The Athens Pride and Queer Collective (formerly two separate groups, Athens Pride and the Athens Queer Collective) is hosting the first ever Pride Parade in downtown Athens on June 12 at 2 pm.
Unlike Pride marches in years past, this event has the full, formal approval of the local government. This means streets will be closed for the march, which will feature floats and all the fun and festivities you expect from a proper parade. The parade will start near Creature Comforts Brewery on Hancock Avenue and end at Lay Park, where attendees will celebrate with a party featuring live music, activities for all ages and BBQ (including vegan options).
The Athens Pride and Queer Collective’s full press release
Athens, Georgia to Hold June Pride Parade
Historic Event will Celebrate Pride Month and LGBTQ+ Communities
Athens, GA – May 6, 2022 – Athens, Georgia will host its first-ever Pride Parade, marking a historic milestone for LGBTQ+ communities in the north-east Georgia area. Set to take place on June 12, 2022 in Downtown Athens, Georgia, the parade will also celebrate the merge of two local queer organizations which have now merged- Athens Pride and Athens Queer Collective, now Athens Pride & Queer Collective (APQC). The parade will also serve as a march, bringing awareness and visibility to the issues affecting LGBTQ+ people.
June has historically been referred to as “Pride Month”, a commemoration of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in which queer people, particularly trans women of color, fought back against discrimination and persecution. The city of Athens, while making much progress to improve the lives of its queer population, has never hosted such an event before.
“Athens has made great progress over the last few years in regards to advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Meaningful policy change is important and coupling those policy changes with public visibility for our diverse queer communities also plays a vital role in remembering and honoring the history of our people,” Athens Pride and Queer Collective President ‘Cameron Jay’ Harrelson said in making the announcement. “We’re grateful to the city of Athens-Clarke County for opening downtown to this very important moment in our city’s history,” he added.
The APQC–formerly Athens Pride–board has long hoped for an official pride parade through the streets of downtown Athens, but the plans became complicated by logistics and ultimately by the COVID-19 pandemic. Past-president Amber Barnhardt celebrated the fact that the parade is moving forward, bringing to life an event she had hoped for, too, after tragedy struck our community.
“The shooting at Pulse Nightclub in my hometown of Orlando shook me. I’m queer, have queer family members, and I have queer friends I grew up with still living in Orlando. It was this sequence of events that led to my joining the Athens Pride board,” Barnhardt said. “I certainly didn’t expect to be President during a pandemic, but there is such a great team this year and I am looking forward to this historic moment,” she added.
The event will take place on June 12th in Downtown Athens at 2:00PM. The route will travel on Hull Street, make a left on Clayton Street and proceed left on College Avenue, ending at Thomas Lay Park. It is there that all Parade attendees and the community will be invited to an event for people of all ages. The cookout, or “BBQueer”, will feature food, music, fellowship and non-profit organizations as vendors, in order to connect the LGBTQ+ community to resources and will last from the end of the parade until 6pm. This event will not permit the consumption or sale of alcohol, in an effort to provide more sober spaces for queer people to find community.
Athens Pride and Queer Collective is actively seeking allied sponsors and parade participants, including floats, walking groups and individuals. To learn more about these opportunities, please visit https://www.athenspride.org/parade