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Does Atlanta Pride party hurt animals at Georgia Aquarium?

Georgia Aquarium during Atlanta Pride Kickoff Party

In an era of growing LGBT acceptance, perhaps the only thing controversial about Atlanta’s upcoming Pride festival is the now-annual Kickoff Bash at the Georgia Aquarium.

Animal rights activists, led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are protesting the event and out actress Jane Lynch even weighed in by sending a letter to the Atlanta Pride Committee’s Buck Cooke, urging Cooke to relocate the annual party over concerns for the animals’ well-being.

“Many of the marine mammals at the aquarium are extremely sensitive to sound, and large parties create an even more stressful environment than they already endure in captivity. … Since the kickoff party sets the tone for all of Pride, will you please consider moving it to one of the many alternative venues that Atlanta has to offer?” Lynch wrote.

Lynch’s letter followed a flurry of attention the party received last year over similar concerns over noise and how it affects the animals. PETA, at the time, called the event “a celebration of freedom in a building that celebrates captivity.”

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UPDATED: Jane Lynch calls out Atlanta Pride over annual Aquarium party

Jane Lynch

Actress Jane Lynch this week sent a letter to the Atlanta Pride Committee urging the APC to change the venue of its now-annual Pride Kickoff Party at the Georgia Aquarium over concerns for the animals' well-being.

"These parties are supposed to be loud and boisterous—it's a celebration!" writes Lynch in a letter to APC's acting Executive Director Buck Cooke.

"However, animals shouldn't have to suffer for the sake of a party,” Lynch continued. “Many of the marine mammals at the aquarium are extremely sensitive to sound, and large parties create an even more stressful environment than they already endure in captivity. … Since the kickoff party sets the tone for all of Pride, will you please consider moving it to one of the many alternative venues that Atlanta has to offer?"

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Augusta Pride returns with expanded events

Augusta Pride

Augusta Pride organizers expect the third annual celebration to set attendance records with an expanded schedule that features several new events in addition to the hallmark parade and festival.

Travis Jenkins, who serves as the Augusta Pride president, has been with the group since its inception and was nominated to lead the 2012 event after working his way up from being the Pride vendor coordinator. A grant from the Augusta Convention and Vistors Bureau has allowed Augusta Pride to do more advertising, including placing banners throughout the city, and beef up the number of days involved.

The long weekend of Pride kicks off Thursday, June 21, with the VIP party/President’s Soiree at the Landmark Marion Hatcher House. Friday, June 22, is the kickoff party, with a Pride cabaret featuring drag performers at Club Argos and Augusta’s lesbian band She N She performing at The Filling Station bar.