The Pansy Patrol blocks out hate

Love always wins

Pansy Patrol Atlanta Pride

Photograph by Patrick Saunders/Georgia Voice

In 2012, Thom Baker and Don Purcell, his partner of 14 years, found a novel way to counter the anti-gay protesters who situate themselves at 10th and Peachtree streets to spit hateful chants at Atlanta Pride revelers: The couple made out, for roughly two hours, in front of them. The following year, Baker, Purcell, and their friends wanted to go bigger and stuck large cardboard pansies—a symbol of resilience, Baker told the Georgia Voice at the time—on poles that just so happened to be big enough to block the protesters’ signs. The Pansy Patrol was born and, for every following year’s parade, its members and supporters have come armed with supersized flowers and noisemakers to stymie and frustrate the anti-gay contingent. And love, the Pansy Patrol says, always wins.

This article appears in our October 2020 issue.