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Wright photo by Michael Granberry & Laura Crosta; publicty photos of Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire



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06.11.10 Screen on the Green gay audience target of melee? Page 4 Atlanta Police chief finalists meet in town hall forum. Page 4 Gov. candidate Karen Handel dogged by past gay support. Page 6 ARCA seeks volunteers for historic HIV vaccine trial. Page 8 U.S. House, Senate committee vote to repeal DADT. Page 10

“Every man I know is watching this show — this live show — about lesbian lovers of Miami!”

No Georgia hospitals rated ‘top performers’ by HRC. Page 10 Longtime LGBT volunteer Greg Barrett remembered. Page 12

—Man-hungry “Golden Girl” Blanche, played by Rue McClanahan, lamenting when ditzy Rose casts Blanche and Dorothy on a local TV segment about “women who love each other and sleep together.” McClanahan died June 3 at age 76. (, June 3)


Speaking Out: Readers react to new APD gay liaison, anti-bullying bill. Page 15

— Pop singer Miley Cyrus, 17, defending her recent performance on “Britain’s Got Talent,” in which the Daily Mail reported she simulated a kiss — but did not actually touch lips — with a female backup dancer. (Us Magazine, June 5)

The road to country music’s first openly gay star. Page 17 Art: Gay artist tackles homophobia in black community. Page 18 Books: ‘Mama Deb’ finds happy ending to grim fairy tales. Page 20 Across the Table: Best tacos under the sun. Page 21 Theater: ‘Little House’ may have special meaning to LGBT fans. Page 23

COMMUNITY Atlanta’s Stonewall Week honors Pride’s beginnings. Page 25 Georgia celebrates Pride month. Page 26 Milestone: Erica French and Nina Gooch celebrate 21 years. Page 26

CALENDAR Pages 28-30



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“If you are straight, gay or bisexual, I want to walk through the scriptures with you.” — Rev. Ted Haggard, who lost his conservative mega-church in 2006 after a scandal with a male prostitute, on the new church he is founding with his wife, Gayle. Haggard maintains he is straight and his same-sex desire came from being molested by a man. (The Guardian, June 6)

Times for a man to have had sex with another man since 1977 in order to be permanently banned from donating blood Years that a person who has had heterosexual sex with someone who is HIV-positive is banned from giving blood


Years since the lifetime ban on gay male blood donors was instituted in 1983, during the height of the HIV epidemic.


Estimated pints that would be added to the US blood supply per year if the gay ban is lifted


Times the Food & Drug Administration has reconsidered the gay blood ban. In 2000 and 2006, the FDA decided to keep the policy; it is set to be studied again in meetings June 10-11.

Sources: CNN, HRC, The, Williams Institute

Photo via Facebook

Chely Wright comes out of the country closet. Page 16

Photo by Nora Feller Photography





View the full interv iew

t h e GAVO IC E .co mat

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Mike Ritter Cartoon: Scandal in the Wind. Page 14

“I promise you I did not kiss her and it is ridiculous that two entertainers can’t even rock out with each other without the media making it some type of story.”

Publicity photo

Guest column: Sylvia Rivera Community Brunch is important to Pride. Page 14

“I get to perform me. It’s androgynous. I don’t have to wear hip pads and look all feminine.”

“One thing I stand for is hip hop music. And hip hop music knows no race, no color, no age, no gender, no sexual orientation — none of that.” — Hip hop artist Wale speaking from the stage at DC Black Pride over Memorial Day Weekend. The performance drew controversy when one of Wale’s staffers initially canceled it, claiming he didn’t know Black Pride was an LGBT event. Wale apologized for the mishap. (Metro Weekly, June 1)


GA Voice June 11, 2010


Gay slurs cited in Screen on the Green melee

Violence causes delay of Piedmont Park film showing By Dyana Bagby

The same day the Atlanta police chief finalists met in a town hall forum, the popular “Screen on the Green” movie showing in Piedmont Park ended abruptly after several fights broke out and there were unconfirmed reports of gunfire. Jesse Rhodes, who is openly gay, said what happened at Screen on the Green on June 3 was an “insult” to the people of Midtown, including its gay residents. He lives at Post Parkside and walked to the park with a group of gay friends. While the fights and rowdy behavior broke out around them as they tried to watch “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” he and his gay friends felt very vulnerable, he said.

“We felt like sitting ducks,” he said. “They were definitely targeting gay people. One of my good friends, who is gay and works at Swinging Richards, got jumped by five people and beat up.” The friend did not file report of the incident to police. Rhodes added that when he was walking out of the park he was called “faggot” and other obscenities and said women at the event were also called lesbians. “I was called a faggot. There were a couple of fights in front of Blake’s [the gay bar on 10th Street] — it was all pretty pathetic,” he said. “I was verbally discriminated against based on my sexual preference.” Rhodes said he was called the anti-gay slur while walking along 10th Street from Charles Allen toward Piedmont Avenue. He said the people causing the problems were not from Midtown. “They were young and definitely looking for trouble,” Rhodes said. “It went from the people with Chick-fil-A being overwhelmed to females being called lesbians. It was more of an insult to the people of Midtown regardless of who we are,” he said.

Hice and his friend were hit while they were in Hice’s open Jeep driving past Piedmont Park. Sgt. Curtis Davenport, public information officer for the APD, told the Georgia Voice he looked through numerous reports from June 3 and said nothing in the reports stated anything about a hate crime against anyone at the park. “I have not heard anything about that and nothing is mentioned in any of the reports,” he said. Acall to Officer Patricia Powell, the new LGBT liaison for the APD, was not returned. A follow-up email this week was also not answered.

‘Take Back Screen on the Green’ Screen on the Green’s showing of ‘Dream Girls’ in Piedmont Park was postponed from June 10 to June 17 after violence erupted at the June 3 event, which featured ‘Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen.’ (Photo courtesy Dreamworks)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted a Newnan man as saying he and his friend were victims of a “hate crime” during the melee, and later clarified that the man felt targeted because he is white and his attackers were black. Josh

Gay issues mentioned in forum for Atlanta police chief finalists By Dyana Bagby At the recent town hall forum to let the public meet the three finalists to be the next Atlanta police chief, Mayor Kasim Reed acknowledged that many believe there has been a breach of confidence between the city’s residents and the police department. “Tonight we begin repairing that breach,” Reed said during opening remarks on June 3 at the Atlanta Civic Center. The three candidates are interim Chief George Turner; Dr. Cedric Alexander, head of the Transportation Security Administration at the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas International Airport; and Robert White, the Louisville, Kentucky Metro police chief. Reed said he would make an announcetment of his choice to lead the APD between 10 to 12 days after the June 3 town hall meeting. Gay issues were addressed briefly during the nearly two-hour forum by emcee Bill Nigut, southeast regional director of the AntiDefamation League. “How do you balance, in these times especially, your force’s ability to be tough on crime but sensitive to the concerns of various elements in the community. For instance, being able to deal with various constituent groups who feel discriminated against. We had the Eagle bar raid which the gay community believes was a slap in

The three finalists for Atlanta Police Chief participated in a recent town hall forum. From left are Dr. Cedric Alexander; interim APD Chief George Turner; and Robert White. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

the face,” Nigut said, adding that Hispanics and Muslims also complain about alleged bias. Turner responded by acknowledging the department gets “a number of complaints on Red Dog on how we deal with citizens.” The Red Dog Unit, a paramilitary narcotics street force, was utilized in the Atlanta Eagle bar raid in September. Some patrons and employees of the gay bar alleged they were roughed up during the raid and also had anti-gay slurs hurled at them the Red Dog Unit. Many in the bar during the Sept. 10 raid are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against the city and police. Turner defended the Red Dog Unit’s work without mentioning directly its participation in the Atlanta Eagle raid. “Our Red Dog officers arrested as of today more than 1,000 people and made those arrests where people are being challenged to

live in their own homes. “[But] we have to be responsible to citizens, we have to treat people correctly … we have to make sure we have officers that the citizens are pleased to have on the street,” Turner said. White answered by saying the police department must treat all citizens the same. “It’s a leadership issue. People have to believe that there’s a department that cares about its community and treats everyone … regardless of their station in life the same. The flip side is they have to believe in a department that can hold officers accountable,” he said. Alexander said police have social responsibilities as well as being firm on crime. “We have to be clear about the line that does not get crossed. It doesn’t give officers the right to mistreat people, to degrade people,” he added.

Davenport said the APD was not providing security for the event. Screen on the Green is sponsored by Peachtree TV in conjunction with the Piedmont Park Conservancy and the sponsors are required to provide security. The sponsors submitted a security plan to the APD for approval, Davenport said. “We are investigating whether what was approved was actually what was in place,” he said. APD Interim Chief George Turner said there were 23 off-duty officers providing security for the approximately 10,000 people who showed up to watch the movie. When the fights became very disruptive, the security company on site asked APD for assistance, Davenport said. “This was an off-duty event [for the APD]. They [the sponsors] provide security. APD was called in when the event was canceled and we deployed nine or 10 officers and had the park cleared out in 15 minutes,” he said. Police cannot confirm whether there was gunfire as reported by some attendees. Davenport said the APD did receive reports from the prior week’s Screen on the Green that fireworks were used. Davenport added that it appeared there were two groups of females and a group of males that were causing the disruptions and fights. Rhodes, who said he was distressed there was not more of a police presence at the park to provide security, started a Facebook group asking people to “Take Back Screen on the Green.” “It’s time to stand up as a community and boycott Screen on the Green. This past Thursday’s event was full of hatred, and unlawful people. Midtown is home to a proud, and diversified group of people who already fight social prejudice, we don’t need to invite it into our own backyards,” he states on the page. The APD public information office could not be reached this week for a follow-up interview to find out if there were any actual incidents reports as a result of Screen on the Green, but the AJC reported June 7 only one was filed. The report was filed by a teen whose purse was stolen. The June 10 Screen on the Green showing of “Dreamgirls” was postponed due to the June 3 violence. The series will resume with “Dreamgirls” on June 17, according to Peachtree TV.

