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4 | Even if you take precautions, not disclosing your HIV status to your sex partners is a felony. Is that fair? 6 | Atlanta club with prominent politicians refuses to host gay wedding 8 | Ga. General Assembly weighs LGBT employment, anti-bullying bills 9 | HIV non-prot Positive Impact celebrates 20 years as clients share inspriational stories 10 | Atlanta rallies as U.S. Supreme Court hears Prop 8, DOMA cases 11 | BRIEFS: Homophobia in Ga. schools, HRC Atlanta to honor Joining Hearts, plus national headlines


12 | EDITORIAL: Westboro Baptist Church brings out the best in us



92 42 21

Percent of LGBT students who regularly hear homophobic slurs Percent of LGBT students physically harassed (pushed or shoved) Percent of LGBT students assaulted (kicked, punched, injured with a weapon)

Percent who said their schools have gay-straight alliances

19 9

Ellen told me she was gay a long time ago, when she was 20. But as she became more famous she wasnt out publicly. I was afraid I would out her. I couldnt join PFLAG until Ellen came out because itd be, you know, whats Ellens mother doing in PFLAG?!
Betty Degeneres, 82, mother of Ellen Degeneres, in a recent interview in the Australian press. (The Daily Advertiser, March 26)

Photo by Dan Leveille/CC 3.0



15 | Leather leader: gear for ATL Leather Pride 16 | BOOKS: Spring reads for your LGBT library 17 | SPORTS: HRC program for athletes runs through Atlanta as spring sports bloom 18 | THEATER: Zorro, Mary Poppins 19 | FOOD PORN: The greatest show on earth 20 | PHOTOS: AGMCs Big Wig, Big Gay Game Show, Breaking Through at Atlanta Film Fest, Team Friendlys Drop the Soap 21 | BRIEFS: Michelle Shocked, Savannah gay couple on Bravo, summer party alert and more 22 | CALENDAR


The issue before the country is, do we have a compelling interest in strengthening and supporting the durable, enduring and uniquely complementary and procreative union of a man and a woman? And by the way, the reason why is its better for children, and all the social science shows that.
Faith & Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed, once a force in Georgia politics, defending traditional marriage in an NBC Meet the Press discussion of the impending Supreme Court marriage cases (, March 24)

37 | THATS WHAT SHE SAID: Melissa Carter surfs the crimson wave 27 | DOMESTICALLY DISTURBED: Topher Paynes a friend of the court CORRECTION
A feature in the March 1, 2013, issue, Same price, different style, identied two properties as being listed with Common Ground Real Estate. The full name is Common Ground Real Estate Team at PalmerHouse Properties.

Percent who were taught positive portrayals of LGBT people, history or events

If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, its a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, responding at the companys annual shareholder meeting to a stock owner who questioned whether the coffee chain was being hurt by its support for same-sex marriage. (, March 20)

I think that would be a surprise to a lot of infertile heterosexual couples Thats not the point of marriage. The point of marriage is love and commitment.
Democratic strategist and lesbian mom Hilary Rosen, responding to Ralph Reed on Meet the Press. (, March 24)

You wont go into the Final Four Atlanta orgy-of-gross-drunken-nasty-reveling without being warned by the faithful servants of WBC, with this core message... FAG MARRIAGE DOOMS NATIONS!
Westboro Baptist Church schedule for their upcoming Atlanta protest at the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament at the Gerogia Dome. (, March 25) See the editorial on Page 12.


2011 School Climate Survey, released March 2013




Activists: State disclosure laws heavy-handed, promote stigma

By DYANA BAGBY Robert Suttle met the man through mutual friends. There was no romantic interest at rst, but on a New Years Eve after a night of partying in Louisiana, the two decided to spend the night together. One thing led to another. Suttle told the man he was HIV positive. It made us hesitate because we didnt have condoms, Suttle said. But the two did have sex, and it would change Suttles life forever.


HIV Criminalization: What You Need to Know April 23, 7-9 p.m. at The Phillip Rush Center 1530 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307


Suttle, of Louisiana, was 24 when he decided to enlist in the Air Force. He went in for a physical and was told he was HIV positive. I was not aware of HIV when I was diagnosed, said Suttle, who now lives in Washington, D.C. HIV was not in my life. I didnt know anyone who had it. I didnt understand the risk, he said. But Suttle didnt let the diagnosis slow him down. He graduated from college and got a job working in the legal eld in Shreveport. I wanted to live. I had plans, he said. On New Years Eve 2008, Suttle hung out with the man he had met through mutual friends.

We were out for a night on New Years Eve and we decided to go to his place; we decided to spend the night together. And we engaged in sex. It was not planned. It was just a casual experience like most gay men experience, he said. Suttle said he informed him of his HIV status the rst night they were together and the two had a contentious relationship for about three months before it ended. He heard through the same mutual friends who introduced the two that his ex-boyfriend intended to press charges against him. Why? Because, according to the ex, Suttle did not inform him he was HIV positive before they had sex. I was arrested at work, Suttle remembered. He spent three days in jail before he bonded out. He was then sentenced to six months in jail under a Louisiana law that states it is illegal to intentionally expose another to HIV through sexual contact or through any means or contact (including spitting, biting, stabbing with an HIV contaminated object, or throwing of blood or other bodily substances) without the knowing and lawful consent of the victim. Suttle will be in Atlanta on April 23 to take

part in a town hall meeting on HIV criminalization laws organized by local HIV activist and journalist Mark King. King, who has been living with HIV more than 20 years, said he wants people people on both sides to come to the town hall. Regardless of how you feel on topic, if you are infected or you have not always disclosed, you will get answers at this forum, he said. No matter what side of the fence people are on, if they want to press charges or know what their rights are, we have to meet people where they are. We dont want people not disclosing. Please come and let your voice be heard. Suttle and King are proponents of honestly disclosing ones HIV status to a potential partner. HIV is still incurable and can be transmitted through sex. Gay men have the highest rates of new infections each year, especially black gay men. A decision to have sex should be made by people who have all the facts, Suttle said.

I do sympathize with people who have contracted HIV, gay or straight. I once was that person, too, said Suttle, who added he does not know he contracted HIV from. I understand peoples pain and how they feel. But we have to take responsibility for ourselves and take our power back, he added. These are very complex and complicated issues. As my colleagues say, there is no right or wrong side of this issue, there is informed or uninformed. And we want people to be informed. Georgia has a similar statute to Louisiana. According to The Sero Project, a nonprot with the mission that includes getting such laws repealed, Georgia also has one of the highest numbers of convictions in the nation. The Georgia law makes it a felony to have sex without disclosing you are HIV positive. It does not take into account whether the other partner asked about HIV status, whether a condom was used, the relative risk of the acts performed or whether the other partner contracted HIV. Because local district attorneys dont compile HIV cases specically and rather include them in groups such as felonies and misdemeanors, its very difcult to get specic information on whether the convicted person was gay or straight and the details of the case. In 2005, however, in a high-prole case in Georgia, Emory medical student Wayne Carriker was arrested and convicted of not disclosing his HIV status to three separate male partners. All three remained negative. Carriker pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years. Carriker is now an ex-gay working for a substance abuse and sexual brokeness Christian agency. The Fulton Countys District Attorneys Ofce states it has charged 35 people since 2005 with reckless conduct related to HIV trans-

TRACKING HIV PROSECUTIONS mission. Many of the people had other charges, explained spokesperson Yvette Brown. Brown said the ofce does not track sexual orientation of those charged. One person, who had no other charges included with his reckless conduct related to HIV transmission, had a non-negotiated plea and was sentenced to 10 years to serve two years. The longest sentence a person with no other charges besides the reckless conduct charge received was ve years. Another person was sentenced to eight years to serve one. The USA and Canada lead the world in the number of prosecutions and convictions related to HIV transmission, with more than 300 convictions between them, according to a group named Criminalize Hate Not HIV.




FROM GA. CODE ANN. 16-5-60:
A person who is an HIV infected person who, after obtaining knowledge of being infected with HIV knowingly engages in sexual intercourse or performs or submits to any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another person and the HIV infected person does not disclose to the other person the fact of that infected persons being an HIV infected person prior to that intercourse or sexual act is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten years.
Above: Robert Suttle, 34, was charged with not disclosing he is HIV positive and sentenced to six month in a Louisiana jail. He is now a registered sex offender in the U.S. (Courtesy photo) Right: Atlanta activist Mark King is organizing an April 23 forum on HIV criminalization, which he says feeds off our own stigma of gay men. (File photo)


When Suttle was released from jail, he was also sentenced to two years probation and found out from his probation ofcer that he would have to register as a sex offender. As a registered sex offender in the U.S., Suttle, now 34, must send out notications to any community he lives in to let them know. His drivers license has sex offender stamped on it. Suttle said he was lost after getting out of jail. He didnt know anything about what happened to him. So he went to the internet looking for answers and found an article about HIV criminalization laws. It catapulted me to advocacy, said Suttle, who is now the assistant director of The Sero Project. If you understand any black gay men, or gay men there is that question of why would you want to have sex with a man who is HIV positive. There is a lot of shame, Suttle said. Suttles ex was one of those people not wanting to deal with that issue, he said. When I disclose now, there are good and bad reactions. But in terms of the law, it doesnt matter if you did disclose how do you prove you did? Thats very unfortunate. And you have no credibility when you are accused, Suttle said. Did the other man test positive? Suttle said he doesnt know even after asking the prosecutor. In Louisiana, like Georgia, it doesnt matter. King, who writes the blog My Fabulous Disease, was on the front lines in the early 1980s when young men were contracting the virus and dying en masse. At that time, accesss to treatment was the rallying cry for AIDS activists. King said times have changed. There are 37 states, including Georgia, with criminal statutes on HIV transmission, according to Lambda Legal. They range from misdemeanors to felonies, from sentences of no more than three years to no more than 10 years, and many include nes that range from $2,500 to $10,000. I really believe criminalization is the dening HIV issue of our time, King said. We havent had to deal with something uncomfortable with HIV for awhile. Criminalization plays into our stigma and our fear and


chance to throw some diseased fags in jail. They dont believe we should be having sex at all, he said. This feeds off our own stigma of gay men. Leslie Wolf is professor of law at Georgia State Universitys College of Law and conducts research in HIV laws and policies. In the beginning of the epidemic, there was lots of fear, stigma, discrimination and lots of public pressure to address the issues of intentional transmission of HIV, she said. More states adopted such laws because of the concern, We have to do something. And as part of the Ryan White Act, Congress required states as a condition to receive federal funding to have a law on the books, she added. That requirement ended in 2000. Wolf agrees with King that such laws make for bad public health policy because once someone learns of the laws, they are less likely to get tested so they dont know their HIV status and cannot be accused of intentional transmission. When I talk to HIV testing counselors, many say one of the questions of those who test positive is, Who do I talk to about pressing charges? Their rst reaction is not about treatment, King said. Theyre prosecuting people wearing condoms. Medically speaking, they are ignorant laws and bad for public health. Whos going to get tested if they run the risk of being arrested one day? Wolf of GSU describes the statutes as blaming through expression of law. If you look at statutes across the country, you can see how heavy-handed they are. That is about stigmatization, she said. We should be providing a safe place encourage disclosure.

