This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Go To Louisville. The opinions and text are all mine.
Most Americans would consider Kentucky to be a southern state, but in Louisville, folks seemed to waver on this opinion. Louisville is influenced by both Southern and Midwestern culture which makes for an interesting and diverse community. While there are definitely notes of the south – I’m lookin atchu Royal’s Hot Chicken. There are also some interesting midwestern vibes. Louisville turned out to be surprising gay friendly, here’s some of the parts we really loved.
We enjoyed chatting with vendors at Louisville Pride Festival 2017.
THREE Pride Festivals
Nope, not one but three Prides are based in Louisville. Louisville Pride, Kentuckiana Pride, and Louisville Black LGBT Pride happen between June and September in Louisville. Each one is a little bit different than the others but they all offer space for the LGBT community to come together and celebrate.
Louisville Has Tons of LGBT Specific Venues
Louisville is home to a gay theater company, LGBT Magazine, an LGBT Film Festival, and lots of options for gay bars. Purrswaytion is one of the few lesbian bars left in the country with a casual vibe that’s perfect to grab a beer with your crew. Play Dance Club is your classic queer dance party. The club was packed with a super mixed crowd and a huge stage for drag performances.
Kentucky Derby is Campy AF
Any event where you’re encouraged to wear giant outrageous hats is more than a little gay. While we were touring the Churchill Downs museum I couldn’t help but notice all the queer getups on display – I’m talking floral pant suits, drag queen worthy 5 foot wide hats, and this old school photo of Jessica Simpson – who – as far as I know – is not queer – but – Hey Jess, if you’re reading this and having a change of heart – call me. Cough – anyway – If you’re not into the fashion stuff, there’s also the sports/competition aspect of the derby that Lindsay was super into – but let’s be honest – I was mostly in it for the Mint Juleps and the hats.
Louisville Has A Gender Neutral Clothing Store
Lindsay has been insta-stalking BLoFish clothing for years now. We thought it was so awesome that Louisville has a storefront for folks who are seeking gender neutral clothing to come and check out the products in person. Lindsay also really loved that the sizing scale is based on the number of BLoFish printed on the shirts rather than a traditional sizing system. The clothes are well made, super soft, and come in a variety of styles. One thing I really like about BLoFish is that they’re clothing made for all people. Many gender neutral clothing companies code all clothing with a masculine leaning. At BLoFish they have options that are traditionally femme leaning but created for people from all gender expressions. I’d love to see more of that in our community.
Louisville’s LGBT Population is Huge
Back in 2015, A new analysis of Gallup survey data offered the most detailed information about where LGBT people live in the United States. Louisville comes in at number 11 on the list of metropolitan areas with the highest rates of LGBT residents. Which means Louisville ranks just behind heavy hitting LGBT destinations like Los Angeles and Austin. Louisville acts as an LGBT friendly refuge in an area of the country without the best track record for LGBT rights.
Louisville is a Sports Lesbo’s Paradise Soaked in Bourbon
While we were in town I heard no less than a million sports references that I didn’t understand, I know a lot of things – sports ball isn’t among them. Lindsay kept rolling her eyes at my lack of basic sports trivia. Pro tip – Louisville is a basketball town but they also were hosting ESPN’s Game Day – which is about football. Not confusing at all. I know. They’re also well known for the Louisville Slugger Museum [Baseball for those not in the know or keeping tabs 😉 ] OH and they’re the home of Muhammad Ali the beloved civil rights activist who apparently was famous for boxing before he got into social justice campaigning. Most of these activities can be experienced while holding a glass of bourbon which evidently is the dapper deb drink of choice these days.
LGBT Owned and LGBT-Friendly Accommodations
We got to stay in the lovely LGBT-owned Vu Hotel, in the Smoketown neighborhood. Vu is owned by the same folks who brought us The Connection, another one of Louisville’s most popular gay clubs.
LGBT Rights and Protections
While Kentucky has had issues with its questionable political record, Louisville has earned a perfect 100% rating from HRC’s Municipal Equality Index. The MEI measures LGBT-inclusive policies in local areas. Louisville goes above and beyond in protecting its LGBT citizens by having non-discrimination policies in place for employment, housing, and public accommodations. They also have services in place for LGBT young people, LGBT elders, and programs specific to the transgender community. The city appointed an LGBT liaison to the police department. City leadership has also made a public commitment to LGBT civil rights.