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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.

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GA Spotlight: Someone Cares, Inc.

Someone Cares Inc. of Atlanta is an HIV/AIDS organization that includes a specific mission of helping and advocating for transgender people. Known as R.E.A.L./T (Reaching, Educating, Assisting and Liberating Transgender), the program, just one aspect of Someone Cares, works to provide education, employment opportunities and also HIV/AIDS education and prevention to transgender individuals.

The organization, located in Marietta, helps transgender people find affordable housing and offers physical and mental health services to those who need it.

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Trans woman fired illegally by Ga. legislature will begin receiving pay, benefits Monday

Vandy Beth Glenn will begin receiving state pay and benefits on Monday, but she will not return to work at the Georgia General Assembly as part of an agreement reached today in her case.

Glenn, who was fired in 2007 from her job as a legislative editor after disclosing her plan to transition from male to female, won her federal lawsuit against the state legislature when a judge ruled July 2 she was illegally discriminated against when Legislative Counsel Sewell Brumby fired her for being transgender.

Judge Richard Story, who ruled in favor of Glenn in the lawsuit, also ruled on Tuesday that Glenn must be reinstated to her job on Aug. 9. The defendants asked for a stay on her returning to work and today held a teleconference with the judge to discuss options.