November July 26, 23, 2020 July 16, 2020
Finding Gratitude to Kick Off the Holidays
LGBTQ Podcasts Straight Outa ATL Just Who Are The Gay Trump Voters? Recall, Regrets & Road Not Traveled
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THE IMPLIED PROMISE — and threat — of “community” is that we are
responsible for and to each other. LGBTQ Atlanta cashes in on and suffers from both those potentials in this issue of Q ATLus.
For a term so easily tossed around among LGBTQ folks, “community” mem-
bers cheated the rest of us when they voted for Trump, says one queer Atlantan. Ian Aber’s unscientific inquiry finds bad actors on both sides in Q Voices.
But as most try to move beyond that most recent division, there’s luckily
more good news than bad this holiday season. Q Events lays out Thanksgiving plans for the increasing number of people staying home this year.
In Q People, meet Out Georgia’s 100 Most Influential LGBTQ Georgians. We also find local podcasters out to entertain and educate from right here in Atlanta in Q Community.
The Q Shots photo gallery dances the “Last Dance” at Atlanta Eagle,
Q Advice finds readers at a queer fork in the road, and the Q Map knows the gay way around town.
Catch us every day on social media and at theQatl.com. Write mike@ theQatl.com.
RICHARD CHERSKOV PUBLISHER & SALES RICHARD@THEQATL.COM 404-917-9678 JOHN NAIL ART DIRECTOR JOHN@THEQATL.COM
MIKE FLEMING EDITOR MIKE@THEQATL.COM RIVENDELL MEDIA NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES@RIVENDELLMEDIA.COM 212-242-6863 theQatl.com 5
INSIDE THIS ISSUE VOLUME 4 ISSUE 1
NOVEMBER 26, 2020
Seven Queer Atlanta Podcasts
Gay & Grateful
LGBTQ Thanksgiving Events
Atlantans Come Out in Mid-Life
19 Q PEOPLE
ATL’s ‘Most Influential’ LGBTQs
11 6 theQatl.com
Eagle’s Final Weekend on Ponce
Q Voices................... 8 Q People................. 11 Q Events................ 14 Q Community........ 19 Q Map.................... 26 Q Advice................ 30
THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF DONALD TRUMP have been rough, but none more so than 2020. The pandemic, the mind-numbing drone of election-year rhetoric, and the strengthening of the conversative hold on the Supreme Court were bad. Raging fires in the West, an unrelenting barrage of hurricanes and tropical storms in the East, and perhaps the surest sign of an impending apocalypse, alarming numbers of gays voting for Donald Trump. A particularly unflattering exit poll from the New York Times showed 28% of those identifying as LGBT voting for Trump. To say that number shook me to my core like an icy finger touching the butthole of my heart in the middle of a hot Georgia night would be entirely accurate.
would break rank and vote for Trump, not just vote Republican but for Trump specifically, gave me the need to understand their mindset better.
I posted to a few Facebook groups that I was looking to talk to queer Trump supporters. I was met with huge pushback from queers who do not support Trump. The prevailing opinion from left-leaning LGBTQ folks was that Trump-supporting gays were traitors and did not deserve any attention or attempts to understand them. Further, my intelligence was called into question for not knowing what these people already “knew”: Queer Trump voters are either rich or stupid.
It was pretty enlightening and a bit frightening how folks came for me personally for even asking the question. I voted for Biden and am pretty vocally progressive in my politics, but boy, did none of that matter in the moment.
Then came the direct messages, but these were from Trump supporters willing to talk but not willing to comment publicly on my posts. I suppose that could be seen as cowardice, but based on the IAN Don’t get me wrong. I understand attacks I got for asking about gay ABER that some queer people historTrump supporters, I wouldn’t want ically work against their own the heat that comes with actually supporting Trump. self-interest and the interest of the community at large. It’s the twisted way that the heteronormative patriarchy weaponize queer folk against each other. The Times exit poll has been disputed, so those numbers may not be a true reflection of how LGBT people voted. It may be months before more accurate numbers emerge, but in the meantime, let’s live in a world where one in three queer people voted for Donald Trump, because it is scarier than any horror movie out right now.
