LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Governor Andy Beshear made June the official Pride Month in Kentucky on Wednesday.
He’s the first governor in the state to do so.
“All Kentuckians deserve the right to fairness, respect, dignity, the right to be heard and the right to be who they are,” Gov. Beshear wrote on social media. “Today, for the first time in the history of the commonwealth, I am honored to proclaim June 2021 as Pride Month.”
Lexington has officially recognized the month for years.
The city recently banned conversion therapy and repainted its rainbow sidewalks downtown.
LGBTQ+ Kentuckians told WDKY they appreciate the governor’s gesture.
“It really solidifies the importance of this month and all of the history that came before it,” Bryson Unkrich said.
Carmen Wampler-Collins, the executive director of Pride Community Services Organization, said there’s still a lot of work to do.
“That’s wonderful, we still need to move forward and work for inclusive legislation and fairness across the state so that it’s not just an honorary pronouncement, but it really leads to improvements in the lives of LGBTQIA+ people,” she said.
She said people need resources all year long, not just for one month.
“There’s the fun part of Pride, the rainbows, the glitter and the drag shows, but then, all year long, we have folks who are more likely to have food insecurity, folks especially in the trans and nonbinary community, but also LGBTQ folks in general have a hard time finding a job where they can be out and can be who they are,” she said.
Wampler-Collins said she did question the governor’s timing of the announcement.
“Why at the end of Pride Month? It’s still an overall positive step, but it would’ve been great to start out the month with that proclamation,” she said.
She said the PCSO would like to see a statewide ban on conversion therapy, as well as fairness ordinances and equality acts for the entire state and nation.
Lexington’s pride festival will be celebrated on Sept. 25 this year.
Wampler-Collins said more and more people want to get involved each year. She said it shows the progress Kentucky has made.