We all know somebody who is positive because someone lied to them. That is awful and arguably immoral. But is it criminal? I believe the answer is no.
I believe as those with HIV have gotten healthier, the social stigma of HIV has risen. Stigma is much, much worse, he said. People on hookup sites often say they want a sex partner who is drug and disease free or are seeking clean people. And there is so much shame about testing positive [today]. So when someone does test positive they are looking for someone to blame, King added. We all know somebody who is positive because someone lied to them. That is awful and arguably immoral. But is it criminal? I believe the answer is no. We all share responsibility, he said. King rails against the medical stupidity of the laws and the variations in each state that has them, including Georgia where you can be prosecuted for wearing a condom and taking every precaution to ensure the partner is protected. For conservative prosecutors, this is a

In February, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS passed a resolution calling for an end to federal and state laws that criminalize or prosecute people based on HIV status, stating that singling out HIV or any other health condition or disability as a basis for prosecution or sentence enhancement is unjust and unwarranted from legal, ethical, and public health perspectives. U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is author of the Repeal HIV Discrimination Act, to eliminate discrimination in the law for those who have tested positive for HIV. It was introduced in Congress in 2011.


Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia , Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin




Georgian Club refuses gay commitment ceremony

Couple says club packed with politicos cited conservative membership
By DYANA BAGBY After three years together, Thomas Brook and Manny Recinos knew it was time to tie the knot. They decided they would travel to a state where same-sex marriage is legal while also holding a ceremony and reception in their home state of Georgia. They searched online for an LGBT-friendly venue, located the Georgian Club in Cobb County, and met with the assistant manager to tour the facility on Feb. 19. They loved it. The assistant general manager, Andrea Wilson, was very friendly and accommodating, Brooks says. Brooks and Recinos were asked by Wilson to email her what they wanted for their ceremony bar, catering and she would draw up a proposal. They did and were eager to hear back. After several days passed, they tried repeatedly to contact Wilson. They say they were told several times she was unavailable. Eventually they were connected to her voicemail and left a message asking about their wedding proposal. Instead of hearing from Wilson, the couple received an email from Josh Laskowski, the general manager of the Georgian Club, on Feb. 26. Laskowski asked them to meet with him at the club. On March 1, when they arrived at the club, Laskowski was there to meet them as well as Anthony Mullins, chief operating ofcer of the Futren Corporation, which manages the Georgian Club. Anthony did all the talking, Brooks said. He said, I dont know if you know anything about this club, but it is very conservative and because of that the club would host the recepsuch conservative stalwarts as Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. Isakson received a score of just 15 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaigns latest scorecard on LGBT issues. Olens criticized law rm King & Spalding for dropping its defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act for the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. The board also includes former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who stated his opposition to gay marriage in his last campaign. It was a little bit of shock to us, Brooks said. I understand its a private club. But I think people should know. Recinos and Brooks said they continue to search for a venue and they were discriminated against because they were a gay couple seeking to use the conservative clubs facilities. The wedding is denitely still on. Hateful opinions of a few narrow-minded people do nothing to change our commitment to each other, Brooks said. We have begun the venue search again, and we hope to nd a venue that we love that also welcomes LGBT clients.

CHAIR: Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson Isakson scored 15 out of 100 in the Human Rights Campaigns most recent congressional scorecard on LGBT issues. He is outspoken in his opposition to same-sex marriage and voted in favor of a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution to dene marriage as between a man and woman. VICE CHAIR: Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens In 2011, Olens blasted Atlanta-based law rm King & Spalding for dropping its defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act for the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG). The group, led by Republican House Speaker John Boehner, stepped in to defend DOMA when President Obamas administration refused. OTHER NOTABLE MEMBERS Gov. Roy Barnes: A Democrat, Barnes served as Georgias governor from 1999 to 2003, losing a second-term to Republican Sonny Perdue. When Barnes sought to be Georgias governor again in 2010, he said in an interview with the GA Voice that he supported the 2004 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Michael J. Coles: Entrepreneur who founded the Great American Cookie Company and former CEO of Caribou Coffee, Coles ran an unsuccessful campaign as a moderate Democrat against Newt Gingrich in 1996. He distanced himself from national Democrats and President Bill Clinton and shunned the liberal tag. In 1998, he lost a bid for U.S. Senate against Republican Paul Coverdell. Judge Lark Ingram: Appointed Cobb County Superior Court Judge in 1995 by Gov. Zell Miller. Charles R. Yates Jr.: Was elected chairman of the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta board of directors in 2008. In 2012, was the recipient of the 2012 Bransby Christian Leadership Award.

Manny Recinos and Thomas Brooks wanted to hold a commitment ceremony at the Georgian Club but were eventually denied. They say they were discriminated against by the private club. (Courtesy photo)

tion but not the wedding. It was all very cordial, Brooks said. But on March 8, Recinos received a voicemail from Mullins saying they would also not host the reception. In the voicemail, Mullins explains that a courtyard the couple was thinking of using could not be rented separately. He also said the club would not host their reception. Weve also thought about this reception a little bit more and I dont think were going to be able to accommodate you guys with this ceremony and reception and wed rather just pass on hosting your event, Mullins said in the voicemail, provided to GA Voice. Im sure thats disappointing to you but I would really want you to have a great time and with all the difculties youd have to go through to make this happen I wouldnt want you guys putting your event at risk. Im sorry we are not able to host your event and wish you guys good luck, Mullins said. Laskowski from the Georgian Club declined to comment about the incident.



Brooks said he and Recinos were very disappointed. Curious, they decided to look more closely at the Georgian Club website and noticed the clubs board of directors included

Recinos and Brooks said they found out about the Georgian Club from, a website that provides links to LGBT-friendly venues, photographers, orists and other vendors for a wedding ceremony for same-sex couples. Kathryn Hamm, president of gayweddings. com, said the Georgian Club was listed on, a partner website. does not focus on LGBT-friendly vendors. Ive heard back from the team at WeddingWire and they were able to conrm that they [the Georgian Club] do appear on WeddingWire and their account reects that they are not listed on And, unfortunately, were not able to track retroactively if the vendor has ever appeared in our directory so I cant answer your question about when or if they appeared in our directory, she added.




Ga. legislature honors LGBT band as session nears end

Two hearings on pro-gay bills cited as progress for conservative Gold Dome
By LAURA DOUGLAS-BROWN & DYANA BAGBY As the Georgia General Assembly prepared to adjourn its annual 40-day session, the only specically LGBT bill to pass was a resolution honoring the Atlanta Freedom Bands and even that caused controversy. Introduced by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), one of three openly gay members of the General Assembly, the resolution was similar to those routinely passed every day to honor an organization or individual, with one exception. This bill had LGBT in there I thought it was really innocuous, Drenner said. I worked on it to make it palatable for everybody and I removed everything that could be deemed to be inammatory except LGBT. Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) initially blocked the resolution March 21, although it won approval by the House March 22. Drenner told GA Voice it is the rst resolution she has passed with the words gay and LGBT in it since she took ofce in 2001. It is a small victory of sorts, she said, quipping that many thought it was a gateway bill to same-sex marriage. At press time March 26, the nal day of the annual legislative session was slated for Thursday, March 28. It is typically a marathon of lastminute activity as lawmakers try to move pet projects by amending them onto other bills, so please visit our website,, for late-breaking developments. If the legislature adjourns as scheduled without any unexpected attacks on LGBT rights, it will have been a relatively quiet but still useful session on LGBT issues, according to Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the statewide gay political group. Obviously, the legislature continues to struggle with how to address issues of concern to Georgias LGBT community, Graham said. But while no major bills to advance gay rights were passed, openly gay state Reps. Karla Drenner, Simone Bell and Keisha Waites introduced measures that Georgia Equality hopes will start conversations to pave the way for progress. There were a number of bills introduced that would extend employment protections, pro-


