While it may have only been “Mistreatment Awareness Day” to Gov. Nathan Deal, a crowd turned out May 17 for Georgia’s observance of the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.
The Friday evening gathering on the lawn at First Christian Church of Decatur featured keynote speaker Rev. Ray Waters, entertainers, and a candlelight vigil.
State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) presented a resolution honoring the International Day Against Homophobia signed by Georgia’s three openly lesbian state lawmakers — Waites and Reps. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and Simone Bell (D-Atlanta). The event also received official recognition from the City of Decatur, signed by Mayor Jim Baskett, which was presented by Drenner, according to IDAHO organizer Betty Couvertier. For the second year in a row, event organizers requested an official proclamation from the governor’s offi ce. And for the second year in a row, Deal’s offi ce sanitized the name to “Mistreatment Awareness Day” and removed all specific references to sexual orientation and gender identity.
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.
To mark 2011 International Day Against Homophobia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued this statement earlier today, highlighting the oppression many LGBT people around the world face on a daily basis.
Hillary Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, recently came out in favor of same-sex marriage in New York (and thus presumably everywhere).
Read her full statement below:
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