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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Murray Pride: LGBTQ+ support in the community

Rebeca Mertins Chiodini
A group of Murray State students, professors and Murray natives join together to celebrate Murray Pride Fest and March.

Locals celebrated Murray Pridefest on Saturday Sept. 16 with a weekend of LGBTQ+ support through community events. 

Pride Month is celebrated across the the country in June, but as a college town, Murray holds a celebration during the fall semester to include non-local students. 

The Pride March began at the University gates and ended at Central Park. During this time, marchers held handmade signs and led chants of support for LGBTQ+. Pride in the Park featured local vendors and organizations in support of this year’s Pridefest. Vendors’ booths sold jewelry, knitted plushies, figurines and baked goods. One vendor offered snake handling in addition to their product sales. Non-profit booths like Planned Parenthood, Andy Beshear reelection advocates and accepting religious organizations gave out free informational booklets, Pride pins and fidgets. Other booths provided HIV tests and safe sex products.

Madison Leach, Murray Pride president, hosted and introduced several guest speakers from the local region and larger organizations in the Commonwealth. Charley Allen-Dunn of the Murray Human Rights Commission attended as a representative of civic support. Julian Lamson, Murray State’s Alliance president, described the impact a supportive community has on the LGBTQ+ youth who come to college towns seeking acceptance. 

Speakers from local chapters of Necco Foster and Counseling and Lotus Resource Center and state organizations like the Trans Wellness Coalition spoke about LGBTQ+ advocacy in Kentucky.

In light of the recent Senate Bill 150, which will “prohibit a school district from requiring school personnel or pupils to use pronouns for students that do not conform to that student’s biological sex” among other LGBTQ+-related regulations for Kentucky minors, the speakers encouraged solidarity and support for the estimated 2,000 trans kids in the Commonwealth. 

“The reason [anti-transgender legislators] are fighting us this hard right now is because, by God, we are winning,” Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign, said. “We are too loud, we are too proud, we are too beautiful, vibrant, and brilliant for them to handle, and so they are doing the only thing that they know how to do—passing laws that try to control every aspect of our lives.” 

Saturday’s celebration bolstered the local LGBTQ+ community with the speakers’ encouraging words. Additionally, the amphitheater hosted musical artists Kween Kiesha, Melanie A. Davis and the Murray State Commercial Music Ensemble. 

The Grove of Murray hosted the Drag Extravaganza later in the evening, which featured  local drag queens and special guests Dida Ritz and Coco Sho-nell. During intermission, Leach gave out community awards, including a Founder’s Award to former Murray Pride President Diana Tunnel.

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About the Contributors
Gray Hawkins
Gray Hawkins, Staff writer
Gray Hawkins is a freshman journalism major. They enjoy writing, reading, listening to some music and playing D&D. Some of their favorite book series are: The Inheritance Cycle, Six of Crows and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. They spend most of their time in the dorm with their ESA bearded dragon, Monarch.
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini, Photography Editor
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini began photographing for The News in fall 2022 and began Photo Editor in 2023. She loves to photograph all things sports, but especially baseball. A journalism major, she minors in Spanish and Photography.

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