IN THIS ISSUE OF GA VOICE
4 | Even if you take precautions, not disclosing your HIV status to your sex partners is a felony. Is that fair? 6 | Atlanta club with prominent politicians refuses to host gay wedding 8 | Ga. General Assembly weighs LGBT employment, anti-bullying bills 9 | HIV non-profit Positive Impact celebrates 20 years as clients share inspriational stories 10 | Atlanta rallies as U.S. Supreme Court hears Prop 8, DOMA cases 11 | BRIEFS: Homophobia in Ga. schools, HRC Atlanta to honor Joining Hearts, plus national headlines
12 | EDITORIAL: Westboro Baptist Church brings out the best in us
ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT 18 | THEATER
Photo by Dan Leveille/CC 3.0
By the NUMBERS
22 | CALENDAR
HOMOPHOBIA IN Ga. SCHOOLS FRIENDS & FOES IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Percent of LGBT students who regularly hear homophobic slurs
Percent of LGBT students physically harassed (pushed or shoved)
Percent of LGBT students assaulted (kicked, punched, injured with a weapon)
Percent who said their schools have gay-straight alliances
Percent who were taught positive portrayals of LGBT people, history or events
FOR MORE, SEE STORY ON PAGE 11 2011 School Climate Survey, released March 2013
“Ellen told me she was gay a long time ago, when she was 20. … But as she became more famous she wasn’t out publicly. I was afraid I would out her. I couldn’t join PFLAG until Ellen came out because it’d be, you know, what’s Ellen’s mother doing in PFLAG?!’’ — Betty Degeneres, 82, mother of Ellen Degeneres, in a recent interview in the Australian press. (The Daily Advertiser, March 26)
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.” — Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, responding at the company’s annual shareholder meeting to a stock owner who questioned whether the coffee chain was being hurt by its support for same-sex marriage. (NPR.org, March 20)
15 | Leather leader: gear for ATL Leather Pride 16 | BOOKS: Spring reads for your LGBT library 17 | SPORTS: HRC program for athletes runs through Atlanta as spring sports bloom 18 | THEATER: ‘Zorro,’ ‘Mary Poppins’ 19 | FOOD PORN: The greatest show on earth 20 | PHOTOS: AGMC’s ‘Big Wig,’ Big Gay Game Show, ‘Breaking Through’ at Atlanta Film Fest, Team Friendly’s ‘Drop the Soap’ 21 | BRIEFS: Michelle Shocked, Savannah gay couple on Bravo, summer party alert and more 22 | CALENDAR
“The issue before the country is, do we have a compelling interest in strengthening and supporting the durable, enduring and uniquely complementary and procreative union of a man and a woman? And by the way, the reason why is it’s better for children, and all the social science shows that.” — Faith & Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed, once a force in Georgia politics, defending “traditional marriage” in an NBC “Meet the Press” discussion of the impending Supreme Court marriage cases (RawStory.com, March 24)
“I think that would be a surprise to a lot of infertile heterosexual couples … That’s not the point of marriage. The point of marriage is love and commitment.” — Democratic strategist and lesbian mom Hilary Rosen, responding to Ralph Reed on “Meet the Press.” (RawStory.com, March 24)
37 | THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID: Melissa Carter surfs the crimson wave 27 | DOMESTICALLY DISTURBED: Topher Payne’s a friend of the court CORRECTION
A feature in the March 1, 2013, issue, “Same price, different style,” identified two properties as being listed with Common Ground Real Estate. The full name is Common Ground Real Estate Team at PalmerHouse Properties.
“You won’t go into the Final Four Atlanta orgy-of-gross-drunken-nasty-reveling without being warned by the faithful servants of WBC, with this core message... FAG MARRIAGE DOOMS NATIONS! — Westboro Baptist Church schedule for their upcoming Atlanta protest at the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament at the Gerogia Dome. (www.godhatesfags.com, March 25) See the editorial on Page 12.
4 | GA VOICE
Activists: State disclosure laws ‘heavy-handed,’ promote stigma By DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org Robert Suttle met the man through mutual friends. There was no romantic interest at ﬁrst, but on a New Year’s Eve after a night of partying in Louisiana, the two decided to spend the night together. One thing led to another. Suttle told the man he was HIV positive. “It made us hesitate because we didn’t have condoms,” Suttle said. But the two did have sex, and it would change Suttle’s life forever.
‘I WAS ARRESTED AT WORK’
Suttle, of Louisiana, was 24 when he decided to enlist in the Air Force. He went in for a physical and was told he was HIV positive. “I was not aware of HIV when I was diagnosed,” said Suttle, who now lives in Washington, D.C. “HIV was not in my life. I didn’t know anyone who had it. I didn’t understand the risk,” he said. But Suttle didn’t let the diagnosis slow him down. He graduated from college and got a job working in the legal ﬁeld in Shreveport. “I wanted to live. I had plans,” he said. On New Year’s Eve 2008, Suttle hung out with the man he had met through mutual friends.
HIV Criminalization: What You Need to Know April 23, 7-9 p.m. at The Phillip Rush Center 1530 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307
“We were out for a night on New Year’s Eve and we decided to go to his place; we decided to spend the night together. And we engaged in sex. It was not planned. It was just a casual experience like most gay men experience,” he said. Suttle said he informed him of his HIV status the ﬁrst night they were together and the two had a contentious relationship for about three months before it ended. He heard through the same mutual friends who introduced the two that his ex-boyfriend intended to press charges against him. Why? Because, according to the ex, Suttle did not inform him he was HIV positive before they had sex. “I was arrested at work,” Suttle remembered. He spent three days in jail before he bonded out. He was then sentenced to six months in jail under a Louisiana law that states it is illegal to “intentionally expose another to HIV through sexual contact or through any means or contact (including spitting, biting, stabbing with an HIV contaminated object, or throwing of blood or other bodily substances) without the knowing and lawful consent of the victim.” Suttle will be in Atlanta on April 23 to take
+ part in a town hall meeting on HIV criminalization laws organized by local HIV activist and journalist Mark King. King, who has been living with HIV more than 20 years, said he wants people people on both sides to come to the town hall. “Regardless of how you feel on topic, if you are infected or you have not always disclosed, you will get answers at this forum,” he said. “No matter what side of the fence people are on, if they want to press charges or know what their rights are, we have to meet people where they are. We don’t want people not disclosing. Please come and let your voice be heard.” Suttle and King are proponents of honestly disclosing one’s HIV status to a potential partner. HIV is still incurable and can be transmitted through sex. Gay men have the highest rates of new infections each year, especially black gay men. A decision to have sex should be made by people who have all the facts, Suttle said.
“I do sympathize with people who have contracted HIV, gay or straight. I once was that person, too,” said Suttle, who added he does not know he contracted HIV from. “I understand people’s pain and how they feel. But we have to take responsibility for ourselves and take our power back,” he added. “These are very complex and complicated issues. As my colleagues say, there is no right or wrong side of this issue, there is informed or uninformed. And we want people to be informed.”
TRACKING HIV PROSECUTIONS
Georgia has a similar statute to Louisiana. According to The Sero Project, a nonproﬁt with the mission that includes getting such laws repealed, Georgia also has one of the highest numbers of convictions in the nation. The Georgia law makes it a felony to have sex without disclosing you are HIV positive. It does not take into account whether the other partner asked about HIV status, whether a condom was used, the relative risk of the acts performed or whether the other partner contracted HIV. Because local district attorneys don’t compile HIV cases speciﬁcally and rather include them in groups such as felonies and misdemeanors, it’s very difﬁcult to get speciﬁc information on whether the convicted person was gay or straight and the details of the case. In 2005, however, in a high-proﬁle case in Georgia, Emory medical student Wayne Carriker was arrested and convicted of not disclosing his HIV status to three separate male partners. All three remained negative. Carriker pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years. Carriker is now an “ex-gay” working for a substance abuse and “sexual brokeness” Christian agency. The Fulton County’s District Attorney’s Ofﬁce states it has charged 35 people since 2005 with “reckless conduct related to HIV trans-
www.theGAVoice.com mission.” Many of the people had other charges, explained spokesperson Yvette Brown. Brown said the ofﬁce does not track sexual orientation of those charged. One person, who had no other charges included with his reckless conduct related to HIV transmission, had a non-negotiated plea and was sentenced to 10 years to serve two years. The longest sentence a person with no other charges besides the reckless conduct charge received was ﬁve years. Another person was sentenced to eight years to serve one. The USA and Canada lead the world in the number of prosecutions and convictions related to HIV transmission, with more than 300 convictions between them, according to a group named Criminalize Hate Not HIV.
‘THROWING DISEASED FAGS IN JAIL’
King, who writes the blog “My Fabulous Disease,” was on the front lines in the early 1980s when young men were contracting the virus and dying en masse. At that time, accesss to treatment was the rallying cry for AIDS activists. King said times have changed. There are 37 states, including Georgia, with criminal statutes on HIV transmission, according to Lambda Legal. They range from misdemeanors to felonies, from sentences of no more than three years to no more than 10 years, and many include ﬁnes that range from $2,500 to $10,000. “I really believe criminalization is the deﬁning HIV issue of our time,” King said. “We haven’t had to deal with something uncomfortable with HIV for awhile. Criminalization plays into our stigma and our fear and
GA VOICE | 5
GEORGIA LAW FROM GA. CODE ANN. § 16-5-60:
A person who is an HIV infected person who, after obtaining knowledge of being infected with HIV knowingly engages in sexual intercourse or performs or submits to any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another person and the HIV infected person does not disclose to the other person the fact of that infected person’s being an HIV infected person prior to that intercourse or sexual act … is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten years.
‘THERE IS A LOT OF SHAME’
When Suttle was released from jail, he was also sentenced to two years probation and found out from his probation ofﬁcer that he would have to register as a sex offender. As a registered sex offender in the U.S., Suttle, now 34, must send out notiﬁcations to any community he lives in to let them know. His driver’s license has “sex offender” stamped on it. Suttle said he was lost after getting out of jail. He didn’t know anything about what happened to him. So he went to the internet looking for answers and found an article about HIV criminalization laws. “It catapulted me to advocacy,” said Suttle, who is now the assistant director of The Sero Project. “If you understand any black gay men, or gay men … there is that question of why would you want to have sex with a man who is HIV positive. There is a lot of shame,” Suttle said. Suttle’s ex “was one of those people not wanting to deal with that issue,” he said. “When I disclose now, there are good and bad reactions. But in terms of the law, it doesn’t matter if you did disclose — how do you prove you did? That’s very unfortunate. And you have no credibility when you are accused,” Suttle said. Did the other man test positive? Suttle said he doesn’t know even after asking the prosecutor. In Louisiana, like Georgia, it doesn’t matter.
