LEXINGTON, Ky. — LGBTQ Kentuckians and allies continue to push back against legislation in the Capitol that many consider "anti-gay."

What You Need To Know

  • Lex Have PRIDE is a grassroots organization petitioning elected officials to protect members of the LGBTQ community

  • It formed in response to a slate of bills that opponents have labeled as "anti-gay" 

  • Thursday night, the group will rally at the city council meeting and many will appear in drag 

  • Supporters of both bills argue it protects minors from material or decisions only adults should make

In Lexington, a grassroots effort has formed: Lex Have PRIDE, which petitions local elected officials to aim to protect the LGBTQ community.

Glenn Means organized Lex Have PRIDE in response to actions taking place at the state capitol.

“There was lots of targeted bills toward our LGBTQ community, specifically our trans community," Means said.

The grassroots group consists of individuals, organizations and local businesses opposed to bills SB 115 and HB 470 among many other bills in both chambers that opponents have deemed "anti-gay."

SB 115 classifies drag shows as adult oriented performances and limits where they can take place. HB 470 would ban medical professionals from performing gender affirming operations on trans persons under 18.

“Drag artists in our community don’t back down. We’re here to kind of fight the fight and help advocate for individuals in our community," Means said.

Lex Have PRIDE’s list of demands includes the Lexington government publicly denouncing the efforts in Frankfort, assuring state’s attorneys won’t prosecute until reviewing the constitutionality of any statute that might go into effect.

“We want to ask of our officials to use the power of a federalist government where we have these layered cakes of government to protect us," said local drag queen and Lex Have PRIDE supporter, Jacob Neely.

Thursday night, Lex Have PRIDE will take their fight to Lexington City Hall and the city council.

“A lot of us are going to be showing up in drag while it’s still legal to do so in public, and we’re going to be having a rally, expressing our love for the community. A lot of the local businesses will be there," Neely said.

Neely said the group will also attend the council meeting and give public comment against the bill. In addition to performing drag, Neely also teaches at the University of Kentucky.

He said many of the bills would affect both of his professions if signed into law.

“I also have a lot of students who use different names and pronouns in class, and they are outright terrified that this is going to encourage some students on campus to treat them even worse than they already do," Neely said.

The group has started an online petition on Change.org which as of this writing has just under 4,000 signatures.

“We’re hoping that people come together, rally around us, support us and help us in anyway possible to kind of push these demands forward," Means said.

Lexington's City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Supporters of SB 115 said its goal is to protect children from seeing content that might not be suitable for children underage.

Similarly, sponsors of HB 470 said children are too young to make decisions about switching their assigned gender, and in their view, protects them from making life-altering decisions.