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georgia VOL.10 • ISSUE 16



Kyrsten Sinema Only LGBTQ Legislator to Not Back Trump Impeachment Inquiry Joann Schwartz: “She is in Arizona and knows exactly what she is doing to hold her seat.”

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Editor: Patrick Colson-Price Editorial Contributors: Conswella Bennett, Cliff Bostock, Camryn Burke, Melissa Carter, Mariah Cooper, Dallas Duncan, Aidan Ivory Edwards, Jim Farmer, Luke Gardner, O’Brian Gunn Elizabeth Hazzard, Ryan Lee, Rose Pelham, Dionne Walker


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4 Editorial October 11, 2019

One Second Can Change Everything Patrick Colson-Price I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and every decision we make is ultimately setting us up for our future on this earth. With that being said, we have choices with every decision we make. It’s like a fork in the road every split second of the day. If I do this, then this will happen which could lead to this and then that … so on and so forth. I remember when I first analyzed a decision I made and how the circumstances leading up to that decision would have altered the course of my future. Hell, there’s a chance I wouldn’t even be sitting here writing this today. I could be on the opposite end of the world doing something completely different, or I could be in jail or even dead. I’ll never know. But what I do know is, the path that led me here today, I believe, sat on one split second back in 2007 on a sunny summer day in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I remember jumping into my car, taking my usual route to my high school for a last-minute summer track practice before I went off to a weekend meet. My windows were down and

I was blaring some 2007 summer hit while I contemplated my workout for practice. My high school hurdles coach was my best friend and she knew just how to get me pumped for a meet, so she decided to meet me at the track for a little encouragement. Minutes into my drive, I approached a driveway with a car in it waiting to turn onto the roadway. I glanced. He glanced and smiled. That was the moment, the moment I feel like my whole life changed. Had I driven by two seconds earlier or two seconds later, we wouldn’t have seen one another, forever altering the events I’m about to share with you. That moment we glanced at each other also begins my coming out story. I always told myself that I was into girls even though I never had sex with one, kissed one on the lips, or even held one’s hand. I guess mentally I wanted to keep my options open. But whenever I’d pleasure myself, my mind was on only one thing: men! Every inch of a man’s body, his dick and ass, legs and chest … you name it! No wonder women weren’t on my radar. I was too busy checking out football players in the locker room as they dropped their towels or my fellow teammates on the track as their

Jessy Briton Hamilton: “She is holding on to a closely won seat in a red state. She’s walking a tight wire, and doing it well – she has high approval ratings in Arizona. She votes with Dems about 81% of the time according to the NYTimes, which isn’t perfect, but better than having a Republican hold that seat. Lucy McBath is not yet on record supporting impeachment for the same reason. They will be on board in the end, but for now they have to play the game.” Matthew Cogswell: “It’s Arizona … America’s cold sore.” Billy Porter Makes History at 71st Emmy Awards Eric L. Watts: “Well, I certainly lost that bet. I had my money on Jussie Smollett as being the first openly black gay man to win an Emmy award for Outstanding Performance as a Racially Motivated Assault Victim.” Newt French: “Actually, that took guts. The most attacked and killed members of the LGBTQ community are black men and transgender women of color.” Betsy DeVos Visits Catholic School with Explicit Anti-LGBTQ Policies Jon Ponder: “We should expect nothing less from her. Her parents, Edgar and Elsa Prince, were fou  nding funders of powerful anti-gay hate groups like Focus on the Family.” Kanye West’s New Song Praises Anti-LGBTQ Chick-fil-A Katherine Helms Cummings: “Kanye West idolizes himself while demeaning women. He can rap about about ChickFil-A all day. I haven’t spent a dime there since 2012.” Jeff AhPook: “Can I get some credit for pre-emptively boycotting Kanye for the last 8 years?”


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of screeching tires and a big bang. He said to me, “I think that’s him out there ramming into my car.” I’m not sure how he knew but with one glance through the blinds, there was his ex (my lover) ramming his car into my new boyfriend’s SUV. We both flung open my bedroom door and raced down the hallway. I was terrified. What would my parents think? What would I tell them? How could I cover this up as to not out myself?

meat and two veggies bounced around in their spandex like dice in a person’s hand. I should’ve known that my parents were onto me. They found pictures of naked men under my mattress, stories from nifty. org stuffed beneath my dresser, and don’t get me started on the internet browser history. They were just waiting for me, and my “secret,” so I thought, was about to be revealed in an overly dramatic way.

Outside, hell was unfolding in our driveway. His ex-boyfriend was slinging profanity and calling his ex a cheater along with many other names in the book. I stood back with my mouth wide open in disbelief as he then turned the car towards his ex and myself and pressed the gas. We jumped out of the way at the perfect time. His car then disappeared into the night of our dark neighborhood. I rushed my new boyfriend into the house as he was screaming and crying profusely. My step-dad and mom were waiting inside panicking at the sight they just saw. I told him everything was ok. My mom asked, “Patrick, what is going on?” Seconds later, a knock at the door.

Remember the guy I told you about who I shared glances with while I passed him on the roadway heading to practice? Well, he was my first love even though I’d like to not think about it. You see, when I drove by and glanced at him, he quickly pulled onto the roadway and followed me to the track where we were formally introduced by my coach (he was one of her former students). From that moment on, he and I began spending a lot of time together. He informed me that he was going through a breakup and the guy he was with was crazy. I fell for it and further fell for him. Before things could get more serious though, this guy abruptly called off our fling after a week or so of talking. He stated he and his ex were working things out. I was heartbroken. Feeling emotionally drained at the ripe age of 18, I let it all go and continued on with my summer plans of track practices and readying myself for college in the fall. A few nights later while sound asleep, my phone rang. I answered lethargically to the voice of someone who stated they were the partner of the guy who had just broken things off with me. I was confused and shocked. He stated he wanted to know who I was and if it was true that I had been with his boyfriend. I answered yes, and then asked him to meet me the next day for lunch at a local restaurant. He agreed. The next day, while sitting outside of the O’Charleys in Spartanburg, I noticed this handsome guy get out of his car and walk into the restaurant. I quickly followed, hoping and praying that was the person I was supposed to be meeting … and it was. This wasn’t just a typical meeting of a boyfriend and his partners ex-lover, this was in my eyes, love at first sight. Immediately, I fell in love. We spent hours talking, laughing, joking, smiling, 6 Editorial October 11, 2019

When we opened it, behind the glass screen was standing the crazy ex from hell. His facial expression resembled something out of the movie “The Shining.” I was afraid what was about to come out of his mouth, but was I really going to try to defend what I thought he was about to say?

“Did you know your son is a homosexual?” he stated to my parents. My step-dad’s response, “Yeah, we already knew for a while.” My mouth dropped and then I breathed a sigh of relief. I had so many questions to my parents but right now a crazy, deranged man was potentially going to harm all of us, so I waited to inquire about how they knew even though I knew how they knew; naked pics, nifty stories, internet browser history.” and holding hands. Hours later, we’d almost forgotten the reasons we needed to even meet together. It didn’t matter to me though. Days of courting this guy turned into weeks, until one day the first guy I initially had a fling with, found out I was sleeping with his ex. To condense the details, my first lover was a bit crazy. The night my parents officially

found out about me was something straight from a psycho love affair movie scene. My boyfriend (I considered him that at the time) and I were in my room at my parent’s house. I told my parents he was just a friend, but friends didn’t spend hours sucking each other’s dicks naked under the covers, did they?! It was around 11pm when my new lover jumped up out of the bed to the sound

“Did you know your son is a homosexual?” he asked my parents. My step-dad’s response, “Yeah, we already knew for a while.” My mouth dropped and then I breathed a sigh of relief. I had so many questions for my parents, but right now a crazy, deranged man was potentially going to harm all of us, so I waited to inquire about how they knew even though I knew how they knew; naked pics, nifty stories, internet browser history. My new boyfriend soon became my exboyfriend, and then I went through my share of relationships leading up to where I’m at now. From my coming out up until now, my parents have been nothing but supportive. Their biggest piece of advice is, never hide who you really are out of fear of rejection because if someone can’t love you for who you truly are, they don’t deserve your time or attention anyways.

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Atlanta Police Brace for Large Crowds During Pride Weekend Katie Burkholder

Atlanta’s police won’t just be at Pride on guard; they’ll be there in support, too. “Pride is a wonderful event celebrating our city’s diversity,” Campos said. “We look forward to participating every year in greater numbers and take great pride ourselves in ensuring all participants feel safe and are able to enjoy themselves. We hope everyone feels welcomed and encourage them to interact with our officers, who will be visible and engaged.”

Pride weekend is one of the biggest events Atlanta has to offer, and with over 300,000 attendees, security is of the utmost importance. With concerts, a festival, marches, and a parade, this weekend is like four huge events in one, and the security reflects that. While you have worry-free fun, many are working hard behind the scenes to keep it that way. Georgia Voice sat down with Atlanta Pride Committee (APC) Executive Director Jamie Fergerson, as well as a representative of the Atlanta Police Department (APD), to discuss what measures are being taken to ensure that Atlanta’s LGBTQ community not only has fun this weekend but is kept safe, as well.

festival safe and secure. “We work with festival organizers to ensure we have enough officers to provide a safe environment and respond to any crisis,” Carlos Campos, the Director of the Public Affairs Unit at the APD, told the Georgia Voice. “Atlanta Police officers will be visible.”

If there’s one thing for sure, this weekend will definitely not be short on security: volunteer security, t-shirt security, and police will be visibly sprinkled around the park to keep the

While Campos wasn’t able to divulge any of the specific measures the department is taking to protect attendees (for security reasons), he tells the Georgia Voice that the department’s

8 News October 11, 2019

past experience, plus an examination of incidents across the country and world, allow the APD to protect festival goers. “[W]e have experience securing major events of all shapes and size, ranging from the Super Bowl to the annual Peachtree Road Race,” Campos said. “We also are constantly examining incidents throughout the U.S. and the world to learn about potential threats and [we] adjust our tactics accordingly.”

According to Fergerson, social media will also be monitored for potential threats, and hard coolers will be banned to keep people safe. Similar security measures will be taken for the parade and marches, along with street closures to keep motor traffic off the roads and EMS escorts. Attendees aren’t the only people who need to be protected: this year’s diverse lineup of entertainers will be safe thanks to onsite security and law enforcement, a secure backstage, and bag, ID, and wristband checks.

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Atlanta Pride Trans March to Honor Trans Lives Lost in 2019 Rose Pelham

Although the vast majority of reported transgender murders have occurred in the south, so far this year, there have not been any trans murders reported in Georgia. But at the beginning of October, police in Macon, Georgia finally identified the body of Dymun Dupree, a transgender woman who was killed in 2016.

For nearly a decade, the Atlanta Pride Trans March has sparked change throughout the community and brought trans voices to the forefront. This year is no different, as the focus falls on trans murders around the country. At least 18 trans murders have occurred so far this year, and it has some calling the killings an “epidemic.” The killings this year follow at least 26 recorded last year by the Human Rights Campaign. But according to a recent New York Times article, transgender advocates noted that those figures fail to grasp the full extent of the perils the community faces, as data provided by law enforcement officials can be incomplete and many crimes are never reported. The annual Trans March in Atlanta began in 2009. From 2010 to 2013 it took place within the vendor market of Piedmont Park in order

10 News October 11, 2019


to raise awareness within the LGB community, according to Dyana Bagby. In 2014 the march moved back out of the park to the parade route where more exposure brought about more issues plaguing the trans community. From workplace protections for transgender employees to the growing number of murders, it’s become an observance and remembrance in the midst of a weekend of celebrations. Seventeen transgender women and one

transgender man have been reported murdered as of the end of September. All but one were black. Multiple were initially identified by the wrong name and gender. In early June of this year, another transgender woman also died after becoming sick in ICE custody and receiving inadequate healthcare, according to The Guardian. She was seeking asylum to escape anti-transgender violence in El Salvador.

She among many other transgender women including Dana Martin, Jazzaline Ware, Ashanti Carmon, Claire Legato, Muhlaysia Booker, Michelle “Tamika” Washington, Paris Cameron, Chynal Lindsey, Chanel Scurlock, Zoe Spears, Brooklyn Lindsey, Denali Berries Stuckey, Tracy Single, Marquis “Kiki” Fantroy, Pebbles LaDime Doe, Jordan Cofer, and Johana Medina León will be remembered during this year’s march. The march will assemble at the Charles Allen Gate at 1:15pm and will begin marching at 1:45pm to arrive at Piedmont Park around 4pm.

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Barking Leather Relocates New Store Opens in the Heart of Ansley Patrick Colson-Price Just in time for Atlanta Pride 2019, Barking Leather has set up a new shop just feet from Brushstrokes Pleasures and other LGBTQowned businesses in the Ansley neighborhood.

the store is open and ready for business. “It’ll be anywhere from four to six months before people see a sign go up,” he said. His advice: look for the new shop’s windows covered in Barking Leather signage and a blinky OPEN sign in the window front.

“The goal was to get in here right before Pride to make sure that there was a lot of exposure that we moved here,” said Ray Stewart, owner of Barking Leather. “Easier location, easier access, a lot more parking.” He admits while their old store of Cheshire Bridge Road was a lot bigger, this new location located in the Ansley Square Shopping Center has a much more intimate feel.

on Sept. 29, owners got word that they’d successfully secured the new location. Stewart quickly reached out to the community. “Barking Leather is moving, can y’all help?” he said.

“Customers won’t feel like I’m ignoring them if I’m helping someone else out,” he said. “I think customers will be happier here.”

Within minutes, he says a Facebook event page was created, and all of the sudden, members of the leather community said they’d be there. When Stewart arrived at the old store on the last Sunday of September,

Two weeks prior to their official move day 12 News October 11, 2019

about 60 people were there waiting. “We took everything out of the old store and moved it into the new store in three hours,” he said. “It just shows how loving our community is, and how they’re willing to step up in special ways.” Stewart says while the signage outside of the new shop shows GCB Gift Card Boutique,

It’s just another gay-owned business solidifying itself as part of Atlanta’s most prominent gayborhoods, says Stewart. “This is the gayborhood. It has been for a long time. A lot of gay business owners have sought out this area because of that,” he said. “The landlord here wants to keep gay business here, so it’s a one-stop-shop for everybody.” The address for Barking Leather’s new location is 1510 Piedmont Ave Ste A, Atlanta Ga 30324, and their phone number remains the same at 404-900-5847.


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What are the Celebs Talking About Now!? It’s all gay and it’s all here in our celebrity close-up, Pride edition!

“I decided to wear a dress because I strongly believe in the fact that I’m a queen … When I won I felt so relieved and so happy because I had been fighting for something that I wanted for the longest amount of time and then I finally got it.” — gay Tennessee high school senior Brandon Allen on winning the title of Homecoming Royalty (USA Today)

“What I’m in love with exists on almost a spiritual level. It has nothing to do with sexuality. Relationships and partnerships in a new generation – I don’t think they have so much to do with sexuality or gender. Sex is actually a small part, and gender is a very small, almost irrelevant part of relationships.” — singer Miley Cyrus on relationships as a queer person (Vanity Fair)

“I knew [I was gay], especially around my teenage years. I would just pray and pray … That it was a phase … I mean, ‘cause me being in this position, it’s easy for me. But some little boy 10 miles from here, it’s not gonna be good for him.” —rapper Lil Nas X on growing up gay (CBS News)

“The act of declaring your sexuality publicly, once you’re a public figure, is an act of defiance in some ways, and it’s also a form of activism.” — pop star Adam Lambert on coming out (BBC)

“[Queer and trans people] fit in [my campaign] the way that everyone else fits in. We’re going to fight for a non-discriminatory system. We kind of look at people as human beings. Everybody. We treat people alike. And we’re going to do our very best to break down the racist, the sexist, and the homophobic, and all the other barriers.” — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on his campaign (The New Yorker)

October 11, 2019 Celebrity Close-up! 15


Once Upon a Time in Mecca Dave Hayward Here’s a “Greatest Hits” of our Georgia LGBTQ long march to freedom. Feeling like one of the survivors of a slasher flick (sorry, folks), nevertheless, I’m eager to spill the stories that give our community the freedom it has today to love and be loved fearlessly. The ’70s Arriving in October 1971, I instantly became a Yankee carpetbagger to the co-chair of the Georgia Gay Liberation Front, Bill Smith, who co-led the GGLF with proudly bisexual Judy Lambert. Judy took flack for supporting the GGLF, which led to Georgia’s first lesbian group the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance forming in 1972. Fresh from co-creating the Washington, D.C. Gay Liberation Front in 1970, I thought Atlanta would be a fresh fun horizon after graduating from George Washington University. Native Atlantan Bill Smith berated me “David! If you go downtown to Five Points and shout out Sherman’s name, you will be torn limb from limb!” Uh, Sherman, that Civil War general? Really?! OK, I’ll gladly be reconstructed. In 1972, the GGLF was a minority of a minority, and we were bodily ejected from two gay bars for promoting Pride. “We don’t want any of that radical shit in our bar!” the Cove’s Frank Powell thundered, as one of our brothers went flying through the air out of the Cove’s saloon doors. Our political protest march was peaceful, and unlike the first Pride March in 1971, we persuaded “the city too busy to hate” to give us a permit to march in the streets. The GGLF’s Berl Boykin told me that in ’71 there were 125 marchers, “I know I counted them twice!”, so they marched on the sidewalks and stopped for every traffic light. Also, the Georgia chapter of the ACLU rebuffed the GGLF’s call for help: “You are not a minority,” they scoffed. When we didn’t burn Atlanta down again


after 1972, the bars slowly came around, and we registered voters at Bulldogs and the Sweet Gum Head bar by the end of the ’70s. Also in 1972, we celebrated our first openly gay anything, when Mayor Sam Massell named GLF stalwart Charlie St. John to the Community Relations Commission. The next year Bill Smith replaced him, so we had some seats at some table, along with Abby Drue, who was the first “out” person at City Hall. There was Hell to pay for Mayor Maynard Jackson, the first black mayor of a major Southern city, as he declared Gay Pride Day that year. The Southern Baptist “Citizens for a Decent Atlanta” demanded his impeachment, and we picketed the Baptist church next to Phipps Plaza. Jackson stayed mayor, but in 1977 he fearlessly announced

