Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kentucky Equality Federation partners with StoryCorps to bring the voices of gay and lesbian people to Southern Kentucky

Somerset, KY - Kentucky Equality Federation has partnered with StoryCorps to highlight the lack of equality in Southern Kentucky.

Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

Kentucky Equality Federation and StoryCorps will visit Whitesburg, KY from April 21st - May 14th.  Stories will also be heard that day on WMMT Radio, a local radio partner station.

Arrangements were made between StoryCorps and Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.

"Homosexuality in Southern Kentucky isn't tolerated as well as in other parts of the Commonwealth," stated Kentucky Equality Federation Chairman Richard T. Jones.

In 2009, a supporter of Kentucky Equality Federation and Marriage Equality Kentucky handmade signs and hung them around Harlan County. Shortly thereafter, the signs were tore down torn down on multiple occasions.

In addition, The Mountain Shopper, "The Leader for Buying, Selling and Trading; Community News, and Special Events" published an article: "The Fall of the University of Kentucky because of homosexuals."

"We are very pleased StoryCorps is visiting Whitesburg and we are pleased to partner with them. The stories of discrimination and oppression of LGBTI people need to heard and it is wonderful to know they will be archived in the Library of Congress," stated Kentucky Equality Federation Southern Kentucky Regional Director Anderson Ruth.

Kentucky Equality Federation will also be making a donation to StoryCorps to cover expenses. The exact amount of the donation has not been established. All Kentucky Equality Federation donations over $250.00 must be approved by the Board of Directors and signed by Treasurer Dean Byrd. Kentucky Equality Federation's Board of Directors will deliberate the total of the donation next month.

For additional information, call (877) KEF-5775 - Ext. 1, or Ext. 5, or use our online contact form.

"I have seen firsthand the need to shine a light on the homophobia in Southeastern Kentucky. My hope is that this effort will help in some way to alleviate this problem for the entire Commonwealth," stated Halyn Roth, Managing Director of Marriage Equality Kentucky, a group sponsored by Kentucky Equality Federation.

StoryCorps Restrictions: Members of the press are not allowed inside the booth once tape begins rolling. with the participant's permission, you can observe, photograph, and/or film the participants getting ready in the booth and doing sound check beforehand. You will also be able to observe and shoot from outside the window during the interview (when available). Print reporters may listen to the interview on headphones from the waiting area (when available) and ask questions before or after the interview, as arranged.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pro-gay Legislation in Kentucky doubtful with Senate President Williams – Equality Awards to be given to lawmakers


Kentucky Equality Federation supports and continues to push Kentucky House Bill 106, and Senate Bill 138 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966 as a protected class along with religion, smoking, disability, race, sex, ancestry, veteran status, and disability.

In 1966, Kentucky became the 1st state in the South to pass a civil rights law. The Commonwealth also became the first in the south to establish enforcement powers over civil rights violations on a state level. The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights becomes the state enforcement authority of the Act.

Kentucky Equality Federation plans to give "Equality Awards" to senior lawmakers who "make a difference" including Representative Ruth Ann Palumbo, Representative Tom Burch, Representative Susan Westrom, Representative Mary Lou Marzian, and other selected lawmakers next week at the Kentucky Capitol. No freshman or junior Representatives are included.

"Though we applaud and support the efforts of Louisville Fairness Campaign, Lexington Fairness, Kentucky Fairness Alliance, and the ACLU of Kentucky, I do not believe you can properly gauge the attitude of over 4.5 million citizens by polling 600 people," stated Kentucky Equality Federation Chairman of the Board Richard T. Jones. "Though we continue to push for equality, we do not believe any pro-gay legislation will ever be passed in Kentucky so long as David L. Williams is President of the Kentucky Senate. Williams has made his position clear through his public comments and disagreements with Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer from equality to school bullying; all have been reported by WKYT-TV, WYMT-TV, and the Lexington Herald-Leader. In addition, Palmer issued a personal appeal to Senate President Williams last year and the entire Kentucky Senate."

Kentucky Equality Federation and the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group (KHAAG), and many other groups were successful, thanks to Senior Representative Tom Burch and Senior Representative Jimmie Lee in restoring the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program (KADAP).

This year, Kentucky Equality Federation has also partnered with Marriage Equality Kentucky to push House Bill 178, and the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association to push House Bill 35.

Jones continued: "If Kentuckians truly want protections extended to the gay and lesbian community in Kentucky, they must get involved and hold their elected representation accountable and sign our Legislative Alerts online at"

The LGBTI community makes a significant contribution to the economic welfare of the Commonwealth and our entire Union. This year, Kentucky Equality Federation has invested significant resources representing people across the Commonwealth who filed complaints with our Discrimination, Hate Crimes, and School Bullying Committee for being terminated because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

More than 8 cases remain open and on-going with Kentucky Equality Federation's legal representation, Jill Hall Rose.