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APQC Hosts Third Athens Pride Parade and Resource Festival

Three years ago the Athens Pride + Queer Collective (APQC) hosted the first annual Athens Pride Parade downtown. What was expected to be a heartfelt gathering of a few hundred people ended up drawing more than 3,000 ecstatic attendees. The main and side streets were flooded with a diverse group of people from Athens and the surrounding areas celebrating themselves and showing support for friends and family.

The theme of this year’s Pride Parade is “Here & Queer,” taking place downtown on June 1 with the parade starting at 2 p.m. and ending with a resource fair at the Classic Center Pavillion from 3–6 p.m. There will be more than 30 organizations with community resource booths, including the Department of Public Health, AthensBorn Birth Services, Boybutante AIDS Foundation, Historic Athens and more.

“The parade is an event that the community really looks forward to. It’s where people come as they are, and are not only loved, but celebrated. With each parade, we continue to add more entertainment, food options and resources. This year’s theme invites everyone to express themselves, which builds a lot of excitement around what is to come,” says APQC President Becky Lynn.

In addition to a family area with face painting and the Books for Keeps bookmobile, there will be a variety of performances suitable for all ages. The lineup includes DJ Reindeer Games spinning danceable tunes, indie pop and rock musician Sarah Mootz, the Classic City Rollergirls and Belli Dance Company. With a mix of activities for everyone, the festival is a great place for those trying to find their place or friends in the local LGBTQ+ community.

“Your people are here, you just have to find them,” says Lynn. “Come with an open heart, and start by saying hi to someone!”

Cassie Wright Photo

Although APQC isn’t hosting an after-party this year, the organization is promoting two events held the same night. United Campus Workers of Georgia is hosting an open drag night at Athentic Brewing Co. from 8–10:30 p.m. Then a late-night drag show is happening at Sister Louisa’s Church Bar starting at midnight.

Also happening that night is Athens Showgirl Cabaret’s Drag For All event at Hendershot’s from 8–11 p.m. Entry is $5 and open to all ages. If you’re still looking for something to do after the weekend ends, there will be a free screening of Love Free or Die, about the first openly gay person to become a bishop, Gene Robinson, at Ciné on Tuesday, June 4 at 5:15 p.m. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with Robinson and the director of the film, Macky Alston.

Outside of the annual Pride Parade, APQC has many initiatives and events year-round that work with marginalized communities to support the equity, affirmation, diversity and wellness of local queer populations. Lynn says that the organization has continued to grow and is currently working towards hiring an executive director. She also says that one of APQC’s goals for the year is increasing educational opportunities, and the group is proud that they’ve been able to maintain its support groups that provide an important space for community members. APQC offers four support groups: LGBTQ+ Youth Group, Parents of LGBTQ+ Youth Group, Rainbow Spirit Support Group and Trans Groups.

Suzannah Evans

One of the initiatives that means a lot to APQC is its Trans Surgery Scholarship, which the organization has been able to award to multiple recipients over the past two years. This scholarship is largely funded by the Operation Transformation drag show event, which took place May 17 this year and raised $17,000. Lynn says that APQC has a partnership with a doctor who provides these life-changing surgeries. The scholarship is being awarded to two recipients this year, and Lynn is “looking forward to the impact it’ll have on them feeling authentic in their skin.”

APQC has cultivated a vital space within the local community for those who identify as LGBTQ+ to not just exist but thrive, and the Pride Parade is a visual representation of that.

“My absolute favorite part of the Pride Parade is seeing how happy people are when they can be their true, authentic selves. There is pure joy in being able to express yourself, and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ll ever experience,” says Lynn.

For more information about APQC’s events, groups and programs, visit

WHO: Athens Pride Parade
WHEN: Saturday, June 1, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Downtown Athens