Atlanta Pride 2011: A proud year for LGBT community | News
ATLANTA-- The streets were packed in Midtown Saturday afternoon as more than a hundred lesbians held one of several planned marches as part of Atlanta Pride 2011.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Atlanta Pride Festival Parade
The annual event is expected to gather tens of thousands of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender individuals in what is billed as the biggest festival of its kind in the Southeast.
John Oliver drove up from Macon and said he is overwhelmed by the crowd.
"You just have all these people and we're all the same thing and even though we come from different backgrounds, we all have this one thing in common and it's great that we can all be together like this," said Oliver.
The two day gathering at Piedmont park does not just attract people from Georgia but also surrounding states.
Rebecca Morris and Amber Trujillo made the drive from Ocala, Florida.
"This is so amazing to have this kind of support. For the first time in a long time I'm not getting weird stares. I'm not angry. People aren't pulling their children away from me because I'm different. For blocks and blocks I see men and women just like me," said Trujillo.
Organizers say this year's pride festival comes amid several big victories...first and foremost the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell".
"Its about time that everybody stopped discriminating against us. We fight and serve our country as hard as everyone else. It's a huge success that it's finally been overturned," said Morris.
Closer to home, this year marked a big win for the LGBT community against the Atlanta Police Department following a botched raid at the gay bar The Atlanta Eagle. The city settled for more than $1 million dollars and the city council recently approved an addtional $120,000 for eight new plaintiffs.
"I think it's always going to be a fight and a struggle but that's what equality is all about. Everyday is a new struggle, a new closet to come out of. There's a new door that needs to be torn down and I think we're doing it," said Maurice Cook of Atlanta.
Pride festivities continue through Sunday with the annual parade in the afternoon. 11Alive News is streaming the event live on 11Alive.com.