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Jul 4, 19

Lexington, KY: Counter-Demo Against Hate Preachers at Pride

Report back from Pride in Lexington, Kentucky, where people confronted hate preachers.

Every year during Lexington Pride, religious extremists from around the region descend upon the festival to verbally harrass LGBTQ folks for hours on end. Their verbal abuse contains threats of violence, desires for the persecution of our community, references to rape, and even targets children. This is not an uncommon sight during Pride fests all around the U.S. However, this is our city, and our community, and we will not tolerate it, especially not on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

On Saturday June 29, we arrived at Pride shortly after its 11am start, and the hate preachers were already in place. We immediately began our counter-protest, rallying anyone around to come make noise. We blocked their hateful signs from view and overpowered their voices. The Lexington Police Department intervened, Sargeant Jason Rothermund specifically, repeatedly threatening two trans women who did nothing but stand on a sidewalk.Eventually, they placed barricades between the religious zealots and the festival.

The followers of John E. McGlone (creator of eventually retreated across the street to Phoenix Park, where the festival was holding activities for children, and resumed their harrassment. But they didn’t stay long; before we arrived to counter them there, they packed up and left around 4pm.

Each year we engage in an action against these same protestors at our Pride fest. We do this because their hateful ideology poses a direct threat to the safety and freedom of LGBTQ people everywhere. If we will not stand up and protect our community, who will? Not the police, who threaten trans women to protect transphobes.

This year we called for a public action, with a theme of SATAN, because the enemy wants us to go to Hell so badly. We had help from various Satanist and atheist groups, and many wonderful people at Pride. We consider this a victory, and if not for the cops’ interference, the haters would have been driven out hours earlier.

As our points of unity state that we intend to build a broad, strong movement against homophobia and transphobia, we will continue to resist such extremists.

Some of these people are local, but others are well-known and travel far and wide. While John McGlone does not attend every protest, there are other preachers who stand in for him consistently in this region, such as Timothy Brown, who was present yesterday.

As always, happy Pride, Lexington. Be gay, do crimes!

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