Athens' First Pride Parade Comes in the Wake of Uncertainty
With changing legislation regarding Roe V Wade and trans rights, Athens' first Pride parade comes in the wake of uncertainty.
President of Athens Pride and Queer collective Cameron Jay Harrelson says that the event is important for visibility and that it demonstrates the community's resolve against potential decisions that might threaten the right to privacy.
“We have always spoken up,” Harrelson said. "When our state legislature moved to curb the right to vote for African Americans, we stood up for that. Now we're seeing the attack on a woman's right to choose. We're standing up for women as well, but we might be next, so we have to stand vigilant and ready.”
Some in the LGBTQ community have expressed concerns about whether jurists might later overturn court decisions affirming the right to same sex marriage.
But it’s not all about partying. To provide mental health support, the group is hosting a resource festival staffed by nonprofits with which the collective partners.
"Those range from trans support groups for our transgender siblings, religious recovery support groups, religious reconciliation support groups, and then most importantly, with everything going on right now we're really focused on our local youth and connecting them to our youth support group and youth activities that we have planned throughout the year,” Harrelson said. “In addition to that, we plan to have members of our recovery community there as well. This will be our sober event of the year. We're looking to move from having that typical pride outlook of being focused on partying and drinking all the time to really shifting that focus to standing in solidarity with the members of our community who are living in recovery.”
The parade begins on Sunday, June 12th at 1:30 PM in downtown Athens. It meets near creature comforts and will end at Thomas Lake Park.