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About Us – Lexington Fairness 2020

Who We Are

Lexington based non-profit focused on fairness for all

OUR HISTORY

Since 1992, Lexington Fairness has been part of the region’s leadership in advocating and educating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and fairness.  Highlights since that time have included:

  • Organizing community forums concerning the Supreme Court’s ruling challenging Kentucky’s sodomy law
  • Affiliating with the Kentucky Fairness Alliance
  • Opposing the same-sex marriage ban and supporting a hate crimes bill
  • Helping pass Fayette County’s Fairness Ordinance in 1999, providing protection to LGBT citizens against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations
  • Co-developing the first Lexington Pride Festival in 2008
  • Starting the first Lexington Fairness Awards, honoring Kentucky’s leaders in promoting LGBT rights and equality
  • Organizing Project Speak Out, a bullying prevention program for schools

Through the years

Beginning in 1992 and throughout its history, the group known today as Lexington Fairness has demonstrated dynamic leadership and an ability to adapt to the changing needs of the LGBTQ+ community in Lexington and Central Kentucky. As an organization, Fairness has worked to enact or defeat legislation; lead community building efforts; and developed educational programming in an effort to make our Commonwealth more equitable and just. Knowledge of this history helps to inform our journey forward. Following is a brief summary of the efforts led by Lexington Fairness.

1992 – Local activists organized community forums to foster conversations about Commonwealth v. Wasson: the state Supreme Court ruling that successfully struck down Kentucky’s sodomy laws. This  decision helped to provide the groundwork for the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawerence v. Texas (2003) which overturned sodomy laws nationwide.  

1993 – Activists journeyed to Washington D.C. to directly lobby lawmakers in an effort to overturn sodomy laws nationwide.    

1994 – Began providing voters with information about the positions and voting records of political candidates. These efforts to inform voters continue to this day through  C-FAIR in order to build support for and raise awareness of the various issues relevant to the LGBTQ+ community across Kentucky. 

1997 – Formally developed a board of local volunteers to establish what would become the largest chapter of  the Louisville-based group Kentucky Fairness Alliance. The Lexington chapter was called the Bluegrass Fairness Alliance.

1998 – Organized education efforts focused on opposing same-sex marriage bans, as well as educating the community on the need for expanded hate crime protections for LGBTQ+ persons. 

1999 – Worked with activists and City Council members to ensure the passage of a fairness ordinance in Fayette County. This local ordinance, passed by a unanimous vote of the LFUCG Urban County Council, was the only the second to pass in the Commonwealth of Kentucky (after the passage of a similar ordinance in Louisville earlier that same year). This effort led to codified protections from discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Lexington’s ordinance was one of the first to provide protections for public accommodations. 

2000 – Expanded service to a 16-county area of the Bluegrass Region.

2001 – Obtained a permit to enter Lexington Fairness’ first float in the annual Fourth of July Parade as an effort to increase visibility within the broader Lexington community.

2002 – Assisted with the establishment of the Gray Dove chapter of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance in Madison County.

2004 – Worked tirelessly as a coalition member of various pro-Equality groups in order to defeat the Marriage Amendment: a Consitutional amendment banning same-sex unions in Kentucky. Ultimately, this amendment was approved and would not be overturned until the US Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015.

2005- The board made the decision to branch off from the Kentucky Fairness Alliance and formed a group called the Bluegrass Fairness Alliance

2006 – Organized an Oscar Party fundraiser and public education forum about the Marriage Equality movement as an effort to keep LGBTQ+ issues visible.

2007 – Gathered at the State Capitol in Frankfort with over 200 individuals and other statewide organizations to demonstrate support for Kentucky colleges and universities in their efforts to offer domestic partnership benefits to faculty and staff.

2008 – Formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3)

2008- Jonathan Barker/Jordan Palmer organized the first annual Fairness Awards Banquet to recognize and honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. 

2008 – Co-developed the first Lexington Pride Festival–We Are Family–installed pride banners downtown

2008 – Began development of Project Speak Out, a bullying prevention program for area schools.

2008 – Became a founding member of the Statewide Fairness Coalition, working to provide Fairness protections across the state. Lexington Fairness continues to advance the priorities of the Fairness Coalition. 

2009 – Organized the first annual presentations for Fayette County Public School teachers regarding the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ students and information about the LGBTQ+ community more broadly.

