Building familiesion Day Hello, Sally! Sally Struthers recreates classic role. Page 18
Election coverage Winners in the Atlanta City Council races. Page 11
t p o d A l a n o i t Na Page 6 7 1 r e b m e is Nov
Lorna Luft & AGMC Garland’s daughter calls ATL ‘amazing’. Page 16
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16 | Lorna Luft performs with AGMC 18 | Hello, Sally: Sally Struthers appears in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ 19 | Erasure’s Andy Bell talks about latest release 20 | Leslie Jordan and Del Shores bring ‘A Sordid Soiree’ to 14th Street Playhouse 21 | Best Bets: What’s hot and happening in the gay ATL
Melissa Carter, Jim Farmer, Shannon Hames, Steve Warren, Ryan Lee
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6 | Get the details: National Adoption Day 10 | News in Brief 11 | GAVO’s latest on Atlanta election 13 | Transgender Day of Remembrance holds event at state capital
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16 | GA VOICE INTERVIEWS LORNA LUFT
24 | Editor’s Note: A Town Called Gay 25 | That’s What She Said
OUTSPOKEN FRIENDS & FOES IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“This is wrong. Not only does this violate the states’ obligation under federal law, their actions have created hardship and inequality by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they’re entitled to.” — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a press conference taking aim at states that have refused marriage benefits to same sex military personnel, among them, Georgia.
“You know what? It’s not a lie that I am bisexual and I like women, and anyone that wants to twist this into ‘she says she’s bisexual for marketing,’ this is a fucking lie. This is who I am and who I have always been.”
“Four retired women in Miami are possessed by the spirits of gay men. Madcap hilarity ensues.”
— Lady Gaga responding to media questions during a press conference at her “Artpop” album launch in Berlin.
— Press release statement from LOGO on gay fave TV series ‘The Golden Girls.’ Multiple viewer favorites air every Friday on LOGO beginning at 8 p.m.
“If you want to get married, you find a partner and you get married. It’s no different if you are heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual ... Let gays get married, and I hope their marriages work out.” — Charo in an interview with Frontiers magazine.
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6 | GA VOICE
In honor of National Adoption Day:
What makes a family? By DAVID AARON MOORE Same-sex adoption has been a mixedbag of rewards and setbacks throughout the United States for many years. Since the 1990s, however, the tide has changed in the country, with many states allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt. Here in Georgia, step-parent adoptions aren’t allowed because same-sex marriage isn’t legal. However, for many gay and lesbian couples, there’s a way around that: second parent adoptions. It isn’t permitted throughout the state. In fact, chances are, unless you go on a certain day and get a certain judge in Atlanta in Fulton or Dekalb county or Athens in Clarke County, you won’t succeed in your quest for dual dad or mom status. Once upon a time, most same-sex couples who didn’t come into a relationship with children from a previous heterosexual union generally remained childless. With the constantly evolving tide of lesbian and gay civil rights coming down in our favor, many family couples have decided to take the leap into genuine parenthood.
WHAT IS NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY?
With the advent of National Adoption Day, the plight of homeless children around the country was brought to the attention of potential parents who had previously thought of themselves as not applicable. Originally founded in the year 2000 by a group of businesses and non-proﬁts, which included The Freddie Mac Foundation, The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Children’s Action Network, the coalition began working in November of that same year with National Adoption Day Sponsors, foster care programs, attorneys and various courts around the country.
Seth, Britany (left) and Caitlan and Nathan Woodard-Persily flank Fulton County Judge Cynthia Wright. (Photo courtesy Seth & Nathan Woodard-Persily)
Two years later, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and an organization known as Casey Family Services created the National Adoption Day Coalition, which allowed 34 cities nationwide to ﬁnalize 1,350 adoptions. Since that time, the count has continued to increase dramatically: In 2003, courts and community organizations in more than 120 jurisdictions coastto-coast ﬁnalized the adoptions of 3,100 children. In 2004, more than 3,400 children were adopted.
By 2011, National Adoption Day was celebrated throughout the country, with more than 300 events held annually and a total of 40,000 children adopted. In recognition of National Adoption Day, which generally is celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving (but has evolved into National Adoption Week and National Adoption Month in some parts of the country), GAVO has chosen three same sex couples with three very different stories to tell to proﬁle in this special issue.
TWO DADS AND THEIR DAUGHTERS
Our cover family Seth Woodard-Persily, 39, and Nathan Woodard-Persily, 30, are the proud pops of twin daughters Brittany and Caitlan, now both four. Seth and Nathan met at a friend’s birthday party seven years ago. The two have very separate careers: Seth owns a digital marketing company and Nathan owns a health and ﬁtness spa. Together they share very busy lives with their two daughters in their Midtown home. They had been together just a year when they decided to take the plunge into the beginning of
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Same-Sex couples in Atlanta’s Dekalb and Fulton Counties celebrate with their children via second parent adoption exploring parenthood. Unlike many same-sex couples who adopt through an agency or the foster care program, they took a different path. “We found a surrogate mother, through an agency,” Nathan explains. “Then we found an egg donor. The surrogate we wound up going with was a perfect match, and pretty much an angel. She’s a neonatal nurse and we knew she’d take good care of herself and the kids. “We chose the egg donor – not a relative – also through an agency. Essentially they give you everything you’d ever want to know about a person: IQ, grades in school, family background, medical history. “ Seth chimes in: “We were looking for someone who was intelligent, athletic, attractive... much the same qualities you’d look for when seeing someone. It’s not that much different from online dating. We chose based on the agency information, and we talked to the donor beforehand.” While it may sound like the Woodard-Persilys wanted America’s next supermodels, there was another important factor they both considered. “It had to do with why they were donating the eggs,” says Nathan. “We wanted to feel that it was charitable and for the right reasons,” Seth concurs. “That meant a lot to us.” For these two, the second parent adoption procedure, which was ﬁnalized through a judge in Fulton County, was relatively painless, but the entire procedure of ﬁnding an egg donor and ﬁnding a surrogate was a long, difﬁcult process that took about two years. The actual adoption was easy, but it was just one small part of what it took to get the kids. “We had to ﬂy around a lot,” says Nathan. “To Los Angeles, New York, Texas – the kids were born in Texas.” “And there were more willing doctors in other states,” says Seth. “The egg donor was in Los Angeles, and the surrogate was in San Antonio, so we were ﬂying across the country a lot, and then the girls were born prematurely in a hospital in Texas, so we had to stay there for a few months.”
have play dates and all that other stuff with the parents. At that aqe and with the environment they’re in, there have been no problems. When they get to a bigger school, that could change, I suppose.” While the pair have had no second thoughts about the responsibilities of parenthood, they’re quick to point out that it’s not a task everyone is ready to undertake. “Adoption was the most wonderful thing we ever did,” Seth insists. “But it will change your life. Before you make the decision, be sure you know everything that’s involved. You have to change everything. “Our life has changed – we’re much less part of the gay scene now. We’re not able to go out in the way that we used to. Most of our friends have stuck around. Some of them we really don’t get to see that much anymore. But we’ve developed a much closer relationship with the ones who have stuck around. When you have kids, there’s much less time for the superﬁcial sort of relationships you might have when you’re out and about. If you’re thinking about adoption with your partner either though artiﬁcial insemination methods or an adoption agency, Nathan is adamant about the way the two handled the procedure. “We went with a law ﬁrm that does a lot of same-sex family adoption” he says. “It was a really smooth process. In Georgia, it also depends heavily on the judge and we were lucky that there are lots of great judges in Fulton County.” The day he came home: Jackie Miller (left) with her wife Sharon Burrow and their son Jackson. (Courtesy Jackie Miller)
Although one of the men is the biological father of the two girls, Seth and Nathan prefer to keep that detail private. Clearly, they both feel equally paternal. “Being a father was something I always wanted to do,” Nathan recalls. “Then I met Seth and he wanted children also. “Everybody’s been fantastic,” Nathan continues. “My parents live nearby, they see the kids all the time, and they spend the night over when we’re out of town. We go to New York and Florida
to see Seth’s parents and they ﬂy in. The kids see them at least once a month.” Currently Britney and Caitlan attend pre-k at the Weinberg Center, where they interact with other children that have same-sex parents. Being around other children who have two mothers or two fathers is not a new thing for them, so it hasn’t been an issue,” Nathan offers. “As far as straight parents go – how the kids react depends pretty much on how the parents react, and everyone’s been fantastic. We go to PTA and
JACKSON HAS TWO MOMS
Sharon Burrow and Jackie Miller met on match.com. Really. The two hit it off immediately and even found themselves discussing the possibilities of parenthood on their ﬁrst date. They’re a busy pair who make their home in Decatur. Burrow maintains upkeep for state government buildings in downtown Atlanta, and Miller works in the banking compliance industry.
