The cities of Forest Park and, for the first time in its history, Jonesboro, have issued proclamations in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

Forest Park

On Tuesday, June 20, Forest Park Mayor Angelyne Butler read the proclamation during the City Council meeting and presented a copy to public information officer Javon Lloyd, Forest Park Police Sgt. Brittney Sparks, and anyone else who cared to join the presentation:

YouTube video

“So, when they asked me about this proclamation, the first thing I told my boss is, ‘Maybe we need to get RuPaul down here to accept the award,'” Lloyd joked. “But honestly, I just want to say thank you to the mayor and council. And one of the things that I did reflect on was, I had to realize it’s not easy for everybody. There are still a lot of people out there that face discrimination, and I know a lot of friends who have lost jobs or employment just because of how they want to live their lives. So I just want to say thank you, and I appreciate being able to come to a job each and every day where I can be myself, I’m not judged because of the way I live, but by the character of my work and by the character of who I am as a person. So thank you.”

Sparks said, “Mayor and council, citizens of Forest Park, and my employees, thank you. I mean, there’s nothing better than being able to come to work and be yourself and not be judged by, you know, what you go home to. I’m grateful. I’m happy to be here. Thank you.”

WHEREAS: The City of Forest Park has a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as a strong belief in the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals across our great nation, and;

WHEREAS: As part of the city’s ONE Forest Park Initiative, it should be known that no matter your age, race, creed, gender or sexual orientation, individuals should be treated with respect and dignity and able to live without fear no matter who they love, and;

WHEREAS: Nationwide, Gay Pride events are held during the month of June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots that were sparked in response to ongoing police harassment of New York’s gay community, and;
WHEREAS: Many of the residents, business owners, students and city employees who contribute to the enrichment of our city are a part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) community, and;

WHEREAS: The long battle for inclusion has led to much positive progress toward changing the hearts and minds of people in many parts of the world, which in turn, has helped pave the way for a more inclusive society where LGBTQ+ individuals can live freely, safe and free from discrimination.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the City Council of Forest Park hereby recognizes the month of June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month and invites everyone to reflect on ways we all can live together through mutual respect and understanding.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our hand on this 20th day of June 2023 and have caused the Official Seal of the great City of Forest Park to be affixed hereto.

Another openly LGBTQ+ city official in Forest Park is Fire Chief Latosha Clemons.

In 2021, Councilman Héctor Gutierrez sponsored a proclamation honoring LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which may have been the first such proclamation issued in Clayton County. That proclamation was not formally presented to any individual:


On Monday, June 12, 2023, Jonesboro became Clayton County’s first municipality to issue a proclamation in recognition of Pride Month. However, not all councilmembers showed enthusiasm about the presentation.

Mayor Donya L. Sartor issued the proclamation recognizing Pride Month to Dr. Michael Jamal Seaberry, a queer scholar, performing artist, and assistant professor of education and curriculum at Kennesaw State University.

Seaberry, who performed at Jonesboro’s Juneteenth celebration, also accepted a proclamation recognizing Juneteenth.

“He’s a Black, queer scholar, activist, and performer,” Sartor told the audience. “Dr. Michael Seaberry serves as a clinical assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Kennesaw State. His longstanding commitment to serving Black community is backed by his scholarly achievement and reshaping the narrative of Black male masculinity and manhood. As a visual testament to his work, Dr. Seaberry can be found performing on stages. The author is a visibly queer and unapologetic version of himself who curates spaces for Black queer men and boys to feel safe. And he will also be performing at our Juneteenth celebration this Saturday, so you’re actually going to accept two proclamations, the one for Pride Month and the one for Juneteenth, if that’s okay.”

Dr. M.J. Seaberry (center right), an openly queer Black scholar, educator, and performing artist, accepts the City of Jonesboro’s first Pride Month proclamation from Mayor Dr. Donya L. Sartor (center left) as councilmembers react, June 12, 2023.

Whereas, the mayor and city council of the City of Jonesboro recognizes and proclaims the month of June 2023 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month throughout the City of Jonesboro;

Whereas, the United States Supreme Court extended employment protection to the LGBTQ+ workers in Bostock v. Clayton County by ruling on Monday, June 5, 2020 that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex;

Whereas, the City of Jonesboro supports the rights of all citizens to experience equality and freedom from discrimination;

And whereas, the City of Jonesboro is committing to support the visibility, dignity, and equality for the LGBT people in our diverse community;

Whereas, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights;

LGBTQ have had immeasurable impact to the cultural, civic, and economic success of our country;

Now therefore be it resolved: It is a great honor for me to present for the first time in the City of Jonesboro, mayor and council, hereby proclaim this month, June 2023, as Pride Month in support of the LGBTQ community.

Pride celebrations

The group @WeOutsideATLlgbt is hosting “Bonfire Sundays,” a movable party that will pop up from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 25 at the ATL Food Truck Park, 8271 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro. Entry and parking are free, drinks are BYOB, and s’mores supplies are $5. The party is hosted by Freshie the Creator and Yani B Fly, with music by DJ Goddess Kika, plus vendors and “Sunday Vibe Night with Performers.”

On Saturday, June 24, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., you can play with old and new friends at Gay Pride Game Night in East Point. The event takes place at The Legacy Center Event Venue and Shared Workspace, 3015 R.N. Martin Street, and promises “fun interactive adult games.” Tickets are $40 to $150 and nonrefundable through Eventbrite.

