CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.—Hundreds of people gathered with their children to cheer on parade performers in drag and outfits suggesting sexual fetishes as they tossed candy and twirled down the street and onto the stage during the parade. Chattanooga Pride 2022.
“We were able to adjust the times for today and get people here,” said David, an employee of Amazon, one of the event’s sponsors. “The company also paid for all of our giveaways that we give out as well as some of our costumes.”
Other sponsors included power company Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), communications company T-Mobile and insurance provider Chattanooga Unum.
David was part of a parade of 500 to 600 people, many of whom graphically displayed their sexual tastes in front of children. But unlike many parade participants who spoke to The Epoch Times, David opposes drag shows in bars aimed at kids, like the ones Chattanooga Pride hosts. The topic sparked controversy when a viral video showed a young child at a drag show rubbing the crotch of a performer, who failed to stop the youngster.
Destiny, a T-Mobile employee who said her company was a sponsor, attended with her child. She was aware of the drag show where the controversial contact occurred between the child and the performer.
“I think it’s appropriate for kids to express themselves as they see fit,” she said. “I don’t think they should have stopped” the behavior.
Many parents brought their families to the parade.
“Love is love, and you know, that’s their thing,” a mother told her daughter.
Many attendees at the event suggested that celebrating LGBT ideology should be a Southern cultural practice.
“Y’all’ means everything,” some chanted.
“We are here, we are proud and we are not going anywhere,” swore an advertiser.
Some men in the parade wore zippered leather dog masks, costumes with leashes and tails and other paraphernalia.
A man wore a bulletproof vest, carried a sword and made it clear that he was closely watching three counter-protesters at the event.
Another wore a dog mask and a flag indicating that he enjoyed a sexual fetish involving self-degradation.
Parade participants handed out sweets to children along the route.
After the parade, event attendees partied along the Chattanooga River, where some local businesses sold merchandise in tents.
Some offered water bottles in the shape of a part of the male anatomy. Others offered free breast binders so girls could flatten their breasts to minimize their feminine shape. Experts have said that filing cabinets can cause skin lesions, back pain, chest pain and shortness of breath.
Men dressed as women and other costumed participants danced on stage before an audience of young boys and girls.
A man wearing a leather chest harness and dramatic makeup provocatively broke his rainbow suspenders as he writhed in front of children and teenagers.
A drag performer strutted across the stage podium. Another, Sweet Tooth Von Tata, danced to the popular children’s song “Baby Shark” while wearing a shark jumpsuit.
“What is my best feature film? Chattanooga Pride organizer Noah Corbin asked while performing in his drag character, Hormona Lisa. He mentioned his back of the nose and said he wanted to change his profile.
“Who thinks I should keep my nose?” he asked the crowd, receiving cheers.
The event received support from Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly, who condemned rising local opposition to children’s drag shows.
“It’s been an…interesting…week in Chattanooga, and it’s really important to me as mayor of Chattanooga that our city remains a diverse and welcoming city forever,” Kelly said. “Chattanooga is a city that celebrates diversity, and it doesn’t matter who you love.”
Progressive Congressman Ro Khanna (D-California) also made a surprise appearance at the event.
“To innovate, you have to respect diversity,” he said from the stage.
Khanna suggested embracing diversity was crucial to keeping Chattanooga’s tech industries thriving. He urged Chattanoogans to support the federal equality law.
Sponsors enthusiastically supported the Chattanooga Pride event.
“VAT stands extremely supportive of all of its employee resource groups, and all of its employees, no matter what they believe, who they are, where they come from, where they come from, what their life experiences are” , said Megan Flynn, CEO of TVA. diversity and inclusion officer, told The Epoch Times.
The society’s LGBT resource group aims to sponsor LGBT activities in Chattanooga, she said. The TVA is a federally owned electric utility company and the sixth largest electric utility company in the United States.
But when asked about the event’s relevance to children, sponsor representatives hesitated.
“If there are kids at events, they have parents who are there and involved,” Flynn said. “They need to address those aspects.”
“I have no comment on that,” said Lis Ahmed, executive vice president of people and communications at Unum. “We’re just here to come celebrate with our employees.”
The event attracted numerous local and national businesses, including Disney, Keller Williams Bakery, AARP Tennessee, and the Democratic Party, among others.
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