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HBO airs documentary on gay former N.J. governor

Former NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey

Jim McGreevey once envisioned a political career even greater than what he had already achieved as the 52nd governor of New Jersey. But that dream came crashing to a halt in August 2004, when he not only announced that he was gay but that he had been having an affair with a man whom he had appointed as the New Jersey homeland security adviser.

McGreevey, who was married to a woman at the time, became the nation’s first openly gay governor, but announced his resignation at the same time. He claimed he was being blackmailed by the man, an Israeli citizen named Golan Cipel, who instead said McGreevey had sexually harassed him.

How McGreevey, now happily in a relationship with a different man, is tackling the second act of his life is the basis of the new HBO documentary “Fall to Grace.”

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Georgia elected officials come out

Newly out Georgia politicians

Alan Tart came out as gay to his wife in 2000, when his daughter was not yet two years old. The two were promptly divorced. Shortly after Thanksgiving that year, he met David while having a drink at Blake’s in Midtown. The two have been together ever since and are raising Tart’s daughter, now 13.

The couple doesn’t live in Midtown. They live in Milton, the city in northern Fulton County that was incorporated in 2006. Since 2007, Tart has served as a Milton County City Council member. And, he says, he’s never hidden the fact he is gay.

“I have been out. My friends know I’m gay, my work knows I’m gay, my neighborhood knows I’m gay,” Tart said in an interview with the GA Voice.

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How do we define ‘openly gay elected official’?

If a gay politician comes out but many gay leaders never hear about it, is he really out?

In the last two weeks, Georgia’s gay political landscape got its own version of that oft-quoted question: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?

Within days, our state’s short list of known openly gay elected officials jumped by two. Any way you look at it, that’s progress.

But the ensuing reaction raised interesting questions about what it means to be “out,” especially in metro Atlanta in 2011, where gay people are more mainstream than ever, but many still fear discrimination both within their families and the community at large.

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King & Spalding controversy shows danger of basing our movement on marketing

Once upon a time, it was hard to get companies to support LGBT organizations. They worried they would lose their non-gay customers if they were open about wanting gay ones.

So we got smart: We showed how much discretionary income same-gender couples without kids had. Never mind that it was less than opposite-gender couple without kids, it was still a good argument.

Not only did it give the marketing teams cover, it had the added benefit of being true: We were a valuable target market. “The color of diversity,” we would say, “is green.”

As some of the big companies came out as supporters, their employees came out as LGBT. Then their friends and family members started coming out as LGBT-supportive. Visibility was shifting every landscape. Next thing you know, 20 years later, we not only have friends in high places, we have our own people there —running companies, winning election to Congress and hosting major TV news shows.

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Gay candidate announces GOP bid for president

Openly gay Fred Karger announces Presidential bidGay politico and activist Fred Karger filed papers March 23 with the Federal Elections Commission making him the first official candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

“I am also the first openly gay person, in a major political party, to ever run for president of the United States,” Karger noted in a statement on his campaign website.

Karger said in the statement that he plans to discuss a variety of issues during his campaign, but also stressed the historic nature of his long-shot bid.

“I dedicate today to the six teenagers who took their lives this past fall because they were bullied for who they were. … I want to send a loud and clear message to anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer, that you can do anything you want to do in this country,” he said. “You can even run for president of the United States.”

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Local filmmaker spotlights gay politicians ‘Breaking Through’

Filmmaker Cindy Abel examines out politicians in new film

Cindy Abel loves politics and politicians.

“I am cheese ball enough to believe in the promise of America. That sounds very naïve but I’m in love with the promise of America,” she says.

But it wasn’t always that way. She cast her first presidential ballot for Bill Clinton in 1992 when she was 31, at a time when she was coming to grips with her own sexual orientation as bisexual.

“I had never voted until 1992 when I was 31. I didn’t feel we, regular people, had any impact, any voice, any say in the process. But as I sat watching the inauguration I cried — tears streaming down my face in my room in Orlando, Fla. I was recently out. I had reached a point a few weeks earlier that I was not going to lie about who I am,” she says. “I had decided I would rather pump gas for a living than live in the closet.”