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‘Surviving The Silence’

‘Surviving The Silence’

What would you do if your boss told you to fire someone because they were gay?

That’s what Col. Pat Thompson was told to do: preside over the dismissal of Col. Grethe Cammermeyer for being a lesbian. If her name sounds familiar you may have encountered her story in Serving In Silence”. The movie was executive-produced by Barbra Streisand and starred Glenn Close. Thompson faced an impossible choice: she could come out, then two of them would be discharged. Or, she could fulfill her duty in a way that allowed Col. Cammermeyer the best possible defense, even though it might raise suspicion about her own status.

Through “Surviving the Silence: Love and Impossible Choices” – a film-in-production by Atlanta-based, LGBT community leader Cindy L. Abel – Col. Pat Thompson’s story, hidden until now, will be widely told for the first time. In it, Col. Cammermeyer reveals why she considers her a courageous hero, crediting her for contributing to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Col. Thompson and her wife of 30 years share how they created a home – with a secret passageway between bedrooms in case of overnight guests to whom they weren’t out – and stayed connected using a secret code during tours at the Pentagon or in Panama where phone calls could be tapped.

This heart-wrenching yet empowering film is raising funds on Kickstarter and donations of all sizes are needed and appreciated. For $10, your name will be in the film credits. For $25, you’ll also receive a personal thank-you note from Col. Thompson and Barbara Brass. The more you donate, the bigger the perks. Check out the clip below and decide how you can help share our history and the triumph of love over any obstacle.

 

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A New Queen Is Crowned

A New Queen Is Crowned

By D. David Kinney

Last Friday local drag artists from throughout the Atlanta area came together to compete in FENUXE’s annual Queen of Queens competition. The sheer amount of talent was overwhelming and all of the performers gave incredible performances. The top three performers were selected based on applause and they then competed in the final round for the judges. Ultimately, it was the beautiful Shavonna B. Brooks who was crowned this year’s Queen of Queens. Check out these photos from the fun event held at Burkhart’s Pub.

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Same-Sex Parents Celebrate National Parents Day

Same-Sex Parents Celebrate National Parents Day

By Dustin Shrader

Calling all gay dads! National Parents’ Day, Sunday, July 27th is about to commence. With the growing number of gay-parent households multiplying across the nation, it has become evident that the national holiday does not solely belong to heterosexual parents or even the typical nuclear family.

Based on a 2013 study by The Williams Institute, as many as six million American children and adults have an LGBT parent. Despite lesbian couples heading up a higher number of these households, gay dads are growing more and more with fervor. Two gay dads in particular, Brian Rosenberg and Ferd van Gameren are taking the initiative by storm to celebrate National Parent’s Day along with operating their website Gays With Kids.

Brian and Ferd are the epitome of an inspirational tale. Recently, celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary on June 20th, the day also symbolizes their landmark 21 year feat as a couple. The doting dads are parents to adopted five-year old Levi and almost four-year old twin daughters Ella and Sadie born via surrogacy. Their journey to fatherhood began about five years ago, initially proceeding with plans to adopt. “We felt that there were lots of children out there that needed parents,” Brian explains. However, their journey to parenthood was not without its bumps in the road.

“The adoption process took a long time,” Ferd laments. “With all the paperwork, background checks, courts etc. we realized that adoption might not be the way we would become dads.”

“Which led us to consider other ways to have a child,” interjects Brian. “So we decided to look into surrogacy. We signed the contract and gave the deposit. Unexpectedly three days afterward, we received a call about a little boy who had been born two days earlier up for adoption.”

Patience certainly has its fated rewards, gifting Brian and Ferd with not just one child but three children all within a year and a half span.

Not having any immediate family nearby to partake in the everyday joys, struggles and questions of raising young children, the newfound fathers realized they could not be the only ones in a similar situation. At this revelation, Gays With Kids was conceived.

“The inspiration behind Gays With Kids started after we visited several big retailers, noticing baby products that were mainly directed towards mothers. Products that were labeled ‘Kid tested. Mother approved.’ Seeing that we were the only men in these stores, we decided to go online and look for other gay dads who had run into this problem.”

In heading up Gays With Kids, Brian and Ferd have created an online community full of support and information catering to newly gay fathers, gay men considering becoming fathers or any topic associated with gay men and fatherhood. “We provided the platform and now we have over 20 gay bloggers using the site from all around the globe. We have a team of respected journalists, writers and individuals devoted to keeping the gay dad community updated, while feeling encouraged, inspired and supported in gay dad-hood.”

