Community Coronavirus Health

The Louisville Pride Festival 2021 is canceled. The annual event celebrating LGBTQ+ people and culture was scheduled for September 18. 

Mike Slaton is executive director of the Louisville Pride Foundation. He said the cancellation is in response to the rising COVID-19 case rate and the highly transmissible delta variant. 

“This is bigger than our organization. It’s bigger than the LGBTQ+ community ━ it’s the entire community, and we have put the entire community’s health first,” Slaton said. 

He added a call to action, encouraging residents to do what’s necessary to mitigate the spread of the disease and alleviate the economic pressures that come with it. 

“Everybody needs to get tested, vaccinated and wear a mask. Take this seriously because the events are a lifeline to a lot of businesses and people,” Slaton said. “As a nonprofit organization, we rely on sponsor dollars, vendor fees, donations but it’s a bigger blow for a lot of the businesses.”

More than 90% of LGBTQ+ adults, nationally, have received at least one vaccination dose, according to a July survey from the Human Rights Campaign. That rate is about 20% higher than partially-vaccinated Americans in the general population, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. 

Slaton said organizers are planning to host virtual, mostly outdoor events ━ including a day of service on the festival’s scheduled kick-off date. He said it’ll consist of smaller, outdoor activities like neighborhood and park clean-ups across the city.

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect which of the city’s Pride organizations Mike Slaton is affiliated with.

Yasmine Jumaa is WFPL’s race and equity reporter.