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GA Voice June 11, 2010


Gay baiting in GOP primary for governor Under attack by Deal, Handel tries to deny past support for gay issues By Laura Douglas-Brown The gay Republican activist who stated in a 2003 interview that Karen Handel supports gay adoption and domestic partner benefits told the Georgia Voice that he stands by the quote, and provided email exchanges with the GOP politician that show her desire to win gay support. Meanwhile, another gay Republican leader noted that the staff of Nathan Deal, who is attacking Handel on gay issues as they battle in the GOP primary for governor, welcomed and helped him when he visited Washington, D.C., for the gay Log Cabin Republicans national conference. “We will be continuing our support for Karen Handel,” Marc Yeager, then-president of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, told Southern Voice newspaper in an article published Aug. 15, 2003. “She demonstrated in her last run that she was supportive of domestic partner benefits, and she’s supported same-sex adoptions on the basis of the best interest of the child.” At the time, Handel was running for Fulton County Commission chair. The quote has dogged her in her race for governor, with Deal — a former congressman and one of Handel’s five opponents in the July 20 GOP primary — using it to paint her as not a true conservative. “Records prove Handel’s support of gay adoption, domestic partner benefits,” reads a May 11 press release from Deal’s campaign. Handel’s camp now says the comment from Yeager was inaccurate, but she never asked Southern Voice for a correction or retraction. Yeager told the Georgia Voice on June 7 that Handel, with whom he had frequently talked and emailed, never told him that it was wrong, either. “As closely as I was working with her at the time, I certainly would not have made any statement like that if it had not been expressed from herself and clearly understood that that was her position,” Yeager said. Yeager said at the time he had personal reasons for being concerned about gay adoption, adding to his certainty about Handel’s position. “I had friends who are same-sex parents, and at the time my partner and I were also considering adoption, so it was a personal issue,” he said. “Certainly if she had the position she is affirming now, I would not have been as active in her campaign as I was at the time.” Yeager also confirmed that Handel was a dues-paying member of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, noting that the LCR database shows she became a member in July 2002 and

As the G0P gubernatorial primary heats up, Nathan Deal is attacking Karen Handel on her previous stands on gay issues — positions Handel and her campaign are trying to refute. (Handel photo from campaign Facebook page; Deal photo from U.S. Congress)

he remembers receiving a check for the membership from Handel at the LCR booth at the Atlanta Pride Festival, held at the end of June. “She definitely was a member of Log Cabin and she was for at least two years,” said Yeager, who is no longer a leader in the group. Neither Handel nor Deal’s campaigns responded to interview requests by press time.

Emails show relationship between Handel, Yeager

Handel lost her bid for an at-large seat on the Fulton County Commission in 2002, then won the Fulton County chairmanship in a special election in 2003 after Mike Kenn resigned. Handel’s outreach to gay voters in her Fulton County races included seeking endorsements from Log Cabin and Georgia Equality, the state’s largest gay political group. This week, Yeager provided copies of three email exchanges with Handel from 2002 and 2003. They show the two had a friendly as well as political relationship, with Handel inquiring about Yeager’s vacations while also telling him about gay endorsement interviews and seeking advice on the Georgia Equality survey. The first exchange, from July 2002, shows Handel sending Yeager a draft of her answers to Georgia Equality’s candidate survey, and Yeager responding with recommendations. “As I’ve told you, I do support domestic partner benefits, and confirm my position here, although I do have concerns about a domestic partner registry,” Handel writes in the email. “Bottom line is that I will work with you and other GLBT leaders to develop workable legislation. Give me a call if you have questions.” In an exchange in mid-October 2002, Handel and Yeager discuss her interview for Georgia Equality’s endorsement and her stand on domestic partner benefits. Handel said she sup-

ports the benefits for county workers, but has privacy concerns about a DP registry open to all Fulton residents. The third exchange, from September 2003, came after Yeager’s comment to Southern Voice about Handel’s support for gay adoption, and shows Handel continued to seek his advice after that interview. In these emails, Handel responds positively to Yeager’s invitation to join Log Cabin in the Atlanta AIDS Walk, and recounts more discussions with Georgia Equality. As part of Southern Voice’s election coverage, the newspaper invited political candidates to submit statements from a gay supporter. The Oct. 31, 2003, issue included a statement submitted by Handel’s campaign. In it, Log Cabin member Mike Horton noted that Handel “has long supported domestic partner benefits” and was a member of Log Cabin.

Changing stands

Handel has tried to disavow her outreach to gay voters in her bids for state office, including her successful 2006 campaign for Secretary of State and her current gubernatorial race. In 2006, Bill Stephens, one of Handel’s GOP primary opponents for Secretary of State, also made an issue of her past stands on gay issues. On June 7, her current campaign spokesperson, Dan McLagan, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that despite being written in the first person and signed “Fondly, Karen,” the email with the draft of the Georgia Equality survey was sent by her campaign manager, not Handel, and did not accurately reflect her positions. He did not comment on the veracity of the other email exchanges, which also showed Handel actively courting gay votes. Handel would not speak directly to the AJC. McLagan also told the daily paper that the Georgia Equality survey was never submitted.

However, the same August 2003 Southern Voice article that included Yeager’s comment on gay adoption included a quote from thenGeorgia Equality Executive Director Allen Thornell, who referenced the survey that Handel submitted the year before. Reads the article: “In the candidate survey Georgia Equality distributed last year, Handel indicated support establishing a domestic partner benefits policy, but opposed creating a domestic partner registry, citing privacy concerns, Thornell said.” Thornell passed away last year. McLagan also noted that “the one opportunity [Handel] had to vote on the issue, she voted against them.” The Fulton County Commission approved domestic partner benefits for county employees in 2003, when Kenn was chair. The issue Handle voted against was whether to also expand the county’s pension plan to include domestic partners — and that vote came in 2006, the same year she ran for Secretary of State.

Log Cabin leader welcomed by Deal’s congressional office

Asked about Handel’s past stands on gay rights, the current president of Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, Jamie Ensley, focused on Deal’s decision to attack Handel on the issue. “I’m extremely disappointed with former Rep. Nathan Deal using the same tired old gay boogeyman scare tactic against Karen Handel, and I think it reflects a losing campaign,” Ensley said. “I would rather former Rep. Deal address his corruption accusations instead of this nonsense, it really makes his campaign appear to be a few clowns short of a circus.” Deal consistently opposed LGBT issues in Congress, but Ensley noted that Deal’s U.S. House office “was very helpful to me” when he attended the national Log Cabin conference in April 2006. “His office staff gave me a private tour of the capital, and arranged a tour of the White House for me, so I’m totally baffled by his new bipolar political affliction,” Ensley said. Other GOP candidates for governor include Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, who tried unsuccessfully to bar private insurance companies from offering domestic partner benefits; Eric Johnson, who opposed gay issues in the Georgia General Assembly; Jeff Chapman and Ray McBerry. Log Cabin does not plan to make an endorsement in the primary, Ensley said. Note: Southern Voice shut down on Nov. 16, 2009, when its parent company filed for bankruptcy, causing its archives to no longer be available online. A separate company purchased the assets in bankruptcy court in February 2010 and sporadically publishes a new newspaper with that name.





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GA Voice June 11, 2010


First therapeutic HIV vaccine trial underway AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta seeks volunteers for testing By Matt Schafer The AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta is currently seeking 10 to 12 volunteers to help test the safety of a vaccine that shows the potential of reversing HIV viral loads in HIV-positive individuals. The 77-week trial of a vaccine from GeoVax, a biotechnology company based in Smyrna, Ga., that specializes in developing an HIV vaccine, is the first of its kind. This study is “the first therapeutic trial ever conducted using a promising HIV vaccine candidate from GeoVax, Inc.,” according to a May 18 press release from ARCA. “Although the GeoVax vaccines are currently being studied for HIV prevention, this is the first study using the same products for treatment of persons who already have HIV infection. ARCA is the only site for this trial.” The GeoVax vaccine boosts the body’s immune system by increasing T-Cell counts and anti-HIV antibody response. Dr. Harriet Robinson began her research in the 1990s and has been moving the vaccine through the clinical trial process. Data from Robinson’s primate trials show

that the vaccine was effective in preventing simian HIV from spreading, and controlling HIV in positive primates. The animal studies were conducted at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, an affiliate of Atlanta’s Emory University. The preventative portion of the vaccine is currently in a Phase II human trial. “We were very impressed with the animal data that GeoVax has for this vaccine… Monkeys aren’t people, but it’s very impressive data and we wanted to work with them to design a study to see if this would be applicable to humans,” ARCA principal investigator Dr. Melanie Thompson said. Thompson helped found ARCA 21 years ago to perform HIV clinical trials and has helped to investigate 27 HIV drugs now licensed by the federal Food & Drug Administration. For the GeoVax trial, the non-profit organization needs a very narrow group of people. “They are people with very special characteristics, and so we know it is not going to be easy to find these people,” Thompson said. “Based on study in monkeys it appears that people who are earlier in their infection are most likely to benefit from the vaccine, so what we are looking for is people who know roughly


EVENING FOR EQUALITY see politics from a new perspective

June 24, 2010


ARCA principal investigator Dr. Melanie Thompson is seeking a narrow group of HIV-positive people for a new HIV vaccine trial. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

MORE INFO To be considered for the ARCA study: 404-876-2317

when they were infected, and have that documented with a negative test and then followed that up with a positive test.” Specifically, ARCA is looking for volunteers who tested negative for HIV six months or less before a positive HIV test. Volunteers must have gone on medication within six months of the initial test and that medication must have successfully suppressed their viral loads. Be-

cause of the amount of testing required volunteers must live in the Atlanta metro area or be willing to relocate to the city. GeoVax CEO Dr. Bob McNally is confident that the vaccine will reproduce its effects in humans the way it did in the primate tests. “One of the objectives of a trial like this is to ultimately wean people off their meds and let their immune system fight the virus on their own,” he said. “It’s the meds that have the huge cost and over time some of them stop working, and so it’s really not a long-term solution.” The study consists of four vaccinations given about eight weeks apart. After the vaccination stage there would be an interruption of medication so that researchers can monitor if the vaccine suppresses the viral load and a T-Cell count to gauge how the immune system handles the HIV virus. After this information is gathered, volunteers will go back on their medications.“We have gone through of effort to make sure that people are very well observed during the interruption phase,” Thompson said. “We have built-in safeguards to make sure that if they get into a situation where they could be in trouble they will be returned to their medication, but based on the data we saw in primates we don’t expect that to happen.”




DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE HOSPITALS IN ALL 50 STATES THAT DO NOT FULLY PROTECT LGBT PEOPLE FROM HEALTHCARE DISCRIMINATION? The Human Rights Campaign Foundation researched 200 of the largest healthcare facilities in the country as part of our HEALTHCARE EQUALITY INDEX and found that 93 percent do not have fully inclusive policies to protect LGBT patients from discrimination. By working directly with hospitals, clinics and healthcare networks, HRC is leading the way to establish policies that support and affirm our families. Until there is full legal recognition and equal treatment across the country for all families, HRC will fight for you. Find out how healthcare facilities in your area are rated. Visit WWW.HRC.ORG/HEI for more information and to find resources on how you can protect your healthcare rights.