18 ATL LGBTQ History October 11, 2019

“Human Rights Day.” Perhaps we brought the Bible Belt out of bondage to gender-conforming norms. At least we’re not usually denounced from pulpits here now. Native son Gil Robison invited candidates to speak to us later in 1977, creating the LGBT vote, and he and friends founded First Tuesday, the first LGBT political action committee. A year later, our little engine was hijacked when alt-right reactionary Anita Bryant became guest of honor at the Southern Baptist Convention at the World Congress Center, riding her “Save Our Children” (don’t you love these names?) crusade to rescind LGBTQ rights ordinances across

the country. But we had our own Selma moment, as for the first time straight allies marched with us like white allies did with civil rights activists in 1965. And we raised so much money fighting Save Our Children that we started our second Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Center. Thanks to our poster child Anita! Lesbian firebrand Maria Helena Dolan delivered her “I come to you today as a defiant dyke!” challenge at our rally at the World Congress Center, and we had thousands of people joining us in pandemonium. In 1979. our little Mecca became the Southeast hub for the first National March CONTINUES ON PAGE 20



CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18 on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in October that year. The ’80s It was a dark new dawn in November 1980 when Ronald Reagan lambasted Jimmy Carter in a landslide, and our Democratic victory party began to awaken. Slinking home we chirped, “See you in the camps!” Seven months later our black humor became reality when AIDS – first called Gay Related Immune Deficiency or GRID – was identified. Suddenly there were serious calls for quarantining, and even branding, all gays and lesbians as a public health menace. At the end of 1982, designer Graham Bruton helped form AID Atlanta, which hosted a slideshow at Colony Square depicting the ravages of Kaposi’s sarcoma. “Everything has to change,” I realized, and indeed safe sex (say what?) and condoms became the new normal for gay men. Dr. Jesse Peel and others founded several AIDS organizations, and the buddy program to help people living with AIDS – not AIDS victims – began at AID Atlanta. Even those who cared were terrorized, and in 1983 we hosted a dinner party for our brothers with AIDS. Should we throw out the plates after the party, we wondered. Neither the state of Georgia nor Ronald Reagan were much help. Local activists and doctors like Rick Hudson and Bernie Short and John Kopchak lobbied the Georgia General Assembly to keep draconian penalties from passing, and Gil Robison became the first openly gay and AIDS lobbyist at the Gold Dome. In February of 1986, we made a human chain around the First Baptist Church at 5th and Peachtree to decry Reverend Charles Stanley declaring AIDS “God’s judgment against sinners.” Groups like PFLAG lead by Judy Colbs and others became key allies, and ironically AIDS began bringing the LGBTQ community and the straight community closer, as well as gay men and lesbians. In October we packed the Atlanta City Council to defeat the repeal of our gay rights ordinance, while the Citizens for Public Awareness railed, “Do you want Atlanta

turned into another San Francisco?” But you are Blanche, you are. In 1986, the Supreme Court upheld Atlantan Michael Hardwick’s conviction for sodomy – arrested in his bedroom, no less – and thus upheld all sodomy statutes in states that still had them. Such an insult became the catalyst for the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in October 1987. Atlantans Ray Kluka, director of the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Center, and Maria Helena Dolan were among hundreds arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court in a mass die-in. At the March the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt (headquartered in Atlanta since 2001 under CEO Julie Rhoad) made its national debut, and visitors grieved like people from another culture hugging and sobbing above the panels. Finally we had an outlet for our agony, and those we loved are enshrined in the world’s largest folk art project. Spurred by the Supreme Court Hardwick fiasco, Winston Johnson comes out to his

20 ATL LGBTQ History October 11, 2019

dear friend Coretta Scott King and enlists her into actively advocating for LGBTQ rights, as does her longtime assistant Lynn Cothren. Before she knows it, Ms. King is the keynote speaker at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in New York, and guest of honor at the first Atlanta HRC dinner in 1987. Playwright and actress Rebecca Ranson who led SAME, the Southeastern Arts and Media Education foundation, premieres “Higher Ground” featuring a cast of actors living with HIV at the World Congress Center, in tandem with a display of the Quilt. Ranson also wrote the first play about AIDS, “Warren” about her friend Warren Johnson, which opened at Seven Stages Theatre in 1984. In March 1988 Ranson and Chris Cash founded Southern Voice, the precursor to Georgia Voice. Out of the Democratic National Convention held here, the DNC LGBT caucus steamrolls an Atlanta ACT UP FIGHT AIDS chapter. We picket Circle K gas station for refusing to stock SPIN Magazine with condoms on the cover,

and also “die in” at the Governor’s mansion. Richard Rhodes and Melinda Daniels are the first gay man and lesbian woman to be delegates – from Georgia – to the Convention, and Rhodes also is a delegate to the 1992 DNC. For good measure, he and Gil Robison are the first openly gay men to run for office here in 1988 for the Georgia House of Representatives. Neither win, but now we have an LGBT caucus of five in the Georgia House of Representatives. When activist icon Ray Kluka passed from complications of AIDS in 1989, a park honors him at Monroe Drive and Greenwood Avenue. Along with the John Howell Park on Virginia Avenue, Ray and John are the only two gay men who have public spaces named for them in Georgia. As Rebecca Ranson says, everyone does everything they can to help, and our loved ones keep dying. They live in us and we celebrate them. More to come …


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The Phillip Rush Center Continues Growth Center Now Hosts Over 100 Organizations, Groups


Jamie Roberts ​ hillip Rush, the namesake of The Phillip P Rush Center (The Rush Center) we know today on Dekalb Avenue near the Candler Park MARTA station, was a gay man active in the LGBTQ community who was instrumental in establishing organizations such as Youth Pride while serving as a Program Officer for the Community Foundation of Atlanta. He was known, among other things, for hosting people from different backgrounds in Atlanta at small parties to talk about issues in the LGBTQ community and network. In his later years, he also encouraged organizations serving primarily LGBTQ individuals to engage with agencies outside the community to insure their services are safe and respectful of the LGBTQ individuals they serve, a strategy that Phillip called “The Purple Door”. ​ inda Ellis, the current Executive Director of L The Rush Center, recounts that Phillip was present at the opening in 1998 of offices of The Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative (ALCI) to present them a check as they became the first LGBTQ-centered non-profit organization to occupy the space that later became the Rush Center. At the time, ALCI occupied several rooms in the front part of the space that they sublet from a retail outfit called Throb, which had an adult novelty store in Little 5 Points. In 2008, Linda recounts that Throb abandoned the lease and space behind ALCI “in the middle of the night.” They quickly negotiated a new lease with the building’s owner to include the entire space that Throb used as their warehouse, growing ALCI’s footprint from 1200 square feet to 3700 sq. ft. ​ round that time, discussions began between A ALCI and Georgia Equality (GA Eq.) to share the newly rented space. Jeff Graham, hired as the Executive Director of GA Equality the same year, was tasked with locating better offices for the organization. He learned of the demise of Throb and the vacant space in the building 24 Community October 11, 2019

leased by ALCI and that the organization was looking for a partner to help pay the rent. They quickly negotiated an agreement to share the space, along with several other small, LGBTQled organizations, including MEGA Family Project, Atlanta Pride Committee, and In the Life Atlanta. Linda and Jeff approached Pam Burdette of the Lloyd Russell Foundation to invest in their respective organizations so they could re-invest in the community, which was starved at the time for safe space to have their board meetings and other functions following the demise of several earlier efforts at a local LGBTQ community center. The Russell Foundation came through with a gift that enabled the collaboration to happen. Phillip Rush encouraged the parties not to declare it a “community center,” even as they intentionally set aside space for anyone in the community to use. As Linda puts it, he told them to “announce to the world that you are joining your office spaces, and then ‘get the f**k out of the way.’” Indeed, by the end of the first year, over 50 organizations in the community had events in the space. Sadly, Phillip Rush did not live to appreciate what she space would become, as he passed

away suddenly in 2009. “We didn’t name it because there was some great endowment, we named it because he had helped us figure out how to get it started. And he had supported … every queer and HIV organization that had existed at that point.” S​ ince then, The Rush Center expanded several times, first into an adjacent space that now holds offices and lounge space, and later into a second building behind the main building called The Annex, containing a large Event Room, Training Room, and Conference Room. It is now the location of choice for hundreds of events throughout the year and houses the offices of over 16 organizations with staff, including LGBTQ organizations and progressive political advocacy groups, as well as another 25 organizations without regular staff that have the Rush Center as their address and use the facilities on a regular, ongoing basis. Over a hundred more organizations utilize the facilities for meetings and events. ALCI changed its name to The Health Initiative, which later was subsumed into one of several programs of the Rush Center. Georgia Equality, now with a staff of six, eventually stepped back from participating in day-to-day

management as their work focused more on affecting legislation and advocating for nondiscrimination protections across the state. ​ ow with a half dozen or so organizations N on a waiting list to locate their offices at The Rush Center, it’s acknowledged as a permanent community center. As they begin their second decade, they’re also focusing on finding the funding to make their physical operations sustainable in the long term. Floors get worn, furniture gets used, the air conditioning system quits on a hot day in August. Says Jeff, “The community deserves not just a safe space, but a nice space.” Being the hub of so many organizations doing advocacy, as well as providing direct services like HIV testing, mental health counseling, and housing assistance, The Rush Center is uniquely positioned to consider collaborations among the organizations that strategically utilize the space. According to Linda, “The hope is that, as we look at the Rush Center going forward, we can begin to look at how do we help the queer community look at job issues, and how do we help the queer community look at housing issues. Is there a role for us in that? And I think that there is.”

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CHRIS 180 Expands

to Help LGBTQ Homeless Youth Patrick Colson-Price In a community where suicide rates are on the rise, LGBTQ homeless youth are reaching out for help now more than ever. In Atlanta, there’s a non-profit working to get kids off the streets and on a pathway to life success. “We work with a lot of gay youth in the foster system,” said Kathy Colbenson, CEO of CHRIS 180. “These kids didn’t have family support systems, didn’t find acceptance and so they would be homeless when they aged out of foster care.” Colbenson, a therapist, and other therapists joined together, applied for a federal grant and opened the Rainbow Home in 2000. Nearly a decade after that following a bout with defunding, CHRIS 180 re-named and re-opened what is now called the Summit Trail Apartments. “We tripled our capacity, a total of 44 young adults,” said Colbenson. “We have apartments for parenting youth, and 24 single apartments.” One of those young adults, Brian Boster, felt the need to change his life after living as a homeless teenager. “I didn’t feel like I fit in with anybody,” said Boster. “I grew up in Jonesboro, Georgia and probably the first person to come out in high school.” His parents were accepting of his newfound lifestyle, but after leaving home, Boster wound up in the wrong crowds where drugs became a focal point in his life. He later went to jail, but soon found the Rainbow Home in the early 2000s. “It was a great place, I still remember all of the counselors,” he said. “The staff was really supporting, always easy to talk to.” At the age of 37, Boster is a voice for the 26 Community October 11, 2019

Left: Brian Boster; Above: Chris 180 at Atlanta Pride. (Courtesy photos)

success of CHRIS 180’s programs. “Just having a safe place to go to. They would kick us out for a couple of days, and then it seemed like we could always come back. The director there was really supportive and would always let us come back,” said Boster. “It was a great foundation and stepping stone to be me.” Colbenson remembers Boster from his stay at Rainbow House and the ups and downs. “We’d have the hard talk, say you need to leave, think about it and try again,” said Colbenson. Almost a decade and a half later, the two still keep in touch, and now share his story as a way to connect with the younger generation that now calls CHRIS 180’s programs home.

“These kids didn’t really have anybody else and so much of other struggles connects to being able to accept yourself for who you are,” said Colbenson. “Everybody has their own journey and own struggles but the key thing is having people who support you and give you other chances. It’s such important work.”

a nonjudgmental, supportive way,” said Colbenson. “A lot of square footage in this new building is focused on training.”

Her work continues as CHRIS 180 expands even further into the arms of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community. The non-profit’s capital campaign helped raise a total of $15 million for a much-needed expansion of space and services.

The old building is now the site for the counseling center, and because there’s more space, it means more staff to help with not only LGBTQ youth but their families as well. In addition to counseling and training, the integrated health clinic which the campaign help fund. “We’re going to target the 16 to 26-year-old that’s homeless and uninsured so that there can be healthcare provided,” she said. “That will hopefully open in November.”

“Since 1989, we’ve been doing training for other people in the industry to help them learn how to work with LGBTQ youth in

For more information on CHRIS 180’s services for LGBTQ youth, visit their website at


A Lifetime of Coming Out Sondra Abrams

A question I will hear for the rest of my life: When did you come out? To be honest, I come out often, sometimes with more ease than others, but oftentimes I feel like the metaphorical caterpillar that is trying to find its way out of a cocoon. The only closet I’ve ever come out of is the eighty-five square foot wardrobe closet I share with my wife. I have never been ashamed of being a lesbian. If anything, I am ashamed of how uncomfortable it makes others feel. I see people squirm in their skin at the thought of two women together. There’s an awkward silence when I can no longer avoid possessive pronouns and when she and her replace he and him, it changes the tone of the conversation. They tell me of gay relatives and friends who are also gay, to validate their acceptance of my lifestyle. Christian men and women rebuke my disease in the name of Jesus to deliver me from the fate of hell. I am 5 feet, 3 and a half inches tall, 5 and 8 inches in heels. I walk unsteadily and awkwardly until my pumps are broken in and then my hips sway in a simultaneous rhythm with my steps. Most of my clothes are form-fitting and my nighties have lace. I wear honey-colored Loreal makeup, but I will buy Covergirl nude if it’s on sale. I prefer lipstick with a little gloss and sometimes I draw my eyebrows on crooked. My estrogen is strong, my femininity compatible with the most Alpha of men, and for these reasons, I must come out often. I came out just the other day in the express, twenty items or less line at Food Lion. “Shopping for someone else?” the cashier asked as she put my “Happy Anniversary to my Beautiful Wife” Hallmark card in a separate bag all to itself. “No, Ma’am.” I smiled. “It’s for my wife.” She returned a vexatious smile and didn’t say another word as she finished ringing my items. I removed my debit card from the reader and reached for the receipt. It doesn’t 28 Voices October 11, 2019


bother me in the ways it has in the past, for someone to fall back into their perfect world as it was before the lesbian showed up loathed in gracelessness. I understand that many are taken aback, as my appearance must seem spurious. I don’t fit the butch image most have in their minds about gay women. The deceit is understandable. I tried to fit each bag in my hand so I could leave the cart inside on the way out. As I mastered the task and began to pull the cart behind me with one lonely index finger, I heard,” Happy Anniversary” from behind. I turned. The cashier’s benevolent smile surprised me. I returned the smile, genuinely, gratefully. Moments like these are subtle reminders of what normal feels like.

6-foot, 200-pound, all-muscle guy asked if I had a husband. “Are you married?” could have easily been answered with a simple “yes.” Instead, I had no choice but to reply, “No, but I have a wife.”

I wanted to say, “And you don’t look like an idiot either, but … do you hear yourself?” “Well, they say looks are deceiving.” I shrugged. He gave me a final once over before he walked away shaking his head.

I came out at my job after the third year of conveniently being on vacation during the annual holiday party. I probably should have mentioned my lifestyle ahead of time to prevent the surprise that would be talked about over everyone’s dinner table and instant-messaged to those who missed the party, but I didn’t. I wore a burgundy and black dress with black heels. She wore black pants and a vest with a white shirt and a burgundy tie. I thought we matched one another very well, and so did others - from a distance. Aside from eyes that

I came out at the gym around the time a

“Too bad,” I heard him mumble before


“Wait, w-w-a-what, a wife?” He stumbled over his words. “You’re gay?!” He lowered his voice when he realized he had almost everyone’s attention in the weight room. “You don’t even look gay.”

he downed his bottle of Gatorade and chucked it in the trash. Too bad for whom? I wondered.



CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28 quickly looked away when I caught them staring and faint whispers, everyone was very cordial. “It is very nice to meet you!” – the norm for casual introductions – were exchanged along with warm handshakes. Whether or not some or all were genuine, I will never care to know. I was out, and the following Monday they’d see a silverframed picture of my wedding day next to my steaming cup of caramel macchiato. I came out to my Women’s Health doctor the time she was adamant about putting me on birth control when I suggested that three children were quite enough for me. It was evident that she couldn’t make sense of my decision to take the risk of no protection. “Are you sexually active,” she asked with slight dismay. “Yes, with a woman,” I said, as she conspicuously processed her aha moment. “Well,” she began as she gathered her thoughts and attempted a stab at humor, “Your chances of getting pregnant anytime soon are slim to none, huh?” “The latter, Ma’am,” I insisted. “No chances at all.” There are times when others are forced to come out for me. I’m not sure that I would be out at all if my children hadn’t fallen in love with my wife in the early years when she was just a friend. It was easier this way. I love my children enough that my happiness has always been second to theirs. My girls were teenagers when I had the talk that Mommy was in love with a woman. “Okay, that’s

cool,” is the extent of what I got from both. Teenage talk, limited vocabulary, forced to read between the lines of their vernacular. It was cool, I found. They were happy with her, with us, as a family. It was my son I was worried most about. There were already challenges as a young black boy among his peers of young black bodies in a middle school of mostly whites. There were different levels of challenge. One to claim his place and earn respect in the crowd of his race. Another to prove that honor roll isn’t restricted to white children and that he could rise significantly above the low standards a lot of teachers have for young black boys. I didn’t want to add to his plate of difficulties. Children are unkind and unwilling to accept what doesn’t define their ideas of normal. I didn’t want him to be teased for having gay parents. The first Mother’s Day I had to share in the same household was unique, as I not only received appreciation, I gave it as well. It was new to my children. My son brought home only one Mother’s Day card he made in school and handed it to me. When he had to choose at times like this, I would understandably be the one. It appeared to be a rough draft at first glance. The teacher made a mark on his well thought out card and told him to make a new one. Next to her red X over the small s next to the word “Moms,” my ten-year-old son wrote in his red colored pencil, “I have two moms.” I have a lifetime left of coming out. A recurring reenactment of the same caterpillar wiggling its way from the cocoon, each time a little easier knowing how liberating and beautiful it is to fly. October 11, 2019 Voices 29


My Gender, My Pride Rose Pelham

It seems nearly criminal to say that I’m a woman because I choose to be one, even as this statement is much truer to my experience than the more acceptable narrative that I was born trans. In all honesty, I had very little idea about being transgender when I was four, five, or six. Even when I was twelve, I still thought of myself to be a boy. I think, if I were to visit myself in middle school again, who I am now would come as a great surprise to me. It was only in high school that I seriously began to consider a new person, a new gender. At the time, I had just come out as bisexual and discovered to my disappointment that it did not make me feel any freer to be myself. The idea of being trans, as a consequence, began to take on the possibility of radical self-reinvention and liberation that coming out as bisexual had failed to realize for me. The moment when I committed to my trans-ness, it was with the conviction that I decided to change my identity so that I would have autonomy over my self-expression – and therefore, a kind of radical freedom. This freedom, for me, contrasted with the oppressive determination of how I could express myself brought about by masculine gender norms. So, I suppose, the impetus for my being trans was primarily a rejection of the involuntary imposition of masculinity on myself. Femininity, in expressing all the feeling masculinity seemed to deny, simply presented a convenient destination. Later, I would consider whether this might imply I was non-binary, and not a trans woman. I decided that, since I had experienced becoming a woman, even as I understood myself (and others) to possess dimensions beyond gender, I was still as much a woman as anyone could be. This narrative, of course, runs headlong into the problem that the debate against 30 Voices October 11, 2019


transphobia revolves on the axis of whether or not being trans is considered a choice. In that respect, what I have written above superficially appears to confirm transphobic arguments. These are: that, since I did understand myself to choose, my act of choice was either morally wrong or else reveals the inauthenticity of my gender. I believe neither claim to be true.

gender arises from immutable biological characteristics. Judith Butler, in her 1990 book Gender Trouble takes aim against this idea by pointing out that the biological conception of gender – or rather, sex – is determined by our concept of gender and not the other way around. Hence, the biologically determinist argument is circular.

