HomeCultureHow Southern Cities are Celebrating Pride Month

How Southern Cities are Celebrating Pride Month

June marks the beginning of Pride Month, a celebration of the LGBTQ+ movement and the accomplishments of the community, as well as their ongoing struggle for civil rights and equality. The origins of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights trace back to the 1920s, with the founding of the Society of Human Rights. But the driving force of the LGBTQ+ rights movement came from the events at the Stonewall Inn in 1969, a time when homosexuality was still considered criminal.

A popular gay bar in New York City, Stonewall Inn served as a spot for LGBTQ+ youth to gather. On June 28 in 1969, police raided the establishment early in the morning. While such a raid wasn’t uncommon, what happened after set the stage for LGBTQ+ activism in the U.S. While the police attempted to arrest patrons of Stonewall Inn, thousands of protestors gathered outside, sparking a resistance that lasted through the week.

A year after the Stonewall uprising, also known as the Stonewall riots, a march honoring the events was held in New York City, with the leading slogan of “gay pride.” Throughout the rest of the country, similar demonstrations occurred around the same time, and the commemoration of Stonewall led to the establishment of the last Sunday of June as a day for celebrating Gay Pride. As time passed, these marches, often more solemn affairs, grew into jubilant celebrations of pride in one’s identity that lasted the entire month. In the U.S., President Clinton officially recognized the month-long celebration in 1999 as “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.” He was followed by President Obama, who declared June as “LGBT Pride Month,” and later President Biden as “LGBTQ+ Pride Month.”

With the country as proud as ever this June, here’s how some cities in the South plan to celebrate:

New Orleans, Louisiana – June 11

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Down in Louisiana, New Orleans’ Pride Weekend is set for June 9-12. Recently featured by Lonely Planet as one of the best U.S. cities to celebrate Pride in, New Orleans is a prime destination for those looking to celebrate, welcoming all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The highlight of New Orleans’ Pride events is the NOLA Pride Parade, which will occur on June 11 from 6-10 p.m. The parade stretches from Decatur up to St. Ann Street, finishing on Bourbon Street. The four-hour-long celebration of Pride is expected to feature floats, dance troupes, walking groups and of course, plenty of rainbow flags.

While the parade is set to end at 10 p.m., there are plenty of after-parties scheduled for those looking to celebrate Pride with some nightlife. Grrl Spot and Girl: Crush is hosting a queer woman-friendly party after the parade at One Eyed Jacks, with the event beginning at 8 p.m., and other venues such as Betty’s Bar & Bistro plan to host dance parties celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.

Atlanta, Georgia – June 12 & June 23-26

Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta

A hotspot for Pride celebrations, Atlanta has plenty to offer for those looking to join in the festivities. One of Atlanta’s notable locations, the Georgia Aquarium, is hosting its first Atlanta Black Pride Weekend in preparation for the countdown to their annual pride celebration beginning in August. Featuring a night of fun and music among the aquatic life, the Georgia Aquarium invites those 21 and up to celebrate Pride Month.  

The event is set to begin at 6 p.m. and last until 11:30 p.m. on June 12. After arriving at the Oceans Ballroom, guests will have the opportunity to explore the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere at their leisure. The Georgia Aquarium will offer a party in its exclusive ballroom afterward, with disc jockeys DJ Jash Jay, DJ Mary Mac and Atlanta’s own Coco Iman Starr performing at the event.

Among other events, Atlanta will also feature the Southern Fried Queer Pride 2022 Festival, a four-day celebration of Pride with food, music, pageants and many more events. Hosted by Southern Fried Queer Pride, an Atlanta-based organization that supports Black and QTPOC communities in the South, the festival will take place at the Eyedrum Gallery in Atlanta from June 23 through June 26.  As the festival is community funded, all events are free, though donations can be made toward the festival in support of funding the CLUTCH community center, a Black, queer-owned community space.

Jacksonville, Florida – June 11, 12 &15

Jacksonville, Florida

Support for the LGBTQ+ is strong in Jacksonville as it has been for years, as Visit Jacksonville’s Chief Marketing Officer Katie Mitura puts it. The city is full of historic spots such as Willowbranch Park and the Five Points area in Riverside neighborhood, where residents founded local organizations supporting LGBTQ+ rights.

“Today, you’ll find allies all around the city at places like Hamburger Mary’s and Incahoots, and during our annual River City Pride celebration in October,” Mitura says.

