The Summer of Love tour came to McMinnville today and we had our first marriage proposal. Kris, the tour stop organizer, proposed to his partner Gregory on bended knee and 27 of us including allies were there to witness this incredible expression of hope and love. We think there was another first as well. It may have been the first public LGBT event ever in McMinnville. It won't be the last, though. I detected a strong interest among the group to meet on a regular basis.
We are grateful to Kris and Gregory for hosting us and for sharing their big moment with us.
The region, like much of the rural South, could use more moments that celebrate diversity and inclusion. I was reminded of that on the way from Nashville. I drove to Murfreesboro and caught Mercury Blvd. through Woodbury and on into McMinnville. There are historical markers for the Trail of Tears and a spot where Confederate Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest rested on his way to what was then called Murfreesborough. Ghosts of a bloody past peeking out from behind some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the state where wild turkeys and deer still roam (I saw both).
I believe LGBT people and allies can help take the region forward and I met a lot of people today who are going to try.