In the first case, the argument from the religious right, that being trans is a choice which goes against God’s will, and is, therefore, a sin punishable in Hell, is nothing more than the idea of “might makes right” dressed up in theological clothing. This argument bases itself on the assumption that religious dogma is true morality. Nonetheless, it invalidates the very moral position it claims to maintain since it reduces the morality of any religion to unquestioning obedience to the demands of an arbitrary and petulant divine dictator.

Sadly, the belief that we can only justify our being trans by appealing to biological determinism has persisted within the trans community in the ideology of transgender medicalism.

The more dangerous transphobic argument arises not from religion but biological determinism. It begins with the common assumption that our understanding of

Transgender medicalism assumes that being transgender is a medical condition, caused by some as yet unidentified anatomical disorder. What makes this ideology appealing is that it appears to short circuit conflict with those who would argue that being trans violates the immutability of gender. If being trans is an inborn medical condition, then coming out has in no way changed one’s gender. Transgender medicalism, however, is problematic in that it, by assuming a biological

“The moment when I committed to my trans-ness, it was with the conviction that I decided to change my identity so that I would have autonomy over my self-expression – and therefore, a kind of radical freedom.” basis to gender, assumes a biological basis for gender stereotypes, and then forces transgender people to justify the authenticity of their gender by appealing to these stereotypes. In this way, it presents a kind of internalized transphobia by holding up the stereotyped cisgender expression of gender as the truth we must appeal to. The authenticity of a person’s gender, then, becomes determined by its proximity to being or passing for being, cisgender. In my experience, even though I do pass, the validation of my gender does not rest upon other people’s perception, but my being at home in it, even and especially in moments where the way I express my gender may be idiosyncratic. To be a person, after all, contains so much more than is considered either strictly masculine or strictly feminine. This is a principal lesson being trans has taught me. To choose not to have gender imposed upon me, except by my own affirmation of it, has left me with the sense of possessing some strange and wonderous key to the universe. I am proud of the radical freedom it has brought me.


Winter is Coming Transitioning into a New Season, New Life


Jessica Vue The first time I interviewed Ethan was for a journalism class at Georgia Southern University. He was doing his first keynote speech at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Statesboro. When service began, people sitting on the aisles held hands to create a tent for children to walk through. The children sat at the feet of someone who read I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings. This story was the introduction to Ethan Niklaus Winters’ story. I’m Coming Out, I’m Coming! When he was about to come out to his mom as trans, he spent all night practicing. He called her at 5:30 am and talked to her for two hours.

in his hands, he immediately changed everything: his school ID, bank cards, driver’s license, social security.

“Why are you up this early? Did you just want to talk?” she asked, about to walk into work.

“My name is the most magical assortment of words I’ve ever heard. Nothing makes me feel more myself than my name,” he said. “To this day, I love when people say my name.”

Ethan told her that he needed to tell her something important. She quickly responded with an adamant, “Yes of course, what is it?” Ethan had come out to his mom with his sexuality, but this time was different. He wasn’t her “little girl.” He was about to become the man he’d always dreamed of. She was really quiet after he told her. She had a sense of loss, fear of what that meant for her child’s safety. They stayed on the phone, his mom asking questions and Ethan giving her the answers he had at the time. Ethan continued transitioning socially, which was hard for him, especially in the beginning. He isolated himself a lot, overwhelmed with trying to explain his identity to people he knew, to deal with the looks of strangers who weren’t too sure how 32 Feature October 11, 2019

“My name is the most magical assortment of words I’ve ever heard nothing makes me feel more myself than my name. To this day, I love when people say my name.”

to “take” him and correcting people.

much more to him than meets the eye.

Say My Name, Say My Name At the time of his keynote speech, he had legally changed his name, which he chose himself. After trying out a couple of genderneutral names, he stuck to his gut and chose Ethan Niklaus Winters.

He picked his favorite season as his last name.

“I couldn’t get over how it just fit me,” he said. Niklaus is Ethan’s favorite villain in Vampire Diaries, who was misunderstood and had so

“Everything lies dormant, seemingly dead but really just working within itself, protecting itself from the cold surrounding it,” he said. “I find something so beautiful about that and I strive to embody that quality of working within myself when things around me get cold and lonely.” The moment he had the official paperwork

Going to the Top His top surgery cost $8,000, which he paid for with his own money, online crowdfunding, donations from friends’ side hustles and school refunds. Ethan was already on HRT, which he started at Atlanta’s Feminist Women’s Health Center, which didn’t require a gender dysphoria diagnosis and had a trans health specific initiative. Although being home in his body was important to him, there was a bigger, looming factor that Ethan considered when CONTINUES ON PAGE 33

FEATURE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 32 raising thousands of dollars while in school. “In Georgia, you are required to have had a gender-affirming surgery to change your gender marker on official documents, like IDs and things like that,” he said. “I felt as though job security and walking through life would be easier without having that ‘F’ on my ID.” Ethan had his eyes on only one doctor: Dr. Charles Garramone in Davie, Florida, one of the most well-known and best top surgeons in the country. Post-op A year and a half and $8,000 later, Ethan and his mother traveled from Statesboro, Georgia to Davie, Florida for his first surgery ever. Despite his research, he was most surprised by the recovery process of top surgery. “My body was traumatized,” he said. “I still remember when I woke up afterward, they had to put me back to sleep I was in so much pain. When I woke up again I started crying because I wanted my mom, it was emotionally and physically painful. I was afraid to breathe or move, I couldn’t stand up straight because I was guarding my chest.” Shirts Off to You A year post-op, Ethan swam shirtless for the first time. He was sitting on the side of a university indoor swimming pool. His scars were still pretty raised and felt like a scream for attention. There was a huge wall of glass surrounding the pool, making Ethan feel like he was a fish, about to be dumped into a shark-infested ocean. He sat there a while, deciding if he was going to be shirtless or not. “Boy, you spent eight grand on that chest. You better show it off!” his pool buddy said. He couldn’t deny that he’d spent a pretty penny so he could do this sort of thing. Why was he even hesitating? With a deep breath, he pulled his shirt off and exposed his chest to the world for the first time. “I will remember that day for the rest of my life, every nerve in my body felt alive and free,” Ethan said. “I never realized that a piece of cotton wrapped around my body made such a difference in what being in the

water felt like. I haven’t swum with a shirt on since and I never will.” A New Man After spending a total of $15,000, without any insurance coverage, in medical bills, blood tests, HRT treatment, needles and syringes, doctor’s appointments, medication, top surgery, and gas to get to and from, Ethan passed in public. “Transitioning – even before the medical partgave me my freedom,” Ethan said. “I’d found myself and I could not have cared less what anyone else thought. It was the confidence in my transition that led me to activism.” After his top surgery, Ethan became more involved as an activist in the LGBTQ community in southeast Georgia. “I decided to be very out and open about my identities, because I didn’t see enough representation in my day to day life,” Ethan said. “I didn’t see anyone providing inclusive care or support. I wanted to change that, but I didn’t see any other way other than me outing myself and speaking up for my community.” Ethan educated people and humanized the trans experience. He spoke at his classes, was a guest speaker in classes, panels, conferences, and workshops, and had regular, everyday conversations. Ethan graduated from the university in 2018 and is now a coordinator for TOP Notch, a program that partners with trans folks and helps raise money to offset the incredibly expensive cost of medical transitions. If you’re interested in hiring Ethan to speak at universities, conferences, and events, you can follow Ethan on Twitter @niklaus_winters, and visit for Ethan’s full story. October 11, 2019 Feature 33


“PrEP”-ing for Pride Patrick Colson-Price

As hundreds of thousands ascend on Atlanta for Pride 2019, those planning in being sexually active should prepare and plan accordingly. We caught up with Absolute Care’s Terry Hackworth on how visitors and locals can make sure they’re staying safe while enjoying the pride weekend! Q: How can visitors or locals prepare to be sexually active before Pride even starts? Are there medications people can take, etc? To prepare before Pride, if the person is already on PrEP then they need to continue their medication daily to be sure that it remains effective. If they are not on PrEP, then they will need to prepare by having a supply of condoms and/ or barrier methods such for females, the female condom. Currently, other than the recommendations for daily PrEP, there are no other recommendations for medications that can be taken before sexual activity. Q: When it comes to PrEP, many people only take PrEP when they’re going to be sexually active. Why is this a bad way of using the drug? Many say you need at least a week’s worth of daily pills for it to protect against HIV contraction. Is there any truth to this? “Currently, there are no guidelines or

recommendations for a person to take PrEP “On Demand”, there has been some research but in the United States there are no recommendations to take PrEP as needed. The guidelines state that PrEP must be taken daily to protect from acquiring HIV. It is indeed recommended that a person be on PrEP for 7-10 days to allow enough time for drug levels to increase in the blood and rectal tissue to provide a high level of protection.” Q: How important are condoms in 2019? While many are on PrEP, using condoms can protect against STD’s and more. Why is it important for people to still use condoms regardless of if they’re on PrEP? Condoms remain vitally important to the protection against HIV and other STIs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and Chlamydia. The effectiveness of condoms is still proven by research to protect against these infections. Q: What do you tell patients to help them understand that it’s ok to be sexually adventurous but to just do it responsibly? “Providing patients with the most up-todate research and guidelines is the best way to provide education to the patient. Discussing in detail risk factors associated with their sexual activity and how best to protect themselves but at the same time have the sexual pleasure and experience that is gratifying to them.” October 11, 2019 Health 35


This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.

MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BIKTARVY BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: } Worsening of Hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking BIKTARVY. Do not stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months.

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POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF BIKTARVY BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: } Those in the “Most Important Information About BIKTARVY” section. } Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking BIKTARVY. } Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. If you develop new or worse kidney problems, they may tell you to stop taking BIKTARVY. } Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. } Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. } The most common side effects of BIKTARVY in clinical studies were diarrhea (6%), nausea (6%), and headache (5%). These are not all the possible side effects of BIKTARVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking BIKTARVY. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with BIKTARVY. HOW TO TAKE BIKTARVY Take BIKTARVY 1 time each day with or without food. GET MORE INFORMATION } This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more. } Go to or call 1-800-GILEAD-5. } If you need help paying for your medicine, visit for program information.

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Because HIV doesn’t change who you are. BIKTARVY® is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in certain adults. BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.

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PRIDE Etiquette 101

A Letter About Consent Patrick Colson-Price

Learn before you act! That’s how I’ve always responded to straight folks or any other person who’s traveling to a pride festival for the first time. Look, I know it can be overwhelming when half-naked men and women are zooming by you at high rates of speed, and there’s a rainbow coming at you in every direction, but calm yourself and learn what to do and NOT to do when it comes to enjoying your pride experience.

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It seems we’ve come to a time where women flock to gay bars and clubs, and reach for muscles that aren’t reaching back for them. There are articles out there on the bachelorette party takeovers at these venues, and how it’s causing gay men of all shapes and sizes to retreat. Why is it important to know how to handle yourself when in the presence of the LGBTQ community? Because it’s our space that we’re welcoming you into. This is our sacred march, protest, and festival that allow us to out and proud without fear of reprimand by our close-minded hetero counterparts. I remember attending the Folsom Street Fair for the first time last year, and I was blown away. There was ass out everywhere, which is expected. We entered the fair and I immediately dropped my shorts revealing my Nasty Pig jockstrap and pale, white butt cheeks for the world to see. Nothing came of

it until a woman and man hurried by and gave my ass cheek a big slap. It caught me off guard and then I became full with rage. I called them out before my husband calmed me down, but their response was, “It’s out there, I can touch.” I’m here to say, WRONG! That’s why every year, Folsom Street Fair puts out a little PSA on social media reminding folks that CONSENT is key. Gear is not consent. Just because someone has a harness on or any type of leather gear, doesn’t mean they’re up for playing or even like being touched. Nudity is not consent. Because a woman has her breasts out or a man has his ass out, doesn’t mean it’s up for grabs. Hands off unless they permit you to cop a feel. It’s always important to ask first before reaching for a grab or even photographing someone. Many of these attendees are lawyers, doctors, and teachers who emphasize discretion but don’t mind being friendly when asked appropriately. We’re all here to enjoy one another regardless of our sexual orientation. It must be said that because someone doesn’t want you to touch them doesn’t mean they’re an asshole or arrogant. It simply means that value their personal space more than your unsolicited grabs making them feel like a piece of meat. Don’t be that person, which is why we’re writing this story for you! Now go enjoy your pride!




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Atlanta Pride By the Numbers

Katie Burkholder Let’s put one of the country’s largest pride celebrations into perspective! There’s a lot to count, from issues of the Georgia Voice to the number of people celebrating! Without these numbers, there’s not a pride celebrations! So we picked out a handful that might interest you! Enjoy!













46 Pride October 11, 2019







A Heart for the City in the Heart of Atlanta At All Saints’ Episcopal Church we believe in loving our neighbors as we would love ourselves, and our neighbors include Atlanta’s LGBTQIA+ community and their families. Whether you call Atlanta home or you’re here for a visit, we invite you to come and share in worship with us.  Worship Times: Sundays at 8:00, 9:00 and 11:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.; Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 12:05 p.m. Sponsored by GALAS, the LGBT Ministry of All Saints’ Episcopal Church

634 West Peachtree Street NW  Atlanta, Georgia 30308–1925  telephone: 404–881–0835  facsimile: 404–881–3796

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Mobility Issues for Elders Attending Pride AARP, Local Organizations Seek to Gain Access for Seniors

“The World Health Organization said the most prevalent ‘ism’ that has become widely sanctioned is ageism. Old people are generally ignored, they’re invisible.”

Dallas Anne Duncan It was 1992. Annise Mabry was 18, freshly out as lesbian, attending her first Atlanta Pride. “It was at the height of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It was at the height of Lesbian Avengers; it was at the height of Act Up! when Cracker Barrel was firing employees for being gay,” Mabry, a 2019 grand marshal for Atlanta Pride, told Georgia Voice. “We were marching with a Jewish congregation. The Pride parade that year was very small. They had just done the March on Washington and they decided, we wanted to do something like that here in Atlanta. When we turned the corner I heard glass shatter. [Atlanta Police Department] didn’t protect us at this time. All we had was each other. The people from the Jewish congregation — we were kids — formed a human shield on both sides of us, and they marched us down so we could finish the parade.” That emotional image is burned into her memory. “I’ve lost my family because my family didn’t support me coming out and I really thought everybody in the world hated me. That Pride, that made me who I am,” she said. “That gave me the fight to want to be visible, to never allow myself to be silent, because I remember what those people who didn’t even know me, what they did for me.” Mabry, founder of the nonprofits Dr. Mabry Foundation and Tiers Free Academy, wants everyone to have that experience of community at the 2019 festival, no matter their ages. Gray Pride Aims for Elder Inclusion “The World Health Organization said the most prevalent ‘ism’ that has become widely sanctioned is ageism. Old people are generally ignored, they’re invisible,” said Mary Anne Adams, founding executive director of ZAMI NOBLA. “One of the reasons why 48 Pride October 11, 2019

— Mary Anne Adams, founding executive director of ZAMI NOBLA a concerted effort in collaboration and coalition and push the city.”

I started ZAMI NOBLA was because I saw increasingly older lesbians disappearing from the Atlanta scene, because it was becoming increasingly youth-oriented. There were a lot of spaces where we were invisible or didn’t feel welcome.”

Gaining Access for Elders Richard Harlan, membership director for Atlanta Prime Timers, has been attending Atlanta Pride off-and-on for 20 years. Even with areas like Gray Pride, he expressed concern about older LGBTQ folks accessing Piedmont Park to begin with.

Enter Gray Pride. AARP and several of its partner organizations, including ZAMI NOBLA, intentionally created an area geared toward LGBTQ seniors in Piedmont Park this weekend. It’s the place to be for those looking for a place to sit, out of the heat, and enjoy refreshments, community, and even a multiracial, multi-generational ukulele ensemble.

“We have mobility issues now,” Harlan said. “There’s just not a lot of parking and we are on rolling walkers now, so the point for us is, if we can’t get close to something, we don’t go.” That means some festivities, like Pride Village, are “now pretty much beyond us.”

“We literally have an event happening within the larger event,” Hillary Thomas, associate state directory of advocacy and outreach for AARP told Georgia Voice. “We took some time before we started hosting this event to ask different groups of older adults, what are they missing at Pride? They said, ‘We don’t necessarily like to walk around the park the whole time, or we just need a place to sit down that is appropriately heated or cooled, and we need something to drink and a snack. ’We took that and let it bloom.”

