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December July24, 23,2020 2020 July 16, 2020


For Christmas

Stuff to Do During the Weirdest Holidays Ever How to Create LGBTQ Traditions of Our Own Take a Sneak Peek at New Year’s Eve 2020

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SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS. Well, likely not like any other one most experience on a given year. Not 2020, though. Oh no, we caught that

message early, and the LGBTQ ATL continues to ride the weird wave of slow science and uneven government toward the New Year.

This issue of Q ATLusa magazine navigates your way through the last

week of the year. Activities, advice, holiday happenings, twists on tradi-

tion and more. Local promoter and gaymer Gamemaster Herb kicks us off in Q Voices with a call for specifically queer holidays just for us.

Speaking of dumping old ways, the Q Cover story finds you at home on the 24th and beyond, whether you like it or not. We found things to do in town and across North Georgia that might make your heart glad for this year’s switcheroo, and Q Events looks at even more stuff to fill your calendar.

And at long last, the week and the year end with a New Year. Q Events previews some LGBTQ celebrations, and Q Nightlife meets the two

Atlanta queens taking a RuPaul’s Drag Race bow on VH1 come Jan. 1. Q Advice wraps the issue before you can unwrap your presents, but don’t worry. We’ll be back next week with a New Year issue to ring in 2021 properly. Until then, visit our socials or write mike@theQatl.com.




DECEMBER 24, 2020


HRC Ranks Atlanta ‘Perfect’

10 14



Un-Christmassy Christmas





Drag Race 13 Taps Atlanta

LGBTQ To-Do Through NYE

Ru Two

Sneak Peek

Q Voices.......................8


Q News......................14

Sad State

Q Nightlife.................19 Q Events....................23 Q Map........................26 Q Advice....................30 6 theQatl.com

Self Love and Bad Romance




QUEER Holiday Traditions AT THE END OF EVERY YEAR, COUNTLESS stores, songs, films, video games, books and TV shows focus solely on what is, quite possibly for some, the main event of the entire year.

Is it so strange to imagine a world where those who aren’t cis, white, hetero and Christian develop and promote our own forms of celebration for the end of each year?

Christmas represents so much to so many, and with good reason. It brings together people, food, gifts, lights, and presumably love, compassion and generosity. These are wonderful things with sweet sentiments behind them. But every year, I find myself conflicted and puzzled as to why we feel compelled to perpetuate traditions made by those who would see us banished.

We can still include the holiday comforts we love without the traditional framework that effectively keeps us boxed into a narrative not written by or for us. It’s easier to follow than to lead, but after a year like 2020, there’s no better time to leave behind what doesn’t serve us anymore.

Much of my young life was “going along” with things that were started by people not-solong ago with ideas and beliefs that weren’t my own. In many cases, this is perfectly harmless, but when it comes to the holidays, the foundation, premise, practices, symbolism and ideologies almost always boil down to capitalism or some form of religion.

This isn’t about shaming anyone, stealing any joy or even changing anyone’s mind. As recently as last year, my partners and I celebrated Christmas, but I envision a new kind of celebration: one that’s just for us.

In the back of my mind, I see ribbons, trinkets, colors, names of those we love and those we GAMEMASTER lost. I hear new songs, see new HERB movies, read new books and play new video games based on traditions my queer fam built from the ground up. These new tradiNow at 35, as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For tions are free from ties to any oppressive belief Christmas Is You” begins to fill the air as early as systems or marketing schemes. August, I start to think about young queer folk This is about more than liking or disliking Christand how they’re feeling, thinking and growing. mas songs. It’s more than just the tinsel or stockHow can I promise them a better future? One ings and more than Santa drinking Coca-Cola tailored for them? One that accepts and embracwith polar bears. This is about honoring the end es them? The height of celebration every year is of a cycle and the start of a new one. steeped in a swirling, contradictory soup of conThis is about the future of our holidays. Queer sumerism and Christianity, which simultaneously holidays. Yours and mine. More than just Pride. If excludes and exploits them. we have the strength and vision to reinterpret traLEAGUE OF OUR OWN ditions put upon us, then imagine what we could People throughout history celebrated the end build for ourselves, our families and our futures. of the year in a variety of ways, such as Yule and Happy Holidays, however you do it. Saturnalia. In the 4th century, Pope Julius decided Follow Gamemaster Herb on Instagram, @gameto essentially overwrite other winter festivals by declaring the birth of Jesus to be Dec.25. masterherb. Postcards and Letters 8 theQatl.com

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Alone or with a buddy, binge on your own brand of holiday fare on your favorite streaming services.

