Atlanta’s IDAHO organizer Betty Couvertier last year asked the governor’s office for a proclamation recognizing IDAHO. Well, seems she didn’t meet the 45-day advance notice by two days. OK, fine, she said.

This year, she made sure to meet the deadline and sent in a proclamation request asking Gov. Deal and his office to recognize May 17, 2012, as International Day Against Homophobia in Georgia.

The governor’s office, however, was not going to give in to this request. After all, homophobia was essentially part of his platform during his campaign. And, well, LGBT people (according to Gov. Deal) are political fodder and that goes against guidelines from the governor’s office on issuing proclamations. 

But Couvertier likes to push buttons and she persisted and finally she got the proclamation. Except the governor’s office changed the name of the day to “Mistreatment Awareness Day.”

Yes, really. Put it on your calendar because the governor’s office officially named May 17, 2012, as “Mistreatment Awareness Day.”

Whew. Glad we got that day on the books.

The proclamation was read aloud at the IDAHO event held in Hapeville’s Village Church by Couvertier, with a hint of sarcasm and a few giggles from those in attendance.

Essentially, “Mistreatment Awareness Day” states that it’s wrong for people to commit “criminal mischief” against others and subject them to harassment in violation of any state law.

We especially loved this section of the proclamation:

“Whereas the state of Georgia does not tolerate the criminal mistreatment of its citizens in any way shape or form, whether it is bullying on the playground, harassment in the workplace or general mental and physical abuse our state is one that will see that individuals who act against the law are … held accountable for their behavior.”

Just so happens, Vandy Beth Glenn was the keynote speaker for this year’s IDAHO event. She was fired in 2007 by the state after she said she intended to transition from male to female while working as a legislative editor. The state got a serious drubbing in the federal courts for firing her illegally violating her constitutional rights and she got her job back last year.

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Couvertier said she received no response format he governor’s office why the proclamation was renamed.

“They couldn’t even use the word homophobia,” she said. “This [proclamation] is a documentation of homophobia.”

Photo: Betty Couvertier reads the governor’s ‘Mistreatment Awareness Day’ proclamation. (Photo by JD Harvill)

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