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Pop Quiz with JZ – Rev. Paul Turner

In our latest installment, JZ sits down with Reverend Paul Turner from Gentle Spirit Christian Church. Turner discusses his activism, his hobbies and his coming out experience....
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Health: Quitting (smoking) hot

Rev. Paul Turner

After more than four decades where Rev. Paul Turner’s hand was never far from a cigarette, he finally got mad enough to quit for good.

New Year’s Eve marked nine weeks since his last cigarette.

“I quit something that I should have never have started,” Turner said.

His last cigarette came from a pack he bought in late October, and it followed an almost spontaneous decision to lay down the cancer sticks.

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‘Church Without Walls’ celebrates milestone

Gentle Spirit Christian Church, the “Church Without Walls” led by Rev. Paul Turner, will celebrate its 13th anniversary at noon on Sunday, March 13 with a picnic in Chandler Park.

The LGBT-friendly church was founded in 1998 and began meeting in Chandler Park (1500 McLendon Avenue NE, Atlanta) on Sundays in 2006.

“The Gentle Spirit congregation of today looks a little different from the one of 13 years ago,” said Turner, founding and senior pastor. “We started the church to offer a home to Christians who felt left out of the mainline churches, and as we’ve explored what it means to extend God’s welcome to everyone, we’ve become a truly diverse congregation with members from all walks of life.”

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International Day Against Homophobia returns to Atlanta

Betty Couvertier

2012 marks the third year Atlanta has hosted events meant to draw attention to homophobia and how it continues to impact the lives of LGBT people throughout the world.

From bullying, to violence, to employment discrimination and marriage rights, LGBT people still face an uphill battle seeking the most basic protections. The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), marked by rallies, vigils and gatherings across the world, celebrates its 10th year May 17.

Local organizers are planning three days of events in Atlanta, Toccoa and Hapeville, Ga.

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Atlanta LGBT Civil Rights March participants urged to play role in upcoming elections

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Approximately 50 people marched from Woodruff Park to the state Capitol on Saturday, April 21, as part of the 2012 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March that was to take place in cities across the country and world, according to organizers.

At a rally at the state Capitol following the march, numerous people spoke about the challenges lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face in Georgia and around the world in their fight for full equality.

But they also urged people to be committed and dedicated to achieving equality because the opposition works every day to plant obstacles, target gay-friendly politicians and strategize politically to bring the LGBT movement to a standstill.

One way to show the commitment is to work for candidates who believe in LGBT equality and vote on July 31 in the primary for state and local elected officials.

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[Videos] YouthPride ED accused of ‘hijacking’ town hall forum

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Rushing in some 45 minutes after a town hall forum had already started on the viability and stability of YouthPride, the agency's executive director almost immediately began arguing with the forum's volunteer organizers.

YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul also disputed the independent task force’s presentation on the finances of the agency, which showed it to be almost $81,000 in debt. The forum was held March 6 in the sanctuary of Saint Mark United Methodist Church.

Some 25 young people attended the meeting, seated in the front two rows of the church, joined by another approximate 20 people including task force members and concerned citizens. The meeting because raucous at times when McPhaul repeatedly cut off people as they tried to speak and angrily denied the agency was facing the crisis that the ad hoc committees uncovered after weeks of research.

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‘Pray away the gay’ is a sham, say protesters at Exodus International ‘ex-gay’ conference

 

Through chants and signs that read "Gay by nature, proud by choice," some 50 people made sure those attending the Love Won Out Conference on Saturday heard their message of "you can't pray away the gay." Exodus International hosted the conference  at Midway Church in Villa Rica, Ga.

Timothy Elder, 21, a student at the University of West Georgia, is a devout Christian. But he struggled with his sexual orientation because he was told he would be condemned to hell.

"Before I got accepted to Christ, I was told constantly that God hates gays. And by being a Christian, I was setting myself up for failure," he said.

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Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes those lost to violence, bias

Transgender Day of Remembrance

As dozens gather on the steps of Georgia Capitol each Nov. 20, names are read aloud, each followed by a single chime of a bell ringing out into the cold night.

The gathering is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil, and the names are of transgender people who have died due to violence or discrimination. The bell is a stark reminder that some people want others who are “different” to be forgotten. Forever.

“This is the most emotional part of the vigil to me,” says Tracee McDaniel, founder and executive director of the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc., and organizer of Atlanta’s Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“These people are deceased. We memorialize those individuals by reciting their names — their families don’t want to remember them, others don’t want to remember them. We are making sure their names and their memories are remembered,” McDaniel says.