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Annual Rustin/Lorde breakfast spotlights city’s LGBT diversity

MLK weekend events in Atlanta

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend in gay Atlanta means parties, parties, parties. Gay promoters know thousands of people are visiting the birthplace of the civil rights icon not only to commemorate but to celebrate.

“People come to Atlanta because of the festivities we all have to offer. But by Atlanta being the home of the civil rights leader, it adds history to the weekend,” says Phillip Boone, owner of Traxx Atlanta, one of the largest black gay promoters in the country. Traxx celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

The tough economy impacts party promoters. Boone says Traxx Atlanta knows the pockets of partiers are not as deep as in the past and is striving to bring affordable entertainment in a city that’s famous for its black gay events.

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Atlanta gay leaders speak at citywide MLK march

Anneliese Singh, co-founder of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, addresses the crowd at the MLK March

Rain could not diminish the words of gay leaders who took to the stage at the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in Atlanta.

A variety of speakers addressed the crowd Jan. 17 at the conclusion of the city’s annual MLK March & Rally. The march, which took place on Auburn Avenue from Peachtree Street to Jackson Street, finished at the King national historic site.

Two openly gay leaders were invited to participate as speakers. Tracy Elliott, the executive director of AID Atlanta, and Anneliese Singh, co-founder of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, spoke of the need for gays to be included in the fight for civil rights and for gays to participate in the fight for others.

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More than 200 attend annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde breakfast to honor MLK Day

The 10th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast brought more than 200 people to St. Mark United Methodist Church this morning, uniting a diverse group of young people and elders alike from Atlanta’s LGBT community to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Rustin, a gay mentor to MLK who organized the renowned 1963 March on Washington and brought Ghandi’s teachings of non-violence into the Civil Rights Movement, suffered greatly as an openly gay man in such homophobic times, including being fired from leadership positions. He died in 1987 at the age of 75.

Lorde, a lesbian author and poet, was also an activist who wrote “Zami: A New Spelling of My Name," which she described as not an autobiography, but a "biomythography." ZAMI, Atlanta’s own organization for black lesbians of African descent, takes its name from Lorde's book. Lorde battled cancer in her later years and died in 1992 at the age of 58.