2010 – Joined Imperial Court of Kentucky and Lexington Art League for the groundbreaking Passing Exhibition and Fashion Show. (Andrew Tan/Craig Cammack?)

2010– Began fundraising to bring nationally-recognized trainers for Project Speak Out, an anti-LGBTQ+ youth bullying initiative, to our area.

2010 – Joined the Creative Cities Summit in Lexington.

2010 – Helped coordinate the It Gets Better Lexington fundraiser, raising over $10,000 for The Trevor Project.

2010 – Produced the first Fairness Fashion Show.

2011 – Participated in Lexington’s first GoodGiving Guide Challenge, coordinated by the BlueGrass Community Foundation and Smiley Pete Publishing.

2011 – Coordinated to bring NPR’s StoryCorps to Lexington.

2012– Hosted the NOH8 Campaign for their first visit to Kentucky.

2013- Project Speak Out–trained 300 parents/teachers/community leaders–anti LGBTQ+ youth bullying and empathy

201?-Fairness Personified–increase visibility of queer folks and their allies by taking photos at Lexington Pride and stylized them digitally  

2014- Senior Pride Initiative (SPI)– grassroots project led by Troy Johnson–he came to the board seeking a fiscal sponsorship from Lexington Fairness

  • Troy held a number of conferences that year

  • Vicki Stanley 

  • PCSO SIP (Seasoned Independent People) and SPI worked together to bring SAGE of the Bluegrass to Lexington (in 2018?)–began seeking recognition of the chapter here

2014– Sincerely Held–a series of conversations surrounding “religious freedom” bills that were being introduced around the Commonwealth/

2015-

2016- PCSO 40th Celebration

2017-

2018- Conversations around the Book Project** began among the board

2019- Sponsored the first Pride 5K run at Spindletop at Legacy Trail (part of UK); benefited GSA’s in local high schools

2019- Lexington Fairness was a sponsor of the Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the passage of the Fairness Ordinance 

2019- Sponsored the first time that rainbow flags were flown from the flagpoles lining Main Street during Pride

2019- Lexington Fairness became a financial sponsor to revive Front-runners Lexington as a running/jog/walk group. There was a similar group that met as far back as 1982

2020- Annual potluck pride picnics occured at the barn located Windy Knoll Farm (near Winchester)–lovingly referred to as the “Pride Hide.” June of 2007 last picnic–decided around Jan/Feb to take the celebration downtown. Happened near where the 5/3rd Pavillion now stands. The celebration took place until around 9:00pm, and AVOL took over afterwards to have their Red Event

01.

— Today

Lexington Fairness is growing! More and more people are joining the work, and fundraising is underway. We will be present and visible at numerous events around the community, especially during the summer months when outdoor festivals abound. We will keep people informed about the importance of citizen interaction with their representatives, about policy initiatives in local government and educational institutions affecting our community, and about programs and events that help progress Fairness for LGBTQ+ people.

02.

— Our Mission

Lexington Fairness is committed to achieving equal rights under the law, acceptance, and fairness for LGBTQ+ people in Fayette County. 

03.

Book Project 

Supplying affirming literature to school libraries allows educators and students materials to bolster discussion around inclusion and living authentically, and hopefully to also decrease rates of harassment and bullying of our LGBTQ+ youth.

Legal Protection

 

One of the main accomplishments in Lexington Fairness’ legacy is advocating for the passage or opposition to legislation affecting the LGBTQ+ community throughout Central Kentucky. The journey towards Fairness is ever-evolving and we are committed to using our time, talents, and resources to continue this advocacy. 

 

LGBTQ+ healthcare

Lexington Fairness is working to advance equitable healthcare coverage in Fayette County by working with the city to ensure that the insurance provided for city employees includes gender-affirming treatments. Fairness will make it a priority to provide materials regarding LGBTQ+ healthcare at various events.

2020 Board Members

Liz Sheehan, Chair

Joey Miniard, Vice Chair

Megan Walden, Treasurer

Stephanie Oghia, Secretary

Tuesday Meadows

Josh Mers

Vicky Stanley

Louise Tallen

Megan Martin 

Layton Garlington 

 

Committees: 

Legal Protections Project |  Project Speakout  | Book Project | Hall of Fame | Community Building | Elections | Healthcare | Logistics

interested in getting involved?