Tennessee City Cancels Christmas Parade Amid Threats Of Violence Over Float With Rainbow Flag




The small West Tennessee town of Troy has canceled its annual Christmas parade this year after community members responded to a planned “love everybody” float with vitriol and threats of violence because it included a rainbow flag, according to the Tennessean.

Dwight Tittle, a native of the small town in the northwest part of the state, said the proposed float was based on the Bible verse 1 John 4:7-8 and was meant to express solidarity and love for people who felt shunned or judged by society, including members of the LGBTQ community.

“All that says is we’re just to love everybody,” Tittle told the Tennessean about his inclusive float. “You don’t have to agree with them, you don’t have to accept their lifestyle, but you can still love them. That’s what we’re about.”



Tittle said the inclusion of the rainbow flag led several town residents to suggest pelting its occupants with jawbreakers or tomatoes because they viewed it as LGBTQ pride-themed.

Tittle, whose son is openly gay, said his office had received some hateful late-night phone messages but said that he aimed to proceed with his plans if the parade could be rescheduled.

“If the crowd responds, we’re going to turn the Mariah Carey up loud and we’ll just keep right on going,” he said.

Troy announced Monday that the parade had been canceled, citing “continued scheduling conflicts,” although many accused the city of canceling because of the controversy surrounding the float.

Mayor Deanna Chappell blamed the cancellation on a number of volunteers the parade normally relies on not being available Dec. 14, the scheduled date of the parade, according to the publication.

“Since we made our statement about the cancellation of the Christmas Parade, we have had a lot of interest from citizens wanting to find solutions for our parade issues,” Chappell told the Jackson Sun on Tuesday. “Several of the ideas brought to light are showing promise, and we are actively working to come up with a plan to make a parade happen.”

She added that if the town was able to put on the parade, any float within “reasonable taste” would be permitted.