October 9, 2015 Atlanta: Motorists and pedestrians had a brand new perspective of 10th and Piedmont Avenue on Friday morning, Oct. 9, 2015 as the project to paint rainbow crosswalks in Midtown for the launch of Atlanta Pride that began late Thursday was completed. The colors won’t last forever. The city, citing safety concerns and state regulations, said the design cannot be permanent. It’s a decision that Robert Sepulveda, president of the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks, and other organizers want reversed. Sepulveda, whose organization uses public art to promote diversity, contends Mayor Kasim Reed’s office reneged on an initial pledge to allow the design for Atlanta Pride weekend to be permanent. “They told us it would be a permanent installation to the city of Atlanta’s art collection,” Sepulveda told Channel 2 Action News. “Midtown is the epicenter for the LGBT community so it just makes sense.” JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: John Spink
Photo: John Spink

Atlanta gay pride event stokes controversy

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday asked the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau about the impact from this weekend’s gay pride festival, which organizers say is expected to draw tens of thousands to the city.

Both groups declined to comment.

Those business groups’ refusal to publicly discuss the Atlanta Pride events disappointed Emma Foulkes, head of the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

“It says to me we still have a lot of work to do,” she said.

Forty-five years after the first gay pride parade in Atlanta, the event has grown from what was a radical protest march to something more mainstream, with appearances by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and corporate sponsorships from Coca-Cola and Delta.

But it still generates controversy, with some people uncomfortable with such public revelry.

“I don’t believe in celebrating the lifestyle,” said Tanya Ditty, head of Concerned Women of America in Georgia. “By having a parade, you’re giving a nod to that lifestyle.”

Read about the controversy in the Saturday AJC print edition and on MyAJC.com.

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