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Q inform | inspire

July 11, 2019

Everyday Fitness Tips for Everybody in Every Body

Messy State of HIV in Atlanta

Here’s to Your

QUEER HEALTH Q’s 2019 Health Issue

Jai Davis Fights for Your Fitness 10 LGBTQ Musts for Your Doctor

Queer Agenda Q Shots The Q The Weekly Print Publication of Project Q Atlanta


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EDITOR’S NOTE Q Q MAGAZINE THE WEEKLY PUBLICATION OF PROJECT Q ATLANTA PUBLISHERS INITIAL MEDIA, LLC MIKE FLEMING PUBLISHER & EDITOR MIKE@THEQATL.COM MATT HENNIE PUBLISHER & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MATT@THEQATL.COM RICHARD CHERSKOV PUBLISHER & GENERAL MANAGER RICHARD@THEQATL.COM

Fit to PRINT

THERE’S AN OLD ADAGE IN PRINT media that comes from a former New York Times slogan: All the news that’s fit to print. Many a young journalist’s high falutin dreams are dashed to this day when they find out that what readers get is not what’s fit to print, but print to fit — onto the page itself, within the allotted page count of an issue. Everything is limited within the scope of a specific article, within the publication’s mission, within advertiser and reader expectations and within an editor’s vision.

ADVERTISING SALES RUSS YOUNGBLOOD SENIOR SALES REPRESENTATIVE RUSS@THEQATL.COM ART DIRECTOR JOHN NAIL JOHN@THEQATL.COM PROJECT Q ATLANTA PATRICK SAUNDERS EDITOR PSAUNDERS@THEQATL.COM CONTRIBUTORS IAN ABER LAURA BACCUS GABRIELLE CLAIBORNE BUCK COOKE CHARLES E. DAVIS JON DEAN BILL DICKINSON JIM FARMER BRAD GIBSON JAMES L. HICKS BENTLEY HUDGINS TAMEEKA L. HUNTER HEATHER MALONEY ERIC PAULK KYLE ROSE JAMES PARKER SHEFFIELD VINCE SHIFFLETT ALEXANDRA TYLER VAVA VROOM NATIONAL ADVERTISING RIVENDELL MEDIA SALES@RIVENDELLMEDIA.COM 212-242-6863 LOCAL ADVERTISING SALES@THEQATL.COM 404-949-7071

MIKE FLEMING EDITOR & PUBLISHER

We spend the rest of our careers trying to balance what we are compelled to report and discuss for the greater good against what we are required to write about under myriad confines. Even as editor and publisher, it’s a balancing act that I take very seriously and take into account multiple times each hour, each day and each issue of Q. No one working here, partnering with us or reading this will agree with every decision, but hopefully enough right calls happen to earn some respect that none of them are made lightly or flippantly.

Take this week’s Q Health & Fitness Issue. Trying to discuss queer wellness as much as LGBTQ medical challenges, all while nodding to the array of queer demographics in the LGBTQ village, is a tall order. Still, we think with the help of our advertising partners in this special edition, we’ve got plenty to inform and inspire you as is our mission. Speaking of fit to print and print to fit, Atlanta lesbian Janaya “Jai” Davis has been to hell and back as a world-ranked boxer and Dekalb Fire and EMS worker. She translates her journey into a local gym and full-tilt fitness inspiration for you in this week’s Q&A. Whether you go in for the gym, dance classes, nature walks or freestyling at home, the ways in which queers exercise — and don’t — vary as widely as the community itself. With that in mind, our Q Cover feature finds a few moves to aid recovery and longevity for everybody and every body with no equipment required. On the medical front, 10 Queer Things goes to the doctor with you to identify a nationally recognized list of things they should do before you give them your trust and your business as an LGBTQ patient. And some 35 years into an epidemic, we’d be remiss not to touch on HIV in our readership and in our city. Welcome to the State of HIV in Atlanta with some local experts trying to quell the tide. Your body isn’t the only part of you we love this week, though. We’re Q, so you know you’ll find a Queer Agenda calendar of events, Q Shots pics and The Q advice column. Read up, then drop in on theQatl.com for fresh content daily, and look for us in print again next week on stands and online. As always, I’m worrying about and toiling over the next issue at mike@theQatl.com if you need me. theQatl.com

