Morehead Pride is a safe environment for the LGBTQIA communities in Eastern Kentucky that happens annually to cultivate diversity, celebrate authenticity, and stand proudly with one another for a weekend full of performances (this year’s festivities marked the first time drag queens performed!), exciting vendors, and coming together in representation, equality, and acceptance for one another and for ourselves. World of Wonder had the astute pleasure of sitting down with the Executive Director David Moore and two of his colleagues from the Morehead Pride planning committee Samantha Barr and Lexi Colen.
Check it out!
WOW: Let’s get right into it, tell us about Morehead Pride? When is it and what it is?!
David: Morehead Pride was the first LGBTQ festival in Eastern KY. We had over 50 vendors, many of those being local LGBTQ nonprofits, dozens of performers, 3 live music acts and multiple speakers. Aaron Jackson of Planting Peace/Equality house and Mark Ebenhoch with the Sea to Sea rainbow flag were among our featured speakers along with marriage equality plaintiffs Tim Love, Joseph Vitale and Rob Talmas. It was Aug. 27 from 12-5 pm with an After Party that ran from 7-11 pm.
WOW: What year does this mark Morehead Pride in Kentucky?
David: This was Morehead Pride’s inaugural festival and we had a great turnout even though the heat was around 100 degrees. We only had one lone protester and we had a very fun, safe event.
WOW: More than ever we need to stand proud. After Orlando and how the community loved up on the victim’s families…and RuPaul being nominated for his first Emmy, it seems like the world’s mind view is expanding, becoming more open, and coming together through pain. How has the community evolved over the years and what makes Morehead Pride so special?
Samantha: Having been born and raised in Morehead, and raised in a Southern Baptist household, I never thought that I would see a Pride festival happen here. When I was younger, and when being out of the closet and open about your sexuality was something you didn’t do, you wouldn’t have even known that the LGBTQIA* community existed. Even up to last summer, people were still afraid to come out in this community. We saw a change after last summer, however. More and more people came out. More LGBTQIA* students wanted to come to MSU, it seemed. I personally came out of the closet as bisexual and wasn’t afraid to anymore. Pride in this community means being there for one another and supporting each other whenever we need it. Having this festival was a dream come true for me, and from others I spoke to as well. To see it all come together, it was like we made it to the top of a mountain. A victory that people seem to feel more accepted and loved here more than ever.
WOW: What does Morehead Pride mean to you?
Lexi: To me, Pride means a safe environment where people from any and all backgrounds can come together and find not only a place where they can belong, but also find the resources they need. For some people, Pride is the only time they can be themselves.
WOW: You were saying this is the first year where you had drag performers! That’s SO amazing! What was the response by the community?
David: The response to having drag at an outdoor festival has been amazing. They brought an incredible energy and life to our show. Children in the audience loved interacting with them. As the drag performers walked through the festival, they inspired confidence in other people. They made people feel safe and comfortable wherever they went. We had a young adult who went home and came back wearing drag and they said this was the first time they felt like they had a space where they could do that in public and feel accepted.
WOW: Which queens performed?
David: Cadilllac Seville was our emcee for the day festival. With over 30 years of experience, Cadillac is the show director at the Bar Complex in Lexington as well as Entertainment Director at Lexington Pride and emcees Pride in Louisville. Our After Party emcee was Miss Lexington Pride 2016, Serena D. Van Daren. Performers included Bobbi Pins, Ophelia Coxx, Paris Bacall with male entertainers Kendrick Heart, Mr Lexington Pride – Adonis, and Dane Decardeza.
WOW: What were you looking forward to most about this year’s Pride? Performances? After Party?
David: My favorite moment was when we awarded our first Morehead Pride Scholarship to a local high school student, Dylan Scott and the LGBT club he founded, called S.A.F.E (Sexual Advocacy For Everyone). He had just finished a wonderful poetry performance, got off the stage and all his friends were waiting there behind a piece of Gilbert Baker’s Sea to Sea rainbow flag. They all congratulated him and hugged him. It was a beautiful moment that showcased how far we have come towards being more accepting in Kentucky. This moment would have never happened for my generation and I’m happy to have lived long enough to see it now.
WOW: Have you been watching RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2? If so, who are you rooting for? Top 3?
Top 2: Detox and Alyssa
WOW: Lastly, what would you want Morehead Pride’s legacy to be?
David: I would want to see LGBTQ kids growing up in our region without fear of being who they are. We live in a place in Appalachia that is isolated. LGBTQ people often move out of the area to find more welcoming communities in more populated parts of the state. We established Morehead Pride as a way of connecting the local LGBTQ community with services, organizations and businesses that are supportive. The festival serves as a way our community can come together and celebrate diversity.