Morehead hosts inaugural LGBTQ pride festival

Published: Aug. 27, 2016 at 6:52 PM EDT
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Morehead had its inaugural LGBTQ Pride Festival, Saturday and support came from all over the state and country.

Last year, the city found itself in the middle of the debate over same-sex marriage, when Rowan Co. Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses. Festival organizers say they want to show people of the LGBT community that people in Morehead do support them.

Arlene Goldberg traveled from Florida. She says she came out to support Morehead's first pride festival because she knows first-hand the fight for equality hasn't been easy.

"I was involved in the federal lawsuit for marriage equality out of Dade County Florida," she told WKYT.

She's not alone. Michael De Leon and Greg Birk were plaintiffs in the Kentucky gay marriage lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court. They both live in Louisville and told WKYT it's important for smaller cities in Kentucky to have their own pride.

"We know there are LGBT people," Birk said. There are communities that exist in eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky and it's just so important for them to have their own celebration at home."

Protesters showed up to the event and they were greeted to multiple rainbow flags. Birk says he gave the flags to event organizers. He says the flags were used to block protesters in Washington D.C.

"I feel sad for them (protesters)," Goldberg said. I feel sad that they are so angry. We are people just like them it's just who we love that makes us different."

David Shumate traveled from Charleston, West Virginia. Two decades ago he threw Charleston's first pride festival. He says a lot has changed in the last few decades.

"We used to hide all the time, wouldn't tell our parents we were gay, but now we tell you who we are and people accept you," he said. They love you."

Organizers launched a scholarship fund for LGBTQ students in the region.