When Georgia lawmakers reconvene in 2014, these LGBT bills introduced this year will be among those awaiting them: HB 12 & HB 24: HATE CRIMES Lead sponsor: Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) > Similar to HB 119, these hate crime measures were preled in late 2012 but saw no action in the 2013 session. HB 119: HATE CRIMES Lead sponsor: Rep. Pedro Marin (D-Duluth) Introduced: Jan. 28 Status: Received second-reading on Jan. 30; no further ofcial action > Also sponsored by openly gay Reps. Keisha Waites and Simone Bell, this bill would amend Georgias previous hate crime law which was ruled unconstitutionally vague by the State Supreme Court to replace the crimes based on bias or prejudice with specic categories of the victims race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. HB 427: FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES ACT Lead sponsor: Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale) Introduced: Feb. 20 Status: Received a subcommittee hearing March 21, remains in the House Industry & Labor Committee > Sponsored by Georgias rst openly gay state lawmaker, HB 427 would prohibit employment discrimination against state employees (not employees of private
wholeheartedly in liberty and justice for all, Drenner said at the hearing. The bill, she testied, is a stand for freedom, a stand for liberty and justice for all Georgians, not liberty and justice for some Georgians. Waites, a co-sponsor of the bill, told lawmakers it is very personal for her. Im simply here to ask you as a member and colleague to support this legislation, she said. We dont ask you to condone a lifestyle. But re someone because they are incompetent, because of absenteeism. Not because you dont agree with their personal decisions in life. Waites testied at the Fair Employment Practices Act hearing a day after speaking at a hearing for her own HB 429, which would improve reporting of school bullying. The bill does not specically address sexual orientation, but LGBT students are disproportionately bullied at school. The March 20 hearing before a House Education subcommittee drew questions but no vote. It is my belief that unhealthy children

companies) based on sexual orientation, which the bill denes to include gender identity. HB 429: SCHOOL BULLYING Lead sponsor: Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) Introduced: Feb. 20 Status: Received a subcomittee hearing March 20, remains in the House Education Committee > This bill would require principals to report bullying incidents to their school councils and require local school boards to report bullying incidents annually to the state. It would also make students in grades 6-12 who commit three bullying offenses in one year guildty of a misdemeanor. HB 456: STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP ORGANIZATIONS Lead sponsor: Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) Introduced: Feb. 22 Status: Received a second reading Feb. 26, but no further action > This bill would change rules governing student scholarship organizations that allow taxpayers to earmark part of their state taxes to fund private school scholarships. It would specify that eligible schools cant discriminate in hiring or admissions based on a number of categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The issue drew attention from House Democrats after a study by the Southeastern Education Foundation found at least 115 private schools participating in Georgias tax-funded scholarship program have explicit, severe anti-gay policies or belong to private school associations that promote anti-gay policies and practices among their members.
become unhealthy adults, Waites told the subcommittee. When its harassment based on sex or race, we can do something about that. But when it comes to other issues, such as obesity, sexual orientation, there is no law or state policy that protects our students. Because 2013 was the start of the Georgia General Assemblys two-year cycle, bills that were introduced this year will remain pending for the 2014 session. This years hearings will be important for next year, according to Georgia Equalitys Graham. While we did not have action, we are in a position that is stronger than the past as we head into next year, he said. That gives us several months to work with our supporters to have the one-on-one meetings with their legislators that are most effective in gaining support. Noted Graham, it sets a good stage to have these conversations over the summer so we can take quick action in January. Ryan Watkins contributed

State Rep. Karla Drenner offered impassioned testimony March 21 for her bill to protect state employees from job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

vide a safer environment in schools and address hate crimes, Graham said. Hearings were held on two of those bills (HB 427 and HB 429). While neither bill moved from committee, this is also the rst time that we have had two hearings on pro-LGBT bills during the same session, he said.


HB 427, sponsored by Drenner, has been dubbed the Fair Employment Practices Act. Introduced originally in 2011 and back this year with 67 co-sponsors (including 11 Republicans and one independent), it would prevent state employees from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill received an informational hearing March before a subcommittee of the House Industry and Labor Committee. No vote was taken, but Drenner offered an impassioned appeal to patriotism to urge her colleagues to advance the measure. I am a loyal American and I believe

HIV, substance abuse and hope

Positive Impact marks 20 years of ghting HIV through mental health
By LAURA DOUGLAS-BROWN The list of drugs David Bedsole has abused reads like a greatest hits of the gay club scene: Ecstasy, GHB and crystal meth. Bedsole, age 50, says drugs became a problem for him not even three years ago, in August 2010, but it didnt take long before his life came apart. Meth brought me to my knees, he admits. For James Carmichael, age 42 and also gay, the struggle with substance abuse began much earlier, at only 17. After abusing heroin, cocaine and crack, he hit rock bottom. [I was] losing myself spiritually, mentally, [facing] homelessness and wanting to live a better way of life, he says. Pearl, a 29-year-old transgender woman who did not want her full name used, dates her problems with marijuana back to 2000. She, too, found herself at a turning point. In addition to struggling with substance abuse, Bedsole, Carmichael and Pearl are all HIV-positive. And all three found help and hope at Positive Impact, the HIV mental health agency celebrating its 20th anniversary with a week of events in April. Founded in 1993, Positive Impact served 135 clients in its rst year. Last year, it served more than 5,500. The agency launched its substance abuse treatment program after achieving state licensure in December 2008. Leaders felt they needed to ll the void left by the closure of Our Common Welfare, which was the areas only drug treatment program specically focused on people with HIV. Called simply IMPACT, the program is licensed by the state to provide intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment. It compliments Positive Impacts host of other services, which include counseling for individuals and groups; psychiatric services, free HIV testing; education and empowerment programs; the MISTER Center, a drop-in center for gay and bisexual men; and more.




Positive Impact 20th anniversary

Monday, April 1: Tuesday, April 2: Dinner at Einsteins on Juniper Lunch at Highland Bakery (Midtown location only) Lunch and dinner at Steamhouse Lounge

Wednesday, April 3: Lunch and dinner at F.R.O.G.S. Cantina Thursday, April 4: Friday, April 5:
A Positive Impact client meets with a counselor. The agency, celebrating its 20th anniversary, focuses on mental health for those impacted by HIV. (Photo by SOOP Productions)

Dinner at Zapata (Historic Norcross) Dinner at Fifth Ivory Dinner at Radial Caf Brunch at 10th & Piedmont

Saturday, April 6: Sunday, April 7:

Paul Plate, Positive Impacts founding and current executive director, has seen the issues play out throughout his 20 years with the agency. We know that people dont show up with HIV as their only presenting issue, he said. They have a lifetime worth of stuff, and if you only look at HIV not violence, stigmatization, depression, abuse, substance abuse they wont be able to take care of themselves moving forward. Substance abuse is often a factor in people becoming HIV-positive. My drug use played the major role in me contracting HIV, Bedsole said. Drug abuse can also have a huge impact on whether people with HIV take care of themselves to remain healthy, and whether they pass on the virus to others, since those with lower viral loads are less likely to transmit HIV. But keeping up with complicated HIV treatment is especially difcult when also coping with addiction. It was hard to take meds regularly, Pearl said.

lieve, and other therapists believe, that you have to get to the core of where it comes from to give them inspiration to stop using drugs and effectively process their emotions. Sinclair also believes strongly in the need for substance abuse programs specically for people who are HIV positive. For a lot of them, there is a lot of stigma and shame around being HIV positive, and a lot became positive because of their behavior and drug abuse, she said. So being able to talk about that in a group arena without having to be afraid of peoples judgment is important. Bedsole agrees that the program provides more than simply drug treatment, noting that he is learning tools to becoming a better person as well as tools to help make me stay clean. Asked what he has learned in the program that will help most moving forward, Carmichael replied, how to begin to love myself so that I can be a more positive individual.


Party with Impact (SOLD OUT) Thursday, April 4, 6-10 p.m. at The Wimbish House MISTER Center Open House Saturday, April 6, 4-6 p.m. Golden Ticket Party Saturday, April 6, 9 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta DJ Diablo Rojo and DJ Vicki Powell First 100 to attend MISTER open house get golden ticket for free admission at Jungle
If there is just one thing I want people to know, it is to not give up on these people, she says. They have gone through a lot of struggles, and due to their behavior, they often end up with limited support, so it is just letting them know they are important. One of those honored will be Precious, a 49-year-old transgender woman whose story can give hope to Bedsole, Carmichael and Pearl, who are still working through the program. Precious began smoking crack cocaine in 1990 after her mother died. She acknowledges she was sleeping with anything and everything and probably would not have become HIV positive if she had not been on drugs. She was homeless and stopped going to the doctor. But after four months in IMPACT, Precious has a message for others facing similar struggles: You may relapse, but dont go out and stay out it may be a life or death situation, she said. Positive Impact was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. It gave me tools to say no.




While the IMPACT program is relatively new, it ts with the philosophy that has shaped Positive Impact for two decades: Fighting the HIV epidemic takes more than simply telling people to use condoms. We take the viewpoint that HIV is a mental health issue, said Michael Baker, director of advancement for the agency. If it was just about condoms, the epidemic would be over.

Moneta Sinclair, clinical director of addiction services for Positive Impact, created the IMPACT program. She speaks of the program and clients with a mixture of clinical expertise and the love of a proud parent. The key to IMPACT, Sinclair stressed, is the inclusion of mental health services. Clients meet regularly with their therapists, and they are able to continue those meetings even if they relapse which may help them decide to come back to treatment. I think substance abuse treatment focused just on drug use and relapse prevention just not doing it isnt enough, she said. I be-

Positive Impact has a week of events planned to mark its 20th anniversary, including a Restaurant Week April 1-7, the annual gala fundraiser Party with Impact on April 4, and an open house at the MISTER Center and Willy Wonka-themed party at Jungle on April 6. But sandwiched between the Thursday night gala and Saturdays more nightlife-oriented Golden Ticket party is a private event that may have even more, well, impact on those who attend. On April 5, Positive Impact will host a private recognition ceremony at the Georgian Terrace to honor those reaching key milestones in the IMPACT program. For some attendees, it may be the rst time they have ever been recognized for doing something good, Sinclair says.




