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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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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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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?”

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Atlanta police report five anti-gay bias crimes for 2010

So far this year, the Atlanta Police Department has classified five reported crimes as anti-gay bias crimes. A total of 17 bias crimes, which also include race, gender and religion, have been reported and classified by APD for 2010.

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Savannah Pride shines despite rain, pays tribute to 9/11

Despite a heavy downpour at the height of Savannah Pride on Saturday, hundreds of people celebrating being gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender didn't let the weather damper their spirits to celebrate the 11th annual fest.

Cindy Ussery, 40, of Milledgeville, was holding her sleeping grandson, Jackson, age 20 months.

"This is his first Pride," she said. Ussery was there with her partner, Stacie McCant, 38. Jackson't tiny t-shirt read "I love my nanas."

"We've never been to Savannah Pride. We've been to Atlanta Pride," McCant said. Although they were soaked in the heavy rain that fell mid-afternoon, they said they wanted to stay for the full fest.