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What is TRUVADA for PrEP?

Who should not take TRUVADA for PrEP?

TRUVADA for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a prescription medicine that is used together with safer sex practices to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex. This use is only for HIV-negative adults who are at high risk of getting HIV-1. To help determine your risk of getting HIV-1, talk openly with your healthcare provider about your sexual health. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to prevent getting HIV. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.

Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP if you: ® Already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. If you are HIV-1 positive, you need to take other medicines with TRUVADA to treat HIV-1. TRUVADA by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. ® Also take certain medicines to treat hepatitis B infection.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about TRUVADA for PrEP? Before taking TRUVADA for PrEP: ® You must be HIV-negative before you start taking TRUVADA for PrEP. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1. Do not take TRUVADA to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are confirmed to be HIV-negative. ® Many HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. If you have flu-like symptoms, you could have recently become infected with HIV-1. Tell your healthcare provider if you had a flu-like illness within the last month before starting or at any time while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Symptoms of new HIV-1 infection include tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and/or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin. While taking TRUVADA for PrEP: ® You must continue to use safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1. ® You must stay HIV-negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP: ® Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months. ® If you think you were exposed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away. ® To further help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1: ® Know your HIV status and the HIV status of your partners. ® Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV to infect you. ® Get information and support to help reduce risky sexual behavior, such as having fewer sex partners. ® Do not miss any doses of TRUVADA. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection. ® If you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1. TRUVADA by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. TRUVADA can cause serious side effects: ® Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. TRUVADA is not approved to treat HBV. If you have HBV and stop taking TRUVADA, your HBV may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking TRUVADA without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health.

What are the other possible side effects of TRUVADA for PrEP? Serious side effects of TRUVADA may also include: ® Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with TRUVADA. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking TRUVADA. ® Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. ® Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. ® Bone problems, including bone pain, softening, or thinning, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP are stomach-area (abdomen) pain, headache, and decreased weight. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TRUVADA for PrEP? ® All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis. ® If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if TRUVADA can harm your unborn baby. If you become pregnant while taking TRUVADA for PrEP, talk to your healthcare provider to decide if you should keep taking TRUVADA. ® If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. If you become HIV-positive, HIV can be passed to the baby in breast milk. ® All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. TRUVADA may interact with other medicines. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. ® If you take certain other medicines with TRUVADA, your healthcare provider may need to check you more often or change your dose. These medicines include certain medicines to treat hepatitis C (HCV) infection. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see Important Facts about TRUVADA for PrEP including important warnings on the following page.

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I'm passionate, not impulsive. I know who I am. And I make choices that fit my life. TRUVADA for PrEP™ is a once-daily prescription medicine that can help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 when taken every day and used together with safer sex practices. ® TRUVADA for PrEP is only for adults who are at high risk of getting HIV through sex. ® You must be HIV-negative before you start taking TRUVADA for PrEP.

Ask your doctor about your risk of getting HIV-1 infection and if TRUVADA for PrEP may be right for you. Learn more at truvada.com

7/26/17 9:56 AM


IMPORTANT FACTS

This is only a brief summary of important information about taking TRUVADA for PrEPTM (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. This does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your medicine.

(tru-VAH-dah) MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT TRUVADA FOR PrEP Before starting TRUVADA for PrEP: • You must be HIV-1 negative. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are confirmed to be HIV-1 negative. • Many HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. Symptoms of new HIV-1 infection include flu-like symptoms, tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and/or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin. Tell your healthcare provider if you have had a flu-like illness within the last month before starting TRUVADA for PrEP. While taking TRUVADA for PrEP: • You must continue to use safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1. • You must stay HIV-negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you think you were exposed to HIV-1 or have a flu-like illness while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. • If you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. • See the “How To Further Reduce Your Risk” section for more information. TRUVADA may cause serious side effects, including: • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. TRUVADA is not approved to treat HBV. If you have HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking TRUVADA. Do not stop taking TRUVADA without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months.

ABOUT TRUVADA FOR PrEP TRUVADA for PrEP is a prescription medicine used together with safer sex practices to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex. This use is only for HIV-negative adults who are at high risk of getting HIV-1. • To help determine your risk of getting HIV-1, talk openly with your healthcare provider about your sexual health. Do NOT take TRUVADA for PrEP if you: • Already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. • Take certain medicines to treat hepatitis B infection.

HOW TO TAKE TRUVADA FOR PrEP • Take 1 tablet once a day, every day, not just when you think you have been exposed to HIV-1. • Do not miss any doses. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection. • Use TRUVADA for PrEP together with condoms and safer sex practices. • Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months. You must stay HIV-negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF TRUVADA FOR PrEP TRUVADA can cause serious side effects, including: • Those in the “Most Important Information About TRUVADA for PrEP” section. • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. • Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. • Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. • Bone problems. Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP include stomach-area (abdomen) pain, headache, and decreased weight. These are not all the possible side effects of TRUVADA. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with TRUVADA for PrEP.

BEFORE TAKING TRUVADA FOR PrEP Tell your healthcare provider if you: • Have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis. • Have any other medical conditions. • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. • Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. If you become HIV-positive, HIV can pass to the baby in breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: • Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with TRUVADA for PrEP.

HOW TO FURTHER REDUCE YOUR RISK • Know your HIV status and the HIV status of your partners. • Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV to infect you. • Get information and support to help reduce risky sexual behavior, such as having fewer sex partners. • Do not share needles or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them.

GET MORE INFORMATION • This is only a brief summary of important information about TRUVADA for PrEP. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more, including how to prevent HIV infection. • Go to start.truvada.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 • If you need help paying for your medicine, visit start.truvada.com for program information.

TRUVADA FOR PREP, the TRUVADA FOR PREP Logo, the TRUVADA Blue Pill Design, TRUVADA, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Version date: April 2017 © 2017 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. TVDC0139 07/17

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GEORGIA NEWS

Georgia Department of Corrections has first openly transgender employee Trystlynn Barber came out last fall at Rogers State Prison in Reidsville By ELIZABETH FRIEDLY

“This was the perfect opportunity, even though it came about the wrong way, that I was going to come out at work,” she said. “I saw it as one door closing and another door opening.”

Trystlynn Melanni Barber, 58, has become the first openly transgender employee to work for the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC). GDC officials confirmed with Georgia Voice that her case is unprecedented. Her transition paves the way for future trans employees as training and policy adjustments have already begun to take place. Barber grew up in Connecticut, but has since developed a professional life in the South. She was employed by the Florida Department of Corrections before moving to Georgia. In 2013, she began working with the Georgia State Prison (GSP) system as an officer at Rogers State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia. She wakes up every morning at 2 a.m. for her 4 a.m shift as a food service supervisor at GSP, applies her makeup, attaches her tousled, black sew-in tresses to her head and begins the workday transporting rations from Rogers to GSP facilities. Barber came out in 2017 after a lifetime of concealing her identity. The effort to hide had become too mentally and emotionally exhausting to keep up. Ever since Barber was a child, she struggled with her assigned gender. That distress led to her attempting to starve herself at age 12. The incident prompted Barber’s parents to contact a psychiatrist. Yet prior to recent years, no mental health professionals were able to recognize Barber’s struggle for what it was. She began to shave her legs and body hair, which she saw as a personality quirk, and took “masculine”-seeming jobs to compensate. “If you could imagine being born blind in a cage,” said Barber, using the metaphor for her life while closeted. “You don’t know you’re in a cage, but that’s where your life is. People bring you food and they’re your caregivers. There’s things outside the cage. You know they’re there but you don’t know what’s out there. Everything’s taken care of, but you’re blind and you’re limited to this lit-

GDC supportive so far Barber spent three months away from the prison system. During that time, she worked at Dollar General, where she was able to work openly as a trans woman. Her employers created a name tag with her preferred name — Trystlynn — even though it had yet to be legally changed. Barber returned to GSP in September and was hired back as the food service supervisor. After securing the position, she contacted her therapist, who promptly contacted the Department of Corrections Human Resources Department requesting reasonable accommodations according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The three requested accommodations were as follows: Barber’s freedom to present as female, access to women’s restrooms and the use of female pronouns by coworkers. On Sept. 21, Barber met with the GSP department heads including the regional director, the director of human resources for the Department of Corrections, the warden and the department’s full administrative staff. It was during this meeting that Barber confirmed the department had never before dealt with an openly trans employee before. Betsy Thomas, GDC’s Director of Human Resources, verified that Barber’s transition would be a first in the department. Barber said the department has been supportive so far, and issues with improper pronoun usage have been addressed swiftly. “I’ve heard a couple people say that they’re absolutely going to refuse to do it [respect her pronouns]. That’s fine. If they know my status and they’re looking at me, and they see a female and they’re intentionally calling me ‘he,’ then we’re going to have a problem,” she said. Barber said the department has a zero tolerance stance concerning harassment in the workplace. Issues of avoidance from co-workers had been reportedly addressed at the time of this interview.