Supreme Court hears marriage arguments

Photos by Ryan Watkins

Prop 8, Defense of Marriage Act brought before the court

By CHRIS JOHNSON The atmosphere at the U.S. Supreme Court was tense March 26 as justices hammered attorneys with tough questions on the constitutionality of Californias Proposition 8 with a particular emphasis on inquiries about standing. The Prop 8 case was the rst of two back-toback Supreme Court hearings that could shape marriage equality in the country for years to come. GA Voice went to press before the March 27 hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act, so please visit for complete coverage. Within moments of the opening of the oral arguments in the Prop 8 case, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, justices interrupted both Charles Cooper, who is arguing in favor of Prop 8, and Ted Olson, who is arguing against it on behalf of two plaintiff gay couples, with questions about standing. The California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2008, but the November 2008 ballot measure known as Prop 8 amended the state constitution to halt gay couples marrying. Anti-gay groups, such as ProtectMarriage. com, are defending Prop 8 in court because California ofcials Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris have elected not to do so. Whether these groups have standing to defend the law is a question posed by the court. Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, disputed the notion that anti-gay groups have standing in the Prop 8 case because they are not elected ofcials. Because youre not an ofcer of the State of California, you dont have a duciary duty to the State of California, youre not bound by the ethical standards of an ofcer of the State of California to represent the State of California, you could have conicts of interest, Olson said. And as I said, you could be incurring enormous legal fees on behalf of the state when the state hasnt decided to go that route. The issue of standing is seen as crucial because if the court determines that anti-gay groups dont have standing to defend Prop 8, the ruling of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker would remain in place and marriage rights for same-sex couples would likely be restored in California. Justices known for being conservative hinted at the way they may rule in the case. Alito, appointed by former President George W. Bush, cautioned against a ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, which he said is newer than cell phones and the Internet. There isnt a lot of data about its effect, Alito said. It may turn out to be a good thing.

Protesters rally at Georgia Capitol ahead of marriage hearings

By RYAN WATKINS More than 100 demonstrators braved chilly temperatures Monday, March 25, at the Georgia State Capitol to call on the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and Californias Proposition 8. The Testify to Love: Light the Way to Justice rally was held just one day before the court heard arguments on Prop 8 and two days before the court was scheduled to hear arguments on DOMA, the 1996 law that forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. The rally was organized by Branden Mattox from Love Under Fire and Miko Evans of Meak Productions. It featured several guest speakers, including Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham, Rev. James Brewer-Calvert of First Christian Church of Decatur, Senior Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church Rev. Dennis Meredith and Rev. Paul Turner from Gentle Spirit Christian Church. For more photos, visit

Supporters of gay marriage rallied outside of the Supreme Court March 26. (Photo by Michael Patrick Key / Washington Blade)

For complete coverage of the Supreme Court hearings on Prop 8 and DOMA, visit
It may turn out not to be a good thing. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, an appointee of former President Reagan whos considered a swing vote, acknowledged that sociological information on the issue is new, but said children who are currently living with same-sex parents are suffering legal injury as a result of Prop 8. There is an immediate legal injury or legal what could be a legal injury, and thats the voice of these children, Kennedy said. There are some 40,000 children in California that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. Chief Justice John Roberts, another Bush appointee, made comments in an exchange with Olson suggesting he doesnt believe gay couples have a right to marry. Im not sure that its right to view this as excluding a particular group, Roberts said. When the institution of marriage developed historically, people didnt get around and say lets have this institution, but lets keep out homosexuals. The institution developed to serve purposes that, by their nature, didnt include homosexual couples. When Olson pointed out that gay couples had the right to marry before Prop 8 was passed, Roberts responded by saying that it was only 140 days after the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Roberts then asked Olson whether its more reasonable to view the situation as the state

Gay rights activists, opponents face off outside Supreme Court

Supporters and opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26 as the justices heard oral arguments in a case that challenges Californias Proposition 8. As same-sex marriage supporters spoke outside the Supreme Court, an estimated 2,000 opponents of nuptials for gays and lesbians marched onto First Street, N.E. Some held a large banner that read Let the people decide, while others waved signs that said Vote for holy matrimony and Children do better with a mom and a dad! in Spanish. Backers of nuptials for gays and lesbians gathered adjacent to the marchers and shouted slogans in support of the issue. Several held American, Gay Pride and Human Rights Campaign ags as they squared off against the protesters. Those who spoke at a rally of same-sex marriage opponents included National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance; Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse; American Values President Gary Bauer; New York State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr.; and Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
court making a change to an institution thats been around since time immemorial. The California Supreme Court, like this Supreme Court, decides what the law is, Olson replied. The California Supreme Court decided that the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of that California Constitution did not permit excluding gays and lesbians from the right to get married. A decision in the case is expected by the end of June.

Ofcial photo Photo by Dyana Bagby




Bias in Ga. schools; more national support for same-sex couples

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network released a snapshot this month of what life is like for LGBT students in Georgia schools, and its not a pretty picture. Some 92 percent of Georgia middle and high school students surveyed reported regularly hearing homophobic slurs like fag, while more than 40 percent said they had been physically harrassd. The data was drawn from GLSENs 2011 National School Climate Survey, which questioned 8,584 students from all states and the District of Columbia. The survey is conducted every two years. For more details, see By the Numbers on Page 3 and



At this years Human Rights Campaign Atlanta Dinner, the Leon Allen & Winston Johnson Community Service Award will go to Michael Shutt, director of Emory Universitys Ofce of LGBT Life. The Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award goes to Joining Hearts, which raises funds to help people with HIV with housing needs. The organization is best known for its annual Joining Hearts pool party at Piedmont Park. The 2013 dinner, which raises funds for HRCs national work on LGBT rights, is set for May 4 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Atlanta. More @

of State Hillary Clinton announced March 18 her belief in marriage equality personally, and as a matter of policy and law. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced his support March 15, becoming the highest-ranking Republican to speak out for same-sex marriage; he was motivated by his son coming out. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). announced her support March 24. Via



Rabbi Joshua Lesser from Atlantas Congregation Bet Haverim was named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one of Americas most inspiring rabbis alongside 35 other Jewish spiritual leaders. Lesser is openly gay. Congregation Bet Haverim was founded by lesbians and gays and is now home to a diverse Reconstructionist community. More @

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law March 21 a bill creating civil unions for same-sex couples. The law, which goes into effect May 1, awards many of the rights of marriage under state law. The lead sponsor was Sen. Pat Steadman, a gay Denver Democrat who lost his partner to pancreatic cancer last year. Via the Denver Post


Around the nation

As the Supreme Court hearings on samesex marriage neared, the cause gained three new high-prole supporters. Former Secretary

Santa Fe Mayor David Coss held a press conference March 19 to announce his belief that same-sex marriage is already legal in New Mexico, which does not have a law specically prohibiting it. Coss, whose daughter is a lesbian, called on county clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Also in New Mexico, two lesbian couples led a federal lawsuit March 21 seeking marriage equality. Via and



PO Box 77401 | Atlanta, GA 30357 404-815-6941 | Editor: Laura Douglas-Brown Deputy Editor: Dyana Bagby Web Manager: Ryan Watkins Art Director: Bo Shell



The worst of the anti-gay haters always brings out the best in us
By LAURA DOUGLAS-BROWN Fred Phelps Westboro Baptist Church is coming to town, and I couldnt be happier. The God Hates Fags clan from Topeka, Kan., has announced plans to be in Atlanta for two days in April to protest targets ranging from the NCAA Basketball Final Four at the Georgia Dome on April 6 to three congregations Creo Dollars World Changers Church International in Atlanta, Beulah Missionary Baptist Church in Decatur, and Basilica of The Sacred Heart of Jesus in Atlanta April 7. You wont go into the Final Four Atlanta orgy-of-gross-drunken-nasty-reveling without being warned by the faithful servants of WBC, with this core message, timely and topical at this hour: Fag marriage dooms nations, the pseudo-church warns on its website. You can read more about Westboros justications for the new Atlanta protests at our website,, but they all add up to the same as usual: God will not have fag marriage. That these events have nothing to do with LGBT equality doesnt matter, as Westboros quest is mainly about media attention, so they pick high-prole events regardless of relevancy. Up until three years ago, I would have advocated a strategy of simply not giving it to them. I thought we should treat the Westboro idiots like misbehaving children who thrive on negative attention: ignore them. Many people in our community still favor this approach, and I can understand why. So why am I happy now that Westboro is coming? Because of a hot day in May 2010, when Westboro came to Grady High School. Grady High is an Atlanta institution. I grew up hearing my fathers stories about walking to school there. Westboro targeted Grady for the groups standard absurd reasons. Grady is a typical high school in doomed America where the children since the time they were old enough to know anything were told that God is a liar, Freds daughter, Rebecca


Cliff Bostock, Melissa Carter, Jim Farmer, Shannon Hames, Topher Payne, Matt Schafer, Steve Warren, Ryan Lee Publisher: Christina Cash Associate Publisher: Tim Boyd Sales Manager: Marshall Graham National Advertising: Rivendell Media, 908-232-2021 Richard Eldredge, Sandy Malcolm, Lynn Pasqualetti, Robert Pullen


Welcome, Westboro



Westboro Baptist Church targeted Atlantas Grady High School in 2010, drawing a massive counter-protest. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)


