Atlanta Pride accepting 2017 grand marshal nominations
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 https://bit.ly/2oVSM5g