Pride, Atlanta-style 

CL celebrates Southern queens

What a year it's been! The visibility of gays and lesbians worldwide continues its ascent, with gay marriage now recognized in such historically conservative countries as Mexico and Argentina. At home, our nation's capital now approves of same-sex partnerships, and the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy is still on the chopping block. Lady Gaga, the most followed person on Twitter, has made the cause her agitprop platform. Hell, even our parents love "Glee."

If only things were going so well in our gayborhood. This year, the Advocate named Atlanta the "gayest city in America," but the investigation into the 2009 Atlanta Eagle raid is still stalled. And just this summer, Methodist minister Josh Noblitt allegedly was attacked by a group of kids in Piedmont Park simply for being gay.

At least there's one less brother living on the down-low in Lithonia.

Equality might not come easy, but the South is all too familiar with the fight for civil rights. While Pride is celebrated around the world in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall raid in New York City, Atlanta Pride is now solidly in October. The Atlanta Eagle raid happened in the fall, too. Coincidence?

Probably. But Atlanta gays aren't taking this sitting down. They're putting up a fight — and throwing a party. And that's why it's still so much fun being gay in the South. Where else can you tea-bag a guy one night and take him out for sweet tea the next morning?

Atlanta gays are writing their own history and whoa, Nellie, does this city have a lot of characters! To celebrate our distinct, Southern-fried brand of queerness, we decided to highlight our favorite subspecies of Atlanta gays and lesbians — from the brute Redneck Bear who karaokes Patsy Cline ballads to the Southern Power Belle who will kick your ass, then sell you a house in Decatur. We'll help you decide if you're a gay redneck. (Answer: You are.) And we'll give you all the weekend events and parties so you won't miss a thing — except if you're love-hungover.

Gays, lesbians and the rest of the LGBTQ community: Without you, our city would be dull, sober and poorly decorated. Here's to you, Southern queens. May your flame shine bright.

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