COVINGTON, Ky. — With COVID-19 restrictions loosening in Kentucky, groups that rely on connection have been able to gather again.
For people in the LGBTQ community, Pride festivals offer not just tolerance, but celebration and healing.
What You Need To Know
- Northern Kentucky held the first Pride festival in Kentucky since the pandemic began
- Covington is one of seven NKY municipalities with fairness ordinances
- Fairness ordinances bar discrimination in public settings
Sarah Jessica Darker was the emcee and a prominent drag queen at the show in Covington for Northern Kentucky Pride.
"I think doing drag is where so many people can find their femininity and finally be free to embrace both sides of the spectrum, instead of being kept in a box," she explained.
Chris Hartman leads the Fairness Campaign, which lobbies for fairness ordinances in cities and counties throughout the Commonwealth. Fairness ordinances prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in any public setting. Seven Northern Kentucky municipalities have enacted ordinances, with Covington leading the way.
"So many cities now, in this region, are working on Fairness ordinances or have already passed them," Hartman said. "I expect, hopefully, to see some county-wide fairness ordinances up here before all this is done."
Years ago, Darker made Northern Kentucky her first Pride. Since then, she has hosted a handful of Prides and watched the region pass ordinances while openly welcoming gay and queer Kentuckians.
"I came here with friends," she recalled about her first Pride. "I didn’t know much about it, but I felt the love from everyone, and that’s what made me enjoy coming to these things. It made me feel like I was loved and I had a place that I was meant to be."
With music reverberating through the neighborhood and visitors gleefully clearing a runway in the city square, it was impossible not to see Darker and the other performers.
But, for those in the crowd being seen, being together could change lives.