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[Video] LGBT History Month Icon for Oct. 26: RuPaul

LGBT History Month

October is LGBT History Month. The month of observance was first organized in 1994 by high school teacher Rodney Wilson to coincide with National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11) and was meant to highlight the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement.

In 2006, the Equality Forum began promoting the annual commemoration by featuring a different LGBT icon each day.

“This is the 7th anniversary of LGBT History Month. There are a total of 217 Icons that inspire pride in our heroes and our impressive national and international accomplishments,” said Malcolm Lazin, Equality Forum executive director, in a statement.

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[Photos] Starlight Cabaret closes Atlanta Pride in drag splendor

Starlight Cabaret

The best drag performers from Atlanta, Decatur, Marietta and even Athens took the Atlanta Pride stage for Sunday evening’s Starlight Cabaret, closing out the annual festival in a fitting finale of wigs, glitter and glamour.

The show opened with the Armorettes, the camp drag troupe that recently celebrated raising $2 million for the fight against HIV, and closed with all of the performers and Pride volunteers on stage for “Seasons of Love.”

In between were dozens of drag queens and kings who strutted, posed, twirled, shimmied and shook to tunes ranging from hip-hop to country, with plenty of dance divas in the mix.

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After racism controversy, Sharon Needles to return to Atlanta for ‘Miss Originality 2012’

Sharon Needles

“RuPaul's Drag Race” winner Sharon Needles will return to Atlanta this November for the “Miss Originality 2012” fundraiser, although after her last visit, a more fitting name might be “Miss Controversial.”

Needles will judge a drag competition and will perform two numbers to raise funds for Lost-N-Found Youth and Pets Are Loving Support (PALS), organizers said today.

The Nov. 9 event is sponsored by Brushstrokes, David Magazine, Gayborhood, Boy Next Door and will be hosted by Jungle Nightclub.

Last year's “Miss Originality” fundraiser raised $2,700 for local charities, including Jerusalem House and PALS, according to a press release.

The press release makes no mention of the intense debate sparked by Needles’ last performance at Jungle, noting only that “she’s been lauded for a refreshing alternative ‘spooky’ aesthetic and self-deprecating humor.”

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Sharon Needles pokes holes in Atlanta’s LGBT community

Sharon Needles

“Love you nigger.”

When Sharon Needles, winner of season four of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” used those words to autograph a photo of herself after an April performance in Nashville, she ignited a controversy that followed her to Atlanta late last month.

Out of drag, Needles is a white gay man. The autograph recipient identifies as a queer woman of color.

For critics, including the small group of activists who protested Needles’ June 27 performance at Atlanta gay bar Jungle, the contrast makes Needles a racist who had no right to use the slur.

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[Video] Sharon Needles meets with LGBT protesters before Atlanta show

A meeting between Sharon Needles, winner of the past season of “Rupaul's Drag Race,” and LGBT activists angered by her use of the word “nigger” in her act ended abruptly today after two people planning to protest her show walked out.

Aaron Coady, who performs as Needles, attended the meeting out of drag. A tearful Coady said he felt berated by the activists who questioned his use of the racial slur. He defended Sharon Needles as a “transgressive” character meant to push buttons and shine a spotlight on all that is dark in society.

“If people educated themselves on the type of work and didn't just judge it by my costume choices and simple screen shots and really investigated why I use the imagery I use, I'm really more on their side than they think,” Coady said, tears rolling down his face.

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East Point Possums headline Atlanta’s Stonewall Month

East Point Possums show

The 1969 Stonewall Riots were rooted in naughtiness: gay men and women partying at the Stonewall Inn during a time when it was forbidden for homosexuals to gather in public, and their rowdy defiance when New York police attempted to break up their party by hauling people off to jail.

So it’s fitting that one of the marquee events of Atlanta’s Stonewall Month – the East Point Possums drag show – also originated with a little mischief.

“When I first went to East Point [city officials] for the permits, I billed it as a Shakespearean variety show,” said Rick Westbrook, aka Sister Rapture Divine Cox, who helps organize the annual drag extravaganza.