By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Although this year’s Pride is vastly different because of the ongoing pandemic, it can’t keep us from celebrating Pride. So what is your Pride this year? Peach asked a few community members about how they plan to celebrate – and what Pride means to them.

Jim Farmer
Festival Director, Out On Film 

How do you plan to celebrate this year? 

We will just be finishing Out On Film, so we’ll be tired. But my husband Craig and I fully plan to participate in as many virtual events as we can. 

In the light of not being able to celebrate on the same scale as usual, what does Pride mean to you this year? 

It means being proud and comfortable in who you are. We all take varying roads to being who we really are, and it’s nice when you can have that comfort level with yourself.

Looking ahead (to when all of this is over) – how do you plan to celebrate Pride in 2021? Relishing the opportunity to socialize again and being able to celebrate with my Atlanta community and friends 

Neon the Glowgobear 
IT geek by day and a DJ at night

How do you plan to celebrate this year?

I am excited to be working with many of the Atlanta Eagle’s DJ’s for a “Pride Inside” that will be several DJ’s over the weekend broadcast via the Atlanta Eagle’s Twitch page (twitch.tv/atlantaeagle). 

What does Pride mean to you this year?

Though I will seriously miss all the amazing events that Atlanta has to offer and seeing people from around the country enjoy my city, these are still uncertain times. This Pride will allow me some time to take in a number of the virtual events that are a part of the virtual Atlanta Pride offerings. There are still events going on that aren’t in person (for those of us that are choosing to continue to avoid large groups). It’s not the same, but we carry on. Our community has two difficult battles ahead: the political situation of our rights possibly going under fire and Covid-19.

How do you plan to celebrate Pride in 2021?

Depending on what nightlife looks like a year from now, I am hoping to share my music and energy around the country once again because I have found that a dance floor can be a place of joy, camaraderie, and is a great way to blow off the negative emotions that we are all working through. Great music lifts us up and brings us together. That’s something I hope to be able to continue to offer through these times and on into 2021!

Lynn Barfield
Operations Manager for Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc.

How do you plan to celebrate this year?

I plan on celebrating this year honoring the day with good food, great friends, and my family. And well, a little bit of being on duty since I work for APC. LOL. I think it’s important that everyone do something to mark the weekend – even though we can’t be together, nothing can stop people and its movement from celebrating achievements!

What does Pride mean to you this year?

To this year, Pride means an even bigger sense of love and community. We are living in a pandemic, and I have seen so many rituals, including this festival, taken away from our life routines. But I have also seen this community come together to feed people who are out of work, support organizations that STILL have to serve the community, and our gay-owned businesses pivot to make their businesses still thrive. We have a lot to be proud of in 2020!

How do you plan to celebrate Pride in 2021?

I plan on celebrating Pride 2021 with copious amounts of champagne…after the festival is over, and the park is clean, of course. 

Tom Thomas 
Community Outreach for CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort)

How do you plan to celebrate this year?  

I am working on bringing free Covid-19 testing to the heart of midtown in October during Pride month. I plan on celebrating PRIDE this year by spending some quality time with good friends and my chosen family.  

In the light of not being able to celebrate on the same scale as usual, what does Pride mean to you this year?  

PRIDE to me this year is all about Hope. I recently read a great article about living in a time of fear and uncertainty. It reminded me that we need to stay connected and to remember that we are all in this together. PRIDE may be canceled, but… 

“Conversations will not be canceled. Relationships will not be canceled. Love will not be canceled. Songs will not be canceled. Reading will not be canceled. Self-Care will not be canceled. Hope will not be canceled.”

 Jamie Tworkowski

Looking ahead (to when all of this is over) – how do you plan to celebrate Pride in 2021?

I would like to attend some other Pride festivals in different cities throughout next year. I am also considering World Pride 2021 in Copenhagen.   

Photo: Li Su

Rafael Gomes 
Director of Fashion Exhibitions at SCAD FASH, Atlanta’s Fashion + Film Museum

How do you plan to celebrate Pride this year? 

I think the best way to celebrate Pride this year is to vote, so we do not lose our hard-earned rights.

In the light of not being able to celebrate on the same scale as usual, what does Pride mean to you this year? 

We are living in uncertain times, and our voices need to be heard, especially since we are not able to parade on the streets. Personally, I’m celebrating and contributing by participating in the online commemorations. Our museum highlight is an exhibition called: Derrick Adams: “Patrick Kelly, The Journey.” It presents Adams’ artwork honoring the African American fashion designer Patrick Kelly. Kelly lived for several years in Atlanta and, after his success in Paris, he returned here in 1988 to stage a fashion event that raised money for AIDS research. He, unfortunately, like many other artists at the time, succumbed to the virus in 1990. Kelly was the first American designer to ever show his collection in the highly competitive Paris fashion week calendar, and instead of being celebrated as a hero, he has been forgotten by many, particularly the younger generations.

