Louisville Pride will be back in full force after the pandemic put it on pause last year. In 2020, the Louisville Pride Foundation skipped the packed street celebration in favor of a coordinated day of service and online events.
“We do the best we can, everybody’s doing the best they can, to deliver virtual programming,” says Executive Director Mike Slaton. “But it’s not the same. It certainly doesn’t have the same excitement as the big festival.”
Bardstown Road will once again host scores of Louisvillians celebrating LGBTQ pride Saturday, September 18. The foundation made the call in mid-May.
“Basically when the governor announced we were going back to 100% occupancy by June 11, we said, ‘Okay, we can do this.’”
The last time the foundation held pride in-person, in 2019, they had record numbers, about 20,000 people attending. Slaton says while they hope for similar numbers this year, it will depend on how the pandemic continues to play out over the summer.
“We may get to the middle of September, there may be a lot of people who are still not comfortable and that’s totally fine, I respect that,” he says. “There also may be people who are just dying to do things.”
Kentuckiana Pride Festival organizers moved their celebration to October, and Southern Indiana Pride will happen in late summer. Slaton says regardless of when the events happen, he’s relieved they’ll be able to gather again after a hard year.
“We want to be able to bring people together in a joyful way because there’s so many attacks, especially against the transgender community and especially LGBTQ people of color,” he says. “Bringing people together where we can just be ourselves and relax and have fun? That’s as revolutionary as anything I can think of.”