April 26, 2018
You’ve Got MAJOR ISSUES
inform | inspire
May 17, 2018
Meet Atlanta’s LGBTQ Primary Election Hopefuls
Ga. State Reps. Park Cannon & Sam Park
Old Burkhart’s, New MIDTOWN MOON Caught in a Cluster OFFICE ROMANCES Evolutionary Change REVOLUTIONARY LIFE
Q News Q Shots Queer Agenda
The Male Curse So many men have enlarged breasts. Did you know that 30-60% of men are affected by large breasts? This common condition affects the self-esteem of men. The cause and treatments remain a mystery for most men because we never discuss the issue. If you are embarrassed to remove your shirt in public or in private because of your chest… you have Gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is caused by an imbalanced ratio of testosterone to estrogen at puberty. This imbalance can cause fat and/or glandular tissue to be deposited in greater quantity in the breasts. Gym steroids can cause or contribute to gynecomastia. Surgery is the only way to fix the problem. Liposuction with or without glandular excision is the cure. These procedures are performed as out-patient surgeries. Most men will miss only a few days from work. Post-operative pain and discomfort is minimal. Since there are no adverse health effects with Gynecomastia, it is considered a cosmetic surgical procedure. The cost of the treatment is similar to liposuction costs. Keith Jeffords, MD is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Smyrna, Georgia. He is the 2018 Moderator for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ series on “Aesthetic Surgery for Men” and lecturer on Gynecomastia.
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Wonder Q ueer Powers
Engage your super power at a crucial time in Atlanta history
YOUR INDIVIDUAL VALUE IS INTRINSIC and unique and unmatchable. It’s your super power. No one can take it away. But your value doesn’t become valuable until you act on it. The worth that every Atlanta queer brings to any table comes to life through our attitude and actions. The same idea grows exponentially for Atlanta’s LGBTQ community when we unite in voice and votes. This issue of Q is all about engaging your queer power, both personal and political, and leaving none of it lying dormant as unused potential. Q mag operates every week under the assumption proffered by Basil King, that when we act boldly, mighty forces come to our aid. That’s where queer confidence really comes from — for today, and for our faith in a better future. Tuesday brings your next best chance to activate any queer energy that’s been gaining steam since 2016. EDITOR & PUBLISHER May 22 is Election Day in the Georgia primaries, so our Queer Candidates feature meets seven of Atlanta’s openly LGBTQ candidates vying for votes. Consider it a precursor to the power you’ll wield during the critical November midterms. MIKE FLEMING
To drive home the point, 10 Queer Things looks at the top LGBTQ issues facing queer voters in the remaining fights for equality. On a personal level, engaging your super power is in telling your story, and Q Voices columnist Gabrielle Claiborne shares hers. From a mirror reflecting her true self eight years ago, to relatable revelations, the activation of her individual value is guaranteed to inspire. They say coming out is the single most effective activism in which we can partake, and perhaps the scariest. But being brave doesn’t stop there. It’s in the one-by-one decisions we make every day. The choice to activate our superpowers means we fail. We get hurt. We fall— a lot. But doing so with confidence again and again is the only way to discover our full potential and bring our unique value into the world. Out and proud in our other Q features this week, look for the Q News, the Queer Agenda calendar, the Q Shots event photos, and local letters in The Q advice column. You can also visit us for daily content updates on Project Q Atlanta at theQatl.com. 4
Q MAGAZINE THE WEEKLY PUBLICATION OF PROJECT Q ATLANTA PUBLISHERS INITIAL MEDIA, LLC MIKE FLEMING PUBLISHER & EDITOR MIKE@QMAGATLANTA.COM MATT HENNIE PUBLISHER & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MATT@QMAGATLANTA.COM RICHARD CHERSKOV PUBLISHER & GENERAL MANAGER RICHARD@QMAGATLANTA.COM ADVERTISING SALES RUSS YOUNGBLOOD SENIOR SALES REPRESENTATIVE RUSS@QMAGATLANTA.COM ART DIRECTOR JOHN NAIL JOHN@QMAGATLANTA.COM PROJECT Q ATLANTA PATRICK SAUNDERS EDITOR PSAUNDERS@PROJECTQATLANTA.COM CONTRIBUTORS IAN ABER LAURA BACCUS GABRIELLE CLAIBORNE BUCK C. COOKE BRAD GIBSON TAMEEKA L. HUNTER SUNNI JOHNSON ERIC PAULK VINCE SHIFFLETT ALEXANDRA TYLER
DISCLAIMER The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors do not necessarily reflect opinions, beliefs or official policies of Q Magazine or its publisher Initial Media, except where individual publishers’ names specifically appear. Appearance of photos, credits, or names in this publication neither implies or explicitly states the sexual orientation or gender identity of its subject. Q Magazine and the author of each article published on this web site owns his or her own words, except where explicitly credited otherwise. Articles herein may not be freely redistributed unless all of the following conditions are met. 1. The re-distributor is a non-commercial entity. 2. The redistributed article is not be sold for a profit, or included in any media or publication sold for a profit, without the express written consent of the author and this publication. 3. The article runs in full and unabridged. 4. The article runs prominently crediting both the author’s name and “courtesy Q Magazine.”