www.thegeorgiavoice.com

Trystlynn Barber worked with Georgia Department of Corrections officials throughout the fall of 2017 to navigate coming out as a transgender woman. (Courtesy photo)

“She said, ‘Are you trying to be a girl?’ It was like somebody hit me in the side of head with a brick. It was like a dam had bust open.” —Trystlynn Barber on her wife confronting her about buying eye shadow tle area. Then one day, you open your eyes.” A random purchase and a coming out After decades of self-denial came the day Barber absentmindedly added eye shadow to her shopping cart. She did not think twice about it. At home, Barber’s wife spotted the cosmetic visible from her opened travel bag and confronted her. “She said, ‘Are you trying to be a girl?’” said Barber. “It was like somebody hit me in the side of head with a brick. It was like a

dam had bust open.” Barber began taking hormones while working at Rogers State Prison. Six months into her treatment, she left the prison on the basis of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA provides eligible employees with 12 weeks maximum of unpaid, job-protected leave with retained health benefits. She would leave the facility and begin a fresh start. Upon leaving in May 2017, Barber notified the Rogers human resources manager that she had already begun hormone therapy.

February 16, 2018 News 5

? News January 5, 2018 www.thegeorgiavoice.com


GEORGIA NEWS

A TIME OF RECKONING:

Atlanta’s LGBTQ community faces racism problem Burkhart’s is closed but plenty of work remains, say community leaders

an experience of growth for them. But I might convince somebody to realize they’re racist.” That’s uncomfortable. And that’s precisely what some believe is necessary to address racism.

By DALLAS ANNE DUNCAN As much as leadership and right-winged white Americans might say otherwise, the United States has a racism problem. That means so does 2018 Atlanta, even in the LGBTQ community. “Just because you’re LGBT doesn’t mean you’re not going to be racist. Unfortunately there are a lot of racists still existing and they teach their kids to be racist. You would think that as a gay person they’ve been discriminated against, that would make them less prone to be racist, but that’s not true,” said Gee Smalls, co-founder of The Gentlemen’s Foundation. “Things like this that happen at Burkhart’s and things with the Trump administration is fueling the fire and it is causing a lot of closeted racists to come out of the closet. The only way to address it is to face it head-on and be honest about it.”

A working group talks about racism in Atlanta’s LGBTQ community at a Jan. 27 organizing meeting held during the Burkhart’s racism controversy. (File photo)

He said the only way racism will die is for racists to die and take their beliefs with them. “People who are racist, it’s deeply embedded

and it’s hard for them to come out on the other side,” he said. “You’re not going to make anybody feel less racist. That’s going to have to be

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable “No one wants to be uncomfortable. I’m really uncomfortable right now. That’s why we’re talking about it: We’re sick of being the only ones who are uncomfortable,” said comedian Kia Barnes, better known as Kia Comedy. “We need to be more open to having these conversations and extending the olive branch across the aisle. It’s OK to feel guilty. It’s OK to feel angry. But we have to be able to have these conversations. It’s the only way we’re ever going to make any progress.” The discomfort in this moment arises from racist Facebook posts attributed to Palmer Marsh, the owner of Burkhart’s in Midtown’s Ansley Square shopping center. On Jan. 19, WUSSY Mag shared screenshots calling PresCONTINUES ON PAGE 7

6 News February 16, 2018 www.thegeorgiavoice.com


GEORGIA NEWS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 ident Obama “a stupid n*****,” among others that praise the Confederacy and Republican values. Many of the posts date back to 2015. “I was overwhelmingly offended,” Barnes said. “I felt outraged that they would be so blatant with this. … Just the commentary and knowing that they were profiting off of our community and the thought that they might use that profit to donate to legislation that directly disenfranchises us, it broke my heart.” Smalls said he wasn’t surprised when Marsh’s comments were published. “It was just another incident that exposed a racist. I wasn’t surprised that it happened in regards to Burkhart’s, because Burkhart’s has a reputation for being a bit racist,” he said. “I’ve been there enough and … there’s a noticeable way they’re treating black patrons versus treating white patrons.” Smalls said he heard from employees and entertainers that Burkhart’s management used racial slurs and discriminated against their black staff, and he doesn’t understand how or why they could put up with this behavior for so long. Alissah Brooks started at Burkhart’s in February 2011, and said almost immediately she was exposed to the direction its leadership wanted it to go. And though it made her uncomfortable, she felt she couldn’t speak out for fear of losing her job. “[Princess Charles’] show got canceled because it was too black,” she said. “They were trying to steer the staff and the entertainers to bring in a certain type of crowd.” She said Burkhart’s leadership used the n-word, referred to people as “riff-raff ” and “EBT people.” That’s not the only time such incidents occurred: entertainer Amber Divine left The Armorettes in 2017 after 20 years with the group because of alleged racism at Burkhart’s. “Burkhart’s is a racist bar. It condones racism and uses the n-word predominantly,” Divine said in a Facebook post. “It is time someone stood up and told the truth.” In an editorial for Project Q Atlanta, Eric Paulk called scenes like those at Burkhart’s “Jim Crow: The Club Remix.” “I often did not find community in these spaces [when I was coming out], but rather racism and white supremacy; a cover charged tacked-on on nights where the clientele was blacker than usual, policing of my wardrobe by the creation of a new ‘no hats, no timbs’ policy, or being subjected to a ‘pat-down’ www.thegeorgiavoice.com

Left to right: Alissah Brooks, Kia Barnes, James Yancey and Gee Smalls. (File photos)

more rigorous than the Transportation Security Authority,” Paulk said. “The result of the [Burkhart’s] fallout has been an effort to ignite community dialogue about racism in the LGBTQ community.” Absent from much of that conversation, however, are black LGBTQ voices, Paulk said. The Burkhart’s fallout “GayTL is finally acknowledging its race issue and all it took was a couple of old white heteros to piss everyone off,” Georgia Voice columnist Ashleigh Atwell wrote in a recent editorial. “I’ve never felt comfortable going to Burkhart’s, Blake’s or almost any other ‘gay’ space in Midtown. If it has a dress code against ‘urban wear,’ I probably won’t go. … So, when I see people lament about where LGBTQ people will go if Burkhart’s is closed, it makes me laugh. For once, it seems like the gatekeepers are getting the gates shut in their faces. The people who wanted to kick trans sex workers off of Midtown’s streets are sweating bullets. The same type of folks who swear up and down that the LGBTQ community doesn’t have a race issue have been yelling at each other over Facebook over racism.” Burkhart’s is now shuttered — Smalls said he won’t miss it one bit — but many of its entertainers and staff found homes at TEN Atlanta and My Sister’s Room. Queens United, a group of the bar’s former entertainers created in the wake of the controversy, aims to put together a series of workshops to teach others about the history of Atlanta’s drag scene, groom new performers and share business and branding tips with established queens. “We are seeking other spaces around Atlanta that might want to have a show, or

might have a lovely stage that never thought to have an alternative night that was more entertaining,” Brooks said. Smalls said now is the time to put more concentrated effort into supporting welcoming businesses, especially those that are owned by LGBTQ people of color. To put that point across, he led the organization on a bar crawl to black LGBTQ-owned venues: Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, The Daquiri Factory, Soul Bar at Pals Lounge and b.142 Bar & Lounge were the stops. Cirque Daquiri Bar & Grill and Mojo’s Motown Eatery are also owned by LGBTQ people of color, but were not involved in this event. Starting the conversation “Definitely we have some pretty stark segregation,” said James Brian Yancey, founder of Rainbros. “It’s probably most visible between the corner of 10th and Piedmont and those bars versus walking over to Bulldog’s.” Yancey helped formulate a community-led meeting that originally was aimed at figuring out an effective response that would lead to a statement of some sort by the Burkhart’s staff, but by the time the meeting happened, the entertainers already walked out on the bar. “It’s not something that we the queens can just turn the other cheek on because it’s our paycheck,” Brooks said. “We were pressured to react and we reacted in the most professional way possible, and that was to resign.” Barnes and Smalls both attended the community meeting. Both said they didn’t feel like it did enough to start the conversation. “It’s not like these problems didn’t exist, it’s just now we feel like we have no other option than to address it,” Barnes said. “I think it was beautiful how the community came together