GA Voice

June 11, 2010


U.S. House, Senate committee vote to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Two Ga. Democrats cross party lines to vote ‘no’ By Laura Douglas-Brown Efforts to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy gained significant momentum May 27 when both the U.S. House and the Senate Armed Services Committee passed amendments to repeal the ban. “Just like the military helped end segregation based on race, we should have put an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ long ago. It is an affront to human dignity and to the dignity and the worth of every man and woman serving in our military,” U.S. Rep. John Lewis said during debate on the House floor.   “We cannot wait. We cannot be patient,” Lewis said. “We must end discrimination in the military, and we must end it now. Discrimination is wrong, and we must end it now.” Both the House and Senate efforts would add “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal to the massive Defense Department authorization bill.

The Defense bill still has to pass the full Senate, where debate could begin as early as June 18, and some Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have threatened filibuster. After the Senate, the bill would then go through a conference committee to resolve any differences between the House and Senate versions, and then the House and Senate would have to vote to approve conference report, according to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, before it would go to President Obama for signing. The full U.S. House voted 234-194 May 27 in favor of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal amendment, which was sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) and needed 217 votes to pass. Only five Republicans voted in favor of repeal, while 26 Democrats voted against it. All of the Republicans in Georgia’s delegation voted against repeal. Two Democrats from Georgia, Reps. Sanford Bishop and Jim Marshall, were among the 26 Democrats who crossed party lines to oppose repeal. Kingston said he opposes repealing “ Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because it would somehow lead to recognizing gay marriage. “With homosexuals serving openly in the

How Georgia’s U.S. House delegation voted YES on repeal DEMOCRATS District 4: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Lithonia) District 5: Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) District 12: Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) District 13: Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) During debate on the House floor, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) called the ban on openly gay people serving in the military ‘an affront to human dignity.’ (Courtesy photo)


military … there would be no option but to recognize a man’s husband or a woman’s wife and to provide spousal benefits thus contradicting the federal law,” he said in a press release. Kingston also suggested chucking DADT would “lead to further acts of censorship and a clamp down against religious freedom.” “What happens when clerics are told they can no longer preach against a practice their

DEMOCRATS District 2: Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) District 8: Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon)

Please see MILITARY on Page 12

NO on repeal

REPUBLICANS District 1: Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) District 3: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Grantville) District 6: Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) District 7: Rep. John Linder (R-Duluth) District 10: Rep. Paul Broun (R-Athens) District 11: Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) Note: District 9 seat is vacant

No Ga. hospitals rated ‘top performers’ in Healthcare Equality Index

Emory, Piedmont hospitals cite some gay-supportive policies By Laura Douglas-Brown The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay political group, released its annual Healthcare Equality Index on June 7. Two Georgia hospitals, both in Atlanta, were among the 178 facilities rated on policies affecting LGBT patients and staff. Emory University Hospital received credit for having an equal employment opportunity policy that includes sexual orientation. Piedmont Hospital received credit for having a gay-inclusive Equal Employment policy, as well as visitation policies that give samesex couples the same access as opposite-sex couples and next of kin, visitation polices that give same-sex partners the same visitation for their minor children as opposite-sex partners, and cultural competency training that includes healthcare issues that impact LGBT people. It is not included in the survey, but Piedmont Hospital has also partnered with the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative to provide free health screenings. According to the Healthcare Equality Index, neither Atlanta hospital offered a patients’ bill of rights that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, or an equal employment

policy that include gender identity. Nationwide, some 42 facilities answered “yes” to all of the gay and transgender-inclusive policies. That includes the Kaiser Permanente Network, which includes several locations in Georgia, although none are listed individually in the index. Kaiser Permanente updated its patients’ bill of rights to include LGBT patients and their families, with the new policies taking effect June 7, according to HRC. The new policies make Kaiser Permanente the first health network, as opposed to an independent hospital, to earn HRC’s “top performer” status, the group notes. “The healthcare landscape for LGBT patients and their families is about to change dramatically,” Joe Solmonese, president of the HRC Foundation, said in a press release. “We all know horror stories of loved ones torn apart, already heart-wrenching decisions made even harder, and basic human rights denied. Bold action by the president and the Joint Commission mean many of those stories will be a thing of the past — and not a moment too soon, because as of right now huge challenges remain on the books.” In April, President Barack Obama issued a memorandum directing the Department of

Health & Human Services to create policies requiring all hospitals that receive federal funding through programs like Medicare and Medicaid to treat LGBT people fairly in visitation and other services. In addition, HRC reports, “the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies healthcare facilities, has announced new, fully inclusive patient non-discrimination standards as part of their accreditation process.”

Grady partners with Pride

Atlanta’s non-profit Henry W. Grady Health System, which includes Grady Hospital, was not included in the Healthcare Equality Index Lisa Borders, president of the Henry W. Grady Health System Foundation, said she could not determine by press time if the survey was sent to the hospital, but Grady is working to build its relationship with the LGBT community. Borders previously served as Atlanta City Council president and was endorsed by Georgia Equality in her unsuccessful mayoral bid last year. “Clearly the LGBT community is important to me, personally and professionally. I have always been LGBT inclusive, and I continue that approach with my presidency at Grady Health Foundation,” Borders said.

Lisa Borders, president of the Grady Health System Foundation, notes that for the first time, Grady will provide medical services for Atlanta Pride this year. (Courtesy photo)

Grady Health System will be the medical vendor for Atlanta Pride this year, a relationship Borders said she brokered and hopes to build on for the future. “We’re very excited and want to continue to grow it into an even more impactful relationship,” Borders said. Grady includes sexual orientation in its non-discrimination statement and offers domestic partner benefits to employees, according to Borders and Georgia Equality.



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GA Voice June 11, 2010


Greg Barrett remembered for community work Friends and family of Greg Barrett came together at Christ Covenant MCC in Decatur June 7 to honor his life and remember his community volunteerism. Barrett died June 3. Attendees remembered Barrett, 43, for his dedication to local nonprofit organizations as well on the impact he had on friends and family. A long-time Atlanta Pride volunteer, Barrett was actively involved with several Atlanta-based nonprofit organizations, including the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and AIDS Walk Atlanta. JP Sheffield, executive director of Atlanta Pride, said of Barrett, “Greg was a really, really good man. I know Pride was really important to Greg, but everything he did was important. That’s the kind of character he had.” “I can’t count the number of times Greg Barrett was there for me,” Sheffield said at the memorial service. Barrett also staffed the bar at the Atlanta Eagle every other week and donated his tips to Atlanta Pride. “It’s because of people like Greg that we have a voice in this town,” Atlanta Eagle coowner Robby Kelley said at the service. Barrett leaves behind his partner, Tim Garrett, and many other family members and friends. Memorial donations are requested for Atlanta

Pride and the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. Originally from Dora, Ala., Barrett was a 1984 graduate of Corner High School and a 1987 graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. According to a police Greg Barrett report obtained by Proj(Photo via Facebook) ect Q Atlanta, Barrett was visiting a friend on June 2 and inhaled the recreational drug poppers and took a tablet of Levitra, a prescription drug for erectile dysfunction. When he did not wake the next morning, the friend called an ambulance; Barrett was dead at the scene. Levitra warns that it should not be used with poppers. Police do not think Barrett’s death was the result of foul play, but they are awaiting the results of a toxicology report, Project Q reported. Barrett was chair of the Atlanta Pride Operations Committee, putting him in charge of the golf carts, radios, and tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment needed to put on the annual festival. In an interview, Sheffield estimated Barrett had been volunteering with Atlanta Pride for at least 15 years. “He was the one always doing the work and all our organizations have people like him,” he said. “They’re not in the paper or getting awards and Greg was a shining example of that. Even if people didn’t know him, we should all be grateful for his work.” —Ryan Watkins & Dyana Bagby

Compromise plan delays implementing DADT repeal MILITARY, continued from Page 10 faith tells them is wrong,” Kingston asked. Bishop issued a statement explaining that he voted against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” through the Defense bill, even though he supports repeal, because he wanted Congress to wait until a Pentagon study is complete. “I agree with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the time has come to repeal the current ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, which dishonors men and women who are willing to give their lives in service to our country and also prevents capable men and women with vital skills from serving in the armed forces.  However, I believe a vote today is premature,” Bishop said. In addition to Lewis, Democratic Georgia Reps. Hank Johnson and John Barrow voted for the amendment. The House vote came just hours after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 1612 in favor of a similar amendment. The Human Rights Campaign had called on Georgians to call Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who serves on the Armed Services Committee, to ask him to vote in favor of repeal. But only one Republican on the committee, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), voted in favor

of the repeal amendment. Only one Democrat, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), voted against it. National LGBT groups heralded the votes as a significant step towards ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “The importance of this vote cannot be overstated — this is the beginning of the end of a shameful ban on open service by lesbian and gay troops that has weakened our national security,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese in a press release. The current amendments are a compromise plan that attempts to reconcile the desire of  LGBT rights advocates  and congressional supporters to repeal the ban now, before the end of this Congress when vote counts could be impacted by the November elections, with Pentagon leaders who want repeal to wait until after the military completes a study on removing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The study is not expected to be finished until December. The White House announced support of the compromise early in the week before the vote. It would delay implementation of the repeal until the Pentagon study is complete; the president, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that repealing the policy will not negatively impact the military; and then after a 60-day waiting period.


GA Voice

June 11, 2010


The Georgia Voice 1904 Monroe Dr., Suite 130 Atlanta, GA 30324 404-815-6941


Editor: Laura Douglas-Brown

VOICES OPINION & REACTION Honoring Pride’s true roots

Art Director: Bo Shell

Today, our movement’s leadership rarely reflects those who started our revolution

Contributors: Jim Farmer, Shannon Hames, Shannon Jenkins, Robin Kemp, Ryan Lee, Mike Ritter, Matt Schafer, Christopher Seely, Steve Warren, Justin Ziegler

Guest column By Cain Williamson

Deputy Editor: Dyana Bagby Web Manager: Ryan Watkins


Publisher: Christina Cash Business Manager: Tim Boyd Sales Executive: Marshall Graham National Advertising: Rivendell Media, 908-232-2021


Richard Eldredge, Sandy Malcolm, Lynn Pasqualetti, Robert Pullen All material in the Georgia Voice is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Georgia Voice. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. We also do not accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Georgia Voice, but we do not take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. Guidelines for freelance contributors are available upon request. A single copy of the Georgia Voice is available from authorized distribution points. Multiple copies are available from the Georgia Voice office only. Call for rates. If you are unable reach a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 26-issue mailed subscription for $60 per year. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Tim Boyd, Postmaster: Send address changes to the Georgia Voice, 1904 Monroe Drive, Suite 130, Atlanta, GA 30324. The Georgia Voice is published every other Friday by The Georgia Voice, LLC. Individual subscriptions are $60 per year for 26 issues. Postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. The editorial positions of the Georgia Voice are expressed in editorials and in editor’s notes. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Georgia Voice and its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words and commentary, for web or print, should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Email submissions to or mail to the address above.

