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JustUs ATL marks one-year anniversary

JustUS ATL

After being fired from a well-paying restaurant job, Lance Berlin, who is transgender, was unsure what to do. Then he took a hike up Stone Mountain with members of JustUs ATL.

“That’s when I decided to get involved with the community,” said Berlin, 25, who believes he lost his job due to his gender identity.

Now working at a Midtown gay bar, Berlin has made organizing with JustUs ATL a major part of his life. He feels the organization is critical for all youth, especially for trans-identified youth like himself.

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YouthPride tax return lists wrong board of directors

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The most recent tax return for YouthPride lists board members who say they were not involved with the group at the time, echoing ongoing questions about leadership and accountability at the Atlanta-based LGBT youth agency.

The handwritten tax return, which is riddled with crossed-out numbers, is for the YouthPride fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2010, and ended Sept. 30, 2011.

The return was stamped received by the IRS on Sept. 18, 2012. It was filed by YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul, who dated his signature May 30, 2012.

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YouthPride leadership remains a puzzle one year later

YouthPride logoThe call went out in January 2012 that if YouthPride did not raise some $40,000, the youth LGBT nonprofit would be forced to close its doors. After the public plea for funds, it was discovered YouthPride did not have a five-member board of directors in violation of its bylaws and that a full board had not met since December 2010.

Now, a year later, the agency is once again sending out fundraising emails — the most recent, sent Dec. 21, has the subject line “Acceptance is a Precious Gift” — but leaders still refuse to grant interviews and either can’t or won’t list a five-member board.

After YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul made a public plea for funds in early 2012, an independent task force volunteered time to investigate the financial and leadership struggles of YouthPride and determined the agency was deep in debt and faced possible state and federal fines for not filing tax forms on time.

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Top local news of 2012: Atlanta backs marriage

Alex Wan and Kasim Reed

Whether it was the threat of the end of the world or just plain old fashioned holiday spirit — or most likely political timing — the month of December brought Atlanta officials together in a cornucopia of outspoken support for LGBT equality. 

First, on Dec. 3, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution 11-2 stating its support for same-sex marriage. The resolution was introduced by Alex Wan, the only openly gay council member, after months of discussion with his colleagues about the difference between civil unions and marriage equality.

Wan, who represents District 6, said he pushed for the resolution because it was “the right thing to do.”