What is Nashville PRIDE's mission statement?
The Purpose of Nashville PRIDE is to maintain a sense of community and awareness of, about, and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people and culture throughout Middle Tennessee.
How are decisions about Nashville Pride made?
Decisions concerning the festival, finances, friends, fundraising, and all other Nashville PRIDE functions and events are made at Nashville PRIDE Board meetings. Board members vote on all major decisions.
Please, ATTEND a BOARD MEETING! They are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, and actively posted on our website calendar. The Board loves hearing input from the community. These meetings are the best place to get involved in Nashville PRIDE.
How can I volunteer?
Volunteering is easy! Simply visit the volunteer section and see all the ways you can become involved. Board meetings are another great place to get involved; all meetings are posted in events section of the website.
Why is Pride in the summer?
In June 1969, a group of LGBT people rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 43 Christopher Street, New York City. Further protests and rioting continued for several nights following the raid. This is an important milestone event for the Gay Rights movement.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June, Gay & Lesbian Pride Month, this was renamed in 2010 by President Obama as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. June was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in Greenwich Village that sparked the GLBT liberation movement in the US.
Have you considered moving Pride to another month?
The Board is always reviewing the location, time, and date.
The heat during the 2009 and 2010 festival was very abnormal. The historical average temperature for the third weekend in June is 83 degrees.
What is the history of Nashville Pride?
A culmination of events led to the birth of Nashville’s first PRIDE event in 1988. In 1987, following organizing that resulted in the founding of T-GALA (Tennessee Gay and Lesbian Alliance), two chartered buses took members of Nashville’s LGBT community and their supporters to Washington D.C. to participate in the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. That same year, Stewart Biven and Jeff Ellis began publishing Dare (later Query), Nashville’s first LGBT publication.
Members of the local community, with the help of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, were able to put together Nashville’s first PRIDE March in June 1988. A modest 125 people met at Fannie Mae Dees (Dragon) Park that year with signs, walked through Vanderbilt University and then across West End Avenue into Centennial Park.
In 1995, PRIDE co-chairs Linda Welch and Brad Beasley moved the event to Riverfront Park and for the first time were able to raise enough money to have a police officer on each street corner to block traffic allowing for horses, motorcycles and floats.
Pam Wheeler, community activist and current co-host of Out & About Today, got involved with Pride in early 2000, a time when Nashville PRIDE almost didn’t happen. It was nearing time for the annual event but no one knew who was in charge of planning.
About 70 people attended the meeting and with just 90 short days for planning, then Pride President Raney Pollos, with help from community leaders Keith Hinkle, Matthew Strader, Wheeler and a few others, successfully pulled off Nashville Pride 2000 at the Bicentennial Mall.
Over the next few years, a dedicated group of volunteers focused on the growth of the festival and wrangled their experiences together to create PRIDE events unique to Nashville and spent months planning the event, running TV and radio ads for the first time and bringing in new local and national sponsors. The crowd grew exponentially through the early 2000s and reached the volume most people recognize as Nashville Pride today.
In 2009 the festival was moved from its Centennial Park home to Riverfront Park in downtown Nashville with Deborah Cox headlining that year. National attention was garnered by the festival in 2010 when headlining entertainer, Vanessa Carlton, came out to a record number of attendees.
In 2014 organizers moved the event from Riverfront Park to the highly visible location in the heart of downtown Nashville at Public Square Park where the event drew a record number of attendees and vendors to the threshold of city government. This was also the first year the festival added a Friday night concert prior to the Saturday Festival. The annual Equality Walk was also started in 2014 drawing an estimated 2,500 that first year.
In 2015, during Nashville Pride weekend festivities, the Supreme Court Ruled that states must allow same-sex marriage and the festival reached new levels of attendees and excitement with more than 18,000 LGBT people and allies celebrating the decision together at Public Square Park. The Equality Walk kicked off with the wedding of Al Gregory and Toby Sturgill.
The following year also saw a boost in attendance on the heels of the tragic mass shooting at Pulse Night Club though the tone of the Festival was less celebratory than in years past. This time more than any other in the past 10 years, people were coming together to support each other and raise awareness for the ongoing need to advance LGBT rights and acceptance. More than 5,000 people participated in the annual Equality Walk, far exceeded the prior year’s numbers, in a show of solidarity and strength.
In 2017 the two-day festival smashed attendance records with more than 35,000 people congregating at Public Square park with an impressive lineup of corporate sponsors - including long-time presenting sponsor Bridgestone and supported by Nissan, Delta Air Lines, Genesco, Journeys, Miller Lite, Jack Daniels, Dollar General Tribe, Play Dance Bar, Curb Records and many more - and premier entertainers including Lizzo, Conrad Sewell, Big Freedia, La Bouche, CeCe Pinson, Ty Herndon, Julien Baker, Ezra Furman, and many others.
Also in 2017, the Metro Historical Commission has approved Nashville’s first marker recognizing an LGBT rights activist, Penny Campbell, who passed away in 2014. Campbell organized the city’s first pride parade in 1988, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. She also acted as the lead plaintiff in the court case that decriminalized homosexual acts in Tennessee.