Friends, family, lovers, and strangers stitched colorful, personal, and heartfelt tribute panels measuring three feet by six feet—the approximate measurements of a grave, Jones says—that when stitched together create a 1.3 million square foot symbol as iconic as the red ribbon worn to raise awareness about the disease.
I was told by many friends not to get involved in this because there was no way we could possibly win. This was a global entity. It would be like kicking a giant in the toe. That response mystified me. I said, “I didn’t know we chose our battles according to the ones we knew we could win.”
Just one story tall and tucked between 7th and 8th streets on Peachtree, a tiny gay bar has built a reputation that towers over many of the skyscrapers that surround it.
Atlanta has reigned supreme on the national Black LGBTQ+ Pride circuit by attracting stars like Nicki Minaj and Brandy and by evolving into a bona-fide summer festival with food and retail vendors in Piedmont Park—as LGBTQ+ families sprawl across picnic blankets like they once did in Henri McTerry’s backyard.
The first Atlanta Pride was held in Piedmont Park 50 years ago to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. Our LGBTQ+ community has made many strides over the last half-century. But we have far to go.
Backstreet’s infamous 10,000-plus nights of dancing, drag, drugs, and debauchery, spanning the years from 1975 to 2004—recounted by the people who owned the club, worked there, documented its life span, and, of course, partied inside the legendary Atlanta nightspot.
With the help of the nearly 10,000-person Facebook group I Partied at Backstreet who served as curators, we’ve assembled this massive three-decade, 12-and-a-half-hour Backstreet playlist for our readers.
In 2012, Thom Baker and Don Purcell found a novel way to counter the anti-gay protesters who spit hateful chants at Atlanta Pride revelers: making out in front of them.
Today, in addition to covering local and national queer art and culture, Wussy hosts events across the city, like drag shows, dance parties, and movie screenings—and founder Jon Dean doesn’t plan to stop there.
Atlanta Pride. It is as much an aspiration of what Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ community can be as it is an articulation of what it is today. It is an emblem of queer visibility and power. It has strived toward worthy ideals—yet it has reneged on its central promise of inclusion.
“I didn’t start to feel like a woman at a certain age—I started to feel like a girl. I was five years old, growing up in Arizona, and I prayed to God to turn me into a girl. You can’t tell me that this is a choice.”
While there’s nothing “step” about any LGBTQ+ parents who are present from conception onward, we are still subject to the terminology of the government and the whims of the people who run it.
For years, Georgia has been near the top of states with the highest rates of HIV/AIDS cases. In parts of Atlanta and the metro region, rates are as much as eight times the national average, and researchers say they rival levels found in some developing countries.
The store looks like it belongs in a quaint country town. I passed through tiny rooms crammed full of Tunisian towels, letterpress cards, and other carefully curated items and eventually ended up in a huge open space where tables are piled with attractive displays of baked goods and jarred pantry staples and walls are lined with refrigerator and freezer units loaded with items you won’t find anywhere else.
While the AIDS crisis brought the gay community and its bars together, COVID is driving them apart.
Perhaps no clothing store has had more of an impact on Atlanta than the luxury boutique founded by Jeffrey Kalinsky 30 years ago, which put Atlanta on the fashion map and introduced designer lines like Manolo Blahnik, Prada, and Dries Van Noten to the city.