Betty Couvertier, 63, has been part of Atlanta’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activist scene since the mid-1990s when she moved here from Brooklyn.
Couvertier is the host of “Alternative Perspectives,” an LGBT radio show that airs Tuesdays from 7-8 p.m. on the community-owned and operated station WRFG 89.3 FM. She also organized the state’s first International Day Against Homophobia last year. The second IDAHO event is slated for May 17 at Unity Fellowship Church.
What kind of jobs have you held in the past?
I was a New York City correction officer and retired early and have been able to explore many things, from bartending, to event organizing, line cook, managing restaurants, raising children and a DIYer (do it yourself).
Why did you start ‘Alternative Perspectives,’ which debuted in 2006?
“Alternative Perspectives” started from a notion that our news was important news and that our voices together could get a message out to the public — to the folks that we work with, play with, shop with, live next to, go to school with.
[The show is] about who we are, telling our stories: real people speaking up and taking a stand. WRFG gave me that opportunity to have a voice — independent media — where we can just tell it like it is.
Do you believe Lady Gaga is an LGBT activist? Do you like her music?
Yes and yes. She has a soapbox and she is using it, which is good. And I love “Born this Way.”
Tell us about IDAHO and why you decided to organize the event last year and this year.
IDAHO for me is an opportunity to be part of the world movement for equality. IDAHO is international — folks all around the world observing who we are and breaking down walls. It is putting it up front that hate, bigotry, and fear cannot continue, that it will destroy us if we do not communicate, articulate, find that common ground that makes us one.
Plus [IDAHO] is an opportunity for the politics, the social, the networking, the people, religion, and the search for the common good to come together in one package, one event that can spread and is spreading.
With the addition of the celebration of this year’s theme “Same-Sex Couples…A Story of Love” at the Church Without Walls on May 15, we hope to continue the expansion in the years to come. And, yes, I’m planning on 2012 already.
If you could give one piece of advice leaders in our LGBT movement, what would it be?
The necessary conversations after so many years of hush-hush are happening — we are having conversations about sex, about violence in our community, about relationships, about race, about religion. And we are having them not only with our LGBT family but also with our allies and some who don’t see themselves as our allies.
These conversations must continue and we must take them from the kitchen table to the pulpits and to the halls of our legislature.
Where do you get those fancy hats you wear?
I laughed out loud on that one. Here and there, mostly at thrift shops.
Top photo: Betty Couvertier has been involved in Atlanta LGBT activism since the mid 1990s.