Please turn to ADOPTION, page 8
8 | GA VOICE
Second parent adoptions solidify gay families Continued from ADOPTION, page 7 Still, they’ve found the time and energy to make a happy life together and to add a new addition to their family. They’ve been together as a couple for six years now (they met on Nov. 23) and legally tied the knot on Nov. 23 in Washington, D.C. four years later, ofﬁcially making them a married couple. Their son Jackson, who only recently entered their lives, is just barely under ﬁve months old. “We tried to conceive,” Jackie recalls, “unsuccessfully. After a time we decided it was more important to be parents than to procreate, so we decided to pursue adoption.” They’re not hesitant about admitting it took a great deal of investment on their parts to eventually bring Jackson into their family. “It was a long process,” says Burrow. “We chose an agent because they were comfortable with open adoption, which will allow us and him to maintain a relationship with his birth parents.” So just exactly how does going through an agency work? “Perspective adoptive parents basically put up a dossier on themselves,” Burrow explains. “And the parent or parents get to look it over to decide if they think they’d be a good match. As fate would have it, Jackson’s parents were driving across the country and they were in Georgia when it came time for his mother to give birth. She already knew they wanted to place him up for adoption and they had a relationship with the social worker Burrow and Miller were working with. “So we got a call,” Burrow recalls. “And Ashley [the social worker] asked if it would be okay for us to meet. We got him the very next day. We had the chance to meet with the birth parents, who were set to be released the fol-
lowing day. They checked back in with us almost every day on their trip back to California and now we stay in touch regularly through Facebook and email.” Despite the fact that the couple are in their middle years, they’ve both conﬁrmed they had no misgivings about bringing a young baby into their lives at a time when many parents are sending their children off to college. “We’re both in our 40s. But we don’t feel it,” Miller laughs. “We’ve had no reservations. I guess we worry a little bit about when he’s older – how long we’re going to be around when he’s in his 20s and 30s, but we knew we could give him a happy life.” Both of them point to family members that have supported their decision as they moved forward in the process. In fact, Burrow’s parents, who initially had some issues with their daughter’s sexual orientation, attended his recent baptism ceremony. “They were both there,” she conﬁrms. and they were supportive. My parents love me dearly and they love him. Especially for my father, I see he’s moving in the right direction.” Burrow and Miller’s experience has led them to offer up important advice to prospective gay and lesbian parents: “I would suggest an attorney or facilitator,” Miller offers. “If you don’t do an open adoption, it’s a lot faster, but you won’t know your child’s history, nor will they. I think it’s important to know where you come from.” Jackson’s adoption will be completely ﬁnalized in Dekalb County on Nov. 25, when judges will set aside a speciﬁc time in honor of National Adoption Day to hear the various adoption cases. “It’s important that you do it in Fulton or Dekalb,” says Burrow. “If you go before another judge in Georgia and you’re turned down, that’s it. It’s over in the entire state. You would have to establish residency in another state
A recent family portrait: David Goetsch (second from left) stands beside his partner of over 25 years, Marshall Berch. They’re flanked by sons Noah (left) and Jonathan (right).
and start the entire process all over again.” With the adoption ﬁnalization now merely a formality, Burrow and Miller are looking forward to a life with their new son. “It was deﬁnitely God’s hand that brought him to us,” Miller beams. “His parents just happened to be in Georgia at the right time, so we were absolutely blessed, and he is very much loved,”
A FAMILY OF FOUR
Instant notoriety: Noah and Jonathan talk about the happiness they’ve found in their non-traditional family in a special that aired on CNN. (Video screen capture)
Realtor Marshall Berch and his partner David Goetsch, who works with the Human Resources Department at Emory University, are the fathers of two sons: Noah and Jonathan. “David and I met back in the early 1980s, when we were working in the hotel business together,” Goetsch recalls. “We adopted Noah ﬁve years later, in 1993, when he was just two years old. Initially we did a one parent adoption, and then came back a year later and did the second parent adoption. The 1990s were clearly an earlier period in the advancement of LGBT equality and second parent adoptions by same-sex couples were rarely permitted at the time, even in Dekalb county. “At that time in Dekalb County there was
just one judge who would allow second parent adoptions,” says Goetsch. “Under the advisement of friends, we sought out that particular judge.” Five years later the two men decided to adopt another child. “We got a late night phone call saying they were looking for a family for another two year-old boy. That’s how Jonathan came into our lives.” Four years ago the family was the focus of a short on CNN. Noah, like his two fathers, is Caucasian. Today he is 22, openly gay and majoring in apparel design at the Rhode Island School of Design. His younger brother Jonathan is 18, of mixed racial heritage and a senior in high school, where he is heavily involved in sports. “He’s straight, and he’s very much a jock.” Goetsch laughs. “It’s interesting to see how they interact. They’re but very close but very different. I think they respect each others’ differences very nicely.” This family’s advice on adoption, perhaps because they went through the procedure during a much earlier time, may seem a bit simpler: make sure the judge is on your side before you step foot in the court.
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10 | GA VOICE
ATLANTA RECEIVES $21 MILLION IN FEDERAL HIV FUNDING
More than $1.9 billion dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was awarded to cities, states and community-based organizations through the 2013 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Atlanta received more than $21.5 million of that money with Georgia receiving nearly $50 million and thousands going to local community-based organizations. The funding comes at the end of the 2013 ﬁscal year. “The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program plays an important role in the ﬁght against HIV/ AIDS,” said Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a prepared statement. “These grants will help make a real difference in the lives of Americans coping with HIV/AIDS, especially those in underserved urban and rural communities.” From an HHS press release: • A total of $594 million was awarded to 53 cities to provide core medical and support services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS under Part A of the Ryan White HIV/ AIDS Program. These grants are awarded to eligible metropolitan areas with the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS and to areas e x p e r i e n c i n g Kathleen Sebelius (File photo) increases in HIV/AIDS cases and emerging care needs. Atlanta received $21.5 million through Part A. • Approximately $1.16 billion was awarded in to 59 states and territories under Part B of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Part B grants include grants that can be used for home and community-based services, AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) assistance, and other direct services. In FY 2013, $309 million was awarded in Part B base funding and $782 million was awarded for ADAP. In addition, 16 states received Emerging Community grants based on the number of AIDS cases over the most recent ﬁve-year period. Thirty-six states and territories were also awarded $10.1 million in Part B Minority AIDS Initiative grants. For Georgia, the money received is: $12 million for “ﬁnal base award”; $31.6 million for ADAP; and a $566,494 supplemental award for a total of more than $47.5 million. • Approximately $178 million was awarded across the country to 357 local community-based organizations to provide core medical and support services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS under Part C of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Currently 351 Part C grantees are providing ongoing services. Part C grant recipients provide comprehen-
NEWSIN BRIEF sive primary health care in outpatient settings to people living with HIV disease. Those organizations from Georgia receiving Part C funding are: • Albany Area Primary Health Care, Inc. — $ 787,210 • Chatham County Board of Health in Savannah — $1.3 million • Saint Joseph’s Mercy Care Services in Atlanta — $736,938 • University of Miami in Atlanta — $942,667 • Ware County Health Department in Waycross — $710,815 • Georgia Health Sciences University Inc. in Augusta — $1.1 million • Georgia Department of Public Health in Columbus — $401,375 • Lowndes County Board of Health in Valdosta — $550,595 • District Four Health Services/Georgia Department of Public Health in Lagrange — $472,241 • Macon-Bibb County Board of Health — $613,664 • Clarke County Board of Health in Athens — $571,354 • DeKalb County Board of Health in Decatur — $435,169 • AID Gwinnett in Duluth — $505,689 • Cobb County Board of Health — $260,484 • Floyd County Board of Health in Rome — $305,663 • North Georgia Health District/Cherokee County Board of Health in Dalton — $481,507 • Emory University — $693,586 • County of Clayton in Jonesboro — $237,500 • County of Hall in Gainesville — $277,083 • County of Laurens in Dublin — $316,667
RUSH CENTER READY TO SHOW OFF EXPANSION, RENOVATIONS
The Rush Center, Atlanta’s own LGBT community center, has been undergoing a facelift and expansion and is now ready to show off the hard work of staff and volunteers that made the changes possible. A six-month plan for the Rush Center expansion was announced in late March and since then volunteers and staff have renovated a new event space as well as a build out of the current facility on DeKalb Avenue in Inman Park. The grand re-opening of the Rush Center is set for Nov. 16 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 1530 DeKalb Ave. in Atlanta. The event is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be provided. Donations will be accepted. The Center raised some $70,000 since
www.theGAVoice.com campaign to purchase the center. Groups that currently have ofﬁces in the Rush Center include the Health Initiative, Georgia Equality, Atlanta Pride, In the Life Atlanta, Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, SAGE for LGBT senior citizens, and ProGeorgia, a state civic group. The Rush Center, named for longtime LGBT activist Phillip Rush, is a collaborative effort between Georgia Equality and The Health Initiative.
