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Atlanta is the capital of Georgia and is one of the biggest cities in the United States. The almost 500,000 people who call Atlanta home benefit from all the comforts of a metropolitan area, including well-preserved historical sights, quality housing, modern entertainment spots, varied cuisine and a vibrant art and culture scene thanks to its multiracial population.
However, if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community who’s thinking of moving to Atlanta, your concerns go beyond what amenities and attractions the city offers. Aside from wondering if you’ll be safe in Atlanta, you need to know if the city offers the opportunity to meet people with whom you can build a big, fun and secure community. It’s also necessary to learn about any current and potential restrictions for LGBTQ+ people there. Most importantly, you need to know the best gay neighborhoods in Atlanta where you can live the life you want.
Bellhop has helped hundreds of people make the big move to Atlanta. Our experts know the city like the backs of their hands and can help you settle in quickly, regardless of where you’re moving from. Below is an exploration of the life LGBTQ+ people lead in the city and suggestions on the best gay neighborhoods in Atlanta.
Atlanta LGBT History
Atlanta is not only the capital of Georgia but also the headquarters for the LGBTQ in the South. The city’s history with LGBTQ+ people goes back more than a century, with numerous private and public efforts to reinforce queer people’s right to exist and live freely in the city.
One of the most notable efforts on this front occurred on August 5, 1969, in an event that mimicked New York’s Stonewall Riots that occurred on June 28 of the same year. Around 70 people gathered at the Ansley Mall Mini Cinema to watch Andy Warhol’s “Lonesome Cowboys,” a satirical film with gay sex scenes. The police raided the showing, arrested the theater manager and photographed patrons with threats to check their record of past sex offenses.
A few days later, a local called Bill Smith founded the Georgia Gay Liberation Front (GGLF) in response to the police crackdown. For two years, the GGLF organized and recruited more members. In June 1971, the group led 125 people in Atlanta’s first Pride march, just a year after the country’s first-ever Pride parade. Lesbian activists formed a similar group, called the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance, in June 1972. The black LGBTQ+ community created Atlanta Black Pride in August 1996, an event that shone a light on the marginalized members of the queer community.
The first mainstream political recognition of gay rights in Atlanta occurred in 1975 when the mayor, Maynard Jackson, proclaimed the first Gay Pride Day.
Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ community fought for its place in society throughout the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. In 1998, the state’s Supreme Court struck down the 165-year-old sodomy law, and in 2000, Atlanta made it illegal for businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. In 2015, Georgia legalized gay marriages and finally established enhanced criminal penalties for people who target LGBTQ+ people in June 2020.
How Gay-Friendly Is Atlanta?
There are explicit laws protecting LGBTQ+ people in Atlanta and other cities in Georgia from marriage discrimination and hate crimes. However, an equality analysis shows a severe lack of protection from discrimination in crucial aspects of LGBTQ+ life, including family services, housing, employment and health care.
The struggles and efforts to expand legal protection for LGBTQ+ people in Georgia remain. At the same time, queer life in Atlanta continues to thrive. The city has one of the largest LGBTQ+ populations in the country, with around 194,000 adults in the metropolitan area being part of this demographic. Such a large population has created a unique identity, culture and society that any LGBTQ+ person should experience at least once.
LGBTQ-Centric Activities in Atlanta
Tens of thousands attend Atlanta Pride, a week-long annual event featuring hundreds of vendors, dozens of exhibitions and live entertainment from local and visiting artists. There’s also a thrilling car and motorcycle show to witness the city’s long history with powered vehicles.
The Pride Festival occurs in mid-October and features a Trans March, a Bi & Pan March and a Dyke March. The week ends with the Pride Parade, where you can wear your most gorgeous costume, dance on an extravagant float and eat the most finger-licking southern cuisine.
Black Gay Pride is another event you can’t afford to miss in Atlanta. It occurs on Labor Day weekend and features fun parties and empowering speeches from renowned members of the city’s LGBTQ+ community.
Atlanta’s history with LGBTQ+ activism is alive and well even today. You can participate in the AIDS Walk or go to the Joining Hearts pool party to raise funds for efforts to fight HIV/AIDs. Buy a glamorous outfit to attend the Human Rights Campaign Dinner or gift your childhood trinkets to needy kids during the December Toy Party.
Arts & Culture
Out on Film is an annual film festival showcasing LGBTQ+ titles from all over the world. The event is educative as it is entertaining and unifies the worldwide LGBTQ+ through shared joys and struggles.
You can also enjoy numerous orchestra, ballet, jazz and soul acts at various theaters around Atlanta, where everyone is welcome.
Atlanta’s gay nightlife is second to none. Future is the premier LGBTQ+ club in Atlanta, hosting top drag performers and international DJs throughout the week.
You can also club-hop and drink your fill at numerous spots around the city, including places with unique cocktails and artisanal beers.
Catch a drag show at Blake’s on the Park, enjoy karaoke nights at Church and dance to the latest beats from the freshest DJs at Bulldogs.
Lesbians can have fun at My Sister’s Room, a spot designed to accommodate those who want a cool drink on the back deck and those who want to dance the night away on the vibrant dance floor.
Best Gay Neighborhoods in Atlanta
Gay couples love Avondale, making it home to more LGBTQ+ families than anywhere else in Georgia. The neighborhood features old-school mansions, high-end art events and restaurants you have to visit. It’s one of the best places to start your life with a partner and expand your family.
Ansley Park feels like your average American suburb but without the boredom. Located in Midtown, Ansley Park is within walking distance of dog parks and children’s play areas. When you live in Ansley Park, you’re only a brisk walk away from the best gay bars in the city.
Buckhead and its sister Brookhaven are Atlanta’s premier neighborhoods. They’re home to high-earning LGBTQ+ couples and have amenities to match their pockets, including high-end spas, restaurants and country clubs.
You should live in Grant Park if you dream of yelling ‘Morning!’ to your neighbor while picking your newspaper off the front porch. The neighborhood hosts one of the city’s largest farmers’ markets and is home to Zoo Atlanta, a spot your family can explore.
Find Atlanta Movers
Atlanta is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the United States. Its large LGBTQ+ population gives you the safety and protection you deserve to live your best queer life. And with the numerous activities to do and see, you should have packed and moved here yesterday.
Bellhops can make your move to the best gay neighborhoods in Atlanta seamless and stress-free. We are local Atlanta movers, and we can also help with your long-distance Atlanta move. Get in touch to start moving!