to address this issue, but I was disappointed that even in the meeting about racism, they really did not seem to want to discuss racism.” Yancey said there was some confusion on that front. “That particular meeting was never meant to be a discussion on racism. We believe that to have an hour or so to talk about racism wasn’t going to be an effective format,” Yancey said. He said one of the committees that came out of this initial meeting looks to plan an in-depth, weekend-long forum on addressing racism in the LGBTQ and greater Atlanta community. “I think the most fundamental issue is building friendships across races. We need to, at the same time, talk about the academic side and the philosophy of why racism occurs,” Yancey said. He said many times when an organization wants to become more diverse, its leadership turns to the people of color and puts the burden on them to invite their friends — which may be innocent in its intention, but doesn’t necessarily help solve the problem. Yancey hopes that more groups will intentionally hold casual events that invite people from all walks of life to meet each other, so that it will feel natural going to bars and clubs together later as friends. Smalls challenged the white community to change racism. “The oppressed can’t change it,” he said. “It’s going to be the minds of the allied of the oppressed to make real change.” Barnes said there are intentional behaviors Georgians can take to address the problem, including encouraging diverse hiring practices, holding events at venues owned by queer people of color and supporting businesses and clubs owned by diverse demographics. “When I’m in Buckhead and Midtown, I see people canvassing all the time for LGBTQ organizations. But I don’t see those same organizations in Bankhead,” she said. “Go to communities where you can find queer people of color. Set up to sponsor or vend events that represent more queer people of color.” In his Project Q editorial, Paulk offered expectations for the rest of the community and its allies: educate themselves about racism without expecting black or other communities to do it for them; support black- and people of color-owned businesses and clubs; “identify, interrupt and disrupt” racist behavior when they see it; challenge Atlanta’s leadership to fight to dismantle racism and discriminatory behavior; and most of all, “do not expect to be rewarded for not being a racist.” February 16, 2018 News 7


NEWS BRIEFS Burkhart’s closes, ex-entertainers announce benefit shows LGBTQ Midtown bar Burkhart’s has apparently closed its doors permanently just weeks after the owner’s racist social media posts surfaced. Co-owner Mary Marsh posted about the closing on Facebook on Feb. 12, writing “Had to close the bar ‘ll [sic] heartbroken.” Meanwhile, benefit shows have been lined up for the bar’s entertainers, who resigned in protest together on Jan. 25. A series of Burkhart’s owner Palmer Marsh’s Facebook posts from 2015 began circulating on social media on Jan. 19, and Wussy published a story that evening including the posts. The controversy spilled over onto national headlines and it took over a week before Palmer Marsh responded with an apology, telling 11 Alive that he was drunk when he made the posts. The owners later fired the bar’s general manager, and they claim to be fielding several offers for the bar. Mary Marsh has been active on Facebook talking about the controversy, going after the bar’s former entertainers who resigned and claiming to be a victim. Meanwhile, a series of benefit shows for the bar’s former entertainers have been lined up at Out Front Theatre Company on Sunday, March 18 at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. The shows came about after a Jan. 27 community organizing meeting hosted by local LGBTQ activist group ATL Activate. All of the proceeds will benefit the entertainers, who formed a group called Queens United in the wake of their mass resignation. There is also a GoFundMe campaign launched in conjunction with this effort with a goal of raising $15,000. “We cannot fund ignorance and racism in our nightlife scene,” said Queens United founding member Alissah Brooks in a news release. “There are a number of inequalities that need to be dealt with over time. Queens United is the first time that a large coalition of entertainers has been formed in Atlanta to collaborate on these issues. We look forward to announcing more in the coming weeks.” ATL Activate founder James Brian Yancey said in a statement, “Many in Atlanta’s LGBTQ community care deeply about addressing racism. There are a number of initiatives that parts of the community are stepping up to lead as a broader effort that is taking shape over time. But this immediate benefit and fundraiser are symbolic that we

State Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) introduced an anti-LGBTQ adoption bill on Jan. 31 and it is advancing in the Senate. (Official photo)

are thankful and supportive of these brave entertainers for taking the first step in addressing the unacceptability of racism over the long term.” Anti-LGBTQ adoption bill advances in Senate A Georgia Senate Judiciary sub-committee on Feb. 8 heard public comments on a bill that would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs. The bill would also prohibit the Georgia Department of Human Services from taking “adverse action” against such agencies. The sub-committee took no vote and the bill will now move on to the full Judiciary Committee. Senate Bill 375 was introduced Jan. 31 by state Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), who added similar language to an adoption overhaul at the end of last year’s legislative session, causing the bill to stall. That language was stripped from House Bill 159 early in this year’s session, passed both chambers and is ready for the governor’s signature. The Feb. 8 sub-committee members included Sen Greg Kirk (R-Americus), author of the hybrid anti-LGBTQ religious exemp-

tions bill that roiled the state and caused a national backlash two years ago before being vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal, and Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), the Secretary of State candidate who has been the face of such religious exemptions bills for the last four years at the Legislature. Georgia Unites Against Discrimination — a project of statewide LGBTQ rights group Georiga Equality — sent an e-blast out to followers in the days leading up to the sub-committee meeting urging them to contact their senators. “Why the Senate has decided to fasttrack a license to discriminate now — while we’re in the national spotlight as a finalist for Amazon’s HQ2 — is unconscionable. But they have, so they need to hear from you, now: Rush a message to your senator urging them to reject SB 375, a bill that threatens Georgia’s youth, families, and economy,” the message read. “Remember two years ago, when a similar bill caused a statewide outcry from thousands of business, faith and community leaders — and nearly cost our state $2 billion in revenue? Well now, the stakes are even higher, and lawmakers are again putting our economy in danger.”

8 News February 16, 2018 www.thegeorgiavoice.com


In adults with HIV on ART who have diarrhea not caused by an infection IMPORTANT PATIENT INFORMATION This is only a summary. See complete Prescribing Information at Mytesi.com or by calling 1-844-722-8256. This does not take the place of talking with your doctor about your medical condition or treatment.

What Is Mytesi? Mytesi is a prescription medicine used to improve symptoms of noninfectious diarrhea (diarrhea not caused by a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection) in adults living with HIV/AIDS on ART. Do Not Take Mytesi if you have diarrhea caused by an infection. Before you start Mytesi, your doctor and you should make sure your diarrhea is not caused by an infection (such as bacteria, virus, or parasite).

Possible Side Effects of Mytesi Include:

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• Upper respiratory tract infection (sinus, nose, and throat infection) • Bronchitis (swelling in the tubes that carry air to and from your lungs) • Cough • Flatulence (gas) • Increased bilirubin (a waste product when red blood cells break down) For a full list of side effects, please talk to your doctor. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

RELIEF, PURE AND SIMPLE


FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

Let’s get uncomfortable BY PATRICK SAUNDERS psaunders@thegavoice.com PO Box 77401 • Atlanta, GA 30357 P: 404-815-6941; F: 404-963-6365

EDITORIAL

Editor: Patrick Saunders psaunders@thegavoice.com Editorial Contributors: Ashleigh Atwell, Cliff Bostock, Melissa Carter, Dallas A. Duncan, Jim Farmer, Elizabeth Friedly, Shannon Hames, Just Toby, Ryan Lee, Robbie Medwed, Ronni Radner, Matt Schafer, Dionne N. Walker, Simon Williamson

PRODUCTION

Art Director: Rob Boeger rboeger@thegavoice.com

BUSINESS

Managing Partner/Publisher: Tim Boyd tboyd@thegavoice.com

SALES

Sales Executive: Dixon Taylor dtaylor@thegavoice.com Sales Executive: Jim Brahms jbrahms@thegavoice.com Business Advisor: Lynn Pasqualetti Financial Firm of Record: HLM Financial Group National Advertising: Rivendell Media, 908-232-2021 sales@rivendellmedia.com

FINE PRINT

All material in Georgia Voice is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of Georgia Voice. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. We also do not accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by Georgia Voice, but we do not take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. Guidelines for freelance contributors are available upon request. A single copy of Georgia Voice is available from authorized distribution points. Multiple copies are available from Georgia Voice office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to reach a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 26-issue mailed subscription for $60 per year. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Tim Boyd, tboyd@thegavoice.com Postmaster: Send address changes to Georgia Voice, PO Box 77401, Atlanta, GA 30357. Georgia Voice is published every other Friday by The Georgia Voice, LLC. Individual subscriptions are $60 per year for 26 issues. Postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. The editorial positions of Georgia Voice are expressed in editorials and in editor’s notes. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Georgia Voice and its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words and commentary, for web or print, should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Email submissions to editor@thegavoice.com or mail to the address above.