Very Merry UN-CHRISTMAS Things to do on Christmas (and all week) By Mike Fleming

NOT DOING CHRISTMAS? Have an un-Christmassy holiday week by finding your own reason for the season with 10 queer things to do on December 24-25 and beyond.

10 theQatl.com

FANTASY LIGHTS Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain callawaygardens.com

GARDEN LIGHTS Atlanta Botanical Garden atlantabg.org

ICE SKATING The Park Tavern rink in Midtown is closed Christmas Day, but it reopens Dec. 26, parktavern.com. ď ľ theQatl.com 11

UN-CHRISTMAS continued

GEORGIA AQUARIUM georgiaaquarium.org

VOLUNTEER Giving of yourself could help stave off loneliness, or just warm that cold spot you’re harboring. Hosea Feed the Homeless Christmas Dinner, 4hosea.org; Other Opportunities, handsonatlanta.org 12 theQatl.com

HIKE IT UP All of Georgia’s state parks are open, several within metro Atlanta. gastateparks.org



HRC gives Atlanta another perfect score on LGBTQ equality

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Better than


By Mike Fleming

the city’s score of 109 in a press release.

THE CITY OF ATLANTA ONCE AGAIN EARNED its highest-ever score on the 2020 Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. Two other cities in Georgia made big jumps in the right direction. Another five failed to improve their flunking grades.

"Atlanta’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths,

HRC released the eighth annual report last week. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms celebrated

more progress and support for our LGBTQ com-

14 theQatl.com

and our position as a global leader is due in large part to the invaluable contributions made by

generations of LGBTQ residents in our city,”

Bottoms said. "While we are proud to receive this honor, our Administration continues to push for munities so that we are truly One Atlanta.”’

This is the eighth consecutive year that Atlanta scored perfect-or-better on the MEI. HRC gave Atlanta an 82 when the MEI first started in 2012. The city then started a “perfect” streak every year since 2013.

Georgia’s 2020 scores (and previous four scores if available)

• Athens-Clarke 29 (40, 28, 33, 21)

The MEI rates hundreds of cities across the country in five areas — non-discrimination laws, how the city treats its LGBTQ employees, municipal services, law enforcement and relationship with the LGBTQ community. It also awards “bonus” extra points in some areas that push the score beyond 100.

• Atlanta 109

The 2020 report again included 11 Georgia cities and geographic areas. Three of those improved on last year’s scores: Atlanta, Decatur and Savannah. The latter two jumped dramatically from failing grades over the past several years.

• Columbus 61

Since the last report, Decatur adopted a broad non-discrimination ordinance that extends to LGBTQ people. Savannah expanded its inclusive non-discrimination ordinance and elected its first-ever openly LGBTQ City Councilmember.


Doraville tied its debut score from last year. City Councilmember Stephe Koontz remains the only openly transgender elected official in Georgia, and out Councilmember Joseph Geierman became the city’s first openly gay mayor in December 2019. The city was among the first in Georgia to pass a broad LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in 2018. Athens-Clarke County’s score fell the most dramatically in Georgia, from 40 to 29. Despite small gains in other areas, it lost 12 points for not reporting its 2019 hate crime statistics to the FBI. It did so the previous year. HRC Executive Director Alphonso David said that cities mostly stood up to the anti-LGBTQ attacks of the Trump administration. “The results of this year’s Municipality Equality show definitive evidence that our local leaders across the nation are standing up for equality – even as they faced headwinds from state governments or the Trump-Pence administration,”

(107, 105, 104, 104)

• Augusta-Richmond 28 (28, 33, 14, 12)

• Avondale Estates 18 (18, 18, 24, 41)

(61, 36, 34, 38)

• Decatur 86

(54, 45, 51, 21)

• Doraville 78 • North Druid Hills 7 (7, 0, 6, 12)

• Roswell 5 (5, 5, 11, 11)

• Sandy Springs 21

(21, 17, 22, 22)

• Savannah 78

(40, 40, 44, 44)

he said in a press release. “There is no question that the Trump administration made every effort to attack laws aimed to protect LGBTQ people, and our cities have responded with inclusivity and innovative public policy,” he added. Other key findings from the report: • A record 94 cities earned their highest scores ever this year, up from 88 in 2019. • The average score increased each year since Donald Trump took office, from 57 in 2016 to 64 this year. • For the fourth year in a row, every 100-point city included LGBTQ police liaisons. Read the full report on each city at theQatl.com. theQatl.com 15

I take Pride in helping everyone.

