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Deven Green’s Pride Primer

Goliath’s own advice columnist, comic and friend-of-the-gays offers her Pride essentials as she heads to Atlanta’s signature festival
By Mike Fleming

Great news, Pride people! Comedian Deven Green is coming. The award-winning performer you may know better from the satirical “Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian” and “Welcome to My Home” – and who gets the last word in Goliath each month with her quippy advice column, hits Atlanta Pride this year as our guest.

Deven Green has headlined, performed, and more importantly supported, Pride festivals and their communities across North America, and she’s excited to perform from the Pride main stage, meet fans in our booth and ride in the parade on October 9.

“I am honored to be invited to Atlanta Pride,” says Green, whose appearances are co-sponsored with our sister publication David Atlanta. “My loud and insidious voice can educate some of the more difficult and fearful demographics. When I share my Pride experiences with them, I lessen the mystery of ‘the gays.’”

So basically, Green is as much about her gays as her loyal fans are all about her.

“Same sex rights and marriages don’t just happen overnight,” Green says. “It is the collective experience that defines the zeitgeist. As an active friend to the community, I do what I can…always.

“The community responds endearingly, ‘That Deven always puts out!’”

True to form and always “on,” Green agreed to give us her unique take on Pride and Pride history before her highly anticipated arrival. These are the results.

Photo Etiquette.
Take lots of photos – of Me! I will personally stop any show if someone needs a great still. Better yet, find me after I perform, and we can take a photograph together.

However, unless you have permission to take another person’s photo: don’t. There are many friends who are not out yet and there are plenty of sub-groups within the community that congregate only amongst themselves, so give them the respect that they deserve (said like Joan Crawford).

1970 – The first gay pride march was organized to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots with plenty of closeted camera-shy attendees.

Bathroom Etiquette.
Whichever gender-neutral restroom you enter and whatever you do in there, please wash your hands and clean up after yourself – just like how you conduct business in your local toilet cubicle.

2015 – The White House opened its first gender-neutral bathroom.

Boundary Etiquette.
With so much “talent” around, take a moment and pretend that everyone is there for your personal pleasure. Smile, flirt and have fun, but be mindful of physical boundaries. Just because someone is half naked doesn’t give you permission to remove the other half.

1813 – “Pride and Prejudice” the Jane Austen novel is published, sexualizing and scandalizing its audience.

Ignore Protesters.
Anti-Pride protesters do not wish to be educated or converted. They just want attention. So the best way to annoy them is to ignore them while silently judging their fashion choices. Should they come out in the future, they know they have a welcoming place.

1924 – The Society for Human Rights was founded. It is the first documented gay rights organization.

Get Involved.
There will be booths, pamphlets, speakers, samples, seminars, performers and more. Engage, be curious and learn as much as you can. Get to know the people in your gayborhood. Pride can only happen with your participation, so consider volunteering since I’m sure you have “special skills.”

1971 – The GGLF (Georgia Gay Liberation Front) organized the first gay rights march in Atlanta. You are their descendant.

Be Smart.
Wear sunblock and easy shoes. Drink water and use your instincts. Don’t use a condom that is too big for you: size matters.

1970 – LGBT activists Brenda Howard,  Robert A. Martin (aka Donny the Punk) and L. Craig Schoonmaker popularized the idea of a day in June to commemorate Stonewall, as well as calling it “Pride” to show the opposite of shame in one’s sexual orientation.

Dance.
Have a celebratory attitude, and dance like you don’t care that everyone is watching you.

1979 – “I Will Survive” won a Grammy for Best Disco Recording – the first and last time this category was ever offered.

Reflect.
If you felt shame growing up, then your Pride experience should bring the freedom to be liberated from that oppression. There is room for everyone. There is a space for you. Find your place, then plan for next year!

Atlanta Pride continues as a free event to celebrate every color of the rainbow. Donate and find out more at atlantapride.org.

Photo: Reed Davis Photography