Join us online: facebook.com/thegavoice twitter.com/thegavoice instagram.com/thegeorgiavoice youtube.com/user/GAVoice

10 Editorial February 16, 2018

“Is it sad that this city and this community loses another LGBTQ space, especially so soon after the closing of Jungle and Cowtippers and amid anxiety about the longevity of other establishments? Sure, if you were one of the groups that felt welcomed there. But if you’re more upset about Burkhart’s closing than the reason it closed, that’s a problem.” Last issue in this space, I discussed the greatest fear about the Burkhart’s racism controversy: that the initial anger about it would dissipate and that Atlanta’s LGBTQ community would eventually go back to the same old behavior. Well now, we have another development. According to a Feb. 12 Facebook post from Burkhart’s co-owner Mary Marsh, the bar is now closed. People are suspicious, however, and they have a right to be. The hasty announcement that the bar had been sold just a week after the controversy erupted (nothing to see here, folks!) was met with a deserved amount of skepticism from a community with a strong feeling they were being hoodwinked. The deal fell through, and the owners now claim to be fielding other offers. Is it sad that this city and this community loses another LGBTQ space, especially so soon after the closing of Jungle and Cowtippers and amid anxiety about the longevity of other establishments? Sure, if you were one of the groups that felt welcomed there. But if you’re more upset about Burkhart’s closing than the reason it closed, that’s a problem. There’s been a big spotlight on us since all of this broke out, with the story rapidly spreading to various forms of media in the city and across the country. And while the perpetrator in this case was straight, it still cast a light on our issues with race. As a community that speaks out so often about freedom and equality, the controversy might have been surprising to people outside the community. Shouldn’t we know better? Yes, we’re held to a higher standard on issues like this and we should be — especially in a city with a civil rights history as rich as Atlanta’s. In that spirit, let’s keep talking about this.

Check out our cover story on racism in the community. We catch you up on the latest news, yes, but it’s also a deeper look at the issue overall, and what the community can do about it as far as next steps. “No one wants to be uncomfortable. I’m really uncomfortable right now. That’s why we’re talking about it: We’re sick of being the only ones who are uncomfortable,” said comedian Kia Barnes, better known as Kia Comedy, in the article. “We need to be more open to having these conversations and extending the olive branch across the aisle. It’s OK to feel guilty. It’s OK to feel angry. But we have to be able to have these conversations. It’s the only way we’re ever going to make any progress.” Amen. Let’s get uncomfortable. We’ve also got an exclusive story on Trystlynn Barber, who is now the first openly transgender employee of the Georgia Department of Corrections. Meet Trystlynn and hear about how the department has been handling her coming out. In the latest installment of “Catching Up,” we check in with longtime progressive activist Larry Pellegrini, who’s going on 30 years fighting for equality at the State Capitol. It’s our annual Pink Dollar issue, so we’ve got some tips from the experts on navigating the upcoming tax overhaul. And in A&E, we chat with non-binary spoken word artist Andrea Gibson about their upcoming show at Terminal West, take a look at the Oscar-nominated “A Fantastic Woman,” revisit two LGBTQ favorite establishments and run down your Best Bets for the next two weeks. Enjoy, and let’s keep talking.

FEEDBACK Re: “Craig Washington: For LGBTQ elders of color, we are our own greatest legacy,” Feb. 7 “Beautifully written. Amen.” -Ron Neal, Jr. via www.thegeorgiavoice.com Re: “Former Burkhart’s GM speaks out on racism controversy,” Feb. 6 “Oh, how I miss the Gallus! Don Hunnewell is one of the good guys.” -David Cauthen via Facebook Re: “Georgia state Rep. Renitta Shannon on coming out, amplifying bisexual voices,” Feb. 8 “I loved the woman before she came out and love her even more for being bold enough to do so in office, but her sexuality isn’t what makes her a great human being. It is her entire essence of being and is one of the most beautiful spirits on the planet with a wonderful mind. She is one of those who made the transition from protest to policy and so glad she did.” -Stacey Hopkins via www.thegeorgiavoice.com Re: “Anti-LGBTQ adoption bill advances to full Senate Judiciary Committee,” Feb. 8 “If the bill passes, it will be challenged in court and struck down. And Georgia will pour several million dollars down the bigot drain again.” -John Leopard via Facebook “Some of the best parents I know are gay and they have the smartest, most well behaved, nicest and well-rounded kids to walk planet Earth. I can’t say the same about my heterosexual friends. What a big mistake. Every kid deserves a good family. Period.” -M.B. Cardoni via Facebook “We’ll see how many movie studios threaten to leave Georgia over this! Good way to lose Amazon HQ2.” -Michele Bunch via Facebook “Why are these guys so obsessed with gay sex?” -David Travis via Facebook Want to be featured in Feedback? Leave a comment to a story via social media or on our website, or email editor@thegavoice.com with the subject line “Feedback.” www.thegeorgiavoice.com


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9/19/17 3:24 PM


OUT IN THE WILD By Simon Williamson

All hail Adam Rippon Simon Williamson lives with his husband in heteronormatively-assimilative fashion in Athens, after a year of surviving rural Georgia.

It isn’t often we get to watch our own in meet with Vice President Mike Pence, a noaction. Making up five or so percent of the torious anti-gay bigot whose entire career has population means that for LGBTQ members been spent trying to make our lives harder. to be at the top of their field in a world that still At face value it seems great, and it is, but it is doesn’t really want them is a rare sight. While I worth acknowledging that it can’t have been admit I know absolutely nothing about figure easy for Rippon to do. The U.S. sent 242 skating, or in fact the entirety of the Winter athletes to South Korea and 241 of them Olympics (other than the environmental poli- were prepared to meet with the vice presicies of this president means you should enjoy dent. Rippon’s rejection was up front and the Winter Olympics while snow still exists), public and he knew there would be blowI was enthralled to watch Adam Rippon skate back. And the reason I so enjoyably watched and jump and pirouette and do very cool ice Rippon skating the other night is because I things to music last week. Even moreso because knew he did exactly the right thing. What makes Rippon so respectable is that he spoke truth to power in a way that isn’t easy for our community, even though we are as wel- he showed our community at large that we don’t need to accept anything less than 100 come in the U.S. as we have ever been. AF_ATL_Ad_GeorgiaVoice_HalfPageHor_10x5_Female_FINALOUTLINES_Print.pdf 2 9/26/2017 5:36:57 PM Rippon turned down the opportunity to percent of what we want. Rippon refused

12 Editorial February 16, 2018

“Rippon refused to kowtow to traditions and accept a career bigot’s well wishes because it is unacceptable that the vice president is still allowed to serve in a public capacity when our public existence is something he has sought to vanquish.” to kowtow to traditions and accept a career bigot’s well wishes because it is unacceptable that the vice president is still allowed to serve in a public capacity when our public existence is something he has sought to vanquish. Rippon was not going to let nationalism get in the way of preventing someone who doesn’t fully respect him as a human being seek public approval by pretending Rippon is a U.S. athlete and nothing else. We have spent decades pretending to be something else in order to gain public acceptance, but it was when we got aggressively in the faces of people, and in courtrooms, and in legislatures, and in elections, that we began to move the line. We refused to back down as a community. Rippon is an absolute

vestige of that. We do not need to accept the status quo. Just because a gay-hating man was elected vice president does not mean we need to have that presence in our lives, no matter the public pushback. And you can bet the conservative half of this country is currently enjoying a massive boner about how we don’t accept divisive viewpoints. Our viewpoint is that we should be treated as full members of society. The vice president’s point is that people should be able to throw us out of their places of work if they decide they hate us. Yet WE are accused of being unreasonable. Rippon won a gold in my books. Tell power to sit the fuck down if it isn’t going to include us.

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February 16, 2018 Ads 13


CATCHING UP WITH …

progressive champion Larry Pellegrini Decatur resident on his 30 years (and counting) fighting for LGBTQ equality at the Gold Dome By ELIZABETH FRIEDLY Larry Pellegrini has spent roughly 30 years championing progressive causes and fighting for LGBTQ equality at the Georgia State Capitol. He first got involved after working with none other than Southern Voice under Chris Cash and Laura Douglas-Brown. He is now the executive director of Georgia Rural Urban Summit, which connects rural and urban progressives. Pellegrini also serves on the board of directors for Georgia Stonewall Democrats, the LGBT political group. Most of all, his work brings together different groups with different goals to then unite under shared values. Georgia Voice spoke with Pellegrini to share stories nearly lost to time (or one too many buried files). How did you end up becoming a lobbyist? [It started when] I left my business career. I worked in Human Resources. I already felt good working with people all the time. And I recently had come out. I was sort of a workaholic. I kept up with current events, but I didn’t really know the gay community at all. Southern Voice was where I went to to volunteer. At that point, [newspaper founder] Chris Cash said, “We need a list of organizations with a one-line description and a contact that we can publish every week.” In calling around, I started joining all the organizations [laughs]. I thought that’s what you were supposed to do. You come out, they give you a boyfriend and a dog, and your life is set! Seems intimidating. How were things at first? I didn’t have a clue about the place [Georgia State Capitol]! If I had known what it was like, I may never have set foot in the place. It’s really crazy. Some of the legislators,

“Sodomy reform was the first thing we worked on, and I didn’t realize it was never going to pass. Most of the legislators had never even said the word sodomy out loud.” —Larry Pellegrini after I introduced myself, they tore up my card. In the elevator, I got spit on. I didn’t internalize it. I took it more as a challenge of outmaneuvering our opponents. Sodomy reform was the first thing we worked on, and I didn’t realize it was never going to pass. Most of the legislators had never even said the word sodomy out loud. At that point, I was the first openly gay lobbyist. There had been AIDS lobbyists before, but this was for LGBTQ politics. What are some of your defining moments? I didn’t identify with it at the time, but the Queer Nation organization became a primary group here with the Cracker Barrel campaign [protesting the company’s refusal to hire gay workers]. This came up a month after I started on the Capitol. Getting involved was probably the best thing that had ever happened to me. We protested at the restaurants every other Sunday, and lined up like other customers to be seated. Once we had all the spots in the restaurant, we would get up and make speeches one by one. It was a hugely creative campaign. The Cracker Barrel campaign influenced our national politics, like [taking on] domestic partnership.