I’m not missing a minute of this, it’s the revolution. That’s what Sylvia Rivera said of the Stonewall Riots. And she was right. Not just about the beginning of the revolution but about a lot of things. We commonly credit the Stonewall Riots with being the tipping point for the modern gay rights and Pride movements. And it was. But what we don’t commonly acknowledge is that the demography of the rioters is not the demography of the contemporary leadership of the movement. Sylvia started life as Ray, a Hispanic boy who was abandoned by her father, orphaned when her mother committed suicide when she was 3 years old, and maligned by her grandmother for being an effeminate boy and wearing makeup to school in the 4th grade. Living on the street from the age of 11 as a gender non-conforming Latina in early

Since the Stonewall Riots, Pride has been the most visible aspect of the modern gay rights movement, a movement that has bettered the lives of gay people around the world. But unfortunately, it is also a movement that has left the marginalized in a similar place from which they started the movement — marginalized. Sylvia Rivera (right), a participant in the 1969 Trans people still find themselves fighting Stonewall Riots, speaking at the Stonewall Inn in for acceptance, much less for equality. 2002 (Photo via Sylvia Rivera Law Project) 1960s New York, she lived life as one of the most marginalized segments of society. So you can imagine that she did not have an easy life. Nor did the drag queens and transgender people who raised her and helped to keep her safe. But these are the people to whom we owe our movement. These are the people who said “Enough!” one night in June of 1969. And for the past 40 years, Pride events across the globe have commemorated the riots at Stonewall. Since the riots, Pride has been the most visible aspect of the modern gay rights movement, a movement that has bettered the lives of gay people around the world. But unfortunately, it is also a movement that has left the marginalized in a similar place from which they started the movement —marginalized. Trans people still

find themselves fighting for acceptance, much less for equality. So this year, on our 40th anniversary, Atlanta Pride is going back to our roots. With Juxtaposed Center for Transformation and Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth (TILTT), Atlanta Pride is co-sponsoring the Sylvia Rivera Stonewall Community Brunch. The event will focus attention on the issues still faced by the most marginalized segments of our community in hopes of moving us all forward toward full equality and acceptance. Pride will still be the open, honest, and vibrant celebration of the gains our diverse community has made over the last 40 years or so. But it will be in October, adjacent to National Coming Out Day. After all, the world doesn’t change if we don’t make ourselves known and what better way to do that than with a Pride celebration. The world has evolved since Sylvia and her sisters took the first step on the long road to equality. We’ve not reached the goal yet and hopefully more change is to come. And for our part, Atlanta Pride is changing our approach this year. By cosponsoring the Sylvia Rivera Stonewall Community Brunch on the last weekend in June and moving Pride to coincide with National Coming Out Day, we feel we are honoring our history as a movement and remembering how far we have yet to go, while simultaneously casting a hopeful eye to the future and the better times ahead. I hope you will join us for both.

Cain Williamson is chair of Atlanta Pride’s board of directors. He can be reached via this publication.

MORE INFO Sylvia Rivera Stonewall Community Brunch June 26, 11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. Central Presbyterian Church 201 Washington St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30303

SPEAKING OUT Atlanta police still need to apologize for Eagle raid

Re: “Atlanta police want to sweeten relationship with LGBT community” (News, May 28) Of course they want to sweeten the relationship. They are tired of being sued. Except for [GA Voice Deputy Editor Dyana Bagby’s] astute, articulate articles, and [Eagle lawsuit attorney] Dan Grossman’s comprehensive legal expertise, there has been no sense that anyone, including the APD, the City of Atlanta, or our local LGBT so-called leaders have had the slightest clue about the seriousness and legalities of what happened at the Eagle. If the police and the city had, even after the fact, realized the gravity of their actions, they wouldn’t have taken the “underwear dancing” case to trial. And the police would have apologized formally by now for their Gestapo-like actions in September. We need to insist on the police having “sensitivity training,” and we need to insist that the police spend some time helping with Gay events and causes, so they will get to know us as “normal citizens” and not as “freaks with problems.”

Bullying bill a good first step, but more needed Re: “Governor to sign anti-bullying bill” (, May 27) A day for everyone to celebrate. Now if we can just get it enforced. Bullying is more than “getting beat up.” Wonderful news. Hurray for Rep. Mike Jacobs and Gov. Sonny Perdue! One small step for the “lost” governor of Georgia, but the bill still does not say anything about sexual orientation or gender identity.

Georgia’s second most LGBT-friendly city is…

Re: “What Georgia city should get second place as the best for LGBT residents?” (Discussion at, May 23) Decatur. And no Decatur is not Atlanta. Since Decatur is so close to Atlanta, I would have to go with Savannah. Augusta is having its first large-scale Pride

Editor’s note: These comments on Georgia Voice articles were submitted via our Facebook page ( Want to weigh in? Follow us there or submit comments on our website.

on June 19. We have a long way to go before we’re anybody’s Mecca, but hey, we’re trying! East Point. Yes, we are a separate city. Decatur (despite being surrounded by Atlanta). Savannah is also decent; gay people always find a niche in any city basically run by old white women who control the old white men they married… Meet any real Steel Magnolia and you know who sets the pace in any Southern city or town. And Steel Magnolias all have gay friends; they admire our class and “spunk” as my late aunt used to describe gay men.

LETTER HRC award winner is trans, but not ‘activist’ To the Editors: Re: “HRC Dinner seeks equality ‘Every Day’” and “Out of the ballrooms and into the streets” (news and editorial by Laura DouglasBrown, May 14) I want to voice my disappointment that the Human Rights Campaign seemed not to be able to find a transgender person more worthy to award the “Community Service Award” to, and your Laura Douglas-Brown to apparently see this as deserved and calling Vandy Beth Glenn an “activist” of all things! This a further spotlight on the division of the “privileged” from those who are “in the trenches” for transgender rights. Vandy Beth has not been an activist for any transgender rights but her own. Her face has, however, become known as the “privileged” who lost it when she lost the job it allowed her when she began transition. She has eschewed participation in any activities that would strive toward advancement of other transgenders but herself, while quietly accepting public support from other transgenders. What “community service” has she provided, besides her image as the “Poster Transgender” for job discrimination? I suppose she would/should be “humble,” Ms. DouglasBrown! Cheryl Courtney-Evans Atlanta


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‘Incendiary’ art

Black gay artist tackles homophobia head on

As a gay, black, HIV-positive man, Michael Morgan finds solace in his art. From his painting “In the Garden” that depicts the shame of being gay and resorting to finding sex in Piedmont Park, to his “Jack in the Box” series with dolls caged behind chicken wire to symbolize struggles with drugs, sexuality and poverty, Morgan wants the AfricanAmerican community to address taboo topics and not hide from them. “The last eight years I started focusing my work on my environment, things that have affected me for so long. I did a lot of artwork on social commentary, civil rights and the family,” he says. “Then I turned it around — I wanted to see me projected, my life projected in what I did. So I started focusing on more social commentary on gay life and being black and a minority.” Morgan’s work is currently on display at the Hammonds House Museum with the works of Daryl Harris, a straight artist who also tackles the social taboos of contemporary African American culture, explains Hammonds House Museum curator Kevin Sipps. The exhibit, “Incendiary Exposure: The Works of Daryl Harris & Michael Morgan,” continues through June 27.

‘Thug mentality’ and men having sex with men

Morgan, 54, loved art as a boy growing up in the public school system of Charlotte, N.C. When he became a senior in high school, he wanted more, so he transferred to North Carolina School of Performing Arts in Winston-Salem. In 1976, he moved to Atlanta to study at the Atlanta College of Art, now known as the Savannah College of Art &Design. The black men Morgan paints and draws are often sad, angry and indifferent. They reflect the young men he says he sees on the streets near his home on North Avenue — often mixed up in drugs and alcoholism as well as having sex with men and women. But these men don’t want to be labeled gay or bisexual, Morgan says. They just don’t care who they have sex with. Oppression and repression contribute to the malaise of many of Morgan’s characters, who are desperate for understanding and acceptance but feel trapped in a culture where they cannot be who they truly are. Many of the men Morgan meets on the streets, who have a “thug mentality,” are intelligent and compassionate, he says, but are afraid to show their true character because of

the rough environment in which they live. The black church also makes appearances in Morgan’s “Jack in the Box” series, where a pastor may be preaching damnation to homosexuals but in the background has his own group of young men who are his lovers. The hypocrisy is blatant, Morgan says, and contributes to the confusion many young, gay black men grapple with.

Repression of desire lurks as dark figure

In Morgan’s painting “In the Garden,” a dark figure hovers in the background while another shadowy figure stands to the side. In the foreground are men openly having sex. The shame and guilt of being gay, of wanting to love another man, lurks in the background for many as they seek to express their desires. “This piece ‘In the Garden’ is dealing with sexuality and shame around sexuality we, I, experienced growing up as a gay male,” he says. Morgan, who used to live near Piedmont Park, recalls seeing men going in and out of the park seeking sex. “When you repress a lot of stuff, he [the dark figure] appears. I was thinking in the park, meeting in the park, how some men don’t feel safe, don’t have enough esteem to form a relationship in a so-called ‘normal’ way.” And while Morgan has been out to friends and family for more than 30 years, he says “coming out” is still an ongoing process in his life. “I’m still learning about myself as I go on,” he says. For Sipp, the curator, combining Morgan’s work with Harris’ work was meant to provoke dialogue in the African-American community as well as the community at large about how black people express themselves in today’s society. The friction in the African-American community about homosexuality — how some black people believe the gay rights movement is superceding the civil rights movement while the progressive black community is accepting — was something Sipp wanted to address. “In my opinion the gay rights movement is

Gay artist Michael Morgan, whose work is currently on display at the Hammonds House Museum in West End, depicts the struggle against homophobia among African Americans in many of his pieces. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

rooted in ancient scripture,” says Sipp, who is straight. “It is much older — it is one of the earliest civil rights movements. And both artists are dealing with racism and sexism. They were both speaking to social taboos and confronting them head on and not burying them under the rug.” With immigration phobia, homophobia and people believing we live in a post racial country with Barack Obama as president, there is still plenty of discrimination and racism going on that is causing people harm, Sipp says. “Of all the problems we have in the world

MORE INFO “Incendiary Exposure: The Works of Daryl Harris & Michael Morgan” Continues through June 27 Hammonds House Museum 503 Peeples St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30310

the last thing we need to be doing is basically discriminating against people who want to love another. We have so many other problems in the world,” he says.

