October serves as the month that celebrates the battle LGBTQ+ people have fought throughout history. Although it may be nationally and globally recognized, it may be hard to find ways to acknowledge it in the town of Knoxville. Here’s a list of ways to get involved and celebrate LGBTQ+ history.
Educate yourself on LGBTQ+ history
Although we are not taught much about it as we grow up, LGBTQ+ community members have a long and thorough history of fighting through prejudice and judgement.
Do some research and learn a little more about what the LGBTQ+ community has been through, like the events of Stonewall or even just learning about LGBTQ+ icons who have made great impacts upon history, like Marsha Johnson, Bayard Rustin or Frida Khalo.
Educating yourself on the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community can help expand empathy and understanding across communities and the world.
Celebrate National Coming Out Day
Friday, Oct. 11 is recognized all over the world as National Coming Out Day, which gives LGBTQ+ folks a platform to express their identity without judgement. If you’re an ally, be there for your LGBTQ+ friends on that day to let them know you’re supportive and loving.
Support your LGBTQ+ locals
Across Knoxville, there are many different areas of art and culture where you can celebrate the creations of LGBTQ+ Knoxville residents.
Check out an art show about LGBTQ+ issues or support a local LGBTQ+ friendly business.
The Tennessee Open for Business project is dedicated to having small businesses pledge to not discriminate against employees or customers based on gender identity or sexuality. The list of members of the program can be found here.
Volunteer and donate to LGBTQ+ nonprofits
All around the nation, there are many nonprofits dedicated to serving and assisting the LGBTQ+ community.
A list of just a few can be found here, plus there are many different places in Knoxville that could also use some community help like Knox Pride, Knoxville Cares, Foothills LGBT Center and the mayor’s LGBTQ+ liaison.
Create a space open for discussion
Lastly, the most important thing people can do to support LGBTQ+ people and their history is to create a space where LGBTQ+ people can feel comfortable. Places like the University of Tennessee's Pride Center are crucial elements in creating a place for folks in the community to feel at home in an environment where not everyone is supportive of their lifestyle.