Larry Pellegrini said legislators tore up his business card and even spat on him after introducing himself to them in the early days at the Capitol. (Courtesy photo)

The only time anybody from the public was allowed to come to the podium at City Council was during our fight for domestic partnership. What can we expect this session? The community is probably going to see a shutting down of this year’s version of RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act]. This year, the right wing is so tied to adoption. They’re so clear that they want to do this in order to prevent placing children with gay couples. There’s no war on Christianity, no discrimination there. I have sources that help us confirm what might happen or might be successful. I feel good that the governor will not back down in denying RFRA. Especially in an election year, the Republicans will have a scorecard that they want to run on that will have some things that we [the LGBTQ community] won’t like. Probably this coming week we’ll see an anti-abortion bill. Do you get a sense that it’s willful ignorance from lawmakers, in terms of discriminating with “religious freedom”? I have a million examples to support any answer to that. You have the true believ-

ers, the people who have a lifetime of Bible reading that gives them no other worldview beyond that. There’s nothing you can say to them. Then you have others who just don’t like change, or the historically rapid change as far as views of gay people have evolved over the years. It bothers them. They maybe don’t know where to go next. Then there are those who just want to be disruptive. It reinforces their biases and they jump on it. Then they bring in other things, whether it’s racism or another agenda. What gives you hope or excites you about progressivism in the South? Generationally, in the ’90s they became involved when somebody led, but the leaders didn’t always stay very long. I think getting young people involved is one of the keys to getting what’s on the table now finally over the finish line: hate crimes, non-discrimination, RFRA. We just need to knock it out so it doesn’t come back. [I feel] the excitement of seeing these young, new, diverse people coming into the process. There’s now Latinos and Asian Americans that are there today. Whether our opponents like it or not, we’re right across the table from them.

14 Community February 16, 2018 www.thegeorgiavoice.com


FINANCIAL NEWS

FINANCIAL TIPS

By Mercedes M. Pasqualetti, MBA, EA President and Managing Partner, HLM Financial Group

What the tax cuts?! “This most recent tax overhaul was supposed to simplify filing for many; however, it has made things more complicated.� By now we are all aware of the most recent tax overhaul, but what does it really mean? This is the largest tax overhaul since 1986. Typically, for each cut there is a revenue generator, but this is not the case with this most recent tax overhaul. This is why the deficit will go up over the next 10 years. The majority of tax savings went to the top 1 percent, with the rest of the country seeing little to no tax savings. What does this mean for you? Below are some key changes for the average taxpayer that will take effect beginning with tax year 2018. The standard deduction has increased. For single taxpayers, the deduction is now $12,000. For married taxpayers, the deduction is now $24,000 and for head of household payers, it is now $18,000 for the year. This sounds great in theory, however, if your itemized deductions are just shy of the standard deduction numbers for 2018, then you will no longer need to file a Schedule A with your return. This means no benefit for your mortgage interest, charitable contributions, medical or state and local income tax. The offset to this change is that the personal exemption has been wiped out. This means no more reduction to income for you or your dependents. For example, if you are

single with two children and in 2017 your itemized deductions were $15,000 and you claimed three exemptions, your income would be reduced by a total of $27,750. Under this new tax bill, you would reduce your income by the new standard deduction of $18,000 and receive no benefit for the dependents, thus paying tax on $9750 more income then in 2017. The state and local tax deduction has been limited to $10,000 total. This means that if you have $10,000 in Georgia income tax withheld from your paycheck and you also pay $10,000 in real estate taxes, you will no longer be able to deduct the total for both. You are limited to only $10,000, which means you are now going to pay tax on the additional $10,000 you used to be able to deduct. The deduction for miscellaneous expenses over 2 percent of your adjusted gross income are no longer available. If you are in sales, you oftentimes have travel, entertainment and work-related expenses that are not reimbursed by your employer. Prior to January of this year, you could deduct these if you itemized and they were more than 2 percent of your adjusted income. Now, you may not deduct these expenses. If you are in this situation, you may want to negotiate with

your employer to have more of your work expenses covered directly through the company since you will no longer get to write them off. Moving expenses are no longer deductible unless you are a member of the Armed Forces on active duty. If you are planning to move for work and the new location is more

than 50 miles from the old location, negotiate with the new employer to have them pay your moving expenses. They will add this to your pay, but at least you will not be paying the costs out of pocket with no tax benefit. CONTINUES ON PAGE 17

16 Financial News February 16, 2018 www.thegeorgiavoice.com


FINANCIAL NEWS

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16

FIVE FRESH TAX-FILING TIPS

The penalty for not having health insurance has been reduced to zero for tax years beginning after 2018. This was permanently repealed. The mortgage interest deduction is now limited to interest on a mortgage of less than $750,000. This means if you purchase a home and borrowed $800,000, you would only be allowed to deduct 93.75 percent of the interest you pay. Anyone purchasing in areas like Brookhaven, Decatur, Roswell, etc will now be limited in how much interest they are able to claim. Additionally, you may no longer deduct interest paid on a home equity line of credit. If you have a home loan over $750,000 that was obtained prior to Dec. 31, 2017, you may refinance this loan and still be able to deduct all interest providing that the new loan does not exceed the amount of the refinanced indebtedness. This mean you can refinance, but would not be able to deduct interest on any cash out. The Bottom Line: This most recent tax overhaul was supposed to simplify filing for many; however, it has made things

DO make sure to include all income including jury pay

www.thegeorgiavoice.com

n

DON’T make up numbers for your itemized deductions n

DO make estimated payments if you are self-employed n

DON’T wait until the last minute to prepare your return n

DO hire a licensed professional to assist you n

more complicated. It is advisable to seek a licensed professional to help determine how this most recent tax overhaul will affect your income tax in 2018 and forward. You may want to consider changing your withholdings at work to ensure you do not owe at year end. You may also want to consider increasing your contributions to pretax benefits through work to help reduce your tax under the new law. It is better to be proactive rather than reactive. February 16, 2018 Financial News 17


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REVIEWS

TER AIN M T

Andrea Gibson has spoken Non-binary spoken word artist on heartbreak leading them to grab the mic, their latest album and upcoming Atlanta tour stop By SHANNON HAMES Calais, Maine, provided a picturesque small-town backdrop for blossoming poet Andrea Gibson to grow up. Also known as Andrew, Gibson is a non-binary spoken word artist and author who uses they/ them/their pronouns. Gibson spoke with Georgia Voice about having their poetry read in the Utah state Legislature, their latest book and their work as a spoken word artist. Let’s pretend we are strangers in a coffeehouse and we have to share a table. Hi, I’m Shannon. This latte is incredible! [Laughs] Oh my God, I would have so much anxiety! Drinking caffeine and speaking to a stranger! The whole reason I started writing poems is because I feel anxious talking to people. CONTINUES ON PAGE 19

18 A&E February 16, 2018

Non-binary spoken word artist Andrea Gibson is the author of four books, and their latest was written soon after President Donald Trump was elected. (Photos by Coco Aramaki)


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18

Really? Yeah. It was a comfortable place where I could express myself without getting nervous about what I would say. That makes sense. Were you an adult then? No. I started writing — I don’t want to say stories or poems because they weren’t really either — they were actually more like letters to friends I didn’t yet have. I was very young. I remember getting a callus on my hand when I started writing with a pencil a lot and thinking that it was special. I would tell people that my hand was changing shape to prove that I was a writer. Oh my God. How f ’n adorable! In high school, I turned in a paper and I got an F on it because the teacher didn’t believe that I actually wrote it. I argued with him until I sort of proved to him that I wrote it. I remember that was the day I decided I was going to study creative writing in college because I felt that if he thought it was so good that a high school student couldn’t have written it, I might be really good.

