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Lexington Celebrates Pride Month With New Rainbow Crosswalks


In a celebration of Pride Month, Mayor Linda Gorton cut the ribbon on updated rainbow crosswalks Monday. WUKY's Karyn Czar has the story.

“The hard work put in by our community’s many fairness and equality advocates has made a tremendous, positive change in our city,” Gorton said. “During my time serving on the Council and as Mayor, I’ve been committed to promoting fairness and working to secure a safe and supportive community for our LGBTQ residents and visitors. From the Fairness Ordinance passed in 1999, domestic partner benefits in 2013, and recently the ban on conversion therapy, our city is focused on making sure all people … no matter race, gender, age, or who you love … feel safe, that they belong and are accepted here. We want you to know you are important to our community.”

Pride Month is celebrated nationally in June of each year. This tradition is rooted in the 1969 Stonewall Riots, historically seen as a pivotal moment in the push for LGBTQ rights. This year, due to recent COVID-19 restrictions, the annual Lexington Pride Festival will be held in September.

In 2017, Lexington installed the state’s first rainbow crosswalks. Located at the intersection of North Limestone and Short Streets, the crosswalks are located in the heart of the City, serving a symbol of freedom and equality, love, and acceptance. In 2019, discussion of resurfacing North Limestone led to the need to remove the previous rainbow crosswalks. Through a private fundraising effort, a new design was developed for the crosswalks and they were installed Sunday, June 6.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary and former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray helped dedicate the new crosswalks. “Repainting the rainbow crosswalks reinforces Lexington as a welcoming and inviting community,” Gray said. “To many of us, this is much more than a place to cross the street, it’s a place in the center of our city that proudly says we all belong here.”

Councilmember Hannah LeGris, who represents the area where the crosswalks are located, also helped commemorate the new design. “We have a responsibility to value and invest in the diversity of our city, to ensure a future where all members of our community will thrive. This means taking steps so that people can live, work, and pursue their dreams with dignity and respect, regardless of their background, orientation, or identity,” said LeGris.

Monday's pride celebration and ribbon cutting also included representatives from the Blue Grass Community Foundation and JustFundKY. Both organizations committed funding to help install the new crosswalks. In the fundraising effort, nearly 30 individual donors, including PNC Bank, Fairness Campaign, and Lexington Fairness, provided support for the new installment. The Blue Grass Community Foundation formed The Rainbow Fund to provide an easy option for receiving donations to support the crosswalks.

Karyn Czar joined the WUKY News team July 1, 2013, but she's no stranger to radio.