New generation of Atlanta LGBTQ youth discuss organization
“My mom met my boyfriend today,” Gabriel Haggray said, seated at a patio table at Savage Pizza in Little Five Points with friends Chris Kontopidis and Casey Geyer. “She gave him a hug.”
A huge grin allowed a flash of his blue-tinted braces to shine. This was a huge step for Haggray, 24, a psychology major at Georgia Perimeter College who once had dreams of a ballet career and now hopes to become a criminal profiler for the FBI.
When Haggray came out in the 11th grade, his parents were a bit reluctant to understand and accept. It’s a different story today. Haggray said the support he receives from his family, especially his older sisters, is monumental.
Former members of YouthPride are moving ahead with plans for a new Atlanta LGBT youth organization as the troubled agency remains silent about where it will move after being forced out of its current home due to unpaid rent.
YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul declined an interview this week. The organization must move next month from its space at 1017 Edgewood Ave. and faces a crisis in leadership after admitting that its board of directors has dwindled to below the minimum required in its bylaws and hasn’t met since December 2010.
McPhaul said in a brief statement last month that new sites were being explored and the formation of a new board of directors is “moving fast.” He stressed that YouthPride remains open and operating.
Dreams for a new space, a new executive director and a heavy presence in Atlanta's LGBT communities are at the forefront of what the youth behind JustUsATL are hoping for as they move forward in establishing a new organization serving young people.
At a March 31 town hall forum some 40 people showed up, more than half young people, to discuss the future of a new organization to serve metro Atlanta's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and gender nonconforming young people who are no longer satisfied with resources offered at the troubled YouthPride.
As YouthPride continues to face obstacles including a funding crisis, a group of young people who have used its services before are now breaking off to begin forming their own organization.
The group, named JustUsATL, hosts a town hall forum on March 31 at Greater Smith Church at 7 p.m.
“LGBTQ young people including teens and young adults have come together in a consensus-based process to form a new organization,” the group stated in a press release on March 22, the day after a Fulton Magistrate judge ordered YouthPride vacate its premises as part of a settlement agreement with its landlord, Inman Park United Methodist Church.