Augusta Pride festival brings community together

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Wayne Boddie drove an hour and a half to be in Augusta for this weekend’s Augusta Pride festival.

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Petty Officer 3rd Class John Jordan (center) waves flags with other members of OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, during the Augusta Pride parade on Broad Street.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Petty Officer 3rd Class John Jordan (center) waves flags with other members of OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, during the Augusta Pride parade on Broad Street.

The Greenville, S.C., resident said he tries to come every year.

“It gets bigger and better every year,” he said.

He said he spends the weekend in Augusta and looks forward to seeing friends at the festival.

“It’s a good way to bring the community together,” he said.

Saturday’s events began with a parade down Broad Street. Members of the Univer­salist Unitarian Church of Augusta marched carrying signs that read “Don’t hate celebrate” and “Gay rights are civil rights.”

A throng of motorcyclists rode with rainbow flags adorning their bikes. Several dance groups entertained the crowds, while Georgia Regents University buses, Richmond County fire trucks and a WBBQ van lent their support to the event.

After the parade, guests filed into Augusta Common, where the festival continued with vendors, dancers, and live music.

The Rev. Lisa Heilig, the interim pastor for the Metro­pol­itan Community Church of Our Redeemer, offered a few words of encouragement before Augusta band Mama Says took the stage.

“We are going to celebrate that we are part of the diversity of creation just like we are made,” Heilig said. “We’re going to commemorate, we’re going to celebrate, but we’re also going to get motivated because, my friends, we know that none of us is free until all of us are free.”

The freedom to be herself is what Tarah Dillingham values most about the annual event. She walked through the festival sipping a daiquiri and holding hands with her girlfriend, Lisa Harshman.

“This is the only time that we can walk around and do the same things that other people do and not get looked at funny,” she said. “I can’t walk down the street with her and hold her hand if it’s not this.”

Harshman said she only came to the festival because Dillingham wanted to go. While she supports gay rights, being open about it makes her feel like a target. She said she remained very conscious about the world outside of the boundaries of Augusta Common.

“The reality is, we’re in Augusta. We’re in the South. Redneckville,” Harshman said. “We don’t have a support group down here..”

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Bizkit
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Bizkit 06/23/13 - 12:23 pm
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There is a large gay

There is a large gay community here-much like a large hispanic and Asian population too. I support the gay pride movement, but would also equally welcome a bunch of redneck gay haters too. I'd like to see some Hispanic and Asian pride too. I see all as a healthy sign of freedom in America. Just as long as there is no violence then viva la differences.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 06/23/13 - 01:00 pm
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IAD1, I don't think Jenny was

IAD1, I don't think Jenny was saying she was deprived, only that she had to make a choice. I believe what she said was......

"It was a beautiful day yesterday and I would have loved to go walking on the River Walk, but I refused to go downtown and have to see all the PDA between men and men and women and women."

No where did she say the beautiful day was deprived of her, only that she had to make a choice where to spend it.

OJP
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OJP 06/23/13 - 01:15 pm
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@myfather15

That is one of the most absurd things I've ever read.

Gay couples are stared at, yelled at, and beaten for holding hands. And because they are reluctant to hold hands because of that THEY are at fault?

I am thankful that opinions like yours are rejected by a majority of Americans, and pretty much everyone under 30. You'll change your tune one day (or embarrass your children and grandchildren for their entire lives).

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 06/23/13 - 01:55 pm
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Since someone consider my

Since someone consider my comment worthy of a thumbs down, maybe they would like to counter my truthful comment as to why they disagree? Oh that's right, we have some on here that are maturity challenged and only thumbs down someone's comment because they don't like them.......

I guess I could play the same stupid game and choose a thumbs up to my own comment just to balance things out.....

nocnoc
47086
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nocnoc 06/23/13 - 02:48 pm
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"Augusta Pride festival

"Augusta Pride festival brings community together"?
Well I am sure the Gay community was brought together and made some new friends.

I also noticed it seems the only Sexual Oriented parade in Augusta needs to attract followers from outside ARC to have any size to it?

Yes Gays have the rights to be themselves.
But seriously a Sexual Orientation Parade and Festival on a Saturday Downtown in the middle of the day?

