AT­LANTA PRIDE Un­for­get­table At­lanta Pride mem­o­ries

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

My first Pride was the year the B-52s en­ter­tained. That Sun­day night at the Starlight Cabaret, The God­dess Raven was speak­ing of the hate of pro­test­ers. As she was lift­ing our spir­its a rain­bow ap­peared above Pied­mont Park. In that mo­ment I felt like I was where I needed to be! Pride was no longer just a hot week­end in At­lanta. I car­ried pride 365 days a year. Also I would like to add that an APC (At­lanta Pride Com­mit­tee) mem­ber Greg Bar­rett has since passed away and I think we should re­mem­ber his ser­vice for At­lanta Pride.

-Sam Acker

My first Pride was in 2013 and my girl­friend and I stayed at the Ge­or­gian Ter­rence. The morn­ing af­ter the kick-off party I made sure her and I were up to watch the sun­rise over the At­lanta sky­line on the roof of the ho­tel. As we watched I turned to her and told her I loved her for the very first time. Her smile the first time she said it back is some­thing I will never for­get. Now we are five days away from our wed­ding!

-Tif­fany Balli

My fa­vorite mem­ory was Pride 2010 when I walked in the pa­rade with Angel Ac­tion At­lanta and we rounded the cor­ner at 10th and Peachtree to face one of big­gest and most vile hate groups we had ever faced...and as we slowly and peace­fully ap­proached them they mo­men­tar­ily looked con­fused...and then we turned our backs to them as the roar­ing and cheer­ing crowd drowned out their ugly hate space and tears rolled down my face. -Leslie Kim­bell First Pride 1977, maybe 200 to 300 of us and I was wear­ing an “Anita Bryant Sucks”

Septem­ber 30, 2016

T-shirt and march­ing with my brother and his part­ner. It felt so good to be out of the closet and into the streets! It was more of a protest march than the fun fes­tive Pride that we have to­day.

-Don Hun­newell Mosh­ing in the rain and mud to les­bian punk bands pride ’96. -Clarence Boothill

I brought my 11-year-old girl to Pride last year, just so she could ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing among thou­sands of peo­ple cel­e­brat­ing those of us who have been treated badly for so long. I want her to be armed with truth and em­pa­thy should she ever be con­fronted with ha­tred—be it against her or oth­ers. She cheered ev­ery group that passed by, and not once did she show any­thing but love and sup­port for all. She had a great time, and has asked to go again this year.

-Al Ef­fendi

My fa­vorite was more re­cent. It was the year Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was re­pealed. Corps of po­lice of­fi­cers, ac­tive mil­i­tary, and re­tired mil­i­tary led the pa­rade with­out fear of de­struc­tive ret­ri­bu­tion. I stood there with tears in my eyes and grat­i­tude in my soul, with my hand over my heart. I’ve at­tended Pride since 1985 and I have never been more af­fected.

-Russ Lenox My first Pride was 2001. Me and my late girl­friend did the com­mit­ment cer­e­mony. She passed away a year later. It was amaz­ing. She was so happy. Best Pride. -Tra­cie L. Williamson

One of my most un­for­get­table Pride mem­o­ries is the year that I was work­ing in a booth in Pied­mont Park. It was beastly hot that June and we were watch­ing the usual late summer af­ter­noon storm clouds roll in. At some point a bizarre ground twister started pick­ing up dirt, trash and was headed our way. It was a lit­tle tiny tor­nado. We were all watch­ing help­lessly as it got closer. Ev­ery­one started grab­bing mer­chan- dise, ta­bles and tent stakes as the twister ripped through sev­eral tents scat­ter­ing peo­ple and pa­per all over the place. For­tu­nately no one was hurt. We all put our tents back in or­der and car­ried on as we scratched our heads won­der­ing what had just hap­pened. If any­one ever won­ders why At­lanta holds Pride in Oc­to­ber in­stead of June like ev­ery­one else, it was sev­eral years in a row of drench­ing and hot weather events like this that started the dis­cus­sion. -Cathy Woolard Al­ways the an­gels march­ing in white with re­gal wings!!! -Shane Reed

I moved to the US on June 17th, 1997. At­tend­ing Pride is one of my first mem­o­ries of be­ing in Amer­ica. I re­mem­ber tents on the hill close to 10th Street, folks hav­ing a great time, a big stage with great lo­cal acts and the mar­ket­place: just a few rows of booths with a flurry of rain­bow-col­ored mer­chan­dise. The whole cel­e­bra­tion wasn’t as big as it is to­day, but to me it rep­re­sented the open­ness and the free­dom of be­ing who I al­ways was, but in a new coun­try. It was the welcome party for a brand new LGBTQ im­mi­grant! I felt loved.

-Leo Martinez

Fa­vorite Pride? The first few years of South­ern Voice (1988 & 1989) are the most mem­o­rable to me. There was an en­ergy af­ter the Na­tional March on Wash­ing­ton in 1987 that, to me, has never been matched. Look­ing back, I can see there was both an in­no­cence and a pas­sion that truly war­ranted the la­bel “com­mu­nity.” We were los­ing friends daily to AIDS, fight­ing for the most ba­sic of rights and cel­e­brat­ing ev­ery small victory. It was a golden time and I am grate­ful I was there to wit­ness it.

-Chris Cash

When Deb­bie Gib­son was a guest, and when all of us les­bians used to slide down the muddy hill. -Char­lene Cham­lee

My fa­vorite Pride mem­ory was shared with thou­sands along the pa­rade route last year. With the sup­port of Power 96.1, me and my part­ner at the time (now my hus­band) were riders on the float and un­be­knownst to him, we stopped the pa­rade and I got down on one knee and pro­posed to him in front of the great­est, sup­port­ive crowd ever. To top the pro­posal, we were mar­ried in Times Square on New Year’s Eve a cou­ple of months later.

-Alexan­der West­brook-Eisele

Pride 10 years ago, my room­mate and I had West­boro-type pro­test­ers out­side of our apart­ment across from Pied­mont Park. Af­ter yelling at them for a few min­utes I went back in­side, grabbed a piece of card­board and some shoe pol­ish (couldn’t find a marker) and then spent the next 30 min­utes hav­ing the time of my life while the most vile and hor­ri­ble things were said to me [White made a sign that said “Homo Sex is Great”]. I was even pushed in front of a car. It was awe­some. My friend posted the pic on flickr and Neal Boortz picked it up and from there it went vi­ral.

-Joshua White

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