Several individuals told Georgia Voice that due to the crowd at Pride, vehicles like golf carts, which could help with mobility concerns, are not allowed for safety reasons. Making changes like that could require changes from the city, which requires a different level of community: community activism. “In my experience, there’s not much that happens without advocacy and lobbying and pushing people to do the right thing,” Adams said. “This becomes an issue where all of us are going to have to make

Taking Pride in Aging In his younger years, Harlan lived in Boston, and vividly recalls being part of the festivities. “We used to literally join the parade in Boston as it passed us, and by the time we got to Boston Common, all the people who were watching were part of the parade. It was quite a tradition,” he said. “Pride is a celebration of who we are and where we hope to go.” Amy “Vava Vroom” Ferzoco, board chair and president of Dykes on Bikes Atlanta, began attending Pride celebrations in her early 20s and watched them change for nearly two decades. “There are a lot more kids. There’s a lot more of the traditional family at Pride, which is wonderful and what we’re all going for, but it definitely brings a different experience,” Ferzoco said. “They’re trying to make things accessible to family and transfolk and seniors and everyone that they possibly can, but the resources shift what gets attention. It’s a cleaner pride – I mean vanilla. There’s less nudity; there’s a lot of protest signs which is great; but there’s a lot less of that ’rah we’re queer!’ and visually, here’s our sexuality.” To hear more from Ferzoco and others, read the full story at


Good Times Ahead Meet the LGBTQ Atlanta Artist Behind Commercial Pride Attire, Inclusive Local Art

“I came out in the ballroom scene in New York. Being around people transitioning and vogueing is a way to celebrate who we are. It’s this scene for the first time where I heard about someone having HIV or AIDS,” Correa said. “Nightlife is kind of like church for us because it’s how everybody looks; we’re giving everybody self-esteem. That’s what I highlight personally, but everybody’s mural coming together was about celebrating this and chopping that stigma.”

Dallas Anne Duncan Perhaps you know her as Lisette Correa; perhaps by her ARRRTAddict moniker. Or perhaps you’ve just seen her Pride T-shirt designs grace the racks at Macy’s and Target for the past several Junes.

Representation is Brewing Earlier this year, Correa was selected to design can art for the New England-style IPA beer “Sufferin’ Til Suffrage,” a collaboration brew between Atlanta-based Second Self Beer Co., New Realm Brewing Company, and industry group Pink Boots Society.

“I was one of the main artists who was a part of the Pride collection for Target, and I do that consistently every year with my company,” the Atlanta artist told Georgia Voice. “They trust me because I’m able to really give them verbiage for T-shirts that our community is really going to connect with because I’m in the community, rather than just slap another rainbow on the T-shirt. Now I do it for Macy’s as well.” Many of her commercial Pride designs feature her signature use of pastel colors: the mane of a unicorn, melting swirls on a rainbow ice cream cone, a strutting avocado. The opportunity to be part of the Pride art teams for these retailers came through her work with California-based Hybrid Apparel. Correa is licensed to reproduce a hoard of familiar characters in her graphic tee designs, including Sailor Moon, Hello Kitty, Marvel heroes and villains, and a variety of Disney franchises. Her style is also evident on the work she does for the company Zumiez. Fashion First Correa grew up watching her grandmother sew quinceañera and wedding dresses. She moved from her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to New York for fashion, and got an internship with clothing brand Sean John. That’s when she started “messing around” with graphics. “From there, I kind of got more in love with art than with fashion. When you start


designing T-shirts, it’s kind of like a canvas because you’re creating art rather than just creating a garment,” she said. That, plus a move to Los Angeles, California, set Correa off into the world of fast fashion and graphic artistry. “Fast fashion is all your big chain stores,” she said. “When a trend comes out, it goes directly into the stores. You’ll see something on the runway and within a month or two, you see a version or something inspired by that in the stores.” Somewhere between the fast fashion of LA and the not-so-fast lanes of 285, Correa caught the mural bug. Her most impactful project in 2019 was her mural wall at Atlanta’s MJQ Concourse, which features some of the iconic characters and images she created: an alien with a gold grill grins at passerby; her ‘Hydrate Your Soul’ spray

bottle; the grim reaper behind the wheel of a flame-covered donk car. “I’ve been visiting MJQ forever, every time I would visit my family,” Correa said. “I would always see all the murals on the walls and I would always say I want to paint in here, so to have finally painted that mural is insane.” Shortly after that, Correa was commissioned to be part of a Living Walls mural project on HIV awareness. “The more we associate [HIV] with death, the more people don’t want to talk about it and the more they don’t want to get tested,” Correa said. “We wanted to celebrate people in the community who are still alive, still thriving.” The characters she included in the mural are vogueing, a dance style popularized in the house dance scene where dancers mimic a runway model’s movements in a stylized manner.

“The characters I did on there, it’s not just people of color. It’s every kind of woman. Looking at a can art and not seeing this person as specifically white or black, it makes you see people as they are,” Correa said. “There’s one girl who’s on the far left of the can holding the ‘ATL’ sign and she’s, for me, an androgynous lesbian, and I even put a rainbow patch on her jacket. Whenever it’s a really big project, I try to make sure that I’m going to have representation.” Another area of representation important to Correa is that of her Caribbean Latinx heritage, which she missed during her time on the West Coast. “I’ve been trying to put my culture into each image. Putting a lot of gold grills in my artwork, that’s a big cultural thing in south Florida,” Correa said. “A lot of the reason I draw my characters with pastel coloring is, I want to represent people of color, but I want them to be so much more than just black and brown. So instead, it’s about, ‘How can I emphasize more of our culture and fashion aesthetic and what’s unique to us?’” To read more, visit our October 11, 2019 Pride 49



Atlanta Pride 2019 Grand Marshals Katie Burkholder

Every year, the Atlanta Pride Committee honors the outstanding individuals and organizations that tirelessly work to advance Georgia’s LGBTQ community by naming them the Grand Marshals of Pride. These Grand Marshals, who are nominated by the public and then handselected by the APC, are celebrated for their hard work by leading the annual Pride parade (held this year on Sunday, Oct. 13 at noon). “Each year, the APC seeks to select Grand Marshals that are doing great work for our community as a way for us to honor and show gratitude for the positive difference each individual or organization has made and continues to make for all of us,” APC Executive Director Jamie Fergerson said in a statement. 50 Pride October 11, 2019

“Our organization is proud of our effort and commitment to select Grand Marshals from the wide range of diverse activists and community members among us. It is important to use that our slate of Grand Marshals represent all the varied and beautiful segments of our Queer community and our allies.” Meet this year’s twelve Grand Marshals who are all making a difference in LGBTQ Atlanta and beyond: Dr. Annise Mabry is the founder of the Dr. Mabry Foundation, a non-profit founded for community growth and development, and the executive director of Tiers Free Academy, Georgia’s only nonprofit alternative diploma program for sextrafficking survivors, homeless LGBTQ youth, and high school dropouts. Rev. Dr. Beth LaRocca-Pitts has been the

senior pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Midtown – a church where 90 percent of the worshipping congregation is LGBTQ – for nine years. Saint Mark was one of the first Midtown churches to open its doors to the LGBTQ community in 1991 and has been active in Georgia Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, Pride, the AIDS Walk, and other LGBTQ advocacy groups.

Chanel Haley is the Gender Inclusion Organizer for Equality Foundation of Georgia, leading efforts to ensure non-discrimination laws and policies are passed. Haley also facilitates “Trans 101 Humility” training for organizations and builds relationships with business and corporate environments that have little to no LGBTQ knowledge or background. Emily Halden Brown is the director of Absolute CARE Medical Center in Atlanta,

serves on Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ LGBTQ Advisory Board as co-chair of the health committee, is a member of the board of directors of THRIVE Support Services, and is an interim board member of the Phillip Rush Center. Feroza Syed is a transgender activist and advocate. She facilitates PFLAG John’s Creek, works with organizations like Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, and serves on Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ LGBTQ Advisory Board. Syed works with groups locally to help with intersectionality, specifically cultural and religious background issues targeting the Asian LGBTQ community. Rev. Kimberly Jackson, an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, made history as the CONTINUES ON PAGE 51


Your Miss and Mr. Atlanta Pride 2020 Patrick Colson-Price The title is an honor for any drag queen looking to cement her name in Atlanta Pride history! This year, Misti Shores took home the grand title and crown at the annual Miss & Mr. Atlanta Pride Pageant on September 24 at the Heretic Atlanta. Her title puts her on our second cover of the Georgia Voice pride issue!

Clockwise from top left: Rev. Dr. Beth LaRocca-Pitts, Royce Mann, Rev. Kimberly Jackson, Thrive SS, and Feroza Syed (Courtesy photos)

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 50 first ever out Queer Person of Color ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Jackson has worked closely with legislators at the Georgia State Capitol to advocate for just laws, on every side of the aisle. Volunteers at Latino LinQ have been serving Georgia’s Latinx community by providing direct services and facilitating information, education, and training sessions for individuals and groups interested in expanding the organization’s mission of closing the everwidening equity gap that exists when accessing health and legal service practitioners. Raksha, founded in 1995, is a nonprofit organization for the South Asian Community. Raksha works towards healing, empowerment, and justice for South Asian survivors of violence and all those who face similar barriers to justice, regardless of ability, country of origin, race, religion, caste, socioeconomic status, gender identity, age, immigration status, or sexual orientation.

seven as Minority Leader – Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia. She made history by winning more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history and being the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States.

Categories for all contestants included pride presentation, talent, and evening gown/ formal wear. On the men’s side, Jermaine Iman was crowned the first Mr. Atlanta Pride 2020 in pageant history. “This is bound to be a wonderful journey,” said Iman. “Being the first Mr. will be exciting for us all and I’m thrilled to see what’s in store.” Iman had this message for his fellow queen, “I look forward to bonding and building a relationship with you and can’t wait to see you for our pride festivities.”

Stephanie Cho is the Executive Director for Asian Americans Advancing JusticeAtlanta, the first nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing, protecting, and defending the AAPI (Asian American & Pacific Islander) and AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian) communities in the Southeast. Cho has been a community organizer, program director for LGBTQ youth programming, director of training for a national fellowship program, a labor organizer, and organizational consultant.

Royce Mann is a 17-year-old poet, activist, and rising senior at Grady High School. In 2016, his spoken-word poem “White Boy Privilege” went viral, receiving over 20 million views on social media. Since then, Mann has spoken at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit and the MLK Day Commemorative Service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Thrive SS, created by three black SGL (samegender-loving) men living with HIV to create a sense of belonging and community for other positive black SGL men in the South, implements innovative solutions to improve support and linkage to HIV care. The model, designed by the founders based on their own lived experiences with input from others in the community, is a 3-tiered support approach coupling 24-hour online support with 4 in-person support meetings allowing continued assessments and opportunities to link to needed services.

The Honorable Stacey Abrams is a New York Times best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, non-profit CEO, and political leader. In 2018, after serving for eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives –

If you know or see any of this year’s outstanding Grand Marshals, make sure to congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition and thank them for their work serving Georgia’s diverse LGBTQ community!

“Now that the glitter has settled, I have to say it feels amazing waking up as your new Miss Atlanta Pride 2019,” said Shores in a Facebook post. “I am beyond speechless at the win, but so so so proud that all of the hard work, sleepless nights, sewing, stoning, rehearsing, and cups of coffee paid off!”

October 11, 2019 Pride 51


Goody Bags For You, and You, and You … Essentials Items For Your Pride Guests Patrick Colson-Price What I love most about any Pride celebration in the city I live in, is welcoming my guests to town with a special little goody bag specifically made for their weekend adventures. I’m such a giver that I get carried away sometimes, and it happened for this Pride … my first Atlanta Pride! We have seven guests staying with us in our twobedroom apartment in West Midtown, but the more the merrier, right?! Now, this isn’t just for Pride weekends, this could be for any special occasion where friends are visiting from out of town. I tend to take the focus of the weekend and then create a goody bag that caters to those specific activities. For example, this weekend my friends, husband, and I will be attending several circuit and house parties full of hot men and lots of dancing! You get the picture! So, I created a goody bag that gives them the essentials they’ll need while at those events! To start, I’ve used fanny packs to carry all of these goodies (they’re coming back into style, so it’s a must-have for Pride celebrations or any events at that!). Hand Sanitizer It sounds pretty simple, but we all know that the hustle and bustle of a busy weekend leaves little room to sanitize properly, especially when hot, sweaty men are involved! Wherever your hands go, make sure you sanitize right after! Chewing Gum Bad breath is the quickest way to get turned away by pretty much anyone, so I am always equipped with gum at any event I go to. One piece lasts hours, ensuring your makeout sessions or quick friendly kisses turn out with smiles inside of nasty grins! Candy We all love a sweet and tangy snack while 52 Pride October 11, 2019

out on the town or dancing away under the lights, so I always choose some of my favorite candies: gummy bears, sweet tarts, blow pops, Tootsie pops, dum dums, and sometimes even chocolate (even though it melts when it’s hot). Pride Accessories This year I chose bandanas and sunglasses, both rainbow-colored. It gives my guests an option to rock their Pride when they want, and with bandanas, there are so many ways to wear it, you can switch up looks in a

heartbeat (plus it catches sweat easily!) VICKS Inhaler These bad boys are a godsend especially when you have bad sinuses like mine. A quick sniff in both nostrils and you’re breathing a lot easier. Unclogging your sinuses will allow you to enjoy the events even more! Energy This means anything from 5 Hour Energy shots to scoops of pre-workout. I choose Gatorade energy chews for year’s goody bag.

Now, they’re not like Adderall but the trick is to boost your energy while at these events because the heat will certainly drain you! The more energy, the longer you’ll party! Lube Last but not least, everyone needs some type of lubrication, especially on pride weekends. I’ve got a great brand of lube called Spunk, and it comes in mini bottles perfect for your fanny pack or to slide into your socks. Never leave home without it because you never know when the time comes for some intimate fun!


Dancing For Donations Midnight Train Productions Gives Back to Community Patrick Colson-Price There are only a handful of major circuit parties around the country and the world that aim to turn dancing into donations, and one of those parties is budding in Atlanta, Georgia. Midnight Train Productions started only last year with their first-ever Pride party. Up against stiff competition from seasoned promoters, Tang Nguyen and Rob Jameson created what they thought would be a sure win for the LGBTQ community. “We are seeking more diverse patronage,” said Jameson. “Our goal is to bring more of the community together and not just have white gay guys at the parties.” From different races to trans and drag queens, the two felt like inclusion was a missing part of the equation at many local circuit parties. “We specifically like to hire diverse dancers, which we’ve not seen at the parties here. We have dancers of every nationality,” said Nguyen. “Even last year, our entertainment was the number-one Beyoncé impersonator who happened to be trans.” Their one-night party over Pride weekend last year, labeled Papa Heroes, got mixed reviews from attendees as it was Nguyen and Jameson’s first venture into the circuit world production scene. They went back to the drawing board and planned to expand their brand into a full weekend celebration for Pride 2019. But there are several other parties during both nights of Midnight Train’s events, creating a heated battle between promoters, from Big Ol’ Slice’s packed line up to TEN 56 Pride October 11, 2019


Atlanta’s weekend block party. How are Nguyen and Jameson looking to keep up with that competition? They say it’s all about giving back. “Our parties raise money for the LGBTQ institute,” said Nguyen. “They do a lot of research targeting minorities and the trans community, to change laws and to introduce legislation.” There’s that and then there’s Midnight Train’s party giveaway: tickets to see Ariana Grande. “Each pair of tickets is a value of $650, they’re good floor seats,” said Nguyen. “You can go dance at any party and probably forget about it the next week, but if you go to a party that you can win tickets like these, you’ll never forget it.” Their venue choices are a switch-up from previous years’ venues. Friday night, they’ll throw their party at Believe Music Hall, an old church converted into a modern event space. Saturday night, they’ll open up The Cellar for another unique venue change that they feel their guests will appreciate. It’s all part of their mission to bring something new to Atlanta’s circuit nightlife, a growing scene that will only continue to grow as international DJ’s make their Pride pit stops for a weekend of non-stop dancing and good times.

Conviction - Compassion - Community First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, a 1,900-member congregation located in Midtown right next door to the Woodruff Arts Center, welcomes ALL to humbly follow Jesus Christ. Worship Services 6:30 a.m. Community Prayer Breakfast 8:00 a.m. Chapel with Communion 9:00 a.m. Casual Service 11:00 a.m. Traditional Service in Sanctuary Rev. Dr. Tony Sundermeier Senior Pastor 1328 Peachtree Street Atlanta, GA 30309




The Carlos Family in Honor of Thalia N. Carlos Presents

Choreographed by Yuri Possokhov with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s beloved score.

December 7-24 at the Fox Theatre Visit or call 1.855.285.8499 Groups of 10+, email or call 404.873.5811 x1207.


Costume Sketches by Sandra Woodall

Proud to celebrate Atlanta Pride!


