Lorrie King jokingly describes herself as “a drag queen trapped in a bio woman’s body,” and more seriously as an LGBT rights advocate. So when her husband, Adam White, was elected to the City Council in Clarkston, the couple saw the opportunity to help unite gay residents of the area.

“We wanted there to be a recognized presence of the LGBT community,” King says.

The result is the first-ever East Side Pride, a picnic and potluck set for June 26 that focuses on Clarkston, Avondale Estates, Tucker, Stone Mountain and other areas east of Atlanta.

King says she reached out to her friend, Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham, who offered to send out information about the picnic to members in those cities.

“The response we got was amazingly postive,” King says. “Come to find out there is an awesome, thriving LGBT community on the east side that wants to be active socially, and it just took somebody to say, ‘Hey, let’s do it.’”

Last year, Clarkston added sexual orientation and gender identity to its non-discrimination policy. King says the “old guard” in Clarkston still might not be excited about the Pride event, but it is drawing some support from city leaders.

According to King, while the city declined to officially sponsor the picnic and list it on the city calendar, Mayor Howard Tygrett has said he will attend, as will another City Council member in addition to White.

The picnic is mostly informal, with attendees asked to bring items to grill and a side dish to share. There will also be a DJ, door prizes, and remarks from Georgia Equality’s Graham and State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale), who was Georgia’s first openly gay state lawmaker.

“This is our first event out of the chute, so we will use it as a yardstick for how we will do it again next year,” King says. “We want it to be a regular thing.”

East Side Pride
Saturday, June 26, 1-5 p.m.
Milam Park, Pavilion One
3867 Norman Road, Clarkston, GA 30021
awhite@cityofclarkston.com

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