ACTIVISTS URGE COCA-COLA TO CONDEMN RUSSIA’S ANTI-GAY LAW
Renovations for the Rush Center will be open to the public Nov. 16. (File photo)
April to expand by 1,700 square feet and complete renovations on the new event space and additional ofﬁces for community organizations. That new space is becoming the center’s event space. The current event space is being renovated to include six more ofﬁces. Right now, more than 100 groups and organizations utilize the Rush Center and there is a waiting list for other groups to meet. The Rush Center can’t ﬁt in weekly groups because its calendar is completely full. In 2015, the Rush Center plans to increase its total budget to approximately $225,000 (45 percent from revenue, 55 percent from donations) while also launching a capital
All Out, an LGBT organization, is urging Coca-Cola based in Atlanta to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws before the 2014 Winter Olympics are held in Sochi. Rented billboard trucks plastered with “Speak out against against Russia’s anti-gay laws” circled the company’s downtown Atlanta headquarters on Oct. 28 and a few All Out protesters also held signs outside the Coca-Cola headquarters. All Out is also urging people to email Coca-Cola’s CEO and urge him to call for an end to Russia’s anti-gay laws. Coca-Cola boasts it “maintains the longest continuous relationship with the Olympic Movement” going back to being a sponsor of the games since 1928. While Coca-Cola — which consistently scores a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index — is one of the major sponsors of the Olympics that has not spoken out against Russia’s antigay laws, other major sponsors including McDonalds, Visa, Dow and General Electric have not either. Nearly than 150,000 All Out members have sent emails to the Coca-Cola CEO asking him speciﬁcally to: • Speak out against the Russian anti-gay “propaganda” law and call for its repeal before the Olympics. • Donate funds to Russian human rights defenders. • Ask the Olympic Committee to change the rules so future Olympics can only happen in countries that fully respect equality.
Billboard trucks sponsored by the LGBT group All Out. (Courtesy photo)
Gay favorite Norwood returning to City Council
Alex Wan celebrates second term win on council with party on Cheshire Bridge Rd.
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By DYANA BAGBY Former Atlanta City Council member and mayoral candidate Mary Norwood defeated incumbent Aaron Watson in the Post 2 AtLarge city council seat in a close race, taking back the seat she once held before running for mayor in 2009. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Norwood garnered 24,628 votes for 53 percent to Watson’s 22,000, or 47 percent of the votes, according to unofﬁcial results from the Fulton County election ofﬁce. At her campaign headquarters Tuesday night on Ormewood Avenue in East Atlanta, Norwood appeared conﬁdent as she greeted supporters as they ate hot dogs and red velvet cupcakes washed down with beer. “As you can see, we have a great diverse group of people in Atlanta, we have a great diverse group of people who support this candidacy,” she said. Norwood’s gay fan base in this race goes back to her unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2009 when she came out for full marriage equality. She again heavily courted LGBT voters in this campaign and even received an endorsement from gay bar Blake’s on the Park. Watson, however, is no stranger to supporting LGBT issues. This year he voted in favor of a city resolution supporting marriage equality that was sponsored by openly gay District 6 Councilmember Alex Wan. He was endorsed by the LGBT Stonewall Democrats, by staunch LGBT advocate U.S. Rep. John Lewis and also had the backing of Mayor Kasim Reed, who was easily re-elected to a second term. Georgia Equality chose not to endorse in this race, instead giving both candidates a “favorable rating.” Norwood said the ﬁrst issue she wants to tackle as a council member is public safety and she pointed to her endorsements by the city’s ﬁreﬁghters, police and general employees. “They know I care about operational issues and compensation issues. And because I did run for mayor and was able to get in the weeds four years ago … I feel ready to hit the ground running,” she said. As for a second mayoral run, Norwood said she didn’t know if that was necessary. “Those two years were a long, difﬁcult two years for me. I ran because there were things I couldn’t get done as a council person,” she said. But now she believes she can
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Mary Norwood greeted supporters at her headquarters in East Atlanta as they watched returns and saw her win back her Atlanta City Council Post 2 At-Large seat. (Photo by Dyana Bagby
get her issues passed as a council member. “With me it’s not about the title but getting the job done,” she said. The race for mayor in 2009 in which Reed defeated Norwood in a runoff by only 700 votes was often contentious between the two. But Norwood said she is ready to work with the mayor now. “I called the mayor when I announced and told him I looked forward to working with him if elected. I’m not going to [City Hall] to give anyone heartburn,” she said.
WAN RE-ELECTED TO DIST. 6
Alex Wan coasted to victory over his two opponents in the Atlanta City Council District 6 race with nearly 80 percent of the vote. With 94 percent of the precincts reporting, Wan had 77 percent of the vote, or 3,125 votes; while Mike Boyle had 14 percent with 573 votes; and Tracey Austin ﬁnishing last with 377 votes, or 9 percent, according to unofﬁcial results from the Fulton County election ofﬁce.
Please turn to ELECTION, page 12
12 | GA VOICE
Gay incumbent Brian Bates loses Doraville race Continued from ELECTION, page 11
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Wan’s watch party Tuesday was held at the iconic Colonnade restaurant on Cheshire Bridge Road. His proposed legislation earlier this year to ban adult stores on the popular corridor was blasted by many in the LGBT community and eventually voted down by the full city council. It was a deliberate choice to celebrate his victory on this particular thoroughfare, he said. “I’m a very big supporter of Cheshire Bridge Road and the Colonnade is symbolic to me of as one of the institutions of Cheshire Bridge Road. There are many businesses that continue to prosper here,” he said. Wan, the only openly gay council member, said there will be no legislation similar to what he proposed during his ﬁrst term for Cheshire Bridge Road, but plans are still in the works to ﬁnd ways to help it thrive. “In 30 to 60 days we hope to announce another initiative and improve Cheshire Bridge Road in a constructive way and not destructive way,” he said. “There were improvements that were started and not completed and hopefully we will ﬁnd a way to complete that work.” Running for a second term was humbling, Wan added. “Campaigns are interesting. Choice is good for a district. It was interesting to see what my opponents had to say. And I realize there are things I have to work on in my community, not just the I am a part of but the ones I belong to. And I take that into my next term and will hopefully be a better council member,” he said.
IN OTHER RACES:
• In another close race and major upset, political newcomer Andre Dickens beat three-term incumbent Lamar Willis for the Post 3 At-Large seat on the Atlanta City Council with 53 percent of the vote, according to unofﬁcial results from the Fulton election ofﬁce. Willis, mired in ethics complaints and disbarred for fraud, was still endorsed by Mayor Reed. Dickens, however, got the support of former Mayor Shirley Franklin and former City Council President Cathy Woolard. Georgia Equality at ﬁrst did not endorse in this race, but after Willis was disbarred the LGBT advocacy group threw its support behind Dickens. Dickens was also backed by the Stonewall Democrats. • The messy Atlanta City Council District 5 race that included incumbent Natalyn Archibong suing the two gay candidates, Matt Rinker and Christian Enterkin for libel and slander, resulted in an easy victory for Archibong, according to Fulton County unofﬁcial results. Archibong garnered 62 percent of the vote while Enterkin received 26 percent, Rinker got 7 percent and John Paul Michalik received 2 percent. • Gay incumbent Brian Bates lost his re-election bid for the Doraville City Council. Unofﬁcial DeKalb voting results show O’Connor received 262 votes with Bates garnering 183. Bates was ﬁrst elected in 2007 and was endorsed by Georgia Equality and the Log Cabin Republicans. He is believed to be the ﬁrst openly gay Republican elected to ofﬁce in Georgia.