Jesse Watts, RealtorÂŽ

M: 678-237-5310 | O: 404-604-3100 | jwatts5310@gmail.com jessewatts.kw.com | c @jessewattsrealtor Licensed in Georgia. Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is a real estate franchise company. Each Keller Williams office is independently owned and operated. Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and supports the Fair Housing Act.

18 theQatl.com


Two for RU

Tamisha Iman

Meet Atlanta’s two newest Drag Race queens on Season 13 By Mike Fleming LEAVE IT TO RUPAUL TO MAKE SURE NOT all is quiet on New Year’s Day. Her reward for fans making it to the end of 2020 is a new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.


La La Ri

For locals, that comes with two queens who call Atlanta home: Tamisha Iman and LaLa Ri. They join a long list of Atlanta queens on the show. Nina Bonina Brown made a mark on Season 9. Atlanta native (Savannah living) Dax Exclamationpoint took an early exit in episode 2 of Season 8. Of course, Violet Chachki won Season 7, and Trinity K. Bonet had an emotional journey to the ninth episode of Season 6. Before them, there was Nicole Paige Brooks and Sonique (Season 2), as well as Phoenix and Mariah Paris Balenciaga (Season 3).  theQatl.com 19

DRAG RACE continued

Tamisha With a notable pageant career and a busy local drag family behind her, seasoned veteran Tamisha Iman joins the Season 13 cast. The titleholder of Miss Black Universe 2000 and Miss Gay USofA 2005, she kept the announcement of her casting simple with a video post from VH1.: “The cat is out of the bag.” With Tamisha, look for her famous poise, beauty and body. Keep an eye out too for her renowned sewing skills to inspire awe on the runway.

LaLa With the longtime legend end of the Iman family spectrum covered, LaLa Ri brings a younger, edgier perspective to the competition. Project Q caught her in recent years as a guest performer for the Other Show, the Icon party series and Queerly Beloved Revue at My Sister’s Room, to name just a few. An exceptional dancer with moves and energy to spare, LaLa can bring down the house on the show if given the chance. She, too, was a queen of few words when announcing her appearance on the show. “Your favorite homegirl made it to #DragRace!” Watch “RuPaul’s Drag Race” each Saturday on VH1 beginning Jan. 1. 20 theQatl.com

Q Events The Best LGBTQ Things to Do in Atlanta This Week

Merry Christmas


enjoy the day off. Keep it

AGMC Holiday Concert

Hope you get what

you want, or at least

queer, ATL. theQatl.com


It’s online this year, but Atlanta Gay Men’s

DJ De Felipe

Chorus adds

It’s been a whole day! Get

virtual encore

back to the party, boys,

dates to its 25th

with this Madrid maestro

annual concert

@ Heretic, 10 p.m. hereti-

from Cathedral of St.

Philip. Celebrate the season

@ Voices of Note, 9 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Christmas night. voicesofnote.org R&B Thursday

The backyard and patio are open for women who love women who love open-air parties, with two socially distanced and masked levels indoors @ My Sister’s Room, Thursdasys, 8 p.m. – 3 a.m. mysistersroom.com


catlanta.com Glitz & Glam

Charlie Brown and her girls give you dinner and

a show in Atlanta’s drag restaurant and bar. Make reservations @ Lips Atlanta, 6 p.m., 9 p.m. and the Taboo Show at 11:30 p.m. DJ Karlitos

Xion Afterhours hosts the international DJ for a wee-hours Saturday night set, technically on Sunday morning @ District, 3 a.m. – 7 a.m.

SUNDAY, DEC 27 Booze & Beats

MSR does what they do with a few extras for Sunday Fun-

day. Knock back $3 mimosas and enjoy

Djs and brunch @ My Sister’s Room, all day.