INSIDE THIS ISSUE VOLUME 1 ISSUE 26
MAY 17, 2018
10 QUEER THINGS Got Issues?
Run For It Queer Atlanta Primary Candidates
31 Gala Gays
Anti-gay ‘dancing preacher’ runs for Ga. Senate BARS
To the Moon
32 Dark Side
Midtown Moon takes over old Burkhart’s
FEATURES Q Voices
36 Bust Out theQatl.com
A revolutionary path is mapped in incremental, evolutionary changes
I LOVE PERSONAL STORIES. THEY HAVE THE POWER to change people’s perspectives and deeply held beliefs. They allow listeners to understand and relate to another person’s experiences and emotions, thus normalizing the life experiences of someone who may be perceived as different. I’ve found this to be especially true when it comes to people’s understanding of the transgender experience. As a transgender woman, much of my personal story involved struggling to come to terms with the truth of who I am.
gender expression, my heart realized, “That is me!” I was 49 years old… and meeting myself for the very first time. I quickly learned I would need to develop a deep self-love to successfully live out the truth of my gender identity. As my trans siblings and I live our stories, we risk losing the essentials that all people need to survive: affordable housing, respectful healthcare, adequate paying jobs, supportive family, friends and spiritual communities. Without a deep sense of self-acceptance, we would not have the courage to risk it all. Personally, I was fearful of losing my relationship with God. I am a fifth generation, Pentecostal preacher’s kid, and my connection to the Divine has always been essential to my well-being. The truth of my gender identity with my faith community brought accusations that I was turning my back on God. It wasn’t until after many sleepless nights that I came to a new awareness. I did not choose to be transgender; God established that reality for me. God is much bigger than my gender identity; God can handle this, and I, Gabrielle, am pleasing to God. This set me on a course of redefining my relationship with God, a journey which continues to unfold today.
From a very young age, I knew I was different, GABRIELLE but I didn’t have the words to describe the While navigating my spiritual journey has been C LAIBORNE internal gender dilemma I was experiencing. challenging and scary, it has not been nearly so Assigned male at birth, I spent the majority of difficult, nor terrifying, as coming out to my family. I did the my life living according to cultural expectations of heterosex- best I could with the knowledge I had while facing fears of ual, white males. rejection and separation. I was a good student and talented athlete. I married a beautiful woman and had three amazing children. I had a successful career. I was a leader in a large prestigious Atlanta church. By all outward appearances, I had it all. But in reality, I was living a life of turmoil. I had not yet to come to terms with my true gender identity, my internal sense of whether I was male, female, a combination of both, or neither. In my 40s, five years of internet research brought me some glimpses into the truth of my gender identity. But it wasn’t until eight years ago that a life-changing event enabled me to embrace my truth, that I am a transgender woman. An Atlanta woman who made a living dressing biological males as women worked her magic on me. When I stood in front of her mirror, completely dressed in my true female 8
The reactions were mixed. To date, my family and I have navigated through many painful and hard conversations. We have also celebrated some sweet victories. Our relationships have changed form as we continue to define what they are and what they will be. My story, like all stories, continues to evolve. I do my best to own my truth in every area of my life, in order to write an even more courageous and authentic ending. The journey is long and difficult at times, but it is the incremental, evolutionary changes, as we fall down and get back up, that keep us on this revolutionary path of living a more wholehearted life. Gabrielle Claiborne is the award-winning co-founder of Transformation Journeys Worldwide, an Atlanta company providing diversity and inclusion training for businesses and organizations. transformationjourneysww.com
10 QUEER THINGS
ISSUES Top 10 LGBTQ equality struggles remaining as midterm elections loom By Mike Fleming
Latest stats show 20% increase in anti-LGBT killings each year since 2014*, not to mention uncounted assaults. Domestic violence among gay couples brings its own challenges as well.
Transgender Rights Increased visibility in recent years means twice as many violent bias-motivated attacks on transgender people are recorded in the U.S. than on LGB victims.**
Healthcare Codified Hate
Anti-LGBTQ bills cascade with renewed vigor each year at the state level, with an increase of lip service at the federal level since 2016.