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10 QUEER THINGS Q

Doing

BETTER

10 ways doctors and other providers should measure up on LGBTQ healthcare

BOARD, MANAGEMENT & SENIOR STAFF ENGAGED Proactive efforts to build an LGBTQ-inclusive environment in provider offices start at the top. Regularly engage and survey, casually and formally, queer staff and clients. PRACTICES & POLICIES REFLECT LGBTQ NEEDS Families are inclusively defined in official language. Non-discrimination policies spell out support and consequences for infractions. Support services and visitation should be inclusive of LGBTQ family members. OUTREACH & ENGAGEMENT This can include co-sponsoring or hosting community events, recognizing LGBTQ awareness “holidays” such as LGBTQ

Health Week, National Coming Out Day or Transgender Day of Remembrance, organizing a Pride parade contingency, soliciting LGBTQ board members and advisors, and advocating when appropriate on local issues of importance to LGBTQ patients. CULTURAL-AFFIRMING TRAINING For all staff and clinicians, whether or not their official capacity is to interact with clients and patients. PROCESSES & FORMS Registration forms ask patients about sexual orientation and gender identity to ensure closeted patients feel recognized and affirmed. Asks preferred as well as “official” names and identifications. Asks gender neutral relationship questions, and identity-inclusive family planning and gynecology questions. OPT-IN DATA COLLECTION Because LGBTQ people face health disparities, the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity information can help provide screening and preventive care that can address those disparities. Anonymous reporting to national commissions can help nationally if patient consents. ROUTINE SEXUAL HISTORIES Collects updates for all adult and adolescent patients, and solicits discussions broader than just behavior and associated risks for HIV and STDs. Should include sexual function, satisfaction, desires, trauma or abuse, and LGBTQ family planning. LGBTQ-SPECIFIC CLINICAL SERVICES This includes hormone therapy for transgender patients, family planning for same-sex couples, PrEP availability for gay and bisexual men, cervical and cancer screenings for lesbians, trans men and bisexual women. Can also include things like smoking cessation assistance for all of the above due to probability statistics. WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT Do depictions include LGBTQ people and families? Are there non-traditional representations of gender? Are waiting area reading materials queer inclusive? Are restrooms all-gender or single-user? LGBTQ STAFF Can ask if they recruit and retain queer members on staff, as well as offer employee benefits packages inclusive of same-sex partners and transition-related expenses. Source: lgbthealtheducation.org

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HEALTH WATCH Q

The State of HIV in

ATLAN A A

By Patrick Saunders

tlanta’s identity is loaded with things to be proud of. A legacy of civil rights activism. Headquarters of some of the world’s most recognizable brands. A vibrant and envied hip-hop history and future. A burgeoning technological hub. Home of the world’s busiest airport. The Hollywood of the South. But Atlanta’s story isn’t complete without mentioning its place as the center of an HIV epidemic.

Epidemic activists, doctors and researchers talk fear, frustration and hope

But the experts Q spoke with also see signs of hope. A diverse group in Fulton County has a plan. Another initiative is underway on the federal level that includes the four hardest-hit counties in metro Atlanta. A little blue pill is completely changing the game — if the people who need it most can get it. This is the state of HIV in Atlanta.

The city has the third-highest rate of new HIV infections of any city in the U.S., according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. That’s up from the fourth-highest rate of new infections the previous year, so the situation continues to get worse.

THE PERILS OF STIGMA Dr. Melanie Thompson has been at the center of everything HIV/AIDS in Atlanta since it started ravaging gay and bisexual men and transgender women in the 1980s. She founded one of the most respected HIV/AIDS research facilities in the country — the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta — in 1988.

The reasons why are wide and varied, according to HIV/ AIDS activists, doctors and researchers. Atlanta has a number of issues that individually are not uncommon, but combined they make a unique, toxic Southern stew: stigma about HIV, lack of affordable housing, bureaucratic red tape (and, often, ineptitude), Bible Belt skittishness about sex, to name just a few ingredients.

“What people should be concerned about in terms of our epidemic in Atlanta is that it continues to power on in spite of the efforts that have been made so far to curtail it,” she said. “We have a very fragmented public health system that is underfunded and has some challenges with coordination.” 

Atlanta’s HIV problem is “entrenched and relatively unchanged over time,”  Thompson said.

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HIV IN ATLANTA continued Public health officials often fail to listen to those who know most about the epidemic: the people living with, and at highest risk for, HIV and the frontline community of workers in the field. Young gay and bi men of color and transgender women of color are hardest hit, so Atlanta being a hub for LGBTQ people of color also comes into play. “It is a concentrated epidemic increasingly within communities that already struggle with stigma and discrimination and social determinants of health like poverty, lack of housing, lack of jobs, lack of healthcare,” Thompson said. “So the state of HIV in Atlanta … [is] largely driven by things like wealth inequality and lack of access to healthcare.” Larry Lehman, CEO and president of Positive Impact Health Centers, added that stigma remains a key barrier.

