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If you’ve been on social media or have taken a trip down Chapman Highway in South Knoxville lately, you may have noticed a new resident in town – the Knox Pride Center! And if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Knoxville and are looking for just that – community – then Knox Pride may just be the perfect place to start.
Knox Pride – formally East Tennessee Equality Council Inc. – is typically regarded as the “grandparents” of the prides around town due to their longevity and reach in Knoxville. We had the chance to sit down with John Camp at their new Knox Pride Center to hear all about how they created such a strong community (aaand just in time for Pride Month!).
First off, let’s get you the background on Knox Pride and their new center. Here are some quick facts about them:
⭐️ Knox Pride is coming up on their 15th anniversary (aww🥺)
🌟 There are about forty freakin’ events happening in June for Pride Month 🤯
⭐️ And there are even more monthly events outside of Pride Month!🙌
Knox Pride has been around for nearly 15 years – and what started out as a party to celebrate Pride Month ultimately turned into an actual community. Camp likes to say they are “queer 365 days a year.” Now instead of just one yearly party, Knox Pride is out helping the LGBTQ+ community on a daily basis through their Knox Pride Center and outreach groups.
The new Knox Pride Center (it opened in the fall of 2021) is their central hub. It’s where their board and committees can meet – but it’s also truly a safe space for all to come, to connect with one another, to host events to meet others in the community, and honestly to just be yourself. If these aren’t enough reasons to love ‘em, know they’re also helping individuals in the community through their food pantry (and soon to be community garden), clothing boutique, and computer and WiFi lounge. And if that’s not enough, the space is also occupied by volunteers during the day who can direct anyone to the resources they need.
By having this brick and mortar space available to them at any time, Knox Pride has been able to host an array of events from life skill classes to karaoke, while still utilizing spaces in the city (like their monthly themed bingo at Maple Hall!). Honestly, we could go on and on about all of the great things happening at the center (oh hellooo, support groups, life skills classes, affirmation days – how cute is that?!) but we’ll let you take a gander at their website ✨ knoxpride.com ✨ and give the center a visit for yourself!
Okay now, forty events for Pride Month might sound overwhelming, but trust us – finding the right events for you is not. Knox Pride has their usual monthly and weekly round up of events (like their life skills series, karaoke, affirmation days, and BINGO) but they also have four major special events happening in June:
⭐️ Knox Pride Zoo Night
🌟 Gay Field Day
⭐️ Bowling With Pride
🌟 Art in the Park for Kids
If you’re wondering what the deal with Pride Fest is and why it’s not on this list, worry not. This major event will be happening in the fall! It gives you a Pride festival outside of just June to emphasize their “Queer 365 days a year,” slogan – plus the cooler weather is perfect for spending the weekend outside in East Tennessee.
Whether you’re looking for resources or want to help others in the community, Knox Pride Center is your one-stop-shop to do so. They are here to give you a community, connect you to the right resources, and as a non-profit they are always looking for volunteers to help the community.
Publish date: 11 June.
Images by: Rachie Levy