I do not actually know any queer people who voted for Trump or were ardent and vocal Trump supporters. Sure, I know they exist. I have a Libertarian brother who loves to send me articles about them. In the months leading up to the election, the number of these articles was alarming but still this group remained outliers to the main tribe in my mind, a drop in the bucket of righteousness and duty that is the modem queer voter. Still, that a significant number of queer people 8 theQatl.com
I was able to engage with a few queer Trump supporters, and their motivations were a mix of fiscal conservatism, desire for less government, distrust of the Democrats and a deep skepticism about the media. Some don’t like what he says but like what he does for the economy. There was talk of the 300 or so additional dollars one person got in their tax return in the last few years. $300? I know queens that spend more than that on poppers in a year. I wish I could say I found a deeper understanding of why gays would vote for Trump after this, but instead I walked away more firm in my belief that my votes in the interest of the community is more important than ever.
And by ever, I mean the runoff in January, when we as queers and Georgians have a chance to flip the Senate blue.
Ian Aber is a comedian, podcaster, columnist and show runner in Atlanta.
I take Pride in helping everyone.
Jesse Watts, RealtorÂŽ
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PHOTO BY SUMIT RAHTI
Project Q Founder Named to 100 Most Influential LGBTQ Georgians
OUT GEORGIA BUSINESS ALLIANCE, formerly Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, added a new category to its annual Community Awards last week. In addition to its favorite member business owners in multiple categories, the organization broadened its outreach to offer nods to local movers and shakers in politics, journalism, events, entertainment and non-profits. The Q family of publications was proud to find Project Q Atlanta Founder and longtime LGBTQ journalist Matt Hennie (photo) on the list of 100 Most Influential LGBTQ Georgians. He was joined by Georgia Equality’s Jeff Graham, state Reps. Park Cannon, Sam Park and Matthew Wilson, promoters like Jon Dean and Taylor Alxndr, and newsmakers like Gerald Bostock and Connor Fair.
The honors went to those who OGBA felt best exemplified “integrity and progress through their leadership, voice, visibility, and action.” “It is our honor to recognize these Georgians who are using their influence to impact the lives of countless LGBTQ+ people here in Georgia and beyond,” Michael Daniels, Board President of the Out Georgia Business Alliance, said in an announcement of the list.
After open online nominations, Daniels and OGBA’s executive director Chris Lugo decided the inaugural list. The organization unveiled it Nov. 17 during a three-day virtual substitution for its business summit and annual Community Awards gala. They expect the honors list to evolve each year, with a small committee charged with establishing ongoing selection criteria and priorities, Lugo said in the announcement. The 2020 list paid extra focus to trans people of color to highlight its announcement during Transgender Awareness Week. View the whole list of 100 Most Influential LGBTQ Georgians at outgeorgia.org. theQatl.com 11
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 25 Thanksgiving Eve Everything is different in 2020, but one tradition continues: Circuit queens show up late Thursday because they were out all night. DJs, drinks and dudes @ Heretic, 10 p.m. hereticatlanta.com
The Best LGBTQ Things to Do in Atlanta This Week WEDNESDAY, NOV. 25 Hideaway Thanksgiving DJ Darlene spins on Wednesday with Absolut cocktail specials, and Bud Light drowns the holiday proper for just $3 @ Hideaway, 2 p.m. both days. facebook. com/atlantahideaway
Ladies Night Thanksgiving Eve is big for the boys, but MSR make sure it’s lit for the ladies, too @ My Sister’s Room, 9 p.m. mysistersroom.com 14 theQatl.com
THURSDAY, NOV. 26 Happy Thanksgiving Call. Don’t visit. Some will find this the best holiday news ever! Then find something you’re thankful for and sit a second in a state of gratitude. Keep it queer, ATL. theQatl.com
SATURDAY, NOV. 28 Small Business Saturday There’s never been a better year to remember our local LGBTQ-owned businesses for holiday shopping and for-delivery celebrations.
SUNDAY, NOV. 28 Furball International circuit sensation GSP flies into town to do the honors at this annual party for his people @ Heretic, 10 p.m. hereticatlanta.com
Atlanta’s place for drag dinner theater is booking your socially distanced parties and putting on
this special show every Sunday @ Lips, 6:30 p.m. through Dec. 27.
