Pride of Kentuckiana returned to the Great Lawn at Waterfront Park after a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the virus still a concern, authorities have implemented measures to ensure the safety of the event.
Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test less than three days before the start of the festival on October 8 was required for entry.
Friday’s festivities were marked by the Pride Parade.
Saturday was a full day of live events.
Vendor stands, food, and entertainment were all available to attendees with the cost of admission.
While some big names like Todrick Hall and Neon Trees performed later in the day, Louisville-based organizations like Louisville Gay Men’s Chorus and Voices of Kentuckiana started earlier.
âIt’s just such an inclusive band and it feels so good after COVID to sing in public again,â said Alyson Wise, member of VOICES of Kentuckiana.
Wise’s friends came to watch her play and enjoy the energy of Pride.
The Wise Environment described with VOICES of Kentuckiana is the overall environment that the Kentuckiana Pride organizers hope to create.
âI hope people come away with more self-esteem because people sometimes have a hard time living in their truth,â said Rodney Coffman, president of the Kentuckiana Pride Foundation. “We just want them to be able to be themselves and be honest and do what’s best for them.”
Other organizations like Fresh Fire Church, a friendly LGBTQIA + congregation and Luminary Comedy are trying to create similar welcoming spaces in their own work.Breya Jones | wfpl.org
âWe are here to just be visible and show that we are an extension of the community; we are also a safe space, âsaid Kawanis Hopson, whose husband is the pastor of Fresh Fire.
While speaking, Hopson noticed a man standing on the Big Four Bridge, shouting Bible verses and condemning messages to Pride attendees. Hopson said the presence of supportive religious organizations was all the more important in countering this message.
Despite the presence of religious demonstrators, the goal of creating a safe space has been achieved for some.
Carly McCallister brought her children to Pride. When asked why she was there, she immediately started to cry.
She pointed out her children and explained that although she is cisgender and straight, she always brought her children to Pride so that they could be exposed to different types of people and learn to accept them.
This year, she says, is particularly special.
âMy 6-year-old daughter just came out transgender, so that’s her pride,â McCallister said.
When asked, her daughter said she was having a good time.