The Knox Pride Parade and Fest, our first here, and my first ever (yeah, I know, better late than never) was fabulous. I believe 30,000+ turned out for it, their largest yet. I was so impressed by the calm, diverse, festive atmosphere of the crowd, and especially the friendly civility and respectfulness of the large police security and fire presence, and their orderly handling of the event.
The only disruption I know of was, unsurprisingly, by a typical small hateful group of white nationalist protesters, who got aggressive at one point and were contained and removed by the police. I was glad for the tight security checkpoint at the large outdoor fest area. The police we asked directions of were very helpful and laid back, and just before the parade we ran into two extremely friendly fire dept. dudes who invited us to sit on their little emergency vehicle, wear their hat, and get our picture taken.
Everyone we met was like this–friendly, respectful, and helpful. Later we met and talked to various LGBTQ community resource reps, and gained some useful contacts. All in all, a good experience in our new town.
Here are lots of random, colorful parade shots (appropriately) along Gay Street, culminating in the large crowd moving toward the Civic Auditorium/ Coliseum lawn. Many local groups, orgs, candidates, and companies were represented. This is just a small sampling.
So far, the pros have far outweighed the cons we’ve encountered in Knoxville. There’s room for improved resources and services for the community, but there is also encouraging advocacy and activism. We hope trumpism will self-destruct and burn out before it manages to undo the great progress and success this city is achieving.