Editorials

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How do we define ‘openly gay elected official’?

If a gay politician comes out but many gay leaders never hear about it, is he really out?

In the last two weeks, Georgia’s gay political landscape got its own version of that oft-quoted question: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?

Within days, our state’s short list of known openly gay elected officials jumped by two. Any way you look at it, that’s progress.

But the ensuing reaction raised interesting questions about what it means to be “out,” especially in metro Atlanta in 2011, where gay people are more mainstream than ever, but many still fear discrimination both within their families and the community at large.

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Star’s recent tweets could make me regret coming out as a country music fan

Country musician Blake Shelton

Confession: I love country music. Perhaps it’s the Cash gene in me or simply because I grew up in the Deep South with a mother who carried a torch for Hank Williams (senior not junior — what a disappointment he is) until the day she died.

I think Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Little Big Town are among the most talented beings on the planet. Note I did not include Taylor Swift in that group. As an amateur musician, I often find myself drawn as much to Willie Nelson songs as to those of The Beatles and The Eagles.

Coming out as a country music fan has had its challenges. I have been ridiculed by friends and family alike for my subversive leanings. It’s just how I’m made, I explain, it’s in my DNA and there’s no denying it. They accept this without question about my sexual orientation, but they are not so forgiving when it comes to my passion for country music.

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NOM rally shows how we will win our fight for equality

Atlanta rally against NOM protest

We did it, Atlanta.

In August, hundreds of us braved soaring temperatures to stand across the street from the State Capitol, bearing witness against the National Organization for Marriage’s “Summer for Marriage” tour.

Of course, it was really a “Summer Against Gay Marriage” tour, complete with overwrought predictions of what would happen if (gasp) gay couples are legally allowed to say “I do.”

Alveda King — the niece of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and a disgrace to her uncle’s legacy of inclusion and civil rights — told the assembled crowd redefining marriage by allowing gay couples to legally wed amounts to “genocide” and will lead to the “extinction” of the human race.

Um, the assembled crowd of 35. And I generously counted their speakers, performers, volunteers and even the media who stood on their side of the street.

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GA Voice fights against bullies

Last year, when we launched the GA Voice, the topic for this space was defined for me. It was our premier issue and I said something like people still need gay media, people still read, we have the staff and talent to deliver quality coverage, etc.

This year I have to actually decide on a topic. I could talk about the obvious —what a wonderful and successful year it has been, how proud I am of this team and how grateful I am to everyone who believes in and supports us.

All of those things are true, of course, but not particularly interesting to anyone except me and those I would pat on the back. And within a few sentences I have already said it.

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Print is not dead and neither is gay media

There is line from the 1985 movie “Mask” that sticks with me, though I haven’t seen the film since I was a preteen.

Told once again that her son’s medical prognosis is dire, the besieged mom, played by Cher, retorts, “If I’d dug his grave every time one of you geniuses told me he was gonna die, I’d be eating [expletive] chop suey in China by now!”

She could have given up on her son as an infant. Instead, she kept doing the work of caring for him, and the two had years of happiness together.

I think of that quote every time I see another headline about how print media is dead, or how gay media is dead, or how at least gay print media is dead.