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He's done it again. For the second time in as many years, Ga. Gov. Nathan Deal has issued a proclamation requested by organizers of the International Day Against Homophobia — but only after sanitizing it into "Mistreatment Awareness Day" and removing any reference to LGBT rights.
"For the second year in a row, Governor Nathan Deal's office has issued a proclamation per … request to recognize the annual Atlanta and Georgia-wide events. Herein lies the problem — the Governor's office refuses to officially address a day against homophobia, instead issuing the vague recognition of 'Mistreatment Awareness Day,' as they did last year," organizers of Georgia's events complained in a Change.org petition today.
The renamed event is sadly ironic, Georgia organizer Betty Couvertier observed last year.
"They couldn't even use the word homophobia," Couvertier, who asked for the proclamation, said then. ""This [proclamation] is a documentation of homophobia."
International Day Against Homophobia (Georgia's committee adds transphobia to the title) is May 17.
2012 marks the third year Atlanta has hosted events meant to draw attention to homophobia and how it continues to impact the lives of LGBT people throughout the world.
From bullying, to violence, to employment discrimination and marriage rights, LGBT people still face an uphill battle seeking the most basic protections. The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), marked by rallies, vigils and gatherings across the world, celebrates its 10th year May 17.
Local organizers are planning three days of events in Atlanta, Toccoa and Hapeville, Ga.
As Atlanta prepares for its third annual observance of the International Day Against Homophobia, it has grown to encompass three days of events scheduled in cities across Georgia.
Atlanta's IDAHO events are being organized by Betty Couvertier, host of the alt-radio program Alternative Perspectives, which airs on WRFG.
This year's event features the theme “sexual diversity in the workplace,” but Couvertier told GA Voice this week that many issues affect the state's LGBT communities and will be highlighted during IDAHO, from housing and employment to healthcare and safe schools.
Progress is being made under the Gold Dome in the fight for LGBT equality, but sometimes “it’s a slow process,” said Candace Campen, director of community affairs for state Rep. Karla Drenner. Campen made the comments at the second annual Atlanta event to honor International Day Against Homophobia on May 17.
Campen, who is also Drenner’s partner, went on to explain at the event held at Unity Fellowship Church that Drenner, who could not attend because she was teaching a class a DeVry, works hard on both sides of the aisle to build coalitions.
In the waning days of the last state legislative session, Drenner introduced the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Bill, HB 630. The bill currently has 70 sponsors and cosponsors, including 12 Republicans and one Independent, according to Georgia Equality. It would cover Georgia’s 174,000 state employees. Currently 21 states bar job discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation, while 12 also ban job bias against state employees based on gender identity, Georgia Equality noted.
Betty Couvertier, 63, has been part of Atlanta’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activist scene since the mid-1990s when she moved here from Brooklyn.
Couvertier is the host of “Alternative Perspectives,” an LGBT radio show that airs Tuesdays from 7-8 p.m. on the community-owned and operated station WRFG 89.3 FM. She also organized the state’s first International Day Against Homophobia last year. The second IDAHO event is slated for May 17 at Unity Fellowship Church.
What kind of jobs have you held in the past?
I was a New York City correction officer and retired early and have been able to explore many things, from bartending, to event organizing, line cook, managing restaurants, raising children and a DIYer (do it yourself).
Why did you start ‘Alternative Perspectives,’ which debuted in 2006?
“Alternative Perspectives” started from a notion that our news was important news and that our voices together could get a message out to the public — to the folks that we work with, play with, shop with, live next to, go to school with.
Organizers host local event at Unity Fellowship Church tonight