youth) housing insecurity intervention funds to be trained on transgender and the broader queer community’s particular challenges and cultural competency.
EXPAND MINORITY BUSINESS CRITERIA FOR VENDORS TO INCLUDE LGBTQ-RUN BUSINESSES AND PERMIT PERMANENT RESIDENTS TO BENEFIT
Prioritizing minority owned business is a cornerstone of improving outcome equity, however LGBTQ owned businesses, and businesses not owned by US citizens, are excluded from LFUCG’s guidelines. Additionally, marginalized immigrant nationalities, while ethnically caucasian but decidedly not a part of the majority experience, also may not benefit currently.
AUTOMATIC REPORTING OF DEMOGRAPHIC DATA ACROSS ALL BOARDS & COMMISSIONS FOR MINORITY GROUPS
All Board and Commission applications collect minority status information, including LGBTQ identification, but there is no automatic tabulation of demographic breakdown. Having Boards and Commissions reflect the full diversity of Lexington is critical to ensuring political leaders have access to most complete sets of perspectives. Publicly highlighting this data allows for LFUCG leaders to understand where our blindspots are.
In response, Vice Mayor Dan Wu and the Urban County Council released the following statement, which lists some of the city’s previous accomplishments without giving any specific future actions.
Council Members Whitney Elliot Baxter of District 8 and Fred Brown of District 9 did not sign the statement.
We, the undersigned members of Lexington’s Urban County Council, affirm the value of the LGBTQ+ community.
We recognize that the Commonwealth of Kentucky has a rich history of queer and gender non-conforming people breaking barriers and building community. Lexington has been on the forefront of many hard-won battles for LGBTQ+ Kentuckians: we were the first to pass a comprehensive Fairness Ordinance that specified gender identity/expression as a protected class; we have elected and re-elected a number of openly LGBTQ+ officials; we require all recipients of city contracts to abide by our non-discrimination policies; and we recently banned LGBTQ+ conversion therapy for minors in Fayette County.
These milestones reflect a history of the resistance and persistence of Lexington’s LGBTQ+ neighbors and allies. As local representatives, we want to assure LGBTQ+ peoples, particularly our youth, that we see you, we hear you, and we affirm you – just as you are.
Lexington will continue to be a welcoming and affirming community; our diversity is our strength.
It remains to be seen if Council will take any new actions to support the LGBTQ community in response to the Lex Have Pride demands.
Photo: Uma Jewels gives public comment at the March 9 Urban County Council meeting. (LFUCG)
This story has been updated to reflect that two Council Members did not sign the petition.
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