LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – It was a busy weekend in downtown Lexington at the 2019 Pride Festival.
The community came together to show support, but that wasn’t always the case.
Miss Tri-State Gay Pride Serena Vandaren said, “The very first pride was a riot. you may see people around here wearing shirts like that, that is so true. it was blacks, trans, queers, just everyone got sick and tired of being oppressed and just decided to say no more.”
The Stonewall Riots brought too light an issue that many may face, not feeling welcome in their own home.
“I grew up in a small town in Indiana, about 2,500 people and I was afraid to come out and be myself in that community, in fact, I thought I would have to move away in order to do that. so it took a lot of me standing proud as myself in my own community to say I am here, deal with it, I have to live my life.”
Laws have changed over the last few years that have allowed the LGBTQ community to stand proud.
Groups and organizations all throughout Lexington set up booths at Pride Fest to show their support.
Fayette County Schools had a booth at the festival for the very first time.
Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk said they are embracing diversity.
“We are showing our community, our families, our students that Fayette County is all about tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion,” Caulk said.
We have come a long way since the Stonewall Riots but Vandaren says there is still change that needs to happen.
“What I hope happens is just no more gay bashing. No more walking down the street and hearing “faggot” as a car passes by me so just love everybody and equality for all,” Vandaren said.