Photo: Brett Croomer for Houston Grand Oopera



Kicking it with Good Company Pride Kickball League Eyes to Unite Strangers Aidan Ivory Edwards One of the many sports that is admired but yet highly underrated here in America is kickball. It’s the playground recreation that isn’t taken too seriously but makes a point to have a straightforward set of rules. There isn’t a fierce competition that you see in other sports. It almost makes it feel like an activity that teeters the line of being a sport because of how human beings handle competition, but the fact is that it is a team sport. And the collaboration involved in kickball was one of the motives that the national kickball league, GO Kickball, had as it made its mark in Atlanta in the spring of 2006. The domestic league is active in twenty-eight cities this year across twelve states. GO Kickball’s success led to further growth in the association, a group called GO Sports Unlimited. The collective includes other competitive and non-completive sports. Lindsey Kassen, Senior Director of Atlanta’s GO Kickball, states, “It wasn’t specifically focused on sports. We were focusing on the social networking aspect of it. We were using kickball as a tool to meet people and get out in your community.” The association has met their goal plus more – expanding even further by adding dodgeball, cornhole, bocce ball, flag football, soccer, softball, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee. When arriving in Atlanta in 2006, GO Kickball quickly had a massive growth inside and outside of the perimeter – spanning from Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb, and Gwinnett County. While the kickball league was seeing positive results, they remained highly receptive towards any feedback, keeping their ears close to the members of the association. With a high number of LGBTQ players involved in the kickball league, they began to hear from the LGBTQ community. There was a wide-scale desire to have a branch of the association that was exclusively LGBTQ. By no means was the LGBTQ community 62 Pride October 11, 2019


striving towards having a league of their own due to any discriminatory factors from the first league. The cause was simply about the comfort of being amongst their community, something to call their own. As ardent allies of the LGBTQ community, the GO Kickball League took the initiative to make this request come to fruition. Those involved were Lindsey Kassen and Katie O’Brien, along with the help of other individuals and partnerships with Blake’s On The Park, Tito’s Vodka, and Joining Hearts. The Pride League is now in its fifth season since beginning in 2014. And as the city grows, so does the league. “A lot of the time people will reach out informing us that they just moved here, and want to sign up,” says O’Brien, GO Kickball’s Atlanta Marketing Coordinator The principles of GO Kickball are to encourage an active lifestyle, sustain a social life, and to further your purpose, whether it’s to lift yourself up or to lift up others. O’Brien expands, stating, “The sports that we are trying to foster are about being out in your community, enjoying it, meeting new people, and feeling comfortable. You don’t have to be

an athlete to do it, but you can still stay active and enjoy a sport with other people.” If you are intimidated or assuming that you cannot go into alone, well, they have you covered. “People can sign up as a free agent, even as a small group of two or three. And then we can place you to a team. Or a captain will invite them or sign them to a team,” says Kassen. “In comparison to our other league, we usually have about twelve free agents. The Pride League usually has up to twenty-seven free agents.” This system makes it all the more inviting. The likelihood of everyone knowing each other on a single team is highly unlikely. There is almost a guarantee that there is someone who is in the same position you are. “We will see two separate groups one season, then see them split off into another group,” says O’Brien. “It’s something that we don’t see with other leagues which is awesome because they’re truly building the connections.” Pride Kickball Atlanta is held at Piedmont Park. There are a total of three seasons;

spring, summer, and fall. The winter season is taken off. For a few of the sports that they offer, they push through year-around. It’s an eight-week-long season with seven regularseason games and a final week playoff which varies depending on the number of teams in the league that season. “What we have always done from the getgo is a big Atlanta city tournament. We invite everyone from our leagues all over Atlanta whether you’re the league winner or division winners to a one-day tournament. Generally, thirty-two teams play in it,” says Lindsey Kassen. The Pride League is a social event where lifelong friends are made. It’s a recurring theme that after the kickball games, everyone meets up at Blake’s on the Park for food and beverages – connecting on multiple levels. This can lead to another time later down the road and an immediate friend. Kassen and O’Brien’s vision of the league ring true, that kickball can be “a tool” to further pursuit human connections. “We wanted to foster the love that all of them are coming with,” says Kassen.

UPCOMING SHOWS AGMC 39th Annual Holiday Extravaganza Dec. 6 at 8pm Dec. 7 at 1 & 6pm

AWC: Vintage Holidays! A 1940’s Radio Show Dec. 14 at 2 & 8pm

The Cathedral of St Philip

Grace United Methodist Church

This concert is Atlanta’s well-loved traditional kickoff to the holiday season — music to inspire holiday cheer and good will. No one rings in the holidays like the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus!

AWC pays tribute to our parents and grandparents and our love of country and family. We will reminisce and celebrate the era that birthed some of the most beautiful music ever composed — all wrapped in a beautiful holiday package.


AGMC: Queens & Queen!! This show will make you clap your hands and stomp your feet! AGMC pays tribute to the iconic Queens of Music: Cher, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Beyonce and a special tribute to the well-loved group Queen, complete with a full rock band!

AGMC: Returning to the Root The central tenet of all the world’s religions is love. At their best, religions teach us to treat each other with loving kindness. This concert explores our relationship to religion and music — how it’s intended to create connections, acceptance, and most of all, express love.

AWC: She Rises Through song and story this concert celebrates the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, along with a focus on human rights for all. You will be inspired and uplifted as we celebrate diversity and community.

AWC: Phoenix Rising: Untold Stories of Atlanta AWC explores what it means to call Atlanta home! From the Native Americans that called this area home, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, and gay rights, to Robert Shaw’s impact on choral music and of course, popular and hiphop music.

Sponsored By:

Tickets may be purchased at or by calling (404) 320-1030 Funding for this program is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and is supported in part by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.




















BECAUSE SCIENCE MATTERS! The exhibits of Tellus Science Musuem open minds and ignite a passion for science. Come see minerals from all over the world, stand under a massive T-Rex, and imagine what it was like when the Wright brothers took their first flight next to our full-size replica of their flyer. Kids can interact and learn in the Collins Family My Big Backyard, pan for gems, and dig up fossils to take home. The Museum also features various special exhibits throughout the year featuring everything from motorcycles to brain teasers and toys.
















120,000 SQ FT OF FUN!



Andy Warhol loved the West. His bold prints, films, photos and collections showcase his lifelong fascination. Explore this rare view of the most recognized artist of the 20th century – only at the Booth.

Through December 31 Andy Warhol, Lonesome Cowboys, 1968, 16mm, color film, sound, 109 minutes, Film still courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, 1997.4.75, Š 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Booth Western Art Museum | Cartersville, GA


Pride 2019 Vendor Marketplace RED

Vehicle Gate iHeart Media Gate iHeart Media Gate Vehicle Gate The Coca-Cola Company R1-R4 Delta Air Lines R5 Delta Air Lines R6 Delta Air Lines R7, R8 Atlanta Hawks R9 State Farm R10, R11 Atlanta Falcons R12 CBS46/ Peachtree TV R13-R15 IHG R16-R18 Cox AJC R19-R20 Gilead R21-R23 Georgia Power R24 Samsara R25 Atlanta United R26 SunTrust R27-R28 In Grass Across above VIP AT&T 30x40 Stand Alone AT&T Top of Meadow Stand Alone AT&T Stand Alone AT&T Mobility Stand Alone In Grass Across from R1 (close to helicopter pad) Comcast 35x42 Stand Alone Comcast Stand Alone Comcast Stand Alone Start At Silver Post Marriott R29-R31 Carvana R32 Gayborhood R33 UPS R34 QGenda R35 Piedmont Hospital R36 Siemens R37-R38 Slalom R39 BABE Wines R40 WellStar R41 Georgia Voice R42-R44 Verizon R45 Bank of America R46


KIND Bar O1-O2 Bellhops O3 Walgreen’s O4-O6 Ronald McDonald House O7-O8 Frida Kahlo O9 Joffe Lasik Plus O10 Bellhops O11 FedEx O12 North Georgia Premium Outlets O13-O14 Episcopal Diocese O15 FHI 360/CDC O16-O17 Cox Radio O18 Crook & Marker O19 We The People O20-O21 Blackrock O22 Greystar O23

First Data O24 CF Real Estate O25 Peach Media O26 VmWare O27 TopGolf O28 AAA - Georgia O29 Fulton County Board of Health O30 COX Radio O31 Metrotainment O32 Flaura Botanica O33 Bader Law Firm O34 OutFront Theater O35 Wesley Homes/ The Kirkwood O36 Groundfloor O37 Passion Project O38 TreeHug Trading Co O39-O40


USA Sunglasses Y1 Human Rights Campaign Y2-Y5 LGBTQ Therapist Resource Y6 Transcending Barriers Atlanta Y7 Happitees Y8 ACLU of Georgia Y9 2U Medical Y10 Larabar Y11-Y12 William Bedgood & Associates Y13 Charis Circle Y14 Access Reproductive Care Southeast Y15 Georgia CBD Distributors Y16 Tribal Sons Jewelry Y17 Lasik Vision Institute Y18 Good Mews Animal Foundation Y19 4th Inning Y20 Alzheimers Association Y21 Strongest Link Y22 Georgia Equality Y23 The Health Initiative Y24 100% Cool Efi Designs Y25 Key West and Florida Keys Y26 True You (Katie Leikam, LCSW) Y27 Adoption Resources and Counseling Y28 Feminist Women’s Health Center Y29 IATSE Atlanta Chapter Y30 CHRIS 180 Y31 Georgia Lutherans Welcome You Y32 Draftboy Y33 C4 Belts Y34 Enterpride Holdings Y35-Y36


Tangela & Toby Real Estate Team G1 Donald Rizzo Fine Art G2

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Ahimsa House G3 Synclair’s Honey Spot G4 Disability Link G5 CNY Fertility G6 Dementia Spotlight and Alzheimer’s Music Fest G7 Latino LinQ G8-G10 Veterans Crisis Line G11 Millennials for Warren G12 Electrobike G13 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia G14 YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta G15 American Cancer Society G16 Viiv Healthcare G17- G18 Emory Women’s and Reproductive G19 Emory University Hope Clinic G20 Emory University Ponce CRS G21 Dove and Serpent Oasis G22 Spunglasses G23 Marquis Leo Collection G24-G25 National Gay Pilots Association G26 Whispering Oaks Campground and Retreat G27 Winderness Network of Georgia G28 Out of Bounds G29-G30 Amerigroup - GA G31 New Covanant Church of Atlanta G32-G34 Brown Broaderick SE G35 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention G36 PFLAG G37-G39 The Vape Cafe G40 Pinnacle Home Improvements G41 T-Mobile G42-G43 truth G44-G46 The Last Straw G47 Atlanta Rainbow Trout G48 YIP and More G49 Color of Heat G50 Mango Drip G51 GA Open and Addirming Disciples G52 Cobb & Douglas Countiues Public Health G53 Something New G54 Hotlanta Softball G55 Hot Atlanta Volleyball G56 Wear It Apparel G57 National Flag Football League of Atlanta G58 Atlanta Bucks Rugby Football Club G59 All Stripes G60 Power Home Remodeling G61 Food Vendor Triangle

Food Vendor Triangle Food Vendor Triangle Tettleton Agency - Farmers Insurance G62 Immigration Education Project G63 Spay Georgia G64 Stonewall Bar Association G65 Mexican Curioso G66 Hillside G67 Vacation Getaways G68-G69 Loving Touch Animal Center G70 Papaya Tree Imports G71 Latter Day Podcast G72 JJ Parrott G73 Mia’s Moisturizers G74 Smile Direct G75 Coastal Wellness G76 Butterfuly Soap Company G77 Stray Cat Strut ATL G78 Funstuff G79 Three Flowers Bath Company G80 Tek Systems G81 A Better Buzz Branded Goods G82 Only Human G83 Center for C-H Function G84 I Am Helping LLC G85 Reporductive Endocrinology & Infertility G86 Got Scrapz G87 3 Corners Metaphysical G88 Milk Mocha Apparel G89 Dutchmen’s Casual Living G90 USF G91 Purr Nation G92 Bebe & Bella G93 Clack that Fan G94 Southwire G95 Inspiritus G96-G97


We the People B1-B2 Recovery LGBT B3 Life University B4 Gay Days B5 Fort Lauderdale Pride B6 Grand Resort and Spa B7 Bishops Cut and Color B8 Pact Atlanta B9 City of Doraville B10 Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine B11 Unleash the Goddess B12-B13 Shablam Fans B14 Louabull B15-B16 The Hairy Bastard B17 Absolute Care B18 Mertotainment B19 MARTA B20 Emory HIV Clinical Trials Unit B21 Trust Dental Group B22

The Koval Firm B23 Atlanta History Center B24 Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau B25 Positive Impact B26-B30 Grady Ambulance B31-B32 Grady Healthcare B33 PNC B34-B36 The CBD Joint B37 Hang 2 Win B38 Barking Leather B39-B40 Studz Love B41 Lawyers for Equal Justice B42 Advanced Urology and Gynecology B43 Audries Fashion B44 March for Our Lives B45 North Atlanta Area Narcotics Anonymous B46 Sharkies Swim & SCUBA Academy B47 Strongest Link B48 Skin and Bones Docs B49 Lincoln Financial Group B50 Ariel La Boutique B51 Merging Metals B52 Lost n Found Youth B53 Center for Pan Asian Community Services B54 SGi/Atlanta Buddhist Center B55 Market Glass Production B56 Sonja Johnson Psychic Healer B57 Majorie Collection B58 World Toys and Imports B59 Edward Law Group B60 KT Properties B61 Rainbow Love B62 Neighborhood Church B63 LeafFilter of North Georgia B64 Braces Braces B65 DelPriore’s Realty LLC B66 Atlanta Lawyer’s Fund B67 Emory University Stuart Rose Files B68 Jet Fly Studios B69 Diamond Resorts B70 AID Atlanta B71-B73 Xytex B74 The Morrocan Craft B75 Pride Gone Wild B76 System Four Herbal Erect B77 Hollywood Feed B78 Raksha B79


Georgia Carry P1 Atlanta Pink Pistols P2 Raymond Jones P3 Lambda Legal P4 Infinite Athlete P5 PCOM Perimeter College P6 Atlanta Freedom Bands P7-P8 Libertarian Party of Georgia P9

Kabbage P10-P11 To Write Love on Her Arms P12 Off-Center P13 Crowe, LLP P14 PRISM Emory Healthcare P15 Emory Voice Center P16 Vicious Fruit P17 National Queer Asian Pacific Island Alliance P18 Peace Corps P19 Catholic Shrine of Immaculate Reception P20-P21 North Decatur Presbyterian Church P22 Our Song, Atlanta Gay and Leslian Chorus P23 Reup Decor P24 Pulse Underwear P25-P26 God Glam It P27 Messy Unicorn P28 D. Geller & Sons P29 MAMA LLC P30 The Last Straw P31 Olivia Travel P32 Reproductive Biology Associates P33 The Rush Center/Health Initiative P34 Sojourn P35 Gusto! P36 Someone Cares Atlanta P37 Atlanta Veterans Administrative Healthcare P38 Atlanta Vapor LLC P39 Dirty Squirrel P40 Outer Peace P41 Barden Behavioral Health P42 The Gathering Place Worship Center P43 Mistrura Time Pieces P44 Rose Gold P45 THE Gay Fan Club P46 Splat Back! P47 Rainbow Island P48 Culture Cross P49 Corrective Chiropractic P50 Wooden Element P51 Lumerica Body Care P52 Fringe and Company P53 Atlanta Prime Timers P54 Wood Properties/ ALTA Diaries P55 Nissan GATE Kimberly Clark GATE iHeartMedia GATE AIDS Healthcare Foundation GATE AID Atlanta GATE Grady Medical Tent GATE Grady Ambulance GATE Heineken Oak Hill Jagermeister Oak Hill


Little Pride with Big Hearts Welcoming Our Children to Atlanta Pride 2019

there will be tons of people walking by who may stop and check out all that they have to offer. The idea of incorporating something for kids at Pride stemmed from a conversation at one of the library’s events held at the Rush Center two years ago, Oscar added.

Conswella Bennett The 49th annual Atlanta Pride festival will offer something for everyone – and that includes children and teens.

The library’s outreach program’s goal is to make everyone feel welcome at the library. In the country’s current political climate, Oscar said that there has been a movement going around with libraries and that is spreading the message that “the libraries are public spaces open for everyone. You don’t have to buy anything. You’re just welcome.”

Besides an array of colorful tents, umbrellas and chairs adorning the Piedmont Park field and the main stage showcasing a line-up of musical and educational entertainers, the meadow in the back near the walking trail is set aside for the Kids Zone. It’s the second year that the kid’s activities have been offered, said Oscar Gittemeier, Adult Outreach Manager with the Fulton County Library System. Fulton County, DeKalb County, Gwinnett County, and Clayton County Libraries are all coming together to offer free programs in the Kids Zone, he said in an interview. “The libraries will have crafts, a free photo booth, virtual reality gaming, a button maker, giant yard games, a Pop-Up Library with LGBTQ books, a quiet corner with headphones and sensory objects for folks that desire less stimulation, and Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker (a library volunteer) will be doing a Drag Queen Story time program,” Oscar added. People will also be able to get a library card that day. According to Kim Sorrells, Atlanta Pride Committee’s Programs and Partnerships Manager, the yard games are “self-guided” like corn hole, football toss, giant checkers and various other games. Sorrells added that parents/guardians will need to stay with their children in the area, and they are not allowed to drop them off and leave. Child care services will not be offered, he said. A bouncy house will also be available and a face painter will be there both Saturday and Sunday. Children can get their face painted

Arika Vaughn with her daughter, Erin (2 or 3 years old) at an Atlanta Pride event held three years or so ago. This was before Arika had a Kids Zone to take her daughter to do various activities. Arika is looking forward to taking Erin, 5 years old, to the Kids Zone this year. (Courtesy photo)

11:30am-1:30pm and 3-6pm on Saturday and 2-4pm on Sunday, Sorrell said of the other free activities. For parents attending the festival with children, the Kids Zone is a much-needed amenity and for some, a pleasant surprise. Arika Vaughn is a single parent and brought her daughter Erin to her first Pride at eight months old. She’s now five, but back then, Arika recalled there wasn’t much to do at Atlanta Pride for parents and children. That year, her pride experience was different than her previous party days. “Before, I would party all night and drink,” she noted of her previous pride days. “Sometimes I wouldn’t even make it home, but now, I still party and have fun, but it’s on a different level. I party with her now.” This year, Arika, like many Georgia LGBTQ

residents is eagerly awaiting the city’s largest LGBTQ family reunion. This year, Arika is looking to ensure that Erin has a great time too. “I was happy to hear about the Kids Zone,” she said. “Honestly I did not know there were activities for the kids at the Pride festival,” Arika said in an interview. “Other than the parade and hanging out at the park during the day. At night, the activities seem more for the adults.” Arika is looking forward to making arts and crafts with her daughter. “Erin loves taking scraps and making them into something useful for her dolls,” Arika added. While the Kids Zone is geared to babies, children, and teens, Oscar noted that the venue will offer something for everyone. Located in the prime location, he said that

The library’s involvement in Pride coincides with the organization’s mission. According to Oscar, it’s a great opportunity to welcome everyone not only to the park for Pride but to invite them to learn about all the things that libraries have to offer. But more importantly, Oscar said the library’s involvement is great for ensuring that the young people at pride get to see themselves reflected in the books that they will have on display for purchase and the various activities they will offer. That’s exactly what Arika hopes her young daughter takes away from attending Pride – see a reflection of her and her family. “I want her to see that there are kids that have two moms and two dads. Although I am single at this time, she knows that her mom wishes to marry a woman one day.” But, like any parent, Arika hopes that involving Erin in a number of events and activities – Atlanta Pride being one of them that her daughter learns from her experiences. “I want her to learn tolerance. I want Erin to know that it’s ok for two men or two women to be together. I want her to know that it’s ok to be different. I want her to see happiness and love. All different colors and types of love.”

