The Augusta Pride Committee invites all members of the community to the celebrations downtown Saturday, June 19. The theme of this year's Augusta Pride is "Community for All." The planned events are a celebration of diversity in our community for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions: gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer -- however one chooses to self-identify.
June is Gay Pride Month because it remembers the events at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in June 1969. This was a time of upheaval across America as the civil rights movement ensued, but it was also the first time that gay and transgender Americans stood their ground and claimed their right to assemble free of police harassment. It was the birth of the modern gay rights movement.
There has been much community discussion following the Feb. 12 Augusta Chronicle story about the planned events for downtown this June. This discussion is good for the community. Your gay and transgender neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, physicians, dentists, lawyers and service providers throughout the community want you to know that they do exist, and that they are proud of their contributions to this community and to the lives of those who live here. They have friends, family, and co-workers throughout the CSRA as well, and they want to be open and honest about their lives and those they love.
There will be many community events in the coming months organized by the Augusta Pride Committee. On March 21, the Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus will come to the CSRA for the first time as part of their Georgia concert tour. In April there will be an Augusta Pride Fashion Show sponsored in part by Macy's. Everyone is welcome to enjoy these activities as part of the vast patchwork of community events that contribute to life in the CSRA.
In the second-largest community in Georgia, it is time for activities that appeal to a broad range of our citizens' interests. After all, this is a "Community for All."
Christopher J. Bannochie, Ph.D.
(The writer is public relations and marketing director for Augusta Pride.)