And here we are. Everyone’s finalizing plans and figuring out which events they’re going to hit up. The bars are putting up the last of their rainbow-colored decorations. Final decisions are being made on what to wear to the Kickoff Party at the Aquarium. Groups of friends are figuring out who’s bringing what to the tent in the meadow. Final touches are being put on the floats for the parade.

It’s Atlanta Pride time.

I have somewhat of a difference experience during Pride weekend than most as I’ll be working all weekend. I’m not complaining — it’s one hell of an interesting work environment, I’ll tell you that.

But as the event approaches every year, and the more years that I do it, I sometimes find myself getting mechanical about it. Set up in the park Friday, stuff the bags with the Pride issue, cover the party that night, work the booth Saturday and Sunday, cover the marches and parade, finish giving out the issues, pack everything up and leave at the end of the day Sunday.

I have to be mindful of not taking for granted how important this is, and I usually snap out of it when I view Pride through the eyes of others. There’s the 14-year-old kid who’s not out at school yet, but he’s here and his mind is blown. The parent whose daughter just came out to them, and they’re experiencing this community for the first time in a massive way, and, after seeing the spectacle and love shown during the parade, leaves that day feeling less anxious about the path their kid is having to go down.

These kinds of feelings were reinforced this year as we prepared the Pride issue. We asked people to submit their memories of their first Atlanta Pride — and wow did y’all come through.

Responses poured in and they stretched all the way back to the first march in 1971 to as current as someone saying this year would be their first.

The passion with which people described those memories was palpable. You can tell they can go right back to that place in time with the snap of a finger and remember that face, that conversation, that moment that they’ll never forget.

That’s why I know there will be nothing mechanical about what I do at this year’s Pride.

This is a time when we all need each other — and as I find myself saying more and more these days — now more than ever.

That being said, I hope you enjoy this issue we made for you. We’ve got our hard-hitting news as always, but since this is an extra large issue — our biggest ever! — we’ve got a lot more in store for you.

A ton of photo galleries from events around town recently. All of our usual columnists plus our occasional ones and even a new one (it was all hands on deck!). A handful of guest editorials from various voices around the community, including our very first Spanish-language editorial.
And of course our Pride pullout section, with all the events to check out, interview with musicians performing in the park, maps to the festival and marches and parade, the Pride memories and more.

Come say hi to us at the booth in the park. Get your picture taken. Tell us your story.

Make this Pride the one that you’ll be telling people about for years to come.

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