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Phelps-Davis, told GA Voice at the time. Because theyve been taught that its OK to be gay and that God loves everyone, she said. They have no moral compass to guide them. Straight student Becca Daniels organized the counter-protest of students and community members that drew hundreds to drown out Westboros handful of hate-mongers. In 1998, my uncle died of AIDS and this was to honor his life and death, Daniels said at the time. We wanted to let them know that hate was not going to come into our neighborhood and we were going to take a stand against it. Its not that I hadnt seen protests and counter-protests like this before. But the fact that young people, including straight young people, organized the Grady effort moved me deeply. I brought my own young daughters to see what kids not much older than they are could accomplish, and to show them that even if they encounter anti-gay bias, people who love will always outnumber those who hate. It was impossible to leave Grady that day and not know which side will win in the battle for LGBT equality. The Westboro haters actually have a history of bringing out the best in those they target. It started in earnest back in 1999, after Westboro moved into national prominence by latching onto the 1998 hate-crime death of gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard. With signs like Fag Matt in Hell, Westboro protested Shepards funeral. But when the clan announced plans to also protest the 1999 trials of his killers, Romaine Patterson, a friend of Shepards, had had enough. She organized the very rst Angel Action counter-protesters wearing angel costumes

with massive wings they unfurl to block the Westboro protesters from view. Love, respect and compassion for everyone is why we are here today. I could no longer sit idly by and watch others bring forth messages that were nothing more than vindictive and hate-lled, Patterson said in an April 1999 press release, distributed the rst time the angels appeared. And in 2003, when the Phelps clan started targeting funerals of American soldiers killed in action (because they defend the Fag Nation of America, of course), the Patriot Guard Riders formed to make sure families of dead soldiers would see supporters waving American ags, not the Phelps crew. The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares, Don Woodrick, the groups Kentucky captain, told Fox News back in 2006. When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a ag, that makes a powerful statement. Angel actions now frequently take place in cities targeted by Westboro, and the Patriot Guard has traveled to wherever it is needed. The targets Westboro has chosen for its latest Atlanta visit are pretty random, so they may not inspire counter-protests on the scale of Grady High. No specic plans had been announced by press time, although PFLAG Atlanta said on Facebook its members would be part of a response. But whatever the counter protest, large or small, it will remind us that regardless of our differences, we share a common enemy in extremism and a common cause and path to equality in the ability to love openly. Welcome to Atlanta, Westboro. Were still too busy to hate.

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Hat. It may be a hat, but in the leather community its known as a cover. Donaldson purchased his about six years ago from Mr. S, the premiere leather shop in the nation. Dominant men guys wear them. They give you a more daddy look, he says. When a leatherman achieves the title of Sir, he is presented a new cover by his leather family in a ceremony. $80.



y d d a d ear g e h T TL A r o f needs r Pride e Leath

tlanta Leather Pride heats up the Atlanta Eagles 26th anniversary in April, featuring BDSM and fetish demos, an afternoon barbecue and a leather brunch. The highlight of the weekend is the Mr. and Ms. Atlanta Eagle 2013 contest, set for April 13. As Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2012 Jeff Donaldson prepares to step down, we asked him about the meaning and cost of some of his favorite leather items. Also stepping down is Ms. Atlanta Eagle 2012 Jackie Hubschman. Dyana Bagby


Gloves. Purchased about 15 years ago in San Francisco at a police uniform shop and made by Hatch, they are made of a thin leather that allows policemen to conduct searches without removing their gloves. You put a glove on a mans face and he just melts. Ive had some good times with these gloves. $25


Atlanta Leather Pride April 12-14 Atlanta Eagle FRIDAY, APRIL 12 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. Leather Pride Kickoff w/ BDSM & fetish demos by local clubs. DJ Nat. SATURDAY, APRIL 13 4 - 6 p.m. Leather BBQ 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Contestants and judges private cocktail reception 8 - 9:30 p.m. Mr./Ms. Atlanta Eagle Contest Bar wear Fetish wear Play wear/Q&A 10 p.m. - 3 a.m. SWEAT Mr./Ms. Atlanta Eagle Victory Party with DJ Pat Scott. SUNDAY, APRIL 14 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Leather Brunch at Roxx Tavern

Pants. Custom-made by former Atlanta artist Thomas Gold, they include a sewn quilt pattern on the sides. I know these pants are oneof-a-kind. Im very proud of these pants, Donaldson says. $350.

Boots. Purchased secondhand from an ex-Marine for $16, but Corcoran brand boots, used by the military, typically run about $130 for a new pair. And they must always have a high shine.

Photo by Dyana Bagby




OnE WEEk OnLy!



NY Po st

New LGBT books to stock your shelves

Looking for something to read for spring break, or if the weather remains too chilly or rainy to play outside? Check out these new works from LGBT authors and allies. Multi-award winning lesbian poet Maureen Seatons eighth solo poetry collection Fibonacci Batman: New and Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon, 2013) draws on six of her full-length books (including Iowa Prize and Lambda Literary Award-winning Furious Cooking). Comprised of more than 60 poems, the book gives readers a rsthand look at the ongoing evolution of Seatons work. Queer publisher A Midsummer Nights Press has two new titles available for the season. Gay poet, editor and educator David Bergmans Fortunate Light (A Midsummer Nights Press, 2013), part of the presss Body Language series, pulsates with sexuality. Deleted Names (A Midsummer Nights Press, 2013) is by Lawrence Schimel, the presss prolic publisher. dez frankly tells his story, sharing what he learned so that we may also learn something from his experience. Straight ally and outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage and parenting Anne Lamott co-authored Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Sons First Son (Riverhead, 2012/2013) with her son, San Francisco-based Sam Lamott. Australian feminist/queer theorist Annamarie Jagose gets up close and personal with the illustrious and elusive orgasm in Orgasmology (Duke University Press, 2013). Jagose elevates the material beyond sex and sexual orientation, venturing into agency, ethics, intimacy, modernity and more. Published last year, A Horse Named Sorrow (Terrace Books, 2012) by award-winning gay novelist Trebor Healey is a nalist for a Lambda Literary Award, to be presented in June 2013. Its not too late to read this acclaimed novel, set in San Francisco in the 1980s and `90s. Sister Spit superstar Ali Liebegotts latest novel Cha-Ching! (City Lights/Sister Spit, 2013) is set in the 1990s, following downon-her-luck queer girl Theos relocation from San Francisco to Brooklyn, where her new circle of friends includes her roommate, her girlfriend and a rescued Pit Bull named Cary Grant. William Klabers debut novel The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell (Greenleaf Book Group, 2013), is a ctionalized memoir based on the true life story of pioneering American lesbian Lucy Lobdell. Lobdell, who, beginning in 1855, lived her life dressed as a man, even managed to have what well have been the rst same sex marriage when she wed Marie Louise Perry in Klabers ctional telling. Cant get enough queer historical ction? Consider Fortunes Bastard or Loves Pains Recounted (Chelsea Station Editions, 2013) by Gil Cole. Coles novel tells the tale of young Antonio, who in an effort to escape Renaissance Florences religious hysteria sets sail on the Mediterranean and encounters a series of adventures, including the opportunity to pursue his desires for other men.

Spring reads



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Consisting of interviews with queer youth, as well as essays by the author, In A Queer Voice: Journeys of Resilience from Adolescence to Adulthood (Temple University Press, 2013) by Michael Sadowski chronicles an unheard community and provides some of them with a forum in which to speak their minds. Author and lm expert B. Ruby Rich, the woman behind the term New Queer Cinema, revisits the subject in the ttingly titled New Queer Cinema: The Directors Cut (Duke University Press, 2013). In it she writes about LGBT lm festivals, what makes a good gay lm, analyzes queer lmmakers (including Todd Haynes, Jonathan Caouette, Gregg Araki and Gus Van Sant) and examines lms such as Go Fish, The Watermelon Woman, Itty Bitty Titty Committee and Brokeback Mountain. In the new edition of Inside The Vortex (, 2013), Naked In New York City blogger Justin Hernandez reects on his personal journey from actor/ dancer to stripper/sex worker. From Drinking the Kool-Aid to Coming Clean, Hernan-





The race toward equality

Human Rights Campaign program for athletes runs through Atlanta
The sports world is still waiting for the rst out professional gay male athlete, despite much poking and prodding from gay and lesbian sports fans. Womens professional sports have featured several openly lesbian and bisexual athletes, from soccer star Megan Rapinoe to womens basketball icon Sheryl Swoopes. But gay men, especially in the countrys ve largest sporting leagues National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Football League, Major League Soccer and National Hockey League have been reluctant to come out of the closet during their careers. Sure, there are some high-prole allies, like NFL players Chris Kluwe and Brandon Ayanbadejo, but were still waiting for an open, active professional male athlete. The Human Rights Campaign hopes to change the environment in which players can come out with a new campaign called Athletes for Equality, which engages LGBT and straight athletes while raising money for the national LGBT rights organization. Tommy Lodge, an Athletes for Equality organizer for HRC, says that the program began as a Washington D.C.-based fundraising effort but has expanded to other areas, including here in Atlanta. [The program] engages people in the LGBT sports community and allied sports communities, Lodge says. People can participate in one of two ways. They can join a team, like weve done for the Georgia marathon, Marine Corps Marathon and D.C. marathon. They commit to raising a certain amount of money for HRC. In exchange, we provide coaching support, team camaraderie and fundraising support. Another way athletes can join the program, and the HRC, is to organize a fundraiser through other sporting events by using support tools provided by HRC. Since Athletes for Equality only organizes three ofcial events, Lodge says providing the opportunity to raise money to folks outside of the D.C. or Atlanta area helps spread HRCs message of equality. We have an online fundraising platform at, Lodge says. Theyre welcome to go in and create their own fundraising page for any race we do. If we dont have a formal team, they can raise funds on their own. We connect them to the local steering committee if there is one. There is a way to participate wherever you are. Anyone, experienced or not-so-experienced, can take part in the program, Lodge says. HRC offers training to anyone who registers and who promises to raise funds.


Its ofcially spring, though you might not believe it thanks to a recent cold snap, and several local LGBT sporting leagues are either about to launch, or have just launched, their spring seasons. For more LGBT sports organizations, including many who meet year-round, visit www. and choose sports from the community tab.


The Decatur Womens Sports Leagues softball season ofcially kicked off Friday, March 15. Games are played Friday evenings at Kelly Cofer Park in Tucker. The league benets the Atlanta Health Initiative. The Hotlanta Softball League was forced to postpone the rst week of its 2013 spring season due to rain, but the league returns to action April 7 at the West Metro Atlanta Softball Complex. This year, the league will benet LostN-Found Youth.