“If half the people living with HIV are not in care, and if we are successful in bringing them back into care and keeping them in care, we really do not have enough money to take care of them or the medical personnel,” she said. “Linkage and retention is the most complicated of the medical care issues that we have.”

‘In the South especially, it is the stigma around HIV testing that keeps people from being diagnosed. And, the stigma around being HIV-positive keeps HIV-positive people out of care’ — Larry Lehman, CEO & President of Positive Impact Health Centers

“In the South especially, it is the stigma around HIV testing that keeps people from being diagnosed,” he said. “And, the stigma around being HIV-positive keeps HIV-positive people out of care and is a contributing factor to why people drop out of care.” “This is going to take an entire community effort to continue to reduce stigma,” he added. DeWayne Ford, director of prevention services at AID Atlanta, said the city’s population explosion also contributes to the problem. “Atlanta is a transplant city where the HIV statistics reflect individuals who may have acquired the virus from other states but now reside in the Atlanta metro area, making the infection rate higher for this populous,” he said. FUNDING STREAMS Thompson is co-chair of the Fulton County HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care & Policy Advisory Committee. Getting people living with HIV in care and keeping them in care is a problem in Atlanta, which leads to higher transmittal rates of the virus. “Concentrated focus on linkage to care should be our number one priority,” Thompson said. “That would include looking at the numbers of funding that are needed to supply the care that is essential to good retention.” Finding those funds has been an issue, but new sources have opened up recently. A federal plan was unveiled in February to end AIDS by 2030. Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties are targeted as part of it. Here at home, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms earmarked $250,000 in the new city budget to fight HIV/AIDS in June. The Elton John AIDS Foundation made good on a pledge to match that amount. Bottoms put $100,000 into the budget for that purpose in 2018. Thompson said these are good signs, but more will be needed to truly tackle the epidemic. 12

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HOUSING IS HEALTH Affordable housing is a growing issue in Atlanta, which means it’s a growing issue for those impacted by HIV. “Housing really does come first,” Thompson said. “If people don’t have shelter, they’re really unlikely to be focused on getting their medication refilled or making it to clinic visits and the kinds of things that most people take for granted.” That makes the city’s years-long issues with managing an HIV housing program even more frustrating for those working to stem the epidemic. The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program is federally funded, and it’s up to the city to disperse those funds. Housing advocates called the city’s HOPWA grants management “a mess” in 2018, and just last month, numerous advocates told an Atlanta City Council subcommittee that efforts to improve it still leave the city’s programs in “crisis.” Thompson said it’s time for local authorities to come together. “At the highest level, the county health departments, the county commissioners, the City of Atlanta and other cities within metro Atlanta need to come together with the community so that we can all be on the same page and really join in this fight together because the fragmentation will literally kill us,” she said. 


HIV IN ATLANTA continued Q PROGRESS UNDER THE GOLD DOME While there has been frustration with county and city efforts, a surprising force emerged in the state legislature to advance HIV legislation: metro Atlanta Republicans. They sponsored two bills that Gov. Brian Kemp ended up signing into law, including a bill establishing a needle exchange program and a bill creating a pilot PrEP program.

“I imagine if we had it years ago, so many more lives could have been saved,” he said. Thompson said expanding access to PrEP is “the next pillar” in the fight. The high cost of the drug is a barrier, as well as the costs of medical care and lab tests required for PrEP. PrEP isn’t getting into the hands of the people that need it most, Thompson added.

State Rep. Park Cannon, a Democrat from Atlanta and one of five openly LGBTQ members of the legislature, welcomed the bipartisan effort.

“In our community, those are gay bisexual men of color, gay bisexual men in general, transgender individuals and black women,” Thompson said.

“It’s beyond time that partisan politics get of the way so that we can provide care to Georgians at risk of living with HIV,” she told Q.

SIGNS OF HOPE

For her part, Cannon said she’ll focus on a bill in the 2020 session to modernize HIV instruction in Georgia’s K-12 schools. “It’s already filed and we need the public to let the health committee know that we deserve a hearing,” she said. “It’s commonsense to learn about HIV before learning about AIDS, but Georgia does not model that.”

