Louisville Pride Center opens on National Coming Out Day
Dozens celebrated the grand opening of the Louisville Pride Center Tuesday – the first center for the LGBTQ community in decades.
The new center – announced in December– is on the second and third floors of the Asia Institute - Crane House at 1244 South Third Street.
It’s meant to be a safe and inclusive place for LGBTQ residents and their families and allies to gather for meetings and programs. Staff also hopes to bridge gaps in resources like providing mental health services on a reduced or sliding scale, and assisting with navigating gender-affirming care.
Mike Slaton, executive director at the Louisville Pride Foundation, said it will also be a backbone, “where we support people who are doing work that benefits the community.”
Ellie Blake is a therapist at the center, and a representative of Transforming Stigma. She said being able to provide those services is crucially important.
“Minorities, as a very big whole, need that, especially because access to health care is really, really difficult as a trans or non-binary individual,” she said.
Madelyn Spalding is a volunteer and a community member, who said that before the center opened, some people she knew had no permanent place to go to talk and connect with others who understand and accept them.
“This center has given my community … the transgender, non binary gender queer community of Louisville, a wonderful home,” she said. “Mike Slaton and all of Louisville Pride, they’ve been so supportive of all of our support groups.”
A 2021 report by the Williams Institute at UCLA shows roughly 46,000 adults in the Louisville metro area identify as LGBTQ, or just over 4% of the population.
Kentucky Democratic Rep. Keturah Herron, who represents District 42 and is the first openly LGBTQ state representative, said the community has been lacking a centralized place for resources and community like this for a long time.
“To have a city of Louisville of this size and that we have not done this yet is kind of crazy to think about,” Herron said. “But I think that today is historical and I think this is just going to be the beginning of something great.”
Tuesday’s event coincided with National Coming Out Day, which since 1988, has been a time to celebrate people coming out as LGBTQ.