LGBTQ people are more likely to be uninsured than the population at large, and we are more likely to face discrimination at the doctorâ€™s office. Whatâ€™s more, HIV/AIDS still disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men. ***
Queer Youth Homelessness
* Anti-Violence Project ** National Center for Transgender Equality *** Williams Institute at UCLA Law 10
40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT. 68% of those kids were kicked out of their families and homes because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.***
LGBT people of color are almost twice as likely to experience physical violence, and 73.1% of all anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2012 were people of color. What’s more, the fight against white privilege within the queer community has only just begun. ***
Employment discrimination and social discrimination make LGBT people three times as likely to be low-income.*
The current administration has rolled back the 2010 census question that counts households led by same-sex couples. No census has ever counted LGBTQ singles.
Immigration & Criminal Justice
A 2013 study estimated 900,000 LGBT immigrants in the United States, about 267,000 of them undocumented.* They’re also more susceptible to violence and harassment, more likely to commit crimes to survive and more likely to face harsher punishments.***
In Georgia and a majority of other states, it’s legal to fire someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity. They are not protected classes under federal law.
Q NEWS Q
Oh Yes She Did Ga. Senate candidate defends anti-LGBT record: ‘I love homosexuals’
McKenzie continued to speak out against gay marriage in tweets from 2012 and 2016.
Henson, McKenzie’s opponent, co-sponsored a sweeping LGBT-inclusive civil rights bill in 2017. Georgia Equality and Georgia Stonewall Democrats have endorsed Henson in the race.
‘I LOVE HOMOSEXUALS’
By Patrick Saunders A SELF-DESCRIBED “DANCING PREACHER” AND DEMocratic candidate for Georgia Senate has a long history of opposing
LGBTQ equality and rallying against same-sex marriage, but insists
In response to questions from Project Q Atlanta, McKenzie said her support for H.B. 757 was motivated by a school prayer case from last year.
“I supported the freedom of religious [sic] bill
that she “loves homosexuals.”
because it is currently a constitutional right for
Sabrina McKenzie is running against Sen.
students to exercise their religious freedom to
Steve Henson, an LGBTQ ally and Senate
pray, and a Coweta County football coach was
Minority Leader, for the District 41 seat in
denied his rights and ordered to stop praying,”
the May 22 primary. Supporters of Henson
she wrote in an email. “It does not matter the
compiled a background paper on McKenzie
religion, however the First Amendment pro-
that details numerous anti-LGBTQ views she
tects the freedom of all religions.”
has expressed, and the opposition research
She said she does not plan to introduce any
was provided to Project Q Atlanta.
similar religious exemptions bills if she’s
In the posts, McKenzie speaks out against
elected, and would instead focus on passing
same-sex marriage and promotes her support
an Equal Rights Amendment, which she
of a controversial anti-LGBT “religious
freedom” bill that Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed in 2016. In response to questions about the
rallied for at the Capitol earlier this year. Sabrina McKenzie
posts, McKenzie insisted that she “loves homosexuals” and had a gay brother.
On multiple occasions in 2012, McKenzie shared and encouraged people to sign a petition against legalizing gay marriage.
In a Sept. 2015 YouTube video, McKenzie calls for a march on Washington to cure America’s ills, saying, “So here we stand
today, where people are trying to have morality apart from God” as images appear of a male couple getting married and then two shirtless men embracing.
In 2016, she shared stories and editorials on transgender issues, in-
cluding Spelman’s decision to admit trans students. That same year,
“The ERA provides women with equal pay for
equal work and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex,” she told Project Q Atlanta.
McKenzie responded to a question about whether she still opposes gay marriage in a video message now posted at theQatl.com.
“Several times I’ve gotten the question, ‘How do you feel about homosexuals?,’” she said in the video. “Listen, I love homosexuals. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, white, black, rich or poor. As your state senator, I
will represent everybody. I believe that everybody deserves equity in the law and under the law and everybody deserves to be treated fairly.”
She also mentioned her close relationship with her late brother, who she said was gay.
she took up the cause of House Bill 757, a sweeping anti-LGBTQ
“Listen, God is love, and you cannot say that you love God but you
marry same-sex couples.
your state senator, I’m looking forward to loving you, to represent-
bill, and claimed that it would keep pastors from being “forced” to The bill passed in both chambers of the Legislature but was later
don’t love the ones that are walking next to you,” she said. “So as ing you, to meeting you and to fighting for you. God bless you.”
vetoed by Deal. Later that year, she wrote, “Watch men alert; you
Henson declined to comment on McKenzie’s social media posts,
with a heavy infiltration of same sex promotion.”
Visit Project Q Atlanta at theQatl.com for daily LGBTQ news updates.
are going to see the satanists enter into the school system, along
telling Project Q Atlanta he preferred to focus on his own record.
