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Stonewall: Pro-gay rugby star back in town for benefit screening

After a world premiere last fall at Atlanta’s Out on Film Festival, “Legalize Gay” returns for Stonewall Month for a screening to benefit three locally based LGBT groups.

The film, which screens June 11 at Midtown Art Cinema, focuses on several diverse individuals, gay and straight, working to advance LGBT equality. Atlanta ties include a profile of Spelman University alumna Jeshawna Wholley, who organized the first Pride event at the historically black college and was later invited to meet President Barack Obama; and the StandUp Foundation, which is based in Atlanta and was created by U.K. rugby star Ben Cohen.

“When we showed the film as a world premiere in October, it was brand spanking new, and since that time has been well received at college campuses and other festivals,” said Jim Farmer, Out on Film festival director.

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Stonewall: LGBT Braves fan night to benefit StandUp Foundation

Atlanta Braves LGBT fan night

The Atlanta Braves will host the team’s second annual “Out in the Stands” LGBT fan night on June 27. The game is a Wednesday night clash against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Proceeds from special tickets will benefit the StandUp Foundation, an anti-bullying advocacy organization founded by English rugby star Ben Cohen.
Based in Atlanta, the StandUp Foundation works to raise awareness of bullying, with an emphasis on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. It is also dedicated to decreasing homophobia in sports.

Tickets to the game range are available in several packages. The upper box package is $20 and includes one drink ticket at the pre-game patio party. Outfield tickets go for $35 and include two drink tickets. VIP tickets are $200 and include two drink tickets and a meet-and-greet with Cohen in a catered party suite. A portion of every ticket sale, regardless of cost, includes a donation to the StandUp Foundation.

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Atlanta Braves bring back ‘Out in the Stands’

The Atlanta Braves will host their second annual “Out in the Stands” event for LGBT fans of the summer classic during a Wednesday night showdown with the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 27.

This year's game will benefit Ben Cohen's StandUp foundation, an anti-bullying advocacy group based here in Atlanta. Cohen will attend the game and host a meet-and-greet session with fans, the Braves said.

The event was first organized in 2011 after Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was accused of using gay slurs toward fans at a game in San Francisco.

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Pro-gay rugby star Ben Cohen to attend ATL screening of ‘Legalize Gay’ documentary

Ben Cohen, a U.K. rugby star athlete and founder of the Atlanta-based to combat bullying and homophobia in sports, will be in Atlanta June 11 for a screening of “Legalize Gay” as part of Atlanta Pride’s Stonewall month of events.

The screening is a collaboration of the StandUp Foundation, Atlanta Pride Committee and Out on Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film fest where “Legalize Gay” had its world premiere last year. It is also a fundraiser for all three groups, with tickets priced at $15.

A Q&A with Cohen will take place after the movie screening, which is set for 7:30 p.m. at Midtown Art Cinema.

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Tickets now on sale for ATL screening of ‘Legalize Gay’ starring rugby star and gay icon Ben Cohen


Ben Cohen, a U.K. rugby star athlete and founder of the StandUp Foundation based in Atlanta to combat bullying and homophobia in sports, will be in Atlanta June 11 for a screening of "Legalize Gay" as part of Atlanta Pride's Stonewall month of events. Tickets go on sale for the event today at 3 p.m.

The screening is a collaboration of the StandUp Foundation, Atlanta Pride Committee and Out on Film, Atlanta's LGBT film fest that had its world premiere at the festival last October.

A Q&A with Cohen will take place after the movie screening at Midtown Art Cinema.

Cohen, a straight ally, is the first straight sports star to focus his philanthropic efforts on LGBT causes.

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Atlanta Pride releases Stonewall Week line-up


While Atlanta Pride is now held in October, organizers of the LGBT fest continue to recognize the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in June with numerous events and collaborations honoring the what many consider to be the beginning of the gay rights movement.

This year, the Atlanta Pride Committee incorporates Augusta Pride into its Stonewall Week.

“We are excited to feature our sister organization, Augusta Pride, as they celebrate their third festival. They have done an amazing amount of work in such a short time and we are delighted to feature their event and encourage folks to make the trip to Augusta to enjoy the fruits of their labor," said Atlanta Pride Committee board chair Glen Paul Freedman in a statement.

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Atlanta Pride in photos

The 2011 Atlanta Pride festival drew thousands to Atlanta's Piedmont Oct. 8 - 9 celebrating Pride and GA Voice photographers were on the scene. Community, nightlife, and entertainment events provided highlights for the three-day Pride festival.

Editor's note: Additional galleries are forthcoming. Check back to see photos from the Starlight Cabaret, the Atlanta Pride parade and more.

Heaven Pride Party with DJ Vicki Powell

Heaven Party with DJ Vicki Powell

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Ben Cohen kicks off his StandUp Foundation

Rugby star Ben Cohen auctions off personal items to raise money for his StandUp Foundation

Ben Cohen's "Acceptance Tour 2011" and the Atlanta Bucks held a cocktail reception on Friday, May 20, 2011, at the Livingston Restaurant & Bar at Georgian Terrace.

Cohen, a straight rugby star from the UK, also announced his StandUp Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending bullying and combating homophobia in sports, would be based in Atlanta.

Cohen, now retired, auctioned off a few jerseys as well as the last pair of "boots" he was wearing when he stepped down from the sport. The boots sold for $2,500 and thousands of more dollars were raised for the foundation. Brian Sims, president of Equality Pennsylvania, was with Cohen as part of the tour. Sims came out as gay in 2000 while captain of his college football team, Bloomsburg University in Division II and is the only known openly gay college football captain.

To view more photos from the event, click here.

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Rugby star and gay icon Ben Cohen selects Atlanta as home for his StandUp Foundation


Atlanta will be the home for Ben Cohen's StandUp Foundation as well as his StandUp brand, it was announced today.

Cohen, the hunky — and straight — rugby star (now retired) from England, has been in Atlanta this week as part of his “Acceptance Tour 2011” to bring awareness about bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and to find ways to stop it.

“I have a big following, I have a voice, I want to use it,” he said. “I’m in a privileged position and I want to set a precedent. Being gay is not a disease, it’s not a choice," he told the GA Voice in a recent interview.

Making Atlanta the home base for his foundation was a simple choice, Cohen said in statement released late Friday. Because Atlanta has been dubbed in the past as the “gayest city” in America by The Advocate and is home to the civil rights movement, the city "too busy to hate" was the best place.

“I can think of no better place to base our operations and make the differences we intend to make,” Cohen said.

Cohen said he is also the first straight athlete to focus his energy on LGBT causes and anti-bullying measures.

“The Foundation is believed to be the world’s first organization dedicated solely to the cause of anti-bullying, wherever and to whomever it occurs,” states a press release from the StandUp Foundation.