SUPPORT FOR CHANGE
Above: Robert Suttle,, 34, was charged with not disclosing he is HIV positive and sentenced to six month in a Louisiana jail. He is now a registered sex offender in the U.S. (Courtesy photo) Right: Atlanta activist Mark King is organizing an April 23 forum on HIV criminalization, which he says ‘feeds off our own stigma of gay men.’ (File photo)
“We all know somebody who is positive because someone lied to them. That is awful and arguably immoral. But is it criminal? I believe the answer is no.” I believe as those with HIV have gotten healthier, the social stigma of HIV has risen. Stigma is much, much worse,” he said. People on hookup sites often say they want a sex partner who is “drug and disease free” or are seeking “clean” people. “And there is so much shame about testing positive [today]. So when someone does test positive they are looking for someone to blame,” King added. “We all know somebody who is positive because someone lied to them. That is awful and arguably immoral. But is it criminal? I believe the answer is no. We all share responsibility,” he said. King rails against the “medical stupidity” of the laws and the variations in each state that has them, including Georgia where you can be prosecuted for wearing a condom and taking every precaution to ensure the partner is protected. “For conservative prosecutors, this is a
chance to throw some diseased fags in jail. They don’t believe we should be having sex at all,” he said. “This feeds off our own stigma of gay men.” Leslie Wolf is professor of law at Georgia State University’s College of Law and conducts research in HIV laws and policies. “In the beginning of the epidemic, there was lots of fear, stigma, discrimination and lots of public pressure to address the issues of intentional transmission of HIV,” she said. “More states adopted such laws because of the concern, ‘We have to do something.’ And as part of the Ryan White Act, Congress required states as a condition to receive federal funding to have a law on the books,” she added. That requirement ended in 2000. Wolf agrees with King that such laws make for bad public health policy because once someone learns of the laws, they are less likely to get tested — so they don’t know their HIV status and cannot be accused of intentional transmission. “When I talk to HIV testing counselors, many say one of the questions of those who test positive is, ‘Who do I talk to about pressing charges?’ Their ﬁrst reaction is not about treatment,” King said. “They’re prosecuting people wearing condoms. Medically speaking, they are ignorant laws and bad for public health. Who’s going to get tested if they run the risk of being arrested one day?” Wolf of GSU describes the statutes as “blaming through expression of law.” “If you look at statutes across the country, you can see how heavy-handed they are. That is about stigmatization,” she said. “We should be providing a safe place encourage disclosure.”
• In February, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS passed a resolution calling for an end to federal and state laws that criminalize or prosecute people based on HIV status, stating that “singling out HIV or any other health condition or disability as a basis for prosecution or sentence enhancement is unjust and unwarranted from legal, ethical, and public health perspectives.” • U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is author of the Repeal HIV Discrimination Act, to eliminate discrimination in the law for those who have tested positive for HIV. It was introduced in Congress in 2011.
NATIONAL PROBLEM? 37 STATES WITH HIV CRIMINALIZATION LAWS
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia , Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
6 | GA VOICE
Georgian Club refuses gay commitment ceremony Couple says club packed with politicos cited ‘conservative’ membership By DYANA BAGBY email@example.com After three years together, Thomas Brook and Manny Recinos knew it was time to tie the knot. They decided they would travel to a state where same-sex marriage is legal while also holding a ceremony and reception in their home state of Georgia. They searched online for an LGBT-friendly venue, located the Georgian Club in Cobb County, and met with the assistant manager to tour the facility on Feb. 19. They loved it. “The assistant general manager, Andrea Wilson, was very friendly and accommodating,” Brooks says. Brooks and Recinos were asked by Wilson to email her what they wanted for their ceremony — bar, catering — and she would draw up a proposal. They did and were eager to hear back. After several days passed, they tried repeatedly to contact Wilson. They say they were told several times she was unavailable. Eventually they were connected to her voicemail and left a message asking about their wedding proposal. Instead of hearing from Wilson, the couple received an email from Josh Laskowski, the general manager of the Georgian Club, on Feb. 26. Laskowski asked them to meet with him at the club. On March 1, when they arrived at the club, Laskowski was there to meet them as well as Anthony Mullins, chief operating ofﬁcer of the Futren Corporation, which manages the Georgian Club. “Anthony did all the talking,” Brooks said. “He said, ‘I don’t know if you know anything about this club, but it is very conservative’ and because of that the club would host the recep-
Manny Recinos and Thomas Brooks wanted to hold a commitment ceremony at the Georgian Club but were eventually denied. They say they were discriminated against by the private club. (Courtesy photo)
tion but not the wedding. “It was all very cordial,” Brooks said. But on March 8, Recinos received a voicemail from Mullins saying they would also not host the reception. In the voicemail, Mullins explains that a courtyard the couple was thinking of using could not be rented separately. He also said the club would not host their reception. “We’ve also thought about this reception a little bit more and I don’t think we’re going to be able to accommodate you guys with this ceremony and reception and we’d rather just pass on hosting your event,” Mullins said in the voicemail, provided to GA Voice. “I’m sure that’s disappointing to you but I would really want you to have a great time and with all the difﬁculties you’d have to go through to make this happen I wouldn’t want you guys putting your event at risk. I’m sorry we are not able to host your event and wish you guys good luck,” Mullins said. Laskowski from the Georgian Club declined to comment about the incident.
BOARD FILLED WITH GA. POLITICIANS
Brooks said he and Recinos were very disappointed. Curious, they decided to look more closely at the Georgian Club website and noticed the club’s board of directors included
such conservative stalwarts as Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. Isakson received a score of just 15 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s latest scorecard on LGBT issues. Olens criticized law ﬁrm King & Spalding for dropping its defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act for the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. The board also includes former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who stated his opposition to gay marriage in his last campaign. “It was a little bit of shock to us,” Brooks said. “I understand it’s a private club. But I think people should know.” Recinos and Brooks said they continue to search for a venue and they were discriminated against because they were a gay couple seeking to use the conservative club’s facilities. “The wedding is deﬁnitely still on. Hateful opinions of a few narrow-minded people do nothing to change our commitment to each other,” Brooks said. “We have begun the venue search again, and we hope to ﬁnd a venue that we love that also welcomes LGBT clients.”
CLUB LISTED ON LGBT-FRIENDLY WEBSITE?
Recinos and Brooks said they found out about the Georgian Club from www.gayweddings.com, a website that provides links to LGBT-friendly venues, photographers, ﬂorists and other vendors for a wedding ceremony for same-sex couples. Kathryn Hamm, president of gayweddings. com, said the Georgian Club was listed on weddingwire.com, a partner website. Weddingwire.com does not focus on LGBT-friendly vendors. “I’ve heard back from the team at WeddingWire and they were able to conﬁrm that they [the Georgian Club] do appear on WeddingWire and their account reﬂects that they are not listed on www.gayweddings.com. “And, unfortunately, we’re not able to track retroactively if the vendor has ever appeared in our directory so I can’t answer your question about when or if they appeared in our directory,” she added.
GEORGIAN CLUB BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CHAIR: Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson Isakson scored 15 out of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign’s most recent congressional scorecard on LGBT issues. He is outspoken in his opposition to same-sex marriage and voted in favor of a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman. VICE CHAIR: Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens In 2011, Olens blasted Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding for dropping its defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act for the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG). The group, led by Republican House Speaker John Boehner, stepped in to defend DOMA when President Obama’s administration refused. OTHER NOTABLE MEMBERS Gov. Roy Barnes: A Democrat, Barnes served as Georgia’s governor from 1999 to 2003, losing a second-term to Republican Sonny Perdue. When Barnes sought to be Georgia’s governor again in 2010, he said in an interview with the GA Voice that he supported the 2004 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Michael J. Coles: Entrepreneur who founded the Great American Cookie Company and former CEO of Caribou Coffee, Coles ran an unsuccessful campaign as a moderate Democrat against Newt Gingrich in 1996. He distanced himself from national Democrats and President Bill Clinton and shunned the “liberal” tag. In 1998, he lost a bid for U.S. Senate against Republican Paul Coverdell. Judge Lark Ingram: Appointed Cobb County Superior Court Judge in 1995 by Gov. Zell Miller. Charles R. Yates Jr.: Was elected chairman of the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta board of directors in 2008. In 2012, was the recipient of the 2012 Bransby Christian Leadership Award.
8 | GA VOICE
Ga. legislature honors LGBT band as session nears end Two hearings on pro-gay bills cited as progress for conservative Gold Dome
BILLS TO WATCH FOR IN 2014 When Georgia lawmakers reconvene in 2014, these LGBT bills introduced this year will be among those awaiting them: HB 12 & HB 24: HATE CRIMES Lead sponsor: Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) > Similar to HB 119, these hate crime measures were prefiled in late 2012 but saw no action in the 2013 session. HB 119: HATE CRIMES Lead sponsor: Rep. Pedro Marin (D-Duluth) Introduced: Jan. 28 Status: Received second-reading on Jan. 30; no further official action > Also sponsored by openly gay Reps. Keisha Waites and Simone Bell, this bill would amend Georgia’s previous hate crime law — which was ruled unconstitutionally vague by the State Supreme Court — to replace the crimes based on “bias or prejudice” with specific categories of “the victim’s race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.”
By LAURA DOUGLAS-BROWN & DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org As the Georgia General Assembly prepared to adjourn its annual 40-day session, the only speciﬁcally LGBT bill to pass was a resolution honoring the Atlanta Freedom Bands — and even that caused controversy. Introduced by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), one of three openly gay members of the General Assembly, the resolution was similar to those routinely passed every day to honor an organization or individual, with one exception. “This bill had LGBT in there … I thought it was really innocuous,” Drenner said. “I worked on it to make it palatable for everybody and I removed everything that could be deemed to be inﬂammatory except LGBT.” Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) initially blocked the resolution March 21, although it won approval by the House March 22. Drenner told GA Voice it is the ﬁrst resolution she has passed with the words “gay” and “LGBT” in it since she took ofﬁce in 2001. “It is a small victory of sorts,” she said, quipping that “ many thought it was a gateway bill to same-sex marriage.” At press time March 26, the ﬁnal day of the annual legislative session was slated for Thursday, March 28. It is typically a marathon of lastminute activity as lawmakers try to move pet projects by amending them onto other bills, so please visit our website, www.thegavoice.com, for late-breaking developments. If the legislature adjourns as scheduled without any unexpected attacks on LGBT rights, it will have been a relatively quiet but still useful session on LGBT issues, according to Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the statewide gay political group. “Obviously, the legislature continues to struggle with how to address issues of concern to Georgia’s LGBT community,” Graham said. But while no major bills to advance gay rights were passed, openly gay state Reps. Karla Drenner, Simone Bell and Keisha Waites introduced measures that Georgia Equality hopes will start conversations to pave the way for progress. “There were a number of bills introduced that would extend employment protections, pro-
State Rep. Karla Drenner offered impassioned testimony March 21 for her bill to protect state employees from job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
vide a safer environment in schools and address hate crimes,” Graham said. “Hearings were held on two of those bills (HB 427 and HB 429). “While neither bill moved from committee, this is also the ﬁrst time that we have had two hearings on pro-LGBT bills during the same session,” he said.