Not letting stereotypical gender roles factor into raising their children, Brian and Ferd rely solely on their partnership and teamwork. “We depend on each other,” Ferd said. Brian agreed stating that they are the perfect example of the recent study conducted by Australia’s University of Melbourne. The study’s research finds that children of gay and lesbian parents have better health and well-being in relation to their peers originating from heterosexual households. The study also highlights that same-sex parenting roles are based on an emphasis of the individual parent’s skills, while not conforming to the stigma of gender roles.

Currently, Brian’s and Ferd’s focus is the upcoming National Parent’s Day holiday. The two plan to take their adorable brood off to Provincetown Family Week, held July 26th through August 2nd in Provincetown, MA. Family Week is an event founded to provide a fun-filled environment for LGBT families.

“We are thrilled to celebrate with families just like us!” Brian exclaims. “Our lives are awesome. We became dads because we felt we needed to.”
Ferd agrees. “Before we became fathers we led a typical gay lifestyle. Surprisingly, after becoming dads we are the gayest we have ever been. We are both fathers and mothers and we would not have it any other way!”

Brian and Ferd invite everyone to check out Gays With Kids. Affectionately, referring to the site as “The New York Times for Gay Dads” the adoring fathers relay the message that any gay man or couple interested in becoming a parent should. “Gay men can be phenomenal parents.”

Phenomenal they can be indeed.

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TNT’s “Major Crimes” Tackles Coming Out

TNT’s “Major Crimes” Tackles Coming Out

By Dustin Shrader

I. Am. Gay. Three words that sound so simple when spoken separately, yet when sewn together they can be the most difficult words uttered by someone struggling with his/her sexuality. Rusty Beck, portrayed by Graham Patrick Martin on TNT’s hit crime drama Major Crimes, confronts this specific fork in the road on his long and winding journey of self-discovery and freedom of fear in the July 7th episode “Do Not Disturb.” Initially, Martin’s character helped to bridge the gap between the series finale of The Closer and series premiere of Major Crimes. Over the course of three seasons, Rusty has evolved from a homeless, sometimes questionable queer youth to possibly one of the most endearing, complex, puzzling, hopeful and tender gay characters routed for on television today. Major Crimes creator James Duff discusses the emotional impact of this episode, the evolution of Rusty and what it was like personally to grow up experiencing the struggles that today’s LGBT youth still face.

FENUXE: After watching this episode, it was evident seeing Rusty’s journey and how immensely resonant this experience was for him and for the audience.
James Duff: Rusty’s journey has been an interesting journey to track and one that has been a long time coming to this moment where he is standing there saying those words. It is interesting how ambiguous the audience has found his identity. If you are gay, it becomes clear to you what is going on. If you are not, you might find his behavior bizarre. Many people have asked me, “Is he or isn’t he?” It tracks very closely to my own experience. By the time I said it, everyone seemed to already know. We are trying to be true to this experience. Being a gay person today might not be as hard as it was back in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and even ‘90’s. Yet, saying those words is still hard. That is maybe the hardest part of all saying, “I am different in this way.” Once I did it and really embraced who I was, I could not imagine going back.

So, based on Rusty’s story what is the overall message you were hoping to convey with this episode?
The episode is about the nature of immunity. When we have it and how we surrender, it and what we think gives us immunity. I think how Rusty comes out is he feels his secret gives him immunity in terms of his friends. That they will go on liking him and if he lays down that secret, he is surrendering something. But he isn’t really. What gives you immunity in life, I think, is the ability to refuse victimhood, to embrace who you are, not be a victim and to love honestly. I think his choice is a positive step. He is not meant to be a role model or a how-to manual. It is the answer for one character, on one television show delivered as authentically as we can.

Can we expect Rusty’s coming out to have implications on the show, the characters, his storyline? Will it change the future dynamic?
I think no. It is harder for him to accept. Now that he is on that journey, he will go through some of the steps that we have all gone through. It is harder for him to accept than the people around him. Although, there are moments, patience might be tested. There was a fun moment in this episode, in the break room when two of the suspects are filling out supposed questionnaires, one of them cruises Rusty and he cannot help but look back. That is a parcel of his youth, his particular place in the world. Therefore, stuff like that is going to happen. It is not the first time it has happened. In the past, he was mildly interested in a police officer working in the high school. That did not go anywhere at all and many people just missed it. It is hilarious to me how often people have missed what Rusty is doing or saying and misconstrued it.