www.thegeorgiavoice.com

When did you expand your writing to include your art form of spoken word? A few years after college, I got my heart broken for the first time. There was something about being devastated like that where I felt there wasn’t anything that I could lose. So in the middle of that heartbreak, I got up at an open mic in Boulder and I read a poem for the first time. The paper in my hand was shaking so hard that the sound of it shaking was louder than my voice. I still fell in love with it. Almost 20 years later, it still terrifies me almost as much as it did then. I just love it too much not to do it. Let’s talk about something else queer over our coffee. [Laughs] Okay. I have a good queer story. Go. Years ago, I woke up one morning and I started getting calls from people saying “Congratulations on Utah!” Then, I learned that a Utah state Representative read one of my poems that day in lieu of saying a prayer. She was a lesbian and it was in the news everywhere. One headline read “Gay legislator reads gay poem in lieu of morning prayer.” There was all of this outrage, but

Details Zero Mile presents Andrea

Gibson with Chastity Brown Friday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. Terminal West 887 West Marietta St. N.W. Atlanta, GA 30318 Tickets $20-$25 terminalwestatl.com/event/andrea-gibson what was funny was there wasn’t a single gay thing in my poem. It was the straightest sounding thing I’ve ever written, but just because I wrote it, it became a “gay poem.” So basically, everything I do is gay. If I pee, it’s gay. All of the dogs and cats in our house — they’re gay because I own them. You’ve authored four books — the latest is called “Take Me With You.” Tell me about that. It was just released a few weeks ago. It’s a book of quotes with illustrations. I started putting it together right after Trump was elected and I was having this bombardment of awful news coming in to my phone. I wanted to create something that someone could just open and immediately be inspired as quickly as we are immediately

deflated by what’s happening in the world right now. That’s not to tell people not to pay attention to the news. They should. But my therapist, who I never go a day without quoting, says the only thing we ever really have control over is where we put our attention. I wanted to make something that would put people’s attention on something inspiring or beautiful. It’s a small book that can fit into your pocket, which is why it’s called “Take Me With You.” I heard you were coming to Atlanta as part of your five-month tour to support the release of your new album, “Hey Galaxy”? Yes! To Terminal West on Feb. 23. And let me say that I love Atlanta. It’s one of my favorite places to perform because it’s the only city I’ve ever performed where in-between poems, people would raise their hands and ask questions in-between my pieces. The first time that happened, it was so strange and wild and awesome. So now when I come to Atlanta, I kind of prepare to know more than I actually know. Thanks for having coffee with me. Cheers!

February 16, 2018 A&E 19


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ACTING OUT

By JIM FARMER

Trans actress gives powerful performance in ‘A Fantastic Woman’ One of the most unexpected successes of 2017 and a film just now starting to expand into wider release, “A Fantastic Woman” is an enthralling character study buoyed by a translucent turn by newcomer Daniela Vega, the first trans performer to headline an Oscar-nominated motion picture. Many mainstream films have taken deserved heat for casting cisgender actors and actresses in roles transgender performers could play, but not here. Marina Vidal (Vega) is a classicallytrained singer who works as a waitress by day and nightclub singer by night. She’s in a relationship with a decades-older man, Orlando (played by Francisco Reyes), whom she has just moved in with. He is kind to her and the two share deep feelings. When he gets sick one night after the two have celebrated her birthday, though, she rushes him to the hospital. When he dies of an aneurysm, Marina’s life changes. She doesn’t have much of a chance to grieve, however. The hospital staff are wary of her, needling her about finding her real name, and a female private investigator (Amparo Noguera) comes after her, noticing the bruises on Orlando’s body. Eventually, a painful, humiliating strip search is done on Marina. Making matters worse, Orlando’s ex-wife Sonia (Aline Kuppenheim) forbids Marina from coming to the funeral, and Orlando’s son is also nasty to her. Eventually, an act of violence occurs. The only member of Orlando’s family that is kind to her is Orlando’s bother Gabo (Luis Gnecco). “A Fantastic Woman” is a slow film, often melodramatic, but thanks to Vega it never capsizes. The film does a careful, precise job of showing how perilous her journey is. Along every path, she faces some resistance and the film shows us how she handles them and eventually navigates her way through. As sad as it can be, however, it’s not a downer, as Marina is able to find herself and lift her head up. Much has been made about the performance by Vega in the lead role, who makes

Daniela Vega stars in the Academy Award-nominated ‘A Fantastic Woman,’ opening in Atlanta Feb. 23. (Photo courtesy Sony Classics)

Details

“A Fantastic Woman” Special screening Feb.21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Midtown Art Cinema before opening Feb. 23 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308 www.landmarktheatres.com

a splashy debut here. In a sense, what happens almost breaks her down, but Marina is feisty and resilient. If Vega is the MVP here, credit should also go to the director, Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Lelio (“Gloria,” the upcoming “Disobedience”). The film can be very theatrical, and often very serious. But Lelio breaks it up often, with some visions of Orlando that Marina has and a slightly nutty, hypnotic dance sequence inside a nightclub. It’s a beautiful looking film too, memorably shot by cinematographer Benjamin Echazarreta. “A Fantastic Woman” has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards. In a wide open field, it wouldn’t be a shock for it to win. It’s a shame that Vega, however, didn’t make it into the Best Actress category. It’s a powerful performance — full of rage and vitality. www.thegeorgiavoice.com


EATING MY WORDS By CLIFF BOSTOCK

Revisiting ‘Bearbucks’ and ‘The Gay and Gray’ It isn’t easy eating gay. This week, I update two classic gay-boy hangouts. Because I’m a member of LA Fitness and because I have no life, I have visited the Ansley Starbucks nearly every day for maybe 15 years. I have many “coffee friends” there, sort of like the way I used to have “bar friends” — people I don’t really see outside those particular venues. Some call the Ansley store “Bearbucks,” supposedly because it’s full of hairy older men leering at the parade of exquisitely formed, mainly hairless gym boys. Whatever. I actually wrote most of my doctoral dissertation there. There’s just one problem with Starbucks. The brewed coffee sucks. I mean it sucks so bad that Dunkin’ Donuts is better. I only drink espresso at Starbucks, usually a macchiato made with three shots topped with foam. Now, Starbucks is in the heat of a national campaign to promote its new blonde espresso. It is made with coffee beans that are roasted a shorter time than the usual dark blends. All of that aside, how does it taste? Totally meh. Drunk straight up, it’s okay. It’s slightly fruity and beyond mellow. However, if you add even a dollop of foam, the flavor shrinks far into the background. I can’t imagine it having any flavor at all in those blended drinks that require the sharp notes of a dark roast to stand up to all the sugar and milk. That’s why, I’m guessing, Starbucks has never before featured blonde espresso, even though it’s been around at least 10 years. The company’s pastries continue to disappoint, despite the heavy promotion that began a few years ago. If I want anything more than a bagel and cream cheese, I smuggle in a pastry from neighboring Panera. The over-priced sandwiches, shipped pre-made and pre-wrapped from another planet, are miserable… I visited The Colonnade with friends last Friday. The occasion wasn’t the best. One of our pals, Tommy Brown, was dying and I wanted comfort food of the type he loved. It www.thegeorgiavoice.com

Cliff Bostock says The Colonnade’s fried chicken is still among the city’s best, but a recent visit was ‘a nightmare.’ (Courtesy photo)

was a nightmare. We were there literally over two hours, in part because one of our group insisted we wait for a table in the main dining room where we could see and be seen by the wheel-chair-and-walker crowd. It was over 30 minutes at the table before our food arrived. Meanwhile, we gorged ourselves on the yeast rolls and cornbread muffins — to the point I couldn’t eat more than the wing and drumstick of the half a fried chicken I ordered. The place was nearly empty by the time we left. Yeah, the fried chicken is still among the city’s best, but not worth an endless wait and a $20 bill (including a lousy tip). This is the second time I’ve had an interminable wait there and may in part explain why Roxx, across the street, is the new Colonnade… On a different note, I was already sorry that Burkhart’s Pub had discontinued serving its bargain-priced steak, but now that it’s discontinued entertainment, I’m doublypissed. The drag queens and much of the staff rightfully quit after owner Palmer Marsh’s dumb-assed racial slurs on Facebook in 2015 were brought back to life by Wussy magazine (which I love). Please help the girls out and make a donation on their GoFundMe page (www.gofundme.com/queensunited). Cliff Bostock is a former psychotherapist now specializing in life coaching. Contact him at 404-518-4415 or cliffbostock@gmail.com. February 16, 2018 Columnists 21


