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Irwin Street Market showcases local food vendors

Irwin Street Market used to be home to an old air conditioning and repair facility, but in 2006 Jake Rothschild had the idea of turning the space into an incubator for local food vendors as he was expanding his business, Jake’s Ice Cream.

Rothschild, who is gay, said his initial idea was to offer a space for local food vendors to showcase their wares.

Six years later, some 14 food merchants call Irwin Street Market home – including a coffeehouse, a bakery, several restaurants and a cooking school, which was voted one of the top three cooking schools in Atlanta in a recent Yelp survey.

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Working to TILTT the world to trans equality

Cheryl Courtney-Evans

Cheryl Courtney-Evans co-founded Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth in 2007 after deciding it was time to have an organization offering resources to all transgender people.

“I thought it was time for there to be an organization for trans men and trans women … the first one in the area to be co-ed,” she says.

Courtney-Evans founded TILTT with Lisa Newsome, now with Someone Cares, an HIV/AIDS group helping people of color and transgender people. The goal of the new group was to not segregate but rather bring different groups of people together.

Courtney-Evans has been employed in the past by La Gender Inc., an organization working primarily with transgender women, and Aniz Inc., an organization that offers HIV prevention to families and provides support and resources to those affected by HIV.

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Opposites attract for Jordan Gray Interiors

Jordan Interior Designs

Antoinette Jordan and Mark Snipes make a dynamic duo as business partners and interior designers for Jordan Gray Interiors. While Jordan is a heterosexual female and Snipes is an out and proud gay man, the two complement each other in many ways, they say.

“It’s great working together. We have a lot in common,” Snipes says. And, yes, that includes men, he laughs.

Jordan, who began the company on her own five years ago, befriended Snipes at Joseph A. Bank, where they both currently work. The two have been in business together six months and they hope to eventually make their jobs with Jordan Gray Interiors full-time.

“We met and became friends and I found out he used to have an interior design business in Charlotte, N.C.,” Jordan says.

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CHRIS Kids helps LGBT youth find home, support

Moving to a new home is a milestone for any family. For CHRIS Kids, a nonprofit Atlanta agency that provides housing and support to LGBT and other young people, it’s particularly momentous.

Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal will be on hand Aug. 30 as CHRIS Kids celebrates the grand opening of the CHRIS Counseling Center, Education Center and Summit Trail Apartment Community.

The move unites CHRIS Kids’ administration and other programs with its program to help young adults who were homeless or aging out of foster care that has already moved into the Summit Trail apartments. It also puts the CHRIS Kids administration closer to the agency’s eight group homes for younger children.

“It’s a huge deal because a place that represents home, family, stability and safety for kids needs a permanent home,” says CHRIS Kids CEO Kathy Colbenson. “A home needs a home.”

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Melvin Arundelli: why ‘anyone can be a gay bird’

Melvin ArundelliMelvin Arundelli, 34, was born in Italy but has lived in Atlanta since he was just over a year old. Four years ago this month, he crashed his motorcycle into a telephone pole, and suffered severe traumatic brain injury. He was hospitalized at Grady for five months and in a coma for most of that time.

Arundelli now uses a wheelchair, has limited movement in his left arm, is legally blind and can’t smell or taste. But he’s alive, he says, and his sense of humor remains firmly intact.

“Meet Boosheka,” he says, inviting friends to sit on the comfy cushion on his wheelchair.

“She’s my girlfriend. The best thing I got when I left Grady,” he adds with a laugh.