Going to Pride is an exciting time, being around other LGBTQ folks, making new friends and catching up with old ones. A hot trend in the pride world is having big headliners bless the stage with their talents. From RuPaul’s Drag Queens to Grammy-winning artist. But who puts these acts together?
It doesn’t happen overnight nor through a click or a button, it takes a lot to set up events like Pride that folks anxiously await yearly. Meet PR and Media Director of Augusta GA, Eric Dryer, one of the key organizers of Augusta Pride.
But how did such a guy get to this position? Dryer, having been raised as “Army brat” spent the majority of his childhood moving from state to state and across the world. “I spent a lot of time moving around between Germany and the states. My dad was a drill sergeant, so I grew up in a pretty orderly home. Honestly, I thought I was the only gay person on the planet until I was in my early teenage years. I didn’t have a ton of exposure to the gay culture growing up, and really only came into my own once I left home to start my own career.”
His family has been serving the country for generations and so he followed in their footsteps. Dryer served in the armed forces during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” period and kept to himself. “It was a personal sacrifice I was willing to make because I saw where I could go in the long-term and remained focused on creating a great future for myself. I was certainly much more quiet about my sexuality during that time, considering the consequences of coming out”. This, in turn, allowed him to travel and explore the abundant and fascinating cultures around the world. After the repeal of DADT, Dryer noticed the positive shift in the culture regarding the LGBT community. Dryer says, “That effort is rooted in the belief that we are all stronger when we accept our differences but continue to work together for a cause greater than ourselves.”
Dryer’s advice for any of our readers interested in joining the armed forces? He says, if you are afraid you will be persecuted because of your sexuality, just know that the military has gone to great lengths to develop a culture of inclusivity and respect for all.
“At the end of the day, the military is looking for talented, dedicated professionals regardless of sexuality to serve. As many of our highest ranking military leaders would say: yes, we have a mission, and taking care of ALL of our people is part of that mission. We still have a lot of work to do to bring visibility to the LGBT community that serves in the military, but we are getting closer day-by-day.”
Having worked with Pride for some time Dryer has had the opportunity to meet and work with many artists like Bebe Rexha and Natalie La Rose. He states that he has “never seen a more dedicated duo of women when it comes to performing” and praises them for the memories that they have made for those who attend Pride. Dryer still has many projects to come not only for Augusta Pride but also elsewhere. He will continue to assist with Augusta Pride for as long as they will have him. Be on the lookout for Dryer at next year’s Augusta Pride and be sure to thank him for his continuous support.