Pride Community Services Organization has an amazing history. As the oldest existing LGBTQ+ organization in Kentucky, we have delivered over forty years of commitment, purpose, and education that has made an impact on our community that is hard to quantify. The PCSO exists to create safe and inclusive spaces where every LGBTQ+ Kentuckian is celebrated and supported. On each step of the way and with every decision made we have aimed to further that vision for our community.
Throughout our history, the PCSO has relied on the time, support, and energy of countless volunteers—leaders, individuals, and groups. The PCSO, our community groups, the PCSO Pride Center on Waller Avenue, and the Lexington Pride Festival have grown because volunteers have committed time, energy, and financial support to the cause. What we have been able to accomplish together demonstrates the strength of our community. The PCSO would not exist without the support of so many people over the years.
It is an exciting time for the PCSO and LGBTQ+ groups throughout the Bluegrass. We believe that a physical Pride Center where our community can come together is more important now than ever before. We believe the Lexington Pride Festival is a vital part of the fabric of our community. We believe that the groups hosted at the PCSO Pride Center and the support offered through the PCSO make our community a better place. On a daily basis people visit the center, find community, food, and safety.
We count it as a privilege to be a part of this community that is full of amazing LGBTQ+ causes. Since our founding in 1977, numerous LGBTQ+ organizations have grown around us and we are proud that the PCSO has been able to be a part of those stories. We are honored that many LGBTQ+ groups in Lexington use the PCSO Pride Center and take part in the Pride Festival every year. Each group in our community serves a wonderful purpose and together we make the community stronger. As the number of groups that serve the LGBTQ+ community has grown, the PCSO has been committed to partnering with others who have supported our community and we intend to continue building strength in these partnerships.
In order to continue our mission of service to the LGBTQ+ community and to increase the impact of our work, the PCSO Board of Directors has been taking a hard look at our organization’s structure, vision, and leadership. We have been working to specifically define how the PCSO as an organization fits within the larger LGBTQ+ landscape in Central and Eastern Kentucky and beyond. Our mission is focused on improving the lives of people in the LGBTQ+ community in our region and we have come to see that given the complex needs in our community, it is to our best advantage to implement a plan to bring on a full-time leader who can direct and manage the focus of our work to continue meeting our mission.
We are proud and excited to announce that Carmen Wampler-Collins has been promoted to serve as the first ever Executive Director of the Pride Community Services Organization! With her expertise, leadership, and commitment in this full-time position, we are confident that the PCSO will continue to grow as an organization. Carmen’s role as Executive Director will be to develop the physical, fiscal, and structural supports needed to take the PCSO into the next forty years and beyond. Over the coming months, with the support of the PCSO Board of Directors, Carmen will be specifically developing new opportunities for stakeholders to join with the PCSO to support LGBTQ+ people in our region.
The PCSO Board of Directors is honored that Carmen would dedicate herself to the organization. She has our full support in this new position. There is no one else who understands the PCSO like Carmen. Over the past several years as she has served as Pride Center Coordinator, she has already been shaping and growing the PCSO for the future. We hope that each of you will also join us in congratulating Carmen and find some time to stop by the PCSO Pride Center to visit and congratulate her and find out how you can get more involved with the work of PCSO.
Cheers to the next forty years and BEYOND!