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Melissa Carter: Pride can mean more than a party

Former Atlanta Disc-Jockey Melissa CarterBreak out that gaudy rainbow attire because Pride is back in town! I have to be honest: I had a hard time deciding what to write about this week in honor of Pride.

Among the choices was my first Pride celebration in 1992 when I was still in the closet. Weaving my way among the 60,000 people I realized with watering eyes that I was not the only lesbian on the planet. Or ten years later, when I was honored to be a grand marshal in the Pride Parade. I was in kidney failure and on dialysis, but my friends made sure to crank the AC in the convertible that day so I wouldn’t pass out.

There are great memories of marching in the parade every year afterward with Q100, even pushing my way down Peachtree Street in a torrential downpour. If the crowd was getting drenched while celebrating, I thought, so would I.

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Melissa Carter: Freaks, geeks and letters that jiggle

Former Atlanta Disc-Jockey Melissa CarterAh, it’s that time of year again, Atlanta: Dragon*Con.

Many who have never attended the convention see it as just freaks and geeks who like to dress up in elaborate costumes for a weekend. This may be partially true, but Dragon*Con happened to be where I realized something about myself that I had never known before: I have a reading disorder.

Besides parades and parties, Dragon*Con offers a large variety of sessions on everything from costume design to how to conduct a successful ghost hunt. Last year, I attended a session on graphic novels that included a panel of guests.

One speaker was a librarian who expressed his frustration at the difficulty he had in convincing schools and libraries to take graphic novels seriously. He credited these books with saving his education. As a child he had suffered from a learning disorder and the only books he could read growing up were graphic novels.

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Melissa Carter: A brief life inspires us to never give up

Former Atlanta Disc-Jockey Melissa CarterOne of the things I admire most about my girlfriend, Katie Jo, is her community. A Georgia native, Katie has maintained friendships with folks from high school, college, graduate school, and her jobs.

Since I moved away from Tennessee, most of my hometown and college friends live hours away. Plus my growing phobia of the telephone hinders any opportunity for those hours-long conversations to catch up on every detail of each other’s lives.

One group of Katie’s friends is the “Book Club.” I put this in quotes since I’m not convinced they actually read books or even talk about them. My take on their monthly meetings is like a shirt I saw recently — they “Read Between the WINES.”

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Melissa Carter: How our country’s journey into space inspired my own journeys

Former Atlanta Disc-Jockey Melissa CarterI still have stretch marks. They’re not from pregnancy or weight loss. Instead, my stretch marks came in the early ‘80s during a very painful growth spurt. And this week’s final space shuttle landing reminded me of that time.

My love of all things space began at a young age, and my first dream was to be an astronaut. Of course, at the same time my biggest fear was flying so I soon realized the only way I was ever going to see space was by watching “Star Trek.”

My room back in 1981 was filled with images of all things celestial and in my mind those walls doubled as NASA Control. Scotch tape framed images of the space shuttle Columbia, whose maiden voyage had just taken place, at about the time the aching of my growing legs kept me up at night in tears. And to see those images of Columbia’s dusty landing at Andrews Air Force Base helped focus my mind on something other than being elongated in torture like Stretch Armstrong.

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Marriage, money and mathematics

Former Atlanta Disc-Jockey Melissa CarterI really didn’t think they would do it. Yet while it is historic that New York legalized gay marriage, you would think it would already be legal there by now and even be allowed in California (and we saw how that worked out with Proposition 8).

I mean, both of these states pride themselves on being more progressive than the rest of the country on most everything. I think a majority of the United States would agree with them, especially Georgia.

But the fact that New York and California still fight it out on whether gays should be allowed to marry in their state proves to me they aren’t as progressive as they would like to think. And Georgians should not assume that we have to wait in line behind the Northeast and West before we get our turn at anything, including gay marriage.