SUNDAY, NOV. 29
TUESDAY, DEC. 1 Love, M Among several local World AIDS Day commemorations — 39 years since the first mention in the New York Times, can you believe it? —this play about mothers and sons starring Lamman Rucker (photo) enjoys a world premiere online @ Horizon Theatre, 7 p.m. horizontheatre.com Tuesday Trivia Theater veteran and venue regular DeWayne Morgan hosts the fun with the top prize of $50 bar tab. Drink specials too @ Hideaway, 9 p.m. facebook.com/atlantahideaway
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 2
Brigitte Bidet’s queeny, kingy free-range dingy
Country Night Two-steppin’ and boot-scootin’ every Wednesday on the dance floor, with Warp Zone gaming in the lounge. No cover @ Heretic, 8 p.m. hereticatlanta.com
@ My Sister’s Room, 10 p.m. mysistersroom.com
Find dozens of LGBTQ weekend events every Thursday at theQatl.com.
returns with strict mask and distance guidelines
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 2 Big Freedia The entertainer talks about their new book God Save the Queen Diva! with local gadabout Taylor Alxndr. Charis hosts @ Crowdcast, 7:30 p.m. charisbooksandmore.com
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Hope & CLARITY
Atlanta podcasters help out-late lesbians by sharing their stories By Mike Fleming LESS THAN FIVE YEARS AFTER MELISA Raney and Alli Vaccaro divorced their longtime husbands, they launched the Lesbian Chronicles podcast for people coming out later in life. In the 17 months since their first episode, listeners the world over affirm that they are not alone. “One of the most surprising things about starting this podcast has been the number of people who have reached out saying they're in the same situation,” Raney told Project Q. “It's amazing how much a shared experience can bring comfort to someone on the other side of the world.” In each weekly episode, the Atlanta-based podcasters share personal stories of coming out and the ongoing process of accepting themselves.
Topics range from sex to religion, from dating to long-term relationships, and from divorce to coparenting. “Our most popular topics tend to focus on how to tell certain people — your husband, kids, parents — about your sexuality,” Vaccaro said. “And the overcoming the shame and guilt that come with coming out and divorce. Also, anything related to sex is always a top download!” Keeping serious subjects approachable with humor is key to the success of the podcast, the women say. From their premiere episode recorded in Vaccaro’s closet in June 2019, to more polished uploads some 70 episodes later, it’s clear even to first-time listeners that the pair have fun with broadcasting their conversations. “We try to make a very heavy topic much lighter in the hopes that people experiencing their own process can be uplifted through such a tough time,” Raney said. “We encourage our listeners to build community of women going through the same thing.” theQatl.com 19
CHRONICLES continued A LONG WAY, BABY
Raney, 40, and Vaccaro, 46, met in just such a support group for people coming out later in life. They both say it was critical to their process, because the early days of their realizations were as uncertain as coming out stories at any age. Raney started her process in late 2016. She had been married for 11 years and has two school-aged children. “I was 37 years old when I began to realize I was gay, but I felt like the only person on earth who didn't recognize their sexuality during adolescence," Raney continued. "I felt very alone and stuck.” “Stories similar to mine were few and far between,” she added. “They often skimmed over the truly difficult and heartbreaking parts of having this realization while in a straight marriage.”
Raney called coming out “the hardest thing I ever had to do.” Still, the podcast, or something like it, was inside her through even her most difficult times, she said. “As I was going through all this, I told myself that I would eventually share my story to help others, Raney said. “It's definitely hard to put yourself out there, but I've realized the out-late crowd is such a large but very under-represented part of the LGBTQ+ community. “Our stories need to be out there to make it easier for others,” she added.
Vaccaro grew up in a “very conservative Catholic household” and never saw being gay as an option. Growing up, she envisioned having a husband and kids.
More than 70 episodes and a quarter-million downloads later, Lesbian Chronicles barrels forward into an unchartered future beyond the podcast. “We are working on ways to connect people so they can build community where they live,” Raney said.
