On Saturday, July 31, 2021, Franklin, Tennessee, the largest city in conservative enclave Williamson County, held it’s very first LGBTQ+ Pride celebration. PFLAG Franklin and TEP organized the event in partnership with other local organizations, with the support of local businesses and individuals, with the stated goal of bringing the “Williamson County community a vibrant event that seeks to Celebrate, Support, Engage and Unite the community on behalf of our LGBTQ family and neighbors and their allies.” By almost every measure, the event at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm was a great success.

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“The reason that we decided it was time for a pride celebration in Williamson County and in Franklin is that there are a lot of people that don’t know where to find their community or are trying to come out or are just discovering,” Franklin Pride President Robert McNamara said. “So, this is a way to showcase and let people know there is a community here and obviously a very large community. We welcome all people, everyone, including allies, and we have a lot of those here today as well.”

Franklin Pride 2021. Photo by James Grady.

Entertainment for the event included Emcee Vidalia Anne Gentry, with guests including Mr. and Ms. Nashville Pride, The Miss Fits, Sisters Mann, Nashville in Harmony’s Major Minors, and Dianne Davidson. Davidson is one of the women featured in the documentary film Invisible, which profiles the struggle lesbian singer/songwriters have faced in the world of country music.

Franklin Pride 2021. Photo by James Grady.

There was also a “We are Family” Dance Party with KD Queen and Sir Benton.

Franklin Pride Recognized by City Government

The City of Franklin went so far as to acknowledge the event with an official proclamation from Mayor Ken Moore, which reads in part:

“Now, therefore, I, Dr. Ken Moore, Mayor of the City of Franklin, do hereby proclaim July 31, 2021 as Pride Day in the City of Franklin and encourage all citizens to show their support for the LGBTQ community and to share their belief in the rights of all citizens to experience equality and freedom from discrimination.”

The City of Franklin also posted photos from the event on its official Instagram:

Attendees Respond to Franklin Pride

From the time that Franklin Pride opened, response on social media was effusive. Hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations have posted their support and shared their Pride.

Glendale United Methodist Church posted on Instagram, "HAPPY PRIDE! It was a beautiful day at @franklinpridetn today as LOVE abounds for ALL.🏳️‍🌈 #LoveIsLove #GodIsLove #FranklinPride #GlendaleUMC

The Tennessee Log Cabin Republicans were present, and posted a pro-police message in honor of Pride:

Veronica Paige was one of many who shared photos on Facebook. Veronica wrote, "What an amazing day at Franklin Pride! It was so amazing to get to be there and meet so many amazing new people!"

While this is the first Pride celebration for the City of Franklin and Williamson County, it is no doubt the first of many, based on the size of the crowd and the support the event has received.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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