Knoxville had its PrideFest yesterday.  It was my first time ever attending any sort of Pride event.  I was rather nervous, but I wanted to walk in the parade, so I signed up and showed up at the parade lineup yesterday afternoon.  I ended up joining a group of people from the Church of the Savior.  As I was walking in the parade, I felt a surge of excitement.  It was like I was suddenly part of this really big thing--a community of people all dedicated to equality.  It was far more enjoyable and fulfilling than I had imagined it would be.

There were several churches represented there--the Church of the Savior (who I marched with), the Unitarian Universalist Church, the Community of St Ninian, and the Metropolitan Community Church.  It was good to see all those different denominations welcoming all people to worship with them.  The other thing that touched me about all that was the testimonial that there is such a large population of homosexual people, even just here in Knoxville, that also feels a deep yearning for a connection with God--that is to say, gay people who also wish to explore their spirituality, just as any other religious person might.

Later on in the evening, I met up with a guy I met earlier this year and met several of his friends and other guys while we were hanging out at the festivities.  It was a very positive experience--making new friends, hanging out, and socializing.

I was very nervous and scared to attend the festival because I had the misconception that it was all about people wearing barely any clothing or cross-dressing.  But, my fears were quickly allayed as I found a completely wholesome environment.  It really was just about making connections with other homosexual people, but more importantly celebrating the equality of all people--not making any one person or group of people feel left out due to any reason within or without of their control.

I do take pride in being gay.  But more importantly, in being a human being.  Yes, we are a weak race.  We have all sorts of flaws--even the very best of us.  We all do and say things that we may regret later on, we make all sorts of mistakes.  But, even with all of the flaws and mistakes, we are a strong race.  We have the instinct to band together and help each other out.  We stand in support of each other, especially when times are hard.  Attending this festival helped raise my esteem of my fellow man by showing me how we can support each other.  In the face of misunderstandings and fears, we can support each other and respect each other.  We are an amazing race.  I am proud to be human.

Here are some of the photos I took while I was in attendance at the Pride festival yesterday.  The lady singing at the end is Tiffany who sang, among other songs, "I think we're alone now".