Taylor’s Take: It’s time for Winchester, Clark County to formally recognize Pride Month

Published 10:46 am Thursday, June 16, 2022

There has been a lot of discussion – positive and negative – about the number of Pride flags hanging outside of downtown Winchester businesses.

I’m not going to wade into that discussion. Instead I want to introduce something new to the dialogue, something that is long overdue in my opinion in many small southern towns such as this one.

What needs happen is simple, the Winchester Board of Commissioners and the Clark County Fiscal court should draft and vote to adopt a resolution officially recognizing Pride Month in the community.

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Would this step be to benign to some people? Probably so. Is there more that this community’s local governments could and should do such as adopting a fairness ordinance? Probably so.

But sometimes the most important first step is the symbolic one.

For most of the second half of the 20th century, mainstream America turned a blind eye to the plight of the LGBTQIA community. This nation’s military refused to accept any recruits who openly stated they were attracted to a member of the same sex. Numerous state legislatures first passed laws banning same-sex marriage and now are passing legislation that restricts speech about sexuality or gender in public schools. I won’t even venture into the numerous harmful stereotypes that mainstream popular culture saturated the zeitgeist with from the 1950s to the late 2000s.

So, like many of the immigrants who felt isolated in the United States when they first arrived in their new homeland, members of the LGBTQIA community sought refuge with kindred souls in a place they felt safe, like San Francisco’s famed Castro District or social clubs.

I’ll admit that my knowledge about the origins of Pride Month is too sparse for me to knowledgeably write about but from different conversations with friends I’ve gathered what the month means to the community: a celebration of being free to be themselves.

There is nothing more American than that, in my opinion.

The heart of the fight for LGBTQIA rights is simply to be seen and recognized as equal before the law.

Again there is nothing more American than that.

Winchester is a community where people take care of those who are on the periphery of society: the homeless and the addicted. It rightly honors those served this country in foreign wars.

And in that same civic spirit it is time for the community to recognize some of the most marginalized among us.

Formally recognizing Pride Month means standing in solidarity with the community that celebrates it. It would be the first step to hopefully righting many wrongs and making this town and county a place where everyone feels welcome and valued.

Most importantly, it would broaden this town’s notion of what it means to be an American.