Southern Fried Queer Pride, Atlanta's radical queer arts fest

The DIY-oriented grassroots event provides space for radical Southern queer folx.

With 4.2 percent of the population reportedly identifying as gay or lesbian, Atlanta has one of the largest queer populations in the nation. Gay bars, shopping, and publications provide intentional and safe spaces for LGBT culture. Yet the establishment of normative LGBT spaces sometimes lack an essential queer element. Queer here is an umbrella term, covering all iterations of gender and sexuality. For the second year, local arts and activism festival, Southern Fried Queer Pride (SFQP) has answered the call for a more queer-centered, DIY-oriented grassroots event for queer folx — a gender-neutral term for “folks.” As organizers TAYLOR ALXNDR, Mickey Bradford, and Britt Dunn explain: “SFQP started as a reaction to the invisibility and silencing of queer and trans folx, namely of color, both at events like Atlanta Pride and in ‘gay’ groups and spaces.”

Queer organizing — such as SFQP employs — centers intersectional politics, or the overlapping of prejudices related to race, gender, and sexuality. This event’s programming moves beyond marriage rights as the nonpareil issue. Importantly, the organization also avoids corporate models of organizing in favor of grassroots collaboration. SFQP demonstrates this in their year-round programming, including picnics, public-forum planning meetings, and dance parties. Overall, SFQP is a celebratory effort to honor the manifold queer communities in Atlanta and acts as a response to other LGBT events that may silence this dynamism.

Its impressive lineup of speakers and workshops include a series of talks at Georgia State’s Langdale Hall, such as What Is HIV and Why Is it So Hard to Treat? (10 a.m., Sat., June 25. Room 201), Representative Park Cannon speaking on legislation (noon, Sun., June 26. Room 201), and a panel covering How Art and Activism Inform Each Other with Nic Kay, Hez Stalcup, Koochie-Koochie Ku, & more (2 p.m., Sun., June 26. Room 200). SFQP also features hospitality suites that give space for various communities to interact and engage. SWEET TEA, Atlanta’s monthly queer-variety show curated by artist and fest organizer TAYLOR ALXNDR, will feature a special SFQP edition at Eyedrum (8 p.m., Sat., June 25), including performances by folk-punks Man Up, Yancey!, comedian Stevie King, performance artist Eshe Shukura, and more. This year’s fest kicks off on Fri., June 24, with dance party HAWT Sauce, featuring Southern DJs such as Fannie Mae Beezy and Bitchcraft at The Mammal Gallery.

As SFQP proudly proclaims, “We’ve been here, we’ve been queer, and we’re creating our own space.” SFQP organizers, volunteers, and supporters want to anyone who might have forgotten that the South is a pulsing, deeply creative, and unapologetically queer space.

Southern Fried Queer Pride. Fri.-Sun., June 24-26. Times and venues vary. southernfriedqueerpride.com.

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