Let’s Go to
New owners of former Burkhart’s pick name, set opening date By Patrick Saunders THE NEW OWNERS OF THE ONCE-POPULAR Burkhart’s Pub announced the bar’s new name, Midtown Moon. They also set an opening date and confirmed renovation details as well as the return of the drag troupe the Armorettes. The name is a nod to the crescent moon hanging on the back wall of the patio area, co-owner Marco Penna tells Project Q Atlanta. Penna and co-owner Chris McDonald initially considered calling the bar 1492 — the bar’s address on Piedmont Avenue — but that brought with it ties to Christopher Columbus, a connection that wouldn’t be helpful for a bar space fighting to move past a controversy over allegations of racism.
they had closed a deal to buy the bar, and they’ve been instituting changes and updates ever since.
Penna says they expect to get their liquor license by May 14, and an invite-only soft opening of the bar is set for May 22. Midtown Moon is also hosting one of the events during Hotlanta Softball’s Big Beach Softball Tournament over Memorial Day Weekend. An official grand opening is expected sometime after that. When patrons come to Midtown Moon, they’ll notice a few changes. The front of the building has been repainted (photo, above), the interior was repainted and refurbished, the kitchen got upgrades and some work on the back patio was finished.
Burkhart’s business imploded in January during a controversy over racist social media posts from former owner Palmer Marsh. The bar’s entertainers quit, a public forum showed that racism at the venue ran deeper than just its owner and its general manager was fired.
Initially, there were plans to replace one of the first floor bars with a stage for entertainers, but Penna says the city would have required additional liquor licenses, making the change too expensive. Relocating the DJ booth was also part of that change, so the booth will remain on the second floor.
Burkhart’s closed its doors in February. Penna and McDonald announced during the annual Easter Drag Races event that
There were also plans to replace the pool tables on the second floor with a piano and bistro tables, but that’s on hold.
parking lot to Oscar’s (also owned by McDonald and Penna), but plan a long-awaited return to their former home.
“We’re going to keep the pool tables for about three or four months,” Penna says. “Chris and I will look at removal of the tables then discuss the piano and bistro tables.” The new owners are expanding dining options as well, with plans to be open Saturdays for lunch and adding a Sunday brunch. Penna says they’re talking about opening the bar for lunch during the week as well, but they want to get the place up and running “for a couple months” before starting that.
The Armorettes, who were honored on May 5 with the Leon Allen & Winston Johnson Community Leadership Award at the HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner & Auction, were one of the drag troupes who left the bar in the wake of the racism controversy. After that, they decamped across the Ansley Square
“The Armorettes and some former drag shows from the prior ownership are returning,” Penna says, adding that details on the other shows are still being worked out. “We are really excited to go back to our home bar,” says Mark Blackmon, better known in her Armorettes drag persona Autumn Skyy. “We’re looking forward to seeing all of our fans and celebrating our new home.” Blackmon says he doesn’t know when the troupe’s first performance will be, but that their weekly Sunday night set is expected. “My excitement about this is the community,” Penna tells Project Q. “I want to do more charity events. I want to open up the is bar to do more for our community. That’s what we’re here for. When the community’s involved in our projects, it becomes a much happier place.” Visit Project Q Atlanta at theQatl.com for daily LGBTQ news updates. theQatl.com
THE QUEER AGENDA The Best Queer Things To Do in Atlanta This Week
DJ Jasmine Infiniti
May 17 – May 23
Vicki Powell’s Deep South
throws down NYC hotness in
THURSDAY, MAY 17
ATL @ The Music Room, 10
Fuck You, Molly Rimswell
The left-of-center EAV queens toast one of their own during Glitz! @ Mary’s, 9:30 p.m. marysatlanta.com
FRIDAY, MAY 18
Get a do-over on prom and give to AID Atlanta with West Midtown laid out before you on the roof @ Accent Waterworks, 6 p.m. accentwaterworks.com
Black lights are up, neon paints are onand WOBO’s glow-in-the-dark party is lit @ My Sister’s Room, 10 p.m. mysistersroom.com
SATURDAY, MAY 19
SUNDAY, MAY 20
Atlanta Pride Family Fun Day
Fairway to Equality
Kids of all ages make it family-friendly. Painting, yoga, games and food make it fun @ Glennlake Park, 11 a.m. atlantapride.org
Golf with HRC Atlanta @ Cross Creek Golf Club, 9 a.m., followed immediately by the Fairway to Equality “Tee Dance,” 1 p.m. hrcatlanta.com
Purple Dress Run 2018
The gay rugby squad of Atlanta Bucks dons
purple drag for their annual bar hop. Steps
In conjunction with his
off from Frogs, 12 noon.
local Sordid Lives reboot,
the playwright presents his
one-man show, Six Characters In
ManShaft: Military Edition
Search of a Play @ Out Front
Ten…hut! DJ Diablo Rojo wants to dance
Theatre Company, 7 p.m.
away your uniformed masculine arche-
types @ Heretic, 9 p.m. hereticatlanta.com
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23 Martinis & Music Out of Bounds
Circuit party legend
DJ Victor Calderone
pumps dance beats @ Okami Event Center, 10 p.m.
