LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Fairness Campaign, Kentucky's LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, joined Vice President Kamala Harris as they celebrated National Pride Day in Washington D.C.
Chris Hartman, executive director at Fairness Campaign, said he was honored to be at the vice president's home for a pride reception.
“They were phenomenal experiences and it couldn't be more important right now. As our LBGTQ+ community is under attack more than ever before all across the United States," Hartman said. "To have the highest elected officials in our land not to just support but uplift, and embrace, and celebrate our LGBTQ+ community is so crucial right now."
He believes Kentucky is getting a lot of attention because of Senate Bill 150.
“I'm afraid this is the reason we are starting to get more attention nationwide and from those highest elected officials in the United States," Hartman said. "It’s because we are at this critical moment for our LGBTQ+ community and Kentucky unfortunately is moving in the wrong direction."
He said the Fairness Campaign has been invited to the White House a few times throughout the years, but has never been invited to the Pride celebrations before.
"I think for so many years Kentucky was considered a flyover state when it came to LBGTQ+ civil rights," Hartman said. "Now, we knew that we had a long and rich history. We were one of the first cities in the nation to pass a LGBTQ+ fairness ordinance back in the late 1990s.”
For 32 years, the Fairness Campaign has been working to provide protection and lobby the state legislature to support the LGBTQ+ community.
Hartman said they predominantly worked in Louisville for the first 20 years, but a decade ago they became a statewide group.
“The reality is we have had so many challenges over the past couple of years," he said. "So, to be in the room with Texas, Florida, and so any other states that have been doing this tremendous work for a long time was just amazing.”
The discussion doesn't get any easier, with issues from gender affirming care to increased crime.
“The violence that has been targeting the LGBTQ+ community more recently than in the past few years," Hartman said. "Unfortunately, this leaves so many [people] in our community to feel like perhaps they need to be less visible or perhaps they can't put their selves out there in the way they might have before.”
But he believes they are making strides.
“Kids have got to know that it is going to get better," he said. "It’s just going to take a bit of time.”