Johnson City

The Pride Community of the Tri-Cities holds first ever public event


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The Pride Community of the Tri-Cities made history Sunday as they came together for the Pride End of Summer Festival at Rotary Park.

This first ever public event was held in hopes of raising money to open the Pride Community Center in Johnson City.

Same sex marriages in the state of Tennessee are illegal but the LGBT community in our area believes there's still hope for change.    

Matt Smith and Trey Darnell have been together for seven years now. About a year ago, they had to travel outside Tennessee to get married, and in that same year, they adopted their daughter Harper.

The entire time they've been together they've lived in the Tri-Cities and they're confident that one day everyone will finally accept they're just a regular family.

"It's definitely trickling down to this area from more urban areas and metropolitan but it's just taking time to get to the Tri-Cities, but it's coming," says Trey.

"It's great to have the community come together and just share and be welcoming towards each other," adds Matt.

Kenn Lyon is the executive director of the Pride Community Center of the Tri-Cities and says he's excited about creating a permanent change in the region. 2015 is when he hopes to open the building to the Pride Community Center, but they need grants to make that happen.

Once it's open, the center will help fund programs for LGBT youth, provide counseling and help educate people in the area.

"We're really just excited about the support we've received and excited about creating this kind of positive social change in the region and letting it be something that becomes a new way of living for everyone in the area," adds Lyon.

As for Matt, Trey and Harper, they're looking forward to the next event.

Lyon also tells News 5 to make Sunday's event possible, the Pride Community was lucky enough to receive their first ever grant from the Appalachian Community Fund.

To get involved with the Pride Community of the Tri-Cities, you can visit their website at

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