‘[T]he county health departments, the county commissioners, the City of Atlanta and other cities within metro Atlanta need to come together with the community so that we can all be on the same page and really join in this fight together because the fragmentation will literally kill us.’ — Dr. Melanie Thompson, AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta

Despite the issues surrounding the HIV epidemic in Atlanta, there is hope. “People should feel optimistic to know that our National Strategy to End HIV and AIDS within 10 years is very possible,” said Ford. “We have the tools to do it maybe even quicker.” Also the concept of “Undetectable = Untransmittable” is gaining traction, according to Dr. T. Douglas Gurley, MD, a specialist whose Midtown practice serves mostly gay men. “People on treatment with undetectable viral loads do not transmit the virus,” he said. “We have started rapid start programs to begin antiviral medications the day of diagnosis to help compliance and adherence with taking HIV medication, which will decrease transmission rates.” More and more people are coming into Positive Impact Health Centers to enroll in PrEP, according to Lehman. While the numbers of those lost to care are “alarming,” HIV/AIDS service organizations in Atlanta are bringing more people into care and stretching their resources to make it happen, he said. “Just in PIHC’s first quarter of 2019, we have seen a 35 percent increase in our behavioral health programs, 55 percent in medical care, and 148 percent in the PrEP program,” he said. Rosenstock also had plenty to be hopeful about in his practice, including his patients thriving with HIV, an increasing number of effective advocacy groups and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ attention.

‘THE NEXT PILL-AR’ All of our sources stressed the importance of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, in curbing the advance of HIV. The once-daily pill for HIV-negative people reduces the risk of infection, which the CDC says has a 92 percent success rate. Dr. Joel Rosenstock, medical director of Absolute Care, said PrEP makes him optimistic.

“That’s a good start, but there’s so much more real work to do,” he added. Lehman agreed, and voiced a common refrain from HIV/AIDS activists, doctors and researchers in Atlanta: “We have all the tools needed to turn this epidemic around,” he said. Find updates and coverage of all these issues and activities updated regularly at theQatl.com. Get more from these sources at arcatlanta.org, positiveimpacthealthcenters.org, aidatlanta.org, absolutecare.com and tdouglasgurleymd.com. theQatl.com

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7 out of 10

people at high-risk who weren’t tested for HIV in the past year saw a healthcare provider during that time.

Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free RAPID HIV Testing For more information, call: 770-514-2815

@CDPHHIV

@CDPHGA.HIV


Q

Q&A

Comeback KID Former pro boxer Janaya Davis inspires others to get fit

I felt like my spine would snap in half with every step. Due to the pain and inactivity, I gained a substantial amount of weight, which exacerbates back pain, and it made me even

By Patrick Saunders

more depressed. Finally, after being frustrated with slow relief

JANAYA ‘JAI’ DAVIS HONED HER ATHLETIC SKILLS

while managing my pain. I know it’s hard to believe, but on the

to become a rising star in the boxing world to become the

No. 1 female amateur boxer in the U.S. and No. 4 female pro in the world.

When the Atlanta resident and Chicago native retired from boxing, she switched gears and became a firefighter and

paramedic with the DeKalb County Fire Department. A

severe injury on the job led to her spinal canal being compressed, and she had to retire as a firefighter in 2017.

if any, I decided to figure out how to regain control of my life best of my worst days I would walk around Stone Mountain, swim or go to the boxing gym.

What excuses do you hear from people about why they don’t work out or eat well?

The biggest excuse I hear from people is “I don’t have time.” My response is always presented in a question to provoke

thinking. I ask them how many times they go out to a restau-

rant per week. Then I say the same time you spent dining out,

Davis, 47, came back though, and in 2018 she opened

going to the movies and waiting for a table adds up close to

Q chatted with the queer comeback kid about perseverance,

your chances of having obesity-related diseases. They always

What did your boxing career teach you about life?

What’s the key to sticking with a workout plan and healthy diet?

BoxFit Fitness & Performance Studio in College Park.

the recommended hours per week of working out to reduce

excuses and the keys to becoming a fitter, healthier person.

agree with me after that.

Most importantly, it taught me to never give up. In boxing, you can lose every round in the fight, but if you hang in

there and throw the right punch at the right time, you can

knock out your opponent and win the fight. Whenever I’m going through tough or challenging times, I just become

Consistency. You should pick set times and days in which

you can commit to being there. Also being prepared to eat healthy when it’s time to eat, because if you wait until you

are famished, you will more than likely grab the first thing available instead of searching for healthy options.

more focused and determined.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

What did you do to get through the recovery from your

I will have multiple gyms with programs designed to assist

work injury?

