More than marriage: 5 issues our community must address now

Taylor Alexander

Mary Anne Adams moved to Atlanta in 1988 and since that time she has seen Atlanta's LGBT scene change dramatically.

“One of the biggest changes that I have seen is the degree and level of outness from LGBTQ communities, both internally and externally. Despite the overt homophobia and ever-looming threats of violence, it’s been exhilarating to see young folks on MARTA and at public events showing their affection for each other and just being themselves,” she said.

A proliferation of queer campus groups and openly gay politicians serving in the state legislature are also signs of Georgia's progress, said Adams, who works in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University and as an organizer with ZAMI NOBLA (National Organization of Lesbians Aging).

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Queer radicals to ‘GlitterBomb’ May Day rally at Ga. Capitol

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GlitterBomb! plants down again in Atlanta at a May Day rally to honor workers' rights and labor unions as part of rallies across the world on Tuesday, May 1, at the Georgia Capitol.

"May Day is here and we queers are invested in this international movement. May Day is a movement structured around fighting for workers rights and labor unions," states a press release from GlitterBomb!, an group organized last year and made its first official action by marching in the 2011 Atlanta Pride Parade.

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Atlanta LGBT Civil Rights March participants urged to play role in upcoming elections

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Approximately 50 people marched from Woodruff Park to the state Capitol on Saturday, April 21, as part of the 2012 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March that was to take place in cities across the country and world, according to organizers.

At a rally at the state Capitol following the march, numerous people spoke about the challenges lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face in Georgia and around the world in their fight for full equality.

But they also urged people to be committed and dedicated to achieving equality because the opposition works every day to plant obstacles, target gay-friendly politicians and strategize politically to bring the LGBT movement to a standstill.

One way to show the commitment is to work for candidates who believe in LGBT equality and vote on July 31 in the primary for state and local elected officials.

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[Photos] Atlanta commemorates MLK Day

11th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast

Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast

The 11th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast was held Jan. 16, 2012, at St. Mark United Methodist Church as part of the official Martin Luther King Jr. march's events. More than 250 people attended the breakfast with the theme "Setting Our Agenda for Justice" and included food as well as discussion surrounding such issues as reproductive rights, gender equality, HIV stigma and economic disparity.

Founded by Craig Washington and Darlene Hudson, the breakfast is a way for black LGBT people "to take the lead in bringing all groups to remember the contributions of lesbian poet activist Audre Lorde and civil rights activist and aide to Dr. King, Bayard Rustin," says Hudson. (Photos by Dyana Bagby)

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Bernice King’s gay-inclusive speech at MLK rally surprises LGBT participants

Bernice King took the stage today at Atlanta’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. rally and included gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people among the various groups she said need to come together to fulfill her father's legacy.

In a passionate, sermon-like speech about building unity, King said she didn't care if people were Hindu, Buddhist, Islamist, were from the North side or the South side, were black or white, were “heterosexual or homosexual, or gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender” — that all people were needed to create unity.

LGBT people who attended the rally said they were shocked that King – who has a long anti-gay past — actually acknowledged the community in a public speech, but said they were also glad because it shows people can evolve.

Rev. Maressa Pendermon, a minister with LGBT-inclusive Unity Fellowship Church, said she at first intended to tune out King because of her anti-gay past, but decided to pay attention one more time.

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Male couple claims they were ‘too gay’ for Rev. D.E. Paulk’s congregation

Rev. D.E. Paulk

Rev. D.E. Paulk is fighting to have an inclusive congregation: he’s performed same-sex weddings, invited gay clergy into his church and on June 25 will lead a Pro-Love march to the steps of the Georgia State Capitol. But Paulk might have difficulty striking a balance in his Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, according to two former gay members.

Wayne and Tony Freeman-Howard left the Cathedral earlier this year after a dispute with Paulk about their wedding and their level of public affection. The couple said Paulk declined to go through with their 500-guest wedding and told them to cut down their public displays of affection.

“(Paulk) said it had to be on the down low,” said Tony Freeman-Howard, describing a meeting with Paulk about their wedding plans. “And in that meeting D.E. explained that it would probably be for the best if we moved off the front row.”

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Pro-Love March reaches out to gay Atlantans

Pro-Love March at State Capitol

Several of Atlanta’s loudest voices for religious inclusion will take to the streets Stonewall weekend to call different faiths to greater harmony.

The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit will team with the Spiritual Living Center to host a march and worship service June 25-26 to spotlight their brand of inclusive faith.

“I feel it’s important that there’s always a voice out there that says that who and what people are is okay,” co-organizer Rev. David Ault said. “We’re all okay with it because we’ve been through it, and it’s old school to us, but there are people out there who may still feel that way, and we feel it’s important to get that message out there.”

Ault is a relative newcomer to Atlanta. He took over the reigns of the Spiritual Living Center last fall but has been preaching inclusion for years. He said the march and rally taking place at the end of Atlanta’s Stonewall Week was a happy coincidence.

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Organizers seek to raise awareness of restaurant chain’s anti-gay giving

GetEqual and Queer Justice League Atlanta protested the Chick-fil-A Leadercast Conference

Four people — two dressed in cow costumes wearing sandwich boards that read “Moor equality” and “What’s your beef wif gay people?” — showed up at the corner of Centennial Park across from CNN on May 6 to protest the Chick-fil-A Leadercast taking place at the nearby Georgia World Congress Center.

While the protest was scheduled from noon to 3 p.m., it ended at 1 p.m. because organizers had to return to work.

The small group of Queer Justice League and GetEQUAL GA supporters handed out “coupons” to passersby stating, “Reserve your free Bigot-fil-A Deluxe” with a list of some of the Atlanta-based fast-food restaurant’s anti-gay donations, including $1,000 to the Family Research Council, $5,000 to the Alliance Defense Fund and $15,000 to Serving Marriages Inc. The money is donated through the WinShape Foundation, the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A founded by owner Truett Cathy and his wife, Jeannette, in 1984.

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Anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church to protest in Savannah

Savannah gay activists are gearing up for a rally when the “God Hates Fags” church rolls into town on May 22 to hold a protest at several local churches with plans to return to Savannah on May 27 to protest high schools.

Act Out Savannah, an LGBT activist group, is already organizing a “Rally Against Hate” to be held May 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, one of the churches WBC will be protesting.

“A peaceful protest against bigotry, prejudice and violence will be held in direct response and defiance of the Westboro Baptist Church’s continued mission to bring pain, suffering and humiliation to others in the guise of religion,” states a press release from Act Out Savannah.

Another group, Savannah Unite, plans a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, May 27, to protest Westboro’s visit to Savannah. The vigil will be at Forsyth Park at the Orchestra Stage from 6-9 p.m.