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Lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin to keynote HRC Atlanta Dinner

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin

The Human Rights Campaign has announced its keynote speaker for the upcoming HRC Atlanta Dinner and Awards Gala.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi.), who represents the state's 2nd Congressional District, will be the dinner's featured keynote speaker. Baldwin, a candidate for one of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seats, is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and one of only four openly gay members to serve in the U.S. Congress. She was the first person to be openly gay when elected to Congress (others had come out while in office) and if successful in her current campaign, would be the first openly gay U.S. senator.

The HRC says of Baldwin:

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Sniping over Black Gay Pride, other events highlights our community’s sad tendency to hold back our own

Black Gay Pride attendees

Crabs in a barrel.

In the frenzy to get out, each claws onto the one above, intending to pull itself up and closer to freedom. Instead, of course, it only succeeds in pulling the other crab back down, leaving all in the bottom of the barrel and destined for the bottom of a boiling pot of water.

The image is often invoked to illustrate how minority communities, including LGBT communities, have a tendency to hold their own back, rather than working communally to confront their real oppressor. While we claw at each other, those in power stand back and get ready for dinner.

I was reminded of this as the GA Voice began our coverage of Atlanta’s 2011 Black Gay Pride celebration, which is held over Labor Day Weekend. It only took minutes from the story being posted to our Facebook page for the negative feedback to begin.

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‘Precious’ storyteller to appear at Atlanta HRC dinner

Director Lee Daniels

After surviving a stifling childhood where he was teased for being gay and trapped in the closet, Lee Daniels had no desire to bring his fear and insecurity with him to Hollywood.

“My nightmare was being closeted until I was 18,” says Daniels, the Oscar-nominated director of “Precious,” who will be attending the Atlanta HRC Dinner May 14, themed “Our Stories.”

“I was bullied, and I know that feeling of really wanting to kill yourself and feeling alone,” he says. “I don't think that we're doing enough to deal with the kids that are being bullied. I know that we think that we are, but I just don't think we're doing enough.”

Daniels is passionate about creating a less hostile landscape for LGBT youth, even as he credits his rough upbringing with his success as a filmmaker.

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HRC Dinner features Mo’Nique, celebrates ‘Our Stories’

Atlanta HRC Gala and Dinner preview

Festive as it has been over the past two decades, the Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Dinner has not always been a celebration. Many years, it’s been a place where LGBT Georgians lick the wounds caused by legislative setbacks and vow to persevere through daunting challenges.

The 24th annual Atlanta HRC Dinner, which takes place May 14 at the Marriott Marquis, promises to be a party.

It’s hard to imagine not having an exceptionally good time in a room where actress, talk show host and comedian Mo’Nique is standing behind a microphone, as she will be when she accepts the Ally for Equality Award at the black-tie dinner. And for the second year in a row, LGBT activists and HRC supporters will celebrate a major federal victory for the movement: the recent repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

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Mo’Nique to receive ‘Ally for Equality Award’ at Atlanta HRC Dinner

The Mo'Nique show

Academy Award-winning actress Mo’Nique will receive the “Ally for Equality” award that the 2011 Human Rights Campaign Atlanta Gala Dinner.

According to the HRC:

The Ally for Equality Award recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who dedicate time, energy and a whole-hearted commitment to better the lives of LGBT people. This award is given to allies outside the LGBT community who stand up on behalf of equality for all Americans. Recipients have shown a commitment to making America a place where LGBT people can be open, honest and safe at home, at work, in the community and in the media. The awards presented at the Human Rights Campaign gala dinners are the highest honor the organization bestows in the area of achieving equality for LGBT people.

Mo’Nique, a former Queen of Comedy, shot to national prominence last year after her portrayal of the abusive mother in "Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire."

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HRC Atlanta bowls, dines for equality

HRC sponsors local bowling league

The HRC Atlanta Steering Committee is gearing up for a busy season, with its popular Bowling for Equality set for Feb. 26 and ticket sales underway for the signature Atlanta HRC Dinner in May.

The Atlanta Steering Committee is the local affiliate of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group. The 11th annual Bowling for Equality features bowling in “waves” from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. DJ Shane V will spin.

“The bowling event is first and foremost a fun event for every bowling level. We call it a tournament and certainly some teams get competitive with each other, but the majority of people to have a good time and support the work of HRC,” says Ed Patterson, spokesperson for the Atlanta Steering Committee.

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AGLCC awards gala

Join the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce tonight as it hosts its annual Community Awards Dinner