Fifty years ago this weekend, Atlanta’s first Pride event in Piedmont Park to remember the Stonewall riots was unable to attain permits. The same goes for 1971, when dozens of people marched down sidewalks instead of the streets, stopping for every traffic light, to say they were here, queer and not going anywhere.
They were angry. They were resolute. This week's issue of Q ATLus glances back and pushes forward.
When the first Pride permits were granted in 1973, hard-won media recognition forced some local marchers to cover their faces so as not to be outed and fired at work or beaten down in their daily lives.
It was only last week that those same employment fears were finally quashed when the Supreme Court ruled that employers can’t legally terminate us for being gay or transgender. Just this week, Georgia passed a hate crimes law that enhances punishments for targeting people based on who we are, and as a threat to entire communities.
We are angry and resolute again in 2020. We are chanting and covering our faces in Piedmont Park again. Though the reasons for face coverings have changed, thankfully, the need for justice is very much the same. This time, faced with widespread unrest, we’re louder and prouder at Pride than we may have been for years, and we understand the intersection of our movement with other movements much better.
Pride is protest and protest is Pride once again. It’s clear that as far as we’ve come, LGBTQ Atlanta has quite a long way to go as individuals, as a society and as a community.
After spending much of June saying Pride wouldn’t be the same under COVID-19, Stonewall Weekend and its true meaning — passionate demonstrations and hell yes, rowdy celebrations of who we are and where we stand — couldn’t come at a more appropriate time.
If the first Pride was a riot, and Atlanta’s first march was disobedience, the fates of June 2020 have put us right where we need to be five decades later. This edition of Q ATLus looks at the politics, parties and people that say everything old is new again, and the Q family of publications is here for it.
Pick up each new edition of Q ATLus at LGBTQ and allied venues around Atlanta.