June marks the celebration of National Pride Month. Yet, Atlanta Pride’s largest celebration is not until much later. It’s a four-month gap that begs the question: Why is the Atlanta Pride Parade held in October instead of June? It all started with a drought.
As reported by the Library of Congress, National Pride Month is celebrate in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. New York City police raided the local Stonewall Inn, a gay club in the city’s Greenwich Village, on June 28, 1969. A riot shortly followed the raid, leading to six days of protests. The Stonewall Uprising served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement that was surging across the country. What was once “Gay Pride Day” had quickly grown into an entire month of celebrations for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Atlanta Pride began in June as a commemoration of the Stonewall Uprisings,” according to the Atlanta Pride Committee’s website. “Several years ago, Atlanta Pride moved from its traditional date due to park and drought regulations in Atlanta. We have since established our home as the country’s largest National Coming Out Day observance, and we also produce a full month of Stonewall Month events in June.”
In 2008, Atlanta suffered an extreme drought, with the severe weather culminating in a tornado that tore through the city. Until then, Atlanta Pride was held in Piedmont Park during National Pride Month. City officials, however, canceled all large festivals at the park in fear that the park’s lawns would not recover from prolonged foot traffic, The Georgia Voice reported. The Atlanta Pride celebration was consequently moved to October.
The Atlanta Pride Committee opted to make the new October date permanent, coinciding with National Coming Out Day.
“In a time of increased political turmoil, violent attacks on the Transgender community, specifically our trans brothers and sisters of color, efforts to silence Transgender and gender-expansive youth, and unprecedented threats and legislation aimed at Drag performers and queer safe spaces, we call on Georgia’s LGBTQIA+ community to ‘Show Up and Show Out” like never before,’” The Atlanta Pride Committee’s website said.
The annual trans march, bi & pan march and dyke marches will be held Saturday, Oct. 14. The Atlanta Pride Parade will be held Sunday, Oct. 15. To get involved with this year’s Atlanta Pride celebrations, visit atlantapride.org.
If you’re looking for Pride events in Atlanta this month, there’s plenty even without the festival and parade. Check out Atlanta Pride’s event calendar for a full lineup, from an Atlanta United Pride Tailgate to Pride Day at Six Flags over Georgia.