Jazz vocalist Matt Brooker and a full band rock this
experience @ Ten, 7 p.m. tenatlanta.com
Find dozens of events in the full Queer Agenda on Project Q at theQatl.com. theQatl.com
The reviews are in! Wow. I just found Q, and it’s great!
Congratulations on the new magazine. Atlanta didn’t even know Finally! A queer publication what it was missing!
for everybody, not just some.
A gay magazine I actually want to sit down and read! I just wanted to tell you how much my husband and I love your new magazine…
omg I love your mag!
Q magazine is the best thing to happen to Atlanta in 2017! I thought I knew what to expect in local rags, but Q is totally different. I need to pick up more often.
Q is informative and
energetic, something that was sorely You guys are like a missing in the ATL. breath of fresh air.
Thank you for bringing Q to Atlanta! You guys should have done this years ago!
Atlanta needed this.
The Weekly Print Publication of Project Q Atlanta
and your messages are the proof! Thank you for the support, and please continue reaching out!
RUNNING Get to know Atlanta’s LGBTQ candidates before Tuesday’s primary
By Patrick Saunders n a world where queer-identified people are under attack in every arena — be it in the courts, in state Capitols, in Congress, in the workplace and more — LGBTQ representation matters now more than ever. The stakes for our equality have rarely been higher nationally, as well as here in our home state and right here in Atlanta The silver lining amid those attacks is the number of people who are stepping up to run for office to combat them. A saving grace locally is that Georgia is one of the nation’s leaders in producing dynamic, unquestionably qualified LGBTQ candidates. A dozen of them are running for office
this year, and on the following pages, we spotlight six of those 12 who are running in metro Atlanta. Starting with this week’s Q cover models, state Reps. Park Cannon and Sam Park, they tell us why they want to serve, how being LGBTQ affects their politics, and more. Even if you already know some of these candidates, we bet you learn something new. Take special note of the ones facing opposition on May 22, and make sure to show up, cast your vote and claim that “I’m a Georgia Voter” peach sticker to help put a stop to the attacks on us once and for all. Visit theQatl.com for more from each candidate.
NEED TO KNOW
Georgia’s other LGBTQ candidates running this year
Karla Drenner Incumbent state representative in Georgia House District 84 (Avondale Estates) Bob Gibeling bobgibeling.com Georgia House District 54 (Atlanta) Julie Jordan juliejordanforgeorgia.com Georgia House District 179 (St. Simon’s Island) Richie Knight richieforathens.com Athens mayor Renitta Shannon renittashannon.com Incumbent, Georgia House District 85 (Decatur) Valerie Vie vote4vie.com Georgia House District 62 (East Point)
Photo by Russ Youngblood theQatl.com
Park CANNON parkcannon58.com
The incumbent state representative and Q’s co-cover model is running in Georgia House District 58 (D-Atlanta) facing primary opposition on May 22. What’s the top issue in your campaign? Advocating for equity and inclusivity has been a top priority of my legislative agenda during my service at the Capitol, and remains at the helm of our re-election campaign. A better Georgia is a Georgia that works for all of us. I believe we Visit theQatl.com are laying the groundwork to ensure for more from every Georgian is able to take full Park Cannon advantage of the full promise our state has to offer by working to keep housing affordable and our neighborhood development community-driven, protecting and increasing access to quality affordable healthcare (especially for those living with HIV) and securing necessary funding for our schools as we invest in Georgia’s future — our children. How does being queer affect your politics? I had the honor of meeting the first-elected LGBTQ U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin last week, and a quote from our conversation comes to mind — “If you’re not in the room, the conversation is about you. When you are at the table, the conversation includes you.” As a black queer woman, my sheer existence in certain spaces where our community has been underrepresented is a political statement of resistance and a call to progress. When I am in the room, I bring with me the hard conversations the stories of trans folks, intersex colleagues and two-spirit individuals because their stories deserve to be heard. I have seen firsthand how giving voice to their experience challenges pre-conceived perceptions across the aisle, changing things in powerful ways. What’s something people don’t know about you that would surprise them? Dance has been an integral part of my story since I can remember. What started as a natural progression stemming from my love of music and movement has grown into a form of healing practice for me. A lifetime of dance has taught me the importance of tenacity when tackling difficult things. Progress as a part of a small though powerful Democratic caucus can be grueling and slow, but dance has shown me through years of commitment to repetition in pursuit of better, often that tenacity is necessary for growth. 20
Photo by Russ Youngblood
e d i r P r u o y Take ! s l l o P e h t to
Georgia Equality's 2018 Primary Endorsements Governor: Stacey Abrams Lt. Governor: Sarah Riggs Amico Insurance Comm.: Cindy Zeldin School Superintendent: Sid Chapman Labor Comm.: Richard Keatley State Senate: District 6: Jen Jordan (i) District 40: Sally Harrell District 41: Steve Henson (i) District 44: Gail Davenport (i) Judiciary: Atlanta Superior Court: Fani Willis Fulton Chief Magistrate: Cassandra Kirk (i) DeKalb County Superior Court: Nicholas Smith DeKalb Superior Court: Courtney Johnson (i) Gwinnett Superior Court: Veronica Cope