TUESDAY, DEC. 29 Trivia Tuesday

Drop in on a full afternoon and evening of

specials, and don’t forget Trivia Tuesdays with Ethel Merman Disco Spectacular

a $50 bar tab prize @ Hideaway, 9 p.m. Happy

A recording of the 2018 holiday hit streams on-

Hour specials every weekday, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

@ Out Front Theatre. Nnow through Dec. 27.

Find dozens of LGBTQ weekend events every

line for fans of Atlanta’s LGBTQ theater troupe outfronttheatre.com

facebook.com/atlantahideaway Thursday at theQatl.com.

theQatl.com 23



New Year’s Eve T-minus one week from kissing 2020 goodbye THURSDAY, DEC. 31

Swinging Richards New Year Did someone say “open bar”? The only place in town with all-nude male entertainment is also one of the places where your cover charge covers all you can drink @ Swinging Richards, 10 p.m. swingingrichards.com NYE Celebration Enter in the rear of Ansley Mall for New Year’s Eve fun @ The Hideaway. atlantahideaway.com NYE 2021 Hot guys, hot music, hot cash drop. What more do you need to know about a hot time in the old town @ Ten, 9 p.m. tenatlanta.com

Heaven The year was hell, so the diehard dancing queens want a slice of the good stuff. DJ Shane Marcus, host Angelica D’Paige and your white-attire are on the menu @ Heretic, 10 p.m. hereticatlanta.com Ladies Night The boys are bobbing, but only one place makes sure the ladies are lit. Ring it in @ My Sister’s Room, 9 p.m. mysistersroom.com Bulldogs NYE When men of color come out, they come to Bulldogs. Join them for DJ Caprice and all the special surprises @ Bulldogs. facebook.com/ bulldogsbaratlanta 24 theQatl.com

Pennies from Heaven A tradition that never goes out of style is money falling from the sky. Get yours during the annual midnight cash drop @ Blake’s, 9 p.m. blakesontheparkatlanta.com New Year’s Eve To Remember A champagne toast at midnight, DJ beats to move your feets, and all the go-go boys you can handle all night long @ BJ Roosters, 9 p.m. bjroosters.com

FRIDAY, NEW YEAR’S DAY Xion After Hours Party Keep going til sunrise @ District, 3 a.m. – 7 a.m. facebook.com/XionAtlanta New Year’s Morning Party Energizer bunnies can’t stop dancing, and why would they with more driving DJ beats @ Heretic, 6:30 a.m. hereticatlanta.com Visit theQatl.com for a complete list.

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theQatl.com 25

on tA ve .N E dm Pi e



11th St. NE


10th St. NE

Amsterdam Ave.

Dr. N E

Piedmont Park

14th St. NE

12th St. NE

1 13

Mon roe

West Peachtree St. NE



t. N eS tre


ach Pe

Spring St. NW

Q Atlus Map

11 6

Virginia Ave. NE

2 9th St. NE

12 7


Ponce De Leon Ave. NE

 Bars

 Restaurants North Ave. NW

North Ave. NW

 Clubs  Retail/Services

Not Shown

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

26 theQatl.com

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.

Ponce De Leon Pl. NE

r. NE roe D Mon

Charles Allen Dr. NE



Piedmont Park

Piedmont Ave.

Spring St. NW


3 Juniper St. NE


Peachtree St.


West Peachtree St. NE

8th St. NE








Lidde ll D



7 re

i esh



rR d.

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9 NE

5 4

Leno x Rd .


