Filled with Pride

The Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus is filled with Pride this season! Did you know that KGMC officially performed for the first time at KnoxPride in 2012? Pride festivals have been an important part of our mission ever since. 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, which are generally considered to be the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. A year later, in 1970, the first Pride festival took place in NYC, followed by other major cities around the country. Pride started as a protest, and the festivals became a call for society to realize that there were many different people living together. Instead of hiding our differences and choosing not to acknowledge them, Pride festivals help us to see each other for who we truly are – regardless of gender, race, sexuality, religion, nationality, or any other societal label. Pride festivals continue to be a protest while also being a celebration.

KGMC has annually performed at KnoxPride since 2012. Even when it rained this year, we had an incredible time performing in the parking garage for the crowd! We are very thankful for our continued partnership with KnoxPride. Several KGMC members have served on the KnoxPride Board of Directors, and we continue to appreciate all that KnoxPride does to enrich the lives of everyone in our community.  Knoxville is an incredible city with many LGBTQ+ organizations working together to promote diversity and acceptance. You can find more information about KnoxPride at KnoxPride.org

In 2018, KGMC performed at the first-ever TriPride. KGMC stopped to sing several times along the parade route, and filled the streets of Johnson City with Seasons of Love. Many KGMC members grew up in the TriCities (Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol) and it was a powerfully moving experience to celebrate the first Pride in northeastern Tennessee with them! KGMC’s Artistic Director, Alan Stevens, lives in Johnson City and served as the 2018 entertainment host, and now he’s now on the TriPride Board of Directors! KGMC is thrilled to return to TriPride in 2019 (coming up on September 7) to march in the parade and perform on the mainstage at 1:00 p.m. The TriPride Festival takes place in downtown Kingsport near the Chamber of Commerce building. You can find more information about TriPride at TriPride.org

This year we celebrate and support the start of a new Pride festival in Blount County. On August 24th, members of KGMC will perform at 5:00 p.m. at The Bird & The Book in Maryville. This important event was created as both “a party and a protest,” according to Blount Pride sponsor, Laura Bogle. It honors the legacy of the Stonewall Riots, and reminds us that there is still much work to be done in rural locations. LGBTQ visibility is especially important in areas where youth and queer individuals may feel isolated and alone.  KGMC is honored to participate in this inaugural event, and thrilled to see Pride continue to grow and flourish right here in East Tennessee! You can find more information about Blount County Pride at Facebook.com/BlountPride

As we approach the last few months of 2019, KGMC will continue to keep the spirit of the very first Pride alive in all that we do. We celebrate the rights and equalities we have achieved, but we will never fail to protest injustice. Whether it’s NYC Pride or Blount Pride, there is power, love, and visibility when we gather to support each other. Stand up and sing out! KGMC is #VoicesForEquality

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