HEARINGS FOR TWO LGBT BILLS
HB 427, sponsored by Drenner, has been dubbed the Fair Employment Practices Act. Introduced originally in 2011 and back this year with 67 co-sponsors (including 11 Republicans and one independent), it would prevent state employees from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill received an informational hearing March before a subcommittee of the House Industry and Labor Committee. No vote was taken, but Drenner offered an impassioned appeal to patriotism to urge her colleagues to advance the measure. “I am a loyal American and I believe
HB 427: FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES ACT Lead sponsor: Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale) Introduced: Feb. 20 Status: Received a subcommittee hearing March 21, remains in the House Industry & Labor Committee > Sponsored by Georgia’s first openly gay state lawmaker, HB 427 would prohibit employment discrimination against state employees (not employees of private wholeheartedly in liberty and justice for all,” Drenner said at the hearing. The bill, she testiﬁed, “is a stand for freedom, a stand for liberty and justice for all Georgians, not liberty and justice for some Georgians.” Waites, a co-sponsor of the bill, told lawmakers it is “very personal” for her. “I’m simply here to ask you as a member and colleague to support this legislation,” she said. “We don’t ask you to condone a lifestyle. But ﬁre someone because they are incompetent, because of absenteeism. Not because you don’t agree with their personal decisions in life.” Waites testiﬁed at the Fair Employment Practices Act hearing a day after speaking at a hearing for her own HB 429, which would improve reporting of school bullying. The bill does not speciﬁcally address sexual orientation, but LGBT students are disproportionately bullied at school. The March 20 hearing before a House Education subcommittee drew questions but no vote. “It is my belief that unhealthy children
companies) based on sexual orientation, which the bill defines to include gender identity. HB 429: SCHOOL BULLYING Lead sponsor: Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) Introduced: Feb. 20 Status: Received a subcomittee hearing March 20, remains in the House Education Committee > This bill would require principals to report bullying incidents to their school councils and require local school boards to report bullying incidents annually to the state. It would also make students in grades 6-12 who commit three bullying offenses in one year guildty of a misdemeanor. HB 456: STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP ORGANIZATIONS Lead sponsor: Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) Introduced: Feb. 22 Status: Received a second reading Feb. 26, but no further action > This bill would change rules governing student scholarship organizations that allow taxpayers to earmark part of their state taxes to fund private school scholarships. It would specify that eligible schools can’t discriminate in hiring or admissions based on a number of categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The issue drew attention from House Democrats after a study by the Southeastern Education Foundation found at least 115 private schools participating in Georgia’s tax-funded scholarship program have explicit, severe anti-gay policies or belong to private school associations that promote anti-gay policies and practices among their members. become unhealthy adults,” Waites told the subcommittee. “When it’s harassment based on sex or race, we can do something about that. But when it comes to other issues, such as obesity, sexual orientation, there is no law or state policy that protects our students.” Because 2013 was the start of the Georgia General Assembly’s two-year cycle, bills that were introduced this year will remain pending for the 2014 session. This year’s hearings will be important for next year, according to Georgia Equality’s Graham. “While we did not have action, we are in a position that is stronger than the past as we head into next year,” he said. “That gives us several months to work with our supporters to have the one-on-one meetings with their legislators that are most effective in gaining support.” Noted Graham, “it sets a good stage to have these conversations over the summer so we can take quick action in January.” — Ryan Watkins contributed
GA VOICE | 9
HIV, substance abuse and hope Positive Impact 20th anniversary
Positive Impact marks 20 years of ﬁghting HIV through mental health
POSITIVE IMPACT RESTAURANT WEEK
By LAURA DOUGLAS-BROWN email@example.com The list of drugs David Bedsole has abused reads like a greatest hits of the gay club scene: Ecstasy, GHB and crystal meth. Bedsole, age 50, says drugs became a problem for him not even three years ago, in August 2010, but it didn’t take long before his life came apart. “Meth brought me to my knees,” he admits. For James Carmichael, age 42 and also gay, the struggle with substance abuse began much earlier, at only 17. After abusing heroin, cocaine and crack, he hit rock bottom. “[I was] losing myself spiritually, mentally, [facing] homelessness and wanting to live a better way of life,” he says. Pearl, a 29-year-old transgender woman who did not want her full name used, dates her problems with marijuana back to 2000. She, too, found herself at a turning point. In addition to struggling with substance abuse, Bedsole, Carmichael and Pearl are all HIV-positive. And all three found help and hope at Positive Impact, the HIV mental health agency celebrating its 20th anniversary with a week of events in April. Founded in 1993, Positive Impact served 135 clients in its ﬁrst year. Last year, it served more than 5,500. The agency launched its substance abuse treatment program after achieving state licensure in December 2008. Leaders felt they needed to ﬁll the void left by the closure of Our Common Welfare, which was the area’s only drug treatment program speciﬁcally focused on people with HIV. Called simply IMPACT, the program is licensed by the state to provide intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment. It compliments Positive Impact’s host of other services, which include counseling for individuals and groups; psychiatric services, free HIV testing; education and empowerment programs; the MISTER Center, a drop-in center for gay and bisexual men; and more.
‘HIV IS A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE’
While the IMPACT program is relatively new, it ﬁts with the philosophy that has shaped Positive Impact for two decades: Fighting the HIV epidemic takes more than simply telling people to use condoms. “We take the viewpoint that HIV is a mental health issue,” said Michael Baker, director of advancement for the agency. “If it was just about condoms, the epidemic would be over.”
Monday, April 1:
Dinner at Einstein’s on Juniper
Tuesday, April 2:
Lunch at Highland Bakery (Midtown location only) Lunch and dinner at Steamhouse Lounge
Wednesday, April 3: Lunch and dinner at F.R.O.G.S. Cantina
A Positive Impact client meets with a counselor. The agency, celebrating its 20th anniversary, focuses on mental health for those impacted by HIV. (Photo by SOOP Productions)
Paul Plate, Positive Impact’s founding and current executive director, has seen the issues play out throughout his 20 years with the agency. “We know that people don’t show up with HIV as their only presenting issue,” he said. “They have a lifetime worth of stuff, and if you only look at HIV — not violence, stigmatization, depression, abuse, substance abuse — they won’t be able to take care of themselves moving forward.” Substance abuse is often a factor in people becoming HIV-positive. “My drug use played the major role in me contracting HIV,” Bedsole said. Drug abuse can also have a huge impact on whether people with HIV take care of themselves to remain healthy, and whether they pass on the virus to others, since those with lower viral loads are less likely to transmit HIV. But keeping up with complicated HIV treatment is especially difﬁcult when also coping with addiction. “It was hard to take meds regularly,” Pearl said.
‘WE BELIEVE IN THEM’
Moneta Sinclair, clinical director of addiction services for Positive Impact, created the IMPACT program. She speaks of the program and clients with a mixture of clinical expertise and the love of a proud parent. The key to IMPACT, Sinclair stressed, is the inclusion of mental health services. Clients meet regularly with their therapists, and they are able to continue those meetings even if they relapse — which may help them decide to come back to treatment. “I think substance abuse treatment focused just on drug use and relapse prevention — just not doing it — isn’t enough,” she said. “I be-
lieve, and other therapists believe, that you have to get to the core of where it comes from to give them inspiration to stop using drugs and effectively process their emotions.” Sinclair also believes strongly in the need for substance abuse programs speciﬁcally for people who are HIV positive. “For a lot of them, there is a lot of stigma and shame around being HIV positive, and a lot became positive because of their behavior and drug abuse,” she said. “So being able to talk about that in a group arena without having to be afraid of people’s judgment is important.” Bedsole agrees that the program provides more than simply drug treatment, noting that he is learning “tools to becoming a better person as well as tools to help make me stay clean.” Asked what he has learned in the program that will help most moving forward, Carmichael replied, “how to begin to love myself so that I can be a more positive individual.”
‘THEY ARE IMPORTANT’
Positive Impact has a week of events planned to mark its 20th anniversary, including a Restaurant Week April 1-7, the annual gala fundraiser Party with Impact on April 4, and an open house at the MISTER Center and Willy Wonka-themed party at Jungle on April 6. But sandwiched between the Thursday night gala and Saturday’s more nightlife-oriented “Golden Ticket” party is a private event that may have even more, well, impact on those who attend. On April 5, Positive Impact will host a private recognition ceremony at the Georgian Terrace to honor those reaching key milestones in the IMPACT program. For some attendees, it may be the ﬁrst time they have ever been recognized for doing something good, Sinclair says.
Thursday, April 4:
Dinner at Zapata (Historic Norcross)
Friday, April 5:
Dinner at Fifth Ivory
Saturday, April 6:
Dinner at Radial Café
Sunday, April 7:
Brunch at 10th & Piedmont
OTHER ANNIVERSARY EVENTS Party with Impact (SOLD OUT) Thursday, April 4, 6-10 p.m. at The Wimbish House MISTER Center Open House Saturday, April 6, 4-6 p.m. Golden Ticket Party Saturday, April 6, 9 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta • DJ Diablo Rojo and DJ Vicki Powell • First 100 to attend MISTER open house get “golden ticket” for free admission at Jungle “If there is just one thing I want people to know, it is to not give up on these people,” she says. “They have gone through a lot of struggles, and due to their behavior, they often end up with limited support, so it is just letting them know they are important.” One of those honored will be Precious, a 49-year-old transgender woman whose story can give hope to Bedsole, Carmichael and Pearl, who are still working through the program. Precious began smoking crack cocaine in 1990 after her mother died. She acknowledges she was “sleeping with anything and everything” and probably would not have become HIV positive if she had not been on drugs. She was homeless and stopped going to the doctor. But after four months in IMPACT, Precious has a message for others facing similar struggles: “You may relapse, but don’t go out and stay out — it may be a life or death situation,” she said. “Positive Impact was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. It gave me tools to say no.”
10 | GA VOICE
Photos by Ryan Watkins
Supreme Court hears marriage arguments
Protesters rally at Georgia Capitol ahead of marriage hearings By RYAN WATKINS firstname.lastname@example.org More than 100 demonstrators braved chilly temperatures Monday, March 25, at the Georgia State Capitol to call on the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. The “Testify to Love: Light the Way to Justice” rally was held just one day before the court heard arguments on Prop 8 and two days before the court was scheduled to hear arguments on DOMA, the 1996 law that forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. The rally was organized by Branden Mattox from Love Under Fire and Miko Evans of Meak Productions. It featured several guest speakers, including Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham, Rev. James Brewer-Calvert of First Christian Church of Decatur, Senior Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church Rev. Dennis Meredith and Rev. Paul Turner from Gentle Spirit Christian Church. For more photos, visit www.thegavoice.com
Prop 8, Defense of Marriage Act brought before the court By CHRIS JOHNSON The atmosphere at the U.S. Supreme Court was tense March 26 as justices hammered attorneys with tough questions on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 — with a particular emphasis on inquiries about standing. The Prop 8 case was the ﬁrst of two back-toback Supreme Court hearings that could shape marriage equality in the country for years to come. GA Voice went to press before the March 27 hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act, so please visit www.thegavoice.com for complete coverage. Within moments of the opening of the oral arguments in the Prop 8 case, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, justices interrupted both Charles Cooper, who is arguing in favor of Prop 8, and Ted Olson, who is arguing against it on behalf of two plaintiff gay couples, with questions about standing. The California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2008, but the November 2008 ballot measure known as Prop 8 amended the state constitution to halt gay couples marrying. Anti-gay groups, such as ProtectMarriage. com, are defending Prop 8 in court because California ofﬁcials — Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris — have elected not to do so. Whether these groups have standing to defend the law is a question posed by the court. Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, disputed the notion that anti-gay groups have standing in the Prop 8 case because they are not elected ofﬁcials. “Because you’re not an ofﬁcer of the State of California, you don’t have a ﬁduciary duty to the State of California, you’re not bound by the ethical standards of an ofﬁcer of the State of California to represent the State of California, you could have conﬂicts of interest,” Olson said. “And as I said, you could be incurring enormous legal fees on behalf of the state when the state hasn’t decided to go that route.” The issue of standing is seen as crucial because if the court determines that anti-gay groups don’t have standing to defend Prop 8, the ruling of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker would remain in place and marriage rights for same-sex couples would likely be restored in California. Justices known for being conservative hinted at the way they may rule in the case. Alito, appointed by former President George W. Bush, cautioned against a ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, which he said is “newer than cell phones and the Internet.” “There isn’t a lot of data about its effect,” Alito said. “It may turn out to be a good thing.