Alex Wan (far right) celebrates his re-election to District 6 on the Atlanta City Council at the Colonnade with his campaign team, from left, Ken Britt, Beth Schapiro and his partner, Joe Bechely. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
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Transgender Day of Remembrance returns to Georgia capitol Nov. 20 Specter of trans deaths raises urgency for action
By DAVID AARON MOORE For the 15th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, organizers and attendants will once again return to the steps of the state capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 20. The event begins at 6 p.m, and will include appearances by such notables as Atlanta transgender attorney Jamie Roberts, Tonie Tobias with Delta Air Lines and Molly Simmons from the Human Rights Campaign. This past year the program was held at the Philip Rush Center. “We decided to do something a little less formal this year, since it is so close to the holidays,” says Tracey McDaniel, executive director of the Atlanta-based Juxataposed Center For Transformation. The presentation will include the aforementioned guest speakers, as well as the traditional citation of names of individuals who have lost their lives in transphobic attacks over the past year. According to McDaniel, an unspeciﬁed number of trans women have been found murdered in Atlanta during the past year, with their battered bodies left behind in garbage cans and dumpsters. Her account is similar to a series of trans murders that occurred in the city in the mid 1990s, and remain unsolved to this day, which raises a question: does the continued death rate suggest the possibility that a potential serial killer could be stalking trans sex workers in metro Atlanta? “I don’t know,” says McDaniel, who was unfamiliar with the decades-old case. “It’s very difﬁcult to track statistics on trans-related crime. “It’s just so difﬁcult because there is no one to stand up for these people, to be an advocate for them. I don’t judge people by their gender, race or their sexual orientation, but it makes you wonder – do these murders go unsolved because the individuals are not considered straight, and so many don’t have blond hair or blue eyes? Is that why they fall through the cracks.? There seems to be no one to care if the cases are ever solved.” On a national level, the issue of trans rights has been at the forefront of LGBT media coverage over the past month because of current debate in the senate regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Oddly enough, even more traditionally progressive cable news outlets such as CNN
Transgender Day of Remembrance Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. Georgia State Capitol Building (front steps) 206 Washington St. SW
As in years past, the Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held at the Georgia State Capitol. (File photos Dyana Bagby)
and MSNBC have seemingly avoided discussing the trans protection aspect of the legislation, deferring more often than not to what it offers for gays and lesbians. When asked if she had noticed the trend, McDaniel was quick to respond. “I have. There are those who earnestly and honestly support people coping with transgender identity issues, and for those people receiving equal protection. But it’s my feeling [the lack of media coverage] is happening because of a combination of things.” McDaniel concurs that some in the media have shied away from transgender coverage for fear of raising too much negative response from extreme right wing conservatives who have seemingly backed off on a hardline ﬁght against gay and lesbian equality over the past year, but still take issue with transgender folk. “There are those people who put their heads in the sand and don’t want to deal with the trans topic because they just don’t understand, and they don’t want to. “I think most people think, what’s the difference between gay, lesbian and bisexual? They can’t comprehend the fact that there are some of us within the transgender community who don’t identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual – although there are some within
the subgroups of the trans community who do – but most do not. “There’s even a third category, in my mind,” she says. “The people who do understand, but they choose to remain ignorant. They also choose to remain oblivious to our personal issues, but hopefully the supportive voices will rise above the dissenting voices. The Juxataposed Center For Transformation was founded in 2006 and today has a 501c3 status. “We’re an advocacy, consulting and social services organization,” McDaniel explains. “We refer trans people to medical providers, counseling services, support groups and so forth. If our service providers can’t meet a
speciﬁc need, we’ll do the research and ﬁnd what the client needs.” Like Atlanta’s vast lesbian, gay and bisexual community, the numbers for trans individuals in the queer capital of the south is large, but McDaniel professes she has no way of knowing what the count might be. “I couldn’t even begin to estimate,” she says wryly. “There are so many who choose to live their lives privately – they’re not part of the LGBT community at large.” Another point McDaniel conﬁrms is that medical and mortality rates are also frequently inaccurate. “Transgender people very often are misidentiﬁed.” Despite the challenges many trans people face locally and globally, McDaniel is encouraged by Mayor Kasim Reed’s formation earlier this year of a “Working Group on Prostitution.” “That’s not to say most trans people are sex workers – because that’s not the case. But there are some, and they do what they do to survive, to have a roof over their heads and to have something to eat. “We’re working toward transgender people receiving equal treatment from law enforcement. There have been a lot of issues about prostitution in Midtown and we feel transgender people are being speciﬁcally targeted and treated far worse than other [genetically-born female] prostitutes. “We’ve interacted with the mayor and with law enforcement on the issues of proper pronoun use, treating everyone with respect, and not discriminating against people because they’re transgender-identiﬁed. What we’re waiting for now is signatures on a proposal submitted by my committee on proper procedures for presenting yourself to and dealing with transgender people. The protocol should be in place by January and ofﬁcers will be trained on that.” While the struggle for transgender equality continues its uphill battle, members and friends of Atlanta’s trans community will meet on the appointed day to discuss hopes for the future and remember those that are no longer with us. “It’s a tragic thing,” McDaniel reﬂects. “There was no one to to help them when they were alive. The least we can do is pay respect to them since they are gone.”
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
HALLOWEEN Photos BY Keith Rocke and Laura Baccus Studio
Fairy Tales and Magic party
(Photos by Keith Rocke)
(Photos by Laura Baccus Studio)
All Hallow's Eve Costume Contest (Photos by Laura Baccus Studio)
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Lorna Luft performs with Alanta Gay Mens’ Chorus Judy Garland’s second daughter set to wow ATL with classic ballads by DAVID AARON MOORE Lorna Luft is the youngest daughter of entertainment legend Judy Garland. While she is perhaps less well-known than her mother and older half-sister Liza Minnelli (and lacks some of the vocal eccentricities that brought both acclaim and a host of comical impressions) she possesses a love for many of the classic standards and a set of pipes to do them ample justice in live performance. It’s interesting to note the striking similarities between Garland and Minnelli’s overall personas and singing style and the decided lack of same that Luft does not share with either of them. She doesn’t resemble – nor does she sound anything like her mother or sister. That’s not to imply a lack of talent. One listen to Luft’s powerhouse vocal stylings and it’s obvious she could blow just about any American Idol winner off the stage – clearly one of the main reasons the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus sought her out to perform in their upcoming concert, Encore 2013, which features Luft, Georgia native and B’way singer and actor Titus Burgess as well as the Atlanta Women’s Chorus. The performance takes place Nov. 16, at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Convention Center. In an exclusive interview, she spoke with
Lorna Luft on Atlanta: ‘It’s a very progressive city and I have had many friends who call it home. It has fantastic restaurants. I’m looking forward to getting back there.’
Lorna Luft performs with the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, Titus Burgess and the Atlanta Women’s Chorus at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Convention Center Nov. 17 at 6p.m. 800 Spring St NW, Atlanta
GAVO from her home in Palm Springs, California. Although she’s lived a life of luxury and constantly surrounded by talents many would consider legendary, she’s remarkably down to earth. “I’m just relaxing in my bedroom,” she chuckles. “Wearing a pair of Juicy sweats, an off the shoulder sweatshirt and watching ‘Ellen’ on TV.” She’s excited about her upcoming performance in Atlanta – not just for herself, but her husband, as well. “I’ve been to Atlanta a couple of times,” she offers. “My husband is a major fan of southern food and loves fried green tomatoes. It has fantastic restaurants! I love Atlanta. It’s a very progressive city and I have many friends who have called it home. I’m looking forward to getting back there.” GAVO: How did the date with the Atlanta Gay Mens’ Chorus come about? LUFT: My agent called me and told me about this gig. I said yes in a heartbeat. I’m doing a tribute to the great American songbook. There’s not a song I’ll be singing that no one’s heard of. I have no plans to do any of my mother’s songs, but that could change. I change my mind sometimes on the day of the show. I read that you were diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. How are you now? I was diagnosed in January, and I had surgery in February. I had chemo that started in April and I just ﬁnished my radiation a little bit more than two weeks ago. Right after I ﬁnished my radiation I went to New York and put on two concerts for Breast Cancer Awareness to raise funds for two amazing charity organizations that really did take care of me. I called my sister and she said, “I’m in.” Then I called a whole bunch of my Broadway friends and they were in, too. We put on two unbelievable nights at Birdland and we raised more than $120,000. While I was going through my chemotherapy, I needed to know that I could pay it forward when I ﬁnished. I had to have something to look forward to – a goal that I could be back on the stage performing and talking about my ride with breast cancer, because now it’s one in eight women diagnosed, which is way too high. It must have been pretty amazing growing up, with so many legends walking through your house practically everyday. Oh my God! I wrote a book about it all. But they weren’t legends to me; they were my Mom’s friends. Frank Sinatra was my godfa-
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Just miles east of Atlanta
ther. He was Uncle Frank and there was Uncle Dean and there was Uncle Sammy. I mainly grew up knowing their children more than I knew them. Everybody else might think it’s amazing. To me, it was my normal. I was able to see and hear the greatest talents. That’s why when I go to see a show or watch young singers, I think, “Who’s telling these people things?” Because there are so many people out there who sing but don’t know what they’re singing about or how to really put over a lyric or really to communicate in the sense of how I grew up watching the originals.
If your mother was still with us today, how do you think she would view the accomplishments of the modern LGBT community? My mother knew, from growing up in show business, that it’s very important to make sure no one ever felt different, and she raised us to be like that. I think she would be grateful to the gay community for having kept her legacy so intact and respected. If she was still with us today, I know she would have been an advocate of people standing up for themselves. Your father stayed with your mother longing than any of her other husbands. What do you think made him special to your mother?
You’ve had a varied career and done a lot. Is there something else you haven’t done yet, that you’d still like to accomplish? I really don’t think of things I haven’t done. I live in the moment. I’ve written a book, been a producer, an actor, a performer. Every time I’ve jumped into something I’ve found it joyous. I guess what I would like, though, would be the security of a television show. Something constant to hold on to. That would be nice. When you look back over your life and you think of a time when you were with your entire family and everyone was happy, when would you say that was? I’d say 1960. We were all together, living in England. My mother was working there and John F. Kennedy had just won the presidential election. I remember my mother getting this phone call from a friend telling her he was the new president and she was just jumping and down screaming, ‘He won! He won!’ She was so happy. It truly was a time of Camelot. A good man in the White House, he had this beautiful wife and beautiful children. And even though we weren’t living in the United States, my family was happy.
