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History of Atlanta Pride

1970

  • On the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in NYC, activists hand out literature in Piedmont Park. No march was held.

1971

  • The GGLF (Georgia Gay Liberation Front) organized a march from Peachtree Street to Piedmont Park. This was the first Gay Pride March.

1972

  • The GGLF opened its offices on Pine Street.
  • First MCC was formed.
  • The Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance (ALFA) was formed.
  • A March and then rally at Piedmont Park was held.
  • Charlie St John, chair of Pride, was appointed to the Community Relations Commission as a gay man by Mayor Sam Massell.

1973

  • Charlie St. John was fired by the AJC for his gay activities.
  • Mayor Massell announced that the City of Atlanta would not discriminate against gay people in city services.
  • More people came out for the parade but this was the year of the paper bags over heads; it was protection from recognition and to send the message… “DO YOU KNOW WHO IS UNDER HERE?”

1974

  • The Atlanta Barb debuted, “The Groovy newspaper serving Atlanta and the Southeast.”— Atlanta now has its first Gay Paper.
  • Charis Books opened.
  • There was no parade.

1975

  • Rep John Lewis sponsored a Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Bill.
  • Over 600 people attended the Park Rally.
  • There was no parade.

1976

  • Mayor Maynard Jackson declares June 26th GAY PRIDE DAY.
  • The Gay Center was formed.
  • The Parade returned, progressing from the Civic Center to Piedmont Park.
  • Over 1000 attended.

1977

  • Anita Bryant ran the “Save Our Children” campaign in Dade County Florida.
  • First Tuesday was founded, a gay democratic organization.
  • Atlanta Venture Sports founded.
  • Congregations in Atlanta raised $4,000 to fight Anita Bryant in Miami.
  • 1500 people marched with an estimated 3000 attending the rally.

1978

  • Pride was moved to June 11 the same day Anita Bryant was to address the Southern Baptist Convention at the Georgia World Congress Center.
  • San Francisco Mayor George Mascone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were murdered.

1979

  • “Lavender Anniversary Celebration” was the 10th anniversary theme for Stonewall.
  • The First March on Washington 4 buses of Atlantan’s attended.
  • The Parade moved to Sunday.

1980

  • The Pride committee changed its name to Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Pride.
  • The theme that year was “Let’s Get Together.”

1981

  • Street fair, art show, dance on 7th Street between Piedmont and Juniper and 4000 people attended.
  • The New York Times reports a strange new cancer taking the lives of gay men. It is called ‘GRID’—Gay Related Immune Deficiency—by the media.

1982

  • “Stonewall Then/Atlanta Now” was the theme, the city issued an official proclamation but Mayor Andrew Young did not sign it.
  • The CDC names the new disease ‘AIDS’ after it is determined that it does not only affect the homosexual population.

1983

  • The first Dyke March is held.
  • The Atlanta Campaign for Human Rights (now Georgia Equality Project) was formed.
  • 2500 people marched.
  • The first candlelight Vigil for AIDS is held; there were 3,064 known cases in the United States by the end of the year.

1984

  • Mayor Young finally recognizes us with a proclamation of “Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Day”

1985

  • MACGLO (Metropolitan Atlanta Council of Lesbian and Gay Organizations) is founded.
  • Congregation Bet Haverim opens.
  • SAME (Southeastern Arts and Media Education) is chartered.
  • ETC Magazine is published for the first time.
  • President Ronald Reagan mentions AIDS for the first time in a press conference. Rock Hudson dies, and is the first major public figure to die from the disease.  By the end of the year, there are 15,948 known cases of AIDS in the United States.

1986

  • The theme that year was “Forward Together”
  • The John Howell Park Project was begun.
  • HRCF (now HRC) sponsored the Picnic in the Park.
  • Coca Cola promised two trailers and then reneged when they found out it was a gay event.

1987

  • AIDS deaths in the United States go over 20,000 and pride organizer’s ranks are decimated.

1988

  • “I am what I am,” was the theme song as 1000 marchers took to the street and revitalized the Atlanta Pride celebration.
  • Southern Voice was founded.

1989

  • “Stonewall – Reasons to Remember,” the 20th anniversary of Pride.
  • Mayor Maynard Jackson appeared at the celebration.

1990

  • The billboard Project: “GAY AMERICA LOVES YOU”
  • The Front Runners host the first run Pride weekend.
  • 5,000 people attend the festival.
  • The Starlight Cabaret was born.

1991

  • Lea DeLaria was emcee.
  • “Be Aware, Be There, Be Counted” was the theme.
  • Attendance jumped to over 20,000.
  • The First Commitment Ceremony was held.
  • The Candlelight Vigil was moved to John Howell Park (in Virginia-Highlands).