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Best Bets: Our Guide to the Best LGBTQ Events in Atlanta for Feb. 16-Mar. 1

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FRIDAY, FEB. 16

Come and join a beer bust to help raise $3,500 for Lost-n-Found Youth. On top of endless beer, there will be jello shots, a 50/50 raffle and more. 7 – 11 p.m., Woofs on Piedmont, 2425 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324, www.facebook.com/ events/1215736858563829 The Queens United Benefit Show will raise money for the 30+ entertainers who quit Burkhart’s because of issues with racism, 8:30 p.m., Park Tavern, 500 10th St. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30309, www.facebook.com/events/159714774818662 HUZZY: An Experiment in Misandry is a lesbian-centric party for femmes and grrls. 10 p.m. – 3 a.m., 988 Woodbourne Dr. S.W., Atlanta, GA 30310, www.facebook.com/events/954787958003522

SATURDAY, FEB.17

The Atlanta Women’s Chorus has turned five years old. “Rewind: The First

22 Best Bets February 16, 2018

TUESDAY, FEB. 20

The legendary “Rent” returns to the ATL as part of a national tour, running through Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m., Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30308, www.foxtheatre.org (Courtesy photo) Five Years” will feature audience and singer favorites, 2 and 8 p.m., Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, 1026 Ponce de Leon Avenue N.E., Atlanta, GA 30306 The Ladies LGBTQ Mixer Night is a fun way to meet new friends, new potentials or indulge in some plain ole debauchery, 10 p.m. – 3 a.m., Babylon Cafe, 2257 Lenox Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324, www.facebook.com/ events/1724267097604323 Vicki Powell and Deep South present Horse Meat Disco for the first time in Atlanta, with a warm-up by Powell and Brian Rojas, 10 p.m. – 3 a.m., Heretic Atlanta, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324, www.facebook. com/events/305520079852301

SUNDAY, FEB. 18

Osatyam partners with Charis to facilitate Yoga At Charis. Practitioners are guided through a series of yoga poses that promote wellness within the body,

mind and spirit. Yoga At Charis keeps a strong focus on breath work and increasing full body awareness and connection to spirit. 11 a.m., 1189 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.facebook.com/ events/196971407534252 Joining Hearts is kicking off 2018 with Love on the Rocks, an annual fundraising Valentine’s cocktail party. Join for an evening of drinks, food, music and a silent auction to raise funds for the Atlanta HIV and AIDS community, 5 – 8 p.m., The Wimbish House, 1150 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30309, www.facebook.com/ events/1490070724445136 The Armorettes perform tonight featuring Trashetta GaLore, Autumn Skyy, Cherry Poppins and Plenty Moore, Oscars Atlanta, 8 p.m., 1510 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324, www.facebook.com/ events/538090026545459

CONTINUES ON PAGE 23

EVENT SPOTLIGHT FRIDAY, FEB. 16

Don’t miss Halcyon live tonight at Eddie’s Attic, 7 p.m., 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur, GA 30030, www.facebook.com/ events/113032022583470 (Photo via Facebook)

www.thegeorgiavoice.com


TELL US ABOUT YOUR LGBTQ EVENT Submit your LGBTQ event for inclusion in our online and print calendars by emailing event info to editor@thegavoice.com

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22

MONDAY, FEB. 19

Trans and Friends is a youth-focused group for trans people, people questioning their own gender and aspiring allies, providing a facilitated space to discuss gender, relevant resources and activism around social issues. 7 – 8:30 p.m., Charis Books and More, 1189 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.charisbooksandmore.com Mark your calendars for Bleux Stockings Society, Volume 16: Secrets. The Bleux Stockings Society is a monthly live literature show featuring cis/trans women and non-binary people. Each performer gets 5-7 minutes to read their piece, 8:30 – 10:30 p.m., Highland Inn & Ballroom Lounge, 644 N. Highland Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30306, www.facebook.com/ events/155648251894365

TUESDAY, FEB. 20

At Girls Empowerment Month’s “Women and Girls Advocacy Day,” black women and girls throughout Georgia will spend a full day engaging in meaningful discussions about advocacy and issues impacting their lives. There will be several panels to choose from for women and the Social Justice Café for girls, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St., Room 230, Atlanta, GA 30334, www. facebook.com/events/155549748422410

SATURDAY, FEB. 24

Pull out those flannels, union suits, skull caps, squeeze into your signature tight jeans and expect a hot log jam full of furry chests and faces, hot daddies, bears and their cubs. It’s time to come and warm up with “woods” men at The ManShaft Lumberjack Edition. DJ Eric kicks off the action from 9 – 11:30 p.m., DJ Diablo Rojo continues at 11:30 p.m. and DJ Neon the Glowgobear finishes from 1:30 – 3 a.m., Heretic Atlanta, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324, www.facebook.com/ events/2078531675715460 (Photo via Facebook)

THURSDAY, FEB. 22

SAGE Atlanta’s bi-monthly meetings occur from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, today with a screening of the film “Brother Outside: The Life of Bayard Rustin,” Phillip Rush Center Annex, 1530 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.rushcenteratl.org

Woke Wednesdays features weekly conversations and advocacy on relevant reproductive justice causes being debated at the Capitol. 12:30 p.m., Georgia State Capitol, 100 Washington St., Atlanta, GA 30303, www.facebook.com/ events/1467710470022662

Queer Thursdays: A Movement Practice is a dance class based in structured improvisation, somatic practices and contemporary performance explorations. Come with an open heart and courage to sustain curiosity in your body. Queers, misfits and underdogs welcome, 7:30 p.m. WORK ROOM, 1514 Cleveland Ave., East Point, GA 30344, www.facebook. com/events/1604840606240368

On Wednesdays We Drag features the likes of Brigitte Bidet, Roman Black and Shavonna Brooks, 9 – 11 p.m., Heretic Atlanta, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324, www.facebook. com/events/1618525564871998

Theatrical Outfit opens Topher Payne’s award-winning “Perfect Arrangement,” 8 p.m. tonight running through March 18, The Balzer Theatre at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30303, www.theatricaloutfit.org

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 21

www.thegeorgiavoice.com

The drag event Glitz!Flight returns tonight, 10:30 p.m., Mary’s Atlanta, 1287 Glenwood Ave. S.E., Atlanta, GA 30316, www.facebook.com/ events/1322844297815430

FRIDAY, FEB. 23

The highly-acclaimed, Oscar nominated “A Fantastic Woman” — featuring transgender actress Daniela Vega — opens at the Midtown Art Cinema today, various showtimes, 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308, www.landmarktheatres.com Don’t miss performer Andrea Gibson at Terminal West tonight, 7 p.m., 887 W. Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318, www.facebook.com/ events/222487084954748 Exquisite Gender/ Pizazz Productions is a benefit for the Joan Garner/ Georgia Equality AIDSWatch Scholarship Initiative, 8 – 11 p.m. Out Front Theatre Company, 999 Brady Ave.

N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318, www.facebook. com/events/908619369314681

SATURDAY, FEB. 24

Beyoncé Queer Yoga features a customcurated playlist to match the movement of your body and inspiration drawn from Her Highness, the Queen Bey. Creating a safe space for queer humans of all body types, this donation-based drop-in class welcomes humans of all shapes, sizes, colors and identities, 9 – 10 a.m., Indigo Yoga Studio, 2033 Hosea L. Williams Drive N.E., Atlanta, GA 30317, www.facebook.com/ events/2078016795764909 The 8th Annual LGBTQ+ GSA Summit is a free event for LGBTQ young people and their parents, teachers and advisors looking to learn more! Every year, the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition hosts a free day of workshops, community resources, art, an amazing talent show and LGBTQ guests. 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Agnes

CONTINUES ON PAGE 24 February 16, 2018 Best Bets 23


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23 Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur, GA 30030, www.facebook.com/ events/321805465003175 At Leather and Lace ATL, drag queens and leathermen combine forces to entertain you for a night of fun. There will be live singing and great entertainment. 100 percent of tips and donations go to benefit Lost-n-Found Youth, 7 – 10 p.m., Atlanta Eagle, 306 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30308, www.facebook. com/events/187864598618037 Misti Shores, the reigning Miss Dixie and divine diva of drag, hosts Out Loud, an interactive game show-style drag show that takes “Family Feud” to a whole new level, 8 p.m., Out Front Theatre Company, 999 Brady Ave. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318, www.facebook.com/ events/521207728278472

SUNDAY, FEB. 25

Enjoy bubbles, mimosas, brunch bites and more at Midtown Brunchfest, 12:30 – 6 p.m., Park Tavern, 500 10th St. N.E.,

