Being Queer Louisville

Saddlebred Horse Show Champion, Carson Kressley on his love of Kentucky

photo by Rainer Hosch

I was drawn to Kentucky because it is the epicenter for the Saddlebred horse show world. The dream was to always go to Kentucky and compete. Kentucky has the best horses, best horse shows and the world championships in August at the Kentucky State Fair.

It’s always been a magical Place.

Some of my favorite memories are of Kentucky in the summer time running from horse show to horse show. It’s a slice of Americana. Living in New York City most of the time, Kentucky is such a change of pace for me and I love it.

In 2009 I won my first World Championship horse show at the state fair. I never dreamt of an Emmy or anything, but I always wanted to win a world championship horse show.

The first time I came down was in my late teens and I feel in love with the horses and the scenery. Once you’re down in Kentucky, you fall in love with the spectacular people. Little towns outside of the city like Bardstown and Simpsonville, you run into the most amazing people.

You can’t help but fall in love with the people that live there.

I feel like I’ve been a resident in many ways for a long time because I do spend so much time in Kentucky. You do hear stories of hate and non-acceptance in the towns that I love, but my experience (and I can only speak from my experience) is that everyone has been so warm, gracious and welcoming.

It always surprises me when hate groups are in towns I know and love. I would love the opportunity and tell them my story and be able to hopefully sway them. When people get to know somebody, that’s when they can have a change of heart.

It seems to be more difficult being your authentic self while living in remote or rural areas. I know that because I grew up in one of those places.

Remember that there are resources out there. We have a loving community that takes care of our own. Do research and get online. Bottom-line is that there are resources out there. We’re all connected through media, technology and the Internet.

There are people out there that you can connect with, talk, share stories and you can find a loving supportive community.

**Kressley works with Colors United (fund), an organization that helps prevent LGBTQ homelessness in the world.

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