Murfreesboro held its first annual Pride festival August 28, joining an ever-growing list of southern cities that celebrate one thing the LGBTQ community holds in common: our PRIDE. Held in the hometown of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), it wasn’t surprising that there was an impressive turnout from the student body, which showed its support along with the locals.

Entering Murfreesboro Pride through a Rainbow balloon arch, one encountered a sea of vendors, organizers, attendees and of course the great entertains playing Murfreesboro Pride—#BoroPride. There were no protesters at all. Whether that is luck or whether that is the unfettered notion that maybe, just maybe, things are changing even in the smallest of places? One can only hope.

There were a lot of smiles and even some free hugs (my personal favorite). #BoroPride was also a sea of human billboards, as t-shirt slogans abounded. T-shirts declared everything from “God Loves Everyone” to the LGBTQ battle cry of “NO H8TE.” This reporter promises that the square in Murfreesboro has never been so full of PRIDE.

There were several heterosexual couples with their children. When asked why they were attending #BoroPride they replied that they just wanted to teach their children to love everyone and to respect everyone. Well played, parents.

The entertainment kept the crowds excited and engaged. Some of the top acts included headliner Ryan Cassata, a drag show hosted by Iona, DJ CronunDrum (Tyler Croney), The Pleading, Radical Arts, and Night Sabers, with 107.5 The River's producer Zac from Woody & Jim in the Morning and local drag queen, Iona, as MCs for the event.

When asked what was the one thing that he took away from the festival, Brandon Partin said, “Hearts are opening and more people are realizing that we as LGBT individuals matter and are recognized by society not only in larger areas but even in rural towns.”

The festival also brought light to a number of supportive groups. Pride festivals around the country shines a light on these organizations at these events. Most often than not people do not know how to get into contact with these groups and PRIDE festivals are the perfect place to receive great exposer to the community.

Different denominations of church organizations were there reaching out to so many different people and were well received. Also, the Murfreesboro Cold Patrol was there, introducing crowds to their refreshing mission. All too often, LGBTQ persons coming out lose access to their homes and support group. that’s where The Murfreesboro Cold Patrol comes in with help and support.

Walking around and mingling with everyone, Garrett Smith, who works at PLAY in Nashville pointed to the importance of the event, saying, “Murfreesboro has needed its own pride for a long time with the college here and everything.” Several people said that they were “happy” and how “awesome” having a Pride celebration in Murfreesboro.

Another attendee appraised the event well: “Murfreesboro Pride had a wide variety of vendors ranging from the Human Rights Campaign to inclusive churches in the local area, as well as public officials in the Murfreesboro area. Justin Miller and Laura Bohling attended, as well as the Rutherford County Democratic Party. But overall, [for] its first annual pride, for the size of the event, I believe it was very successful. Considering the area it was held at, there were no outsider issues, the entertainment was well managed, and everybody seemed to enjoy their time together.”

The rapidly growing city just to Nashville’s south is also charting a course toward a great second annual #BoroPride next year, as well. With the real estate boom in Nashville pricing some out of that market, Murfreesboro has seen its share of newcomers, including a spike in its LGBTQ population, and #BoroPride is a sign of that growth.

Nevertheless, launching and growing Murfreesboro Pride is built on the foundation of a lot of hard work that goes into creating, organizing, and pulling off a successful day, and the kudos go to local LGBTQ leaders and volunteers who take time from their families to give back to our community. For that effort the TEP and the plethora of people that invest time should always be given a huge round of applause.

The awareness these festivals bring to local communities are a priceless gift that was hard to imagine just a few short decades ago. The take away from #BoroPride and other festivals in Tennessee is this: support your local community leaders. Volunteer. Volunteering is a priceless gift that helps the LGBTQ cause more than you imagine. These festivals give us a chance to show that we are a part of what makes up each community’s diverse population and to remind ourselves and those around us that diversity is not our problem—it is our promise. Live Long And Prosper.





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