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[Video] Sharon Needles meets with LGBT protesters before Atlanta show

A meeting between Sharon Needles, winner of the past season of “Rupaul's Drag Race,” and LGBT activists angered by her use of the word “nigger” in her act ended abruptly today after two people planning to protest her show walked out.

Aaron Coady, who performs as Needles, attended the meeting out of drag. A tearful Coady said he felt berated by the activists who questioned his use of the racial slur. He defended Sharon Needles as a “transgressive” character meant to push buttons and shine a spotlight on all that is dark in society.

“If people educated themselves on the type of work and didn't just judge it by my costume choices and simple screen shots and really investigated why I use the imagery I use, I'm really more on their side than they think,” Coady said, tears rolling down his face.

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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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Soulforce Equality Ride burns through Georgia

Soulforce visits the Georgia Captiol

Soulforce, an organization dedicated to fighting anti-LGBT religious and political oppression, brought its Equality Ride to Georgia earlier this month, attending a protest, speaking at colleges and attending town halls during its four-day trek through the Peach State.

This year marks the second year that the Equality Ride passed through Georgia. It began in 2006 and has seen more than 100 riders participating in dialogue in more than 50 schools across the country.

For J. Mason, co-director of the Equality Ride, the highlight of the visit was a meeting with the president of Carver College, Robert Crummie. Mason, 27, identifies as transmasculine.

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‘Pray away the gay’ is a sham, say protesters at Exodus International ‘ex-gay’ conference


Through chants and signs that read "Gay by nature, proud by choice," some 50 people made sure those attending the Love Won Out Conference on Saturday heard their message of "you can't pray away the gay." Exodus International hosted the conference  at Midway Church in Villa Rica, Ga.

Timothy Elder, 21, a student at the University of West Georgia, is a devout Christian. But he struggled with his sexual orientation because he was told he would be condemned to hell.

"Before I got accepted to Christ, I was told constantly that God hates gays. And by being a Christian, I was setting myself up for failure," he said.

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LGBT groups to protest ‘Love Won Out’

Exodus International's Alan Chambers

LGBT rights activists are gearing up to counter an upcoming visit to Georgia by Exodus International, which brings its “Love Won Out” conference to Villa Rica on Feb. 18.

The Queer Justice League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, GetEqual and Truth Wins Out are coming together to educate the public at a community discussion at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer on Feb. 16 and also planning a protest at the “Love Won Out” conference at Midway Church in Villa Ricca on Feb. 18.

The organization at the center of their ire is Exodus International, a 35 year old “ministry committed to encouraging, educating and equipping the Body of Christ to address the issue of homosexuality with grace and truth” according to its website.

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Anti-gay street preachers target North Ga. mountains

The North Georgia mountain town of Helen was the target of an anti-gay demonstration on Aug. 13, featuring signs, gay slurs and even physical harassment, according to Mel Marsh, a transgender man from Covington who witnessed the event.

Marsh contacted the GA Voice about the demonstration in an email that was also sent to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the White County News.

“We witnessed a truly horrible anti-gay religious protest in the middle of the main strip of town. People shouting ‘Homo Sex is a Sin’ and calling people faggots and all around being a nuisance and not letting anyone get past them,” Marsh recalled in the email.

“They were also insulting everyone’s religion although this was primarily an anti-gay rally. They were also calling for our (gay people’s) deaths. These people were laying hands and grabbing patrons/customers and disrupting business and harassing everyone,” he said.