Stop by to g et th e in si d e scoop on th e be st o f De catu r Decatur
are back in November and December. Enjoy deals, discounts, and delicacies at Greene’s Fine Foods, Ariel La Boutique, and Wild Oats & Billy Goats – just a few of the participating C LO A L shops in Decatur. AP
You, your mom and your sister all have a large LGBT fan base. How do you feel about same-sex marriage? I don’t understand, because of how I was raised, that people can’t see that everyone is equal. I can’t understand how anyone could oppose same-sex marriage. We’re all human and we all deserve equality. When states ﬁnally started passing laws to recognize same-sex marriage, I thought, “Finally, people have come to their senses.”
They were a good match at the time. My dad was not in show business and he didn’t grow up around show business. He was a real guy’s guy and he always said he would take care of her. He put her back into the theater after she was ﬁred from MGM and he made her realize that she could reinvent herself. My mom was the breadwinner throughout her entire life. At a time when most women were staying home with their kids, she couldn’t. She loved performing but would also have loved to have someone take care of her ﬁnancially. She never found that, but she came close to some kind of security with my father.
113 Clairemont Ave. Decatur, GA 30030
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Lorna Luft ofn her upcoming performance: ‘I’m doing a tribute to the great American songbook. There’s not a song I’ll be singing that no one’s heard of.’
Small Business Saturday – and Sunday, too!
Free gift wrapping, giveaways, and Santa on the square, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 It’s time to get gifty! 10/30/13 4:16 PM
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
HELLO, SALLY! ‘All in the Family’ star returns in classic Jerry Herman musical
By GREGG SHAPIRO When you hear the name Sally Struthers, there are probably a few images that come to mind. The most immediate one is likely the role that made ﬂedgling actress Struthers famous, that of Gloria Stivic, wife of Mike (Rob Reiner) and daughter of Archie (Carroll O’Connor) and Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton) on the groundbreaking ’70s sitcom “All In The Family.” As one of the voices of reason and compassion in the racist/sexist/homophobic Bunker homestead, Gloria often had a profound effect on both the audience and her father. Her friendship with a gay man in an early episode of the series is just one example. In recent years, Struthers has divided her time between TV series (“Gilmore Girls” and “Still Standing”) and stage work. Currently, Struthers is touring the country in a Jerry Herman-sanctioned lead role of matchmaker Dolly Levi in the award-winning music “Hello, Dolly!” GAVO: You have previously played Dolly Levi on stage in other productions of Hello, Dolly! What do you enjoy most about playing the character? STRUTHERS: Dolly Levi in “Hello, Dolly!” is one of the best roles ever written for a woman in the American theater. She gets to be brilliant and sassy and meddling and adorable and sing seven songs and manipulate a man into proposing to her and make other people fall in love and dress in beautiful clothes and have lots of monologues. It’s a challenge to learn and once you’ve learned it it’s in there for life. It’s brilliant! The words are brilliant, the lyrics are brilliant. It’s such an entertaining show. There are so many beau-
MORE INFO www.classiccenter.com “Hello Dolly!” starring Sally Struthers Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. The Classic Center in Athens 706-357-4444
tiful people on stage dancing and singing “memorable” songs! Have you had a chance to meet Jerry Herman? Oh, yes, Jerry is a friend of mine. His number is in my cell phone. He’s the reason I’m doing this. He hasn’t let anyone take this musical out on a national tour since Carol Channing. He hasn’t let it happen. He gave me the go-ahead. We fell in love with each other many years ago when I did “Mame.” I didn’t play Auntie Mame, I played Agnes Gooch. He came to the show and said, “You’re the funniest woman I’ve ever seen. No one has ever played Agnes Gooch the way you played it.” We have awards in Los Angeles akin to the Tony Awards called the Ovation Awards. That year, I won an Ovation Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for “Mame.” When Jerry Herman said that I could go out with “Dolly” I felt like St. Peter had let me into the gates of heaven. That’s quite a nod.
That’s wonderful. Oh, my God! It’s so much fun! My sister said to me once, “How can you stand it with all those people in your house? Don’t you need alone time? Don’t you need your own space?” I said, “I have eternity to be alone in the grave. While I’m alive, I want to be around people. I want it to be a party every day.”
You mentioned your friendship with Jerry and with all of your theater work, you’ve developed quite a following in the LGBT community. I know in my own personal life that I have as many friends that are LGBT as I do straight. If that translates into fans, as well, who enjoy it when I work, then I’m thrilled. I learned this song in Bible school, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, LGBT and everything else.” Embrace them all and they will embrace you back. That’s my motto. I don’t understand people that are afraid of other people! Because of their sexual persuasion or the color of their skin — what’s the matter with them? We all breathe the same, we all lay down to sleep, we all chew our food the same. What’s wrong with people? I get so disappointed in people that are narrow-mindAre you, like Dolly, a woman who ar- ed. I know they’re probably that way because they were raised by narrow minded people. ranges things? You learn bigotry on the knee of your parI am! I’m a bit of that myself. There ents. I still get disappointed in this day are two couples that I know of, so and age with all the books and newsfar, that are married because I papers and television shows and introduced them. There are ﬁlms we have to enlighten people lots of other people (I’ve gotthat people don’t change, they ten) together. I also take Sally Struthers is Dolly don’t open up. Levi in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ (Courpeople into my house to give tesy Spark Associates) them a place to live, so my A 1971 episode of “All In The house is always full. I get Family,” a groundbreaking sitmyself involved in a lot of com in which you co-starred people’s lives in a and won a couway to try and ple of Emhelp them. mys
for portraying the character of Gloria, was one of the ﬁrst shows in prime time to feature a gay character. At the time, did you have any idea of the signiﬁcance that episode would have? I was just a young, naïve kid from Portland, Ore., who landed this role. I had never heard of these racial slurs, epithets. I would sit in the rehearsal hall on Monday mornings when we read the script dialogue for that week. Archie would say these words and I would say, “What does that mean?” I was told, “That’s what some people use as a derogatory term for a Spanish person or an Italian person or an Irish person or a black person.” I’d say, “Well, I’ve never heard that in my life in Portland, Ore. I come from a nice Lutheran Norwegian family. We don’t dislike anybody.” No, I didn’t understand the signiﬁcance of any of it until I was way past it. I had to be in my 30s, 40s, 50s to look back and see just how groundbreaking that show was and therefore how fortunate I was to be a small part of it. It’s dumbfounding to me. I still will open a newspaper in any city I’m in and immediately go to the crossword puzzle page and sometimes it’ll say, “Actress who played Gloria on ‘All In The Family,’” and I go, “Oh, my God! I’m in the crossword puzzle. Who knew?” I know that you will be on tour with “Dolly” for a number of months, but are there other projects that you have in the works that you’d like to mention? I wrote my own one-woman show, “Life Is Short and So Am I,” and I’ve been doing that in quite a few places. I won’t be able to do it now until April 2014. But it’s been really fun to do and I’m looking forward to doing it again.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
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Ringing in the holidays with Andy Bell By LAWRENCE FERBER Two years after their last studio effort, 2011’s “Tomorrow’s World,” Erasure has again returned with a ﬁrst holiday-themed album, “Snow Globe” (Mute). A mix of cover tunes – like “Silent Night” and “White Christmas,” – and some all-new original ditties, “Snow Globe” features keyboard whiz Vince Clarke in a restrained yet tech-forward mode, while vocalist Andy Bell’s vocals are as melliﬂuous and harmony-layered as always. Out November 11, “Snow Globe” also comes in a special three-disc box set containing a Christmas bauble, calendar, signed Christmas card and more, while the superb Tim Burtonesque stop-motion animation music video for “Guadete” is now viewable online. Openly HIV-positive since 2004, the Londonbased Bell joined his Florida-based American boyfriend of two years, Stephen Moss, in a British civil partnership this past January and splits his time between their respective cities. “I just moved to a new area called Limehouse in East London,” Bell shares. “On Sunday I went to the local gay pub and there’s an 80-year-old drag queen there, her name is Maisie Trollette, and she used to be in a trio called The Trollettes. They were funny and extremely ﬁlthy you can catch her at any local pub in the South of England.” Via telephone, Bell talked about “Snow Globe,” the campiest holiday album ever, and whether he would have blurred the lines like Miley Cyrus did at the VMAs. GAVO: Have you always been a fan of holiday and Christmas albums? BELL: Not particularly. It depended on what your parents had around. When we were kids we listened to those by Elvis Presley and Jim Reeves, which is where “Silver Bells” came from. For myself, I really loved the Phil Spector Christmas record [and] Barbra Streisand’s “A Christmas Album,” which she did in 1967. That’s where we took Erasure’s version of “Ave Maria” [on the 2003 “Solsbury Hill” EP] from. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of Christmas music, but I do love the carols. What is the gayest holiday album or TV special you’ve ever seen? It was probably one of Stanley Baxter’s Christmas Specials they used to show here in the 1970s on the BBC. He was a very masculine, handsome Scottish actor who did a magniﬁcent Judy Garland impersonation even with a large nose. Erasure starred in one of the campiest TV shows ever, called “Camp Christmas,” for UK Channel 4 in about 1996. And best camp Christmas album has to be ‘Christmas in the Stars: the Star Wars Christmas Album.” In a recent Billboard interview with Vince about “Snow Globe,” he said, “We thought
Erasure front man dishes about holiday album, ‘Snow Globe,’ the Sinead-Miley war & more
even though my new hubby is half-Jewish, half-Lebanese. I suppose I will learn some one of these days! Regardless, it’s a beautiful album. I love the album. It’s really quiet and I think the song “Silver Bells” at the end really reminds me of the ﬁlm “It’s A Wonderful Life.” It’s very snowy and it’s like a black and white album in some ways, I don’t know why. On to non-holiday related topics, what are your thoughts about the will-it-willever-go-away Miley Cyrus VMA hot mess? I thought it was quite unnecessary. All the stuff she did. But she’s very young and very naïve. Unfortunately, people these days, the more sexy and explicit and outrageous you can be corresponds to record sales. Young kids get a thrill from watching their heroes like that. But I was really appreciative of Sinead O’Connor’s letter to her. I was surprised that started a war between the two. Yeah, yeah. I think once Miley gets older she’ll realize that was a really sweet thing of Sinead to do. It wasn’t to cause trouble or anything, it was because she cared. And it’s true. The music business is exploiting women.
