article placeholder

Melissa Carter: Listen up, ladies. Stop being gross in 2012.

Melissa CarterIt’s a brand new year. Crowds of resolution-inspired men and women are rushing to gyms and health food stores all over town to satisfy their internal promises. This time of year we make all kinds of goals. We pledge to spend more time with family and friends, kick the smoking habit, get out of debt, and try the latest diet.

I have another resolution to add to the To-Do list, but this one is just for women: Get cleaner in the public restrooms. Quite simply, ladies, you are nasty in the bathroom. And it needs to change. Now.

In recent weeks, I attended the standard regiment of holiday parties at bars and restaurants, and scoured the city for the perfect Christmas gifts. While on my trek, I was forced to frequent several public bathrooms. This is the breakdown of what I have experienced. And it isn’t pretty.

article placeholder

Melissa Carter: A dog with special needs and a special spirit

Melissa CarterWhen enough pressure is applied, a piece of coal turns into a diamond. In nature, this process takes a great deal of time. But I saw this same process happen in a matter of days with GiGi.

A couple of years ago, Katie and I adopted a special-needs dog from Adopt-A-Golden Atlanta. GiGi is epileptic and suffers seizures periodically. Based on first impressions, she didn’t seem to be a dog that people were rushing to adopt.

When we first met her she wouldn’t even look at us and withdrew to the protective legs of her foster family. After we adopted her, she spent the first few days hiding in the corner of our kitchen. Her silence and reclusive nature is how she earned the name GiGi after the famed recluse and silent film actress Greta Garbo.

article placeholder

PETA: Atlanta Pride kickoff party ‘torture’ to aquarium animals

Atlanta Pride kickoff party

Not everyone who attended the Atlanta Pride kickoff party at the Georgia Aquarium came away with rave reviews. Dan Matthews, a senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, published an opinion piece on Huffington Post Tuesday calling the event “a celebration of freedom in a building that celebrates captivity.”

Matthews, who was in town to work at the organization's booth during the two-day festival, attended the event and is urging Atlanta Pride organizers to hold the party elsewhere in the future. At issue for Matthews and PETA, aside from the animals being held in captivity, was the music playing during the event which Matthews says “has further devastated the lives and psyches of these uniquely gifted animals.”

Matthews writes of a conversation he had with an aquarium volunteer in which the volunteer allegedly remarks that the animals in the tanks were irritated by the dance music, so much so in fact, that the beluga whales began to attack the seals kept inside the same tank.

article placeholder

9 million LGBT people living in U.S. according to national report

There are roughly 9 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults living in the U.S. but more concrete data on the number of LGBT Americans is needed to help shape public policies, according a report released today by the Williams Institute.

The report, titled "How Many People Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender?" finds that a good estimate of the number of LGBT Americans — adults — is about 9 million, or roughly the population of New Jersey. The approximate population of the U.S. is more than 311 million people (including children), according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The report from the Williams Institute, a national think tank located at the UCLA School of Law,  also estimates that people who report "same-sex sexual behavior" in their lifetime is as high as 19 million Americans, or 8.2 percent — and this is about the population of Florida. Some 11 percent, or nearly 25.6 million Americans, say they "at least have some same-sex attraction" — or more than the population of Texas.