Hotlanta Volleyball will host the 21st annual Hotlanta Classic Volleyball Tournament at the Tsunami Volleyball Club from April 19-21. The tournament is the cap to the 2013 spring season, which kicked off Feb. 12 and runs through April 16.


The Atlanta Bucks Rugby Football Club (or Bucks, for short) kicked off its 2013 season on Jan. 26 against the Macon Love. Practices are held regularly during the season at Piedmont Park and non-experienced players are always welcome to the teams 101 training sessions.

The Human Rights Campaigns Athletes for Equality has organized supporters to participate in races in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. (Photos courtesy HRC)


Athletes for Equality

The program is for people who have never run anything before and experienced athletes alike, he says. We provide all the support. They can join one of our teams, email athletes for questions and more information on the website. Though the nal fundraising tally from the recent Publix Georgia Half-Marathon and 5K held March 17 has yet to be released, Lodge says that athletes generally commit to raising around $1,000 when they join an HRC team. Some 25 athletes were a part of the recent HRC team at the Georgia race, Lodge says. But fundraising efforts arent limited to marathons. This is a way to interact with HRC when there isnt a local steering committee, Lodge

The National Flag Football League of Atlanta kicks off its 2013 season March 30 at Boulevard Crossing Park after a short pre-season campaign. Playoffs begin June 1 with the season wrapping up June 15.

says. Weve had about 75 athletes over the last year or so in bike rides. Someone wants to climb a mountain for us. Weve had someone run a marathon in Paris and in Namibia. Lodge says the program is expanding and more ofcial HRC-sponsored events are on the horizon, though nothing has been nalized just yet. The next big event will be the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. October. Next, we are looking at doing more races, perhaps around the country, he says. Maybe a mud run or something like that. For now, these three races and the choose-your-own are where we are. Its exciting to see the program expand. There really is nothing to do but grow.


The annual Dixie Bowling Invitational will be held Easter Weekend (March 28-31) at Brunswick Zone in Norcross. The annual tournament draws competitors from across the Southeast each year.


The Atlanta Team Tennis Association began its spring season March 17, but there are plenty of opportunities for open play at Hit Atlanta or the Glenlake Tennis Center for ATTA members throughout the year.





Major musicals
Zorro, Mary Poppins bring beloved tales to local stages

On Stage
The Drowsy Chaperone Through April 14 at Aurora Theatre This Tony-winning musical follows a lonely, sexually ambiguous musical theater junkie who puts on the cast album of his favorite show and sees it pop to life around him. Brer Rabbit & Friends April 11 May 26 at the Center for Puppetry Arts Openly gay Spencer G. Stephens directs this adaptation of the beloved classic, featuring live music. Designing Women Live 7 April 11 14 at Onstage Atlanta Two new episodes of the TV classic are being staged Suzanne Goes Looking for a Friend and The Emperors New Nose/How Long Has This Been Going On? and done as fundraisers for Process Theatre and Onstage Atlantas new home. The Fabulous Lipitones Through April 21 at Theatrical Outt Openly gay Glenn Rainey stars in this new musical about a small town barbershop quartet competing for a national championship

which won Julie Andrews an Oscar as the nanny who ies in with her umbrella to help Zorro runs April 3 - May 5 at the Alliance Theatre. It is directed by Christopher Renshaw, who is openly gay. (Photo by Roy Beusker) a bankers unhappy family. The stage version has more songs and theatrical moments, such as Mary ying, but reChristopher Renshaw rst got involved in DETAILS the development of the stage musical Zortains the charm and whimsy. ro back in 2001. Next week, he nally gets a Its denitely nostalgic, Zorro chance to bring it to the United States when it Schroeger says. A certain deApril 3 May 5 at Alliance Theatre premieres at the Alliance Theatre. mographic remembers Mary Renshaw, who is gay, is directing a new Poppins. I think everyone Mary Poppins version of the production, which he originally over the age of 30 has been April 2 - 7 at Fox Theatre envisioned as being the rst amenco musical. exposed to the movie and I He and author Stephen Clark approached the think (this) motivates them Gipsy Kings, known for their amenco-rumba to come and bring their tinker with it and eventually music, to get the rst staging up and going. family. That was back in 2008, when Zorro opened take it to New York. He thinks gay audiences The director is perhaps in London and played a year. Since then, its love a larger than life persona best known for his work toured around the world, save for America. such as Mary Poppins. In all, the re-worked musical has more with Boy George in Taboo, the I think we all like leading CURTIS SCHROEGER ladies such as Julie Andrews than 30 songs, half of them new. Over time, panned musical that opened on Renshaw and the company have worked on Broadway in late 2003 and closed and Judy Garland and Liza Minmusic and character development. Adam Ja- early the next year. He would love to see that nelli, he says. cobs, a veteran performer who has been on come back to the States in a different version. Mary Poppins opened on Broadway in Renshaw later directed The King and I on 2006 and ran through this year. Schroeger Broadway in both The Lion King and Les Miserables, has joined the cast to play the title Broadway with Donna Murphy and Lou Dia- auditioned for the original production and mond Phillips and was nominated for a Best did callbacks for a number of years until he role of Diego de la Vega/Zorro here. Renshaw feels audiences gay and straight Director Tony Award. He also produced the landed a spot in the touring version. will appreciate the theatrical nature of the Queen musical We Will Rock You, which he It was a long process; it took a long time musical and the main character, who he calls hopes will eventually make it to the U.S. but they eventually asked if I wanted to join a universal type crazy and sexy. He has long them, he says. been enamored with the character of Zorro. SWINGING WITH MARY POPPINS As a swing, he says his job is to be ready at I saw a bullght when I was growing up, When the musical Mary Poppins returns a moments notice when one of 11 cast memhe says. I remember the sexuality of it, the to the Fox Theatre next week, one of the swing bers cant go on. It can be one role one night, matador. members is openly gay Curtis Schroeger. The another the next. He will be with the show The plan is to workshop the musical here, show is based, of course, on the 1964 lm through summer.





Greatest show on earth

Janet and Robert settled into their folding chairs under the tent of the House of Gay Human Oddities on Cheshire Bridge Road. It was late Saturday night, after midnight, and many gay men and a few women stopped to check it out on their way home from the clubs. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence collected the $5 entry fee. A couple of carnival-style food stands were in front of the yellow tent, which glowed like a full moon on a foggy night. These werent the usual food trucks. Instead they sold takeout food from Roberts favorite cheapies, like Arepa Mia, Bell Street Burritos, and Miss Ds New Orleans Pralines all inside the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Across the street, 11 mostly gay members of the Clean-up Cheshire Bridge Brigade (CCBB) demonstrated in support of gay City Council member Alex Wan. He would soon be introducing legislation to purge the road of nonconforming businesses meaning sex venues to make way for gentrication. Roberts kinda-sorta boyfriend Lee set up his touring tent show in part to protest the plan. The idea, as best Robert could gure, was that gay people, long regarded as freaks themselves, were acting unreasonably by trying to limit others sexual freedom. The lights ashed and then darkened slightly. Lee spoke briey, welcoming the audience to the show. He thanked Robert for his help with the food. But I also want to thank Alex Wan for giving us a reason to erect our tent amid the beloved sleaze of Cheshire Bridge Road. The lights went black and then returned to a soft gray. A woman in her early 70s stepped onstage. My name is Mary Lumis, she said in a soft voice. By the standards of many, I am a freak. Then, as if out of nowhere, she swung a aming rod in the air. She threw her head back and slowly put the rod in her mouth, then withdrew it. She seemed to breathe re. This is a dramatic way of illustrating that Im a so-called re-breathing, mannish braburner from the 60s feminist movement. There isnt really any clear documentation of bra-burning, but Im happy to play the stereotype. I am also a lesbian. Now, in 1969, members of the National Organization for Women, under Betty Friedans leadership, began referring to the lesbian wing of the movement as the Lavender Menace. They wanted to exclude us because they thought we would inhibit their efforts. Mary twirled the aming rod like a baton. Shawtina, the trans-dwarf, joined her on stage, spinning his plastic revolvers on his forengers. And now, he shouted, pointing his guns
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Once upon a time, we were all oddities




The Sweet Auburn Curb Market 209 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30303 404-659-1665 | Youll nd many booths serving inexpensive lunches and takeout food. Closed on Sundays. Three favorites are: Arepa Mia 404-880-8575 | Arepas are corn-cake pockets lled with savory ingredients. Try the pabellon, stuffed with shredded beef, black beans, plantains and feta cheese. Bell Street Burritos 678-732-0488 | Named one of Americas 10 best burrito joints by USA Today. Combine shrimp with green chilies, red beans, rice and green sauce. Lunch M-F, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. A second location, 600 Irwin St.(404-835-2018), is open for lunch and dinner. Miss Ds New Orleans Pralines 770-256-7164 | Theres candied this and that here, but no pralines in the city compare to these.

at the audience, many of you people want to exclude trans and bisexual people from your movement for the same kinds of reasons. He held the guns in the air and red them. The small stage was showered with lavender confetti. And you want to shove these sex shops into the closet of some undesignated location elsewhereanywhere. Some of the crowd seemed to panic and started to ee when Shawtina pulled out his guns, but most returned to their chairs. The message was not lost. The show continued an hour and word began to spread.