Why not while we are at
Hold a Augusta Best Stripper festival with booths, floats, t-shirts and accessories? Victoria Secret and Fredricks can setup booths, along with the 24 Adult store, and local bars.
Of course we'll do it after after 9pm to avoid sun burns.

myfather15
55844
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myfather15 06/23/13 - 03:44 pm
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@OJP; if you want to read the while thing!!

Yes, it does happen from time to time. Just like people getting beat up for being Jewish, Islamic, Black, Oriental, overweight, too skinny and this list could go on!! Please give me your evidence that this rampant, all over this Country every day!! I'm a law enforcement officer and have been one for 16 years. In this time I actually worked maybe THREE incidents which were related to the victims sexuality. THREE in 16 years!!

But, I also hear about other incidents that I don't personally work. I haven't even heard of more than maybe 7-9 in 16 years. I can't remember the last time an assault occured around here because someone was homosexual. Yes, children get teased, but no worse than the fat kid on the block; children can be cruel. Wow, theres a revelation!!

Now, having said that; I personally can't stand a BULLY of ANY kind or the harrasment of ANYONE. I couldn't care less what their choice is or lifestyle they lead. As long as they aren't harming others; thats between THEM AND GOD and between those two ONLY!! Everyone should be treated with respect, PERIOD!!

Hey, guess what? Human beings are human beings!! Some are mean and judgemental of others. Guy walks into a restaurant with tatoos all over his body and face; you don't think he is going to get some LOOKS? Girl walks into a business with those black earrings that go inside the ear lobe and are the size of half dollar coins; you don't think SOMEONE is going to be rude and stare? What about piercings, you think those people get stares? Getting an odd stare doesn't make it a civil rights issue!!

You know what, when deputies are on the scene of a car crash, people STARE like crazy; even causing other crashes because they want to see it. Why? Because it's human nature and it's something they don't see everyday, PERIOD!! Why do people go to the zoo and stare at animals? It's something they don't see in their daily lives!! Heres a revelation; people are going to LOOK at things they don't see very often!! GET OVER IT!! Everytime I walk into a store in my uniform, EVERYONE is looking at me and telling their children I'm going to lock them up!! (Which I can't stand).

No, gay couples holding hands in public or giving each other a quick kiss isn't going to make ME personally stare; I couldn't care less and I've seen just about EVERYTHING you can see in life. NOTHING surprises or shocks me and I mean NOTHING!! But, I get tired of people whining about getting a few stares. I've been sitting with people before when an EXTREMELY overweight person walks in; let the staring begin AND the talk also. Ever been at a buffet with a group of people and witnessed a FAT person walk in? Tell me you've never heard someone make a comment about it!!

PEOPLE are going to be PEOPLE, PERIOD!! Should people have a little more respect for others? ABSOLUTELY!! Will they? Sure, some will but there will ALWAYS be people without any class, end of story. You can't get rid of every predjudice, bigoted pig!! But I suppose you would put me in that category!!

My point is; I KNOW it isn't happening frequently and compared to the population, it's a VERY rare case to have a person assaulted because of their sexuality. That just isn't TRUE. Does it happen? Of course; but not as frequently as activists would claim. According to them, it's happening in every city, every day, every hour!! It's BULL!!! I want to protect EVERYONE who is being harassed, period. But it just isn't possible!! Incidents ARE going to occur; stop using them to further an agenda!!

corgimom
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corgimom 06/23/13 - 04:00 pm
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Myfather15, my reading

Myfather15, my reading comprehension is just fine, thanks, and I don't need you to interpret anybody else's post to me.

And you are free to believe whatever you want. But I believe in civil rights, and I believe in equal protection under the law, and I believe in the Bible when it says that we must obey man's law. You are in law enforcement, don't you believe that too?

And you are deluding yourself when you think that gays are rarely assaulted, they just don't tell you that's the reason. They know better.

And there are WAY more gay people in Augusta than anybody wants to believe. The Parliament does booming business, and Myfather, let me let you in on a little secret- all the gays in Augusta can suss out who won't judge them and who will, and they act accordingly.

