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Central Georgia LGBTQ+ community has mixed feelings this Pride Month

News headlines have put the community in the crosshairs

MACON, Ga. — June is dedicated as Gay Pride Month.

It's normally a festive time for the LGBTQ+ community, but this year, many say it's a double-edged sword when it comes to celebrations.

Preston Moon is a courageous teenager.

"I'm really excited to turn 18 because I can start my transition," they projected.

It takes guts to talk about sexuality at the age of 14, but life has taught them some tough lessons.

"We face a lot of discrimination with people not respecting us because we're seen as people not of this world I guess you would say," they said.

Less than -- It's a message reiterated in the news lately.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis championed a law that doesn't allow teachers to go over anything LGBTQ oriented in the classroom.  It's nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Mississippi has a trigger law on the books that will ban gay marriage if the Supreme Court ever decides to overturn it.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says he would like the court to revisit the topic.

"The fact that we are still having to fight is disheartening," Preston said.

Preston isn't alone.

DeMarcus Beckham calls himself an activist and he began fighting for LGBTQ+ rights ten years ago.

"Some say you have rights and we have rights but we are seeing them being peeled back constantly," he said. "I wake up with pride, but I wake up with fear every morning."

Beckham is one of the organizers of Macon Pride.

He's heard negative chatter and comments in his lifetime, but at this moment, he says what's upsetting is the rhetoric from the top

"Hate, honestly -- hate that I'm seeing from individuals we've elected to higher office," he reflected.

He says today, pride means walking through life without fear, and he believes one day, it can happen.

"It is frightening this year, but I believe that if we are intentional, if we can come together as a community to keep our political figures' feet to the fire that, no, we are not going to go back 50 or 60 years ago," he said.

Macon's Pride Week will happen September 26 to October 2.  

Atlanta and Macon have moved their Pride celebrations to the fall to coincide with National Coming Out Day.

If you're interested in an LGBTQ+ youth group, you can email Scott Mitchell at MaconLGBTQIAYouthgroup@gmail.com .

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