Early voting ends May 18th
ELECTION DAY: MAY 22
State House of Representatives: District 30: Alana Watkins District 35: Kyle Rinaudo District 36: Jen Slipakoff District 37: Mary Frances Williams District 39: Erica Thomas (i) District 40: Erick Allen District 50: Angelika Kausche District 56: Able Mable Thomas (i) District 57: Pat Gardner (i) District 58: Park Cannon (i) District 60: Kim Schofield (i) District 62: Valerie Vie District 81: Scott Holcomb (i) District 84: Karla Drenner (i) District 85: Renitta Shannon (i) District 86: Michelle Henson (i) District 97: Aisha Yaqoob District 99: Brenda Lopez (i) District 101: Sam Park (i) District 102: Gregg Kennard District 105: Donna McLeod District 107: Shelley Hutchinson District 109: Regina Lewis-Ward District 111: El-Mahdi Holly District 113: Pam Dickerson (i) District 144: Jessica Walden
Sam PARK samforgeorgia.com
The incumbent state representative and Q’s co-cover model is running for Georgia House District 101 (Lawrenceville) facing general election opposition in November. What’s the top issue in your campaign? I ran for office in 2016 to expand Medicaid because access to healthcare is a matter of life or death. Because of Republican obstruction, however, more than 500,000 Georgians still do not have health insurance. Not only are we talking about the health of Georgians. Access to healthcare has broad implications for every community in Georgia, and has an enormous economic impact in Georgia. When we expand Medicaid, Georgia would receive billions of federal dollars to create tens of thousands of jobs, save our struggling hospitals and help keep all Georgians healthier. How does being gay affect your approach to politics? Growing up in Georgia as a minority within a minority of a minority (gay, Korean American, Christian) has allowed me to be open-minded to different perspectives and opinions, and fostered a desire to be a voice for the voiceless and underrepresented communities.
Visit theQatl.com for more from Sam Park
Being different has also helped me fearlessly advocate for positions that may be unpopular, because I’ve learned that right is right, and wrong is wrong regardless of who may be in the majority or minority at that time. In addition, my experiences have taught me to seek common ground to build coalitions with others to make progress through our political process. What’s something most people don’t know about you? I’m a natural introvert, so I get nervous before I give a speech, and I don’t like taking pictures if I don’t have to. However, the fire in my belly based on my desire to expand Medicaid and enact comprehensive civil rights protections to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations has allowed me to overcome a lot of those introverted tendencies. Taking time to recover in peace and quiet is still very much needed for me to recharge, keep fighting and stir up good trouble. Anything to add? I encourage all of my LGBTQ sisters and brothers to register to vote, vote in every election and actively participate in our democracy. The vote is the great equalizer. You can be a billionaire or have a dollar in your bank account, be 18 years old or 88 years old, everyone’s vote counts the same. Use the power of your vote to determine the direction of your community, state and nation. And if you don’t like who you can vote for, run for office yourself and pave the way and inspire the next generation of LGBTQ leaders. Photo by Russ Youngblood
News | Events | Culture | Photos | Podcast
IN PRINT WEEKLY new content online daily Q Magazine theQatl.com
Project Q Atlanta
Steven Knight GRIFFIN stevenknightgriff in.com
This former CDC policy coordinator is running for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat facing primary opposition on May 22. What’s the top issue in your campaign? I’m passionate about all public policy. My website’s detailed policy section proves it. Instead of doing a disservice to the importance of these issues by compressing Visit theQatl.com for more from them, I will refer you there. Steven Knight Griffin Professionally, I am most familiar with healthcare and public health policy, but I have a background or interest in most facets of contemporary political discourse. How does being gay affect your politics? I’m not one of those people who has long dreamed of or aspired to run for public office, though I have spent an enormous amount of time researching and considering the political and policy problems our nation faces. Recently, it has become personal — I have been in a committed, loving relationship with a man I hope to make my husband, and so I asked myself a simple question: What kind of world, what kind of nation, would I like to raise a family in? While there is cause for optimism in some areas, I am also convinced we have a considerable amount of work to do, especially on kitchen-table issues that affect gay and straight families alike. What’s something most people don’t know about you? My boyfriend and I adopted an orphaned baby elephant named Murit through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. They’re an incredible organization doing important work to preserve African elephants and other endangered wildlife. Anything else you’d like to add? As a young, gay man growing up in the South, there were few similarly-situated role models for me to emulate. One of the most important charges of gay candidates and elected officials is providing moral leadership and a good example for young people — in other words, striving to be the change we wish to see in the world.
