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Top 10 Ga. LGBT stories of 2011: Hope, heartache and headlines

Georgia LGBT stories of the year

2011 brought several milestones likely to impact LGBT Georgians for years to come. Some are worth celebrating, like Vandy Beth Glenn’s win over transgender discrimination in the Georgia General Assembly, and the first openly gay man to serve in the state legislature.

Others, like the state’s lackluster response to HIV and Shorter College’s anti-gay staff policy, made us shake our heads and wonder how long it will be before LGBT equality comes to the Deep South.

The year also proved pivotal for several well-known local LGBT organizations and businesses — including Outwrite Bookstore, Positive Impact, MEGA Family Project and the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative — that announced major changes this year.

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Braves release anti-bullying PSA to public

Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones

The Atlanta Braves publicly released an anti-bullying video today that was previously available to view only at Turner Field on Braves' game days.

The video features prominent Braves players like Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Tim Hudson and Jason Heyward speaking directly to those bullied, who witness bullying and to bullies themselves.

A Spanish version has also been released featuring infielder Martin Prado, according to the team.

The video will be distributed to more than 100 local area schools as part of the Anti-Defamation League's “No Place for Hate” campaign.

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Atlanta Braves Foundation awards grant for anti-bullying campaign

Atlanta Braves stadium Turner Field

The Atlanta Braves Foundation announced today $150,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations. The Braves Foundation, the charitable arm of the Major League Baseball team, will present the grants to representatives from each of the organizations at tonight's game, the penultimate of the 2011 season, against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Among the recipients is the Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region, which will use the funds in an ongoing anti-bullying campaign called “No Place for Hate,” according to a representative of the Braves.

The "No Place for Hate" campaign connects the Anti-Defamation League with local schools and provides tools and training necessary to combat youth bullying.

Several Braves players are also featured in an anti-bullying video currently being shown at Turner Field on game days.

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Atlanta Braves debut anti-bullying video during ‘Out in the Stands’

Out in the Stands with the Atlanta Braves and Georgia Equality

The Atlanta Braves won in a dominant fashion on Tuesday night, and for the approximately 200 supporters of LGBT equality who bought special tickets benefiting the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization, Georgia Equality, last night was a chance to watch their hometown team beat up on a division rival in the company of other like-minded baseball fans.

For many of the gay and lesbian fans in attendance, the highlight of the night was not Brian McCann's homerun in the sixth inning that secured a win for the Braves, but instead a short public service announcement focusing on raising awareness for anti-bullying efforts in schools.

The video was displayed on the massive outfield Jumbotron during the pre-game warmups and featured several of the team's big names, including game-winner McCann, speaking about combating youth bullying.

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Braves game to benefit Georgia Equality after coach’s flap

The Atlanta Braves will host a Sept. 13 game to benefit Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization, in what is being called “Out in the Stands.”

Georgia Equality and members from PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) met with Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz after pitching coach Roger McDowell was accused of using anti-gay slurs toward fans in San Francisco over Easter weekend.

McDowell allegedly shouted, "Are you a homo couple or a threesome?" at fans and imitated a sex act using a baseball bat. He was suspended and publicly apologized for the incident.

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[Video] Streaker in wedding dress gay marries Braves security

Atlanta Braves streaker

Saturday night, the Atlanta Braves were in the midst of a heated divisional game against the Washington Nationals when a man wearing a white wedding dress, a baseball glove and a Braves hat stormed the field. He was quickly, and violently, tackled by several security personnel and escorted off the field.

The man — who has not been identified publicly — was all smiles as he was escorted off the field by an Atlanta police officer.

Professional sporting leagues understandably discourage dissemination of such antics. Though it's not uncommon for ballpark attendees to run onto the field, television viewers rarely see them. The cameras generally pan away, instead focusing on crowd reactions and the players on the field rather than the intruders.