Since changing its name last year from the Atlanta Lesbian Health initiative to The Health Initiative, the group’s focus has also changed. It no longer exclusively a lesbian health organization but now address the health needs of all in the LGBT community. 

“Since we have broadened our mission to include everyone, we have had some new challenges that we knew we might face when we planned to make these changes almost two years ago.  Mainly, we want to ensure that we cover the full continuum of the lives of our clients,” says Jo Giraudo, board co-chair. 

The funds from the Garden Party, which is held at Einstein’s, will go into the general fund. According to Executive Director Linda Ellis, the party is the Initiative’s largest source of unrestricted funds.

“Much of the most important work we do — like training new low-cost clinic partners or helping individuals access care thorough the Health Fund — is not easily funded by grants,” Ellis says.

“We have more folks calling each day and asking for support,” she adds.  “What that means for us is we have to do double time in managing the Health Fund and in building partnerships with new providers, especially in areas outside of Metro Atlanta.”

Prepare for Pride

Fall is also home to the Southeast’s largest LGBT event: Atlanta Pride. This year’s festival, set for Oct. 13-14 in Piedmont Park, boasts an increased calendar of events and headlining artists Andy Bell of Erasure and Amy Ray of Indigo Girls fame.

“This year we really have expanded it to include a lot of different groups and different bars so that’s really cool,” Pride Chairman Glen Paul Fredeman says. “We’ve been getting a lot of support from other Pride organizations and corporate sponsors, and that’s really allowed us to make this year’s festival bigger and more diverse.”

Pride again hosts popular lead-up “Stride into Pride” events, as well as the AIDS Vigil (Oct. 10), Commitment Ceremony (Oct. 11) and Georgia Aquarium Kick-Off Party (Oct. 12). The Oct. 14 parade will continue on its traditional route, and looks to be larger than in other years.

“It seems like a lot of people want to participate this year, maybe it’s the election, maybe it’s because it’s the second year of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ being repealed, but we’re getting a lot of applications to walk in the parade,” Freedman said.

Fun and fundraisers

The week after Atlanta Pride, LGBT Atlantans will head back to Piedmont Park to join in the annual AIDS Walk Atlanta and 5k Run, set for Oct. 21.

Billy Jones, a spokesman for the AIDS Walk, says organizers have set an ambitious goal for this year’s event, hoping that 10,000 walkers and runners will raise $1.25 million for the eight participating organizations. 

Last year, the walk raised over $1 million for the second time in its history, and organizers hope increased effort by the runners and walkers will result in a record haul.

“It’s really cool to see. We always get new friends and family coming on board,” Jones says. “We’ve seen an increase in our corporate teams, and a number of our teams who have been with us for a long time really step up in their fundraising.”

WSB-TV news anchor Jovita Moore will serve as master of ceremonies, but other details of the event have yet to be announced.

One the key points of the AIDS Walk is that all the money is used locally.

“What we want to continue to remind people is that the money raised at AIDS Walk Atlanta goes to AIDS Atlanta and the seven other AIDS service organizations,” Jones says. “If you write a check to AID Atlanta then that is going to our clients, and supports our service.”

After Pride and the AIDS Walk, there will be a number of events that are either new to the calendar, or have changed their focus for 2012.

The new theme for Jerusalem House’s popular Halloween party is “Ghosts of Hollywood,” coming to the Foundry at Puritan Mill on Oct. 26. For the Kid in All of Us has added a new event series “For the Foodie In All of Us,” featuring top chefs, leading up to the annual Toy Party, which is scheduled for Dec. 2, though other details have not yet been announced.

The National Transgender Day of Remembrance is Nov. 20, but plans for Atlanta’s commemoration have not yet been made public.

Visit www.thegavoice.com for updates on all of these events as they approach.

Upcoming events

September

Atlanta Cotillion
Sept. 15 at The Foundry at Puritan Mill
www.atlantacotillion.com

Atlanta Arts Festival in Piedmont Park
Sept. 15-16, www.atlantaartsfestival.com

Southern Comfort Conference
Sept. 18-23 at The Crowne Plaza Hotel
Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, www.sccatl.org

The Health Initiative Fall Garden Party
Sept. 23 at Einstein’s
www.thehealthinitiative.org

Lambda Legal Garden Party
Sept. 23 at a private residence
www.lambdalegal.org/events/ll-in-atlanta

October

Out on Film
Oct. 4 — 11 at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
www.outonfilm.org

Atlanta Gay Weddings Launch Party
Oct. 4, www.atlantagayweddings.com

ATLANTA PRIDE WEEK
www.atlantapride.org

Atlanta Pride AIDS Vigil
Oct. 10 at St. Mark United Methodist Church
www.stmarkumc.org

Atlanta Pride Commitment Ceremony
Oct. 11 at Altitude at W Hotel Midtown

Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff Party
Oct. 12 at The Georgia Aquarium

Atlanta Pride Festival
Oct. 13-14 in Piedmont Park

2020 Leading Women’s Awards
Oct. 19 at the Georgia Freight Depot
www.sisterlove.org

AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K run
Oct .21 in Piedmont Park
www.aidswalkatlanta.com

Jerusalem House presents Ghosts of Hollywood
Oct. 26, 8 p.m. — 12 a.m. at Atlanta Marriott Marquis
www.jerusalemhouse.org/halloween

November

For the Foodie in All of Us
Nov. 4 at The Cook’s Warehouse – Piedmont
www.forthekid.org

MEGA Family Project Family Conference
Nov. 3. Location TBD, www.megafamilyproject.org

Chastain Park Arts Festival
Nov. 3 — 4,  www.chastainparkartsfestival.com

Transgender Day of Remembrance, Date TBD

December

World AIDS Day
Dec. 1 at various locations

Toy Party
Dec. 2, 2012, www.forthekid.org

 

Top photo: Fall is the season for LGBT Atlanta’s biggest event, Atlanta Pride Oct. 13-14. (by Bo Shell)

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