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UGA, Athens goes beyond Pride Month to celebrate LGBT community - The Red and Black : Athens

UGA, Athens goes beyond Pride Month to celebrate LGBT community

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    A transgender rights activist gave a speech about community acceptance during an address on Tuesday evening.

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Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:56 pm, Tue Nov 18, 2014.

As the summertime sets in, the Obama administration released a statement to recognize June 2014 as LGBT Pride Month, but it looks as though Athens Pride and the LGBT Resource Center at the University of Georgia didn’t get the memo.

“It’s interesting — here in Georgia in general, even though LGBT Pride Month is June, it’s almost always celebrated in October in these parts,” said Josh Fletcher, senior coordinator for the LGBT Resource Center.

The Obama administration released an official proclamation, stating the month’s intent to “celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness,” according to the release.

But the LGBT Resource Center does not see June as a time to hold large-scale events.

“There are no specific things happening in the Resource Center or anything we advise, but that’s not to say places around town aren't doing things,” Fletcher said.

The Classic City still has its fair share of LGBT events, including several Athens Showgirl Cabaret drag shows at Little Kings Shuffle Club and Go Bar.

Shows cost between $3 and $5, and attendants must be 18 years or older.

Six Flags over Georgia will also host Rainbow Days at the end of the month.

Yancey Gulley, advisor to the board of Athens Pride. said the organization held an event Tuesday, though it did not directly relate to LGBT Pride Month.

“Athens Pride does not do anything for that purpose,” he said. “We're holding a fundraiser, but it's not surrounding LGBT Pride Month," she said.

While LGBT organizations and supporters look to celebrate these victories, Fletcher said Athens holds its larger LGBT events, including Athens Pride, at a time that “better suits students.” Typically, larger events mirror the student and community population at UGA and in Athens.

“Athens, being a college town that’s so dormant in the summer, not only are college students leaving, but professors and their families as well,” Gulley said.

Athens is not alone with celebrating Pride events outside of June.

Atlanta Pride, once a celebration traditionally held in Piedmont Park in the summertime, moved to the fall due to landscaping and weather issues several years back.

“They would have it at Piedmont Park and there was a new restriction about grass and how they don’t want large festivals to take place in the summer when the grass won’t grow back,” Fletcher said. “I also think heat is another issue, and October is a better time to do that.”

Going beyond these borders is not only characteristic of Georgia cities.

“It's true all over the place,” Gulley said. “You see all these huge cities having Prides at different points throughout the year.”

Cities with a higher number of LGBT community members hold Pride rallies during different months of the year, Gulley said.

“It’s mostly about not wanting to make competition if everyone has [Pride events] on the same month,” he said. “If that were true, people would have to decide where they wanted to go and where they want to be.”

Gulley also pointed out the economic benefits for spreading out these events.

“For the businesses who sponsor those, it would be a bit difficult to be at each of those if they’re all crammed into one month,” he said.

Several large-scale LGBT events typically do not occur during Pride month, but Gulley recognized the administration’s efforts to promote equality.

“It’s always interesting to me, having worked with LGBT causes for a long time, and it’s important for the community for a presidential administration to dedicate a month to do that, but we do a lot of things outside of that time frame.”

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