A matter of PRIDE: Richmond hosts Pride festival

·3 min read

Jun. 21—With a rainbow Pride flag flying outside Dreaming Creek Brewery, Richmond Pride celebrated the LGTBQ+ community with a festival.

The event featured more than 60 local vendors, and included several activities such as tarot card readings, and of course, local brewed beer.

"We figured enough people would be vaccinated and then people would be ready to come out to these events," Chadwick Horn, one of the Richmond Pride organizers, said of bringing back the event in 2022. "Organizing isn't really a big issue. I mean, it really comes together for the most part."

Horn shared they grew up in Richmond, but left the area when they enrolled in college, as they felt they had no resources available locally.

"I grew up here and I didn't have anybody to talk to. There was nothing really here as far as resources goes. When I was old enough to move away, I moved out to California to go to school and joined the military. So I lived out there for 20 years, and I moved back in 2018. I was really surprised that Richmond still didn't have (resources for the LGBT+ community.) I mean, it's a small town, but it's still large enough to support it."

Horn shared that one of their goals is to start a Pride Center in Richmond.

"It allows people to know that they belong," Horn said. "Growing up here, I didn't have a lot of role models in the LGBTQ community. It's something that I know would have made my life a lot easier. When you come out as gay, or bi, or whatever it is; you have to personally accept it before you know anything."

Hannah Bingham, a teacher at Madison Central High School, came to the Pride Festival to represent her school's Gender and Sexualities Alliance.

"I've always wanted to live in Richmond and teach in Richmond, because we are part of the community here," Bingham said.

GSA is a student-run club which focuses on uniting LGBTQ+ and allied youth. The club offers students a safe and supportive space where they also hear guest speakers and participate in community projects.

"I think that it's important for our students to see that we practice what we preach," Bingham said. "I think a lot of people talk about a community and inclusivity, but that community might be exclusive in a lot of ways, and maybe they don't even realize."

Several organizations had booths for people to stop by, including StepStone, a foster care service in the search for new foster parents.

"We're just out here today showing our support and to tell everybody we don't discriminate — we will take foster parents in any way, shape, or form. Kentucky has a shortage of parents for three consecutive years," Lacey Ermers of Stepstone said.

Ermers was also giving out free Pride temporary tattoos.

When asked if it is more difficult for members of the LGBTQ+ community to foster children, she said it depends on the agency, but at StepStone; it doesn't matter.

"We don't care what you are, as long as you can pass the requirement. That's all that matters. We have several people that are part of the LGBTQ community (who foster.) It doesn't matter as long as they can provide a safe home for these kids," Ermers said.

Another organization at the event was Free Mom Hugs, a non-profit started by a mother with a gay son.

"It has grown exponentially across the US and the world ,really," Jess Bowman, local area coordinator of Free Mom Hugs said. "We are just here to affirm those in the community and to support those that don't have anyone to come out to or are not really safe to come out."

One artist — Stephanie Runyan of Wondrous Ceramics — specializes in rainbow pottery and sells her work at the same booth as her best friend.

"I am in this thing, too," Runyan said. "It's especially cool to find a community and to have art."