NewsLEX 18 In-Depth


LGBTQ+ communities in KY celebrating progress, but still working towards equality

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 28, 2024

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — When you walk down Broadway Street in Frankfort, you'll notice the rainbows that line the street.

A dedicated LGBTQ+ section sits in the window of a bookstore, and a Pride flag and flyer for a citywide Pride party hangs on the window of the Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe.

Inside, board members of Capital Pride often meet to plan events, like their annual Pride festival in Frankfort.

"The Queer community here is pretty diverse. Frankfort is a small town," said Chris Harp, president of the organization.

Capital Pride celebrates the strides their small town has made, bringing together all sorts of different stories about what it means to live as an LGBTQ+ person in Central Kentucky.

But they also see work that still needs to be done.

"I feel safer than I used to. But it's one of those things that's currently kind of wafer-thin. You don't know what's going to happen in legislature; you don't know on that legal side of it," said Kit Carter, vice president.

The Human Rights Campaign publishes an annual scorecard of cities and states across the country based upon local policies and protections for LGBTQ+ community members. The advocacy group currently provides scores for 8 Kentucky cities, with a maximum score of 100. They are as follows:

Lexington: 100
Louisville: 100
Covington: 100
Frankfort: 69
Morehead: 59
Berea: 57
Bowling Green: 40
Owensboro: 38

Dwan Finney, a local artist in Berea, said while they have dealt with some backlash for their art and their LGBTQ+ identity, in recent years, there has been some progress.

"We do have a healthy Pride community, organized by Berea Pride, there's also a lot more resources for queer people," Finney said.

Many cities across the Commonwealth have also adopted Fairness Ordinances, which prevent discrimination in the workplace, in the housing market, or for public services, based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Lexington was the first to adopt such a county-wide ordinance in the state back in 1999.

Finney said progress in towns like Berea could start with simple changes.

"Maybe have some more spaces dedicated to queerness, to celebrate it and welcome it and kind of show, yes we are in support of you," Finney said.

Scorecard and politics aside, what we heard from LGBTQ+ people across Central Kentucky is things have certainly changed over the years.

"It's great to be able to walk into a business or walk down the street and know that most people just see you as a normal, every day part of Frankfort and what gives the city its character," said Capital Pride secretary, Mina T. Thrasher.

To view the full Human Rights Campaign scorecards for cities in Kentucky, you can view them here.