President Barack Obama yesterday delivered his annual address at the White House LGBT Pride reception.
The president recounted progress made since he first took office in 2009, like the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” and the White House policy of refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court challenges because it believes it unconstitutional.
Yesterday's address also had a heavy emphasis on the president's HIV intiatives.
Gay Atlantans who were among the invited guests for the reception included Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan; Jen Christensen, president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association; and her partner, Holly Crenshaw, who is director of communications for Emory University libraries. U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) also attended.
Though the traditional Pride season occurs during June to coincide with the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the Atlanta Pride festival has been held in October for the past four years after drought concerns and city regulations displaced it from summer in Piedmont Park.
Atlanta Pride will be held Oct. 11-13, but Pride organizers have also made an effort to coordinate and publicize a schedule of events during the traditional Pride month — now dubbed Stonewall Month here.
“While many in our community bemoan our move to October for the Atlanta Pride Festival, we are excited to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn with a robust offering of educational programs, social gatherings, and community activities that run the gamut of the LGBTQ community in Atlanta,” said Atlanta Pride Executive Director Buck Cooke.
The Department of Defense chief Leon Panetta thanked the many gay and lesbian servicemembers who currently serve in the United States military to commemorate June as National Pride Month this week.
Panetta's statement reflects on the military's implementation of the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the law behind more than 13,000 discharges from service. DADT was officially overturned in the fall of 2011.
“After repeal, you can be proud to serve your country and be proud of who you are when in uniform,” Panetta said in a video released online.
The Atlanta Pride Committee has begun announcing the schedule for June's Stonewall events, geared to commemorating the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn, where patrons of the gay bar fought back against harassment from New York City police.
When the official Atlanta Pride Festival moved to October, organizers launched Stonewall events so that June's historic riots would not go unnoticed in Atlanta. The schedule for this year is still being filled out, but so far includes book discussions, an event about LGBT issues related to health insurance, and the 15th annual East Point Possums show — the outdoor charity drag show known for its diverse slate and over-the-top routines.
Additional events will be posted here as they are added.
Bubba D. Licious and the girls will put on a Stonewall-themed show June 25 to raise funds for the Atlanta Pride Committee. The event is the Official Stonewall Celebration Party.
Jungle Club owner Brad Williams said the show will be, “a little campy, just cutting,” as a fun way to remember the 1969 riots around the Stonewall Inn in New York that are largely seen as the start of the modern gay rights movement.
“We really want to remember what it really is,” Williams said. “Stonewall started in June, it started in a bar… a lot of people don’t know the history and so that’s kind of the point of Bubba’s show is let people know what happened.”
President Barack Obama spoke to attendees at the White House LGBT Pride Month reception last night.
Obama highlighted some of the administration's achievements for LGBT rights since taking office, including passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, expanding domestic partnership benefits to Federal employees and working toward ending "don't ask, don't tell."
If you tell the comedians who take the stage this evening that Atlanta’s official Pride festival isn’t until October, they’ll probably laugh at you.