Knoxville, Tennessee (the state’s third most populous city) celebrated its pride event this last weekend. In addition to the event’s more then 2,000 attendees and 80 national and local organizations, 12 religious protestors came with signs and t-shirts telling LGBTQ people that “homo sex is sin,” “penises do not belong in the women’s bathroom” and calling the Islamic prophet Muhammad a “child raping pervert.
Luckily, the haters were encircled by a group of choir members from the touring Washington D.C. Gay Men’s Chorus who sang the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” and the Ragtime song “Make Them Hear You” to drown out the haters’ ranting.
Here are videos of their singing:
— GMCWashington (@GMCWashington) June 17, 2017
— Rob Serpa (@robserpa) June 17, 2017
The chorus was touring through Knoxville as part of their four-day Southern Equality Tour, the group’s first-ever bus tour performing in churches, LGBTQ centers and Pride celebrations in U.S. southern states with anti-LGBTQ laws as a way to raise awareness and funds for local organizations.
They sang proudly as the anti-LGBTQ protestors said things like “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
The chorus also visited Chapel Hill, North Carolina; sang with the Midlands Men’s Chorus at a church benefit for an LGBT center in Columbia, South Carolina; joined the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus for a performance at the state capitol in Atlanta, Georgia; sang with the Steel City Men’s Chorus at a Unitarian church in Birmingham, Alabama; and gave a benefit concert at the Diversity Center of Roanoke, Virginia.
The Knoxville pride event included performances by the chorus (performing alongside the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus), local entertainers and Tatiana, the RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant from Season 2 and All-Stars 2.
Tennessee has hate crime laws covering victims targeted for their sexual orientation but not for those targeted for their gender expression. It also has no state law protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in work, housing or other public accommodations.