June is LGBT pride month. While you might think of celebrations in New York or Los Angeles, some Southern states are fast becoming home to some of the most interesting Gay Pride events, so we asked Charles Edwards Hicks to look at what it means to be loud and proud down South.
Many Americans view the South as a region where Bibles are ubiquitous and bachelor’s degrees are sparing. Yes, every state in the South has constitutionally banned same-sex marriage. In spite of this (or perhaps because of this), this region has become home to many of the loudest, proudest Pride parades in the United States. Here are a few of this year’s celebrations worth attending.
Nashville Pride, Nashville, Tennessee, June 16, 2012
Music lovers will want to make sure they carve out time to head to Nashville Pride in the backbone of Tennessee next week. The event will host three separate stages this year with musical acts ranging from all-female rock band Antigone Rising, to singer-songwriter Jeremiah Clark.
The festival will go until 7 pm this year, an hour later than previous years, and has added a section to outreach specifically to LGBT teenagers. It is also set to host its first Equality Walk.
“The one-mile walk will kick off the festival at 11 am on June 16 and will include more than 150 participants from various community groups,” said Joey Leslie, marketing director of Nashville Pride. “The goal is to bring even more awareness to our festival.”
This year’s festival comes on the coattails of a national debate sparked by Tennessee’s controversial, “Don’t Say Gay bill.” The bill was debated by the Tennessee House of Representatives earlier this year and would have made it illegal for teachers to discuss homosexuality in schools. Leslie said he hopes Nashville pride will help to raise the public’s understanding of LGBT people.
“We’re excited to bring so much positive visibility to Middle Tennessee’s LGBT community, especially at a time when the political winds don’t always shift in favor of the state’s LGBT citizens,” he said. “That being said, we have several political figures including [Nashville] Mayor Karl Dean and Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors who are very supportive of our community.”
For more information on Nashville, visit their website.