How do you plan to celebrate Pride in 2021? 

I want to be optimistic and have faith that the world will be in a better place next year, so ultimately, we can go back to similar ways we used to live and celebrate our lives.

Chris Lugo
Executive Director, OUT Georgia Business Alliance 

How do you plan to celebrate this year?

For Atlanta Pride this year, my husband Tommy and I are keeping it lowkey and personal, but we’re looking forward to digging into the extensive lineup of virtual programming and events. 

In the light of not being able to celebrate on the same scale as usual, what does Pride mean to you this year?

While we’d typically be out and about celebrating with our friends, I think the ongoing concern for our government’s leadership, COVID-19, systemic racism, and racial violence underscores exactly why we must focus on supporting and showing up for each other and our community. To me, Pride means actively advancing the LGBTQ+ community by committing to deliberate education, collaboration, and generosity. 

Looking ahead – how do you plan to celebrate Pride in 2021?

For Atlanta Pride 2021, I really hope we’re able to have that much-needed and joyous celebration in person while remembering the challenges we faced and honoring the people we lost over the past year. I think we’re all looking forward to a brighter 2021!

Miko Evans 
Founder & Executive Producer of Meak Productions, Inc.

How do you plan to celebrate this year? 

I will be celebrating Pride by continuing to support our community partners as we do every year via my company’s Media & Production outlets, and by taking time to celebrate my own Pride personally.

In the light of not being able to celebrate on the same scale as usual, what does Pride mean to you this year?  

Pride This Year, for me, means Perseverance, Strength, and Legacy. The community as a whole has faced A LOT this year politically, financially, and holistically, and not just with the Pandemic, which by the way, was very similar to how HIV & AIDS was in the ’80s. The fact that we are STILL HERE and lived to tell how we overcame these challenges is a Testimony.

How do you plan to celebrate Pride in 2021?  

For me, I think it’s too soon to talk about 2021, however, I think Pride next year will be on a completely different level after everything we’ve learned this year. 

Darren Floro-Bryant
Personal Trainer

How do you plan to celebrate (Pride) this year?

This year for Pride, I plan to spend it with my husband and close friends. In the current situation (Covid-19), it is important to me to appreciate all that I have and all that I have worked for. Spending time with friends this year seems more important than ever before. Sharing laughs and being authentic seems like the right way to celebrate.

What does Pride mean to you this year?

Pride means the same thing this year as it has every year. I appreciate where I am at personally. Ever since I accepted who I was as a person, I had an understanding that being gay is not everything that I am, but rather a piece of me. I am made up of many different things that make me unique. Being gay is a part of it, and I take Pride as a time to be grateful that being gay is one of those parts. Usually, I get to celebrate by going to parties, picnics, parades, and dancing. This year I will celebrate a little quieter by being surrounded by friends and family (and chosen family) that love me for being me.

How do you plan to celebrate Pride in 2021?

Next year I plan to travel to a few different cities around the world (with my husband and close friends) to see how they celebrate their Pride. I plan to dance and celebrate and keep trying to help the world understand we (the gay community) are part of the world. As soon as I accepted, or came to terms with being gay, I vowed to live my life true to myself. I also chose to continue being me. I may not be loud and boisterous about being gay, but I do NOT hide who I am, either. I also chose to live this way to respect all of the gay people (however they identify themselves) before me that have made it possible for me to be comfortable with who I am in a world that is not always understanding.

Malik Brown 
Director of LGBTQ Affairs, Office of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms 

How do you plan to celebrate Pride this year?

Like most ATLiens, I’ll be celebrating Atlanta Pride at home this year. There’s a lot of great virtual programming coming, and I’m excited to participate. I’m sure I will see a small group of select friends for outdoor and socially distant celebrations. 

In the light of not being able to celebrate on the same scale as usual, what does Pride mean to you this year?

The first “Atlanta Pride” gathering was a tiny fraction of the parade and festival we see these days. That small group of brave pioneers was fighting for acceptance, visibility, and basic rights. Their Pride wasn’t about the parties and events, which are so much fun; it was about community and belonging. While I desperately wish I was able to enjoy our fabulous nightlife options and beautiful parade this year, this is a good opportunity to channel the energy of those who came before me. 

Looking ahead, how do you plan to celebrate Pride in 2021?

The thing I miss most about Pride this year is the Mayor’s Pride Reception, hosted by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. These annual events have become a staple in our community over the last few years. You never know who you’ll see at them, and I do love a catered, open bar event. If science says we’re in a safe place to have events next year, that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.