First Bristol TriPride Gives a Surprising Number of E&H Students an LGBTQ+ Day of Celebration


Terrel Smith

E&H’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging organized for 40 E&H students to participate in TriPride’s kickoff parade down State Street in Bristol. Some of them are pictured here, moments before the parade began.

For the first time, Bristol hosted TriPride—an LGBTQ+ pride event held somewhere within the Tri-Cities annually—on Saturday, Aug. 27. Emory & Henry College’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging (DEI&B) provided numerous students the opportunity to march in and attend their first pride event.

Emily Bishop, new director of student activities at E&H, was one of the people who helped plan the school’s involvement in the event. Before the actual day, the amount of students attending was still undetermined.

Thus, the attendance of 40 E&H students became a pleasant surprise.

“I am very pleased with the turnout of students that were able to join us at TriPride,” Bishop said. “It was more than I expected because we were never sure of how many students would come, especially with it being one of the first few weekends of the new semester.”

Additionally, students who are allies to the LGBTQ+ community attended TriPride, and for many, this was their first pride event.

“This being my first pride event, I really didn’t know what to expect,” said second-year Terrel Smith. “But I can definitely say that going with all my friends and being able to show my support was a lot of fun. It really allowed me to be there to support my friends.”

On another hand, first-year student Kim Grant’s experience with TriPride was very different from what they had anticipated.

“To be honest,” they said, “I expected TriPride to be smaller, but it was a lot more fun than I had expected.”

While students like Grant enjoyed the event, however, they experienced some disappointing moments in comparison to similar pride events from their hometowns.

“Atlanta does pride big enough that TriPride was slightly underwhelming visually and event-wise,” Grant admitted. “Plus, I was called a homophobic slur before our group even entered, which has surprisingly never happened to me back home. It shows me that there is unfortunately anti-queerness here, which is disappointing.”

However, Grant viewed the continuation of the celebration despite backlash to be inspiring.

“Even though we were called a slur, we kept celebrating pride,” they said. “It shows me that the love and LGBTQ+ pride in this area is stronger than any negativity and bigotry that is thrown at it.”

Though TriPride has concluded until 2023, DEI&B aims to host more on-campus events that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community this semester. These events will be announced in the upcoming months.