Photo courtesy the Griffin Campaign 24
In particular, I want to show them that there is a better way to build a better world, one in which decency and humanity prevail. And I also seek to prove a point: ideas should be the currency for our legislators rather than money and fame — and to that end, I will serve as a stepping stone to a better future for all Americans.
Visit theQatl.com for more from Keisha Waites
Photo by Matt Hennie
void in having a voice at the table to champion the concerns of the LGBTQ community such as: RFRA legislation, HIV/ AIDS funding and restoring the HIV/AIDS task force.
This former state representative is now running for Fulton County Commission Chair, facing general election opposition on May 22.
For the last two decades, I have worked tirelessly to remove the disparities and barriers that our community faces and de-stigmatize the misperceptions that exist. As a triple minority, I am no stranger to social alienation, familial rejection and denial of services.
What’s the top issue in your campaign and why? Property tax relief and transparency! The largest property tax increase in Fulton County history will take place under the leadership of the current seat holder. Fulton County taxpayers will experience a 50 percent increase in their property tax bills. The current chair’s lack of action reflects a failure to protect seniors and working families, violating his campaign promise. Under the guidance of the current chair, Fulton County property tax bills are being withheld until the May 22 primary election. This act is both deceitful and betrays the trust and confidence of every Fulton County homeowner and small business owner. One of the most significant challenges will be finding long term solutions to provide homeowners and small business owners with property tax relief where many families saw huge spikes in their tax bills. How does being a lesbian affect your politics? I have a unique understanding and sensitivity for the challenges and needs of the LGBTQ community. Most significantly, the loss of the late Commissioner Joan Garner creates a massive
What’s something most people don’t know about you? I am a nerd and actually play the violin! However, I also offer extensive experience and knowledge in crisis management and disaster preparedness at the local, state and federal levels of government. I have supported 27 presidential federally-declared disasters and provided management oversight during the following large-scale domestic and international incidents: Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Harvey, Flint water crisis, Hurricane Sandy, BP oil spill, Haiti earthquake, H1N1 pandemic, Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Katrina. Is there anything else you’d like to add? I would become the first LGBTQ African American elected to the role of chair to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. I am most proud of the legislative track record I earned in fighting to protecting marginalized and vulnerable populations. This included supporting policies to ensure seniors and working families can age in their homes and improving the quality of education for our youth.
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Vote Lindy Miller Public Service Commission Tuesday, May 22 • Leadership for ALL of Georgia’s diverse stakeholders. • Protect our communities from high energy bills. • Unlock job opportunities by investing in clean energy. Endorsed by Stonewall Democrats, Georgia WIN List, NewPowerPAC & EMILY’s List.
