Two gay men with with developmental and intellectual disabilities were kicked out of a swimming area at The Pavilion, a government recreational facility in Hazard, Kentucky. The men were clients of Mending Hearts, Inc. which provides support for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, according to the Kentucky Equality Federation.
"The Pavilion staff immediately entered the pool area and asked my clients and their staff to leave the Pavilion," stated Shirlyn Perkins, Executive Director of [Mending Hearts]. "My staff asked The Pavilion staff why they were being asked to leave, and they were informed that 'gay people' weren't allowed to swim there. My staff told this man that what he was trying to do was discrimination. The man stated that what he was doing was in the Bible and he could do it. My staff continued to argue with this man, but was ultimately forced to leave. My clients, whom already feel ridiculed and different, left the city owned facility crying and embarrassed for trying to participate in 'normal' activities that everyday 'normal' people do."
Kentucky Equality Federation contacted City Manager Carlos Combs, Mayor Nan Gorman and the Office of the Governor.
A protest is being planned.
Said Kentucky Equality Federation Children of LGBTI Parents Outreach Director Julia Oiler Spiegel: "The two gay males with developmental and intellectual disabilities were discriminated against by the staff of The Pavilion based on their sexual orientation…As a gay parent of a child with a developmental challenge, I am outraged by this complete act of ignorance directed at these young men and their staff. As a public community service, the The Pavilion has a responsibility to provide equal treatment to all members of their facility and to properly educate their staff accordingly. A Biblical comment is totally inappropriate. All citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky should be treated with equality and respect, based not only on their intellectual abilities but their sexual orientation as well. This was a humiliating experience for both of these young men and will not be tolerated. I demand a public apology, not only these young men, but to the clients and staff of Mending Hearts, Inc. as well as the LGBTI community of Perry County."