Supporters of gay marriage rallied outside of the Supreme Court March 26. (Photo by Michael Patrick Key / Washington Blade)
For complete coverage of the Supreme Court hearings on Prop 8 and DOMA, visit www.thegavoice.com It may turn out not to be a good thing.” Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, an appointee of former President Reagan who’s considered a swing vote, acknowledged that sociological information on the issue is new, but said children who are currently living with same-sex parents are suffering “legal injury” as a result of Prop 8. “There is an immediate legal injury or legal — what could be a legal injury, and that’s the voice of these children,” Kennedy said. “There are some 40,000 children in California … that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status.” Chief Justice John Roberts, another Bush appointee, made comments in an exchange with Olson suggesting he doesn’t believe gay couples have a right to marry. “I’m not sure that it’s right to view this as excluding a particular group,” Roberts said. “When the institution of marriage developed historically, people didn’t get around and say let’s have this institution, but let’s keep out homosexuals. The institution developed to serve purposes that, by their nature, didn’t include homosexual couples.” When Olson pointed out that gay couples had the right to marry before Prop 8 was passed, Roberts responded by saying that it was only 140 days after the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Roberts then asked Olson whether it’s more reasonable to view the situation as the state
Gay rights activists, opponents face off outside Supreme Court Supporters and opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26 as the justices heard oral arguments in a case that challenges California’s Proposition 8. As same-sex marriage supporters spoke outside the Supreme Court, an estimated 2,000 opponents of nuptials for gays and lesbians marched onto First Street, N.E. Some held a large banner that read “Let the people decide,” while others waved signs that said “Vote for holy matrimony” and “Children do better with a mom and a dad!” in Spanish. Backers of nuptials for gays and lesbians gathered adjacent to the marchers and shouted slogans in support of the issue. Several held American, Gay Pride and Human Rights Campaign flags as they squared off against the protesters. Those who spoke at a rally of same-sex marriage opponents included National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance; Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse; American Values President Gary Bauer; New York State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr.; and Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition. — MICHAEL K. LAVERS court making a change to an institution that’s “been around since time immemorial.” “The California Supreme Court, like this Supreme Court, decides what the law is,” Olson replied. “The California Supreme Court decided that the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of that California Constitution did not permit excluding gays and lesbians from the right to get married.” A decision in the case is expected by the end of June.
NEWSIN BRIEF Photo by Dyana Bagby
Bias in Ga. schools; more national support for same-sex couples SURVEY FINDS PERVASIVE HOMOPHOBIA IN GA. SCHOOLS
HRC DINNER TO HONOR JOINING HEARTS, EMORY LEADER
At this year’s Human Rights Campaign Atlanta Dinner, the Leon Allen & Winston Johnson Community Service Award will go to Michael Shutt, director of Emory University’s Ofﬁce of LGBT Life. The Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award goes to Joining Hearts, which raises funds to help people with HIV with housing needs. The organization is best known for its annual Joining Hearts pool party at Piedmont Park. The 2013 dinner, which raises funds for HRC’s national work on LGBT rights, is set for May 4 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Atlanta. More @ www.thegavoice.com
ATLANTA GAY RABBI AMONG NATION’S ‘MOST INSPIRING’
Rabbi Joshua Lesser from Atlanta’s Congregation Bet Haverim was named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one of America’s “most inspiring” rabbis alongside 35 other Jewish spiritual leaders. Lesser is openly gay. Congregation Bet Haverim was founded by lesbians and gays and is now home to a diverse Reconstructionist community. More @ www.thegavoice.com.
Around the nation HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SENATORS JOIN CALL FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
As the Supreme Court hearings on samesex marriage neared, the cause gained three new high-proﬁle supporters. Former Secretary
RABBI JOSHUA LESSER
The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network released a “snapshot” this month of what life is like for LGBT students in Georgia schools, and it’s not a pretty picture. Some 92 percent of Georgia middle and high school students surveyed reported “regularly” hearing homophobic slurs like “fag,” while more than 40 percent said they had been physically harrassd. The data was drawn from GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey, which questioned 8,584 students from all states and the District of Columbia. The survey is conducted every two years. For more details, see By the Numbers on Page 3 and www.thegavoice.com
of State Hillary Clinton announced March 18 her belief in marriage equality “personally, and as a matter of policy and law.” U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced his support March 15, becoming the highest-ranking Republican to speak out for same-sex marriage; he was motivated by his son coming out. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). announced her support March 24. Via www.politico.com
CIVIL UNIONS BECOME LAW IN COLORADO
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law March 21 a bill creating civil unions for same-sex couples. The law, which goes into effect May 1, awards many of the rights of marriage under state law. The lead sponsor was Sen. Pat Steadman, a gay Denver Democrat who lost his partner to pancreatic cancer last year. Via the Denver Post
NEW MEXICO CITY DECLARES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LEGAL
Santa Fe Mayor David Coss held a press conference March 19 to announce his belief that same-sex marriage is already legal in New Mexico, which does not have a law speciﬁcally prohibiting it. Coss, whose daughter is a lesbian, called on county clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Also in New Mexico, two lesbian couples ﬁled a federal lawsuit March 21 seeking marriage equality. Via Advocate.com and Reuters.com
GA VOICE | 11
12 | GA VOICE
THE GEORGIA VOICE
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GA VOICES OUR OPINION EDITORIAL
The worst of the anti-gay haters always brings out the best in us By LAURA DOUGLAS-BROWN email@example.com Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church is coming to town, and I couldn’t be happier. The “God Hates Fags” clan from Topeka, Kan., has announced plans to be in Atlanta for two days in April to protest targets ranging from the NCAA Basketball “Final Four” at the Georgia Dome on April 6 to three congregations — Creﬂo Dollar’s World Changers Church International in Atlanta, Beulah Missionary Baptist Church in Decatur, and Basilica of The Sacred Heart of Jesus in Atlanta — April 7. “You won’t go into the Final Four Atlanta orgy-of-gross-drunken-nasty-reveling without being warned by the faithful servants of WBC, with this core message, timely and topical at this hour: Fag marriage dooms nations,” the pseudo-church warns on its website. You can read more about Westboro’s justiﬁcations for the new Atlanta protests at our website, www.thegavoice.com, but they all add up to the same as usual: “God will not have fag marriage.” That these events have nothing to do with LGBT equality doesn’t matter, as Westboro’s quest is mainly about media attention, so they pick high-proﬁle events regardless of relevancy. Up until three years ago, I would have advocated a strategy of simply not giving it to them. I thought we should treat the Westboro idiots like misbehaving children who thrive on negative attention: ignore them. Many people in our community still favor this approach, and I can understand why. So why am I happy now that Westboro is coming? Because of a hot day in May 2010, when Westboro came to Grady High School. Grady High is an Atlanta institution. I grew up hearing my father’s stories about walking to school there. Westboro targeted Grady for the group’s standard absurd reasons. Grady is a “typical high school in doomed America where the children since the time they were old enough to know anything were told that God is a liar,” Fred’s daughter, Rebecca
Westboro Baptist Church targeted Atlanta’s Grady High School in 2010, drawing a massive counter-protest. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
Phelps-Davis, told GA Voice at the time. “Because they’ve been taught that it’s OK to be gay and that God loves everyone,” she said. “They have no moral compass to guide them.” Straight student Becca Daniels organized the counter-protest of students and community members that drew hundreds to drown out Westboro’s handful of hate-mongers. “In 1998, my uncle died of AIDS and this was to honor his life and death,” Daniels said at the time. “We wanted to let them know that hate was not going to come into our neighborhood and we were going to take a stand against it.” It’s not that I hadn’t seen protests and counter-protests like this before. But the fact that young people, including straight young people, organized the Grady effort moved me deeply. I brought my own young daughters to see what kids not much older than they are could accomplish, and to show them that even if they encounter anti-gay bias, people who love will always outnumber those who hate. It was impossible to leave Grady that day and not know which side will win in the battle for LGBT equality.
with massive wings they unfurl to block the Westboro protesters from view. “Love, respect and compassion for everyone is why we are here today. I could no longer sit idly by and watch others bring forth messages that were nothing more than vindictive and hate-ﬁlled,” Patterson said in an April 1999 press release, distributed the ﬁrst time the angels appeared. And in 2003, when the Phelps clan started targeting funerals of American soldiers killed in action (because they defend the Fag Nation of America, of course), the Patriot Guard Riders formed to make sure families of dead soldiers would see supporters waving American ﬂags, not the Phelps crew. “The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares,” Don Woodrick, the group’s Kentucky captain, told Fox News back in 2006. “When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a ﬂag, that makes a powerful statement.” Angel actions now frequently take place in cities targeted by Westboro, and the Patriot Guard has traveled to wherever it is needed.
The Westboro haters actually have a history of bringing out the best in those they target. It started in earnest back in 1999, after Westboro moved into national prominence by latching onto the 1998 hate-crime death of gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard. With signs like “Fag Matt in Hell,” Westboro protested Shepard’s funeral. But when the clan announced plans to also protest the 1999 trials of his killers, Romaine Patterson, a friend of Shepard’s, had had enough. She organized the very ﬁrst “Angel Action” — counter-protesters wearing angel costumes
The targets Westboro has chosen for its latest Atlanta visit are pretty random, so they may not inspire counter-protests on the scale of Grady High. No speciﬁc plans had been announced by press time, although PFLAG Atlanta said on Facebook its members would be part of a response. But whatever the counter protest, large or small, it will remind us that regardless of our differences, we share a common enemy in extremism and a common cause — and path to equality — in the ability to love openly. Welcome to Atlanta, Westboro. We’re still too busy to hate.
