19 for 2019: Q people welcome Black Gay Pride Atlanta

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With a commitment to covering all of the LGBTQ-ATL all year, Q builds an archive of noteworthy coverage and a stockpile of gorgeous photography worth a second look. 

The magazine staff prides itself on including the queer African-American experience on our pages among the rich tapestry of stories we help tell as the weeks and months progress, not just during the nationally recognized Black Gay Pride Weekend.

When we put our heads together for this issue, we realized: What better way for Q to cover Black Gay Pride Atlanta 2019 that with our own 2019 cover models and feature stories of the year so far?

So with the help of our photographers, we did. We circled back and touched base with nearly two-dozen of our 2019 subjects to get their thoughts on the intersection of LGBTQ and black identities in Atlanta.

What does Black Gay Pride mean to them? Keep scrolling.


Melissa Scott

DJ, Event Promoter, Business Owner, Television Personality on Love & Hip Hop Atlanta

“Black Pride to me is the celebration of my life, culture and people like me and people that love me, my culture and people like me. I love being a black lesbian that finds beauty, peace, love and happiness in every race, gender and orientation.”

Photo by Russ Youngblood




“To be seen and heard is how we thrive. To be respected and cared about like other races is what matters. Being black isn’t all that safe and being gay makes it even worse. It is powerful to be black and openly gay. Everyone isn’t built like us. I feel like we are the strength behind the community, even if we aren’t in the mainstream light. I’m proud to be me.”

Photo by Russ Youngblood


Coco Rose

Burlesque Performer, Glitter Goddess Productions

Owner, Pink Diva Cupcakery

“Being a black and queer woman that lives in south is a battle within itself. There are so many different fights that affect each of my identities and being told to focus on just one side of my identity when the viewpoints sometimes contradict each other is frustrating to say the least. I am not just a black women, but also a queer woman as well a person that lives in the south. All of these things shape my fights as well as choices on what issue to take a stand on which is why my biggest fight is for diversity and inclusive because no matter what space I am in, this is the area that is always lacking.”

Photo by James L. Hicks



Johnnie Ray Kornegay III

Photographer, Consultant, Activist

“My black and my gay identity are as intertwined as my blood and my veins. As long as there's life, and even beyond it, there is no separation. Black Gay Pride offers me an opportunity to reflect on the contributions and influence of black LGBTQ+ folks to humanity. It provides an opportunity to gather with my people, and love on one another in a world that still, actively, attempts to systemically eradicate us. We are still here.”

Photo by Kirklan H of XL Tribe www.xltribe.com



Iv Fischer

YouTuber, Writer, Performer

“Living at the intersection of my Black and trans identities has forced me to see the world for what it is. It’s full of transphobia, bigotry, and hatred. It’s hypocritical and unjust. Society continues to add weight onto the already-broken backs of women like me. Furthermore, it’s been extremely sad to realize that a lot of the flack I get for being transgender comes from the Black community. Alarmingly high numbers of Black and Latina trans women have lost their lives at the hands of men within their own racial community. There needs to be more conversations regarding visibility and representation for trans women of color. There needs to be more opportunities for us to find work, to comfortably transition, and to exist openly in public spaces. I hope we see more and more progress in the future.”

Photo by Jon Dean



Emmy Marshall


“To be black and a part of the LGBTQ+ community is a triumphant feeling. I am a part of two cultural groups that have been marginalized throughout history. Both black and gay people have overcome many injustices and we remain resilient through change. Pride is a time to celebrate, inspire and have fun!”

Photo by Russ Youngblood


Royce Hall

Musician, Performer

“When I think of Black Gay Pride, I think of the resilience, resistance and revolutionary movement of my ancestors and elders. As a black trans man, I am able to stand strong and affirm myself in the reflection of their strength and sacrifices in order for me to even proclaim my identities. I think of Baldwin, Rustin, Johnson, Lorde and many, many others who survived and fought for their very existence, by any means necessary, so that I could learn their methods and carry the torch. I stand on their shoulders — the shoulders of giants — fueled by their diligence and in reverence of their mission so that I may continue fighting for justice and actually have the ability to do so. I stand firm in my black LGBTQIA Pride. I am a direct descendant of my ancestors and elders’ determination beyond measure so that the safety, security, affirmation and liberation of black LGBTQIA people may become a true manifestation, bit by bit.”

Photo by Russ Youngblood


Miss He

Drag Performer

“Black Gay Pride is embracing the intersectionality of being both black and queer, understanding you are seen as an “other” in society, and taking charge of the beauty that’s in that. Because there is no choosing to be black or queer, I have chosen to live fully in both and embrace all that both cultures have to offer. There are so many black queer role models to look up to: James Baldwin, Lena Waithe, Josephine Baker, Janelle Monae, Marsha P. Johnson to name a few. We have always been here leading revolutions, being the tastemakers of popular culture, and living loudly in our truth despite the guarantee of bigotry and hate. As a black, non-binary femme, I live my life with black gay pride by being my blackest and queerest self and doing it unapologetically.”

