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Paducah LGBTQ Festival Supporters Lobby City To Keep Event Outdoors As Planned

Liam Niemeyer

 Dozens of Paducah residents showed support Tuesday night at a city commission meeting for an inaugural LGBTQ festival planned for August. Supporters of the Western Kentucky Pride Festival came to the meeting following rumored controversy that critics would petition the city to move the festival indoors. The festival is planned to take place outside at the downtown riverfront.


David Tindell is doing marketing for the event and said the festival sends a positive message that could help the city’s long-term growth. “One of the things that makes large towns successful is at a minimum being tolerant of other cultures, faiths, beliefs and the like, so that way everyone can have a place and a purpose,” Tindell said. 


Tindell said he believes the community’s LGBTQ residents have the same rights to free speech in having the festival as anyone else.


City Manager James Arndt said rumors the event would be moved indoors or wouldn’t be permitted are false. He said the permit is still being processed.

Three residents, in public comments to the commission, cited religious reasoning in their criticism of the festival and the city's support of the LGBTQ community. Paducah enacted an LGBTQ fairness ordinance last year.


“I think we need to stop and think about what we’re doing to our community, to our churches and to our citizens of our community,” resident Russell Hobbs said. “Maybe the people that voted you in didn’t know that you would support this like you are. And maybe they won’t vote for you the next time.” 


Keisha Curry, founder of the LGBTQ youth adovcacy group Out Paducah, also used religious reasoning in her public comment, but in support of the festival. 


“The two greatest commandments were to love God, and to love your neighbor. That’s all we’re asking you to do. You don’t have to accept who they sleep with. You don’t have to accept what gender they identify as,” Curry said. “But do what the word of God says. If you’re going to talk about the word of God, you got to talk about it in its entirety.” 


Curry said after the meeting having the festival outside is about inclusion of the LGBTQ residents in Paducah. The two-day festival with food, music, family activities and speakers is August 24th and 25th.


"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
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