Pride Crawl supports fairness ordinance and local businesses

Lillie Eastham

Bowling Green Fairness will be hosting the first “Love Takes Over” Pride Crawl Saturday, right after the Bowling Green Pride Festival.

The “Love Takes Over” Pride Crawl is a bar crawl beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday that only includes businesses that support the fairness ordinance. The crawl will include a drag show, live music and LGBTQ drink specials.

The fairness ordinance, which would provide legal protection for members of the LGBTQ community against discrimination, failed to pass in February of this year. Members of Bowling Green Fairness have been regulars at City Commission meetings for nearly two years, according to members of Bowling Green Fairness. Bowling Green Fairness is a coalition working to get the fairness ordinance passed in Bowling Green, according to their Facebook page.

Patti Minter, a history professor and member of Bowling Green Fairness, said the crawl will show just how many people in Bowling Green want Fairness.

“People are going to vote with their pocketbooks on Saturday night,” Minter said.

Minter said historically, civil rights movements have always boycotted businesses that did not support their cause, and that the LGBTQ movement should be no different.

“This is the movement for our time,” Minter said.

Minter said as long as the ordinance is not enacted in Bowling Green, she will keep fighting. Minter added that the Board of Commissioners should pass the ordinance if they want to get rid of them at meetings.

“There’s no reason not too unless you want to be able to legally discriminate in Bowling Green,” said Minter.

Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson, who has remained opposed to passing the fairness ordinance, declined to comment.

Joshua Finn, a local drag queen who will be performing at the Pride Crawl as Geneva LaDiva, said that he has experienced this type of discrimination firsthand.

“They found out I did drag and had a problem with that,” Finn said.

Finn said he feels that various local restaurants where he was employed, which he would not name, feared that he was transgender and wanted to fire him before he could begin transitioning.

Finn said he feels that the Pride Crawl will help unite the LGBTQ community even further, as two of Bowling Green’s rival drag shows are coming together to put on a show in support of the fairness ordinance and pride.

Natalie Boddeker, the owner of Zest! Juice for Life, a non-alcoholic option during the crawl, said that she was happy to declare her business LGBTQ-friendly.

“All people should be treated with dignity and respect,” Boddeker said.

Minter said that many businesses that support the fairness ordinance were not included in the crawl and that it should not be assumed that excluded businesses are not LGBTQ friendly.

Two WKU student hotspots, Hilligans and Spencer’s Coffee, are supportive of the movement despite not participating in the event. Minter said that Hilligans has already expressed interest in being involved in next year’s Pride Crawl.

“Fairness is good for business, it’s good for Bowling Green, but most of all it’s the right thing to do,” said Minter.

The Pride Crawl will begin at 7 p.m. and continue until participating venues have closed. Admission is free. For a full list of performances and participating venues go to the ‘Love Takes Over BG Pride Crawl’ Facebook page.

Reporter Lillie Eastham can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].