1992

  • Attendance grows once again.
  • Emory University opens the office of Gay and Lesbian Student Life.

1993

  • The Dyke march becomes an official event.
  • Fulton County Issues a proclamation as well as the City of Atlanta.
  • The event ends in a huge debt for the Pride Committee.

1994

  • Attendance grows as the festival held the third weekend in June to not conflict with the Gay Games.
  • The Gay Games and Stonewall 25 are held in New York.

1995

  • Pride hires Hubert Alexander as its first part time Executive Administrator.

1996

  • The Olympics come to Atlanta.
  • The Cobb County anti-gay resolution sparks action and boycott of Cobb by the Olympic Committee.
  • The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Visitors Center is opened.
  • An estimate of over 100,000 people attend the full weekend of activities.
  • The Indigo Girls perform, and Mrs. Coretta Scott King is a guest speaker.

1997

  • “Generations of PRIDE” embraced our multi-cultural heritage.
  • Cathy Woolard became the first openly gay person elected to city office in Atlanta.

1998

  • PRIDE continues to attract large crowds of over 100,000.
  • The Hotlanta Softball League hosts the Lesbian and Gay World Series.

1999

  • Rain soaks the city for the entire weekend yet attendance was still on the rise.
  • The Rainbow Banner Project adds 300 large banners to the City streets.
  • A part-time Event Director is hired

2000

  • The B-52’s perform for the largest crowd Atlanta Pride has ever seen, as a rainbow arches above the crowd.
  • Raven notes: “See God Loves US!”

2001

  • Atlanta elects Cathy Woolard, City Council President.

2002

  • The theme is “Power of Pride”
  • Mayor Shirley Franklin speaks twice at the Atlanta Pride Festival.
  • Part-time Event Director becomes full-time.
  • A second event, “Out With Pride” (clean up day in Piedmont Park) is added.

2003

  • Theme is “Freedom to Be”
  • Mayor Shirley Franklin speaks at the VIP Party, marches in the parade and speaks from the stage on Sunday.
  • Pride Vigil held for the first time (collaboration between AIDS Survival Project and The Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative).
  • Congresswomen, Denise Majette and other political dignitaries attended the VIP party.

2004

  • Theme is “Equality = Justice”
  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra agrees to perform on Friday night.
  • It rains almost the entire weekend.
  • Event was stopped twice and finally ended on Sunday at 6:30 pm due to weather.
  • Cabaret does not perform.

2005

  • Theme is “Unite and Act”
  • Indigo Girls perfom Friday night to record breaking crowds
  • Fantastic weather gives way to an estimated attendance over 150,000

2006

  • Theme is “Pride 365: Live, Love, Be”
  • Storms and extreme wind gusts cause enormous damage on the festival grounds, including dismantling part of the marketplace and destroying the main stage.
  • Weather and weather related damage force the festival to shutdown Friday night, Saturday night and most of Sunday.
  • Saturday during the day and early evening and Sunday’s parade has good attendance despite the circumstances.

2007

  • Theme is “Our Rights, Your Rights, Human Rights”
  • Congressman Lewis speaks from the Coca-Cola Stage.
  • The Human Rights Exhibit becomes part of the festival.
  • Friday night features movies in the meadow
  • Attendance estimated at around 200,000

2008

  • Theme is “Your Vote, Your Rights, Your Future”
  • Due to a statewide drought, City Officials remove all large events from Piedmont Park, including Atlanta Pride.
  • Pride is forced to find a new venue and date.
  • The Festival takes place on the Atlanta Civic Center property on the 4th of July weekend.
  • Venue & Date change and torrential rains severely impact attendance.
  • The Community Health Expo becomes part of the festival.
  • The Stock and Housing Market crash lead to serious losses in corporate sponsor dollars and individual donations.
  • Atlanta Pride ends the year with all bills paid, but in serious financial distress for 2009.

2009

  • Theme is “Pride Begins With You”
  • Atlanta Pride is allowed back into Piedmont Park, but on the condition that the festival takes place October 31-November 1.
  • Friday night festivities are held at the Georgia Aquarium instead of in the Park. The event is a tremendous success.
  • The Trans March March becomes part of the festival.
  • Rainy, chilly weather impacts Saturday’s attendance, but Sunday’s numbers are very strong.
  • Pride starts to regain momentum with sponsor dollars and cuts spending to get back on track financially.

2010

  • Atlanta Pride Celebrates its 40th anniversary
  • Festival remains in October, but moves to second weekend to coincide with National Coming Out Day
  • Perfect weather brings festival back to pre-2008 attendance numbers
  • Parade features 3 groups of 40 individuals as Grand Marshals: Community Builder 40, Education 40, Legislative 40
  • 2010 ends as the most financially successful year in Atlanta Pride history