First “Pride Rainbow Festival” held in Johnson City | WJHL
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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – It’s the first year of Johnson City’s “Pride Rainbow Festival” and the beginning of a new tradition. Hundreds of people and about 50 vendors attended.

The event aims to increase visibility of the queer community and let everyone know that they are accepted no matter who they are.

“Love is love,” attendee Lou Blankenship said. “There’s no hate in our community. We love everyone, even the ones that are against us. We still love them, and we think everybody should support everybody.”

Organizer John Baker said it means a lot that hundreds of people chose to attend this year’s festival, and Saturday is especially meaningful for the community as they come together following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“We’re here,” organizer and Pride Community Center President John Baker said. “We’re not going away, you’re going to have to get used to it, and you’re going to have to stop passing these laws of hate.”

Upset with Friday’s decision, some people fear same sex marriage could be the next target.

“I think the ramifications could affect Obergefell which gave me the right to marry someone of the same sex should I choose to do so,” attendee Atlas Charles said. “It also may affect trans-inclusive healthcare.”

The festival was a gathering point to discuss and mobilize for change but also a celebration of progress.

“It brings a tear to my eye and a warm feeling in my heart,” Baker said. “Our community is large in this area, and this is a wonderful way that we all get together.”

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