February 1, 2024

Why is Atlanta So Gay?

A swath of Atlanta is like a gay-and-lesbian version of Greenwich Village in New York City, with a vibrant community that includes bars, bookstores and social organizations. In fact, the city and its suburbs have one of the country’s largest gay populations and are arguably its most politically involved.

This month, tens of thousands of people will flock to the streets of Midtown for Atlanta Pride, one of the largest gay parades in Southeast America. But for many of the 5,000 or so marchers, it will be the first time they’ve joined the celebration. Some will have come from as far away as Florida and South Carolina. Others will have traveled from all over the world.

** June - Owners of several gay-operated bars concerned about legal problems with a neighborhood association form a gay chamber of commerce that later becomes the Atlanta Business Guild (renamed the Atlanta Business and Professional Guild in 1978). ** September - Christopher's Kind bookshop owner Gene Loring sues Southern Bell for refusing to run his ad in the local Yellow Pages using the words lesbian and gay.

** October - A group of Black LGBTQ activists forms AID Atlanta as an educational, advocacy and social service agency for those affected by a new disease eventually named AIDS. ** November - The Atlanta city council passes three anti-discrimination ordinances based on organizing work by groups such as First Tuesday and ALFA.

Black LGBTQ people choose to make their homes in Atlanta for many of the same reasons tens of thousands of African-Americans have moved to Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas: moderate costs of living, familiar culture and some of the nation’s best HIV-fighting resources geared toward African-Americans. One such resource is a clinic where patients like Delaney McTear and Blue Ramos can talk about their experiences with HIV and feel accepted by people of similar backgrounds.


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