Getting injured and having multiple back surgeries were the lowest, most challenging, depressing moments in my entire

life. I had pain that was so severe and consistent that I often 18

considered ending my own misery. There would be days when

theQatl.com

the most challenging clients to show them that there is hope and not to give up on themselves.

Find BoxFit Fitness & Performance Studio in College Park, on Facebook, Instagram @bodybyjai, and at boxf itf itness.com.


Photo by Russ Youngblood theQatl.com

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COVER Q

ABS

Start with a hand plank, engage core and rhomboids, spine straight. Hold as long as you can, or add and hold optional pushup move or arm/leg extensions.

W

Love That

hether you work out, run, dance, do yoga or strictly just couch surf, everyone can stay more comfortable in their skin with a few moves at home with no equipment required to tone, strengthen, stretch and recover.

LEGS

Lunge forward and bring back knee toward the floor. Don’t extend front knee past toes. Hold or pulse up and down.

BODY

Moves for everybody in every body SIDES

Start with side plank, engage core with focus on lower oblique. Add optional hip dips up and down.

SHOULDERS & BACK

Bring each arm across the body and hold to release deltoids and rhomboids. ď ľ theQatl.com

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FITNESS continued Q

LATS & SIDES

Keep abs engaged and shoulders back and down. Reach to resistance not pain.

THIGHS, BACK, HAMS & GLUTES

Hamstrings and glutes will thank you for one, and inner thighs will thank you for the other.

HIPS & BACK

Legs at 90 degrees. Head/shoulders up or down. Roll hips to one side, then the other, engaging core as you come up, relaxing completely as you come down.

QUADS

BACK

Put legs up a wall and release the lower back.

Balance or use a wall or chair to stretch the quad.

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Q

THE QUEER AGENDA The Best Queer Things To Do in Atlanta This Week

Thursday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 17 THURSDAY, JULY 11 Truth Talk

Out on Film and MAAP are among the hosts of this ‘Be True to You’ Ted Talk-style session with Jana Shortal @ Lilli Midtown, 7 p.m. outonfilm.org Holy Sh!t

Queer comedy guru and Q columnist Ian Aber curates this lineup of laughs @ Sister Louisa’s Church, 10 p.m. sisterlouisaschurch.com

SATURDAY, JULY 13

FRIDAY JULY 12 – SUNDAY, JULY 14 Atlanta Comic Con

Summertime

year is here @ World Congress Center, all weekend. atlantacomiccon.com

“Jimmy on Float in Southampton NY” by Gary Beeber @ Atlanta

Get ready, LGBTQ comic book fans. One of your biggest weekends of the

FRIDAY, JULY 12 Two great t-shirt queens taste great together.

Celebrate the collaboration release party of local artists Buzz Busbee of A Better Buzz and

Brad Gibson of Neon Horror (and Q’s advice column illustrator!) @ Mary’s,

SATURDAY, JULY 13 Atlanta Bucks Sweet 16

The local gay rugby squad

throws down in honor of a

milestone birthday @ Woofs, 2 p.m. atlantabucksrugby.org Backpack in the Park

Photography Group, 3 p.m. reception, hangs through Aug. 17.

SUNDAY, JULY 14

Better Neon Horror Buzz

7 p.m. marysatlanta.com

The livin’ is easy in this juried group photography exhibit, including

Drag Me to Brunch Good grub and cool queens serve Sunday vibes @ My Sister’s Room, 2 p.m. mysistersroom.com

MONDAY, JULY 15 My Own Private Idaho Out on Film and Wussy Events screen the latest in their Queers

SATURDAY, JULY 13

On Film collabora-

Gays For Plays: Hair

The classic musical with its full-

tion @ Plaza Atlanta, 8 p.m. outonfilm.org, wussymag.com

reveal scenes and songs @ Serenbe Playhouse, 6:30 p.m. serenbeplayhouse.com

WEDNESDAY, JULY 17 State of Latinx LGBTQ Georgians

For The Kid trades school backpacks

for cocktails @ Magnolia Hall at Piedmont Park, 7 p.m.