Two 1980s originals: Andy Bell and Vince Clarke return with their new holiday-themed CD ‘Snow Globe.’ (Publicity photo)
it would be more interesting to look into the darker side of the season. For a lot of people, Christmas is not a happy time.” How dark do the holidays get, do you feel? To me, I think it depends on where you’re at, because I had quite a few Christmases where, especially when my previous partner [Paul Hickey, who passed away in 2011] was really ill, I hate that feeling of when you have to be somewhere. You don’t want to be there but have to. It’s nice once in a while to have your schedule clear and do what you like without feeling obliged during holidays. At the same time you do have to think of other people. It sounds terrible.
snap back into Erasure mode? Yes. We always get nervous before we meet again, me and Vince. It’s like meeting your ex-wife or something and once we’ve been together for a half hour it’s ﬁne again and back to normal. All the solo stuff is still ongoing and hopefully sometime next year more will come out.
You’ve been alternating solo albums with Erasure efforts for some time. Is it easy to
There are no Hanukah ditties! For shame! I don’t really know any Hanukah songs,
What is the story behind the original tune, “Blood on the Snow?” That’s inspired by the story of the Little Tin Soldier. He . . . ﬂew out of the house and got caught in the rain, went down the drain, got eaten by a ﬁsh and the ﬁsh got caught and he was found inside. It’s based on that, really. A sad Christmas story. It’s beautiful though!
You’ve been provocative and ﬂamboyant in concert – do you think, were you Miley’s age, you might do something like she did today? Well, maybe. I feel like I might be a bit of a frustrated porno star! So if I was younger I probably might be tempted to go off and do something like that, but I’m glad we came out when we did because it was a very different climate. There’s a huge amount of pressure on young people to become sexualized now. The HIV drug Truvada is being used now by HIV-negative individuals to lower the chance of HIV infection in a regimen called PrEP. It’s been a bit of a controversial development – some feel it encourages less responsible behavior while others feel it is an amazing new tool in the toolbox to prevent HIV. Your thoughts? I would much rather take the least amount of pills as possible. Of course safe sex [is best]. If there was a cure for HIV I would take it tomorrow! Do you feel a bit like a US citizen now that you married a Floridian, and will you get married there, too, once it’s legal? I know it sounds funny but you really do live out of a suitcase. I’d eventually like to settle down with Steve and Angel, our Dobie, but for now I love my trips to Florida and the US because I do feel truly embraced there. I can leave my baggage elsewhere – if you get my drift.
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
THEATER BY JIM FARMER
‘Sordid Soiree’ plays at 14th Street Playhouse Presentation marks Shores and Jordan’s ﬁrst pairing onstage Leslie Jordan and Del Shores have collaborated countless times over the years, but ironically they’ve never shared a stage in the ATL. That changes when the duo – both gay – appear together on Nov. 23 as part of “A Sordid Soiree,” beneﬁting AID Atlanta. The Emmy Award winning actor (“Will and Grace”) met the playwright/director well over two decades ago, when Jordan came in to audition for Shores’ play “Cheating.” Shores remembers that the actor cracked him up at a line reading and they’ve been professional and personal colleagues since. The dynamics have changed over time, though – when they met Shores was engaged to a woman (Jordan would be his best man at the wedding) but later came out. “When I told my therapist I was gay I was told to tell a friend I could trust - and the ﬁrst person was Leslie,” recalls Shores. They also share similar backgrounds and family members similar in characteristics. Shores’ “Sordid Lives,” of course, became a cult ﬁlm, especially in the gay community, with Jordan starring as Brother Boy. Jordan was also in the “Sordid Lives” television series and most recently in Shores’ ﬁlm adaptation of this play “Southern Baptist Sissies.” As part of “Soiree,” Shores will tell stories for one hour and Jordan the next. Shores won’t really know what his material will be until closer in, although he has a funny Swinging Richards story he will tell for the ﬁrst time. Jordan, too, is known for having plenty to discuss. “At this point in my career, I can just get on stage and talk for 45 minutes,” he says. Shores spent some time in Atlanta recently premiering “Sissies” as part of Out On Film and then as a grand marshal for Atlanta Pride. It’s one of his favorite places – and behind Dallas, the second largest Shores fan base. “People here really relate,” he says. The two men stay in touch, although face to face meetings are getting rarer as they travel and perform throughout the year. Luckily, “Leslie has just discovered text messaging,” says Shores. After “Soiree,” Shores will be getting “Sissies” ready for a theatrical release and planning a “Sordid” sequel reuniting some of the original cast members. Besides his touring shows and ﬁlm work, Jordan is in “American Horror Story: Coven.” He says it’s been a great experience, getting to work with actresses such as Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy.
Del Shores was an honorary grand marshal at Atlanta’s Pride Parade. (Facebook photo)
DETAILS www.14thstplayhouse.org “A Sordid Soiree” 14th Street Playhouse Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. 173 14th St., Atlanta
On Stage ONGOING
“fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life” Through Nov. 10 Alliance Theatre 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta www.alliancetheatre.org
Emmy-award winning actor Leslie Jordan will appear onstage with Shores one night only (Nov. 23) in a benefit performance for AID Atlanta.
“I looked on the set and there was also Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole,” he laughs. He gets his script daily so he’s still trying to make sense of it all, although he calls his character something of a warlock.
MORE IN THEATER
A few years back, lesbian playwright Sarah Gubbins made a big splash with her lesbian-themed “Fair Use” at Actor’s Express. This weekend her “fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life” bows at the Alliance, the ﬁrst project of the inaugural ArtsVibe Teen Ensemble, a group of teenagers working with
the company all season. It involves a lesbian student, Jo, who becomes friends with another girl, straight Emma, and eventually gets bullied at her Catholic school. Gubbins wrote it last year for Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. “I wanted to write a show that dealt with bullying and take a look at why people did it, why they were so threatened by people being LGBT,” she says. Although she has spent some time in Atlanta and her native Chicago, Gubbins now calls Los Angeles her home. The national tour of “Ghost” is also in town through this weekend, opening the 2013-2014
“Ghost” Through Nov. 10 Fox Theatre 660 Peachtree St. Atlanta www.broadwayacrossamerica.com Broadway Across American season. Gay actor Brandon Curry is a part of the ensemble, playing a number of characters including The Shadow Ghost. Based on the Demi Moore-Patrick Swayze ﬁlm, “Ghost” has familiar staples such as the psychic character of Oda Mae Brown and the pottery scene. Yet despite the similarities, the musical can stand on its own, says the actor. Curry, who grew up in North Carolina, is having fun with The Shadow Ghost, the character that the deceased Sam faces shortly after he is killed. It’s the performer’s ﬁrst national tour and he is with “Ghost” until next fall.
