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Atlanta Police LGBT advisory board meets, questions raised about second gay liaison

Atlanta Police Department LGBT Advisory Board

Questions about the controversial Atlanta Eagle raid, the status of former LGBT liaison Dani Lee Harris and the appointment of a new liaison as well as how to rebuild trust between the LGBT community and the Atlanta Police Department were the main focus of today’s first meeting of the Atlanta Police Department’s newly formed GLBT advisory board.

Chief George Turner addressed the board this morning at its meeting at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, saying that a second LGBT liaison will be appointed soon to help Senior Patrol Officer Patricia Powell. But others wanted to know what happened to Dani Lee Harris, who has been on leave since April.

“If we are to establish trust between the community and the APD there has to be dialogue,” said board member Betty Couvertier, a longtime activist who hosts the LGBT radio show “Alternative Perspectives” on WRFG 89.3 FM. “We need to have information about Dani. We have talked to her and she’s not very happy and we need to take that into consideration. She is without pay.”

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Atlanta police LGBT advisory board meets Monday

The Atlanta Police Department announced the first scheduled meeting of the city’s LGBT Advisory Board.

The panel will meet at Saint Mark United Methodist Church on Monday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. The meeting is open to the public.

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Atlanta police respond to recent gay-related shootings

Atlanta Police Department Major Keith Meadows

In the span of two weeks, three people at least associated with the Atlanta LGBT community have been killed. And while the Atlanta Police Department stresses that gay people are not being targeted, there is a buzz from some asking, “What is going on? Are we safe?”

At press time, there were 62 homicides in Atlanta this year with three knowingly related to the LGBT population, said Major Keith Meadows, commander of the Atlanta Police Department’s Major Crimes Section, during an interview Monday at his office at Public Safety Headquarters on Peachtree Street.

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By the numbers: Same-sex immigration

24,000 Estimated gay couples in the U.S. that include one foreign partner. The Uniting American Families Act would allow them to sponsor their partners for immigration. 11 million Estimated undocumented immigra...
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Atlanta police plan LGBT public safety seminars

The Atlanta Police Department continues to reach out to the LGBT community, as well as other segments of the city’s population, and ask for their help in solving all crimes. Crime Stoppers is the best way to give a tip to police to solve some of these crimes.

Senior Patrol Officer Powell, the police department’s LGBT liaison, will conduct a series of public safety seminars for LGBT people beginning Sept. 23 at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse.

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Chaz Bono talks about coming out as trans in public eye

Chaz Bono at the 2010 Southern Comfort Conference

Southern Comfort, the annual Atlanta transgender conference, celebrated its 20th anniversary Sept. 6-12, drawing hundreds from around the globe to the Crown Plaza Ravinia Hotel.

The conference included seminars covering everything from surgeons discussing their procedures to open conversations on a variety of topics pertaining to transgender life.

One of the main highlights this year was the appearance of transgender celebrity and advocate Chaz Bono, who also participated in many of the events and hosted a seminar on media activism with Nick Adams, media awards communications manager for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Bono, the child of Cher and Sonny Bono, made national headlines when he came out as transgender. He mingled with the crowd each day and was very gracious with socializing.

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Savannah’s historic Queer Power March and Pride fest attract hundreds

2010 Savannah Pride festival and Queer Power March

Savannah’s first Queer Power March made history with hundreds of people marching down the streets in the city’s historic district, chanting and holding signs seeking marriage equality, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and domestic partner benefits for Savannah city employees.

Organized by Jesse Morgan, who was a volunteer for Atlanta’s MondoHomo annual fest, and Laura Cahill, the march on Sept. 10 attracted a diverse crowd of people — there were a couple on motorcycles, many people on bicycles, and most walking down the streets as tourists took photos and employees of shops along the route stood outside and cheered. There were young children, elderly men, and several families as well.

The march began in Johnson Square, the city’s oldest, most historic square, and ended at Ellis Square where a rally with several speakers was held.

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Senate vote expected on repeal of military gay ban

Barely two weeks after a federal judge ruled the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy unconstitutional, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on repealing the ban on openly gay service members.

At press time, the Senate was expected to vote during the week of Sept. 20 on the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes an amendment repealing DADT.

The U.S. House approved in May a defense authorization bill that includes an amendment on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” although it delays repeal until after a Pentagon study on gays in the military is completed and military leaders determine repeal will not hurt troop readiness.

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Citizens board: Atlanta police falsely imprisoned Atlanta Eagle patrons

Atlanta Eagle staff and patrons rally one the one-year anniversary of the APD raid

The Atlanta Eagle patrons and employees were falsely imprisoned and had their civil rights violated when the gay bar was raided a year ago by the Atlanta Police Department, according to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board.

The ruling was made during the CRB’s meeting Sept. 9. The board also ruled that while it was likely abusive language, including racist epithets and anti-gay slurs, was used by the 24 officers during the raid, there was no way to prove exactly who said what. The 24 officers all denied using abusive language, according to a CRB investigator, despite the witnesses and the patrons in the bar who said the abusive language was used.

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State of Black Gay Pride Summit calls for words to become actions

Black Gay Pride

The fourth annual State of Black Gay America produced the same energetic brainstorming that the event has become known for since 2007, along with a visceral impatience among many participants to make sure the lofty dialogue is translated into community action.

“We must create a black LGBT agenda, we must create our strategy to address the ills of societies and challenges we face within black America,” said keynote speaker Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a black gay civil rights organization. “No place is more ready and ahead of the curve for this conversation like Atlanta.

“You have the leadership, the community infrastructure, the attention of your local and state government, the economic soundness and the population needed to bring a wider lens to the issues we face as a community,” Lettman-Hicks added. “Atlanta is prime to develop its own social action agenda. You cannot sit on the sidelines and expect anyone to do for you what you can do for yourself. ATL, are you ready to get off your comfort cushion and do the needed work to make a difference in your lives and your community?”