East Tennessee gears up for Pride 2006 with films, picnics, festivals, and more

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How many times have you heard the question, “are they having Pride this year?”

Well, this year the answer is a resounding “yes,” with one qualification – “they” aren’t having Pride, “we” are!  That “we” includes you, your friends and family, your neighbors and other straight supportive friends.

The actual planning of Pride is a collective event as well. The planning and events committee of the Greater Knoxville LGBT Leadership Council will steer the course, but you, the LGBT community members, are needed as volunteers in a number of positions to make Pride 2006 something memorable.

The weeklong events will kick off with ReelKnox, an GLBT film festival, sponsored by a group that formed after the GLBT Liberation Forum at last year’s Pride. Mostly composed of people affiliated with the Highlander Center in New Market, Tenn., the festival will run June 2 – 4. The Film Festival is offered in conjunction with the Knoxville Museum of the Arts on the World’s Fair Site next door to the building that was once the site of many Pride events, the Candy Factory. The group will also offer a dance at Fairbanks in the Homberg area on Saturday, June 3. John Scagliotti, director of After Stonewall and of Dangerous Living, has agreed to come to Knoxville to be part of the festival. John is an Emmy award-winning radio and film journalist who has recently released Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World will be the highlight of the series.

While the weekday events have not been completely firmed up at press time, rest assured that there will be workshops and roundtable discussions on topics ranging from GLBT teen suicide risk to lively discussions with local politicians.

There will also be Pride events in local bars throughout the week. Those events are still in the planning stage.

The main event will be held on Market Square on Saturday, June 10, beginning at 2:00 p.m. (the morning hours are taken by farmers selling their produce). There will be musicians, speakers, and other lively events in addition to food and drink provided by the restaurants. The Leadership Council has made a tentative decision to sell beer through a vendor. There will be a dance at MPower later on in the evening, and everyone is invited to attend.

Sunday is the traditional Pride Picnic on the grounds at the Metropoitan Community Church of Knoxville. Out in the Park, normally a part of Pride Week, is slated for July 1 and 2 this year. Day one will be the traditional red shirt day at Dollywood with day two reserved for Splash Country.

Check the Leadership Council’s Web site at www.knoxlgbt.com to keep up with scheduling and updates. Click on “calendars” and select “Knox LGBT Meetings and Events.”

Volunteers are needed. If you can work security, set up/clean up, speak, sing, dance, or otherwise entertain, call 865-522-5776 or email beth@gyrlgroove.com