‘They paved the way:’ ‘Gray Pride’ celebrates inclusivity, Atlanta’s older LGBT+ generation

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The annual Atlanta Pride Festival and Parade is just around the corner with plenty to celebrate.

Gray Pride, which is sponsored by AARP Georgia, is a place where older members of the LGBTQ+ community can not only be acknowledged but also celebrated.

It all happens around the Dockside at Piedmont Park near 12th Street.

“I’ve seen a lot of things change in Atlanta and it’s all been really for the best,” Bill Garner, an Atlanta business owner, said.

Garner said one of the things he’s proud of is just how inclusive Atlanta has become.

“It really shows the ability of the older crowd still wanting to come out and be a part of Atlanta and show their pride,” said Garner.

For the last few years, there’s been a new space for the older members of the LGBTQ+ community to show their pride during Pride weekend.

“We came up with the idea to have the Gray Pride space so that those who are older don’t have to say, ‘oh, I’m not going because I don’t want to walk all day,’” said Dejai Jones, an AARP Georgia volunteer.

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Jones said there’s still music and dancing but less distance to and from festivities.

“It’s cool. We have chairs for them to sit in, we have snacks for them to snack, including water and refreshments, so the older members of the community have a place where they can come and get away from the hustle and bustle of the day,” said Jones.

Jones said Gray Pride is not just about being more inclusive but also recognizing all there is to be proud of.

“It is very important they are acknowledged,” said Jones. “They paved the way for the younger generation to be able to have the freedoms and the privileges of the LGBTQIA community.”

The space gives people of all ages a chance to celebrate together.

AARP Georgia volunteers said the inside space is designated for the older generation, but people of all ages are welcome to celebrate Gray Pride outside the Dockside building at Piedmont Park.

Rachel Aragon

Rachel Aragon

Prior to joining Atlanta News First, Rachel Aragon spent the last three years as a reporter and fill-in anchor at WBFF, the FOX affiliate in Baltimore, Maryland.