She had three children, aged six to 15 at the time she ended her 19year marriage, but something was boiling underneath. “I have always sort of known in the depths of my soul that I was gay,” Vaccaro said. “It became undeniably loud in 2015-2016.”
us to do the podcast,” Vaccaro said. “We knew it would give comfort to those who are alone, scared to come out with no outlet.”
So, what would the podcasters tell anyone out there who knows they’re gay but feels “stuck” in a different life? Alli Vaccaro
“As my youngest got a little older, the voice got louder,” she continued. “After much therapy, and when hope started to outweigh the fear, I decided to leave my marriage (and best friend) for a different life. A rewrite.”
“It's never too late,” Raney continued. “A decision made in your 20s doesn't define you and your entire life. We know people in their 70s who are now coming out.” Vaccaro agreed. She said, in fact, people longing to come out are never actually “stuck.”
PAYING IT FORWARD
“Is it scary? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes,” she said. “The price of admission is high, but to live your truth, the reward is higher.”
“That feeling of finding community propelled
'Lesbian Chronicles' is on your favorite podcast apps. Find them on Facebook and Instagram, and write them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read their full interviews on theQatl.com.
Among so many stories, Lesbian Chronicles details Vaccaro’s stops on a path from “painful and lonely” to realizing “I am far from alone,” she said.
Q ueued UP
Seven LGBTQ Podcasts with Georgia on Their Minds Catlick Host: B.T. Harman True crime meets Atlanta’s racial history.
Harman is into creepy murder stories out of
Georgia, and as a gay man, he’s especially drawn to LGBT themes.
Good Judy Hosts: Brigitte Bidet and Ella Saurus Rex
These drag personalities
welcome local luminaries,
nationally recognized drag queens and other
LGBTQ people of interest each week. The productions are the brainchild of Wussy Mag’s Jon
Dean. Check out his panel discussions on queer film, too: Wussy Movie Club.
Dark Ages Creators: Brandon Kraemer, Liz Macke and Stephen Mank
High Fantasy. Low atten-
dance. For the staff of the Rivercliffe Museum of
Mostly Natural Histories, the only thing harder than finding new patrons is suffering each other. This
The Gayly Dose Hosts: Helmut Domagalski, Bennett Schnyder,
magic-and-monsters workplace comedy audio drama is disguised as a podcast.
Stuart Terrell and Dante Rhodes
Host: Ian Aber
“We’re offering the diversity of opinions that comes
from our different, unique experiences,” Domagalski
Q columnist, local comedian
told Georgia Voice of his gay male-focused concept.
and show runner Ian Aber interviews straight people
about their elusory ways and LGBTQ people
about best guesses what straight people are up to. All with hilarity in mind and tongues in cheeks.
Podcast Q Lesbian Chronicles Hosts: Alli Vaccaro and Melisa Raney After leaving their husbands to come out as gay,
these Atlanta women help people around the world
seeking to come out later in life. Read our interviews in this issue of Q ATLus. 22 theQatl.com
Host: Project Q Atlanta founder Matt Hennie
Meet LGBTQ and allied
newsmakers, performers and
other community members and dig deeper into the stories they inspire on Project Q and in Q ATLus magazine.
EAGLEâ€™S LAST DANCE ON PONCE
Full gallery on Project Q at theQatl.com
PHOTOS BY RUSS BOWEN-YOUNGBLOOD
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Q Atlus Map
Virginia Ave. NE
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Restaurants North Ave. NW
North Ave. NW
1. Amsterdam Cafe 502 Amsterdam Ave. NE
8. Flex 76 4th St NW
2. Blakes on the Park 227 10th St. NE
9. Henry’s Midtown Tavern 132 10th St NE
Mary’s 1287 Glenwood Ave SE
10. Joe’s on Juniper Ralph McGill Blvd. NE 1049 Juniper St NE
Sister Louisa’s 466 Edgewood Ave SE
4. Friends on Ponce 736 Ponce De Leon Ave NE 5. My Sister’s Room 84 12th St
11. Zocalo Mexican Kitchen & Cantina 187 10th St NE Highland Ave. NE
6. X Midtown 990 Piedmont Ave. NE
12. Barking Leather After Dark 306 Ponce De Leon Ave NE (inside Eagle)
7. Atlanta Eagle 306 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
13. Urban Body Fitness 500 Amsterdam Ave NE
Future (Opens July 3) 50 Lower Alabama St SW, Suite 180 Glen Iris Dr. NE
3. Bulldogs Bar 893 Peachtree St NE
The T 465 Boulevard SE Swinging Richards 1400 Northside Dr NW Lips Drag Show Palace 3011 Buford Highway NE Lost ’n Found Youth Thift Store 2585 Chantilly Dr NE
Ponce De Leon Pl. NE
St. Charles Ave.
