It’s the sixth annual Southern Fried Queer Pride arts festival, which marks the end of Pride Month and the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The pop-up trans and queer festival, in celebration of rich southern LGBTQ history and culture, also comes the same day Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signs HB 426 into law – Georgia’s hate crimes bill.
The bill protects people from being targeted because of identities like race, gender, sexual orientation and religion. It also increases penalties for misdemeanors and felonies that are classified as a hate crime. Lawmakers also added a reporting requirement for law enforcement to help document and track hate crimes.
Hosted via Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic, this weekend’s festival will offer workshops, discussions, dance parties and ends with a show that features a whole lot of variety.
“We pride ourselves on being a southern organization, especially a southern queer and trans organization, because the kind-of narrative of southern LGBTQ people is that we’re all suffering here,” SFQP co-founder Taylor Alxndr told “Morning Edition” host Lisa Rayam.
“But we have a rich history, we have a rich community, and a vibrant culture down here.”
The pandemic has been a test, she said, but hasn’t turned SFQP away from securing their very own brick and mortar space.
“Atlanta does not have a fully-functioning, open to the public LGBTQ community center or space,” Alxndr said.
The organization launched a GoFundMe about 3 weeks ago, and she said SFQP is already close to $70,000.
“I’m still speechless,” she said, noting the center is slated to open for Pride month 2021.
“It’s intentionally meant for the LGBTQ community, especially black and brown folks, who don’t really have brick and mortar spaces. We’re often in spaces that are rented, that don’t really honor the many identities that make up our community.”
Most donations from this weekend’s art festival will go towards funding the new community center.
To take part in the workshops, meet some queens, and dance the night away in your living room, sign up here.
Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.