LGBT activists chanted, prayed, rallied and marched through Atlanta’s West End on Monday, reviving a march that was once a staple of the city’s Black Gay Pride celebration.
About 100 people gathered at the Mall West End for the Stand Up & Represent March, reinvigorating an event that first started in 2001 but has been absent from Black Gay Pride for several years, organizers said. Participants included HIV activists, faith leaders and transgender marchers. Many of the marchers wore red or white t-shirts with “Love and Respect” emblazoned on them.
Attendees included state Sen. Vincent Fort, a staunch LGBT ally who helped fight an anti-gay "religious freedom" bill and authored the state’s hate crimes law that was later thrown out by the Georgia Supreme Court.
Organizers said the march helps call attention to the mistreatment of LGBT people.
The Stand Up & Represent March will unfold on Sept. 7th, 2015 where the Black Trans*, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Gender Non-Conforming, Studs, Femmes, Queens, Bois, and Same Gender Loving, communities of ATL will unite to make visible our love for each other, our legacy, our people, our community, and our resistance. We will march to call attention to the issues of police and state violence that impacts our communities in Atlanta. We will march because Black Trans Women are being murdered and it's time to put the "T" back in the Black and LGBQ family!
The event also remembered Juan Evans, a 42-year-old trans man who died in July. In October, Evans was stopped by an East Point police officer for speeding. Evans alleged that the officer harassed him, called him "it," questioned his gender and jailed him as he was threatened by other officers during the ordeal.
The march also came about two weeks after nearly 100 LGBT activists rallied outside a MARTA station in downtown Atlanta as part of a national day of action to call attention to an epidemic of anti-trans violence.