Monday, June 30, 2008

Lexington Pride 2008!

This past Saturday, Lexington had its first downtown Pride Festival. Sunday morning, I'm sure videos like this were shown in fundie churches everywhere:

Other videos can be seen here, here, and here.

The Pride Festival, despite the predictable complaints, was a huge success. The festival was held on the lawn of the old courthouse. Meanwhile, a block or two away, the annual Diversity Festival (which presents food and music from countries all over the world) was taking place on the lawn of the new courthouse. Rather than 'stealing' people from each other, the two celebrations benefited from the crowd of over 1000 people that wandered back and forth between them.

Several openly gay politicians spoke at the event: Jim Gray, Lexington's vice mayor, Ernesto Scorsone, state senator, and Diane Lawless, candidate for city council. For the non-political types, there was a silent art auction, booths with pride gear, a Pride Idol competition, and several drag performers to hold their interest.

A rumor that Fred Phelps and clan would drive in for the event did not manifest. They were probably too busy announcing that they would picket George Carlin's funeral. This looks like it may have been a rumor, too - or the press didn't care to mention them.

An even larger celebration is planned for next year:

Pride Festival chairwoman Ginger Moore-Minder was almost beside herself at the larger-than-expected crowd.

”I am amazed and awed by this day. The response is outstanding. ... We've already raised over $9,000 that will go towards local LGBT causes. And we've started planning for next year – it'll blow this year's festival out of the water.“

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

FINALLY! Beshear Starts Fixing Some Fletcher Damage

Ryan Alessi is reporting that:

1. The Labor Cabinet will become a standalone department again;

2. Beshear is restoring the Governor's Employee Advisory Council (which gives labor groups the opportunity to discuss issues directly with the governor); and

3. Beshear has restored the executive order protecting gay employees. When I spoke to Beshear at the Change For Kentucky summit last year, he promised me that this last item would happen. I'm glad that he followed through!

From the Herald-Leader:

"Experience, qualifications, talent and performance are what matter," Beshear said in a statement.

Democratic former Gov. Paul Patton signed an executive order in 2003 aimed at protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees. The policy also bars discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, age and religion.

But Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher removed sexual orientation from the list of specifically protected characteristics as part of an executive order he signed on Diversity Day in April 2006.

I haven't been very impressed (at least, not favorably) with the 'regime change' in Frankfort up till now. Are things taking a turn for the better?