Friends, supporters to gather to honor second openly gay Ga. state legislator

Reception today honors state Rep. Simone Bell

State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) is holding a reception today at 6 p.m. at The Glenwood Restaurant to celebrate the end of her first year under the Gold Dome and to look forward to her next two years in office.

Bell faces no opposition in the July 20 Democratic primary and no Republican challengers qualified to run against her for the Nov. 2 election, ensuring her a second term serving District 58.

Bell served only one year in the General Assembly this year after winning a special election to replace Robin Shipp, who resigned the seat due to her full-time job as a prosecutor.

Creative Loafing awarded Bell the “Welcome, Freshman” award this week. CL notes that Bell is a welcome presence in the legislature by saying, “She also opened up her colleagues’ eyes during a House Women’s Caucus meeting when she asked private foster agency representatives how they deal with children who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. According to sources in attendance, there was silence, but congratulations from colleagues afterward. With only one other openly gay state lawmaker in office – state Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Decatur – it’s nice that the LGBT community has such a vocal representative in an environment that’s typically been hostile to its needs. Add in the fact that she’s already been appointed vice chair of a House subcommittee and you can see Bell is no seat warmer.”

Last weekend, Bell, the first openly lesbian African American elected to a state legislature in the country, was honored at the Atlanta Human Rights Campaign dinner and silent auction. You can watch her speech when accepting the Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award here.

The suggested contribution for tonight’s event is $50.

The Glenwood Restaurant is located at 1263 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316.