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Atlanta Pride 2010

It was my first Atlanta Gay Pride Parade. We arrived early, getting a great spot at the corner of 10th Street and Peachtree Street, right where the parade turns as it makes its final block before entering Piedmont park. Our younger daughter and her boyfriend went with us and we met my niece and some friends of her’s there.

The atmosphere was festive, happy, excited, but relaxed. That is, all except for the small group assembling across the street. They set up two large microphones on stands and signs that spoke of homosexuality as a sin and quoted that one lone Bible verse about a man laying down with a man. They began playing the same song over and over with a prerecorded message similar to an altar call.

As the crowd grew, one of the men began to speak. At first his talk was degrading but somewhat gentle, admitting to “the evil spirit of homosexuality being upon him for years,” and inviting the crowd to do as he had done and “lay down the evil spirit.” Before long though, his words became angry and taunting, attacking specific people as they walked by.

Throughout the parade, the group continued their loud abuse, passing the mic from on to the other. One woman even ranted in Spanish. Occasionally someone would unplug their power source or go up and hug one of them. That no one punched one of them I consider a miracle. Their provocation, taunting, vile degrading and abusive yelling and screaming of and to all those around them was unspeakable. How one could believe they have the right to treat another in that manner is baffling and sad to me. They even attacked with their hatred parents carrying babies and holding the hands of their small children.

Word traveled quickly and many of those in the parade made lots of noise to drown the abusers out. Bands faced them to play. Horns blew. The crowd cheered and clapped as at a winning championship football game.

Towards the very end of the parade, the angels came. Few eyes were dry as they silently formed a line in front to the yelling preachers. They faced the street, their backs to the offenders and stood as beacons of peace, of love of strength. When the last of the parade passed, they moved with the crowd down 10th street, the crowd becoming the parade as we all made our way to the park, leaving the preachers of hatred behind.

I understand their were a few such small groups of “protestors,” as the TV reporters called them. Some groups had matching tee-shirts, others only a lone zealot with a Bible.

I would guess gay people from all over the Southeast were there, if not all over the the country. “Advocate” magazine recently named Atlanta the country’s “Gayest City.” When Lee and I go to the midtown area, we feel our shoulder relax a bit as there we aren’t the only same sex couple around anymore.

There was the extreme, those bursting through the boundaries of public acceptance along with the elderly couples, young couples, college crowds and families. Rainbows were everywhere with smiles the most popular accessory. It was a beautiful day.

Here are a few videos I found of the parade. I’ll post my pictures later this week.

Another spot with street preachers and then the angels

the end of the parade, where the crowd became the parade

upper view

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October 12, 2010 - Posted by | The Gay Me | ,

3 Comments »

  1. I’m glad you guys got to come out and celebrate with us for this first time. This was my 10th Atlanta Pride and this year was one of the best. I think the weather and the huge crowds really helped.

    I hate that you guys had to witness the protesters so close to your family. One year I was watching the parade with my parents (they live in Midtown too and we have watched it together several times) and one of the megaphone guys was near. My father seemed more bothered than I was and I thought that was a sweet gesture, even if he didn’t mean it like that.

    Anyway, the video in the middle is mine. Thanks for posting it and I’m glad it helped you tell your story.

    Best wishes and I look forward to seeing you next year!

    xoxo,
    David K.

    Comment by DavidAtlanta | October 15, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks David! I can’t imagine what it was like 40 years ago!

      Comment by New Allie | October 15, 2010 | Reply

    • My computer was slow to pull up the rest of your comment. Thanks for your video and yes, it helped. I hope to have all my pics up soon. That’s so wonderful that your parents watch with you. I take it those megaphone folks are always there? Thanks again! Happy Pride, Allie

      Comment by New Allie | October 15, 2010 | Reply


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