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Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board requests answers from mayor, police chief about Eagle raid

The Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board sent a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed and Police Chief George Turner on Aug. 25 asking for answers to questions raised at its Monday meeting and as follow up to the private meetings the citizen board had with the mayor and chief last month.

The Monday meeting held at Outwrite became quite heated at times as those attending wondered why the board agreed to meet in closed door sessions with the mayor and police chief to discuss, among other things, the fallout of the Eagle raid in 2009. Questions were also raised about the police department following the mandates secured in the city's $1.025 million settlement with the Eagle plaintiffs.

A community town hall meeting is set for Sept. 28 at St. Mark United Methodist Church, but the gay-led Congregation Bet Haverim is asking the date be moved to October because Sept. 28 falls on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

The letter reads from the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board reads:

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Atlanta Police LGBT Board accused of violating state’s Open Meetings Act

The Atlanta Police Department's LGBT Advisory Board met in private sessions with Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner last month and two board members are angry, saying the board violated the state Open Meetings Act.

Betty Couvertier and Tracee McDaniel, who were appointed in 2010 to the LGBT Advisory Board by the mayor after being selected to serve by LGBT Police liaison Patricia Powell, voiced their concerns about the closed-door meetings at Monday's public meeting of the board held at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse.

The board met with the mayor on July 26 at his office in City Hall and with Chief Turner on July 29.

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Date for LGBT town hall meeting with mayor, police chief falls on Jewish holiday

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the time for the town hall forum as from 7:15-8 p.m.

A town hall meeting with the LGBT communities, Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner is set for Sept. 28 at Saint Mark United Methodist Church.

The town hall is open to the public and is scheduled from 7-8:15 p.m.

The date, however, falls on the evening of the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and also on the night of a special pre-event for Out on Film, Atlanta's LGBT film festival.

Philip Rafshoon is a member of the LGBT Police Advisory Board, which is organizing the town hall forum to discuss issues including how the city and police department continue to handle the fallout of the botched Atlanta Eagle raid. Rafshoon said he was disappointed with the date selected.

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Outwrite Bookstore behind on bills; first fundraiser set for tonight

Philip Rafshoon, owner of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, sat down with Richard Eldredge of Atlanta Magazine to discuss the dire financial straits the bookstore — and the city's unofficial LGBT community center — is under as it prepares to hold its first fundraiser tonight.

Rafshoon said things are not pretty, including the store being behind on rent and bills.

"I think by [this week] we will no longer be behind on our rent. But we are behind on some bills and some payments. Everything is not just fine. We try to be upbeat when people are in the store. But the reality is the big LGBT stores that are left in the country are Giovanni's Room in Philadelphia and Outwrite. Lambda Rising in Washington D.C. is gone. A Different Light in New York  is gone. Their location in Los Angeles is closed. And the A Different Light location in San Francisco just closed a few months ago. Out Loud in Nashville just closed," Rafshoon told Eldredge.

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Atlanta LGBT Police Advisory Board meets Aug. 22 at Outwrite


The Atlanta LGBT Police Advisory Board will meet on Monday, Aug. 22, at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse to discuss its recent meetings with Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner about punishments handed down during the raid on the Atlanta Eagle.

The meeting is open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m.

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[Updated] Proposed Ga. redistricting maps pit gay state representatives against gay rights allies

The Georgia General Assembly will meet in a special legislative session to begin Monday to discuss redistricting, among other topics, and two of the state's three openly gay legislators may be in the crosshairs.

Already a proposed legislative map is being discussed in public. State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), the House Minority Leader, has accused the Republican-controlled legislature of pitting black Democratic state House representatives against white Democrats. Abrams, who is black, said Republican lawmakers are "purging the state of Georgia of white Democrats," a charge GOP leaders deny. The full map will be released Friday.

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Gay Milton City Council member seeks re-election

for web body 8-5-11 story reelection announcement

Alan Tart, the openly gay Milton City Council member, announced this week he is seeking his second term in the socially conservative and affluent city located in northern Fulton County.

Milton was incorporated as a city in 2006 and Tart was elected to the City Council in 2007.
Tart and his partner, David, have been together 11 years and moved to Milton in 2005. They are raising Tart's daughter, Madison, 13.

The fact Tart is openly gay didn't become news to the LGBT media until June, but Tart said he has never been in the closet and his neighbors and colleagues have always known he is gay.

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Alliance Defense Fund to Gwinnett schools: Don’t be bullied by ACLU’s ‘radical sexual agenda’

The Alliance Defense Fund is taking on the ACLU in its fight to get Gwinnett County schools and other schools across the country from filtering LGBT websites to students.

While the ACLU argues that filtering LGBT websites prohibits students attending schools in the Atlanta suburb from such websites as the “It Gets Better Project,” the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), GSA Network, and the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the ADF protests that lifting the filter would allow students easy access to pornographic websites.

Opening the filtering program would "allow sites such as, where a woman's naked torso is fondled by three hands;, which advertises a see-through boxer for men; and, where students would see an image of two naked men apparently engaged in a sex act," the ADF wrote in a letter to Gwinnett Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks and emailed to him on Aug. 1, states a report from the conservative online news site World Net Daily.

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Marietta Rainbow Festival returns ‘bigger and better’ for second year

7-22-11 marietta second annual pride preview

Organizers of the second annual Marietta Rainbow Festival are promising a bigger and better Pride celebration this year in an expanded space that will include games, live entertainment, food vendors as well as booths set up for education and information about local organizations. There will also be plenty of space for fun for the kids.

Johnathon Murphy, managing partner of LeBuzz in Marietta and a main organizer of the event slated for July 29-30, says the OTP Pride celebration this year incorporates LeBuzz's new space in the former space of El Mariachi and the neighboring space of Enigma.

"We went from a 6,000 square space and added 14,000 square feet, so now we have about 20,000 square feet to hold the festival this year," Murphy said.