- LGBTQ pride events have existed in big cities for decades. But their presence in rural America has grown significantly.
- Advocates view small-town pride events as critically important in communities that lack resources and support.
- Some residents and experts say distrust and disdain are still a problem, and safety remains a concern.
PULASKI, Tenn. – When this rural town’s fledgling Pride festival kicked off June 11, organizers braced for protests. Critics had made their opposition known. Sheriff’s deputies were on hand to prevent trouble.
But by midafternoon, just one man holding a “REPENT” sign stood outside the Agricultural Park near Pulaski, a town of 7,600 residents, as several hundred cars – including a jeep sporting the phrase “Rednecks 4 Rainbows” – arrived for the festival that’s in its second year.