Man dies during unofficial Atlanta Pride afterparty

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A man lost consciousness and later died early Sunday while attending an unofficial Pride afterparty hosted by GA Boy Productions.

The man was pronounced dead about 7:40 a.m. after being transported to Piedmont Hospital – some 40 minutes after Atlanta police joined Atlanta Fire Rescue personnel and paramedics trying to help him, according to authorities. 

They were responding to a person injured call at the Xion event held in the basement of BJ Roosters on Cheshire Bridge Road. 

The man’s partner, who remains unidentified, told police that the man ingested ecstasy at the nightclub during the event, which started at 3 a.m., according to the Atlanta Police Department. Police said that there were no signs of trauma or foul play.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner is investigating the incident and is expected to determine a cause of death. A spokesperson on Monday declined to release details. 

The Xion event on Sunday morning was part of a full schedule of Pride Weekend events from GA Boy Productions. Social media postings over the weekend included images and videos of attendees without masks on packed dance floors, despite state-mandated capacity restrictions at bars and social distancing requirements

Current COVID-19 restrictions put in place by Gov. Brian Kemp mandate that bars operate at 35% of capacity, discourage loitering at service and highly trafficked areas, prohibit handshaking and other person-to-person contact, provide hand sanitizer, and thoroughly detail, clean and sanitize the entire facility prior to reopening each day.

Atlanta Pride criticizes unofficial, in-person events

The Pride Weekend lineup for GA Boy included afterhours Xion parties on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at BJ Roosters. It also included a Friday night event at District with DJ Nina Flowers, DJ Danny Verde at Underground Atlanta on Saturday and a Sunday tea dance.

Hours after the man’s death on Sunday morning, Medusa Productions – co-sponsors of GA Boy’s Sunday afternoon tea dance at the Piedmont Room – delayed their event for rain. It’s not clear if the Xion event at BJ Roosters scheduled for early Monday with DJ Joe Gauthreaux took place.

Project Q Atlanta reached out to GA Boy Owner Keith Young and BJ Roosters for comment and will update the post if they respond. 

Atlanta Pride – which shifted to an all-virtual festival this year – distanced itself from all in-person events at LGBTQ bars and venues throughout the weekend. 

“As a marginalized community, we have always had to fight for our survival, be it with mental health, trans health issues, access to quality care and more,” Jamie Fergerson, executive director of the Atlanta Pride Committee, said in a statement released on Saturday.

“In light of that, we are particularly sensitive to the need for taking all precautions to protect ourselves and each other. The most important thing is for all of us to survive this pandemic and to stay healthy. We have also asked the City of Atlanta and our media partners to amplify the message to have Pride at home, wear masks, and practice harm reduction related to COVID-19,” Fergerson added.

GA Boy Productions was harshly criticized on social media for hosting its annual Peach Party in late August. The weekend included events at Heretic, BJ Roosters and District. Marketing materials for the events said “social distancing and masks” were required, but photos surfaced showing a packed dance floor and outdoor patio with few masks visible. 

Project Q reached out to a spokesperson for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms about whether city officials were aware of the death on Sunday, if the city took action in the wake of the August event, or will take any in response to attendance at Pride events. This post will be updated if they respond.

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