MORE INFO Kids Zone Saturday 11am-6pm Sunday 2-7pm

October 11, 2019 Pride 67


68 Pride October 11, 2019


70 Pride October 11, 2019


Tattooed into Gay History Patrick Colson-Price The LGBTQ narrative in 2019 has certainly evolved from a time where being out, loud, and proud meant almost always losing your rights as a human being and being persecuted for who you loved. Decades ago, when it was shunned upon to speak your truth, so many LGBTQ individuals turned to a permanent solution to convey secret messages or as an act of defiance to authority. The secret correspondence came in the form of tattoos. In 2019, tattoos have shown a resurgence in LGBTQ society where our skin provides a blank canvas to express our thoughts, feelings, and love for one another. As you celebrate Atlanta Pride and consider adding a piece of permanent artwork to your collection, consider one of these pieces of gay history to show your continued fight for equal rights. Pink Triangle Tattoo Take a ride back to 1940’s Nazi Germany when gay prisoners in concentration camps were forced into wearing pink triangles as a badge of shame. These prisoners were considered “the lowest of the low” and were tortured through castration and sodomization with various items. Nazi’s also performed experiments on these prisoners to find cures for illnesses and even homosexuality. Between 5,000 and 15,000 gay people died in German concentation camps. Fast forward to the early ’80s when the organization ACT-UP used the pink triangle to raise awareness during the height of the AIDS crisis. The organization used it in one of the most famous campaign posters of the time period: Silence = Death. Nautical Star Tattoo In the late ’40s and ’50s, a group of lesbians 72 Pride October 11, 2019

got this tattooed on their wrist as a signal to other like-minded females. Local police in Buffalo, New York, knew about this emerging trend which made it risky for lesbians in the area, so they’d tattoo it on their wrists which could be hidden behind a wrist watch. The nautical star is a popular choice for many LGBTQ individuals, including a lot of gay porn stars that choose their upper chest or lower abdomen to tattoo this piece of gay history onto. Equal Sign Tattoo This tattoo is pretty self-explanatory as to represent equal rights amongst the LGBTQ community. The red equal sign grew in popularity starting in 2013 when the Human Rights Campaign used it to urge people to support equality in the United States. Rainbow Pulse Tattoo This tattoo made its way onto thousands of forearms after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida back in June of 2016. A local tattoo shop in the Orlando area began giving out these free tattoos as a way of giving back to the community. Many get the phrase “Our Pulse Beats Strong” underneath the tattoo of a rainbow pulse. The trend is still popular today amongst LGBTQ indivudials to represent a sign of strength and life. Labrys (double-sided axe) Tattoo During the 1960s, lesbian feminists tatooed this symbol on their bodies to represent strength and independence. It’s associated with ancient matriarchal societies and the Greek goddess Demeter. The symbol sometimes appears against a violet background and in an upside down triangle. In one middle-eastern country, there’s an LGBTQ rights organization called Labrys.


A Trans and Gender Non-Binary Guide to Pride Jamie Roberts Do you identify as transgender or gender nonbinary/genderqueer/gender non-conforming and wondering what’s out there especially for you on Atlanta Pride Weekend? For starters, check out Sugar Shack: A Queer Pride Dance Party, Friday, Oct. 11 and running from 10pm to 2am. Saturday morning at the Bakery in Adair Park, 825 Warner Street SW Atlanta, GA 30310. Hosted by Southern Fried Queer Pride, a Queer, Trans, People of Color-led arts and advocacy organization formed locally and “built on the backbones of the Stonewall Riots, MondoHomo, queer liberation, and the radical celebration of Southern queers, SFQP offers a platform for community artists, activists, and anyone and everyone to hold space!” This event will feature dancing, music, and drag performances by artists such as Canzara Szn (Zavier), Dotte Com, Honey Mint, Jaybella Bankz, Summer Solstice, Miss He & Taylor Alxndr. Cover is price-flexible, starting at $7 and ending somewhere around $20, if you got it like that, though no one will be turned away if they spent all their money on a clothing ensemble done in baby blue, pink, and black. For Saturday, get on your walking shoes, get hydrated, and get on down to Piedmont Park for the kickoff of the Trans March, now in its 10th year at an official part of the Atlanta Pride celebration. This event, which began in an effort to bring more representation to the Pride festival and take up more space for trans and gender non-binary revelers. Styled after the Dyke March, which came into being in 1995 in order to highlight and create space for queer, lesbian-identified women and self-identified dykes, the Trans March is now a regular fixture at Pride, providing an opportunity for trans, gender non-binary, gender non-conforming folks and their allies to march through the streets of midtown Atlanta and be visible in their own way. As the march has grown, so has support – what started with a dozen or so people marching is now a stream of close to a thousand. There’s more emphasis on harnessing the energy of the march toward advocacy – one year, they had folks sign a petition to urge Atlanta 76 Pride October 11, 2019

Above: All-trans rock ‘n roll band Exquisite Gender. Left: Sugar Shack Queer Pride Party. (Courtesy photos)

performance to benefit the Joan Garner/GA Equality AIDSwatch Scholarship Initiative, to bring attitude, tunes from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Bowie, GWAR and the Kinks, and a nasty sense of humor.

Public Schools to provide gender-neutral restrooms for their students. Folks who want to participate should show up at 1:30pm on Saturday at the Charles Allen Gate (on 10th Street, between the Coca Cola Stage and the meadow. Make sure you stay hydrated and never mind any haters of the Westboro flavor as the Pansy Patrol will be there to smother them with flowers and sunshine. Following the Trans March, at 2:30pm at the Nissan Stage at Pride will be a performance of Exquisite Gender, an all-trans rock ‘n roll band featuring: Athens scenester Synn

on vocals decked out in vivid colors and engaging the audience with sass and verve; veteran of the Atlanta music scene Bucky Motter (formerly known as Angela Motter) thereon rhythm guitar who will lead the group through some of his hits; JoAnn Pfeiffer on lead guitar and keyboard, also of the local group the MetroGnomes, will rock the crowd with shredding solos; Mandi McDonald is on drums, also of local groups Jezebel and Straighlace, bringing harddriving rhythm; rounding out the lineup is Gina Elizabeth grooving on the bass. Expect this supergroup, begun in 2018 at a

Finish out your perfect gender weekend at the Mammal Gallery, 680 Murphy Ave. SW #3064, Atlanta, GA 30310 for Southern Fried Queer Pride’s King’s Court: Dance Party & Drag King Show! , a royal court of “rising kings of color!” that will kick off at 9:30pm at the downtown venue. Music and rhythm for the event will be provided by DJ Cochino. Catch scheduled performances starting at 10:30pm sharp (like the kings) by ARIES ALXNDR, Jaque Strap, Perka Stex, Prince Johnny, and Royal Dickerson. A sliding-scale cover charge beginning at $7 for peasants, ending at $20 for royalty, will apply, though everyone will be admitted to the castle regardless of the ability to supply coins in tribute.

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Musical Sounds of Atlanta Pride Katie Burkholder Anne Steele isn’t afraid to let her Pride shine through her music. The lesbian singersongwriter from New York City stopped by Atlanta on Oct. 1 to introduce her new EP, Made Out of Stars, at the City Winery alongside fellow out singer-songwriter Matt Alber. We sat down with Anne to discuss her new EP and how her LGBTQ identity affects the songs she writes and performs. Anne’s appearance in early October was not the first time she’s performed in Atlanta, she tells the Georgia Voice. “The first time I [performed in Atlanta] was two years ago as a partnership with Atlanta Pride,” she said. “[Matt] and I played there the weekend before Pride. We paired with Atlanta Pride and did a ticket giveaway and a launch. Because we’re both out artists, we thought it was a really good pairing.” However, it is her first time introducing her EP, which was released in January, to Atlanta. The EP features a few songs Anne wrote about and for the LGBTQ community. “There’s a song called ‘Love Somebody’ that I wrote about feeling like you don’t fit in or you’re not good enough or strong enough or pretty enough,” she told the Georgia Voice. “Or when you’re gay and don’t feel like you fit in. I grew up in a small town in Indiana, so I know what it feels like to not fit in. The song says, ‘If you feel that way, you can always come dance with me. You never have to be alone.’ It’s a dance song but it’s also very inclusive of people who don’t it in and telling your story.” The EP also sees the return of Anne’s 2016 single “Love Can Take Us There,” a song she wrote in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. “I was trying to figure out, ‘What can I do?’ In that moment, everybody felt sort of desperate to help. So, I went to Nashville and wrote it with two out 78 Pride October 11, 2019


“There’s a song called ‘Love Somebody’ that I wrote about feeling like you don’t fit in or you’re not good enough or strong enough or pretty enough. Or when you’re gay and don’t feel like you fit in.” songwriters, Shane Stevens and Stephony Smith.” All net proceeds of the song were donated to the now-closed OneOrlando Fund, which directly distributed the money to victims’ families and survivors. “That song in particular is about love overcoming hate,” she said. “And it’s a really good song for the community; it’s great for Pride. I think that song in particular is a really connective song.” Anne brought the uplifting anthem back to her EP as two entirely new, different versions: a 2019 remix, produced by Nash Overstreet of Hot Chelle Rae, and an acoustic rendition. So, what’s next for the singer-songwriter? She’ll be traveling to Italy to perform on an all-female, lesbian Olivia Cruise. While this engagement will unfortunately prevent her from returning to Atlanta for Pride, you can still celebrate with her by listening to her Pride anthems this weekend and year-round on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, or wherever you listen to music.



the ATL Circuit Must go-to-events and our new HOT PEACH rating!

a race, it’s a marathon! In the words of my dear friend and circuit dad, the only way to get from start to finish is to go through it! Enjoy boys and girls!

Patrick Colson-Price


Whew! We need a big, deep breath before we give you the major rundown of the Atlanta Circuit Weekend for 2019 Pride! It’s been a pretty intense year already with Winter Party, Purple Party, World Pride, and Market Days … and now this! Some of the most notable international DJ’s are descending on Atlanta as we speak to help you celebrate one of the country’s biggest pride celebrations! Thanks to several friends who know all about planning and organization, we’ve listed every party you can think of, so you get options! As your editor and fellow circuit pal, I’ve implemented our hot peach rating to give you, the reader, a chance to see what I believe the must-go-to parties are! Now, that doesn’t take away from any of the hard work these promoters have put in to make this a spectacular pride weekend for you! And one last word (or sentence): Pace yourself! It’s not

Big Ol’ Slice of 100% Genuine Atlanta Gay Pride Weekend Kickoff w/ Isaac Escalante District Atlanta 9pm – 3am $20 To kick off Atlanta’s busiest circuit weekend yet, Keith Allen Young hit District to welcome early arrivals to what will be an insanely busy weekend! The DJ is fire, the venue is known for amazing production (aka lighting), and it’s a perfect way to meet and greet before the weekend gets started.

“I’m super excited about the Aquarium Party because it’s a signature party and I’ve put together many surprises musically for it. To say I’m looking forward to that is an understatement.” — DJ Drew G

There’s nothing like a little down under fun to kick off pride weekend, and by down under, we mean DJ Kitty Glitter straight from Australia! Just for that, we give major props to TEN Atlanta for landing a solid pre-pride night DJ! Plus, dancing the night away in the heart of midtown makes the occasion so much more memorable! We give this

We give this


TEN Pride Block Party Glitter Ball w/ DJ Kitty Glitter TEN Atlanta 10pm – 3am $20

“Each year Atlanta Pride brings great DJs and talent. I feel blessed to be asked to come back and be a part of the celebrations. Happy Pride Atlanta. … Get ready to shine!” — DJ Kitty Glitter


10th Anniversary Atlanta PRIDE Official Kickoff Party W/ DJ Drew G, DJ Mike Pope, and DJ Ree De La Vega Georgia Aquarium 7pm – Midnight $40 There’s no way anyone should miss this incredible official kick-off to Atlanta Pride! Come swim with the fishies while serenaded by the sounds of San Diego talent, Drew G and other local DJ’s. REMINDER: This is a casual cocktail party, not a circuit party! Show up in a harness and jock at your own risk! We give this

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Midnight Train ATL’s Pride Atlanta Opening Party “XL” Sweat! w/ DJ Rick Braile Believe Music Hall 9pm – 4am $35 In their second year bringing Atlanta circuit parties, Midnight Train Productions is back with an incredible venue, Believe Music Hall! I’ll tell you, the sound in this place is unimaginable, and a massive LED light screen behind the DJ booth will elevate your experience even more! Oh, and if you loved the Joining Hearts Pool Party DJ’s, they’re back for this Friday night opening party! We give this


Big Ol Slice of 100% Genuine Atlanta Gay Pride PROUD w/ DJ Joe Gauthreaux and performance by Shangela Georgia Freight Depot 10pm – 3am $30 CONTINUES ON PAGE 82

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Just in time for the weekend, one of Atlanta’s newest resident DJ’s Joe Gauthreaux will put you in the pride mood, plus a performance by RuPaul’s Drag Race star, Shangela! Wowzers! Add to that a new location for this Friday night party and you’ve got yourself a winner!

Big Ol Slice of 100% Genuine Atlanta Gay Pride Xion after-hours w/ Alex Acosta BJ Roosters 3am – 7am $30 The grungy, underground space at BJ Roosters provides all you need for the perfect after-hours party to take you into day two of Atlanta pride. DJ Alex Acosta knows how to serve pots and pans to the crowd, so make sure you get there early because it’s going to be packed!

We give this


Official Aquarium After Party W/ DJ GSP Heretic Atlanta 10pm – 3am $20 While many locals frequent the Heretic on any given weekend throughout the year, this weekend is expected to be top-notch with DJ GSP all the way from Greece. He’ll take you to the cliffs of Mykonos for a night you won’t forget! We give this


TEN Pride Block Party SHAMELESS hosted by Kyra Mora, w/ DJ Jay McCracken and Sean Michael TEN Atlanta 10pm – 3am $20 As you may have already imagined, there’s more than enough options to satisfy any local or visitor for pride weekend. For those looking for a more social atmosphere where dancing isn’t the focal point, this may be your option! Mix and mingle with friends with your favorite cocktail and cute tank top! It’s the place to see and be seen!


We give this



Kween on the Green 8.0 Piedmont Park Noon – 8pm FREE A good kiki at Piedmont Park is what anyone needs after a night of non-stop dancing, and there are a lot of options for Saturday afternoon. This event started with a group of friends pitching tents (hehe) and enjoying the afternoon in the park. Eight years later and it’s still going strong with more than 100 attendees. Just mosey on in and don’t even worry about there being a cover! We give this


Deep South Pride Pool Party The Moxy Hotel w/ DJ’s Sindri, Jeffrey Sfire, MarceauxMarceaux, and Mark O’Brien Noon – 7pm FREE

“I do enjoy seeing the evolution of the city and how things are changing. The south tends to typically keep what works with DJs, so expect a quality high energy mix with some unreleased remixes to boot!” - DJ Jay McCracken

82 Pride October 11, 2019

“I’m super excited about the Aquarium Party because it’s a signature party and I’ve put together many surprises musically for it. To say I’m looking forward to that is an understatement.” — DJ Drew G

Pool parties in October? Sure Jan! We’re kidding! It’s the perfect time for a little skimpy bathing suit and some outdoor beats, and Moxy Hotel is perfect for both! Deep South is always known for great house music with some very notable house DJ’s! Don’t sleep on this one! We give this


Queen Butch Atlanta Pride Outdoor Tea Dance W/ Hex Hector and William Francis Midtown Tavern 2pm – 8pm $25-50 The talk of Pride weekend is going to be this party! From androgynous dancers to Grammy award-winning DJ Hex Hector, there’s a lot to miss if you’re not at this party! I mean, Hex Hector, wowzers! Last year, organizers extended their hours because of a packed house! They’re expecting it again this year with beats that will prepare you for the Saturday main events! We give this OWWW!


Big Ol Slice of 100% Genuine Atlanta Gay Pride Dockside Tea Dance in the Park w/ DJ Seth Breezy Clara Meer Dock, Piedmont Park 2pm – 7pm $20 We might not be close to the ocean but there’s a dock to dance on in Atlanta, and it’s at Piedmont Park! Grab your sailor hats, and lifejackets because it’s about to get soaking wet! Atlanta’s local DJ Seth Breezy serves up

sickening beats and will provide the beats all afternoon, so you’re in good hands! We give this


TEN Pride Block Party The Starz Party w/ DJ Calvin, Sean Michael, Tracy Young TEN Atlanta 4pm – 3am $20 Talk about a dancing marathon! TEN is at it again with their block party from afternoon to the early morning! Local DJ’s kick off the night but the main attraction will be Tracy Young! She’s been sleeping on the Atlanta community but will serve up some great beats! Did we mention that TEN’s patio is perfect for a little outdoor dancing under the stars?! We give this


Midnight Train ATL’s Pride Atlanta Main Party “XL” Pride XL Stonewall 50th Anniversary w/ DJ Oscar and Edgar Velazquez The Cellar 9pm – 4am $35 Midnight Train takes you to a NEW VENUE! Again, a new venue that they promise will leave you with memories well beyond Atlanta pride. Did we mention that at both evening parties for Midnight Train, they’ll be giving away Ariana Grande tickets! Yes, dance to Ariana at these parties and CONTINUES ON PAGE 84


OFFICIAL GUIDE TO THE ATL CIRCUIT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 82 have a chance to dance with her in person! DJ Oscar Velazquez will also serve up some sickening beats for attendees! We give this


Deep South’s Pride at the Bakery W/ DJ’s Shaun J. Wright, Dee Diggs, J SPORT, Father Figure, Ash Lauryn, and Vicki Powell The Bakery 10pm – 6am Is there cake? Of course! A lot of it and we know Deep South always brings the heat in the kitchen with top-notch house DJ’s! The upside to this party is that it goes until 6am! That’s the main party and after hours all in one! Kudos Deep South! We give this


Big Ol Slice of 100% Genuine Atlanta Gay Pride Main Event w/ DJ Rosabel and performance by Phoenix Coca-Cola Roxy 10pm – 3am $60 This event wins for venue selection! If you’ve not been to the Coca-Cola Roxy, get ready to be amazed! Complete with Chandeliers and balcony seating, there’s plenty of space to mix

and mingle with friends! DJ’s Rosabel (Abel and Ralphi Rosario) always bring a unique sound to the massive venues, and we’re sure they’ll do it again! Although the venue is way out in Cobb County (a 20-minute ride from downtown), we forgive Keith Allen Young for that drive because he’s delivered in every other area! Claps!! We give this


Atlanta Eagle Pride Party “Geared: 50 Years of Pride” w/ DJ Neon the Glowgobear Atlanta Eagle 10pm – 3am FREE If leather and gear is your thing, Atlanta Eagle has the perfect evening of dancing, socializing, and hot men! Voted best dance floor in years past by the Georgia Voice, the Eagle welcomes in Atlanta local DJ Neon the Glowgobear to set the tone for a night full of non-stop dancing! It’s worth dropping in and checking out the crowd! Trust us! We give this


Pride Saturday Main Party W/ DJ Cindel and Mike Pope Heretic Atlanta 10pm – 3am $10-15 Heretic Atlanta will go up against some powerhouse parties for the Saturday night main event but they’re holding their own

“We are so grateful to continue to have venues that give their spaces for us to be able to celebrate ourselves and feel free without judgment. I am certain that this year we will have the biggest crowd considering how big Atlanta Pride has gotten over the years. I cannot wait to see everyone and have prepared a special set just for Atlanta Pride that involves lots of vocals but of course without losing who I am or signature sound.” — DJ Cindel

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“I love that I get to play with one of my best friends and DJ little Brother, Alex Cabot. You can expect a true Deanne and Alex Cabot party filled with energetic beats and perfectly curated vocals designed to elevate the senses and capture the spirit of Pride.” — DJ Deanne

with local DJ Mike Pope, plus Massive Music Group client, tribal DJ Cindel from the Windy City! You can always expect good from those two DJ’s! Plus, it’s a quick drive to after-hours just in case you’re wanting to get in line early! Plan, plan, plan!

any other producer on the Billboard Dance Charts. That says a lot, plus he and other DJs are giving you the beats while the Pride parade makes its way through midtown Atlanta! It’s the perfect spot to people watch and share your pride with the rest of the ATL!

