MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Preparations are underway for Memphis Pride Fest as organizers are projecting thousands of people to fill the Bluff City.
Over the course of four days, diversity and inclusion for the LGBTQ-plus community will be celebrated.
“We’re here. We’ve always been here. We’re always gonna be here. We’re your friends, we’re your family, we’re your neighbors,” Bri Helms with Mid-South Pride said.
During this time attendees will also notice an increased security presence, following recent events affecting the LGBTQ -plus community.
“I am under the mindset that you prepare, and it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, but we will prepare for thousands of them to show up,” said Vanessa Rodley, President of Mid-South Pride. “I will prepare for the worse scenario and if it doesn’t happen, we are happy with that.”
The event not only draws supporters but protesters which is why security is important for organizers. The FBI, Homeland Security, Memphis Police, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office are some of the agencies tasked with keeping everyone safe.
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“We’ve gone over a lot of drills of what we’re gonna do if certain situations happen. I think we’re prepared, and I think they understand. They’re helping us and they’re all working together,” Rodley said.
The Memphis Pride Fest comes just when a new state law prohibited where drag shows can be held. Despite the measures, organizers say they are committed to the cause.
“We’re not, of course, going against the law,” Helms said. “We’re very to the letter on everything. However, we didn’t want to shy away from this to push it forward.”
A space has been designated for protesters and it’s at the organizers’ discretion to decide who needs to be removed from the event which runs until Sunday.