Food Porn is a ctional series by longtime Atlanta food critic Cliff Bostock. Set in real Atlanta restaurants, it chronicles the adventures of Robert, a gay man in search of a husband or at least a good meal. Read the whole series online at





Atlanta Gay Mens Choruss Big Wig event

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Lost-n-Found Youths Big Gay Game Show
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Cindy Abels Breaking Through at the Atlanta Film Fest

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Team Friendlys Drop the Soap fundraiser

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Michelle Shocked, Ga. gay Newlyweds, Brandi Carlile, Roland Belmares and more
Either folk singer Michelle Shocked has become a raging homophobe, has the worst sense of humor ever, is emotionally unstable, or is some combination of the three. Long a favorite of lesbian fans (whose gaydar was set off by her short hair and outspoken feminist lyrics), Shocked, well, shocked fans March 17, stating during a show in San Francisco, When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization and Jesus will come back. She didnt retreat from the remarks even as fans booed and walked out and the theater ended the show, and later offered up some cryptic but not really apologetic tweets like, Truth is leading to painful confrontation. After a cascade of concert cancellations, Shocked then said she was sorry, supports LGBT equality and meant the whole thing to be in the voice of Christians with opinions I in no way share perhaps she should have claried that as folks were leaving? Among those responding to Shocked are lesbian folk legend Janis Ian and selfdescribed queer actress/comedian/singer Margaret Cho. It is sad when a talented person chooses to use that talent in the service of their own misplaced rage, and their disappointment in their own life, Ian noted on her website. I often wonder if people like this die and meet God, who will smack them upside the head and say Did I really LOOK like I needed your help?! Cho recalled listening to Shockeds music, and being chased and called a dyke as a teen. When someone like Michelle Shocked, formerly a beloved, alt queer muse and maker of the 90s, decides that it is OK to hate us and lets us know that God does too, I am truly sickened, as she of all people should know what this means, Cho wrote in a Hufngton Post editorial. Laura Douglas-Brown
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of quotation marks around wed in their description of Georgia residents Jeff Pederson and Blair Late (memo to Bravo: wedding isnt reserved for legal marriages). Sounds like plenty of drama: After about a year of dating, they wed in an extravagant celebration in Savannah to celebrate their domestic partnership. Besides the conicts that arise from their 16 year-age difference and contrasting careers, there are many personality clashes between Blair and Jeff. A visit to a sex therapist is also on tap.

gay jamboree, of sorts: shes slated to close the famed White Party in Palm Springs, Calif., on March 31. Other acts include Carmen Electra and Icona Pop, the Desert Sun reports.


Need some dance music to get you through the day? Atlanta resident Tommy Fleenor recently launched GAYTL Live! (www.gaytllive. com), an internet radio station targeting LGBT Atlanta. The effort began last year as Gaytl Radio and now offers dance music all day, every day, with Flashback Fridays featuring songs from the 80s and 90s. DJ sets are planned for weekends. Boy Next Door, the menswear retailer popular with gay Atlantans, plans a second location in Ansley Mall to open this spring, management announced last week. The new store will be in addition to the current Boy Next Door location at 1447 Piedmont Ave. A press release from the company also hinted at future expansions. More @




Bravos new reality series The Newlyweds debuts May 6, following four couples one gay from wedding day to their rst anniversary. Since Bravo airs the gayest shows short of Logo, well forgive the unfortunate use

Earlier this month, Carly Rae Jepson made headlines after canceling as a headliner for the Boy Scouts of Americas national jamboree, in order to protest the BSAs ban on gays. Now the Call Me Maybe singer is playing a


The weather doesnt feel like summer is getting close, but line-ups for big summer travel events are already heating up. Pensacola for Memorial Day Lesbian and gay folks ock to Pensacola for Memorial Day, and several party promoters have already announced packed schedules. Pensacola Unleashed will feature lesbian favorites Indigo Girls, Kristi Lee and Brandi Carlile. Sexacola, organized by Atlantas only lesbian bar, My Sisters Room, will be headlined by the Ying Yang Twins, Maria Gabriella Band, Lindsey Hinkle and God-dess & She. ( For the boys, events include DJ Roland Belmares spinning the Wave Beach Party. Gay Days at Disney/Orlando Entertainment schedules are also coming out for the annual gay pilgrimage to Orlando, which started as an unofcial day at Walt Disney World and now spans a week of gay events and theme park visits (May 28-June 3, 2013). Gay Days Orlando has already announced comedian Judy Tenuta and DJ Chi Chi LaRue; One Magical Weekend lists DJ Manny Lehman for the RipTide party at Typhoon Lagoon and DJ Wendy Hunt spinning at Epcot.

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Event spotlight
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The Atlanta Symphony and 10th & Piedmont collaborate for an all-Russian concert featuring Yevgeny Sudbin, followed by a vodka-tasting reception at 10th & Piedmont, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,

Get your festive headgear ready for the 2nd annual Easter Bonnet competition with celebrity guest judges Ruby Redd, Ursula Polari and Edie Cheezburger, as well as an assortment of prizes. 2 4 p.m. at Mister Center,


The gay-inclusive Dixie Invitational Bowling tournament continues with local and visiting leagues hoping for strikes through March 31. Brunswick Zone Norcross, The Decatur Womens League continues its spring softball season, Friday nights at Kelley C. Cofer Park, The music ministry of Virginia-Highland Church presents Good Friday: A Musical Meditation, at 7 p.m.,



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Enjoy three songwriters in the round: Amy Andrews, Kyshona Armstrong and The Skipperdees at 8 p.m. at the Red Clay Theatre, Film Love and Atlanta Contemporary Art Center host the U.S. debut of Mr. Coperthwaite: a Life in the Maine Woods, Part One: Spring in Dickinsons Reach, with lmmaker Anna Grimshaw in attendance. 8 p.m. at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Edie Cheezburger presents The Other Show on Fridays. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m. at Jungle, DJ Lydia Prim spins for FUR Friday nights at the Heretic,

The locally shot drama Blues for Willadean makes its Atlanta debut with director Del Shores and star Beth Grant in attendance. 7 p.m. at the Buckhead Theatre,

Bookmark to get your daily dose of local LGBT events.

The gay National Flag Football League of Atlanta plays around the city today, Join local groups/organizations who use the Rush Center space for meetings at a free reception to also include plans to expand the center. 3 5 p.m., Phillip Rush Center, Join Ladies at Play for a Play Day Party from 6 10 p.m. at Aurum, As part of National Womens Awareness Month, the Evolution of SHE and Unspoken Word Designs present the SHE is an Icon awards presentation, recognizing local women and the ladies of Black Girls Run. 7 10 p.m., HOBI Studios, Michelle Malone performs two shows at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Eddies Attic, Hannah Thomas, Steff Mahan and Emily Kate Boyd team up at 8 p.m. at Steves Live Music, Jungle hosts an International Night of Futuristic Fashion and Art, with a drag show by Phoenix. 10 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta, Divas Do Illusion starting at 11 p.m. at Blakes,


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An Easter egg hunt, trash bag fashion and a dunking booth are highlights of the annual Armorettes Easter Drag Races. 4 p.m. at Burkharts,

Do the Downward Dog and learn more about the work of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at Atlanta Sisters Karma Class, 10:30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. First Existential Congregation, SAGE Atlantas Richard Rhodes 5th Saturday Program brings together lawyers Kathleen Womack, Christopher Seely and Clair Bryan to discuss legal issues important to LGBT seniors. 11 a.m. 2 p.m., Phillip Rush Center,


Gentle Spirit Christian Church offers an Easter Sunrise Service, with a potluck breakfast to follow. 7:05 a.m. in Candler Park, The Big Hare Games, Ten Atlantas Easter Bonnet/ Big Wig Competition, starts with registration at 5 p.m. and the games themselves at 6 p.m., with a cash prize,

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Mary Poppins opens at the Fox Theatre; runs through April 7. 8 p.m. at the Fox Theatre,

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Positive Impact Restaurant Week features 10 percent of proceeds going to the non-prot which provides mental health and other services for people with HIV. Monday, April 1, is dinner at Einsteins; Tuesday, April 2, is lunch at Highland Bakery and dinner at 10th & Piedmont; Wednesday, April 3, is lunch and dinner at Frogs; Thursday, April 4, is lunch and dinner at Steamhouse; Friday, April 5, is dinner at The Fifth Ivory; and Saturday, April 6, is dinner at Radial Caf, Join the Health Initiative and SAGE Atlanta, a group for LGBT seniors, for Chair Yoga every Monday through May 6. 10 a.m. at the Phillip Rush Center.


Event spotlight
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Gary Mullen & The Works perform One Night of Queen, a tribute to the rock legends. 8 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, The Atlanta Eagle begins its weekly drag night, with proceeds beneting Jerusalem House. 8:30 11 p.m.,



Special guests Miss Gay USofA Lawanda Jackson and Miss Gay USofA at Large Dorae Saunders help ring in Miss Gay Georgia USofA. 7:30 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta,

Donna Grindle speaks about the use and importance of technology to the Atlanta Independent Womens Network, 6:30 p.m. at Druid Hills Golf Club, Big Table Big Screen Tuesdays continues, with classic movies on the big screen. 8 p.m at 10th and Piedmont, Tuesdays, Thursdays and early Saturdays are Three Legged Cowboy country nights at the Heretic, Lesbian singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier brings her introspective tunes and signature voice to Eddie Owen Presents. 8 p.m. at the Red Clay Theatre, Zorro, featuring music from the Gipsy Kings, opens today and plays through May 5 at the Alliance Theatre,

Its a night of country-folk royalty as Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and the Richard Thompson Electric Trio peform at 8 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre,

Marys pays tribute to favorite party girl Parker Posey with its Party Gurl! Event featuring a night of 90s house music. 9 p.m. at Marys, Legendary drag performer Charlie Brown hosts Charlies Angels. 11 p.m. Fridays at Blakes on the Park,



Cubs, otters, grizzlies and the like mix freely at Bearracuda Atlanta, with DJ Ted Eiel. 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Heretic Atlanta.




