At­lanta Pride ac­cept­ing 2017 grand mar­shal nom­i­na­tions

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

At­lanta is keep­ing a ban on city em­ployee travel to North Carolina, en­acted in re­sponse to anti-LGBT House Bill 2 — known as the “bath­room bill” — de­spite the gov­er­nor sign­ing a re­place­ment mea­sure into law.

Mayor Kasim Reed en­acted the orig­i­nal travel ban on non-es­sen­tial, pub­licly-funded city em­ployee travel last April in re­sponse to the pas­sage of HB 2, call­ing the bill “dis­crim­i­na­tory and un­nec­es­sary leg­is­la­tion.” He also ex­tended his sup­port to North Carolina’s LGBT res­i­dents.

“Ev­ery per­son, re­gard­less of their gen­der, gen­der ex­pres­sion or sex­u­al­ity is a val­ued mem­ber of our com­mu­nity,” he said at the time.

On March 30, HB 2’s re­place­ment was signed that claimed to al­le­vi­ate the con­tro­versy, but LGBT and civil rights groups across the na­tion slammed the bill. Reed ap­peared to agree with them.

“The City of At­lanta has no plans to lift the re­stric­tion at this time. Our cur­rent po- sition re­mains,” Reed’s spokes­woman, Anne Tor­res, told Ge­or­gia Voice.

The re­place­ment bill, House Bill 142, pro­hibits state agen­cies, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties from the “reg­u­la­tion of ac­cess” to bath­rooms, show­ers and locker rooms with­out the per­mis­sion of North Carolina’s leg­is­la­ture. It also bans mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties from en­act­ing LGBT-in­clu­sive nondis­crim­i­na­tion mea­sures ap­ply­ing to pub­lic ac­com­mo­da­tions or pri­vate em­ploy­ment un­til 2020.

At­lanta isn’t the only city keep­ing a travel ban in protest — Wash­ing­ton, D.C., New York City, Oak­land, Seat­tle, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Salt Lake City and Cincin­nati also have sim­i­lar mea­sures in place, as does the state of Min­nesota.

Nom­i­na­tions for the 2017 At­lanta Pride Pa­rade grand mar­shals are now open.

“The grand mar­shal po­si­tion is pri­mar­ily a way for us to rec­og­nize peo­ple in the com­mu­nity for work they’re do­ing or work they’ve done,” said Jamie Green-Fer­gu­son, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of At­lanta Pride Com­mit­tee. “This is a way we can say thank you to peo­ple who give their time, their re­sources, to re­ally fight for our com­mu­nity and who need help. It’s also a way to bring vis­i­bil­ity to causes.”

In­di­vid­u­als are in­vited to sub­mit nom- ina­tions through the At­lanta Pride web­site. Nom­i­na­tions are nar­rowed down based on el­i­gi­bil­ity, then voted on to de­ter­mine the fi­nal group. There aren’t many el­i­gi­bil­ity re­quire­ments — grand mar­shal nom­i­nees must live in Ge­or­gia, and they can­not have pre­vi­ously been a mar­shal for the same work. For ex­am­ple, if a nom­i­nee was cho­sen last year and worked with home­less youth, they could not be se­lected in 2017 for that same vol­un­teer history.

Grand mar­shals also must iden­tify as be­ing part of the LGBT com­mu­nity, but that’s a loose def­i­ni­tion.

“In the past we’ve had straight al­lies who are very in­volved in fight­ing for equal­ity, or straight par­ents of queer kids,” Green-Fer­gu­son said.

The grand mar­shals’ job is more honorary than any­thing else. They will be for­mally rec­og­nized in June, give in­ter­views and par­tic­i­pate in the 2017 At­lanta Pride pa­rade. Green-Fer­gu­son said grand mar­shals can choose to speak from the stage dur­ing Pride events if they wish.

“Grand mar­shals can be in­di­vid­u­als, they can be a group. We have also done some post­hu­mous awards,” Green-Fer­gu­son said. “We have a slate of grand mar­shals that’s in­tended to be di­verse.”

At­lanta Pride grand mar­shal nom­i­na­tions Dead­line: Sub­mit your nom­i­na­tion:

April 24

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