14 | GA VOICE
R E ATH
R E D A LE
y d d a d ear g e h T TL A r o f needs r Pride e Leath
tlanta Leather Pride heats up the Atlanta Eagle’s 26th anniversary in April, featuring BDSM and fetish demos, an afternoon barbecue and a leather brunch. The highlight of the weekend is the Mr. and Ms. Atlanta Eagle 2013 contest, set for April 13. As Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2012 Jeff Donaldson prepares to step down, we asked him about the meaning and cost of some of his favorite leather items. Also stepping down is Ms. Atlanta Eagle 2012 Jackie Hubschman. — Dyana Bagby
Atlanta Leather Pride April 12-14 Atlanta Eagle www.atlantaeagle.com FRIDAY, APRIL 12 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. Leather Pride Kickoff w/ BDSM & fetish demos by local clubs. DJ Nat. SATURDAY, APRIL 13 4 - 6 p.m. Leather BBQ 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Contestants’ and judges’ private cocktail reception 8 - 9:30 p.m. Mr./Ms. Atlanta Eagle Contest Bar wear • Fetish wear • Play wear/Q&A 10 p.m. - 3 a.m. “SWEAT” Mr./Ms. Atlanta Eagle Victory Party with DJ Pat Scott. SUNDAY, APRIL 14 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Leather Brunch at Roxx Tavern
Hat. It may be a hat, but in the leather community it’s known as a cover. Donaldson purchased his about six years ago from Mr. S, “the premiere leather shop in the nation.” Dominant men guys wear them. “They give you a more daddy look,” he says. When a leatherman achieves the title of Sir, he is presented a new cover by his leather family in a ceremony. $80.
Gloves. Purchased about 15 years ago in San Francisco at a police uniform shop and made by Hatch, they are made of a thin leather that allows policemen to conduct searches without removing their gloves. “You put a glove on a man’s face and he just melts. I’ve had some good times with these gloves.” $25
Pants. Custom-made by former Atlanta artist Thomas Gold, they include a sewn quilt pattern on the sides. “I know these pants are oneof-a-kind. I’m very proud of these pants,” Donaldson says. $350.
Boots. Purchased secondhand from an ex-Marine for $16, but Corcoran brand boots, used by the military, typically run about $130 for a new pair. And they must always have a high shine.
Photo by Dyana Bagby
16 | GA VOICE
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
BOOKS BY GREgg SHAPIRO
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New LGBT books to stock your shelves Looking for something to read for spring break, or if the weather remains too chilly or rainy to play outside? Check out these new works from LGBT authors and allies.
POETRY IN MOTION
APRIL 2-7 • FOX THEATRE Groups Call (404) 881-2000
• Multi-award winning lesbian poet Maureen Seaton’s eighth solo poetry collection “Fibonacci Batman: New and Selected Poems” (Carnegie Mellon, 2013) draws on six of her full-length books (including Iowa Prize and Lambda Literary Award-winning “Furious Cooking”). Comprised of more than 60 poems, the book gives readers a ﬁrsthand look at the ongoing evolution of Seaton’s work. • Queer publisher A Midsummer Night’s Press has two new titles available for the season. Gay poet, editor and educator David Bergman’s “Fortunate Light” (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013), part of the press’s Body Language series, pulsates with sexuality. “Deleted Names” (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013) is by Lawrence Schimel, the press’s proliﬁc publisher.
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• Consisting of interviews with queer youth, as well as essays by the author, “In A Queer Voice: Journeys of Resilience from Adolescence to Adulthood” (Temple University Press, 2013) by Michael Sadowski chronicles an unheard community and provides some of them with a forum in which to speak their minds. • Author and ﬁlm expert B. Ruby Rich, the woman behind the term New Queer Cinema, revisits the subject in the ﬁttingly titled “New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut” (Duke University Press, 2013). In it she writes about LGBT ﬁlm festivals, what makes a “good gay ﬁlm,” analyzes queer ﬁlmmakers (including Todd Haynes, Jonathan Caouette, Gregg Araki and Gus Van Sant) and examines ﬁlms such as “Go Fish,” “The Watermelon Woman,” “Itty Bitty Titty Committee” and “Brokeback Mountain.” • In the new edition of “Inside The Vortex” (justinhernandez.net, 2013), Naked In New York City blogger Justin Hernandez reﬂects on his personal journey from actor/ dancer to stripper/sex worker. From “Drinking the Kool-Aid” to “Coming Clean,” Hernan-
dez frankly tells his story, sharing what he learned so that we may also learn something from his experience. • Straight ally and outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage and parenting Anne Lamott co-authored “Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son” (Riverhead, 2012/2013) with her son, San Francisco-based Sam Lamott. • Australian feminist/queer theorist Annamarie Jagose gets up close and personal with the illustrious and elusive orgasm in “Orgasmology” (Duke University Press, 2013). Jagose elevates the material beyond sex and sexual orientation, venturing into “agency, ethics, intimacy, modernity” and more.
• Published last year, “A Horse Named Sorrow” (Terrace Books, 2012) by award-winning gay novelist Trebor Healey is a ﬁnalist for a Lambda Literary Award, to be presented in June 2013. It’s not too late to read this acclaimed novel, set in San Francisco in the 1980s and `90s. • “Sister Spit superstar” Ali Liebegott’s latest novel “Cha-Ching!” (City Lights/Sister Spit, 2013) is set in the 1990s, following “downon-her-luck queer girl” Theo’s relocation from San Francisco to Brooklyn, where her new circle of friends includes her roommate, her girlfriend and a rescued Pit Bull named Cary Grant. • William Klaber’s debut novel “The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell” (Greenleaf Book Group, 2013), is a ﬁctionalized memoir based on the true life story of pioneering American lesbian Lucy Lobdell. Lobdell, who, beginning in 1855, lived her life dressed as a man, even managed to have what well have been the ﬁrst same sex marriage when she wed Marie Louise Perry in Klaber’s ﬁctional telling. • Can’t get enough queer historical ﬁction? Consider “Fortune’s Bastard” or “Love’s Pains Recounted” (Chelsea Station Editions, 2013) by Gil Cole. Cole’s novel tells the tale of young Antonio, who in an effort to escape Renaissance Florence’s “religious hysteria” sets sail on the Mediterranean and encounters a series of adventures, including the opportunity to pursue his desires for other men.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
SPORTS BY RYAN WATKINS
The race toward equality Human Rights Campaign program for athletes runs through Atlanta The sports world is still waiting for the ﬁrst out professional gay male athlete, despite much poking and prodding from gay and lesbian sports fans. Women’s professional sports have featured several openly lesbian and bisexual athletes, from soccer star Megan Rapinoe to women’s basketball icon Sheryl Swoopes. But gay men, especially in the country’s ﬁve largest sporting leagues — National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Football League, Major League Soccer and National Hockey League — have been reluctant to come out of the closet during their careers. Sure, there are some high-proﬁle allies, like NFL players Chris Kluwe and Brandon Ayanbadejo, but we’re still waiting for an open, active professional male athlete. The Human Rights Campaign hopes to change the environment in which players can come out with a new campaign called Athletes for Equality, which engages LGBT and straight athletes while raising money for the national LGBT rights organization. Tommy Lodge, an Athletes for Equality organizer for HRC, says that the program began as a Washington D.C.-based fundraising effort but has expanded to other areas, including here in Atlanta. “[The program] engages people in the LGBT sports community and allied sports communities,” Lodge says. “People can participate in one of two ways. They can join a team, like we’ve done for the Georgia marathon, Marine Corps Marathon and D.C. marathon. They commit to raising a certain amount of money for HRC. In exchange, we provide coaching support, team camaraderie and fundraising support.” Another way athletes can join the program, and the HRC, is to organize a fundraiser through other sporting events by using support tools provided by HRC. Since Athletes for Equality only organizes three ofﬁcial events, Lodge says providing the opportunity to raise money to folks outside of the D.C. or Atlanta area helps spread HRC’s message of equality. “We have an online fundraising platform at hrc.org/athletes,” Lodge says. “They’re welcome to go in and create their own fundraising page for any race we do. If we don’t have a formal team, they can raise funds on their own. We connect them to the local steering committee if there is one. There is a way to participate wherever you are.” Anyone, experienced or not-so-experienced, can take part in the program, Lodge says. HRC offers training to anyone who registers and who promises to raise funds.
GA VOICE | 17
ATLANTA LGBT SPRING SPORTS It’s officially spring, though you might not believe it thanks to a recent cold snap, and several local LGBT sporting leagues are either about to launch, or have just launched, their spring seasons. For more LGBT sports organizations, including many who meet year-round, visit www. thegavoice.com and choose “sports” from the “community” tab.
The Decatur Women’s Sports League’s softball season officially kicked off Friday, March 15. Games are played Friday evenings at Kelly Cofer Park in Tucker. The league benefits the Atlanta Health Initiative. www.decaturwomensports.com The Hotlanta Softball League was forced to postpone the first week of its 2013 spring season due to rain, but the league returns to action April 7 at the West Metro Atlanta Softball Complex. This year, the league will benefit LostN-Found Youth. www.hotlantasoftball.org
Hotlanta Volleyball will host the 21st annual Hotlanta Classic Volleyball Tournament at the Tsunami Volleyball Club from April 19-21. The tournament is the cap to the 2013 spring season, which kicked off Feb. 12 and runs through April 16. www.hotlantavolleyball.org
The Atlanta Bucks Rugby Football Club (or Bucks, for short) kicked off its 2013 season on Jan. 26 against the Macon Love. Practices are held regularly during the season at Piedmont Park and non-experienced players are always welcome to the team’s 101 training sessions. www.atlantabucksrugby.org
FLAG FOOTBALL The Human Rights Campaign’s Athletes for Equality has organized supporters to participate in races in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. (Photos courtesy HRC)
“The program is for people who have never run anything before and experienced athletes alike,” he says. “We provide all the support. They can join one of our teams, email athletes for questions and more information on the website.” Though the ﬁnal fundraising tally from the recent Publix Georgia Half-Marathon and 5K – held March 17 – has yet to be released, Lodge says that athletes generally commit to raising around $1,000 when they join an HRC team. Some 25 athletes were a part of the recent HRC team at the Georgia race, Lodge says. But fundraising efforts aren’t limited to marathons. “This is a way to interact with HRC when there isn’t a local steering committee,” Lodge
Athletes for Equality www.hrc.org/athletes
says. “We’ve had about 75 athletes over the last year or so in bike rides. Someone wants to climb a mountain for us. We’ve had someone run a marathon in Paris and in Namibia.” Lodge says the program is expanding and more ofﬁcial HRC-sponsored events are on the horizon, though nothing has been ﬁnalized just yet. The next big event will be the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. October. “Next, we are looking at doing more races, perhaps around the country,” he says. “Maybe a mud run or something like that. For now, these three races and the choose-your-own are where we are. It’s exciting to see the program expand. There really is nothing to do but grow.”
The National Flag Football League of Atlanta kicks off its 2013 season March 30 at Boulevard Crossing Park after a short pre-season campaign. Playoffs begin June 1 with the season wrapping up June 15. www.nffla.com
The annual Dixie Bowling Invitational will be held Easter Weekend (March 28-31) at Brunswick Zone in Norcross. The annual tournament draws competitors from across the Southeast each year. www.dixiebowl.org
The Atlanta Team Tennis Association began its spring season March 17, but there are plenty of opportunities for open play at Hit Atlanta or the Glenlake Tennis Center for ATTA members throughout the year. www.atta.org.