GA VOICE | 21
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FRIDAY, NOV. 8
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is now through Nov. 23 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. cobbcentre.atlantaboxoffice.com
THURSDAY, NOV. 14
Come out to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late poet and filmmaker James Broughton, aka Big Joy. Bring beverages and finger foods to share. For more about James and the new movie on his life go to www.bigjoy.org . 7:30-10:30 p.m. First Existentialist Congregation, www.firstexistentialist.org
OFFyerHEAD Britpop and indie music videos begins with a special screening of the new Stone Roses reunion documentary, “Made of Stone,” at 8:30 p.m. sharp. DJs Dennis Millay and Todd Rivera follow. Mary’s. www.marysatlanta.com
The Fourth Tuesday social group holds its November happy hour at Mixx Atlanta from 6-9 p.m. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fourthtuesdayatlanta
Third Friday Film Series showing is “Intersexion,” a film about interex — those individuals with ambiguous genitalia. $1-$10 sliding scale donation suggested. Doors open at 7 p.m. screening starts at 7:30 p.m. First Existentialist Congregation. http://tinyurl.com/nhhhf74
Singer/songwriter Rickie Lee Jones, named by VH1 as one of the top 100 Women in Rock, makes a stop in Atlanta. 8 p.m. at the Variety Playhouse. www.variety-playhouse.com
Gay-owned Kai Lin Art presents opening night of “Solace” featuring the works of Nate and Travis Dorn, Patrick Heagney and Cassidy Russell. 7-10 p.m. www.kailinart.com The Other Show starring Celeste Holmes, Edie Cheezburger, Evah Destruction, Jaye Lish, Miami Royale and Violent Chachki. $5 cover. 9:30 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com Paparazzi, a party featuring artists Katrina Kennedy with DJ MERR1N spinning, will be at 10th & Piedmont. 10 p.m. www.10thandpiedmont.com The Haus of Glitz presents “Culture Shock” that includes a “storm of ATL queens, scenes, shows & sweat.” Featuring DJ Nita Aviance of The Carry Nation in New York City and all night guerilla dance floor performances including catwalk, vogue, looks, body. 18 to party, 21 to drink. $5 cover. 10:30 p.m. Jungle Atlanta. www.jungleatl.com DJ David Knapp spins at Heretic, 10 p.m., www.hereticatlanta.com Hotlanta Rubber & Gear Club Bar Night. Tips from the HRGG bar and proceeds from $1 Jello shots go to support Southeast Black & Blue Weekend/travel expenses. 11 p.m. Atlanta Eagle, www.atlantaeagle.com
SUNDAY, NOV. 17
The Dirty Dolls Lesbian Burlesque Revue returns to Club One in Savannah. This month, Mary welcomes back the incredible Ivy and introduces Ms. Katie James to Savannah. Don’t miss an evening of seduction and naughtiness especially for GLBT Women! $10 cover. 11:30 p.m. www.clubone-online.com
SATURDAY, NOV. 9
LGBT sci-fi group Atlanta Outworlders holds
SUNDAY, NOV. 10
FRIDAY, NOV. 15
SOMETHING GAY EVERY DAY! Bookmark www.thegavoice.com to get your daily dose of local LGBT events.
its Fall Picnic that includes an iron chef competition with the ingredient being potatoes. Atlanta Outworlders will provide the meat or faux meat. 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Glenlake Tennis Court, www.outworlders.info
The Saturday after hours party starting at 2 a.m. is at Xion, located behind Jungle, featuring Big Kid. www.jungleatl.com
P.A.L.S. Manly Miss America Contest with special guest emcees Edie Cheezburger and Jaye Lish. Contestants representing different states are raising funds to compete — those who raise the most will compete in evening gown and swimsuit for a chance to win $500. All money raised goes to help provide free pet food and vet care for those with pets who have terminal illnesses, disabilities or are senior citizens. 6-8:30 p.m., Jungle Atlanta, www.palsatlanta.org
Movie with the Southern Bears to see afternoon matinee of “Thor: The Dark World.” Movie Tavern at Northlake Festival, goo.gl/JTnblB
An evening of Southern Storytelling. 7-10 p.m. First Existentialist Congregation. www.firstexistentialist.org It’s “Shirts and Skins” with DJ Luis Perez taking over the tables at Jungle. 10 p.m. www.jungleatl.com
SUNDAY, NOV. 10
Sunday Astrological Consultations with Joy Isoke, Lovejoy. 1-6 p.m., Charis Books & More, www.charisbooksandmore.com “Let’s Have A KiKi: An Evening of Comedy with Sampson” benefits Matthew’s Stepping Stones, a safe place for LGBT homeless youth. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. 7 p.m. at the Phillip Rush Center http://sampsoninatlanta.eventbrite.com/
COntinued on page 22
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COntinued FROM PAGE 21 TUESDAY, NOV. 12
Town hall meeting “What Healthcare Reform Means for Georgians” hosted by the Health Initiative and Georgia Equality at the Rush Center to discuss changes to the healthcare system and specific changes affect LGBTQ individuals, couples, youth and people living with chronic medical illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. Program is free but people are asked to RSVP to email@example.com. 7-8:30p.m., http://tinyurl.com/nlummwe Every Tuesday and Thursday learn how to play with the Atlanta Bucks Rugby Club. 7-9 p.m., Toomer Elementary, 65 Rogers St NE, Atlanta, GA 30317, www.atlantabucksrugby.org
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 13
the leather community. Tips and sales from Jello shooters to go to the fund. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Atlanta Eagle. www.atlantaeagle.com
SATURDAY, NOV. 16
The Phillip Rush Center will hold a grand reopening from 3-5 p.m. to let the public view the recent expansion and renovations. www.rushcenteratl.org Broadway veterans Lorna Luft, daughter of Judy Garland, and Tituss Burgess from TV’s “30 Rock,” join together for a night of music and celebration. The event is hosted by Melissa Carter and Ian Aber. All proceeds benefit the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and the Atlanta Women’s Chorus. There will be a dinner, VIP reception, silent auction, live auction and the Voices of Note Awards. Various ticket prices. 6 p.m., Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, www.agmchorus.org
It’s Georgia Gives Day, a day set aside to remind people to donate to their favorite nonprofits. Check out all the organizations participating at the link: www.gagivesday.org/c/GGD
Miss Dixie 2014 drag contest to benefit the Atlanta Dixie Invitational bowling tournament over Easter weekend. 6 p.m., Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com
THURSDAY, NOV. 14 The Women’s Outdoor Network holds its Holiday Ball with proceeds to benefit Angels Among Us Pet Rescue. Suggested donation is $10. DJ Yvonne Monet will be spinning fun retro music. Complimentary snacks and fun drink specials. 6:30-10:30 p.m., Henry’s Midtown. www.meetup.com/wonatlanta/
Alt-bluegrass faves Roxie Watson hits the stage at Eddie’s Attic. 7 p.m., www.eddiesattic.com
Women’s self defense class sponsored by Fourth Tuesday Atlanta. 7-8 p.m. Suggested donation $5. The Rush Center. http://tinyurl.com/p5dqmtc “You Gotta Read This: A Southern Lit Roundtable with Kung Li, Susana Morris and Elizabeth Anderson” is a session on what these writers, activists and book-lovers discuss what is Southern lit and a list of some must-read books. Come with questions and ideas. 7:30-9 p.m., Charis Books & More. www.charisbooksandmore.com
FRIDAY, NOV. 15
Dinner with the Southern Bears. 7 p.m. coffee, 9 p.m. dinner. Yum Yum Thai Thai Restaurant. http://tinyurl.com/qhudtgy The Other Show XXXL with special guest Manila Luzon and DJ King Atlanta from Haus of Glitz. “After the show, stick around to Meet & Greet with the Special Guest and dance to the swirly-hop-faggy-disco-house beats of DJ King Atlas from Haus of Glitz!” $10 cover. 9:30 p.m. Jungle Atlanta. www.jungleatl.com Mr. and Ms. Atlanta Eagle Bar Night with Tank and Lizzy to raise funds for a friend in
Sir Elton John, a part-time Atlanta resident, performs at Philips Arena at 8 p.m., arenaatlanta.com Ink & Drink Fest, a celebration of tattoo artistry to benefit Lost-n-Found Youth. Bring your skin to win cash and prizes for the best works of art. 8 p.m.-3 a.m., Burkhart’s Pub, www.burkharts.com Bedlam Presents: Wacked Out Black Out Part 8, paint included and clothing check available. $10 pre-sale, $15 at door, $20 after midnight. Doors open 10:30 p.m., special performance by Brigitte Bidet and DJ Shane V spinning. Jungle Atlanta, www.bedlampresents.com The Armorettes Follies benefiting MISTER is from 8-10 p.m. with DJ Phil B of San Francisco manning the tables after the show for a night of sweaty dancing. Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com
MONDAY, NOV. 18
Stars of the Century, one of the best and longest-lasting drag shows in Atlanta, takes place every Monday at Jungle Atlanta. 10:30 p.m., www.jungleatl.com
TUESDAY, NOV. 19
Girlz Retro Tuesdays wraps up 2013 with a party including laid back 70s music at McGowans in Oakhurst. 5:30-8 p.m. http://tinyurl.com/m4rmdqz
BEST BETS www.theGAVoice.com
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 20
“How Many More Must Die?” — the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance memorial will begin at 6 p.m. at the Georgia State Capitol on the Washington Street side. The event is organized by the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation. http://tinyurl.com/mzwoqxa
THURSDAY, NOV. 21
AEN hosts its November Third Thursday Mix &Mingle networking event. Admission is $20 for guests or included in your AEN membership. Complimentary light bites will be provided. 6:30 p.m. at Parker’s on Ponce. www.aen.org Second annual tree lighting with hostess Ruby Redd and a cast of entertainers. This year’s event benefits Lost-n-Found Youth. 8-10:30 p.m., Burkhart’s Pub, www.burkharts.com
