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Community organization aims to make Morehead more LGBTQ+ inclusive

Kennealy Jenkins

A group in Morehead is aiming to make the community a safer and more welcoming place for LGBTQ+ people.

Pride of Morehead is a newly formed state and federal non-profit. Organizers said their goal is to build a supportive and lasting community for people, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. In January, the group had a booth at the Morehead Recovery Resource Expo to distribute mental health information. The event was hosted by Mountain Comprehensive Care Center and St. Claire HealthCare.

Elizabeth Banks is the Mental Health Coordinator for the group, as well as a member of their Board of Directors. She said Pride of Morehead hopes to fill an all-too-commonly forgotten role in the LGBTQ+ community.

“Queer and trans people are a marginalized community. We get left out of being thought of,” she said. “We’re currently working with St. Claire Regional Health Center to work on their intake process so they can find out how to better help queer and trans individuals, how they can gather information because we are more prone to the opioid epidemic, we’re more prone to certain types of cancer, certain types of addiction.”

In addition to St. Claire, Banks said the group is also partnering with Camp Beacon, a summer camp for queer and trans youth in Kentucky. Banks said strong community ties with other LGBTQ+ youth help foster better mental health.

“Amongst bisexual and lesbian youth, they’re so much more likely than their straight counterparts to experience suicidal ideation. I think every 45 seconds, one queer or trans youth attempts suicide,” she said. “That’s appalling, and we can do something about that.”

In April of this year, Banks said the organization will be hosting their first annual Pride of Morehead festival.