And when they run into people like you, they laugh at you behind your back. Trust me on this.

But I'm just wondering. When was your last posts on rapes, child abuse, and wife beating in Augusta? Are you as passionate about that as you are about two adults who aren't doing anything wrong? Dont you have better things to do with your life than worrying about what consenting adults do?

And when was your last post about all the calls you go on where heterosexuals are assaulting each other due adultery and fornication? Where is your preaching about that? You and I both know that happens a lot. Where's your moralizing on that one?

And would you like to talk about all the gay prostitutes in Augusta that get assaulted, or don't they count?

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 06/23/13 - 04:19 pm
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They Have Forgotten How to Blush

I figured this would bring lots of comments. When I think of the homosexuals and their situation. I have genuine compassion and love for them but I don't agree with their lifestyle. It used to be that if someone was gay that they hid it because deep down inside they knew it was sinful and were ashamed. Like many other sins of mankind we have lost the ability to be ashamed. We promote it around like it is ok. They gays come out of the closet so they can force their lifestyles on the rest of us and justify their sin like it is ok. I believe that homosexuality along with so many of our nations other sins can be compared to the sins of Israel that Jeremiah prophesied against when God said, "Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? NO,They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the LORD." Jeremiah 6:15

dabigmrfish
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dabigmrfish 06/23/13 - 04:25 pm
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SAD

Its a sad day in Augusta, how in the world is the gay lifestyle a good thing to take the family to see? What family values are displayed in the gay life style? I bet you will never see a white pride parade or a married pride parade in Augusta. We need to focus more on hate crimes like the beating the two young people suffered from. Who will help them with the mounting medical bills. Were is the parade and vendors selling items to help them recover from the savage beating. The thugs in Augusta rule the night and I am one of those that would never risk my life going near the downtown area after dark.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 06/23/13 - 04:56 pm
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corgimom, I do believe you do

corgimom, I do believe you do myfather15 an injustice. There have been numerous comments from myfather15 on the injustices he experiences due to his line of work, to include rape, child abuse, and domestic violence.

How is it that you know so much as ' factual', concerning the Parliament House and it's attendance record, number of assaults on gay prostitutes, and the actual number of gay residents here in Augusta. You sure are throwing out a lot of boasting information without actually providing any facts. I would think that someone in law enforcement who has access to this information could provide a more accurate picture but then that's just my opinion.

Dixieman
16528
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Dixieman 06/23/13 - 05:20 pm
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Gimme more points

Well. just like last year, everyone has had his, her, its or their say on this topic and -- no surprise here -- no one has changed his, her, its or their mind about this issue.
This is why I try to maximize the entertainment value of my posts and consider it a victory if I made some of you smile.
See y'all next year -- same weekend, same forum, same tired old arguments about gay marriage.
Except that the Supreme Court may tell us this coming week what we have to put up with (or not). If the Supremes rule gay marriage is hidden somewhere in the text of the Constitution, watch the fireworks!! My prediction is they will duck by quibbling about the judicial concept of "standing" and the argument will drag on.

jbenny2010
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jbenny2010 06/23/13 - 05:51 pm
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@ICL

Umm... my user name is not jenny, it's jbenny. And to clarify my comment; I chose to walk somewhere else rather than downtown yesterday because I did not want to be subjected to the behaviors portrayed in the spotted section.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 06/23/13 - 07:09 pm
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My apologize jbenny....one of

My apologize jbenny....one of the things that go when you get old is the eye sight. I suppose instead of trying to defend you, I should have let you clarify yourself. Next time I'll know better, didn't mean to offend you.

myfather15
55844
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myfather15 06/23/13 - 07:12 pm
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ICL; Corgimom said this

"And you are deluding yourself when you think that gays are rarely assaulted, they just don't tell you that's the reason. "

Enough said really!!! They can't back up their own statements, so they make excuses like "They just don't tell you" about it. Well, corgimom; I'll tell you as the DA would tell you in a prosecution case; if it's not documented, it never happened as far as the law in concerned.

Besides that, if Corgimom wants my comments on ALL THOSE issue they bring up; all they have to do is look up my archives!!

Lee Benedict
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Lee Benedict 06/23/13 - 09:19 pm
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STOP the hate!