18 | GA VOICE
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
THEATER BY JIM FARMER
Major musicals ‘Zorro,’ ‘Mary Poppins’ bring beloved tales to local stages
On Stage “The Drowsy Chaperone” Through April 14 at Aurora Theatre www.auroratheatre.com This Tony-winning musical follows a lonely, sexually ambiguous musical theater junkie who puts on the cast album of his favorite show and sees it pop to life around him. “Brer Rabbit & Friends” April 11 – May 26 at the Center for Puppetry Arts www.puppet.org Openly gay Spencer G. Stephens directs this adaptation of the beloved classic, featuring live music. “Designing Women Live 7” April 11 – 14 at Onstage Atlanta www.onstageatlanta.com Two new episodes of the TV classic are being staged – “Suzanne Goes Looking for a Friend” and “The Emperor’s New Nose/How Long Has This Been Going On?” – and done as fundraisers for Process Theatre and Onstage Atlanta’s new home. “The Fabulous Lipitones” Through April 21 at Theatrical Outfit www.theatricaloutfit.org Openly gay Glenn Rainey stars in this new musical about a small town barbershop quartet competing for a national championship
which won Julie Andrews an Oscar as the nanny who ﬂies in with her umbrella to help ‘Zorro’ runs April 3 - May 5 at the Alliance Theatre. It is directed by Christopher Renshaw, who is openly gay. (Photo by Roy Beusker) a banker’s unhappy family. The stage version has more songs and theatrical moments, such as Mary ﬂying, but reChristopher Renshaw ﬁrst got involved in DETAILS the development of the stage musical “Zortains the charm and whimsy. ro” back in 2001. Next week, he ﬁnally gets a “It’s deﬁnitely nostalgic,” ‘Zorro’ chance to bring it to the United States when it Schroeger says. “A certain deApril 3 – May 5 at Alliance Theatre www.alliancetheatre.org premieres at the Alliance Theatre. mographic remembers ‘Mary Renshaw, who is gay, is directing a new Poppins.’ I think everyone “Mary Poppins” version of the production, which he originally over the age of 30 has been April 2 - 7 at Fox Theatre envisioned as being the ﬁrst ﬂamenco musical. exposed to the movie and I www.theaterofthestars.com He and author Stephen Clark approached the think (this) motivates them Gipsy Kings, known for their ﬂamenco-rumba to come and bring their tinker with it and eventually music, to get the ﬁrst staging up and going. family.” That was back in 2008, when “Zorro” opened take it to New York. He thinks gay audiences The director is perhaps in London and played a year. Since then, it’s love a larger than life persona best known for his work toured around the world, save for America. such as Mary Poppins. In all, the re-worked musical has more with Boy George in “Taboo,” the “I think we all like leading CURTIS SCHROEGER ladies such as Julie Andrews than 30 songs, half of them new. Over time, panned musical that opened on Renshaw and the company have worked on Broadway in late 2003 and closed and Judy Garland and Liza Minmusic and character development. Adam Ja- early the next year. He would love to see that nelli,” he says. cobs, a veteran performer who has been on come back to the States in a different version. “Mary Poppins” opened on Broadway in Renshaw later directed “The King and I” on 2006 and ran through this year. Schroeger Broadway in both “The Lion King” and “Les Miserables,” has joined the cast to play the title Broadway with Donna Murphy and Lou Dia- auditioned for the original production and mond Phillips and was nominated for a Best did callbacks for a number of years until he role of Diego de la Vega/Zorro here. Renshaw feels audiences – gay and straight Director Tony Award. He also produced the landed a spot in the touring version. – will appreciate the theatrical nature of the Queen musical “We Will Rock You,” which he “It was a long process; it took a long time musical and the main character, who he calls hopes will eventually make it to the U.S. but they eventually asked if I wanted to join “a universal type – crazy and sexy.” He has long them,” he says. been enamored with the character of Zorro. SWINGING WITH ‘MARY POPPINS’ As a swing, he says his job is to be ready at “I saw a bullﬁght when I was growing up,” When the musical “Mary Poppins” returns a moment’s notice when one of 11 cast memhe says. “I remember the sexuality of it, the to the Fox Theatre next week, one of the swing bers can’t go on. It can be one role one night, matador.” members is openly gay Curtis Schroeger. The another the next. He will be with the show The plan is to workshop the musical here, show is based, of course, on the 1964 ﬁlm through summer.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
FOOD PORN BY CLIFF BOSTOCK
Greatest show on earth Janet and Robert settled into their folding chairs under the tent of the House of Gay Human Oddities on Cheshire Bridge Road. It was late Saturday night, after midnight, and many gay men and a few women stopped to check it out on their way home from the clubs. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence collected the $5 entry fee. A couple of carnival-style food stands were in front of the yellow tent, which glowed like a full moon on a foggy night. These weren’t the usual food trucks. Instead they sold takeout food from Robert’s favorite cheapies, like Arepa Mia, Bell Street Burritos, and Miss D’s New Orleans Pralines — all inside the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Across the street, 11 mostly gay members of the Clean-up Cheshire Bridge Brigade (CCBB) demonstrated in support of gay City Council member Alex Wan. He would soon be introducing legislation to purge the road of “nonconforming” businesses — meaning sex venues — to make way for gentriﬁcation. Robert’s kinda-sorta boyfriend Lee set up his touring tent show in part to protest the plan. The idea, as best Robert could ﬁgure, was that gay people, long regarded as freaks themselves, were acting unreasonably by trying to limit others’ sexual freedom. The lights ﬂashed and then darkened slightly. Lee spoke brieﬂy, welcoming the audience to the show. He thanked Robert for his help with the food. “But I also want to thank Alex Wan for giving us a reason to erect our tent amid the beloved sleaze of Cheshire Bridge Road.” The lights went black and then returned to a soft gray. A woman in her early 70s stepped onstage. “My name is Mary Lumis,” she said in a soft voice. “By the standards of many, I am a freak.” Then, as if out of nowhere, she swung a ﬂaming rod in the air. She threw her head back and slowly put the rod in her mouth, then withdrew it. She seemed to breathe ﬁre. “This is a dramatic way of illustrating that I’m a so-called ﬁre-breathing, mannish braburner from the ‘60s feminist movement. There isn’t really any clear documentation of bra-burning, but I’m happy to play the stereotype. I am also a lesbian. “Now, in 1969, members of the National Organization for Women, under Betty Friedan’s leadership, began referring to the lesbian wing of the movement as the ‘Lavender Menace.’ They wanted to exclude us because they thought we would inhibit their efforts.” Mary twirled the ﬂaming rod like a baton. Shawtina, the trans-dwarf, joined her on stage, spinning his plastic revolvers on his foreﬁngers. “And now,” he shouted, pointing his guns
Photo via Facebook
Once upon a time, we were all oddities
The Sweet Auburn Curb Market 209 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30303 404-659-1665 | www.sweetauburncurbmarket.com You’ll find many booths serving inexpensive lunches and takeout food. Closed on Sundays. Three favorites are: Arepa Mia 404-880-8575 | www.arepamiaatlanta.com Arepas are corn-cake pockets filled with savory ingredients. Try the pabellon, stuffed with shredded beef, black beans, plantains and feta cheese. Bell Street Burritos 678-732-0488 | www.bellstreetburritos.com Named one of America’s 10 best burrito joints by USA Today. Combine shrimp with green chilies, red beans, rice and green sauce. Lunch M-F, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. A second location, 600 Irwin St.(404-835-2018), is open for lunch and dinner. Miss D’s New Orleans Pralines 770-256-7164 | www.missdspraline.com There’s candied this and that here, but no pralines in the city compare to these.
at the audience, “many of you people want to exclude trans and bisexual people from your movement for the same kinds of reasons.” He held the guns in the air and ﬁred them. The small stage was showered with lavender confetti. “And you want to shove these sex shops into the closet of some undesignated location elsewhere…anywhere.” Some of the crowd seemed to panic and started to ﬂee when Shawtina pulled out his guns, but most returned to their chairs. The message was not lost. The show continued an hour and word began to spread.
Food Porn is a fictional series by longtime Atlanta food critic Cliff Bostock. Set in real Atlanta restaurants, it chronicles the adventures of Robert, a gay man in search of a husband — or at least a good meal. Read the whole series online at www.theGAVoice.com.
GA VOICE | 19
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Get the full picture See all our photos at www.theGAvoice.com
Cindy Abel’s ‘Breaking Through’ at the Atlanta Film Fest Photos by Dyana Bagby
Team Friendly’s ‘Drop the Soap’ fundraiser
Photos by Ryan Watkins
Lost-n-Found Youth’s Big Gay Game Show
Photos by Dan Lax
Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus’s ‘Big Wig’ event
Photos by Dyana Bagby
20 | GA VOICE
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
A&E IN BRIEF
Photo by Sigmund/CC 2.0
Michelle Shocked, Ga. gay ‘Newlyweds,’ Brandi Carlile, Roland Belmares and more SHOCKED BY MICHELLE
— Laura Douglas-Brown
SAVANNAH GAYS ON BRAVO ‘NEWLYWEDS’ SHOW
Bravo’s new reality series “The Newlyweds” debuts May 6, following four couples — one gay — from wedding day to their ﬁrst anniversary. Since Bravo airs the gayest shows short of Logo, we’ll forgive the unfortunate use
BLAIR LATE AND JEFF PENDERSON File photo
Either folk singer Michelle Shocked has become a raging homophobe, has the worst sense of humor ever, is emotionally unstable, or is some combination of the three. Long a favorite of lesbian fans (whose gaydar was set off by her short hair and outspoken feminist lyrics), Shocked, well, shocked fans March 17, stating during a show in San Francisco, “When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization and Jesus will come back.” She didn’t retreat from the remarks even as fans booed and walked out and the theater ended the show, and later offered up some cryptic but not really apologetic tweets like, “Truth is leading to painful confrontation.” After a cascade of concert cancellations, Shocked then said she was sorry, supports LGBT equality and meant the whole thing to be in the voice of “Christians with opinions I in no way share”— perhaps she should have clariﬁed that as folks were leaving? Among those responding to Shocked are lesbian folk legend Janis Ian and selfdescribed “queer” actress/comedian/singer Margaret Cho. “It is sad when a talented person chooses to use that talent in the service of their own misplaced rage, and their disappointment in their own life,” Ian noted on her website. “I often wonder if people like this die and meet God, who will smack them upside the head and say ‘Did I really LOOK like I needed your help?!’” Cho recalled listening to Shocked’s music, and being chased and called a dyke as a teen. “When someone like Michelle Shocked, formerly a beloved, alt queer muse and maker of the ‘90s, decides that it is OK to hate us and lets us know that God does too, I am truly sickened, as she of all people should know what this means,” Cho wrote in a Hufﬁngton Post editorial.
MICHELLE SHOCKED of quotation marks around “wed” in their description of Georgia residents Jeff Pederson and Blair Late (memo to Bravo: “wedding” isn’t reserved for legal marriages). Sounds like plenty of drama: “After about a year of dating, they ‘wed’ in an extravagant celebration in Savannah to celebrate their domestic partnership. Besides the conﬂicts that arise from their 16 year-age difference and contrasting careers, there are many personality clashes between Blair and Jeff.” A visit to a sex therapist is also on tap.