GA VOICE | 23
FRIDAY, NOV. 22
Bears Thanksgiving Dinner. A pot luck dinner with the Southern Bears club providing turkey and drinks. 7-9 p.m., The Phillip Rush Center. http://tinyurl.com/k2vad5j Art show featuring the works of Tony Jackson from 7-9 p.m. at the MISTER Center. www. tonyjamesjackson.artspan.com, mistercenter.org
FRIDAY, NOV. 22
The band Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who wrote a same-sex marriage anthem titled “Same Love,” perform at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth. 7:30 p.m., gwinnett.arenaduluth.org
SATURDAY, NOV. 23
A “Sordid Soiree” starring Leslie Jordan and Del Shores to benefit AID Atlanta features the duo sharing stand-up comedy and stories. Tickets are $125 for VIP, $75 for preferred sitting and $50 for orchestra seating. 7 p.m. at the 14th Street Playhouse. Contact Anna Leary at anna. firstname.lastname@example.org or at 404-870-7706 for any questions. www.aidatlanta.org “Who’s Bad — The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band” moonwalks onto the Variety Playhouse stage. Tickets $20 or $22.50 day of show. Doors open at 7:30p.m., show starts at 8:30 p.m. www.variety-playhouse.com
TUESDAY, NOV. 26
Singer/songwriter and Atlanta Pride headliner Sonia Leigh performs with special guest Brooke Eden. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m., Eddie’s Attic. www.eddiesattic.com
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 27
It’s Thanksgiving Eve and time to get in some heavy cardio on the dance floor with Sin Morera. An opening set is by DJ Mike Pope. This is a
Showtunes with DJ Marco Polo every Tuesday at Amsterdam Atlanta. 9 p.m., www.amsterdamatlanta.com
social benefit evening for Joining Hearts. Doors open at 9 p.m., Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com
SATURDAY, NOV. 30
Divas of the A Thanksgiving Black Party for LGBT women hosted by Mook DaHost Thomas featuring exotic dancers and DJs Silver Knight and Feel X. Tickets on sale now. Visit http://www.divasofthea.com/ for ticket prices. 10 p.m., Center Stage “The Loft,” www.centerstage-atlanta.com
24 | GA VOICE
The town of Gay T
EDITOR's NOTE BY DAVID AARON MOORE
A place where the weather is merry and they celebrate the history of cotton
Since I joined the staff of Georgia Voice in September, my morning routine has been altered somewhat. The cup of coffee and bowl of cereal, the checking of email and looking at the internet to ﬁnd out what’s going on in the news at large and issues concerning the LGBT community has been a constant for many years. That hasn’t changed. What is different, though, is what I ﬁnd myself speciﬁcally searching for, and the key words I use to root out stories of interest. Of course, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, LGBT and any similar combination of synonyms are a given. As of late, I’ve since added Atlanta and Georgia. One recent morning I typed in the words gay and Georgia. I was surprised and amused at what came up. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I lived in Atlanta for several years, before returning to my birthplace and then boomeranging back to the city I’ve always really felt the most at home. I knew Atlanta well when I was here before, and most of the outlying little towns that had quirky (but endearing) names like Villa Ricca, Smyrna, Alpharetta, Snellville, Cumming, Flowery Branch, Opelika and others, but I must confess I never knew there was a town called Gay, Georgia. In case you’ve never heard of it, either, let me take a moment to share with you what I’ve learned about Gay. It’s approximately 45 miles south of Atlanta, has a population of somewhere around 150 (according to Gay’s county website), and covers an area just over 575 acres. Located in Meriwether County, it has an average annual temperature of 62 degrees (forgive me – I can’t resist: perfect weather for a bunch
of Marys) and the town’s current mayor is a gentleman known as Damien Tony (stage name if I ever heard one). The town hosts two annual cotton picking festivals a year: one in October, the other in May. Originally, it was known as Sasserville (yet another quirky and fun name), but was renamed in honor of William F. Gay, a prominent landowner who was extremely successful with cotton crops and peach farming. In fact, for many years, Gay’s largest source of income was these two crops. Today, however, Gay’s primary source of economic growth is tourism. In addition to the annual festivals, former President Franklin Roosevelt’s Little Whitehouse is in the same county, in the neighboring hamlet of Warm Springs. Roosevelt built the home in 1932, in the hopes that swimming in the 88-degree spring water would somehow cure the polio that had plagued him since 1921. Although his efforts I proved to be in vain, he grew attached to thethis e region and was there posing for a portrait oning h April 12, 1945, when he suffered a stroke andcontr died a short time later. That unﬁnished por-been trait, along with many of Roosevelt’s personal Th belongings, furnishings and a 1938 Ford con-made vertible, remain there today for visitors to see.word Although by today’s standards, RooseveltFUN a would be considered a relatively centrist mod-of a erate, during his time in ofﬁce he was often“Deck viewed as a radicalour G liberal for his support Af of labor unions andFaceb the initiation of Socialcomm Security. Sound likefrom another president weissue “W know? Everyone who livestrans in Atlanta is aware ofback how large the city’smerr LGBT population is.we th According to a poll weinterp cited three issues agosay w and city councilmem-inten ber Alex Wan has alsoment pointed to, the city has Th one of the largest perfailed capita gay populationscritics “D in the country. “W If you go by the one-in-ten rule, thathave means there’s gotta’ becards at least 15 gay people in “W chang Gay, right? Maybe it’s time wemuch pay our gay neighbors “If shock in Gay a visit. If Roosevelt was So in ofﬁce today, some- “W thing tells me he’d ap-reacti ics on prove.
I knew Atlanta well when I was here before ... but I must confess I never knew there was a town called Gay, Georgia.
GA VOICE | 25
SHE SAID Hallmark’s holiday faux pas I normally wouldn’t talk about Christmas this early, since Thanksgiving is the next upcoming holiday, but there is already some Christmas controversy brewing – and it seems ﬁtting it has been brought to us by a Hallmark ornament. This particular Christmas tree accessory is made to look like a sweater, with the following words printed on the front: “Don we now our FUN apparel.” Of course, this is an edited version of a line from the treasured Christmas carol, “Deck the Halls,” which is actually, “Don we now our GAY apparel.” After the ornament was released, Hallmark’s Facebook page was ﬂooded with complaints. The comments accused the company of everything from censorship to homophobia. Hallmark then issued the following statement: “When the lyrics to ‘Deck the Halls’ were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800s, the word ‘gay’ meant festive or merry. Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation. So the planning team decided to say what we meant: ‘fun.’ That’s the spirit we intended and the spirit in which we hope ornament buyers will take it.” This statement with its “Gaelic” history listen failed to quiet the disgust that echoed from the critics on social media. “Do they support fun marriage?” “Why did you change gay to fun? Do you still have Christmas cards, or just generic holiday cards now?” “WTH Hallmark.......since when do you get to change the words to a Xmas song? Homophobic much?” “If they don’t like gay apparel they’ll be shocked to see what the elves wear!” So Hallmark then released this apology: “We’ve been surprised at the wide range of reactions expressed about the change of lyrics on this ornament, and we’re sorry to have
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caused so much concern. We never intend to offend or make political statements with our products and in hindsight, we realize we shouldn’t have changed the lyrics on the ornament.” Despite the controversy, the company says it would be impossible to produce and ship the ornament with the original lyric, so the ornament will remain on the racks for the entire Christmas season. The cost, $12.95. Hallmark hasn’t always been so self-conscious about the word “gay.” After all, as the largest greeting card company in the United States, Hallmark released same-sex wedding cards back in 2009. Clearly, we aren’t dealing with a homophobic company. And last I checked, there are lots of Christmas carol lyrics that would have ﬁt on the miniature sweater. So was this just a momentary lack of good judgment or a sign of a wider issue? Companies are caught between the changing tide of cultural views and marketing norms. The goal is to make sales and that means keeping old customers while at the same time ﬁnding new ones. To satisfy that goal of appealing to gay clientele and their green gay dollars, companies like Hallmark want to stand out. My advice is to stop trying so hard. There are those accusing the gay community of being overly sensitive to the ornament issue, but it seems to me that Hallmark was originally overthinking it. Gay customers are, for the most part, like every other customer and the same rules will apply to us when we are shopping with Hallmark or any other company. Great service, a great product, catchy jingles, funny Super Bowl commercials and a 20 percent discount for everyone who has a rainbow tattoo. Hey, there are no bad ideas, right? Just ask Hallmark.
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