The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Last Saturday, July 30th, Blount Pride hosted a Pride Festival at the Jack Greene Park in Maryville, Tennessee that featured a Rainbow and Drag Queen story time for children, followed later by “educational and connection-building activities” led by a local high school teacher, according to Ari Baker who is on the Blount Pride steering committee.
The event was touted as a “big ol’ party” and “family friendly” with activities for children and teens all day long.
Among other “child friendly” activities, attendees can make “encouragement cards” for the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs at local high schools in Blount County.
Several parents with their children gathered for the Rainbow and Drag Queen story time portion of the event.
Ron Maga Ritter said, “So much for Tennessee family values…” in response to The Tennessee Conservative’s posts about the event on social media.
Teens were also invited to participate in an “Intro to Queer History” as well as an event entitled “Shadows of Ourselves: Imitating the Art of J.R. Mounts” led by a local GSA sponsor, intended for young people to “discover who they are and who they would like to be through artistic expression.”
Honor Taber said, “Those who live in Blount County — I’d keep an eye out on your public library system too. Not going to say more than that, but you might want to look into your system’s children’s librarians. Based on social media postings, I’d be concerned about their potential book selections.”
Several performers also appeared at the event including the Drag Queen shown below.
Not shown on Blount Pride’s Facebook page was a photo shared by Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) of a performing Drag Queen along with the caption “This is from a “family-friendly drag show in Maryville, TN this weekend.”
The Tennessee Conservative shared the above across our social media channels and received many comments in response. Here are just a few of the responses:
Hannah Johnson said, “I cannot believe this is happening here.”
Dan Oakleaf said, “ So sad this is happening, and that it is endorsed, promoted, and attended.”
Bill Lawrence said, “We don’t want this in Tennessee.”
Holly Dean said, “This needs to be reported to the Tennessee AG and law enforcement. This is illegal under TCA 7-51-1401. In addition, contact your reps and ask them why nothing is being done about grooming children in the state of TN.”
***Click HERE to support Conservative Journalism in Tennessee. We can’t cover stories like this without your support!***
Blount Pride is partnered with Foothills Unitarian Universalist Church, Southland Books and Café, Knox Pride and Appalachian OUTreach, Appalachian Community Fund as a fiscal sponsor.
Among others, Cherokee Health Systems had a table at the event.
Cherokee Health Systems is a non-profit provider of primary care, behavioral health, and addiction services to over 70000 poor and uninsured people in Tennessee with locations spread across the Eastern part of the state.
Blount Pride Steering Committee member Shannon Bryant said that the city of Maryville arranged for a designated area for protesters with their own parking, away from festival attendees in an effort to minimize any potential conflicts. However, no reports of protests have surfaced upon publication of this article.
Blount Pride posted on their Facebook page on the day of the event, “There’s just something extra special and serendipitous about not only the rain holding off, but also the tiniest rainbow making an appearance during Blount Pride yesterday. But what’s even more special is everyone who came out to be part of this event and show that pride is all year around, AND it’s right here in Blount County!”
Following the event, Blount Pride indicated they will soon start planning next year’s event and is seeking donations to make that happen.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com