Your Voice

article placeholder

Georgia Bikes responds to Melissa Carter’s column on sharing the road with cyclists

Melissa Carter’s op-ed on February 15th, “Cars aren’t the problem with ‘Share the Road,’” generated quite a stir throughout the state. Fans of the piece applauded her targeting of people on bikes, while those who ride bicycles (or support those who do) expressed outrage at many of her opinions.

I’d like to set the record straight and discuss the facts about bicycling in Georgia.

First off, Ms. Carter says she does not “believe in sharing the road.” With all due respect, it’s not a matter of belief. As in every state, bicycles are recognized as vehicles in Georgia. Sharing the road is a legal responsibility as well as a basic act of courtesy.

article placeholder

Let the Truth Come Out: National Coming Out Day 2012

National Coming Out Day

Coming out is the generally understood to be the act of an individual confirming something about themselves that was previously unknown, unconfirmed, or unspoken. While the term is usually associated with being transgender, gay or lesbian, it can also apply to being HIV-positive.

One comes out to confirm an identity that is considered unacceptable which is why one hides it. When someone comes out for the first time, the narrator may be revealing something fundamental about herself that she had hidden to avoid repercussions like getting fired, thrown out of her home, being humiliated or rejected.

When we come out to a brother, co-worker or friend, the anticipated response carries added weight. The impact of that response is charged by the depth of the relationship. The value we assign it is scaled by what that person means to us and what we seek from them.

article placeholder

Attorney disturbed by ‘twists and turns’ from LGBT community in Brandon White case

Letter to the Editor:

In my 17 years of practicing law I have NEVER seen a case take the twists and turns that Brandon White's case has taken. What started with the senseless attack of a young gay male, ended with the politicizing of the sentencing of his attackers. Every day young black men are sentenced to prison by Judges in Fulton County. Will these respected members of the LGBT community be in court next week advocating that those young black men not be sentenced to prison?

article placeholder

Remembering Bayard Rustin: The Centennial of a Remarkable Life

images/opinion/3-15-12/bayardrustinweb.jpg

If you are like most people in the U.S. you probably do not know who Bayard Rustin was, nor how profoundly he influenced the civil rights movement. The same histories that erased his contributions exaggerated Martin Luther King Jr.'s role as the architect of Montgomery bus boycott and recast Rosa Parks as an otherwise unremarkable lady whose fabled act of defiance was prompted by weary feet.

Rustin no less than any other agent of his era, including King himself, was indispensable to the greatest successes of the movement and the development of its earlier, more vulnerable stages.

During the forties, he participated in direct actions that prefigured the signature efforts that would define the movements' peak. As a protégé of preeminent labor leader A. Phillip Randolph, he helped plan a march on Washington, D.C. (which Randolph called off) on protesting segregation in the armed forces.

In 1946, he participated in a campaign of interracial freedom rides in the South and subsequently worked on pacifist coalitions in India, Ghana and Nigeria. From 1956 until King's death, Rustin served as one of King's most trusted advisors. Randolph sent his star protégé' south to advise the Montgomery bus boycott organizing. Rustin taught King to adopt Mohatmas Gandhi's philosophy, convincing the fledgling leader that having his men armed with guns was incompatible with non-violent principles.

article placeholder

Why we must respond to the HIV crisis among African Americans in the South

Charles StephensBoth tragedy and triumph have shaped and contoured the South as determinedly as the red clay dirt and the thick humidity.  While African-Americans have certainly made progress, one only has to look at the HIV/AIDS rates among African-Americans in the South, particularly the Deep South, to see that there is still a considerable distance to travel.

The needle has moved yes, but so has the need. If HIV/AIDS is to be addressed among African-Americans, the South has to be prioritized.

Statistics show that African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by HIV in the United States. Despite being only 14 percent of our country's population in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in that year.

article placeholder

Guest Editorial: HIV positive criminals: Have sex, go to jail

This may be the defining HIV issue of our time, and it is a true test of our compassion and understanding of both HIV stigma and the law.

Around the country, and without leadership or guidelines from the federal government, individual states have taken it upon themselves to draft laws that “protect” people from those of us with HIV.

Whether using bio-terrorism statutes or simple “assault with a deadly weapon,” people with HIV who do not disclose their status to their sexual partners are risking arrest and prosecution.

You’re already having a visceral response to this scenario, aren’t you? You may have the vague feeling that anyone who doesn’t disclose their HIV-positive status to a partner probably deserves to be punished. Don’t worry: you’re not alone.

article placeholder

Letter to the editor: Don’t dismiss HIV drugs as prevention strategy

Data from the iPrEx study of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention in gay and bisexual men and transgender women has led to debate about whether and how PrEP should be used.

Unfortunately, some of that debate has been fueled by groundless assertions that men who have sex with men (MSM) will misuse PrEP, spreading drug resistance if PrEP is made available.

A paid ad campaign by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has contributed to spreading false information both about PrEP and the commitment of gay/bi men to care for themselves and others. We reject those false assertions and call for a factual discussion of pros and cons of PrEP in our community.

article placeholder

Speaking Out: How young is too young for gender transition?

GA Voice readers were divided over the case of D., a second grader in Townsend, Ga. (www.thegavoice.com, Aug. 26; update in print edition, Sept. 2).

Labeled a girl at birth, the child began living as a boy last year. Tommy Theollyn, D’s parent who is also a female-to-male transgender, wants him to be able to use the boys’ bathroom at Todd Grant Elementary School, but the McIntosh County Public Schools superintendent refused.

D, who was previously home-schooled, is now being homeschooled again. Meanwhile, a petition Theollyn started on Change.org has more than 31,000 signatures asking for D. to be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom at school.