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Motherly wisdom Debi Lowry, AKA Mama Deb, spreads message of unconditional love in new book

Debi Lowry is already a bit of a legend in gay Atlanta: a fixture on dance floors and at charitable fundraisers, a surrogate mother to the dozens of gay men who affectionately know her as Mama Deb. As much as Lowry revels in her popularity and being able to offer a compassionate shoulder to those who feel turned away from their biological families, she was unsatisfied by the thought of her legacy being limited to her being a social butterfly. “When I’m gone, when I die, I want to have had an impact on someone else’s life — I don’t want it to be just, ‘Oh, she was a really nice person’ or ‘She made me laugh,’” Lowry says. “If I can change their lives for the better, I absolutely have to do that.” Lowry, the heterosexual mother of two adult children, one of whom is gay, is on a crusade to remind other parents about unconditional love, and to challenge the subtle and aggressive ways that they deny their children happiness. She recently published her first book, “Three Grim Fairy Tales and a Happy Ending,” which she hopes will be “a tool to start the dialogue” about parents being more accepting. “I wanted to talk with parents, I wanted to knock on their doors and say, ‘How come you don’t get it? What do you see as wrong with your child?” Lowry says. “When they were babies, you loved them and you never questioned your love and affection and your loyalty for your child, and so when they become sexual beings, why does that stop? “What’s important to remember is when they were babies, when they were learning to walk, when they were learning to talk, when they went to elementary school,” Lowry adds. “Those are the milestones you remember and cherish, and then they go, ‘I’m gay.” How do you wipe the slate clean and say that that was all good but now you’re different? No, they’re still the same person.” All proceeds from “Three Grim Fairytales & a Happy Ending” are being donated to the Atlanta-based For The Kid in All of Us and CHRIS Kids’ Rainbow Program, and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The book is divided into two sections, with the first part chronicling heartbreaking stories of some of the gay men who Mama Deb bonded with over the years. “The first one was someone who lived his entire life pleasing his parents, and in the end was still so unhappy and couldn’t be true to

himself and show his parents who he was, and he committed suicide,” she recalls. “The extremes that people go through emotionally to avoid or mask themselves based on what they perceive the expectations are from their family are very painful to me.” The will be a July 7 book signing at Outwrite for “Three Grim Fairy Tales,” which is aimed not only at openly hostile parents, but also those who take a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” approach to their children’s sexual orientation, Lowry says. “Sexuality is only a part of who they are, but it does affect who they give their heart to, and so it’s a major part of who they are,” she says. “If you fall in love with somebody, how do you not tell your mom?” However, the themes in “Three Grim Fairy Tales” transcend sexual orientation, and “apply to everybody who doesn’t meet their parent’s expectations.” “Parents need to remember in regards to their children, my ambitions for you are not your ambitions, and that doesn’t change the fact that you’re an amazing person,” Lowry says.

MORE INFO ‘Three Grim Fairy Tales & A Happy Ending’ By Debi Lowry, $12.95 Book Signing July 7, 7:30 p.m. Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse 991 Piedmont Ave., 404-607-0082




Best tacos under the sun Great food, scene make Taqueria del Sol perfect for summer There are certain Mexican restaurants in Atlanta that have a great vibe plus stellar food, and Taqueria Del Sol is definitely one of them. As summer heats up, who doesn’t like Mexican food on a patio with a tasty cold beverage? As an Atlanta native, I remember when the only Mexican food you could get was at El Chico and Chi Chi’s. We didn’t even know what a Taqueria was and now thankfully upscale Latin food is everywhere. Don’t be put off by the long line you are likely to encounter at any of Taqueria Del Sol’s locations. It moves quickly, and you will be rewarded with some of the best Mexican/South Texas/Taqueria fare in Atlanta because it’s chefdriven by the very talented Eddie Hernandez, who creates creative from-scratch cuisine. Taqueria Del Sol has one of those menus where you can’t go wrong. This is not a Mexican place where you order the number 21. The

menu is inexpensive ala carte so you can have as much or as little as you want. I love the $3.20 enchiladas with tender shredded beef brisket, topped with an addictive deep red beef chili sauce, which is paired with a roasted chicken enchilada topped with green chili or a melted gooey cheese version with a light cream sauce. The chain also has artisanal $2.19 street tacos like the crispy fried chicken taco paired with cool jalapeño lime mayo, and the Memphis taco with smoked pork, crunchy jalapeño slaw and a tequila barbecue sauce. There are also daily specials and vegetarian options. Whatever you order, start with chunky fresh guacamole or creamy rich shrimp and corn chowder and their special West Side margarita. You know how some margaritas taste like sour dishwater that burns your stomach? Available by the glass or pitcher the TDS margarita is smooth and strong — like I like my men — because our people hate weak margaritas. There is also an enormous tequila selection

MORE INFO Taqueria Del Sol Westside 1200-B Howell Mill Road Atlanta, GA 404-352-5811 Decatur 359 West Ponce De Leon Ave. Decatur, GA 404-377-7668 Cheshire Bridge 2165 Cheshire Bridge Road Atlanta, GA 404-321-1118 Athens 334 Prince Ave. Athens, GA 706-353-3890

if you feel crazy and want to do shots, and we all know how those nights end. They also have a good beer selection and a small but effective wine selection. Alcohol prices are inexpensive, and if you don’t drink you can have an amazing meal for under $10. The people-watching scene in Decatur is, of course, more family oriented during the week, but features plenty of spicy ladies on the weekend. The Westside location has a postcard view of the city and has a mostly straight crowd, es-

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pecially at lunch. Here, you can see hot guys in designer suits relaxing with a delicious meal. The Cheshire Bridge location is likely the most popular with the gay set, and particularly popular for those seeking a light meal before hitting the clubs. I was on the patio at the Cheshire Bridge TDS on a recent weekend and the vibe was kinetic, but not rowdy. It was mainly gay men, but also peppered with some straights and lesbians. But really, no one cared who was who. It’s amazing when a group of strangers laugh and connect with each other after having superior food on a beautiful day. So the food is terrific, on a nice day or night the patio scene is happening, plus you just might meet Mr. or Ms. Right. What are you waiting for? Vamanos!

Other Latin restaurants with hot summer patio scenes

Las Margaritas (Cheshire Bridge): The gayest patio in the city; food is good but the people watching is better. Pure (Inman Park): Mixed scene; amazing crab fritters, chipotle mussels and Baja fish tacos Frogs Cantina (Midtown): Very gay, friendly cute staff, excellent inexpensive Tex-Mex Agave (Grant Park): Mixed scene, small patio, the absolute best Southwestern in the city, great first date place Raging Burrito (Decatur): Eclectic scene, huge inexpensive burritos and Tex-Mex

GA Voice

June 11, 2010


East Point


Dating men was ‘sin’ Photo by Michael Granberry & Laura Crosta

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Chely Wright hopes her coming out will inspire struggling gay youth.

WRIGHT, continued from Page 16 her. This isn’t going to be easy, but I am going to come out to her.”




On the Commons, Downtown East Point After Party hosted by the East Point Corner Tavern Visit for show information & details

Barb Rowland

Dr. CHIP HILL advanced dentistry of atlanta LLC

You made a statement when you were on Oprah where you were talking about the gay children in this country who are hearing churches preaching that they are damaged goods and that their parents are echoing that in their homes. Do you think that if the parents and churches would just let these children know that they are unconditionally loved and accepted, they wouldn’t grow up thinking that they must attempt a “normal” life where innocent people are dragged into their attempts to “be normal” like this poor man and his family? The parents are quite as culpable as the church. When parents take a child to a church and say, “This is my baby, help me raise them,” they’re well-intentioned. I don’t want to point fingers but I do want to identify where we are going wrong. We need to start looking at churches where kids are hearing this message of “You are broken.” This whole “Love the sinner, hate the sin” — I’m so tired of that. That’s a problem for me. Isn’t that so empty? Yes, because a gay person rarely, if ever, sees any “love” from someone who uses that phrase. Sin is decision-making. I don’t have a choice to love a man. It’s a sin for me to try to love a man. I will mess a man up. I will mess me up and I will leave a wake of carnage behind me. Do you get the feeling that country music was ready for your coming out? Not entirely. People who are supportive are so excited that there is someone who has finally stepped out. That’s been so amazing that people are posting positive comments on my Facebook page. On the other side, people really hate quietly. Let that not go unnoticed. Some of the most damaging hate in history has been done privately behind closed doors or with hoods over their heads.

For the first time in 10 years, my charity concert, “Reading, Writing and Rhythm,” [on June 8] isn’t sold out. Only about half the tickets have been sold. It could be that because Nashville had the flood, people might just be all charitied-out. I can tell you this, though: We’ve been begging the other acts to please put the event on their social networking sites. That’s never been a problem in the past to get them to help us advertise it to their fans. Other than Rodney Crowell, SheDaisy and Jann Arden, nobody else is telling their fans that they are performing at my event.

That’s eye-opening. Isn’t it? I think that they don’t want to cancel because what would it say about them if they canceled? So they just want to quietly slip in, sing their few songs and get out of there.

Next week is Fan Fair in Nashville. [The official CMA Music Festival is June 10-13.] Are you expecting to get a better feel for the reaction from country fans when you’re there? Nashville whispered about me for years. I didn’t come out to confirm it to the people in Nashville who had heard that I was gay. I came out for the 14-year-old kid sitting in church being told, “Don’t be that, because you’re doomed to a life of ruination. You’re not going to be a good human being if you’re going to be that.”

When you and your dad recently appeared on Oprah, your dad spoke of his immediate change of heart when you came out to him. When I told my dad that I was gay and he heard that word “gay” next to his daughter’s face, name and heart, it changed that word for him. My dad was more effective in moving a million small mountains on the Oprah show than I was. Oprah asked him, “Stan, what changed? You went from thinking that gay meant sinful, perverted and sick to being accepting the moment Chely said she was gay. What changed?” He looked at Oprah and he said, “I know her heart.”