Atlanta, GA 30309, www.facebook.com/ events/1984820445110621 The sixth annual The Armory Reunion is today at Amsterdam Atlanta. Doors open at 2 p.m. with Armory memorabilia and food available from the menu. The official reception is at 3:30 p.m. with Armory music and jello shots, and the show starts at 5 p.m. Some of your favorite Armory faces will be performing such as Bubba Dee, Amber Divine, Nurse Holly and Tina Devore, Amsterdam Atlanta, 502 Amsterdam Ave. N.,E., Atlanta, GA 30306, www.facebook.com/ events/1782845955354256 Come out to celebrate The Phillip Rush Center’s 10-year anniversary, connect with organizations that call the Rush Center “home” and learn about a variety of 2018 volunteer opportunities.  3 – 6 p.m., 1530 DeKalb Ave., Suite A, Atlanta, GA 30307, www.facebook.com/ events/993636467453084

MONDAY, FEB. 26

Join advocates, directly impacted individuals and their family members and concerned

PROFESSIONAL DIRECTORY

citizens from around the state to promote criminal justice reform. You will have the opportunity to connect with other people who care, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Georgia Railroad Freight Depot, 65 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. S.E., Atlanta, GA 30312, www.facebook.com/events/130226354312244

TUESDAY, FEB. 27

Join the Rainbros Walk and Talk and meet folks in the community, 6 p.m., Piedmont Park, 14th Street entrance, www.facebook.com/ events/547415438956496

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28

The Atlanta Creative Panel Discussion: Black Creatives features photographer Chilly-O, healer Dr. Crystal Jones, YouTuber Tarek Ali, mixologist Tiffanie Barriere and agent Trévon Williams, 7 – 10 p.m., Post-Office Cowork, 86 Pryor St. S.W., Atlanta, GA 30303, www.facebook. com/events/918438501656827 Out On Film hosts a free screening of the acclaimed drama/musical “Saturday Church,” about a 14-year-old who runs away from home and encounters a vibrant

transgender community, who take him to “Saturday Church,” a program for LGBTQ youth. 7 p.m., Rush Center Annex, 1530 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.facebook. com/events/2065517763737848 The Race Conscious Parenting Collective is designed to support the ongoing development of white parents of white and multiracial children who are seeking to unlearn and dismantle white supremacy within their families, schools, neighborhoods and faith communities, 7:30 p.m. Charis Books and More, 1189 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.facebook.com/events/166800024077468

THURSDAY, MARCH 1

LGBTQ Lobby Day will provide a free training on how to educate state legislators on the issues facing LGBTQ Georgians and what to do to be part of the solution. Following the training, attendees will have an opportunity to talk one-on-one or as part of a group with their representative in the House and Senate, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St., Atlanta, GA 30334, www.facebook.com/ events/2074001586217977

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26 Columnists February 16, 2018

To the Winter Olympics haters If you are someone who has spent far too much energy these past few days criticizing the Winter Olympics, you can bow out of this article now. That’s because people like you irritate me. Why in the world would you complain about something you can simply turn the channel from? Even worse, why would you give others who love it such a hard time? For me, the Olympics is a testament to sacrifice and determination that surpasses any other sporting event. That’s because you have to beat out far more competitors to be world champion, and sometimes you have to do it on your own dime. Such is the case for alpine skier Wiley Maple. Following injury, he didn’t have an official spot on the U.S. ski team, so he paid his own way to World Cup races at a cost of around $30,000 to get his shot in South Korea. To make the extra money, he painted houses last summer and delivered food for a restaurant — not quite the sometimes exotic life of a top football or baseball player making their way to the top. Even while in Pyeongchang, he has to make sure his limited three pairs of skis stay in good condition since he doesn’t have access to the U.S. ski team “shop” that has staff to keep equipment intact. Then there are the unlikely heroes like the first person to win gold for the U.S. in South Korea. Seventeen-year-old Red Gerard took the top spot on the podium in the snowboarding slopestyle competition. Do I know anything about snowboarding slopestyle? Of course not, but how fun it was to see these X-Games competitors cut into the pow and tear down the rad course, bro. The commentators truly used some of those words. It’s those that are excited to be at the Olympics the most that I enjoy watching. The cutest of these is Maame Biney, the first black woman to qualify for a U.S. Olympic speedskating team. Unless she is

“When people tease about Olympics competition not being a ‘real sport,’ I challenge their own sports fandom.” in the middle of competition, that teenager has the biggest smile on her face and looks like she is having the time of her life. Makes sense, since on her Olympic profile page it says in high school she was known for being way too happy all of the time. Oh, and by the way, she wants to be a chemical engineer. Atta girl. That’s the other point of the Olympics I love. Many sports within these and the Summer Games have no lucrative professional opportunities for the athletes, so they have to look at life beyond these two weeks of glory they spent their whole lives working toward. So when people tease about Olympics competition not being a “real sport,” I challenge their own sports fandom. I contend you can’t be a fan of one sport without supporting the idea of all sports. And if you aren’t inspired to root for these Olympians based on their struggles to get there, or by historic moments like North and South Korea marching together in the Opening Ceremony, then you’ve missed the whole point of the Games. Melissa Carter is recognized as one of the first out radio personalities in Atlanta and has been heard over the years on B98.5 and Q100 and can currently be heard daily on the Progressive Voices podcast “She Persisted.” Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter. www.thegeorgiavoice.com


SOMETIMES ‘Y’ By RYAN LEE

Entering ‘the Life,’ after death While waves of celebrity deaths have washed across Hollywood the past few years, a new trend involving the bygone rich-andfamous has emerged at the dawn of 2018: gay ghosts. The surviving peers of deceased stars have been reminiscing about their old friends with fond indiscretion, proving the grave isn’t the airtight keeper of secrets as hyped. Lost in a quaint memory about how she met Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle seemed to forget she was on national television when she replied to a question from Bravo’s Andy Cohen about why Vandross stayed in the closet his entire public life. “It was basically, he did not want his mother to be — although she might have known — but he wasn’t going to come out and say this to the world,” LaBelle answered candidly. “And he had a lot of lady fans, and he told me that he just didn’t want to upset the world.” Few were surprised by LaBelle opening one of the most transparent closets in pop culture, but less were prepared for the fivealarm interview Quincy Jones gave to Vulture magazine, where the legendary producer burned down Hollywood closets as he described Marlon Brando as so mannish that, “He’d fuck a mailbox!” “He’d fuck anything. Anything!” Jones said. “James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye.” Brando’s romps with Baldwin and Pryor were unsurprising, and as for the mailbox, I’ve met few men who haven’t succumbed to the advances of a creviced inanimate object. But this was the first suggestion I’d heard about Marvin Gaye partaking in same-sex copulation, and some of my favorite love songs were keyed in newly flirtatious notes. It’s generally accepted that no one deserves to be outed as gay or bisexual unless that individual is working against LGBT equality, but there’s no consensus on revealing the homosexual experiences of the deceased. The reaction to LaBelle and Jones showed many instinctively believe spilling a friend’s secrets www.thegeorgiavoice.com

“Whether with deceasedcelebrity outings or our movement’s strategic de-emphasis of sexuality: at some point, who LGBT people sleep with has to matter, has to be relevant, otherwise centuries of oppression were endured and overcome for shits and giggles.” not only violates the outing code, but exposes a departed loved one to predatory gossiping. I’ve read sexual orientation is irrelevant for the deceased, both in response to the Jones interview, and in folks rationalizing why many obituaries for John Mahoney failed to note the actor who played Martin Crane on “Frasier” was openly gay. Whether with deceased-celebrity outings or our movement’s strategic de-emphasis of sexuality: at some point, who LGBT people sleep with has to matter, has to be relevant, otherwise centuries of oppression were endured and overcome for shits and giggles. “It was hard for him, it was hard,” LaBelle said about Vandross, whom she called “my best, best friend.” History must know that. Luther deserves that, as much as the love he was denied. People who think sexual fluidity or LGBT life are millenial fads need to know the smoothest icons of their youth were delighting in the activities they so abhor. Little gay boys should understand they can lead with the fierce swagger of Freddie Mercury, and it is natural for their hearts to pulse the emotions about which Luther sang. Ryan Lee is an Atlanta writer. February 16, 2018 Columnists 27


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02/16/18, Vol. 8 Issue 26  

Racism In Atlanta’s LGBTQ Community!!! Microscope on a movement, and beyond Burkhart's to where we go from here. In the news: Georgia Depart...

02/16/18, Vol. 8 Issue 26  

Racism In Atlanta’s LGBTQ Community!!! Microscope on a movement, and beyond Burkhart's to where we go from here. In the news: Georgia Depart...