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Invited Speech at Atlanta Pride (1994)

Invited Speech at Atlanta Pride (1994)

©1994, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1994, 19 June). Invited speech at Atlanta Pride. Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA.

Source: Dallas Denny). (1994, Fall.) Pride ’94. Tapestry Journal, 69, pp. 44-46.




Atlanta Pride is a fabulous event. By the early 1990s it was drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees, and was run efficiently and professionally. I served on the board of directors of Atlanta Pride for two years. After I rotated off the board I was asked to speak. I felt honored.


Tapestry Pages (PDF)


Invited Speech at Atlanta Pride

By Dallas Denny


Time: Twenty-five years ago this month. Place: A little bar in Greenwich Village, New York City. Police are hassling a woman wearing men’s clothing. There were some bricks. There were some drag queens. Result: The gay liberation movement begins.

Time: 1594. Place: What is now Panama. The conquistador Balboa sees men dressed as women. He calls them sodomites and orders them eaten alive by his dogs. A Spanish official in Lima calls it “A fine action of an honorable and Catholic Spaniard.”

Time: 1431. Place: Rouen, France. Thousands of people gather to watch Joan of Arc burn at the stake. Her crime: Being a heretic and a witch: in other words, wearing men’s clothing.

Time: January, 1994. Place: Richardson County, Nebraska. Brandon Teena is just another young man popular with the girls until police leak the news: he has a female anatomy. He is then raped by two local men. Brandon reports the rape. The police do nothing. A week later, Brandon and two friends are murdered by the same two men.

Time: Now. Place: Washington state. A coalition of fundamentalists is working to pass an initiative which would deny civil rights to gay men and lesbians. The initiative includes wording which defines post-operative transsexual women—women like myself—as men, and prevents their marriage.

Transgender. It’s a term new to many of you. But we transgendered people are as old as history itself. We are a living, breathing part of the community, and we have taken and continue to take our licks along with our gay, lesbian, and bisexual brothers and sisters. Many of us in fact identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Who are transgendered people? You know us as transsexuals, transvestites, drag queens, and butches. We are people who are uncomfortable with the binary system of gender imposed upon us by this society. Some of us just want to dress the way we want, and some of us want to change our bodies. Some of us know exactly who we are, and others are still sorting it out. But on both local and national levels we have come together as a people. We have come out of that dark and shameful place, the closet, and begun to own who we are and to claim our place in the world. Like Joan of Arc, we are warriors, and we have begun to fight for our right to be ourselves. We are here, and we are queer too, and we are not going to go away.

We have much to offer the gay and lesbian and bisexual community, and much to learn from it. Your enemies are our enemies. We are with you and we are of you. We are proud to be a part of Pride ’94.