The first-ever official dis-

forthekid.org

cussion of issues specific to this community convenes

Stonewall Soul

Rustin-Lorde ATL hosts a “rhetorical riot” and party @ ArtsXchange, 7 p.m. stonewallsoul.eventbrite.com Chug

It’s a drag show that only this gay-owned hipster

bar can pull off @ Georgia Beer Garden, 10:30 p.m. georgiabeergarden.com Nina Flowers

The queen who could spin, working you ‘til the wee hours @ Xion at BJ Roosters, 3 a.m. – 7 a.m. facebook. com/xionatlanta 27

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with Latino LinQ and its president Humberto Orozco @ W Atlanta Buckhead, 10 a.m. latinolinq.org Head over Heels Songs of the Go-Go’s and Belinda Carlisle back this story and will have your toes tapping @ Actor’s Express, 8 p.m. Runs through Aug. 25. actors-express.com Find more queer things to do in the expanded weekend edition of the Queer Agenda at theQatl.com. theQatl.com

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ATLANTA PRIDE STONEWALL MARCH

Full gallery on Project Q at theQatl.com

Q SHOTS Q

PHOTOS BY RUSS YOUNGBLOOD theQatl.com

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Q

Q SHOTS

SOUTHERN FRIED QUEER PRIDE: SWEET TEA

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PHOTOS BY RUSS YOUNGBLOOD


Q

Q SHOTS

RAINBOW CABARET AT MY SISTER’S ROOM

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PHOTOS BY RUSS YOUNGBLOOD


Coming This Summer...

• Pets (July 25) • Sex (Aug. 8) • Atlanta Black Pride (Aug. 29)

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ATLANTA UNITED UNITY MATCH

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Q SHOTS Q

PHOTOS BY RUSS YOUNGBLOOD theQatl.com

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Q

Q SHOTS

‘LIFE IS A DRAG’ AT MIDTOWN MOON

Full gallery on Project Q at theQatl.com

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PHOTOS BY RUSS YOUNGBLOOD


Q

THEQ?! Bye,

DRUNKY!

Did this person really just leave our date without a goodbye?

Q

 I consider myself a pretty good catch. I’m reasonably  

intelligent and attractive, take care of myself, well employed, and most of all, a nice person. So when a date bailed on me, I was floored. With VIP access to a fun group event, I invited this good-looking guy I know to tag along, hoping to entertain and explore the sexual tension between us. He was introduced around to a lot of great people during a general admission happy hour and a VIP pre-party. He posed happily for photos with me and my friends. I had a couple beers and noticed he was tipping back beer as well as cocktails. He was going at it like it was his job, but I didn’t think much of it. It was a party after all, and several people were tipsy. During the main event, we shared a kiss or two, a personal touch here and there, and at first I thought things were OK. As the night wore on, he became a little more distant, and ultimately, kinda surly. I wondered if he wasn’t having fun, but I thought we’d get through it and maybe chalk it up as a dating fail. Finally, he excused himself to the restroom and didn’t come back. It was a big event with hundreds of people, so I gave him 30 minutes and texted. No response. After an hour, I

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began to worry and to wonder if he’d just decided to leave. Some 90 minutes and several questions from friends about his absence later, I got a return text, “I’m fine.” Then another “I went home.” What the hell? Are we past even saying goodbye now? I’m OK I guess, but hurt. Dear Bailout: Queers being insensitive to each other is practically an epidemic. Even when we aren’t inebriated, too many of us are anesthetized to each other’s needs. Self-care and “getting ours” in this world are important, but are we so wrapped up in ourselves that we can click “delete,” select “ignore,” or tick the “block” box in real life as easily as we do on social media? Though there is no good excuse for his behavior, a few thoughts come up to put toward your peace of mind. Alcohol clearly played a role, whether it enhanced his natural surliness and lack of empathy, skewed his decision-making ability, created the issues that led his ultimate departure, or all three. What if he was so drunk that he got sick in the restroom and couldn’t face you and your friends? What if he was intimidated by the VIP treatment? What if he just lacked basic social skills? No matter what it was, his choices were 100% about him and nothing about you. You can do the same since he left you alone to do so. You may never know what his deal was, but you do know enough to be grateful. Thank goodness he showed his true colors now rather than six months from now when you’d be more invested in the relationship. That doesn’t directly alleviate your hurt feelings, but you may find some relief in it. Rest easier, too, by focusing on lessons that he has yet to learn about how to treat people and how you need to be treated. The Q is for entertainment purposes and not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to mike@theqatl.com. ILLUSTRATION BY BRAD GIBSON


Profile for Q Magazine Atlanta

Q Magazine Atlanta | July 11, 2019