Manchester Rd. NE



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Alco S t. NE

Piedmont Ave. NE



8 E

d. N eR




 Bars  Restaurants  Clubs  Retail/Services

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

nr Mo




4. Oscar’s 1510 Piedmont Ave NE

tA ve .N E on ed m

r. NE


5. Barking Leather 1510 Piedmont Ave NE 6. Boy Next Door 1447 Piedmont Ave NE

D Monroe

Piedmont Park

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



r. N


D oe

2 1

Morningside Dr. NE

mon t

Ave. 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

theQatl.com 27

Q Atlus Map Directory The businesses on the preceding pages are integral parts of Atlanta’s LGBTQ landscape. Those listed in boxes are consistent Q partners and community allies. BARS, CLUBS & RESTAURANTS Amsterdam Cafe 502 Amsterdam Ave. NE Atlanta Eagle 306 Ponce De Leon Ave NE BJ Roosters 2043 Cheshire Bridge Road NE Blakes on the Park 227 10th St. NE Bulldogs Bar 893 Peachtree St NE Felix’s on the Square 1510 Piedmont Ave NE Friends on Ponce 736 Ponce De Leon Ave NE Future 50 Lower Alabama St SW, Suite 180 Henry’s Midtown Tavern 132 10th St NE The Heretic 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road NE The Hideaway 1544 Piedmont Ave NE Joe’s on Juniper 1049 Juniper St NE Las Margaritas 1842 Cheshire Bridge Road NE Lips Drag Show Palace 3011 Buford Highway NE Mama’s Cocina 1958 Piedmont Road NE Mary’s 1287 Glenwood Ave SE Midtown Moon 1510 Piedmont Ave NE My Sister’s Room 84 12th St Oscar’s 1510 Piedmont Ave NE

28 theQatl.com

Roxx Tavern 1824 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

Sequel Bar 1086 Alco St. NE Sister Louisa’s 466 Edgewood Ave SE Swinging Richards 1400 Northside Dr NW The T 465 Boulevard SE Tripp’s Bar 1931 Piedmont Circle NE Woof’s Sports Bar 494 Plasters Ave NE X Midtown 990 Piedmont Ave. NE Zocalo Mexican Kitchen & Cantina 187 10th St NE

RETAIL & SERVICES 2Qute Hair Salon 1927 Cheshire Bridge Road NE Barking Leather 1510 Piedmont Ave NE Barking Leather After Dark 306 Ponce De Leon Ave NE (inside Atlanta Eagle) Boy Next Door 1447 Piedmont Ave NE Brushstrokes 1510 Piedmont Ave NE Equilibrium Fitness 1529 Piedmont Ave NE Lost ’n Found Youth Thrift Store 2585 Chantilly Dr NE Urban Body Fitness 500 Amsterdam Ave NE

ADULT Flex 76 4th St NW Southern Nights 2205 Cheshire Bridge Road NE Starship Galaxy/Starship Novelties 2273 Cheshire Bridge Road NE Tokyo Valentino 1739 Cheshire Bridge Road NE

Q Advice

Bad ROMANCE Loving yourself and other people


I grew up fat, but I finally turned a corner on fitness, nutrition and the psychology that led me to overeat. Then I slipped into old habits. It didn’t take long to despise my body again. I recently found my fattest fat pants ever. I see how far I’ve come, and how easily I could slip even further. I need help, hugs and encouragement from those around me to go back to a healthy lifestyle and be proud of my body again. Dear Fat Kid: Loving your body is the first step, not the last, in this process. Love it enough to eat right and exercise. That includes tough love sometimes, too. Getting a handle on healthy habits isn’t a one-anddone proposition. It’s for life. Plan for setbacks, when you might need a refresher to get back on track. That you have the know-how from experience is something to celebrate, not get down about. The most problematic excess is between your ears, not around your waist. Deal with whatever led you to the slip, and buck up. Everyone needs hugs, but you need bootstraps to pull yourself up. You got this.


The day the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality, we looked at each other, put on our shoes, drove downtown, and got married. Romantic, right? Marriage changed everything. It ruined us. Please tell people not to destroy their relationships by getting married. Dear Rash: Every marriage is different, and only as good as its foundation. Yours might have jumped the gun, but don’t assume what everyone else should do in theirs.

30 theQatl.com

One thing is certain. There’s no need to rush into a marriage or do it impulsively. Besides popping “the question,” we can learn a lot by asking other questions along the way: What is your greatest failure? Biggest dream? What makes you most grateful? Who are your best friends and why? What was your biggest crisis and how did you handle it? What makes you cry? What are your favorite and least favorite things about me? Loving yourself and other people Q Advice is intended for entertainment, not professional counseling. Send your Qs to mike@theQatl.com. ILLUSTRATION BY BRAD GIBSON

Profile for Q ATLus Magazine

Q ATLus Magazine | December 24, 2020  

LGBTQ Atlanta and North Georgia activities Christmas Week, Creating new queer holiday traditions, New Year's Eve sneak peak and more.

Q ATLus Magazine | December 24, 2020  

LGBTQ Atlanta and North Georgia activities Christmas Week, Creating new queer holiday traditions, New Year's Eve sneak peak and more.