Jacksonville celebrates Pride twice, in both June and October, and this year’s June 2022 events offer plenty of opportunities to celebrate despite the heat. On June 11, Jacksonville’s Hamburger Mary’s will host RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Miz Cracker for Hamburger Mary’s 11th Anniversary Celebration, with tickets on sale beginning at $15. Local Pride events continue on June 12 with the Comics & Queens Brunch at UNF, a celebration of Pride Month featuring a Drag Queen Brunch, performing drag queens and LGBTQ+ comedians. The event is set to begin at 11 a.m. for VIP ticketholders and noon for all other guests. Tickets run from $50–$100, with all proceeds going toward the LGBTQ Center for funding educational programs, supporting students and scholarships and raising awareness about LGBTQ+ issues.

Jacksonville’s Pride celebrations also include Pints for Pride with Legacy Ale Works, hosted on June 15 from 5-9 p.m. In line with Legacy Ale Works’ mission to “Make Beer Do Good,” a special Pride beer titled Rainbow flight, a four-way treated sour flight, will be released. Proceeds of the flight, along with 10 percent of taproom sales, will be donated toward CampOUT’s LGBTQ+ summer camp program. With drag bingo hosted by Momma Ashley Rose of the Rose Dynasty Foundation at 7 p.m., this event is one to mark on the calendar.

Memphis, Tennessee – June 16-19

In Memphis, the second annual Tri-State Black Pride is scheduled to take place from June 16-19. Put on by the Cathedral Foundation, the weekend-long music festival will feature performances from music artists from around the nation, as well as a drag brunch and offered educational sessions. Historically known as “Sunday Funday,” the event serves to both celebrate Memphis Pride and support the community through fundraising.

The opening ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, at the National Civil Rights Museum, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Shanell McGoy and a live performance from Memphis R&B sensation Gerald Richardson. Focusing on celebrating the culture and diversity of the Mid-South Black LGBT community, the theme of the event is “People, Purpose and Power.” At the Doubletree by Hilton East, educational workshops will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon on June 17, featuring topics such as HIV/AIDS awareness, mental health awareness, LGBTQ rights and many other subjects. Tickets and registration to the event are free on Eventbrite only.

At noon on June 18, the sixth-annual “Draggin’ You to Brunch” event will be hosted at the Doubletree by Hilton East as well. Participants are invited to eat and drink while being entertained, celebrating Pride with glitz and glamour. Tickets run from $30 to $400. The weekend festivities culminate with the music festival, which is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. on June 19 at the historic Overton Park Shell, with vendors, food trucks and cocktails available for participants. Tickets run from $10 to $75.

Louisville, Kentucky – June 18

Louisville boasts one of the largest LGBTQ+ events in the state with the Kentuckiana Pride Parade & Festival. Hosted by the Kentuckiana Pride Foundation, their mission promotes “social, economic, and health equity of Kentuckiana’s sexual and gender minorities.” They advocate pride, celebrate achievements and educate leaders. Since the first festival in 2001, the event is two decades old and going strong, and this year is no exception. The festival will be held at Big Four Lawn in Louisville, and events are set to last from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 18.

Estimated to host over 20,000 people, the Kentuckiana Pride Parade & Festival offers not only a parade but vendors, entertainment and more, with various stages and activities for kids and families.

The festival will kick off with the Kentuckiana Pride Parade, a community-wide celebration of diversity taking place on Saturday, June 18 at noon. Beginning at the intersection of Campbell and Market Street, the parade will finish off at the festival location at Big Four Lawn. Following the parade, food vendors and entertainment will be offered throughout the day. Music acts include performances from Tove Lo and the Kentucky Gentleman, among others set to perform at the festival stages. General admission tickets are on sale for $5.

Charleston, South Carolina – June 25

While Charleston’s Pride Week is scheduled for fall 2022 when temperatures get a little cooler, there’s still the annual Charleston Pride Parade to look forward to this June. The parade is set to take place on Saturday, June 25, from 9-11 a.m. As the city celebrates Pride with the annual march through the streets, expect to see themed floats and walkers, along with other festivities.

The parade path runs from Ann Street down King Street, passing by Marion Square and ending at Charleston’s famous Market Street, bringing the celebration all throughout historic downtown Charleston. The parade is put on by Charleston Pride, a local organization dedicated to promoting the diverse community throughout the year by hosting events such as the Charleston Pride Parade. Its mission is to “promote the visibility of the LGBTQ community by educating society, honoring our heritage, advocating for our culture, and celebrating our diverse society.”

Organizations or others that wish to participate are encouraged to decorate floats and vehicles or simply walk along. Registration runs from $50 to $150, depending on the entry.

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