Local
5:58 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

43rd Annual Atlanta Pride Kicks Off

Atlanta's yearly celebration of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community is underway.

A variety of vendors and concerts are located in Piedmont Park.
Credit Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc.

Nearly 250,000 people are expected to participate in the 43rd annual Atlanta Pride Festival.

It includes a parade, guest speakers, numerous concerts and a vendors market.

WABE ventured to the popular "pride spot", Roxx Restaurant located on Cheshire Bridge Road.

Around lunchtime, many were beginning to enjoy the special weekend.

Broadcast version of this story.

There are signs that read Happy Pride and the patio is adorned with colorful decorations.

Sitting with a friend, military retiree Gregory Bonner told WABE what pride means to him.

“To me, it’s a time to reflect on where you started and where we’ve come from and to show the world how positive that it’s okay to be who you are, you know self-awareness.”

But as for policy reform and legislation regarding the LGBT community, Bonner believes there’s still more that needs to be done.

“I think the equal right is moving kind of slow and it’s very depressing to see that the U.S, technical is supposed to be a world leader, but other countries are allowing marriage and have stringent discrimination laws and so forth. We’re lagging and everything for us is a big debate.”

And that debate is also frustrating on a local level says Sandor Garcia.

The Florida native now lives in Atlanta.

Garcia is not gay and says he doesn’t understand why some say gay rights are not a civil rights issue.

“Personally I think they should be. Human kind is human kind. I don’t care your sexual orientation, your culture, your color of skin. It doesn’t matter.  Kindness is kindness.  Prejudice is prejudice. Evil is evil and goodness is goodness. There it is. There’s no distinction.”

This year’s Atlanta Pride Festival is being celebrated with National Coming Out Day.