Show your Pride this weekend

Posted By

The annual Pride parade has been canceled this year, replaced by other events.

Annual LGBTQ festival a ‘call to action ... message of solidarity’ 

COVINGTON, Ky. - With the City of Covington as the title sponsor, the 11th annual rendition of NKY Pride will be observed this weekend with the opening of a LGBTQ community center in Covington ... a decorate-your-porch “contest” ... a virtual dance party and drag show ... and a panel discussion with leaders of cities that have taken stands for equity and against discrimination.
 
In the coming weeks, another set of crosswalks will be painted in bright Pride flag colors to advertise diversity and inclusion.
 
Bonnie Meyer, Co-Chair of NKY Pride, said the annual observance comes at a pivotal time, when national public discourse is focused on issues of racism, inequality, inequity, fairness, and justice.
 
“As we celebrate NKY Pride, it is important to remember that Pride was born of an uprising, a rebellion against injustice,” Meyer said. “We’ve designed a mix of inclusive programming that we hope will inspire, educate, and entertain, and we certainly want to acknowledge Northern Kentucky’s advancements in LGBTQ equity. But at the same time the LGBTQ community realizes that this region and this nation has far to go, especially for our black and brown communities. That’s critical context for this year’s Pride weekend, and it makes this more than a celebration - it makes it a call to action and a message of solidarity.”
 
Amid that backdrop, the panel discussion and the opening of the community center will bring a solemn, serious tone to an event that in past years revolved around a parade and a festival in Goebel Park, both of which have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Covington was one of the first cities in Kentucky to codify its commitment to protecting all people from discrimination in 2003 with the adoption of a Human Rights Ordinance that added sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, prohibiting discrimination within the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, resort and amusement.
 
Last summer, the City vocally encouraged nearby local governments to follow its lead, and since then six cities - all in Campbell County - have adopted a similar ordinance.
 
Panel discussion: Officials from some of those cities, including Covington Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith, will appear on a panel discussion of “fairness” at noon Sunday that will be aired via Facebook Live.
 
Porch “contest”: Residents are invited to show “their Pride spirit” by decorating their porch, patio, and windows in festive Pride colors and posting photographs to Facebook or Instagram using the hashtags #NKYPorchPride and #NKYVirtualPride. Ten random posts will receive free Pride swag. A virtual meeting on Saturday will discuss creative opportunities related to the “contest.”
 
Community center: The NKY Pride Center will open at 230 Pike St. this summer to create a community space supporting the LGBTQ community, Meyer said. With volunteer staff, hours will be limited at first and its use will develop over time, she said.
 
But it will be used to host cultural, arts and social programming; to provide legal support where needed, such as to combat discrimination and to enable name changes; as meeting space; and to develop training for employers, agencies, teachers, and others interested in becoming LGBTQ allies. People can get involved by visiting www.nkypridecenter.org.
 
“This has long been a vision of the original creators of Pride,” she said.
 
Virtual events: All on Sunday, these NKY Pride activities include Queer Yoga, a music concert, a Q&A session, a drag show, and a dance party. A schedule of events can be found HERE. Meyer said many of the virtual performers will be discussing the need to get engaged with the national push for justice and will be encouraging donations to organizations involved in that cause.
 
Crosswalks:Wanting to call attention to the City’s reputation for supporting inclusivity, diversity, and equality, the City gave volunteers working with Northern Kentucky Fairness permission to paint two crosswalks at Bakewell and Seventh streets to look like the Rainbow Flag, commonly known as the gay pride flag or the LGBT flag. Those crosswalks will be touched up and others also painted, Meyer said.
 
Covington Economic Development Director Tom West said the City’s sponsorship both promotes its core values and makes it easier to attract talent, jobs, and investment.
 
A citywide economic development strategy written by a national site selection consultant in 2019 specifically saluted Covington’s history as “a pathfinder and leader of human rights policies” and concluded that its reputation for being “welcoming” was a positive factor that helped Covington attract creative talent from out of town.
 
“Covington is a community which embraces talent and we don’t qualify it based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” West said. “We support and sponsor the Pride festival because it sends a strong message to individuals and businesses that this is the type of welcoming community where everyone is honored and respected. We support and sponsor the festival because it says this is a great place to live, work, and invest.”
 
# # #