“The reality is, we’re in Augusta. We’re in the South. Redneckville,” Harshman said. “We don’t have a support group down here..”

Not very tolerant.

Not very loving and accepting.

specsta
6709
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specsta 06/24/13 - 12:29 am
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Jumping To Conclusions

jbenny2010 wrote - "...but I refused to go downtown and have to see all the PDA between men and men and women and women."

I am always amazed at how people make assumptions about things they have no clue about. If you have never attended an event like this, how would you know what it is all about?

I can decide to stay away from gun shows with the belief in my head that there will just be a bunch of backwoods, rebel-flag waving, gun crazies who think it's normal to buy a "starter" gun for a 5-year-old. Would I be wrong? Possibly. But how would I know unless I dismissed my prejudices and went to find out for myself?

It is also interesting how some folks can have such a problem with members of the same sex displaying affection for each other - exactly when did any display of care and love for another human being become wrong? I wonder if these same folks that cringe at same-sex affection heartily applaud the ultra-violence at a MMA tournament or a blood-soaked boxing match?

Anyone that stayed away from downtown because of a festival that exalted diversity among us missed out on an enriching experience that could have served to strip away ignorant attitudes.

nocnoc
47086
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nocnoc 06/24/13 - 07:10 am
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My family & I stayed away

My family & I stayed away from downtown.
We went the Eastman Gun show in Gwinnett Co. and did some looking around in Walton Co. We are neither red necks, bible thump'ers, or a right wing conspiracy nut jobs.

All PC aside Gay Pride Festivals tend to have some weird openly display stuff that just is not suitable for open public viewing and I am not talking kissing.

Some of the things displayed in the AC photo show were borderline flaming enough.

But speaking to a friend that attended (yes he is gay) there was even more over the top displays of dress and actions than what would have been considered heterosexually unacceptable in public, by OCGA.

If equality is the theme, then why not have equal enforcement of public indecency laws?

lovingthesouth72
1399
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lovingthesouth72 06/24/13 - 09:39 am
1
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breaks my heart -

It's quite sad to see so many people parading around confused about their identity and misguided by society to pursue a lifestyle that is contrary to human nature. God help them.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 06/24/13 - 01:31 pm
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specsta stated "I am always

specsta stated "I am always amazed at how people make assumptions about things they have no clue about. If you have never attended an event like this, how would you know what it is all about? "

From past photos of previous events, that is how. Did you view the video footage or did you view any of the photo's taken from this years event specta? One does not have to attend the events to know that PDA will be displayed....

GeorgiaCarolina
237
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GeorgiaCarolina 06/24/13 - 03:12 pm
2
1
Bless Your Heart

@lovingthesouth72

Thanks for your condescending and self-righteous comments. I doubt your heart is that broken up about it. Bless your lil ole heart.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 06/24/13 - 04:19 pm
0
0
Redneckville?
Unpublished

Delta and Greyhound still offer rides from "Redneckville".

Dixieman
16528
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Dixieman 06/25/13 - 09:20 am
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1
Festival "brings community together"? /sarcasm off

The media -- sadly including the AC -- have a policy about photo coverage of gay "pride" events. What gets published are Robert and Jeremy, a nice thirty-something couple with trim mustaches in their matching cardigan sweaters, possibly pushing a baby carriage and talking about how they live ever so nicely with their hetero suburban neighbors, have each other over for barbecues, go to civic association meetings, etc. etc. You NEVER see a picture of hardcore leather freaks with nipples pierced by large safety pins or any other in-your-face sex costumes or tongue-down-his-throat conduct because the nice journalism school graduates don't think it's nice to show this. Even though the latter may be the most representative of the majority in the parade. That wouldn't be nice. So let's be nice. Nice is better than news. Or truth. Remember, nice. Truth can catch up later after everything is legalized. Well, maybe. As long as we write nice things about it.

RonRoberts
66
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RonRoberts 06/25/13 - 10:42 am
1
0
My comment gets

deleted because I call out area bigotry for not advancing beyond old stereotypes (bestiality, child molestation, polygamy), but those who make those comparisons get to comment unabated. Got it.

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