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On Wednesday, the Atlanta Pride Committee took to social media to announce, due to surging Covid-19 case rates, it would cancel its large, in-person events scheduled for October 9 and 10, including the festival in Piedmont Park and its popular parade, for the second year in a row.
Activist Dave Hayward recalls his time with the Georgia Gay Liberation Front in the early 1970s.
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.
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.
“I have always been very clear on this. I do not believe being gay is a sin. This is the way people are born. God doesn’t mess up. We are all a part of God’s creation and need to be celebrated as such.”
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.
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.
David Cowan’s expressive style of signing frequently captures the public’s attention—most recently when he was interpreting onstage at Governor Brian Kemp’s coronavirus press conferences.
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