GAYTL LIVE! BRINGS GAY INTERNET RADIO TO THE CITY
Need some dance music to get you through the day? Atlanta resident Tommy Fleenor recently launched GAYTL Live! (www.gaytllive. com), an internet radio station targeting LGBT Atlanta. The effort began last year as Gaytl Radio and now offers dance music all day, every day, with “Flashback Fridays” featuring songs from the ‘80s and ‘90s. DJ sets are planned for weekends.
GET READY FOR MORE BOY NEXT DOOR
Boy Next Door, the menswear retailer popular with gay Atlantans, plans a second location in Ansley Mall to open this spring, management announced last week. The new store will be in addition to the current Boy Next Door location at 1447 Piedmont Ave. A press release from the company also hinted at future expansions. More @ www.thegavoice.com
CARLY RAE JEPSON NOW SCOUTING THE GAYS
Earlier this month, Carly Rae Jepson made headlines after canceling as a headliner for the Boy Scouts of America’s national jamboree, in order to protest the BSA’s ban on gays. Now the “Call Me Maybe” singer is playing a
ROLAND BELMARES gay jamboree, of sorts: she’s slated to close the famed White Party in Palm Springs, Calif., on March 31. Other acts include Carmen Electra and Icona Pop, the Desert Sun reports.
SUMMER PARTY ALERT
The weather doesn’t feel like summer is getting close, but line-ups for big summer travel events are already heating up. • Pensacola for Memorial Day Lesbian and gay folks ﬂock to Pensacola for Memorial Day, and several party promoters have already announced packed schedules. Pensacola Unleashed will feature lesbian favorites Indigo Girls, Kristi Lee and Brandi Carlile. Sexacola, organized by Atlanta’s only lesbian bar, My Sister’s Room, will be headlined by the Ying Yang Twins, Maria Gabriella Band, Lindsey Hinkle and God-dess & She. (www.sexacolabeach.com) For the boys, events include DJ Roland Belmares spinning the Wave Beach Party. • Gay Days at Disney/Orlando Entertainment schedules are also coming out for the annual gay pilgrimage to Orlando, which started as an unofﬁcial day at Walt Disney World and now spans a week of gay events and theme park visits (May 28-June 3, 2013). Gay Days Orlando has already announced comedian Judy Tenuta and DJ Chi Chi LaRue; One Magical Weekend lists DJ Manny Lehman for the RipTide party at Typhoon Lagoon and DJ Wendy Hunt spinning at Epcot.
GA VOICE | 21
22 | GA VOICE
BEST BETS CALENDAR
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FRIDAY, MARCH 29SATURDAY, MARCH 30
The Atlanta Symphony and 10th & Piedmont collaborate for an all-Russian concert featuring Yevgeny Sudbin, followed by a vodka-tasting reception at 10th & Piedmont, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, www.aso.org
SATURDAY, MARCH 30 Get your festive headgear ready for the 2nd annual Easter Bonnet competition with celebrity guest judges Ruby Redd, Ursula Polari and Edie Cheezburger, as well as an assortment of prizes. 2 – 4 p.m. at Mister Center, www.mistercenter.org
FRIDAY, MARCH 29SUNDAY, MARCH 31
The gay-inclusive Dixie Invitational Bowling tournament continues with local and visiting leagues hoping for strikes through March 31. Brunswick Zone Norcross, www.dixiebowl.org
FRIDAY, MARCH 29
The Decatur Women’s League continues its spring softball season, Friday nights at Kelley C. Cofer Park, www.decaturwomensports.com
Photo via Facebook
Enjoy three songwriters in the round: Amy Andrews, Kyshona Armstrong and The Skipperdees at 8 p.m. at the Red Clay Theatre, www.eddieowenpresents.com
SATURDAY, MARCH 30
The locally shot drama “Blues for Willadean” makes its Atlanta debut with director Del Shores and star Beth Grant in attendance. 7 p.m. at the Buckhead Theatre, www.thebuckheadtheatre.com
Film Love and Atlanta Contemporary Art Center host the U.S. debut of “Mr. Coperthwaite: a Life in the Maine Woods, Part One: Spring in Dickinson’s Reach,” with filmmaker Anna Grimshaw in attendance. 8 p.m. at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, www.thecontemporary.org Edie Cheezburger presents The Other Show on Fridays. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m. at Jungle, www.jungleclubatlanta.com DJ Lydia Prim spins for FUR Friday nights at the Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com
SATURDAY, MARCH 30
SUNDAY, MARCH 31 An Easter egg hunt, trash bag fashion and a dunking booth are highlights of the annual Armorettes’ Easter Drag Races. 4 p.m. at Burkhart’s, www.burkharts.com
Do the Downward Dog and learn more about the work of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at Atlanta Sisters Karma Class, 10:30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. First Existential Congregation, www.firstexistentialist.org SAGE Atlanta’s Richard Rhodes 5th Saturday Program brings together lawyers Kathleen Womack, Christopher Seely and Clair Bryan to discuss legal issues important to LGBT seniors. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Phillip Rush Center, www.sageatl.org
TUESDAY, APRIL 2
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! “Mary Poppins” opens at the Fox Theatre; runs through April 7. 8 p.m. at the Fox Theatre, www.theaterofthestars.com
The music ministry of Virginia-Highland Church presents “Good Friday: A Musical Meditation,” at 7 p.m., www.vhchurch.org
SOMETHING GAY EVERY DAY!
Bookmark www.thegavoice.com to get your daily dose of local LGBT events. The gay National Flag Football League of Atlanta plays around the city today, www.nffla.com Join local groups/organizations who use the Rush Center space for meetings at a free reception to also include plans to expand the center. 3 – 5 p.m., Phillip Rush Center, www.rushcenteratl.org Join Ladies at Play for a Play Day Party from 6 – 10 p.m. at Aurum, http://ladiesatplay.com/ As part of National Women’s Awareness Month, the Evolution of SHE and Unspoken Word Designs present the “SHE is an Icon” awards presentation, recognizing local women and the ladies of Black Girls Run. 7 – 10 p.m., HOBI Studios, http://sheisanicon.eventbrite.com Michelle Malone performs two shows at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Eddie’s Attic, www.eddiesattic.com
Hannah Thomas, Steff Mahan and Emily Kate Boyd team up at 8 p.m. at Steve’s Live Music, www.steveslivemusic.com Jungle hosts an International Night of Futuristic Fashion and Art, with a drag show by Phoenix. 10 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com Divas Do Illusion starting at 11 p.m. at Blake’s, www.blakesontheparkatlanta.com
SUNDAY, MARCH 31
Gentle Spirit Christian Church offers an Easter Sunrise Service, with a potluck breakfast to follow. 7:05 a.m. in Candler Park, www.gentlespirit.org The Big Hare Games, Ten Atlanta’s Easter Bonnet/ Big Wig Competition, starts with registration at 5 p.m. and the games themselves at 6 p.m., with a cash prize, www.tenatlanta.com
MONDAY, APRIL 1SATURDAY, APRIL 6
Event spotlight Photo via Facebook
Positive Impact Restaurant Week features 10 percent of proceeds going to the non-profit which provides mental health and other services for people with HIV. Monday, April 1, is dinner at Einstein’s; Tuesday, April 2, is lunch at Highland Bakery and dinner at 10th & Piedmont; Wednesday, April 3, is lunch and dinner at Frog’s; Thursday, April 4, is lunch and dinner at Steamhouse; Friday, April 5, is dinner at The Fifth Ivory; and Saturday, April 6, is dinner at Radial Café, www.positiveimpact-atl.org
GA VOICE | 23
MONDAY, APRIL 1
Join the Health Initiative and SAGE Atlanta, a group for LGBT seniors, for Chair Yoga every Monday through May 6. 10 a.m. at the Phillip Rush Center. www.sageatl.org Photo via Facebook
Feminists Buttonz and S are speakers at the T&F Transitionz: A Project of the Feminist Outlawz, exploring gender for teens and young adults, 7 – 8:30 p.m., Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com Gary Mullen & The Works perform “One Night of Queen,” a tribute to the rock legends. 8 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, www.cobbenergycentre.com The Atlanta Eagle begins its weekly drag night, with proceeds benefiting Jerusalem House. 8:30 – 11 p.m., www.atlantaeagle.com
TUESDAY, APRIL 2
Donna Grindle speaks about the use and importance of technology to the Atlanta Independent Women’s Network, 6:30 p.m. at Druid Hills Golf Club, www.aiwn-atlanta.org Big Table Big Screen Tuesdays continues, with classic movies on the big screen. 8 p.m at 10th and Piedmont, www.10thandPiedmont.com Tuesdays, Thursdays and early Saturdays are Three Legged Cowboy country nights at the Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3
Lesbian singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier brings her introspective tunes and signature voice to Eddie Owen Presents. 8 p.m. at the Red Clay Theatre, www.eddieowenpresents.com “Zorro,” featuring music from the Gipsy Kings, opens today and plays through May 5 at the Alliance Theatre, www.alliancetheatre.org
THURSDAY, APRIL 4
THURSDAY, APRIL 4
It’s a night of country-folk royalty as Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and the Richard Thompson Electric Trio peform at 8 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, www.cobbenergycentre.com
Mary’s pays tribute to favorite party girl Parker Posey with its Party Gurl! Event featuring a night of ‘90s house music. 9 p.m. at Mary’s, www.marysatlanta.com
FRIDAY, APRIL 5
Legendary drag performer Charlie Brown hosts Charlie’s Angels. 11 p.m. Fridays at Blake’s on the Park, www.blakesontheparkatlanta.com
THURSDAY, APRIL 4 Special guests Miss Gay USofA Lawanda Jackson and Miss Gay USofA at Large Dorae Saunders help ring in Miss Gay Georgia USofA. 7:30 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com
SATURDAY, APRIL 6
Cubs, otters, grizzlies and the like mix freely at Bearracuda Atlanta, with DJ Ted Eiel. 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Heretic Atlanta. www.hereticatlanta.com
SATURDAY, APRIL 6
As part of Positive Impact’s 20 year anniversary, The MISTER Center hosts a Golden Ticket party, starting with an open house, followed by dinner and dancing at Jungle; the first 100 attendees win a Golden Ticket redeemable for a dinner discount. Open house takes place from 4 – 6 p.m. at MISTER Center, www.mistercenter.org
The gay Atlanta Executive Network brings back First Thursday OTP networking. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Meehan’s Public House in Sandy Springs, www.aen.org
Eleven bachelors are up for auction at Fenuxe Magazine’s 2013 Best Bachelors of Atlanta, a benefit for AID Atlanta. 8 – 11 p.m. at Burkhart’s, www.burkharts.com, www.fenuxe.com
It’s sold out, but in case you have a friend with extra tickets — Party with Impact: 20 years of Positive Impact is a night honoring the two decades of work done by the HIV agency. 7 – 10 p.m., The Wimbish House, www.positiveimpact-atl.org
Gurlfrandz is a new “drag thang” on Saturday’s at Mary’s; tonight, see what the Garbage Pail Gurlz can fashion from thrift-store finds. DJs 5 Hour Boner and Whorelock spin after the show. 10 p.m. at Mary’s, www.marysatlanta.com
CONTINUED ON PAGE 25
24 | GA VOICE
JOIN PIEDMONT BARK IN CROWNING
THE 2013 PALS SPOKESPET
2012 PALS Spokespet
MAY 19, 2013 ★ 2–5 PM ★ PETS WELCOME (LEASHED) CO-HOSTS MARA DAVIS & TYLER CALKINS Admission to Benefit PALS ★ $25 At the Door or $20 In Advance Admission includes complimentary drinks and hors d’oveuvres Silent Auction & Music by DJ Pat Scott Join us for the After-Party Hosted by 10th & Piedmont To enter your pet or purchase advance tickets: palsatlanta.org
TAJ MAHOUND BAKERY
ALECIA LAUREN PHOTOGRAPHY
10TH & PIEDMONT
Due to State Regulations, no pet will be allowed in the facility without proof of current vaccinations. OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK • 404-873-5400 • MIDTOWN ATLANTA, AMSTERDAM WALK, 501 AMSTERDAM AVE, ATLANTA, GA 30306