Out on the ‘Prairie’ stage

Gay performer says ‘Little House’ may have special meaning for LGBT fans

For out performer Tony Vierling, the news that “Little House on the Prairie” was being adapted into a stage musical came as something of a surprise — at first. “I was surprised but after thinking about it, it made total sense,” he says. “As literature and as a TV show it has such a legacy. The stories were written so well and were so successful. I’m very excited to be part of it.” Like millions, Vierling read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books, first published in 1932, as a child. He was not a regular watcher of the television series, although he did see certain episodes. Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura for 10 years in the series, has come full circle and is playing “Ma” in the production. The musical tells of the family’s pioneering spirit as they settle into their new home in Kansas. Vierling admits to being a longtime fan of Gilbert and says her contributions to the show have been invaluable. “What she brings to it is a sense of history, a real sense of connection,” he says. “We worked together for many months before the tour began and now we are all a family. She is so down to earth.” Although Gilbert’s professional singing experience has been limited, Vierling feels she has nailed that aspect. The beloved character of Nellie Olsen also appears. “She shows up about halfway through the first act,” Vierling says. “She is the comic relief, the levity of show.” “Little House on the Prairie” has its darker moments, such as elder daughter Mary going blind and the family struggling with a long winter. “It has an epic quality, but it’s not in the line of something as dark as ‘Les Miserables,’ Vierling says. “You need to have dramatic effects to show the struggles with the prairie life.” The musical premiered in 2008 in Minneapolis where it promptly sold out for 12 weeks. As a member of the ensemble, he has played virtually all the male characters at one time or another. He is also the show’s dance captain. Gays and lesbians can especially relate to “Little House,” Vierling says. “We can certainly appreciate the struggle of finding a new home, creating a family and feeling safe,” he says. “That is universal.”

Melissa Gilbert (center) played Laura Ingalls in the iconic television series ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ and portrays Ma Ingalls in the musical. (Photo by Carol Rosegg via Theater of the Stars) Nicholas Koperski plays the lead in LeBuzz’s production of ‘Hedwig & the Angry Inch.’ (Photo courtesy Koperski)

‘Hedwig’ comes to LeBuzz

AtlantaLite Entertainment and the Marietta gay bar LeBuzz host a one-night version of John Cameron Mitchell’s musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” as a fundraiser for AID Atlanta on June 25. “I’ve loved this show, the movie, forever,” says Nicholas Koperski, who plays the lead in the musical. “Hedwig” tells the story of a gay man who seeks to marry another man but must have a sex change to do so. The surgery is botched, however, leading Hedwig, a punk singer, on a journey of self-discovery. “The story, the music, the idea of searching for your other half but in essence that is in yourself is completely original,” Koperski says. “That idea of being comfortable in your own skin by giving up a piece of yourself — literally doing so in this production — and this spiritual journey you go on is what struck a rich chord with me.” “Madonna had her ‘Evita’ and I have ‘Hedwig,’” he adds with a laugh. Koperski, one of the Atlanta Eagle patrons in the bar the night it was raided, has never performed on stage before but knew this role was made for him. “I’ve been singing since I could open my mouth and performing is something I’ve always loved, but this is the first musical/play I’ve been in,” he says. “And once I got the role, I started digging deeper and deeper into the character and a force greater than me has taken over.”

‘A Funny Thing’ at Lyric

Atlanta Lyric Theatre opens “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” this weekend with a gay touch: Both its director Alan Kilpatrick and main actor Glenn Rainey are gay. Rainey stars as Pseudolus, a role he first tackled back at GSU when he was 25. “It’s such a timeless show, with vaudeville shtick type comedy and great music by Stephen Sondheim,” he says. Rainey and Kilpatrick worked together in Aurora Theatre’s recent “Kiss Me Kate” and will share the stage in the Lyric’s upcoming version of “Hairspray” in July. “We’ve known each other for a long time and as an actor too, he has a great feel for what works on stage,” says Rainey.

MORE INFO ‘Little House on the Prairie’ June 15 – 20 at the Fox Theatre 660 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 800-982-2787, ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ June 25 at LeBuzz 585 Franklin Road, Marietta, GA 30067 770-424-1337, ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ June 11 - 27 at The Strand Theatre 117 North Park Square, Marietta, GA 30060 404-377-9948,

June 11, 2010

GA Voice



GA Voice June 11, 2010

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June 11, 2010

GA Voice


Celebrating a MILESTONE? Share your engage-

ments, weddings, births, adoptions, anniversaries, birthdays and other events! Announcements can be up to 200 words and can include a photo. E-mail editor@ with your milestone and contact info to see your name in print!

Atlanta’s Stonewall Week honors Pride’s beginnings MORE INFO

By Dyana Bagby

Georgia celebrates Pride month By Laura Douglas-Brown The Atlanta Pride Festival, by far the largest Pride festival in Georgia, may not take place until October, but there are plenty of other events around the state to mark June, which President Obama officially declared as LGBT Pride Month. “As Americans, it is our birthright that all people are created equal and deserve the same rights, privileges, and opportunities. Since our earliest days of independence, our Nation has striven to fulfill that promise.   An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community,” the president’s proclamation reads. Pride month is observed in June to mark the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a New York City gay bar, fought back against police harassment. The rebellion is frequently seen as the launch of the modern gay rights movement, and in 1970, activists in cities around the country began holding marches and rallies during the last weekend in June to commemorate it. “This month, as we recognize the immeasurable contributions of LGBT Americans, we renew our commitment to the struggle for equal rights for LGBT Americans and to ending prejudice and injustice wherever it exists,” Obama’s proclamation declares.

It all started in someone’s backyard 13 years ago over the Fourth of July weekend and has now grown into one of the largest drag shows in the Southeast, organizers say. The 13th annual East Point Possums Show kicks off Atlanta Pride’s Stonewall Week on June 19 in East Point with, well, a sashay — perhaps a clumsy sashay at that. Rick Westbrook, a.k.a. Shenitta Lott, is one of the founding members of the show along with his partner, John Jeffrey (a.k.a. Prissy Cilla), Chuck Jenkins (a.k.a. Rococo Baroque) and Chesley Thurman (a.k.a. Dina Daintymouth). For Westbrook, the show’s popularity is a testament to people’s desire to come together for a good time and for a good cause. This year, all money made at the Possums show will be donated to the Atlanta Pride Committee and the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative. “Last year we made $11,000 and this year we’re hoping to make $20,000,” Westbrook says. And people tip well at the Possums show — but you just don’t know where the money’s been. “I can’t tell you how many $20 and $50 dollar bills I’ve pulled from the crack of my ass over the years,” he says. “This is unlike any other drag show — this is good work through bad drag.” The show includes 20 to 30 acts and include favorites like Ginny Tonic, a drag legend who now only performs at the Possums show, and Alexandria Martin and her infamous roller skates, as well as new acts from such shows as Sukeban, now held at My Sister’s Room. “This show is off the hook,” Westbrook promises. There will be surprises, he adds, including a “rumor” that the Atlanta Pride Committee itself will perform a number. The crowd for the show grows each year with East Point residents as well as those from all over metro Atlanta attending. And women like to make their husbands dress in drag just to watch the shownumerous families — gay and straight — gathering as well to help LGBT causes. “This is truly a community event, and at the same time, we are proud to promote that our event has now become the largest drag show in the Southeast,” boasts Thurman.

Remembering 1969

Stonewall Week continues through June 26 with a host of events to celebrate the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn, a gay New York City bar, that is credited with starting the mod-

Stonewall Week Saturday, June 19 The East Point Possums Show 8 -11 p.m. Downtown East Point, on the Commons across from City Hall at 2727 East Point St. East Point, GA 30344 Wednesday, June 23 Out and OutLoud: Stories of Love & Community 7-9 p.m. at Radial Café, 1530 Dekalb Avenue NE Atlanta, GA 30307

The East Point Possums Show on June 19 kicks off Stonewall Week in Atlanta. (Courtesy photo)

ern gay civil rights movement. A new organization is joining in this year’s activities with a picnic in Piedmont Park on June 26. Named the “Queer Justice League,” the group is made up of anonymous young activists who are asking people to join them in the park that afternoon for food and fellowship. “They are an anonymous group of young activists — they are not about any one individual and are about coming together for the good of the community,” says Westbrook, who said he was asked to speak for the Queer Justice League. “We need to put together a united front.” The picnic is the Queer Justice League’s “coming out” event — the first of many it hopes to hold in the future, Westbrook says. But the picnic is simply a way for people to gather on the day of Stonewall and “celebrate our liberation,” Westbrook adds. The picnic in Piedmont Park on June 26 follows a full day of activities beginning with the first Sylvia Rivera Community Brunch sponsored by Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth (T.I.L.T.T.) and the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, in conjunction with the Atlanta Pride Committee. The brunch is named for trans activist Rivera, a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising. The community brunch includes speakers Tracee McDaniel, founder of the Juxtaposed Center, and Cheryl Courtney-Evans, founder of T.I.L.T.T., both noted Atlanta transgender activists. Courtney-Evans recently was a panelist at the first Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act community

Thursday, June 24 Evening for Equality 6:30 p.m. at Hilton Garden Inn 275 Baker St, Atlanta, GA 30313 Friday, June 25 Out on Film Screening: “Stonewall Uprising” Tentative times 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive Atlanta, GA 30308 Saturday, June 26 Sylvia Rivera Stonewall Community Brunch 11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. Central Presbyterian Church 201 Washington St., SW, Atlanta, GA 30303 ‘Be Visible, Make a Statement’ Rally & Community Photo Shoot 2-3:30 p.m. at State Capitol 100 Washington St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30334 Stonewall Pride Picnic 3 p.m. at Piedmont Park In the meadow by Park Tavern Out on Film Screening: “Stonewall Uprising” 7 p.m. at Midtown Art Cinema 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308 Panel discussion about Eagle bar raid follows

conference at Georgia State University on May 18 and spoke about the violence transgender people face for simply being who they are. McDaniel also recently spoke at the first International Day Against Homophobia in Atlanta, organized by Betty Couvertier and her LGBT radio show, “Alternative Perspectives,” that airs on Please see STONEWALL on Page 26


GA Voice June 11, 2010


June Prides heat up around Ga. First Augusta Pride draws well-known entertainers, support from mayor The first Pride festival in Augusta got off to a rocky start earlier this year, when some citizens of the city on the border of South Carolina contacted the mayor to protest a gay event in their town. Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver responded by seeking a legal opinion confirming his belief that the First Amendment would prevent banning an LGBT event on city streets and property. And since then, it’s been full steam ahead for planning the June 19 parade and festival, according to Christopher Bannochie, PR and marketing director for Augusta Pride. “There has been no further public response to the parade and festival,” Bannochie says, noting that “no requests for a protest demonstration permit have been received by the sheriff’s office.” Copenhaver has also issued a proclamation declaring June 19 as “Augusta Pride Day” and urging “all citizens to recognize and applaud the numerous contributions of the Augusta Pride Committee as well as all gay and transgender community members.” “Gay and transgender citizens contribue to the fabric of diversity within our community,” states the proclamation, which also notes that LGBT people “contribute to the success of our employers and businesses,” “donate their time, talent and labor to community organizations,” and “express the full range of faith traditions as other members of our community.” Bannochie said Pride organizers are planning for about 2,000 attendees, and some 60 vendors are scheduled for the festival. The event begins with a parade that steps off at 10:30 a.m. from 10th and Jones Street, com-