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Cheshire Bridge Road 5. The Heretic 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road NE
9. Gravity Fitness 2201 Faulkner Rd NE
2. Tripp’s Bar 1931 Piedmont Circle NE
6. Las Margaritas 1842 Cheshire Bridge Road NE
10. Southern Nights 2205 Cheshire Bridge Road NE
3. Woof’s Sports Bar 494 Plasters Ave NE
7. Roxx Tavern 1824 Cheshire Bridge Road NE
11. Tokyo Valentino (Cheshire Bridge) 1739 Cheshire Bridge Road NE
4. BJ Rooster’s 2043 Cheshire Bridge Road NE
8. 2Qute Hair Salon 1927 Cheshire Bridge Road NE
4. Oscar’s 1510 Piedmont Ave NE
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5. Barking Leather 1510 Piedmont Ave NE 6. Boy Next Door 1447 Piedmont Ave NE
1. Felix’s on the Square 1510 Piedmont Ave NE
3. Midtown Moon 1510 Piedmont Ave NE
Ansley Park 2. The Hideaway 1544 Piedmont Ave NE
Morningside Dr. NE
1. Sequel Bar 1086 Alco St. NE
Bars Restaurants Clubs Retail/Services
7. Brushstrokes 1510 Piedmont Ave NE 8. Equilibrium Fitness 1529 Piedmont Ave NE
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Forks in the ROAD Big decisions, unrealized dreams, petty behaviors and bad deeds
About 10 years ago, I faced a choice between the love that was known to me, and the chance to venture away into an unchartered life with someone new. The love of my life started when we were quite young, and it fulfilled all of its promise and then some. We were there for each other and shared memories. The new guy was an adventurer by nature. Letting go of the past would mean jetting off to fulfill parts of my deepest self that always wondered what was out there. … I recently ran into the person I didn’t choose for the first time in a long time. I see how happy they are and wonder if I made the wrong choice. How can I be sure?
Dear Road Not Taken: I purposely left out which path you chose so that we can all bask in an existential truth and beauty. It doesn’t matter which way you went except in hindsight. None of us will ever know how the life we didn’t choose might have turned out. We can only know that it didn’t. That unchosen life doesn’t exist. A great writer once called it “the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” The trick is leaning into it. When you were back at that crossroads and when you are at your next one: Lean into the uncertainty, go with your best gut feeling, and know that there is no wrong answer. Whichever way you go will be the way you went.
When I was in my 20s, I was bad person. I lied and stole for fun. I kept toxic secrets and hurt people if it served me. Doing something “wrong” was an option if I thought I could get away with it. I started to turn a new leaf. Working toward a clear conscience gives me relief, but part of me thinks I’m still a bad person living the lie of a good one. I’m afraid of being “found out” and slipping back into my old habits. Dear Imposter: Every person reading this has a dark side, has spent time indulging it and felt guilty to the point of feeling beyond redemption. No matter the level of our indiscretions and poor decisions, no one looks back and sometimes wincing. A phenomenon called Imposter Syndrome tells our brain we are a fraud. Don’t believe it. Shrinks say it’s just a manifestation of a healthy self-check system. You are the person who did bad things, and you are also the person who takes steps to improve. Who we were and who we are have to share the same brain and body, but they can coexist. Rather than focus on the past, focus on what you can control — the present. Every “good” act changes who you are fundamentally, and Future You is built with an increasing number of those better behaviors to outweigh the older ones. Q Advice is intended for entertainment, not professional counseling. Send your Qs to mike@theQatl.com. ILLUSTRATION BY BRAD GIBSON
LGBTQ Atlanta's Thanksgiving Week events, Gay Trump voters, ATL's LGBTQ Podcasts, Roads not traveled, more!