As part of Positive Impacts 20 year anniversary, The MISTER Center hosts a Golden Ticket party, starting with an open house, followed by dinner and dancing at Jungle; the rst 100 attendees win a Golden Ticket redeemable for a dinner discount. Open house takes place from 4 6 p.m. at MISTER Center, Eleven bachelors are up for auction at Fenuxe Magazines 2013 Best Bachelors of Atlanta, a benet for AID Atlanta. 8 11 p.m. at Burkharts,, Gurlfrandz is a new drag thang on Saturdays at Marys; tonight, see what the Garbage Pail Gurlz can fashion from thrift-store nds. DJs 5 Hour Boner and Whorelock spin after the show. 10 p.m. at Marys,

The gay Atlanta Executive Network brings back First Thursday OTP networking. 6:30 8:30 p.m. at Meehans Public House in Sandy Springs, Its sold out, but in case you have a friend with extra tickets Party with Impact: 20 years of Positive Impact is a night honoring the two decades of work done by the HIV agency. 7 10 p.m., The Wimbish House,


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Feminists Buttonz and S are speakers at the T&F Transitionz: A Project of the Feminist Outlawz, exploring gender for teens and young adults, 7 8:30 p.m., Charis Books,





2012 PALS Spokespet



CO-HOSTS MARA DAVIS & TYLER CALKINS Admission to Benefit PALS $25 At the Door or $20 In Advance Admission includes complimentary drinks and hors doveuvres Silent Auction & Music by DJ Pat Scott Join us for the After-Party Hosted by 10th & Piedmont To enter your pet or purchase advance tickets:




Due to State Regulations, no pet will be allowed in the facility without proof of current vaccinations.

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Daring Divas is the Saturday night show at Blakes on the Park, Shavonna B. Brooks hosts Extravaganza at 11 p.m. Saturday nights at Burkharts,


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The gay Hotlanta Softball League turns out to play every Sunday with games at various times. Author Keturah Israel discusses her book Cricket Promises as part of the Reading Rainbow Book Club, 6 8 p.m., Charis Books, Enjoy Sing Along Sundays with Atlantas favorite camp drag fundraising troupe, the Armorettes. 6 p.m. at Burkharts, Help shape Labor Day Weekends Black Gay Pride celebration as organizer In the Life Atlanta hosts a community planning meeting. 7 p.m. at First Metropolitan Community Church, Wanna be the next big drag thing? Diva Drag University continues with a diva mentoring a new queen every week and preparing her for the upcoming Atlanta Rising Diva 2013 Pageant. 10:30 p.m. at LeBuzz,


The Body Heat Femme Porn Tour brings together queer erotic writers, including Al Schlong, with guest Adriana Chiknas. 8 p.m. at Charis Books,



Members Only, the new 80s and 90s dance party from Barry Brandon, debuts with Evah Destruction as the ofcial host and alternating DJs every Thursday. Doors open at 10 p.m. at Jungle,

Atlanta Leather Pride brings demos, a brunch, the Mr. and Ms. Atlanta Eagle pageants and more to the Atlanta Eagle, which celebrates its 26th anniversary.,



The bearish app Scruff hosts its Invades party, with founder Johnny Scruff, from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Heretic Atlanta,
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The Honey Badgers softball team host their spring beer bust, from 3 7 p.m. at Diesel Bar, Special performances by the Court of Kings, Daysha Moore, Drake Daniels and other special guests are part of the annual Mr. and Miss Kingdom Come Pageant at 9 p.m. at My Sisters Room,

Tuesdays, unwind with a sing-along with pianist David Reeb at 8 p.m. at Mixx, Every Tuesday, sing out at Mary-oke starting at 9 p.m. at Marys,


SAGE Atlanta hosts its weekly meeting, with different events and guests each week , 11 a.m. at the Philip Rush Center, Lambda Legals rst Mix & Mingle is an opportunity to learn more about recent Lambda Legal cases. 6 8 p.m. at 10th & Piedmont,



On Wednesdays, catch the Lust & Bust Show with host Lena Lust and featuring Shawnna Brooks. 11 p.m. at Blakes on the Park,

PALS Atlanta presents Honey Bub Ba Bingo (Redneck Bingo), with Bubba D. Licious and more. 7:30 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta,


Hotlantas Atlanta Titans host a Party on the Patio beer bust, 4 8 p.m. at Joes on Juniper,

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There are so many issues that divide women. Whether its abortion rights, the decision to be a mother or whether to work outside the home, women often nd themselves on opposite sides of an issue. But there is one topic that all women can relate to and support each other on, and thats the matter of your period and the accidents that occur because of it. If you are a woman reading this, an embarrassing moment has already come ooding back to your memory when you werent prepared for a visit from Aunt Flo. It happens every month for nearly half of your life; still somehow she can sneak up on you when you least expect it. A lawyer friend of mine told me about her experience taking the Law School Admission Test. This intensive exam takes about three hours and you are not allowed to leave until it is complete. During the LSAT she started her period but couldnt excuse herself from the room. Once it was over she asked a friend to go get a jacket she could tie it around her waist. That errand forced her to stay planted in her seat for almost an hour until her friend returned. All the while, she made excuses to anyone who asked that she was staying behind in the empty room to relax. I remember being in high school and hanging out with a friend at McDonalds after a football game. I didnt realize what had happened until I got up to leave, and happened to glance back at the plastic bench. I was horried at the carnage I saw and jumped back on to the bench while a fellow soldier in the Menses Army rushed outside and pulled the car right up to the door so I could make a quick escape. Im just so sorry for the cleanup some poor worker had to make. I

hope they thought it was ketchup. My poor sister was singing in the church choir when her cycle arrived one Sunday morning. The robes were stark white, and our choir always exited the sanctuary ceremoniously before the congregation left. So half the church learned she had started her period before she found out. Adding insult to injury is the equipment we are given to handle these situations, i.e. the tampon. This cotton cork of torture frustrated many of us as teens, as we spent an embarrassingly long time in the bathroom fumbling our way through the process of getting the rst one properly positioned. But sometimes the process isnt foolproof. A friend of mine went skiing on a Tennessee lake one summer just to have it shoot out of her like a torpedo when she lost her balance and hit the water. As she was helped back into the boat, there was her tampon bobbing on the surface beside the boat. We have also learned that you get what you pay for. While it may be OK to save money by buying certain generic products, tampons are not one of them. Imagine my surprise when I was changing my off-market brand in a friends bathroom, and just pulled out a string. Just because the shing line broke I still had to go recover my catch. I never skimped on buying the best brands after that. And being distracted is not just a driving issue. Sometimes in the moment you cant remember if you have already put a new tampon in. You try to make a determination and dont see any signs. So you assume you forgot. A few hours later, when you discover not one string but two, you have a near nervous breakdown and spend the next day reevaluating how overwhelmed you are in your life. So ladies, next time you nd yourself in a situation that requires covert efforts in order to hide your period, raise your little bathroom bag in solidarity and remember you are not alone.




A lost page from the March 26 Supreme Court Prop 8 transcript
SCALIA: When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit gays from marrying? Was it always unconstitutional? OLSON: When we as a culture determined that sexual orientation is a characteristic of individuals that they cannot control, and that that SCALIA: I see. When did that happen? When did that happen? OLSON: Theres no specic date in time. This is an evolutionary cycle. SCALIA: Well, how am I supposed to know how to decide a case, then, if you cant give me a date when the Constitution changes. TOPHER: If I could interrupt for just a secondSCALIA: Who are you? TOPHER: Im Topher Payne, Im here to represent gay people. SCALIA: You cant represent gay people. TOPHER: If those four assholes can represent California, why cant I represent gay people? ROBERTS: Thats true. We set precedent here. KAGAN: Oh snap! Scalia just got burned. TOPHER: The desire for the legitimacy marriage provides is not, as has been implied here, newer than cell phones and the internet. And by the way, Alito, that was a total dick thing to say. ALITO: Gay marriage, cell phones, internet. I was just giving a list of scary things I dont understand. TOPHER: I know, and I hate that for you. The reason you dont see same-gender couples trying to get married throughout American history is because up until fairly recently, that would have been admitting to sodomy. And sodomy was illegal, until this court nally got the word out that it was totally cool. Well, not Scalia. He really wanted to keep locking people up for blow jobs, because he was worried it would lead to us wanting to get married. And now, here we are, so good call there. SCALIA: I told you! I told all of you! TOPHER: We have always wanted to get married. We have always wanted to live open, authentic lives, and to have those lives legiti-

Friend of the court

Topher Payne is an Atlanta-based playwright, and the author of the book Necessary Luxuries: Notes on a SemiFabulous Life. Find out more at

mized and respected by our communities. The American tradition is based upon a specic model: Straight white guys get what they want, and everybody else has to ght like hell. And when a group of people who arent straight white guys builds enough numbers to demand respect, they always end up here, in front of you. And the Supreme Court has a pretty spotty record with regards to the rights of people who arent straight white guys. You tend to drag your feet on the early cases, and then you nally do the right thing and pass a decision which results in major social change. I have been married to my husband for almost four years. My Massachusetts marriage license is not legally recognized in my home state. It has a ripple effect on every single aspect of my existence, but the most devastating is also the simplest: My fellow Georgians have been told, by ofcial order of our state and federal government, that my relationship is worthless. You talk about the turning tide of public opinion, waiting for people to catch up. Plenty of people dont want to, and the law of the land says they dont have to. So we are marginalized and summarily dismissed. And that sucks. Justice Scalia, in answer to your snotty rhetorical question, there is no date when the Constitution changed. But marriage did change. Thats why women arent property of their husbands anymore, and interracial marriage is allowed. We grow, we learn, we do better. The rst time a gay couple was brave enough to apply for a marriage license, and that license was denied, it became unconstitutional. You have a choice. You can be another one of those chickenshit courts who places the needs and comforts of straight white guys above all else, or you can do what is right, and make history. ROBERTS: Mr. Payne, youre out of time. TOPHER: Sure, just one more thing. Hey, Justice Thomas. Knock-knock. THOMAS: Whos there? TOPHER: Nobody. Just seein if I could get you to talk.










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