The arched balloons that form a rainbow. Dykes on bikes leading a Pride Parade. The toned leather daddies. How do you think the majority of Americans see us when we celebrate being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered? Think back to how major news companies like MSNBC, CNN or Fox often portray our community to the world.

Now think about what the city of Nashville has to be proud of and how would it be portrayed? Before even considering what Nashville has to be proud of, we as a community need to take a moment and reflect on what our community has lost in the past year. Friends and loved ones are the obvious answers. However, we have lost Lucky’s Bar, The Chute, Music City Bears, even a small gay café. In the past year, our community has become smaller.

So what did Nashville have to be proud in 2007? Last year, my experience was quite limited. I missed out on the Friday and Sunday venues, but I did attend on Saturday. The Pride Parade last year was small. The procession traveled throughout Centennial Park, but those who heralded and championed for our rights couldn’t have been more proud of our community. In attendance for the event were churches, one of the softball leagues, Drag King and Queen pageant winners, local gay businesses owners and organizations. After watching the Parade, I went with some of my softball buddies to check out the tents.

When rounding the first tent, I ran into my ex by the Grizzlies’s table. Though I dreamed of this day for quite some time, my revenge plans did not materialize. With no porn star date at my side to act as my boyfriend, I tried to be the brave little toaster and continued going from vendor to vendor. As I wandered in and out the vendors’ tents, I began to catch the cold icy stares of the ex. As soon as I mustered up the nerve to confront him, the ex grabbed a twinkie and started in on the public displays of affection.

I vowed then that 2008 Pride would be different. Unfortunately, it has been. Pride has moved to Sunday with our community once again bickering over the change. Though we as a community are not 100 percent supportive of the changes that are being made, Nashville needs to know of our accomplishments.

Yes, we have lost a lot, but the potential is there for gay life in Nashville to be astonishing. When looking at the Hispanic community, I was amazed at their philosophy. For every dollar spent in the Hispanic community, that dollar is spent again eleven more times before moving out to the gay, straight or African-American communities.

If we took a lesson from the Hispanic community, would some of our establishments still be open? During this Pride, think about what our community means to you and how in the upcoming year you will support what we have left as well as finding new ways to forge our future.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

Red Bull Unlocked Nashville

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

Rumble Boxing Gulch, Nashville

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Post-Covid travel planning

Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?

For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

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