KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — June is Pride Month, meant to celebrate the many identities found within communities across the U.S. and across the world. For many people, it's also a protest against oppression — a month-long rally to stand against hate while enjoying the freedom to be who you are.
This year's Pride Month is especially poignant for many members of the LGBTQ+ community in Tennessee. The state legislature discussed a slate of anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ+ laws during the last legislative session. After a federal judge struck down one of those laws, which would have required businesses to post signs if they allowed transgender people to use bathrooms, he criticized the state's arguments defending it.
"Transgender Tennesseans are real. The businesses and establishments that wish to welcome them are real," the judge wrote. "And the viewpoints that those individuals and businesses hold are real, even if they differ from the views of some legislators or government officials."
Another law included a ban on transgender athletes from playing on sports teams in college. Some of the proposals included banning transgender healthcare, including mental healthcare, for minors. Another focused on teachers using pronouns aligning with students' identities.
During Pride Month, many organizations are gathering together to celebrate diversity, and to show people of all identities they should be proud of who they are. Many are listed below.
Events During Pride Month
Pride Night at Zoo Knoxville - From 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Zoo Knoxville will donate $5 for each Pride Night Ticket sold to the non-profit Knox Pride. There will be food, drinks, merch and animals for everyone to enjoy.
Pride Drag Show - Hi-Wire Brewing is hosting a drag show on Saturday night! There will be three different showtimes - 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door beginning at 8:30 p.m.
2nd Annual Sweetwater Pride - The second annual celebration of Monroe County's LGBTQ+ community is happening on June 25 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Sweetwater Duck Park. Chalk art, face painting, music, food, a silent auction and vendors will be there. Feel free to come dressed in your most prideful attire!
Knox Pride Spiritual Marketplace — From 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. on June 25, Knox Pride will host a spiritual marketplace where local leaders of many faith communities will be available to speak at Knox Pride's Vocational Suite.
Bowling With Pride - Starting at 2 p.m. on June 26, Knox Pride and Maple Hall will host a bowling competition for people to show off their skills and have fun together. There will be prizes including the best team score, the best individual score, the worst team score and the best pride outfits. Tickets are $40 per lane.
Free LGBTQ+ Family Law Seminar - From 5:30 p.m. through 7 p.m. on June 27, the Held Law Firm will be at South Press Coffee for a free seminar on LGBTQ+ family law. The event will cover adoption, custody and parental rights. Co-sponsors include the Appalachian LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Appalachian OUTreach, Camelot of East Tennessee, Knox Pride and South Press.
Events After Pride Month
Knox Pride Homecoming - The Annual Pridefest in Knoxville was previously moved to September 30 through October 2 this year. It will include a parade and other traditional festivities.
Blount Pride Festival - The second annual Blount Pride festival will also be on July 30, after it was delayed because of COVID-19.
Paint the Rock for Pride Month - Join the UT Pride Center as they paint the Rock in honor of Pride Month! All supplies and paint will be provided so just show up in your painting clothes. This event is happening on June 1 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at The Rock on UT's campus.
Drag Race Viewing Party - Join Knox Pride and South Press every week, starting June 3, for a sober viewing party of Drag Race All-Stars. These viewing parties run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The coffee bar will be open during this event and you can pick up Pride swag while you're there!
Celebrating KGMC'S 10th Year - The Knoxville Gay Men's Chorus is celebrating its 10th year! This is a fundraising concert that is taking place at the Bijou Theater on Saturday, June 4. Doors open at 2 p.m. and the show begins at 3:00 p.m.
Pride Market - The Pride Market is happening on June 5. The market will have 36 vendors! It is running from noon to 4 p.m. It will take place at 4028 Chapman Highway.
Pride Month Kick-off Party - Starting at 1 p.m. on June 5, enjoy an all-day party full of food, drinks, fun and more! This event is free, but please RSVP to help those hosting prepare. This party will take place at Elst Brewing Company.
South KnoxPride Silent Disco - This silent disco is happening on June 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Hi-Wire Brewing. The tickets start at $10.
SoKno Pride Festival - This festival takes place on June 11 from 9 a.m. until dark! Enjoy a fun run, yoga session, silent discos, regular disco, drag shows, live music and more! This event will take place throughout the Sevier Avenue community.
Pulse Memorial Vigil - The UT Pride Center and the Office of Multicultural Student Life are hosting the annual Pulse Memorial Vigil on Sunday, June 12 at 1 p.m. The event is taking place at the UT Gardens by the Friendship Pavilion.
Queer in Sevier Adult Prom - On June 10 at 6 p.m., members of the LGBTQ+ community will have a chance to experience a prom. For some of them, it may be the first time in their lives, after missing out on prom experiences due to their identity. It will be a formal social event for Sevier County and surrounding areas, hosted at the Sevierville Civic Center Ball Room. It will also help raise money for a Sevier County pride group.
Make Gatlinburg Gay Again, Again - Starting at 6 p.m. on June 4, the second-ever Gatlinburg Pride march will kick-off. It will start at the lower plaza of Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and participants will march on the sidewalk to the entrance to Ober Gatlinburg. Participants are encouraged to bring flags and posters, but nobody is allowed to use noise amplifiers or light-emitting devices.
This list will be updated throughout the month of June as more events are added.