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Atlanta prepares for 2012 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March

2012 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March

Atlanta is one of more than three dozen cities participating in a global march for LGBT equality on Saturday, April 21.

Organizers hope the event, billed as the “2012 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March,” will draw thousands of LGBT people and their allies to the streets to demand full equality and to raise awareness of ongoing LGBT issues.

The marches are the brainchild of Joe Knudson, an author based in Oklahoma City. Knudson said in a phone interview that the idea for a worldwide event came to him about a year ago when he created a Facebook campaign to draw attention to the struggle for LGBT equality.

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[Photos] Atlanta commemorates MLK Day

11th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast

Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast

The 11th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast was held Jan. 16, 2012, at St. Mark United Methodist Church as part of the official Martin Luther King Jr. march's events. More than 250 people attended the breakfast with the theme "Setting Our Agenda for Justice" and included food as well as discussion surrounding such issues as reproductive rights, gender equality, HIV stigma and economic disparity.

Founded by Craig Washington and Darlene Hudson, the breakfast is a way for black LGBT people "to take the lead in bringing all groups to remember the contributions of lesbian poet activist Audre Lorde and civil rights activist and aide to Dr. King, Bayard Rustin," says Hudson. (Photos by Dyana Bagby)

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Low turnout cancels Savannah March for Equality

Savannah March for Equality called off

Only 15 people gathered in Johnson Square in downtown Savannah on Saturday afternoon to March For Equality. The turnout for the Sept. 24 march was so disappointing, the event’s organizers, Act Out Savannah, decided not to march at all.

“I am ashamed of my own community here today,” said Cody Patterson, executive director of Act Out Savannah, “because they had a chance to actually make their presence known and let it be known that they are here to fight for full federal equality, and they’re willing to do what it takes, and yet as we can tell they are completely absent.”

Act Out has been a part of several rallies and protests in Savannah since forming last summer, typically seeing much larger crowds turn out to show their support. Last year the group gathered almost 100 to rally in response to an alleged attack on a young gay man by two U.S. Marines.

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‘Love Wins’ as Augusta Pride hosts second festival

Augusta Pride parade

Last year, activists in Augusta threw their first-ever Pride celebration, hoping a few dozen people would come. Instead, almost 4,000 flocked to the Augusta Commons for a sweltering day filled with entertainment and empowerment.

The second annual Augusta Pride, set for June 25, hopes to build on that success and reach an even larger audience with the theme “Love Wins.”

“It’s very important for the community, and that is what motivates me,” said Chris Bannochie, Augusta Pride public relations director. “It is time for not just Atlanta to be the only place dealing with these issues. Last year was a huge success — we were wanting to have 100 people, and we had thousands.”

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Augusta Pride

Augusta Pride parade

Augusta hosts second annual Pride festival this weekend

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Pro-Love March reaches out to gay Atlantans

Pro-Love March at State Capitol

Several of Atlanta’s loudest voices for religious inclusion will take to the streets Stonewall weekend to call different faiths to greater harmony.

The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit will team with the Spiritual Living Center to host a march and worship service June 25-26 to spotlight their brand of inclusive faith.

“I feel it’s important that there’s always a voice out there that says that who and what people are is okay,” co-organizer Rev. David Ault said. “We’re all okay with it because we’ve been through it, and it’s old school to us, but there are people out there who may still feel that way, and we feel it’s important to get that message out there.”

Ault is a relative newcomer to Atlanta. He took over the reigns of the Spiritual Living Center last fall but has been preaching inclusion for years. He said the march and rally taking place at the end of Atlanta’s Stonewall Week was a happy coincidence.

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ATL gay promoters and activists honor legacy of MLK

Atlanta HIV / AIDS activst Craig Washington

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted that the gulf between different groups of people was widened not only by outright racism, but also by the unspoken acceptance of the status quo. Although the white and black gay populations in King’s hometown have gained tremendous vibrancy and clout since his era, modern Atlanta’s gay social scene can sometimes feel as segregated as 1950s lunch counters and water fountains.

“We’re creatures of habit, and we tend to stick to things and people that we are accustomed to,” says Gregory Allen, CEO of Xtreme Entertainment, which hosts “The Lion’s Den” parties. “We tend to stay in our own neighborhoods, we tend to party in our own circles.

“There are so many subsets of the LGBT community, and without actually taking the initiative or making the effort to really bring the cultures together, everyone just goes to their own corner — African-Americans partying in their own circle, Caucasians partying in their own circle, Hispanics partying in their own circle,” he adds.

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Savannah’s historic Queer Power March and Pride fest attract hundreds

2010 Savannah Pride festival and Queer Power March

Savannah’s first Queer Power March made history with hundreds of people marching down the streets in the city’s historic district, chanting and holding signs seeking marriage equality, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and domestic partner benefits for Savannah city employees.

Organized by Jesse Morgan, who was a volunteer for Atlanta’s MondoHomo annual fest, and Laura Cahill, the march on Sept. 10 attracted a diverse crowd of people — there were a couple on motorcycles, many people on bicycles, and most walking down the streets as tourists took photos and employees of shops along the route stood outside and cheered. There were young children, elderly men, and several families as well.

The march began in Johnson Square, the city’s oldest, most historic square, and ended at Ellis Square where a rally with several speakers was held.