Photo by Jon Dean



George 'Say' Daigle

Founder & Host WERU Radio

“As a part of both the African American and the LGBTQ community, I have a unique perspective of what it means to only be allowed or reviled in a space where others are welcomed and respected. I’m excited about the advancement of freedoms that were once only dreamed of for both of my communities. Now I know, dually, what it to means fight to earn an equitable portion of the liberties others were simply given at birth. For me, Black Gay Pride month is a celebration of the diaspora under a rainbow sky.”

Photo by Russ Youngblood


Jennifer Barnes Balenciaga

Legislative Liaison, Activist, Ballroom Legend

“Being black and trans is one of my proudest realities. I am very proud of both of those identities, specifically for the fact that my existence is resistant to stereotypes and negative narratives.”

Photo by Russ Youngblood


Daddy Rod 

Onyx Southeast

“As an African American, SGL (Same Gender Loving), Leather/BDSM Man, it’s important to me to be visible and give a voice for not only myself, but for other LGBTQ of African descent who are at a point reflection and self-discovery in their lives. Pride is acknowledging the fact that God created me and I am worthy of love as every other human. Black Pride is a time to celebrate and find deep pride in my communities historic commitment to justice. I am proud to honor our stories and the experiences of LGBTQ of African descent.”

Photo by James L. Hicks



State Rep. Renitta Shannon

“James Baldwin said, ‘A black gay person who is a sexual conundrum to society is already, long before the question of sexuality comes into it, menaced and marked because he’s black or she’s black. The sexual question comes after the question of color; it’s simply one more aspect of the danger in which all black people live.’

“What he said about living as both queer and black is still true today and will likely always be true because racism continues to survive in America. It is for this reason we will always need Black Gay Pride to highlight and make progress on what it is like to live at the intersection of both identities.”

Photo by Russ Youngblood


Janaya Davis

Owner, BoxFit Fitness Studio & Former Boxing Champion

“Black Gay Pride is not only a celebration but a movement to help unify the black and white LGBT communities, to voice concerns, and gain support for issues that are unique to the black LGBT communities — such as homophobia, medicine and outreach groups. Black Gay Pride is a celebration of the work and advancements that have been made due to the tireless work and efforts of those that decided to fight for the rights and equality of the LGBT community.”

Photo by Russ Youngblood


Charles Stephens

Writer & Community Organizer

“As a black gay man, for me, Black Gay Pride means power. This is something I have never taken for granted, because I can still remember what it's like to not feel powerful. I also know what it's like to be silenced and to be erased. Visibility is critical for our collective resistance. Being an Atlanta native, someone that grew up here, came out here, and found my voice in the movement here, I am never prouder of my city than when our people come together to celebrate and affirm who we are as black LGBTQ folk. Black Gay Pride is one of our most sacred collective rituals, one that continues to restore and empower our community.”

Photo by Johnnie Ray Korneygay III




Bruno Rose

Actor & Co-owner, PackLeadersATL Pet Services

“Black Gay Pride is in the intersection of two cultural identities that represent resilience, strength, courage, love and family. Black culture and LGBTQIA culture are both experiencing a new wave of cultural influence. It is an immensely powerful cultural influence that was only made possible by those before us who fought hard to get us to this point in history. I’m proud to be a part of this intersection as an actor/singer, and a local Atlanta business owner. As I see it, there is nothing we cannot do or achieve. The world is ours.”

Photo by Russ Youngblood


Taylor Brown

Tyron Garner Memorial Fellow, Lambda Legal

“W.E.B DuBois beautifully described the concept of double-consciousness. It has remained with me for years. It is the ever-present self-awareness of the interplay of being black and simultaneously being an ‘American.’ Two souls in one body. The idea being that being black made you different from the ‘majority,’ and not just understanding that but living and coping with that at every moment. It is very much the same for me regarding my identity as a transgender person. A triple-consciousness if you will. I am always conscious of my identity as a person, a transgender person, and a transgender person of color. The intersections and layers of my identity has given me profound empathy, compassion and strength.”

Photo by Russ Youngblood


Brandon Ellis

Dancer, Coreographer

“We were shamed, hidden & made to feel guilty for who we were for so long! Now we can let our freedom ring on so many levels due to acceptance and honoring our humanitarian spirits for our services throughout America as contributing tax paying citizen.”

Photo by James L. Hicks



Taylor Mclendon

Gymnastics Coach & National Flag Football League of Atlanta Member

“Black Pride, in my personal scope, embodies the unapologetic celebration of the cultural resonance that queer blackness has had not only on the greater LGBT Community, but the world. Although race and queerness are not one and the same, their struggles for equality are interwoven and reminds us to affirm the stories, creativity and image of queer-folks of color in our society.”

Photo by James L. Hicks


For more on Black Gay Pride Atlanta 2019, see the Queer Agenda calendar and our Black Pride Call to Action. Look for more outstanding LGBTQ Atlantans every week in every edition of Q magazine.

Patrick Saunders contributed to this feature. It originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue online here:

Pick up a new edition of Q each week at queer and LGBTQ-friendly venues around town.


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