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This Small Town in Kentucky Just Had Its First Pride Event

Chill Out and Proud Somerset
Chill Out and Proud Somerset

The festival was organized after the town shot down an antidiscrimination ordinance.

LGBTQ visibility is growing everywhere, even in southern Kentucky.

Chill Out and Proud was held Saturday in Somerset, and organizers say the event was a "smashing success" and have already committed to putting it on again in 2020.

"This was an effort at unity and community," organizer Kat Moses told the Lexington Herald Leader. "We really just want to feel welcome in our community and feel like we're welcomed by our neighbors."

The Pride festival came together after Somerset voted down a proposed antidiscrimination ordinance. But 14 municipalities in Kentucky have passed similar laws, showing progress on that front.

The Pride event in Somerset drew protesters from conservative Christian groups. Monte Wells, pastor of Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Science Hill, made clear tolerance hasn't reached all corners of Kentucky.

"We see this as sin," Wells told the newspaper. "We want to keep our community holy as possible."

But other local churches came out to support Pride, even setting up booths at the event.

"We believe that God's love is for all," said David M. Eads, senior warden for Saint Patrick Episcopal Church.

Ultimately, organizers left feeling confident they did show that the LGBTQ community should be welcomed, not feared or shunned.

"We were hoping the first one would kind of tell us if our community was ready, and I think by the turnout, it's obvious that they were," Moses told WKYT TV.

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