East Point, while not in Clayton County, is the South OTP’s most festive community, thanks in large part to the East Point Possums drag troupe. Earlier this month, East Point and the Atlanta Eagle (the gay bar busted by Atlanta Police Red Dog Unit) hosted Drag Down South, a drag show staged on the front steps of City Hall that featured legends of the Atlanta drag scene like Charlie Brown and Lena Lust, as well as two of the original Possums, Prissy Cilla and Shenita Lott—and Tony and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Holliday. (Yes, THAT Jennifer Holliday!) Here’s a peek at the festivities:

Just up Moreland Avenue in Little 5 Points, Southern Fried Queer Pride runs through Sunday, June 25 at various locations, featuring LGBTQ+ films, art, dance parties, workshops, and markets.


The recognitions and events come in the midst of a strong anti-LGBTQ+ backlash nationwide, as well as in Georgia. The Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups report numerous anti-LGBTQ+ attacks, attempts to criminalize the community, and hateful rhetoric, noting, “In a throwback to the pre-Stonewall era, drag is again illegal in multiple states while doctors – and even parents – could be prosecuted for providing affirming health care to trans youth and others. Just as it was in 1969, it is still legal to fire LGBTQ+ people at will in 16 states, refuse to rent a house to them in 19 states and deny them a loan in 34 statesFourteen states currently censor discussions of LGBTQ+ people or topics in schools.”

A concerted nationwide effort to pass more than 650 bills targeting LGBTQ+ people is underway, with more than 75 already signed into law. The Human Rights Campaign, which lobbies on behalf of LGBTQ+ people, has declared a national state of emergency, complete with travel warnings. HRC and other groups last month warned LGBTQ+ tourists and residents about their personal safety in Florida.

At the Gold Dome, the past two sessions have included legislation aimed specifically at transgender children. The Georgia General Assembly has passed laws banning transgender girls from playing school sports, as well as a ban on gender-affirming treatment for transgender children. Some metro parents have sent their transgender children to live out of state.

In April, two Black transgender women, Rasheed “Koko Da Doll” Williams and Ashley Burton, were murdered in separate incidents in Atlanta.

And in July 2021, lesbian bartender Katie Janness and her dog were stabbed to death and mutilated in Piedmont Park, moments after they were last seen at the rainbow crosswalks at Piedmont and Tenth. Nearly two years later, the killer has yet to be apprehended.

On January 5, a social media personality, Victoria Rose “Woah Vicky” Waldrip, was invited by a freelance social media promoter, Frances Miller, to speak with students at Jonesboro High School, where she made derogatory statements about lesbians and gays to members of the girls’ basketball team. The pair also lobbied the students to come to Christian Life Center in Rex for religious instruction, a violation of the students’ Constitutional rights. Video of the incident on social media shows adults standing by and watching. Dr. Anthony Smith, then interim school board chair, promised he would look into the incident. According to Freedom from Religion Foundation attorney Chris Line, “We don’t know who was involved in bringing in this religious speaker, but we understand that several of the students involved in this incident have expressed their outrage that it was allowed to occur.” In February, FFRF said, Smith told the organization that an investigation had taken place and that Waldrip’s comment had violated Board of Education policy: “Accordingly, appropriate disciplinary and/or remedial action(s) have been identified.” The Clayton Crescent had inquired about the incident previously after receiving tips about it but got no detailed response; we have submitted an Open Records Request seeking more specific information.

Clayton County doesn’t get the attention that Midtown Atlanta or Decatur do in terms of LGBTQ+ visibility, but it is the site of nationally-significant LGBTQ+ political gains.

In 2020, the landmark Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County affirmed that businesses with 15 or more employees cannot discriminate against applicants or employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Last November, the county agreed to settle former Clayton County CASA head of volunteers Gerald Bostock’s original case for $825,000.

And in 2003, Michelle Bruce won election to the Riverdale City Council as Georgia’s first openly-transgender candidate. She served four years, but lost reelection amid opponent’s claims that her gender identity somehow rendered her election “fraudulent.” The Georgia Supreme Court later ruled that “that the two political opponents who filed the lawsuit failed to produce evidence of fraud, misconduct or illegal action after claiming that Michelle Bruce bamboozled voters by identifying herself as female.” Bruce, a Coast Guard veteran who also wrote a book about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” period, was found dead in her home last September, apparently of natural causes, after some years of relative isolation.

According to SAGE, LGBTQ+ seniors are twice as likely to be single and live along and four times as likely to not have children. In addition, LGBTQ+ people in long-term care facilities are at increased risk for discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Source: Long-Term Care Equality Index 2023,

The issue of LGBTQ+ senior resources is of pressing importance in Clayton County, where the senior population has been growing in recent years. Both Forest Park and Jonesboro have seen recent investments in senior housing and faith-based healthcare. However, vulnerable LGBTQ+ seniors may prefer to live and die in their own homes, rather than rely on institutions that do not recognize or support their identities.

We’ve asked Clayton County Senior Services whether it offers support specifically for LGBTQ+ seniors and will update with their response.

Transparency note: The editor of this story, Robin Kemp, is a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Clayton County.


stylish african american man near graffiti wall with pride flag
Photo by Anete Lusina on

The Trevor Project: hotline for LGBTQ+ youth at (866) 488-7386 or text START to 678678

PFLAG Atlanta and PFLAG Peachtree City: support for parents and friends of LGBTQ+ people

SAGE Advocacy and Support Services for LGBTQ+ Elders: resources (for LGBTQ+ seniors and their caregivers), including a 24-hour hotline in English and Spanish that’s also available in 180 other languages: (877) 360-5428 (LGBT)

Bisexual Resource Center: for people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, or queer

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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