Despite not having Atlanta Pride during Pride month, Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ community is still hosting events across the city to get everyone in the spirit. During the kickoff weekend of Pride month, Wild Heaven West End Brewery hosted an Art Market and Drag Party open to all ages. Vendors from small shops, volunteer organizations and advocacy groups lined the venue to display their various zines, pins, wall art and clothing. Opposite the bar was a stage set with a table and two drag queens reading out bingo letter and number combinations while making witty jokes to a crowd of about 40 people. The House of ALXNDR was hosting and facilitating all the drag events, ensuring they gave their audience an experience to remember.
Attendees could chat with vendors about their stories while shopping for various items to decorate their rooms. Vendors were showcasing colorful macrame plant holders, stress balls in the shape of boobs, vintage clothing and even a masseuse giving out free back massages. Madison Higbee was tabling with their partner, displaying various “micro” canvas paintings of album covers such as “Melodrama” by Lorde, little crocheted animals and tiny cross-stitches. “I feel like pride means solidarity. It means love. It means community. Just people showing up for each other, being there for each other, holding each other up, [and] supporting each other,” Higbee said, speaking on the meaning of Pride to them.
They also spoke on what brought them to West End on Saturday, “partly to sell things… and it’s also great because this is the first all-ages drag show we’ve been able to see, too.
That’s been really wonderful, and actually being able to have kids buy pins from us —it’s definitely something that I don’t think either of us could have imagined having access to as children, so it’s really beautiful to see children being able to be in such affirming environments.”
Another tabler, Kae Good, representing SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, advocated for queer and trans folks of color. Good recalled their favorite Pride memory, a slightly different type of Pride event than what Atlanta is used to seeing in October.
“When I first went to a pride event, and it was like a smaller event, like a gathering. It was a picnic. I remember being around folks and being able to connect with people, so that was really exciting. It felt like home in a way,” Good said.
The defining event from the weekend was The House of ALXNDR drag show. The House of ALXNDR truly mastered how to cater to everyone, with song choices appealing to the more “mature” while the performances and outfits had the younger audience enthusiastically breaking into dance. After each drag queen performed a set, a dance party ensued, which transformed into a conga line around the room. Everyone danced around to Miley Cyrus, and, for a moment, nobody in the room thought about how this experience was a defiance.
As the event closed and people left with thinner wallets and lighter spirits, there was no doubt that experiences like this prove that Atlanta’s queer community gives space to anyone and everyone looking for a place of connection, existence and love.