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Homophobia still accepted in pro sports?

International rugby superstar Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen is a ruggedly handsome man who is not afraid to pose shirtless — thrilling many gay men around the world who may not know anything about rugby, but do admire a beautiful body.

Cohen, a U.K. rugby champion who is straight, married and has twin daughters, said he has no qualms with being a “gay icon.”

“That’s fine by me,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Northamptonshire, England.

But Cohen wants to use his notoriety in a way other professional athletes have not. His main cause off the pitch is helping LGBT youth, as well as eliminating homophobia from athletics.

“I’ve never seen a straight athlete do this before. I’m really passionate about this,” he said.

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Jon Stewart eviscerates media over J. Crew coverage

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

On last night's "Daily Show with Jon Stewart," host Jon Stewart called out the major television news outlets for their recent coverage of a J. Crew ad that features Jenna Lyons, the fashion house's Technical Director with her son and his pink toenails.

Ever anxious to point out the absurdity of cable news coverage, Stewart was on point in a segment entitled “Toemageddon – This Little Piggy Went to Hell.”

Check out the video below:

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Melissa Carter to leave Q100’s ‘The Bert Show’

Melissa Carter of the popular Q100 Bert Show announced today she is leaving the station with her last day being April 15.

Carter, who is openly gay, was the first out lesbian on Atlanta's airwaves and is likely one of the few openly gay radio hosts for a major program in the nation.

In an interview with Rich Eldredge, a gay journalist for Atlanta Magazine, Carter said she is ready for something new in her career.

"It's just the right time to try something new," she said. "It's been a privilege to be a part of something as wonderful and unique as The Bert Show. But on a personal level, it's time to challenge myself, take a risk and let the universe pull me in the direction I need to be in."

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Atlanta Police LGBT training includes offensive word ‘transvestite’

The Atlanta Police Department has recently undertaken serious training on LGBT issues with LGBT liaison officers Patricia Powell and Brian Sharp teaching the classes.

At a recent LGBT citizen advisory group meeting, Officer Sharp said training of the entire command staff has taken place and now training of officers and citizen employees will take place through May.

The APD made available the documents and Power Point presentation being used to train officers. Special emphasis is paid to the fact that LGBT people have often faced discrimination and harassment from police in the past. The Stonewall riots are also explained in the training as part of the queer community fighting back against police harassment and as the spark the started the modern gay rights movement.

And while most of the education plan seems fairly proper and empathetic toward the LGBT community, we couldn’t help but be struck that in the definition section of the Power Point presentation, where such words as “sexual orientation” and “transgender” are accurate, the police continue to want to use the word “transvestite.”

According to the APD documents that are being used to train officers about the LGBT community, a “transvestite” is: “Someone who dresses in clothing generally identified with the opposite gender/sex. While the terms ‘homosexual’ and ‘transvestite’ have been used synonymously, they are in fact signify two different groups. The majority of transvestites are heterosexual males who derive pleasure from dressing in ‘women’s clothing’. (The preferred term is ‘cross-dresser,’ but the term ‘transvestite’ is still used in a positive sense in England.)”

However, "transvestite" is not a word that is accepted in the LGBT community. Rather than teaching police officers that the word is positive in England, the APD should specifically state that "transvestite" is considered highly offensive here, so that cops will not use it and inadvertently offend citizens.

According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, “transvestite” is a derogatory term and “cross dresser” is the correct terminology. Of course, a cross dresser is completely different than a transgender person as well.

The APD defines “transgender” as: “A general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies that diverge from the normative gender role (woman or man) commonly, but not always assigned at birth, as well as gender roles traditionally held by society. Transgender is also the state of one’s gender identity not matching one's assigned sex. “

That is a generally good definition.

But to include “transvestite,” however, as a term to explain people in the LGBT community is not accepted anymore, nor has it been for many years. The APD’s efforts to reach out to the LGBT community and to provide this training are to be commended, but it appears that there is still more that needs be to understood.


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Gay Atlanta men attacked in St. Lucia hate crime

st lucia house where atlanta men robbed

Michael Baker will never forget the last night of his recent vacation in St. Lucia. He recalls the sunset as the best yet of his trip, but what happened next may haunt him for the rest of his life.

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Atlanta LGBT immigration advocates fight copycat Arizona bills

Approximately 30 activists gathered at the Phillip Rush Center March 3 to discuss ways the LGBT and queer communities can come together to fight Arizona copycat anti-immigration legislation in Georgia.

On March 3, the state House passed HB 87, also known as the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. The vote was 113-56 in a mostly party line vote in the Republican-controlled House. The bill now goes to the Senate.

“Like the groundbreaking law Arizona enacted last year, HB 87 would authorize state and local police to verify the immigration status of certain suspects. A federal judge halted a similar provision in Arizona last year after the Obama administration argued it is pre-empted by federal law. Arizona is appealing that judge’s decision,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Outwrite’s Philip Rafshoon first out gay person to win Ga. Tech Alumni Legacy Award

Philip Rafshoon, the owner of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse and the unofficial “Mayor of Midtown,” has been named the winner of the 2011 Alumni Legacy Award by Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

Rafshoon, who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management, is the first openly gay person to receive the award, he said.

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Strike a pose!

Our latest nightlife, community and news photo galleries

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APD detective calls on supervisors to provide guidance in light of recent controversies

There's an interesting op-ed piece in Creative Loafing today written by an Atlanta Police Department detective who calls on supervisors to provide mentoring to young officers in light of a string of controversies facing the APD.

Det. Ken Allen, president of the Atlanta Police Union (International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 623), writes in CL that recent accusations against APD officers violating the constitutional rights of citizens are "isolated incidents that are few and far between in comparison to the normal law enforcement behaviors of Atlanta police officers."

While the Atlanta Eagle raid happened more than a year ago, this raid and the officers' behavior were ruled by a federal judge as definite violations of the constitutional rights of the patrons in the bar who were forced to lay on the floor among spilled beer and broken glass while the paramilitary Red Dog Unit illegally searched and detained them. No patrons were charged in the raid and the city eventually settled a federal civil lawsuit in December for more than $1 million.