We give this

We give this


Big Ol Slice of 100% Genuine Atlanta Gay Pride Afterglow w/ DJ Paulo District Atlanta 3am – 7am $55 Yes, $55 for an after-hours but it’s so worth it! Last year’s event was scorching hot with literal rain in the club! DJ Paulo is really the tribal bitch! He serves up pots and pans until the last beat is played, so you know you’ll get your money’s worth! District has held several after-hours parties, so they’re used to the large crowds! You’ll want to get there early though, so plan accordingly!

Pride Parade Party W/ DJ’s Vicki Powell and Brian Rojas Henry’s Midtown Tavern Midnight – 4pm FREE One of this year’s BEST OF ATLANTA finalists for Best Patio, you’ll get the best view of the parade from their sprawling outdoor setup! Add a few well-known DJ’s into the mix plus tasty food and beverages, and you’ve got the spot to be for Sunday’s Pride parade. This event is also free, but get there early because Henry’s will be packed! We give this

We give this Fire!!



TEN Pride Block Party High T and Parade Watch party w/ DeeJay Cosmo, Barry Harris, and Dave Aude TEN Atlanta Midnight – 3am $40 Once again, another grammy award-winning DJ hits the Atlanta circuit scene for the ultimate Sunday Funday. Dave Aude is known for having more number ones than



Atlanta Pride Dockside Tea Dance in the Park w/ DJ Deanne and Alex Cabot Clara Meer Dock, Piedmont Park 2pm – 7pm $20 Let’s take another go-around at the dock in Piedmont Park, this time with Deanne and Alex Cabot! Both are incredibly talented DJs with Deanne headlining this event. She’s got great sound for Tea dances as does Alex Cabot! Not far from the parade route CONTINUES ON PAGE 86



CONTINUED FROM PAGE 84 which will make attending this party easy for many attending the parade.

of Miami club vibe! Located in Buckhead, it’s not far from after-hours at Xion where you’ll certainly want to close out your weekend. We give this

We give this


DILF Atlanta OUT and PROUD w/ DJ Kitty Glitter and The Perry Twins Heretic Atlanta 9pm – 3am $15-25 The infamous DILF party returns for the Sunday night closing party and you’ll see a familiar face from earlier in the weekend, DJ Kitty Glitter. The Perry Twins are returning to Atlanta to spin and will surely bring the west coast beats with them! We give this


Big Ol Slice of 100% Genuine Atlanta Gay Pride Xion after-hours w/ DJ Micky Friedmann BJ Roosters 3am – 7am $30 Head back to BJ Roosters basement for what will be an epic pre-closing party (yes, there’s still one more party after this!) All the way from Germany, Micky knows the Atlanta crowd as he spun for Joining Hearts a few months ago. Get there early because the line will wrap around the building!


Big Ol Slice of 100% Genuine Atlanta Gay Pride Tropics Closing Party w/ Danny Verde and Tony Moran Havana Club 10pm – 3am $45 DJ Tony Moran is a circuit legend and thanks to Mel Chesnut with Massive Music Group, Atlanta Pride is getting the incredible Danny Verde for this closing party! The two will certainly know how to bring the heat since the theme of the party is the tropics! Again, a new venue which makes these parties so much more exciting! Havana Club is a topnotch spot with a great dance floor and a sort

We give this


Big Ol Slice of 100% Genuine Atlanta Gay Pride Morning Party w/ Alyson Calagna Heretic Atlanta 7am – 11am $20 The last part of 2019 Atlanta Pride happens just feet away from Xion after hours! Our suggestion: after the closing party, go home, regroup, hit up Xion and then continue the party into Monday morning! Alyson Calagna knows how to take you to the very last second with her beats, so be ready for the last dance! We give this


“We’re excited to be back at the Heretic DJ’ing DILF along with Kitty Glitter again this year. We’ll have some special new remixes to play along with a couple of our new original songs. It’s gonna be a really fun night!” — The Perry Twins

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Atlanta Pride Parade Routes THE ANNUAL TRANS MARCH Date: Saturday, Oct. 12 Step Off Time: 1:45pm (Assembly begins at 1:15pm at the Charles Allen Gate) This march celebrates and promotes visibility of the Trans community. The march took place on the festival grounds and all Trans people and Trans Allies were there with positive banners and signs. We encouraged individuals to make and bring signs supportive of Trans issues. THE ANNUAL BI & PAN MARCH Date: Saturday, Oct. 12 Step Off Time: 3:30pm 88 Pride October 11, 2019

(Assembly begins at 3pm at the 14th Street entrance into Piedmont Park) Happening for the first time, the Atlanta Pride 2019 Bi + Pan March celebrates the Bisexual and Pansexual communities! Bi, pan folks of all gender identities, expressions, and their allies are welcomed to march!

THE ANNUAL DYKE MARCH Date: Saturday, Oct. 12 Step Off Time: 5pm (Assembly begins 4:30pm at the Charles Allen Gate) This march is dedicated to the empowerment of the women of Atlanta and beyond. The Dyke March, with its focus on women,

unites to create an atmosphere of inclusion and community. The march is open to all women loving women (trans-inclusive) of any race, culture, orientation, ability, health, socioeconomic level, family structure, faith or age! This march is a time to demonstrate our commitment to nurture and build a new tomorrow, united for equality and justice. We called on all women of Atlanta and beyond to join us as we marched. ATLANTA PRIDE PARADE Date: Sunday, Oct. 13 Step Off Time: Noon Sharp (Assembly begins at 9:30am on the streets near the Civic Center MARTA Station)

Route: The Parade will step off from the Civic Center MARTA Station. The parade merges off Ralph McGill onto Peachtree Street and Travels north. It then turns east on to 10th Street and follows 10th Street to the Charles Allen Gate entrance of Piedmont Park, where the Parade officially ends. SECURITY Please be advised that the Atlanta Police Department is responsible for enforcing all applicable state laws and local ordinances during Pride events. Such statutes may include, but are not limited to: public decency, alcohol, controlled substances, public safety, and standard vehicle insurance requirements.

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It’s Raining Men!

(No really, this weekend it will be!)

Up Close and Personal with the Legendary Martha Wash Patrick Colson-Price She’s known as one of the first ladies of disco, been nominated for two Grammys, and had numerous hits make it on to the dance floor at clubs around the world! At the young age of 65, Martha Wash isn’t slowing down anytime soon! Fresh off her performance at Positive Impact Health Center’s “Party with an Impact,” we caught up with this diva on her life of performance and service to the LGBTQ community! Firstly, thank you for speaking with us at the Georgia Voice! We’re huge fans and can’t get enough of your hits! As a performer though, how have you used your music to connect with your fans and supporters? I try to make music that inspires, uplifts, and makes you think. If you feel any of those things, then I’m happy to continue making music like that. Just follow me on the journey! You may like where I take you.” Your songs are remixed and played in clubs/bars, and you are a household name in the gay community! “It’s Raining Men” is an iconic hit lifted up by gay men around the world! How have your LGBTQ fans been there for you throughout your career and supported you through successes and failures? Wash: “They’ve always been my #1 fan base. When I’ve had a hit or not, they’ve always continued to support me over many decades. I always say if you were around when I first started recording, then we’re both blessed to still be here!” Coming to Atlanta for “Party with an Impact,” why do you think highlighting non-profit organizations like Positive Impact is important for the community? CONTINUES ON PAGE 92 October 11, 2019 A&E 91



CONTINUED FROM PAGE 91 “Depending on where you live, that may be the only organization that can help you with your needs. We’ve all heard of national and even international organizations, but I’d like to think it’s much more positive and reassuring to have someone that knows you by name and makes you feel comfortable being there.” What does it mean for you to support such a powerful organization like Positive Impact Health Centers with their care for the LGBTQ community here in Atlanta? “I’m happy that the Positive Impact Health Center is doing such a great job here in Atlanta. Anytime I’m available, I’d be very happy to come back and help.” You’ve spent decades helping with the fight against HIV/AIDS and been honored for doing so. Where do you think this fight is now and what do you think your voice and the community can continue to do to end HIV/AIDS for good? “I think there have been great strides made in research and medication. People are living longer and thriving despite their status, as opposed to even 20 years ago. I would say just stay proactive regarding your health.” The Positive Impact party was a success and you rocked the crowd. Tell me how you felt on stage! How was the crowd? What was it like performing alongside Taylor Dayne? Give us all the feels that hit when you were on stage! “I had a great time with the show. The audience was right there along with me. It’s 92 A&E October 11, 2019

always nice when you see the long-time fans as well as new ones, you know the younger generation! LOL!” Pride is this week and your performance will still ring in the ears of those attending your show last weekend. What can you say to visitors in Atlanta who are coming to the city to celebrate their Pride and how they should embrace their right to love freely?” “Just come and have a good time in Atlanta. They’ll show you some warm hospitality. Be who you are and don’t let anyone say that you can’t be you!” In today’s political climate, many citizens feel like their voices aren’t heard because of so much hatred coming from the White House and Trump administration. What can you tell them to encourage them to keep fighting for their voices to be heard? “That’s it. Keep fighting, protesting, demanding, calling, writing because until the words “with liberty and justice for all” becomes true, then the allegiance we pledge is a lie!” You’re still going strong! Can you tell us what you’re working on next in your career? Albums? Tours? Give us the details! “My new CD “Love & Conflict” will be out Feb 1 on my label (Purple Rose Records) This time around it’s a blues-rock, R&B tilt. I’ll be debuting it at SXSW in March. My production company (Do-Kwa Productions) is producing an online entertainment magazine, F.L.O.D. Spotlight as well as my cable show “10 Minutes With Martha Wash” which can now be seen in most cities throughout the You Too America Network.”




Atlanta’s Newest Resident DJ Talks PRIDE Joe Gauthreaux’s Return to the ATL Circuit with Lessons Learned Patrick Colson-Price

doing to focus on them, and not worry about the rest.

I’ve traveled the country, from my hometown of New Orleans to big cities like New York City and Los Angeles ‒ each one for several years. But Atlanta is the first place I’ve lived that truly feels like home. I don’t just live here, I’m LIVING here. I feel more alive in the year and a half since moving here than I have in recent memory. I oftentimes wonder why it took me so long to discover the right place to settle down. It was right before my eyes and under my feet the whole time.

I Have Enemies, and That’s Ok Too! I was recently on the phone with one of the biggest brand owners, talking about one of our upcoming projects, and towards the end of a great hour-long conversation, he said, “you know you have some enemies.” This was not a comment that surprised me, nor did it concern me. Not anymore, at least. I look at the situation like I’ve built a house that’s nice and people want to visit it, often sometimes. And then others see the house I’ve built and for whatever personal reason, want to tear it down. I’m aware of my enemies and am always on guard, but I give them about as much thought or care as I give nosy neighbors who have nothing better to do.

I played my first gig in Atlanta on Nov. 21, 1998 at a club called Fusion. It was pretty much my first big out of town gig. At that time I was just a bar DJ in New Orleans. A very gracious DJ friend, Lydia Prim, gave my tape to the club owners and put in a good word for me. By that point, I’d made friends with some of the local boys who’d heard me play in several different settings. I’ll never forget that first night DJing in Atlanta because it launched my career. I’ve learned that if you give Atlanta love, you get it back in spades. But that’s not the only thing I’ve learned about my career and life since that first gig in Atlanta 21 years ago. I hope that during this 2019 Atlanta Pride, some of you can take my lessons learned and apply them to your life. I know I learned a lot from others and it’s only the beginning of lessons learned. I’ve Learned to Like Who I Am. It’s taken me a long time to not just figure this one out, but to accept it. Knowing who I am as an artist, and a person, and trying to be the best me, has been very liberating in my music and so many other parts of my life. Even when the real me might not be the thing that is trending at the moment, trying to be something I’m not is more work and takes up more energy than I can give. It’s hard enough being myself without trying to maintain a facade just to be liked by others. Since this realization, I try my hardest now to accept gigs that are right for my sound, and I can play from the heart. Not Everyone Loves Me, and That’s Ok. I’m in the job of public gay approval, and it’s as simple as if people don’t like me, or more importantly, my music, then I don’t work. But what I’ve come to realize is that there’s a huge gay world out there, and luckily clubland has so many sub-genres. And almost 20 years of working full time as a DJ has taught me that there are more than enough people out there who do like what I’m 96 Nightlife October 11, 2019

Don’t Think, FEEL! The biggest mistake I can make, and I think honestly do believe that any DJ can make, is to think in the DJ booth. All of my “thinking” is done before and after a gig, when I’m preparing my set or analyzing my performance. But in the moment, when it’s just me and a crowd, it’s 100% about a feeling. Sometimes I’ll see a track in my catalog and have no idea why it’ll work, but just feel like it would – and that trust in my emotions rarely fails me. It’s only when I think about what I should play do things go off the rails. Recognize Weakness. I love to produce my remixes and songs. But when you are a producer, you are expected to fill every seat in the studio - the drummer, the bass player, the keyboard player, the sound engineer, sometimes the vocalist, and everything in between. When I finally stopped putting unrealistic expectations on myself and turned to people for help in the areas that I was lacking in, I was able to focus my attention on the parts that I could do well. By recognizing my weaknesses in the studio, and addressing those, I am now making music that connects with an audience and that I’m very proud of. To read DJ Joe Gauthreaux’s full story, visit our website at!



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Grammy Award-winning All-male Chorus Chanticleer Reigns in Atlanta Jim Farmer Little did William Fred Scott know that a conducting gig with Chanticleer back in the ’90s would one day lead to him serving as the Music Director of the organization. The group brings their new work “Trade Winds” to town Oct. 25. Referred to as the “world’s reigning male chorus,” Chanticleer began in 1978 and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Founder Louis A. Botto, who studied musicology and was fascinated by Renaissance choral music, gathered a group of friends together and wondered if he could create a male chorus who could sing soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The answer was yes. The group began touring around the country and internationally and in 1981 began releasing their recordings. Chanticleer has won two Grammy Awards and sold over a million albums. They perform almost exclusively a cappella and classical music. Scott, who is gay, has been the Music Director since 2015. The chorus has a combination of gay and straight members among its ensemble of 12, four of whom have been with Chanticleer 15 years. “The appeal is the charisma that 12 men on stage have,” says Scott. “It’s very convincing and natural.” “Trade Winds” was commissioned last year and has been performed around the world. Scott calls it a fascinating show, one that fits perfectly with the group’s mission. “Every year we put together two programs that go on the road,” he says. “One is a totally religious program – which this one is not – and the other is a soup to nuts program that has some religion. That has been our DNA. These programs wind up with some pop songs and some spirituals and they are built on a theme. ‘Trade Winds’ is an homage to our Pacific Rim neighbors. In San Francisco, there is such an influx 102 Columnist October 11, 2019

Left: Chanticleer Music director William Fred Scott; Above: The cast members of Chanticleer. (Courtesy photo by Lisa Kohler).

of Pacific Rim populations and ethnicities that we are aware of our brothers and sisters from Australia and New Zealand and Samoa and the Philippines and Japan and China and Hawaii.” Among its themes, “Trade Winds” deals with travel, waves, wind, love, and loss. The program contains some Renaissance music songs, some prayers, and folk songs. A native of Thomasville, Georgia, Scott served as the Associate Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony from 1981-1988 and was offered the job by legendary conductor/chorus director Robert Shaw. Working with Shaw was an amazing experience, Scott admits. When Shaw passed, Scott led the popular “Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony” for six years. Next up for him was a seven-year

tenure with the Atlanta Opera, serving as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, and then five years as Director of Choral Music at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta. He calls Atlanta his home but spends 30 weeks a year in San Francisco, where Chanticleer is based. “It’s kind of a ridiculous commute,” he laughs, but he loves what he does. It’s always special to bring Chanticleer to his hometown. “Chanticleer has always had a nice response from audiences in Atlanta even before I had anything to do with them. It’s lovely to come back and have family and friends – even students from Westminster – come to the concert.”

