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National LGBT organization forms Ga. chapter as several groups plan Jan. 10 event

Paul Schappaugh, an Atlanta LGBT activist, has taken the helm of the newly formed GetEQUAL GA chapter. His first day as state coordinator was Jan. 1.

"We have our work cut out for us here in Georgia," Schappaugh said.

"We have a thriving diverse LGBTQ community here in Atlanta and my mission and that of GetEQual is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way —  and not just here in Atlanta but throughout the state and the South," he added.

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Breaking the barriers: F to M transgender student athletes

Editor's note: This article was originally published in The Mount Holyoke News and was re-published with permission. To read the original article, click here.

When Kye Allums became the first transgender man to play women’s NCAA Division I basketball this November, the selection spotlighted the controversy surrounding transgender athletes. George Washington University’s official statement about Kye led to multiple news stories and raised questions about existing policies for transgender student-athletes. Currently, most high school and collegiate athletic programs are unprepared regarding appropriate pronouns, locker room etiquette and hormone treatments; the Transgender Law and Policy Institute found that only approximately 300 of 4,000 universities include gender status in their anti-bullying rules. Although NCAA policies prohibit keeping statistics about the amount of transgender student-athletes, the issue is not uncommon.

“[This] is not a new issue, but it’s an issue that’s becoming more and more comfortable to bring up. Even just coming out as trans is easier than it was 10 years ago,” says Merric, who began her career at Smith College as a woman but after coming out as a man spring semester of freshmen year, changed his name from Meredith.

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Trans woman aces round with LPGA

Just in time for this week’s LPGA Tour Championship, a victory for the transgender community makes a hole in one.

Lana Lawless filed suit against the LPGA on Oct. 12 in the U.S. District Court of San Francisco, a direct result of her rejected application for tour membership. The 57-year-old retired police officer suspected a violation of her rights, considering she underwent sex-reassignment surgery five years ago.

This past Tuesday, the LPGA voted an epic change to its constitutional bylaws during a players meeting to begin including members that were not assigned “female at birth.”

LPGA president Michelle Ellis noted, “This was the first hurdle. This had to be done first.”

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State employment non-discrimination bill to be introduced in Ga. General Assembly

Dee Dee Chamble of La Gender, Inc.

A Georgia Employment Non-Discrimination Act including transgender protections will be introduced in the upcoming legislative session, it was announced at this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance at the State Capitol.

Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, told the some 100 people attending TDOR at the state Capitol that a bill was being worked on to be introduced. Currently it is legal for a person to be fired in Georgia simply for being gay.

Graham cited the federal court victory of Vandy Beth Glenn as the reason now is the time to try to get such a bill introduced.

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Religion blog: May we not forget

Saturday is a day of mourning. It is not a day that is on the national calendar. In fact with the exception of a small percentage of people in this country this day of mourning will pass completely unnoticed.

Those who take a moment and remember on this day will find themselves swinging between tears of grief and deep waves of anger not to mention a certain amount of fear of further attacks.

The devastating images of those viciously killed in 2010 for simply trying to be themselves is something we should remember, something that should burn in our souls.

The people we mourn for this day are apart of the community most would just as soon not deal with. Oh we go to watch the drag shows and tell our jokes and we have added a “T” to the GLB_Q but still don’t take seriously enough that folks in the transgender community live in a very dangerous and un-supportive world.

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Come on, Cher — accept you have a transgender son

One thing important to transgender people is being called the correct pronoun. Having others recognize you and respect you enough to call you by the pronoun you identify with is a validation of existence for many.

So when you have gay icon Cher calling her transgender son, Chaz Bono, "she" and a "lesbian" on the David Letterman Show, it's really a tragedy not only to Chaz but to all people in mainstream society — and the LGB world, too — who are still learning the issues transgender individuals face.

According to an article on the Huffington Post, "Cher also said she considers Chaz a lesbian, even though he has described his relationship with his girlfriend as heterosexual."

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Chaz Bono talks about coming out as trans in public eye

Chaz Bono at the 2010 Southern Comfort Conference

Southern Comfort, the annual Atlanta transgender conference, celebrated its 20th anniversary Sept. 6-12, drawing hundreds from around the globe to the Crown Plaza Ravinia Hotel.

The conference included seminars covering everything from surgeons discussing their procedures to open conversations on a variety of topics pertaining to transgender life.

One of the main highlights this year was the appearance of transgender celebrity and advocate Chaz Bono, who also participated in many of the events and hosted a seminar on media activism with Nick Adams, media awards communications manager for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Bono, the child of Cher and Sonny Bono, made national headlines when he came out as transgender. He mingled with the crowd each day and was very gracious with socializing.

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Southern Comfort Conference celebrates 20 years

Chaz Bono will speak at this year's Southern Comfort Conference

When Atlanta’s Southern Comfort Conference begins next week, it does so with its core mission in place, but with a renewed emphasis on entertainment – and with some star wattage in the form of Chaz Bono.

According to Alexis Dee, the chair of the conference as well as a board member, this is the 20th anniversary of the conference, designed for the transgender community.  Dee feels the conference has changed over the years from being information-only. That is one reason this year’s theme is “Party Hearty."

When the conference was launched in 1991, it was done more to provide information to bring the transgender community up to speed, according to Dee. That’s still of vital importance, and the 2010 convention will have the same kinds of information as in previous years.