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|A picture of Black Gay Pride|
|by Bo Shell|
|September 02, 2011 13:00|
When I sat down to make a digital list of events for Black Gay Pride that could be shared on social networks across the internet, I never thought it would become so symbolic of the need to have such an event.
My editor did a great job of explaining why there are two Prides last year, but with the grumbling about why Atlanta's gay community needs two Prides coming in like clockwork, I pose a very simple question: Why not?
Black Gay Pride began as a series of informal house parties and nightlife events over Labor Day weekend in Atlanta. There was no organizing body and no way to know these parties were happening unless you were in the community for which they were thrown.
In 1996, In the Life Atlanta became the community arm of the party weekend and has grown to host a myriad of workshops and arts events aimed specifically at exploring issues within the black gay community.
All this together and years of success have made what organizers call the world's largest black gay gathering of its kind… and I personally accept that as fact.
If there are local organizers willing to host it and attendees from around the world willing to pay for it, there's obviously a need for it. If Atlanta didn't need it or want it, it wouldn't be such a big deal year after year.
It's not meant to be divisive, just different.
Just look at Sundays in Piedmont Park. There's no organizing body or advertising that says there's a huge black gay gathering in Piedmont Park every Sunday afternoon. It just happens, and it's been happening for years. If you've never heard of it, it doesn't mean you're not welcome. It means that you're not in the circle of people who enjoy it. And just because you're not in the circle of people who enjoy doesn't mean it shouldn't exist. Your Sundays may remain untouched.
If you disagree with the existence of Black Gay Pride, think about the financial implications of the event before you dismiss it. Host hotels are sold out. People from around the world bring their celebration and their wallets to Atlanta's economy.
Think of it like this: You might not like baseball, football or basketball, but the city's economic and social vibrancy is greatly enhanced by the existence of our professional teams.
There are many reasons why Black Gay Pride is necessary to our community, but instead of arguing about how all these events should some how be included in the Atlanta Pride Committee's October Pride, why not recognize that this event has already come into its own as a separate, successful entity? It doesn't take anything away from what happens in October, and people of all races are welcome to celebrate both.
Take a look at the list. The sheer volume of events should tell you that whether you're a part of it or not, there's something huge going on that goes beyond what happens in October… and no matter what, you're invited.
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