Erica French and Nina Gooch were joined in holy union (married) 21 years ago on May 20, 1989, at the Metropolitan Community Church of Boston. They have been together since they met over 25 years ago as interns at the Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk, Va.

ing down 10th Street along Broad Street to 6th Street, where it will disband at Reynolds for the festival to start at the Augusta Commons. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a variety of theater performances, musicians and guest speakers, including Elke Kennedy, whose son, Sean Kennedy, was killed by an attacker who used anti-gay slurs. “American Idol” Frenchie Davis and Grammy winner Thelma Houston headline the festival. Davis performs at 4:45 p.m.; Houston takes the stage at 6 p.m. to close out Augusta Pride. And with all that is scheduled, Bannochie says he is most excited just that “it is finally happening.” “There has been tremendous growth in the overall community in accepting this event and by the LGBT community in coming forward and supporting it,” he says. “We’re already working on making 2011 Augusta Pride bigger and better.” — Laura Douglas-Brown

East Side Pride seeks to unite LGBT community beyond Atlanta Lorrie King jokingly describes herself as “a drag queen trapped in a bio woman’s body,” and more seriously as an LGBT rights advocate. So when her husband, Adam White, was elected to the City Council in Clarkston, the couple saw the opportunity to help unite gay residents of the area. “We wanted there to be a recognized presence of the LGBT community,” King says. The result is the first-ever East Side Pride, a picnic and potluck set for June 26 that focuses on Clarkston, Avondale Estates, Tucker, Stone Mountain and other areas east of Atlanta.

Stonewall Week STONEWALL, continued from Page 25 WRFG 89.3 FM. McDaniel spoke of transphobia that is rampant in society, not just homophobia, and often talks about how many people refuse to see transgender people as humans. But it cannot be forgotten, or erased, from the history of the LGBT movement that trans people were at the forefront, including at Stonewall, both women often stress. After the brunch, the public is invited to gather on the steps of the state Capitol for the “Be Visible, Make a Statement” rally and community art project. Pride photographers will be on-hand to take pictures of attendees, which local artists will turn into a work of art that will be displayed at the 2010 Atlanta Pride festival in October. Participants are encouraged to bring their own materials.

King says she reached out to her friend, Georgia Equality Jeff Graham, who offered to send out information about the picnic to members in those cities. “The response we got was amazingly postive,” King says. “Come to find out there is an awesome, thriving LGBT community on the east side that wants to be active socially, and it just took somebody to say, ‘Hey, let’s do it.’” Last year, Clarkston added sexual orientation and gender identity to its non-discrimination policy. King says the “old guard” in Clarkston still might not be excited about the Pride event, but it is drawing some support from city leaders. According to King, while the city declined to officially sponsor the picnic and list it on the city calendar, Mayor Howard Tygrett has said he will attend, as will another City Council member in addition to White. The picnic is mostly informal, with attendees asked to bring items to grill and a side dish to share. There will also be a DJ, door prizes, and remarks from Georgia Equality’s Graham and State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale), who was Georgia’s first openly gay state lawmaker. “This is our first event out of the chute, so we will use it as a yardstick for how we will do it again next year,” King says. “We want it to be a regular thing.” — Laura Douglas-Brown

East Point declares June as Gay & Lesbian Pride month Close to a dozen gay and lesbian East Point residents gathered around Mayor Earnestine Pittman as she read a proclamation at the May 17 City Council meeting declaring June 2010 as Gay & Lesbian Pride Month. “The city of East Point embraces diversity and understands that the Gay and Lesbian community is an important part of East Point’s diversity...” Pittman read as part of the proclamation. Other events taking place during Stonewall Week include the Out & OutLoud StoryCorps, an oral history project, on June 23 at Radial Café from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. StoryCorps, part of National Public Radio, has collected thousands of life stories LGBT people and their families and friends. On June 24, Georgia Equality hosts its premiere event and fundraiser, “Evening for Equality,” at the Ventanas atop the Hilton Garden Inn. This year’s honorees are Ken Britt, Phillip Rush Community Builder Award; Fulton County Commissioner Nancy Boxill, Guiding Star Award; Maru Gonzalez and Austin Lauferweiler, Champions for Equality Award; and state Rep. Mike Jacobs (RAtlanta), recipient of the first Allen Thornell Political Advancement Award, for his work in gaining bipartisan support in the passage of the anti-bullying bill this year, now signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue. Out on Film will screen “Stonewall Up-

Thelma Houston and Frenchie Davis headline Augusta Pride on June 19. (Publicity photo)

MORE INFO Augusta Pride June 19 Parade: 10:30 a.m., assemble at 10th & Jones Street Festival: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Augusta Commons East Side Pride Saturday, June 26, 1-5 p.m. Milam Park, Pavilion One 3867 Norman Road, Clarkston, GA 30021

The mayor also thanked residents Erik Friedly and Joel Tucker for their help in helping write the proclamation. The two openly gay men are also on the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission and Tucker serves also on the Ethics Board. The proclamation was Pittman’s idea, Friedly and Tucker said. After the acceptance speech was finished, Eric Morrow, who ran unsuccessfully for East Point City Council last year, presented Pittman with a Pride rainbow flag. “The mayor has done a great thing for our community,” Morrow said. — Dyana Bagby rising” on June 25 at the Midtown Art Cinema. Told by those in attendance of the 1969 Stonewall Inn raid, including patrons and police, the film looks at the political and social climate that led to the raid. The movie will also be shown on June 26 and after the 7 p.m. screening that night, a public discussion will take place at the theater with patrons and employees of the Atlanta Eagle, who will discuss how the bar’s police raid on Sept. 10 compares to Stonewall, says Jim Farmer, executive director of Out on Film. And while Atlanta Pride now takes place in October, the Atlanta Pride Committee knows the importance of commemorating the Stonewall Riots through events that build community, says JP Sheffield, executive director of Atlanta Pride. “If we look at where the movement has taken us since Stonewall, we can see the growth of a variety of causes championed by the queer community,” he said in a statement.



June 11, 2010

GA Voice





The Journey MCC The Journey Metropolitan Community Church holds services at 10 a.m. on Sundays in Conyers. The congregation is part of the Metropolitan Community Churches, a denomination founded in 1968 by Rev. Troy Perry to provide an inclusive church for LGBT Christians. The Journey MCC was founded as an outreach of First MCC in Atlanta. The church’s mission is to reach people in Conyers, Covington and other cities south of Atlanta. “We believe in the call of Jesus to make disciples of all nations; we believe there are many outside of the Metro Atlanta area who want and need to hear the message of God’s all-inclusive love as only MCC can deliver,” the church states on its website. The Journey MCC is led by Rev. Renne

Evolution Center

Evolution Center, a project of AID Atlanta, is a community center created for young black gay men ages 18-28. Located on Auburn Avenue, the center is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Evolution Center was founded in 2006. In addition to free HIV and STD testing, it offers a variety of social and support groups designed to empower young black gay men, who often face both high degrees of discrimination and high rates of HIV. “Throughout the City of Atlanta, young black gay men are emerging as a diverse culture with complex identities, backgrounds, talents and aspirations,” the Evolution Center explains on its website. “Like other historically oppressed groups, they are often in conflict with the dominant culture that imposes unjust social, cultural, sexual, religious and political barriers.”

MORE INFO The Journey MCC Sundays, 10 a.m. 1509 Suite C General Arts Drive Conyers, GA 30012

Shawver, who served as pastor of Atlanta’s Christ Covenant MCC before joining the pastoral staff at First MCC, and Music Director Gregg Tomlinson. In 2009, the church moved to its current, larger and more accessible location. They also “received their first Sunday offering over $1,000 to help them meet their obligations,” the MCC Impact newsletter reports in the May 2009 issue. In addition to Sunday services, the Journey MCC fields a softball team in the Decatur Women’s Sports League and hosts events like potlucks.

MORE INFO Evolution Center 250 Auburn Ave., Suite 601, Atlanta, GA 30303 404-524-5441,

Activities at Evolution Center include professional development, leadership development, art classes, a book club and game night. The center hosts Brother 2 Brother, a peer-led discussion group, as well as Brothers Speak, a professionally moderated group that is “fun, friendly and fabulous.” “The primary goal of the Evolution Project is to address the prevailing rates of HIV infection among young black gay men,” the project states. “Utilizing a science-based methodology, the project will address HIV prevention, testing, and treatment in a way that is culturally competent, sound and engaging to the program participants. — Laura Douglas-Brown



GA Voice June 11, 2010 Calendar

BEST BETS 06.11 - 06.25 Photo courtesy CHRIS Kids


Saturday, June 12

Photo courtesy Augusta Pride

The popular Premiere Party returns with DJ Chris Griswold spinning and an open bar included with admission. Proceeds benefit CHRIS Kids and its programs to help LGBT homeless youth transition to self-sufficient adults. Festive white attire is suggested. After party at Las Margaritas. $60 at the door. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Mason Murer Fine Art, 199 Armour Drive, Atlanta, GA 30324.

Saturday, June 19 Augusta holds its inaugural Pride event in the downtown Commons area with three blocks of festivities overlooking the Savannah River. A parade begins at 10:30 a.m. coming down from 10th Street along Broad Street to 6th Street and disbanding on Reynolds Street where the festival takes place. A free concert featuring Grammy winner Thelma Houston and Grammy nominee Frenchie Davis closes Pride. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.,


There are two ways to add your events to our online and print calendars. Submit your info to or e-mail details to

Friday, June 11

Enjoy coffee and dinner with the Southern Bears & Friends. 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Starbucks, 3983 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084, 770-270-0611, Congregation Bet Haverim, founded by gay and lesbian Jews, celebrates 25 years with a “Silver Jewbilee.” Early members will be honored and stories of the congregation’s origins shared. 7 p.m.-9 p.m., Central Congregational UCC, 2676 Clairmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30329, 404-315-6446, First Metropolitan Community Church presents the “Spirit of Broadway,” a production of Broadway show tunes set in an original story line. 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m., 1379 Tullie Road, Atlanta, GA 30329, 404-325-4143, No rest for DJ Vicki Powell as she spins at the Blackout Party. 10 p.m. at Bellissima, 560 Amsterdam Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306. 404-917-0220,

Friday, June 11-Sunday, June 13

SouthEast LeatherFest continues through the weekend with workshops on piercing and sadistic bondage as well as how to bootblack and erotic waxing. There will be speakers, parties and numerous other events for those who embrace the leather lifestyle as well as competitions to select the next SouthEast Master/slave, Mr. SouthEast LeatherFest, SouthEast LeatherFest boy, Ms. SouthEast LeatherFest,and SouthEast Bootblack. SELF is held at Holiday Inn Select – Decatur, 130 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, GA 30030, secure. The 2010 Indiegrrl Fest will be in North Georgia at Jonica Gap Campground. Weekend pass is $60 for adults, $30 for children 6 to 17, free for children ages 5 and younger. Musicians participating include Vicki Blankenship, Renee Mixon and Virago. Jonica Gap Campground is located at 1412 Haygood St., Mineral Bluff, GA 30559, 706-374-5465,

Saturday, June 12

The 15th annual Reynoldstown Wheelbarrow Festival includes entertainment as well as vendors in arts, fashion, food and beverages. The Wheelbarrow Festival is the Reynoldstown Neighborhood’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds from the festival go to senior programs, youth programs and public safety. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Reynoldstown Neighborhood at the intersection of Gibson and Kirkwood,

Friday, Juneof 18 the month, “Who?”

