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Jon Jones seeks to be first gay black man elected to Atlanta City Council

Running on the platform of that he touts as direct democracy, Jon Jones said he is vying for the Atlanta City Council District 5 seat as a way to give constituents a direct role in what legislation is passed that directly impacts their lives.

Jones would also be the first openly gay black man elected to the city council. Alex Wan, seeking his second term as the District 6 representative, was the first openly gay man elected to the council as well as the first Asian American. Lesbians have served on the council, including Cathy Woolard, who was president of the council, and Anne Fauver, who also represented District 6.

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Atlanta mayor names gay attorney as his LGBT advisor

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed now has an official “advisor on LGBT issues” after appointing gay attorney Robin Shahar to the position Monday. In 2010, Reed told GA Voice he would not have a designated LGBT liaison for his mayoral office, preferring instead a policy of full inclusion that puts gay people in prominent positions based on merit.

The appointment was made public in a press release sent to media late Wednesday evening.

Shahar is also the Chief Counsel in the city of Atlanta's Department of Law and has worked in the city's law department since 1993.

“I am pleased that Robin Shahar will assume this vital role in my administration,” said Reed in a prepared statement.

“In addition to her keen legal mind, she is well-respected in the community and will be an effective ambassador. My administration and I are dedicated to eliminating barriers to equality, fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and engaging the LGBT community across the city," he added.

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Atlanta City Council adds ‘gender identity’ to all city laws that include anti-bias policy

The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved Monday legislation to ensure “gender identity” is included in all of the sections of the city's codes dealing with its non-discrimination policy.

In 2000, the city of Atlanta approved a nondiscrimination ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, domestic relationship status, parental status, familial status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, racial profiling, age or disability.

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Opinion: Don’t vote for Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan just because he’s gay

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I must caution our community about its blind support for Alex Wan. In March The Advocate published an op-ed cautioning the city of New York against supporting candidates simply based on their sexual orientation. I encourage everyone to read this, as it is an issue faced by any metropolitan area with a significant LGBTQ population.

In the run-up to his election to represent Atlanta City Council District 6, Mr. Wan drew heavily upon the support of our community. In 2009 he won his seat and we had great hope and expectation that he would make the LGBTQ community proud. He had the opportunity to be a transformational figure in the politics of our city. He failed.

My concerns about Mr. Wan go far beyond Cheshire Bridge Road. His zoning proposal seems an attempt to have a “key accomplishment” going into re-election. He attempted to destroy businesses, LGBTQ and otherwise. Luckily his ill-conceived proposal failed.

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YouthPride ED removed from Atlanta working group to reduce prostitution

The controversial leader of YouthPride has been removed from the city’s working group studying ways to end prostitution, but the mayor’s office and City Councilman Michael Bond disagree on who made the decision.

Terence McPhaul, executive director of YouthPride, an organization that serves LGBT youth, was informed Friday, March 22, that he was no longer on the group, Bond said. The decision was made days after the city announced those on the working group in a press release.

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LGBT advocates help put Atlanta’s ‘banishment ordinance’ on hold

Chief George Turner

Up to 15 people representing a cross section of Atlanta will be named to Atlanta’s “Working Group on Prostitution” to make recommendations to the city to find ways to curb illegal sex work.

At the Feb. 25 Atlanta City Council Public Safety Committee work session, the city’s Chief Operating Officer Duriya Farooqui made a request to put a hold on the proposed “banishment ordinance” so that she and Michael Julian Bond, chair of the Public Safety Committee, could appoint members to the working group.

The city’s backing off of the banishment ordinance, proposed by Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, came after stiff backlash from social justice activists, including many LGBTQ activists.

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Rinker formally announces bid for Atlanta City Council; would be second openly gay councilman

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Matt Rinker believes the Atlanta City Council can do better when it comes to stopping crime in neighborhoods and he believes District 5 incumbent Natalyn Archibong is not doing her job.

That's why he wants it.

Rinker, 35, who described his job as a real estate professional, announced formally Feb. 5 his bid for the seat in the upcoming November election. Rinker is gay and this is his first run for political office. District 5 includes East Lake, Cabbagetown, Kirkwood, Reynoldstown, Edgewood and East Atlanta where gay bars Mary's and My Sister's Room are located.

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Top local news of 2012: Atlanta backs marriage

Alex Wan and Kasim Reed

Whether it was the threat of the end of the world or just plain old fashioned holiday spirit — or most likely political timing — the month of December brought Atlanta officials together in a cornucopia of outspoken support for LGBT equality. 

First, on Dec. 3, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution 11-2 stating its support for same-sex marriage. The resolution was introduced by Alex Wan, the only openly gay council member, after months of discussion with his colleagues about the difference between civil unions and marriage equality.

Wan, who represents District 6, said he pushed for the resolution because it was “the right thing to do.”