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Matthew WILSON An attorney, he is running for Georgia House District 80 (Brookhaven) facing general election opposition in November. What’s the top issue in your campaign? Education. I know there is so much more we can do in our public schools to empower students to achieve their full potential, and that starts with prioritizing education in our state government. We need to Visit theQatl.com expand pre-K by making it universal for more from to get more kids reading on grade Matthew Wilson level early, reallocate the resources schools need for capital projects to get students out of trailers and bring back the fully-funded Hope scholarship including grants for technical colleges to keep our best talent in-state and give everyone the opportunity to get a 21st century education for the 21st century economy. Education is the silver bullet — Georgia’s public schools allowed me to be the first member of my family to earn an advanced degree, and the near-billion dollars the Legislature has shorted K-12 education each of the last 10 years coupled with the gutting of the Hope scholarship means that it’s unlikely I would be able to accomplish that if I were in school today. Parents shouldn’t have to think of sending their kids to their local public school as a last resort, and if elected, I want to work to strengthen our schools so that’s never the case. How does being gay affect your politics? A lot, if not most, people in my community have friends and neighbors who are openly gay and in committed relationships like myself, married and raising kids down the street and sending them to the same schools. It’s great to see how accepting people are, because I definitely recall that not being the case not too long ago. Obviously, north Atlanta isn’t necessarily reflective of the state as a whole, and one thing that I always keep in mind is that representation matters. The more LGBTQ legislators we have under the Gold Dome, the harder it will be for GOPers to push discriminatory bills that — and this is how I make the case to folks, because even if you have positive feelings about equality it doesn’t have the same amount of weight if you’re not LGBTQ — will hurt our economy by driving out our business community. So it’s part of my approach in that sense, but more often than not I’m just a neighbor and not the gay neighbor. Photo courtesy the Wilson Campaign
What’s something most people don’t know about you? I have a twin sister! theQatl.com
Nicholas SMITH nicholasforjudge.com
This attorney is running for Superior Court judge in DeKalb County facing general election opposition on May 22. What’s the top issue in your campaign? Adding a judge to DeKalb Superior Court with a deep understanding of civil and business law is important to the continued growth of our county. So many people assume that Superior Court judges only handle criminal Visit theQatl.com cases; however, they hanfor more from dle a wide variety of cases, Nicholas Smith including complex business disputes, real estate disputes and neighbor disputes. Business laws and property laws are complex. We need to increase the diversity on the bench to include judges who have a background and interest in these areas to produce good rulings and allow the county to continue to attract businesses and new residents by providing a reliable forum to resolve disputes. How does being gay affect your approach? Being gay has made me appreciate the need for the legal system to provide for the fair application of objective laws without bias or prejudice. We all come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs, but we should all be treated equally before the courts. If this critical branch of government did not exist, my life and rights would be significantly different. What’s something most people don’t know about you? I enjoy making pickles and jam. It’s a great way to decompress, and it connects me to my childhood where I would see my grandmothers and aunts pickle and preserve and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Photo courtesy the Smith Campaign 28
Superior Court Judges are some of the most powerful elected officials in the state. They can have a direct and immediate impact on your life, family, home or business. Even though this is a down-ballot race that does not get much attention, it is incredibly important to make a good choice. I believe that I am a good choice because I want to fix what I see is broken and work hard to ensure DeKalb’s citizens and businesses have access to a well-functioning court system.
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What a tangled web when we aim to have sex between coworkers
Things got a little out of hand at our office happy hour. Next thing you know, I’m sucking the chrome off this “straight” coworker’s trailer hitch. He texted me that weekend, and I met him to do it again. Come Monday, I tried to let him know it’s cool and he can get it whenever he wants, but he acted like nothing happened. When cornered, he asked me to respect his privacy and leave him alone. I think he’s gay, obviously, but I’m not sure how to proceed. Dear Thirsty: There’s nothing obvious about his sexual orientation, but you have more on your plate than whether he’s gay, bisexual or just experimenting. Welcome to the obstacle course of hurdles and hoops that is sex with a co-worker. The drama should occupy both of your minds for a while, but of course you aren’t the first or last to deal with it. It doesn’t matter if he’s gay, straight or just into good blowjobs. He already shut you down, so his proclivities are none of your business. Step away from the penis, and find a new trailer hitch to polish. Maybe one who doesn’t work with you. The next move, if any, is all his.
I’m a doctor in a local clinic. My ethics make it pretty easy to avoid relatively regular advances from patients, but flirting with this new, hot, sexy fellow doctor is tempting. The nurses and office staff are giggling, but I can’t help myself with this lady. She really has it going on, and the flirting is a real rush. Is it acceptable to go for it, or am I crossing a line? Dear Sup Doc: You can get all kinds of degrees, but it’s tougher to 38
educate our libidos. Consider yourself back in school, and this is the principal’s office. Sure, you want a Callie to your Arizona, and Grey’s Anatomy fantasies of a janitor’s closet rendezvous are hot. Still, playing fodder for gossip is especially troublesome in an office where patients and staff depend on your public image and your head in the game. This kind of tittering kid stuff not only shows your ass, but is telling. Two doctors really interested in each other could grow up and go out for drinks, but something else is up if you’re conducting your foreplay with an audience.
I’m 22, and I started sleeping with an older coworker when I was 19. I finally quit so we could date in the open, but now they just want a physical relationship and insist it’s still not a good idea to let anyone know we’re together. Dear Player 1: This may be tough, but while they are relationship material for you, you might be a plaything for them. While you fretted the drama of hiding, they feasted on it. For people like them, forbidden sex is more interesting than having everything above board. If you can’t get on the same page, turn to your next chapter. The Q is for entertainment purposes and not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to firstname.lastname@example.org. ILLUSTRATION BY BRAD GIBSON
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