Held the third Friday dance party. This is a live artist showcase and Woods, Catherine month’s artists include Eryn ni Stephens and Striplin, Jed Drummond, Sun o performing will members of Le Sexoflex. Als cover. 10 p.m., My $6 . JLR be Barry Brandon and Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood 30316,


Photo by Dyana Bagby


Looking for more events? Visit our website for our extensive daily calendar, including nightlife schedules and community organization meetings, provided by our friends at The Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra, Atlanta’s LGBT community orchestra, holds its Summer Pops concert. Tickets are $20 and $15 at door. 7:30 p.m., North Decatur Presbyterian Church, 611 Medlock Road, Decatur, GA 30033. The Armorettes present “Wild Cherry Sucret: This Is It?” to honor the retirement of Wild Cherry Sucret, aka Tony Kearney, after 10 years with the popular camp drag troupe that raises funds for HIV/AIDS organizations. 8 p.m., Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, The queer-friendly third annual “Art B Que” in Avondale Estates opens tonight including a performance by local band Snagglepuss. 9:30pm, The Alcove Gallery, 2852 East College Ave., Decatur, GA 30030, It’s a Hot Mess with DJ Homosexual spinning the beats to make you gay. 10 p.m., Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA 30316, LeBuzz hosts a party for a screening of “8: The Mormon Proposition” with hostess Nicole Paige Brooks and a photo booth for partiers to have their pictures made with the movie logo. The movie hits theaters June 18 and is an in-depth look at the Mormon Church’s participation in the passage of Prop 8

in California that made it illegal for same-sex couples to marry. 9 p.m., 585 Franklin Road SE, Marietta, GA 30067, 770-424-1337, Hotlanta Soccer hosts a beer bust and fundraiser while cheering on the USA as they play their first game of the 2010 World Cup against England. Meet the team and learn about soccer. $10 bottomless beer, $6 Patron margaritas. 5:30 p.m., F.R.O.G.S. Cantina, 931 Monroe Drive #A107, Atlanta, GA 30308,

Sunday, June 13

“Splish 2010,” a fundraiser for GLAAD, will have DJ Brian Beck spinning and models wearing the latest trends in swim wear from Boy Next Door. $20 suggested donation includes open bar. 1 p.m.-6 p.m., 388 4th St., Atlanta GA 30308. The men of Second Sunday invite the public to attend a special discussion of the new book, “Visible Lives,” a tribute to groundbreaking black gay author E. Lynn Harris. The book contains three original novellas by authors Stanley Bennett Clay, Terrance Dean and James Earl Hardy and the authors will be on hand for the discussion. While Second Sunday of Atlanta is typically geared toward black gay men, this meeting is free and open to everyone. 2 p.m.,


Fulton County Central Library (basement level), 1 Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404730-1700, SUNsets on the Patio @ Noni’s returns with DJ Vicki Powell, DJ William Roman and a special early set by DJ Kyle Keyser. 5 p.m., 357 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30312.

Publicity photo

Wednesday, Ju

ne 16 Movie and TV star Pa m Grier, known for her starring roles includ ing “Foxy Brown,” “Ja ckie Brown” and Showtim e’s “The L Word,” sig ns her book “Foxy: My Life in Three Acts” from 5 p.m. -7:30 p.m. at Outwrit e Bookstore & Coffe ehouse, 991 Piedmont Ave. NE , Atlanta, GA 30309, www. Caroline Aiken, Dede Vogt and Caroline Herring perform together at Eddie’s Attic from 8 p.m.-11 p.m., 515 N McDonough St., Decatur, GA 30030,

Friday, June 18

Monday, June 14

Enjoy cocktail hour with the piano stylings of David Reed from 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. at Mixx, 1492 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309.

Front Runners Atlanta Atlanta, a gay running, walking and social club, meets for its weekly Monday run at 7:15 p.m. at 905 Juniper St., Atlanta, GA 30309. www.

Grammy-nominated storyteller and Atlanta native Milbre Burch presents “Changing Skins: Folktales about Gender, Identity and Humanity.” Sponsored by the congregation’s LGBTQ and Allies Interweave group, the gender-bending tales from around the world are aimed at adults. Tickets for “Changing Skins” ($10 in advance and $15 at the door) may be reserved by calling 404-634-5134 ext. 216. Event at 8 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, 1911 Cliff Valley Way, NE, on the I-85 access road just north of North Druid Hills Road.

The Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce hosts a business builder luncheon. $20. 11:55 a.m., Cowtippers, 1600 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Tuesday, June 15

A memorial for Phil Hickman, former doorman at Blake’s on the Park, will be held at the popular gay bar. Hickman worked the door at Blake’s for about 10 years, ending in 2005. He died May 27. 9 p.m., Blake’s on the Park, 227 10th St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309.

Wednesday, June 16

AID Atlanta’s Gay Men’s Outreach Group hosts “The Writings on the Wall: A Look at Public Sex.” Discussion will center on the historical precedence for public sex in the gay community, its decline due to increased visibility and acceptance and the recent incidences of police crackdowns. 7 p.m. Free. Call Steven Igarashi at 404-870-7763 or email steven. for more information. 1605 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Thursday, June 17

The Atlanta Executive Network and Stonewall Bar Association partner to host openly gay State Rep. Simone Bell at the monthly AEN meeting. 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Alston & Bird, 1180 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309

Fortify Fridays is presented every Friday by WassupNAtl with DJ Truz and MC Scotty. Doors open at 11 p.m. Free admission. Steel, 950 West Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-246-9000,

Saturday, June 19

Stop and Smell the Rosés is a wine tasting fundraiser to benefit the Audubon Nature Institute and it efforts to care for the wildlife affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Tickets are $15 for one, $20 for two. Raffles include prizes from the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, Horizon Theatre, Six Feet Under and Watershed. 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Whole Foods at 650 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306. Call 404853-1681 for more information.


June 11, 2010

GA Voice


GA Voice June 11, 2010


“Sunrise was our first and very best choice” - Cathy Luce, Magical Meals Personal Chef Service

Families trust Sunrise as their choice for Senior Living. My mother has been lovingly cared for at Sunrise of Decatur for ten years now. There is an inexpressible comfort to know she is happy, peaceful, content and lovingly cared for in the safety of Sunrise of Decatur. It has been such a blessing to my partner and me to see my mother’s contentment and happiness. It allows us to sleep well at night knowing she is “at home” and that my partner, our son and I are always welcomed and communicated with as a family. -Cathy Luce, Magical Meals Personal Chef Service,

Call 404-377-6111 to schedule a personal tour today!


Michelle Malone Banned CD release party. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, GA 30030, Traxx Girls presents Secret Party hosted by Twee and DJ M every Saturday. Free before 11 p.m. and $5 before midnight. Endenu (aka Inferno), 393 Marietta Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30313,

Sunday, June 20

Traxx Atlanta presents Scores @ Underground every Sunday. 10 p.m. 50 Upper Alabama St., Atlanta, GA 30303,

Wednesday, June 23

Dine at La Tavola and 20 percent of the night’s food sales will be donated to For the Kid in All of Us, the non-profit behind the annual Toy Party and Backpack in the Park. 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m., La Tavola, 992 Virginia Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306,, The Queer Literary Fiction Group discusses “Sacred Country” by Rose Tremain. 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30307, The popular NPR StoryCorps invites LGBT residents to record their stories and have them archived. Hosted by John Lemley of WABE’s City Café. 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Radial Café, 1530 DeKalb Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307,

Thursday, June 24 Sunrise of Decatur


920 Clairemont Avenue

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Georgia Equality holds its annual Evening for Equality Awards & Silent Auction. General admission is $75, VIP and Host Committee: $150- $250. 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Ventanas atop the Hilton Garden Inn, 275 Baker Street Atlanta, GA 30313. To purchase tickets, visit Indulge with the hottest men at the W Midtown Atlanta Hotel. Held every Thursday by Chris Coleman. 9 p.m., 125 10th St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309,

Friday, June 25

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Photo courtesy Showtime


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UPCOMING Saturday, June 26

The Sylvia Rivera Stonewall Community Brunch brings together the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, the Atlanta Pride Committee and Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth to highlight transgender community involvement in the 1969 Stonewall Riots. $5 suggested donation. Proceeds go to the 2010 Transgender Day of Remembrance and the 2011 Bayard Rustin-Audre Lorde Community Breakfast. 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Central Presbyterian Church, 201 Washington St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30303 “Be Visible, Make a Statement” rally and community art project is held at the State Capitol following the Stonewall Community Brunch. Participants are asked to dress for a photographic project “that represents all our queer colors” with the final results displayed at Atlanta Pride in October. 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” will be performed at LeBuzz with proceeds benefiting AID Atlanta. Purchase $5 tickets online at 8 p.m., 505 Franklin Road, Marietta, GA 30067

The new Queer Justice League presents “Stonewall Pride: Picnic in the Park” at Piedmont Park. Bring your own food and blankets and enjoy a day of fellowship. Gather in the meadow near Park Tavern. 3 p.m.-6 p.m.,

Out on Film screens “Stonewall Uprising.” Told by those in attendance of the 1969 Stonewall Inn raid, including patrons and police, the film looks at the political and social climate that led to the raid. 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Midtown Art Cinema 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308, 678-495-1424,

Join the Flaming Sugarbaker Sisters for “Stonewall, Sisters and Spirits!” $10 bottomless beer and raffles. 4 p.m.-8 p.m., F.R.O.G.S. Cantina, 931 Monroe Drive #A107, Atlanta, GA 30308

June 11, 2010

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GA Voice


The Georgia Voice 6/11/10 - Vol. 1 Issue 7  

Country music hasn't always been the safest place for LGBT musicians, but Chely Wright hopes to change that.