SHOWING TIMES Chanticleer’s “Trade Winds” 8pm on Oct. 25 Sandy Springs Performing Arts Centre

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Queer Restaurant? Of Course! Cliff Bostock Is there such a thing as a queer restaurant? In my three decades of writing about food, that question has been endlessly debated. I used to think it was a dumb idea. Now, after studying too much queer theory, I’m not so sure. Consider the new JenChan’s in Cabbagetown. It’s owned by a lesbian couple, Jen and Emily Chan, young veterans of the restaurant industry who have branded their cuisine as “mostly Southern, mainly Asian comfort food.” That’s not unconventional on the surface but is consistent with our long acknowledged habit of queering norms for everyone, not just ourselves. Thus, for example, you can snack on my favorite, eggrolls stuffed with creamy pimento cheese, or crispy wings marinated in Chinese spices while you listen to classic soul music. These plates, like the corn fritters served with sriracha mayo, are meant for sharing. A more explicit queering of comfort food is headlined “The JenChan,” which is a take on the meatand-three classic that Southern diners have long served to fill the belly for a relatively low cost. JenChan’s gives you a choice of chicken, pork tenderloin, flank steak, or salmon. I inevitably chose the braised, then fried chicken. It was so delicious I resented that it was only a thigh and a skinny leg. One of the “three” sides is always rice, but you get a choice of two others. I picked the stir-fried green beans and mushrooms in a kung pao sauce and the house-made potato chips flavored with ginger and garlic. We also ordered intensely flavorful Georgia shrimp in a basket of fried noodles. We finished the meal with a deconstructed ice-cream sandwich made with two almond cookies, dark-chocolate mousse, and ice cream. The kitchen strives to cook everything with local, sometimes organic ingredients. The verdict? I liked most of the slightly spicy food, but I do have complaints. JenChan’s has a sweet tooth that seems to expand to everything, while soy sauce is more abundant than I like. (My tablemate disagreed.) There’s also lots of ginger, which I love. The effect of all the soy and

sweetness is sometimes the loss of distinction among the dishes’ flavors. So, choose wisely with the clear intention of variance, especially if you’re sharing. The restaurant is open for dinner, lunch, and weekend brunch with varying menus. The Chans also operate a meal delivery service whose prepared, frozen dishes are also for sale in the restaurant. JenChan’s’ décor is down-home, diner-style, with red pops of color, a long bar and plenty of tables beneath paper lanterns. Expect classic soul music. There are campy notes that you might not immediately recognize in the restaurant. The fortune cookies’ notes are from “The Desiderata,” Brian Andreas’ classic guide to happiness. I asked Emily Chan where in the world she found such fortune cookies. She laughed and said her mother had long shared her love of the prose poem with her, so she custom-ordered the notes. On the back of the toilet, there is a lovably illustrated page with a text that Google told me was also from an Andreas’ work: “They came to sit & dangle their feet off the edge of the world & after awhile they forgot everything but the good & true things they would do someday.” That is the happily queerest thing I’ve ever read. Cliff Bostock is a longtime Atlanta restaurant critic and former psychotherapist turned life coach;

MORE INFO JenChan’s 186 Carroll St. 404-549-9843

104 Columnist October 11, 2019

N o m at t e r w h e r e yo u f i n d yo u r s e l f i n You’re A t l a n ta , yo u c a n f i n d f i n e f o o d a m o n g f r i e n d s at a n y o f o u r r e s t a u r a n t s . . . . e m o c wel w


BEST BETS Our Guide to the Best LGBTQ Events in Atlanta for October 11-24 Friday, Oct. 11

Tuesday, Oct. 15

Blake’s on the Park hosts its popular Latino Tuesdays tonight.

To celebrate its 40th year on the road, the 2019-2020 Atlanta Opera debuts a new adaptation of Humperdink’s enchanting fairy tale “Hansel & Gretel,” where students are invited to take center stage alongside Atlanta Opera artists. Suitable for all ages, this version of the timeless classic teaches very valuable lessons about being polite, making friends, and not judging a witch by her wardrobe. 11am and 7pm The Roswell Cultural Arts Center

Wednesday, Oct. 16

Ready for your close-up? Thad Stevens hosts Karaoke every Wednesday at My Sister’s Room.

Thursday, Oct. 17

Meet new people with MAAP (Metro Atlanta Area Professionals) for the first time ever in East Atlanta Village for an evening of networking. Leave the work week behind and connect with like-minded professionals over drinks, laughter, and good professional conversation. Help speed up your check-in process by RSVPing now at 6pm Meak Productions, Inc.

Atlanta Pride hosts its official kick-off party tonight – the 10th annual – at the Georgia Aquarium with DJs Drew G, Mike Pope and Ree de La Vega, and a meet and greet with Shangela and Phoenix from “Rupaul’s Drag Race.” 7 – 11:30pm “Once,” the winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards including Best Musical and based on the hit movie, has a one-night encore engagement. 8pm Fox Theatre The Atlanta Opera’s version of “Frida” continues tonight at 8pm and Sunday. 3pm Sandy Springs Performing Arts Centre

Saturday, Oct. 12

The third annual Bottoms Up Drag brunch is tonight with Tammie Brown of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Noon – 4pm Annex Bookstore Film Love presents Andy Warhol’s “Empire,” brought to Atlanta by the Hambidge Center and The Works Upper Westside. Made at the height of Andy Warhol’s underground notoriety, the legendary film “Empire” is many things. This nearly eight-hour, unmoving nighttime view of the Empire State Building – then the world’s tallest – can be an outrageous provocation, a major statement of Pop Art, the ultimate example of a film where “nothing happens,” an absorbing momentto-moment meditation on the experience of time, an ambivalent critique of capitalism, a deep dive into the paradoxical nature of

Friday, Oct. 18

EVENT SPOTLIGHT Saturday, Oct. 12

“America’s Songbird” Myrna Clayton will take you back to the days of Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Gladys Knight, and Natalie Cole in her performance honoring the “Iconic Ladies of Jazz and Soul.” Myrna’s entertaining and uplifting performances are unforgettable and earned her the role of 2018 Cultural Ambassador, representing American music abroad for the United States Department of State. 8pm The Roswell Cultural Arts Center. (Publicity photo) moving images, an existential confrontation with boredom, an unknowable enigma, a revelation, a cheap joke, a great prank, and much more. The event is free to the public, but seating is limited. Noon – 8pm

Sunday, Oct. 13

With a programming team who can’t be bothered to look at an Atlanta calendar, talk show icon Rachel Maddow visits the Fox Theatre this evening. 5:30pm Following three decades in the spotlight, numerous Grammy®, CMA®, and ACM® Awards to her name, countless multiplatinum certifications, and millions of fans entertained, the same passion still motivates and moves Trisha Yearwood.

The singer, actress, author, chef, personality, and entrepreneur derives deep fulfillment from simply walking up to a microphone and pouring her heart out by way of a celebrated powerhouse voice. In 2019, she continues that tradition with her first solo full-length since 2007, a collection of Frank Sinatra covers and one original entitled “Let’s Be Frank.” 7:30pm Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Monday, Oct. 14

Out On Film and the Consulate General of Ireland team for a free screening of the film “The Queen of Ireland,” with a Q&A by its star, the iconic Irish dag personality Panti Bliss and a reception to follow. 7pm Midtown Art Cinema

Come join the party and dance the night away at the Hell-No-Kween: The G8yties ’80s Dance Party. DJ Mike Pope will be spinning the greatest ’80s hits including “Thriller,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “Like a Prayer,” “Ghostbusters,” “We Got the Beat,” “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “The Devil inside,” “You Spin Me Right Round,” I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and more. 10pm – 3am Heretic Atlanta

Saturday, Oct. 19

See the largest Halloween parade in the southeast tonight as the 19th Annual Little 5 Points Halloween Festival & Parade kicks off. The event raises funds for Little 5 Points. 4 – 6pm Euclid and Moreland Compared to most musical artists in the Americana genre, Michelle Malone seems like a pair of distressed blue jeans amidst a sea of pantsuits. Unlike the surplus of self-professed rootsy rebels, one listen to this woman from Georgia and you know you’re hearing the real thing. She performs tonight at Eddie’s Attic with special guest Gerard McHugh. 7pm


110 Best Bets October 11, 2019

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EVENT SPOTLIGHT Saturday, Oct. 19

Ready for some late-night rowdiness? Lips Atlanta hosts Taboo: The Forbidden Show with Mistress of Ceremonies, Edie Cheezburger. Leave the young ones at home – this is for ages 21 and over. 11:30pm. (Photo via Facebook)

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 110 Can you hear the seductive call of the night? Sharpen your fangs and get ready for The Atlanta Vampire Ball by RITUAL; a hypnotic night of dancing and blood lust as we enter its 11th anniversary. This is the second of a three month season of spooky themes to celebrate our favorite holiday: Halloween. Don’t miss this very special Saturday night RITUAL! RITUAL has teamed up with VJ Anthony’s Coffin Classics to bring you an ethereal mix of sound to die for. 10pm – 3am Heretic Atlanta

Sunday, Oct 20

Karilitos returns to Xion after hours for a morning of Latin-inspired beats! 3am – 7am BJ Roosters The PFLAG support group for parents and families of LGBTQ children meets today. 2:30 – 4pm The Spiritual Living Center

Monday, Oct 21

Trans and Friends is a youth-focused group for trans people, people questioning their own gender and aspiring allies, providing a facilitated space to discuss gender, relevant resources and activism around social issues. 6:30 – 8pm Charis Books and More Don’t be shy. Get your Fetish on for a Monday night like no other. 7pm The Atlanta Eagle

Tuesday, Oct 22

Fire up those brain cells, it’s time for Trivia Tuesdays with DeWayne Morgan. DeWayne will be testing your knowledge of past and present events. He’ll lead you through four levels, each one harder than the last. The last question of the night is where you can bet it all and win or sink to the bottom. Celebrate the win with a $35 bar tab!


112 Best Bets October 11, 2019

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Wednesday, Oct 23

The Auburn Avenue Research Library, in collaboration with Charis Books and More, will host American Civil Rights Attorney and Activist Benjamin Lloyd Crump who will discuss his latest publication, “Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People.” 7pm “Wicked,” the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz … but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin – smart, fiery, misunderstood and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships … until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other

one “wicked.” 7:30pm through Nov. 17 Fox Theatre

Thursday, Oct 24

Out Front Theatre Company presents the musical “La Cage Aux Folles” tonight. Georges is the owner of the La Cage Aux Folles nightclub, which features a drag show starring his partner and the love of his life, Albin. After twenty years of un-wedded bliss, Georges and his partner Albin face the hardest challenge of their relationship yet: meeting their son, Jean-Michel’s fiancé’s parents. Albin has always raised Jean-Michel, Georges’ biological son, as his own. But when Jean-Michel falls in love and becomes engaged to the daughter of an ultraconservative, anti-gay politician, Georges feels compelled to try to present a more “traditional” family. When Albin tries and fails to take on a masculine persona in


EVENT SPOTLIGHT Wednesday, Oct 23

The Auburn Avenue Research Library, in collaboration with Charis Books and More, will host American Civil Rights Attorney and Activist Benjamin Lloyd Crump who will discuss his latest publication, “Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People.” 7pm (Screengrab photo)

114 Best Bets October 11, 2019


EVENT SPOTLIGHT Wednesday, Oct. 30

Return to light the black flame candle with the classic 1993 Bettle Midler romp “Hocus Pocus.” Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. The screening is hosted by Phoenix, Molly Rimswell, & Iv Fischer. 7:30 and 10pm. Plaza Atlanta. (Publicity photo)

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 114 the role of Uncle Al, he gets more creative to find a way to be part of the “meet the parents” experience. 8pm, through Nov. 9 Do you want to read books by amazing Black women writers? Do you want to discuss works from a Black feminist perspective(s)? Do you want to do all of this in an awesome gem of a feminist bookstore? Then the Black Feminist Book Club is for you. Charis Circle board chair Susana Morris is the facilitator of this group. This summer and fall we are reading Black Feminist contemporary memoir. Tonight’s book is “Brother I’m Dying” by Edwidge Danticat. 7 – 9pm Charis Books and More

UPCOMING Friday, Oct. 25

The San Francisco based, all-male Chanticleer brings their “Trade

Winds” show to Atlanta at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Centre. 8pm WUSSY returns for the 5th annual SHALLOWEEN Party featuring THE BOULET BROTHERS hosts of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula! Come bump uglies with Atlanta’s undead weirdos! We wanna see your freakiest Drag, Spooky Sadboys, Trash Queens + Swamp Kings, and Boulet inspired couture. 9pm – 2am Heretic Atlanta Mix and mingle with LGBTQ+ business professionals, allies, non-profit leaders, and more as the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) hosts its October Fourth Friday, hosted by BB&T. 5:30 – 7:30pm Out Front Theatre Company

Saturday, Oct. 27

Morabito is back on the decks at Xion after hours! 3am – 7am BJ Roosters

116 Best Bets October 11, 2019

CHRIS 180 is the first and largest nonprofit organization in Georgia to openly celebrate and serve LGBTQ+ youth.

Counseling • Safe Housing • Life Skills • Training • Adoptions Stop by our tent at the Atlanta Pride Festival and look for us in this weekend’s parade!

Make it a night — or an afternoon, or a morning! — at the new Alliance Theatre. The 51st season includes three world premieres, two Broadway-scale musicals, award-winning new plays, and the return of Atlanta’s A Christmas Carol to the Coca-Cola Stage. (Plus classes, camps and workshops for all ages!)



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Boy Crush Melissa Carter


Many of us take for granted our effect on other people, assuming our existence is a solitary one. A recent trip to my son’s school made me realize that I am a celebrity, not in the media world, but in the eyes of one child I’m not even related to. Mr. Carter recently turned five and one of the activities that surrounded his birthday was a visit to his school during lunch to bring dessert. Since the kids had been at his birthday party the weekend before and were served cupcakes, I decided donuts were a better option for the school visit in case they were caked-out. Katie met me there and we were given seats at a table toward the front of the classroom, where Mr. Carter joined us. Other Prek-sized tables were set up across the room where the students ate their normal lunches, while we waited for our turn to bring out the donuts when everyone was finished.

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120 Columnists October 11, 2019

As we passed the donuts out to the students at their seats, some of the kids began to roam around and talk to kids at other tables. One of Mr. Carter’s classmates made his way near me, but I had not yet paid attention to the fact he was staring at me. Once I tossed my empty box and washed my hands this little blonde boy was still standing there, staring with a slight grin on his face. I leaned down and said hello, and he responded by saying he knew my name. In my mind I thought Mom was a pretty

easy name for him to remember and then he said, “Melissa.” I was surprised that he really did know my name and he said, “I know it because Mr. Carter talks about you all the time.” I was speechless, trying to clear the frog in my throat before anyone noticed I was about to tear up. Of course, my son is not going to come home and tell me the tales he tells his classmates about me, but I suppose I never assumed he talked about me at all. But his classmate still stood there, smile on his face, staring at me. That’s when I realized this little boy seemed to have a crush on me. Mind you boys didn’t have crushes on me when I was five, so this was a new experience. At another school event a few days later that same classmate would be there, and I wondered if he would have the same reaction to me. Sure enough, when I arrived, this little boy stared, smiled, and waved. Katie was beside me when he saw me and said jokingly, “You still got it.” There is a sweetness in young children that adults bury deep. We still have those lovely reactions within us, but somehow we’ve allowed hurt to keep them from re-surfacing. When it comes to a 5-yearold it’s easy to tell how he or she is feeling, but it’s more difficult in a 50-year-old. Mr. Carter and his adorable friend have taught me not to assume we don’t still inspire others in some way, it’s just we may never see evidence of that fact. One of the first out radio personalities in Atlanta, Melissa’s worked for B98.5 and Q100. Catch her daily on theProgressive Voices podcast “She Persisted.” Tweet her! @MelissaCarter

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Ryan Lee I got a new kitty last week, and if this one dies in less than five years I’ll know for sure I’m not meant to be a pet owner. The sadness I felt when my first cat suddenly died when he was four was surpassed by my humiliation from what Obi’s brief life suggested about my caretaking abilities. I didn’t get my first pet until I was 28, and had long wondered if I was missing out on a metaphysical bond and inter-species unconditional love. I soon realized the many contingencies of unconditional love (food, litter, furniture to destroy, etc.), but apparently, there were several more obligations I didn’t fulfill and so my cat abruptly stopped loving me (suicide has never been ruled out). I didn’t feel like a neglectful companion during my time with Obi, who was rescued from behind the former gay club WETbar. We shared a fondness, affection, and loyalty to each other, and both seemed to be thriving after a period of unstable employment and chaotic housing moves. But when reflecting on what might’ve gone wrong, I know there were overlooked shots and check-ups, and it probably wasn’t the best idea to let him experiment for a month with being an indoor/outdoor cat when that tramp seduced him through our living room window (an STI has never been ruled out). Our last interaction was when I came home from work and laid across my couch for a nap. Obi hopped on my chest and I lifted him off me and returned him to the floor, where he lay lifeless when I woke up about half an hour later. So you might understand why I’m a bit nervous opening my heart to a new kitty. Much like when I’ve entered a romantic relationship, the excitement I feel is tempered by wondering how much I will hurt my

124 Columnists October 11, 2019

partner, although thankfully none of my exboyfriends have died in my company. While most folks characterize their relationships with their pets as parental, I view pets as companions and have realized that cats offer a type of companionship I desire in my romantic life. They are independent and undemanding partners, who don’t require your schedule to submit to their appetite or every shit. They recognize their own worth and dignity and feel no need to become best friends with every stranger they meet. Even with this compatibility with my own disposition, my single previous feline relationship failed more resoundingly than my three relationships with men. The quality of your commitment and love can’t help but feel indicted when you’re unable to make things work under the most ideal circumstances. It may turn out that I’m simply not a pet person, which was among my first thoughts when Obi died since I felt more shock than sadness. I stoically accepted the end of my experiment with pet ownership, until I thought about how to dispose of his body and wondered if I was supposed to put it in the dumpster. That dark thought instantly cast light on how rich my time with Obi had been and how much I would miss him, and how he and our relationship didn’t deserve to end up in the trash. My new kitty’s name is Fixie, a bicycle reference; but I’m hoping to prove to her and myself that some of my deficiencies as a caretaker and companion have been fixed.

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10/11/19, Vol. 10 Issue 16  

Welcome to our largest issue of the year, the 2019 Atlanta Pride issue!!! Pride in the Park • Trans Exposure • Pride Goodies. We also have t...

10/11/19, Vol. 10 Issue 16  

Welcome to our largest issue of the year, the 2019 Atlanta Pride issue!!! Pride in the Park • Trans Exposure • Pride Goodies. We also have t...

Profile for gavoice