Photo via Facebook
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23
GA VOICE | 25
Daring Divas is the Saturday night show at Blake’s on the Park, www.blakesontheparkatlanta.com Shavonna B. Brooks hosts Extravaganza at 11 p.m. Saturday nights at Burkhart’s, www.burkharts.com
SUNDAY, APRIL 7
The gay Hotlanta Softball League turns out to play every Sunday with games at various times. www.hotlantasoftball.org
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17
Author Keturah Israel discusses her book “Cricket Promises” as part of the Reading Rainbow Book Club, 6 – 8 p.m., Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com
The Body Heat Femme Porn Tour brings together queer erotic writers, including Al Schlong, with guest Adriana Chiknas. 8 p.m. at Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com
Enjoy Sing Along Sundays with Atlanta’s favorite camp drag fundraising troupe, the Armorettes. 6 p.m. at Burkhart’s, www.burkharts.com
MONDAY, APRIL 8
Help shape Labor Day Weekend’s Black Gay Pride celebration as organizer In the Life Atlanta hosts a community planning meeting. 7 p.m. at First Metropolitan Community Church, www.facebook.com/inthelifeatl
FRIDAY, APRIL 12SUNDAY, APRIL 14
THURSDAY, APRIL 11
Atlanta Leather Pride brings demos, a brunch, the Mr. and Ms. Atlanta Eagle pageants and more to the Atlanta Eagle, which celebrates its 26th anniversary. www.atlantaleatherpride.com, www.atlantaeagle.com
“Members Only,” the new ‘80s and ‘90s dance party from Barry Brandon, debuts with Evah Destruction as the official host and alternating DJs every Thursday. Doors open at 10 p.m. at Jungle, www.jungleclubatlanta.com
FRIDAY, APRIL 12
The bearish app Scruff hosts its Invades party, with founder Johnny Scruff, from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Heretic Atlanta, www.hereticatlanta.com File photo
Wanna be the next big drag thing? Diva Drag University continues with a diva mentoring a new queen every week and preparing her for the upcoming Atlanta Rising Diva 2013 Pageant. 10:30 p.m. at LeBuzz, www.thenewlebuzz.com
TUESDAY, APRIL 9
Tuesdays, unwind with a sing-along with pianist David Reeb at 8 p.m. at Mixx, www.mixxatlanta.com Every Tuesday, sing out at Mary-oke starting at 9 p.m. at Mary’s, www.marysatlanta.com
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10
On Wednesdays, catch the Lust & Bust Show with host Lena Lust and featuring Shawnna Brooks. 11 p.m. at Blake’s on the Park, www.blakesontheparkatlanta.com
THURSDAY, APRIL 11
SAGE Atlanta hosts its weekly meeting, with different events and guests each week , 11 a.m. at the Philip Rush Center, www.sageatl.org Lambda Legal’s first Mix & Mingle is an opportunity to learn more about recent Lambda Legal cases. 6 – 8 p.m. at 10th & Piedmont, www.lambdalegal.org
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10
PALS Atlanta presents Honey Bub Ba Bingo (Redneck Bingo), with Bubba D. Licious and more. 7:30 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta, www.palsatlanta.org
SATURDAY, APRIL 13
The Honey Badgers softball team host their spring beer bust, from 3 – 7 p.m. at Diesel Bar, www.dieselatlanta.com Special performances by the Court of Kings, Daysha Moore, Drake Daniels and other special guests are part of the annual Mr. and Miss Kingdom Come Pageant at 9 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, www.mysistersroom.com
SUNDAY, APRIL 14
Hotlanta’s Atlanta Titans host a “Party on the Patio” beer bust, 4 – 8 p.m. at Joe’s on Juniper, www.hotlantasoftball.org
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THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID Fun with Aunt Flo
There’s one issue that unites all women. Period.
* Restrictions may apply.
There are so many issues that divide women. Whether it’s abortion rights, the decision to be a mother or whether to work outside the home, women often ﬁnd themselves on opposite sides of an issue. But there is one topic that all women can relate to and support each other on, and that’s the matter of your period and the accidents that occur because of it. If you are a woman reading this, an embarrassing moment has already come ﬂooding back to your memory when you weren’t prepared for a visit from “Aunt Flo.” It happens every month for nearly half of your life; still somehow she can sneak up on you when you least expect it. A lawyer friend of mine told me about her experience taking the Law School Admission Test. This intensive exam takes about three hours and you are not allowed to leave until it is complete. During the LSAT she started her period but couldn’t excuse herself from the room. Once it was over she asked a friend to go get a jacket she could tie it around her waist. That errand forced her to stay planted in her seat for almost an hour until her friend returned. All the while, she made excuses to anyone who asked that she was staying behind in the empty room to relax. I remember being in high school and hanging out with a friend at McDonald’s after a football game. I didn’t realize what had happened until I got up to leave, and happened to glance back at the plastic bench. I was horriﬁed at the carnage I saw and jumped back on to the bench while a fellow soldier in the Menses Army rushed outside and pulled the car right up to the door so I could make a quick escape. I’m just so sorry for the cleanup some poor worker had to make. I
Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huffington Post. She broke ground as the first out lesbian radio personality on a major station in Atlanta and was one of the few out morning show personalities in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter
hope they thought it was ketchup. My poor sister was singing in the church choir when her cycle arrived one Sunday morning. The robes were stark white, and our choir always exited the sanctuary ceremoniously before the congregation left. So half the church learned she had started her period before she found out. Adding insult to injury is the equipment we are given to handle these situations, i.e. the tampon. This cotton cork of torture frustrated many of us as teens, as we spent an embarrassingly long time in the bathroom fumbling our way through the process of getting the ﬁrst one properly positioned. But sometimes the process isn’t foolproof. A friend of mine went skiing on a Tennessee lake one summer just to have it shoot out of her like a torpedo when she lost her balance and hit the water. As she was helped back into the boat, there was her tampon bobbing on the surface beside the boat. We have also learned that you get what you pay for. While it may be OK to save money by buying certain generic products, tampons are not one of them. Imagine my surprise when I was changing my off-market brand in a friend’s bathroom, and just pulled out a string. Just because the ﬁshing line broke I still had to go recover my catch. I never skimped on buying the best brands after that. And being distracted is not just a driving issue. Sometimes in the moment you can’t remember if you have already put a new tampon in. You try to make a determination and don’t see any signs. So you assume you forgot. A few hours later, when you discover not one string but two, you have a near nervous breakdown and spend the next day reevaluating how overwhelmed you are in your life. So ladies, next time you ﬁnd yourself in a situation that requires covert efforts in order to hide your period, raise your little bathroom bag in solidarity and remember you are not alone.
Friend of the court A lost page from the March 26 Supreme Court Prop 8 transcript
SCALIA: When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit gays from marrying? Was it always unconstitutional? OLSON: When we as a culture determined that sexual orientation is a characteristic of individuals that they cannot control, and that that SCALIA: I see. When did that happen? When did that happen? OLSON: There’s no speciﬁc date in time. This is an evolutionary cycle. SCALIA: Well, how am I supposed to know how to decide a case, then, if you can’t give me a date when the Constitution changes. TOPHER: If I could interrupt for just a secondSCALIA: Who are you? TOPHER: I’m Topher Payne, I’m here to represent gay people. SCALIA: You can’t represent gay people. TOPHER: If those four assholes can represent California, why can’t I represent gay people? ROBERTS: That’s true. We set precedent here. KAGAN: Oh snap! Scalia just got burned. TOPHER: The desire for the legitimacy marriage provides is not, as has been implied here, newer than cell phones and the internet. And by the way, Alito, that was a total dick thing to say. ALITO: Gay marriage, cell phones, internet. I was just giving a list of scary things I don’t understand. TOPHER: I know, and I hate that for you. The reason you don’t see same-gender couples trying to get married throughout American history is because up until fairly recently, that would have been admitting to sodomy. And sodomy was illegal, until this court ﬁnally got the word out that it was totally cool. Well, not Scalia. He really wanted to keep locking people up for blow jobs, because he was worried it would lead to us wanting to get married. And now, here we are, so good call there. SCALIA: I told you! I told all of you! TOPHER: We have always wanted to get married. We have always wanted to live open, authentic lives, and to have those lives legiti-
Topher Payne is an Atlanta-based playwright, and the author of the book “Necessary Luxuries: Notes on a SemiFabulous Life.” Find out more at www.topherpayne.com
mized and respected by our communities. The American tradition is based upon a speciﬁc model: Straight white guys get what they want, and everybody else has to ﬁght like hell. And when a group of people who aren’t straight white guys builds enough numbers to demand respect, they always end up here, in front of you. And the Supreme Court has a pretty spotty record with regards to the rights of people who aren’t straight white guys. You tend to drag your feet on the early cases, and then you ﬁnally do the right thing and pass a decision which results in major social change. I have been married to my husband for almost four years. My Massachusetts marriage license is not legally recognized in my home state. It has a ripple effect on every single aspect of my existence, but the most devastating is also the simplest: My fellow Georgians have been told, by ofﬁcial order of our state and federal government, that my relationship is worthless. You talk about the turning tide of public opinion, waiting for people to catch up. Plenty of people don’t want to, and the law of the land says they don’t have to. So we are marginalized and summarily dismissed. And that sucks. Justice Scalia, in answer to your snotty rhetorical question, there is no date when the Constitution changed. But marriage did change. That’s why women aren’t property of their husbands anymore, and interracial marriage is allowed. We grow, we learn, we do better. The ﬁrst time a gay couple was brave enough to apply for a marriage license, and that license was denied, it became unconstitutional. You have a choice. You can be another one of those chickenshit courts who places the needs and comforts of straight white guys above all else, or you can do what is right, and make history. ROBERTS: Mr. Payne, you’re out of time. TOPHER: Sure, just one more thing. Hey, Justice Thomas. Knock-knock. THOMAS: Who’s there? TOPHER: Nobody. Just seein’ if I could get you to talk.
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