Leading up to the 1996 Olympic Games, what was once a thriving gay strip of clubs and businesses vanished and many of the LGBT residents found more affordable places to live: Decatur, Candler Park, Ormewood Park, East Atlanta, Grant Park and Kirkwood, among others. Today, even those areas are becoming increasingly gentrified and pricey, forcing the LGBT community to continue to expand along with the city itself.
Even though the loss of a unified community in one area can be perceived as negative, I’d say that our expansion is a good thing.
There is no longer one specific gay neighborhood and no longer a need for a gay ghetto. Atlanta’s LGBT community has spread out across the city, and we continue to do so in political office, business and civic leadership.
Indeed – it is an exciting time to be in Atlanta.
“Why you leave the Big A?” The smiling cashier at Krystal had asked me while passing me my order. “Don’t leave the A again, you hear me?”
“I won’t,” I told her. “I’m back for good. I’m home again.”
I went in search of my past. I found a lot of it – but I also discovered our future as well. For Atlanta’s LGBT community, it looks bright. I’m happy to be a part of it and honored to be in a position to help further our march towards equality.