Did your own personal experience help to influence the journey Rusty has taken to get to where he is now?
Yes, I think we are always writing form our own personal experiences, even when we are fictionalizing it; moreover, even when there are not exact parallels. In other words, my mother was not an addict, I was not abandoned, but I did run away from home before I finished high school. I knew I was not going to be able to hide who I was anymore from my family. I could not come out as a high school senior living in my own home. It was not possible. So the knowledge you are risking, lots of your soul in a way when you make the announcement. Also, the choice Rusty’s mother forces on him to pick one version of himself over the other; she says “You were not an easy child. I knew what you were.” As if, he was a bad person. He does not allow himself to be sucked into that. He chooses the other version of himself; the positive version of himself. I think that choice is always before us when we are coming out. It is not until we learn to say, “I am this, this is okay.” Then we are able to move forward. In that sense, it is very personal.

Major Crimes airs Mondays at 9/8 c. on TNT.

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Could It Be The Gayest Whopper Ever?

Could It Be The Gayest Whopper Ever?

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Who would have thought that fast food would become one of the battlegrounds for equal rights? In 2012 Chic-fil-A stirred huge controversy when their CEO voiced his explicit anti-gay views causing both strong protests from the LGBT community and support from like-minded customers who now had a venue where they could display their anti-gay views without speaking a word and get fried chicken at the same time.

Now Burger King has entered the equality battlefield – but with an entirely different message. One of pride, support and equality instead of hate. To celebrate pride month and the San Francisco pride festival Burger King released the Proud Whopper and offered it to it’s customers. In the clip below released by Burger King you can see how people react to being offered to try the new Proud Whopper. Few voice their anti-gay views, others are almost offended, while another poses the (stereotypical) question ‘do gays even eat fast food? Really?!’ But in the spirit of pride most people decide to give the Proud Whopper a go. When people bite into the burger they talk about how it tastes different, is sweeter and better. That’s until the plot lifts and they start reading the inside of the wrapper, which says “We are all the same on the inside”. So really the Proud Whopper is just a regular whopper with a different wrapper. A little boy captures the message both eloquently and to the point by saying: “I think this wrapper means that we all have the same rights.”

When we watched the clip at FENUXE, we really felt like the girl in the video that says: “I’ve never had a burger make me cry before”…

The Proud Whopper along with the rainbow paper crown you also see several people carry in the video clip was only served at one location in San Francisco for a week during the pride festival, but we’re hoping that this ‘whopping proud happening’ will take place at even more pride festival across the country. We want a taste of that proud burger – and one of those rainbow crowns! We say well played, BK! And thanks for providing us with a shiningly positive alternative to that serving of hate from that other place.

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Congratulations To This Year’s FENUXE 15!

Congratulations To This Year’s FENUXE 15!

By D. David Kinney

Atlanta is a great place for gays to live and work in the South and that’s not by happenstance. Every day thousands of gay Atlantans wake up to pursue their passion for making our home and our world a better place. To recognize the incredible amount of good that our community members do FENUXE created the FENUXE 50 and FENUXE 15 awards. The FENUXE 50 awards honor Atlanta’s favorite gay and gay-friendly businesses, and the FENUXE 15 awards recognize individuals who make a positive contribution to Atlanta’s gay community through their work, volunteerism or art. So we asked our readers to nominate gay Atlantans they felt deserved recognition, and it is our honor to recognize fifteen of these outstanding individuals here as this year’s FENUXE 15. You can also read about the 2014 FENUXE 15 in the digital version of FENUXE here.

WORK – Whether you own a business, manage a store or simply work nine to five, thousands of gay Atlantans are helping make workplaces more gay friendly and helping educate employers on the benefits of equality in the workplace.

VOLUNTEERISM – “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference,” Tom Brokaw once said. Truer words were never spoken. Atlanta has many wonderful opportunities for people who want to get involved and make a difference – especially right here in the gay community.

ART – Art can do more to change hearts and minds than just about anything. Whether it’s through the poignant words of a film, creative rap lyrics or drag, there are hundreds of Atlanta artists bringing positive exposure to the gay community.

The FENUXE 15 are presented in no particular order. They’re all outstanding and we’re in awe of their accomplishments and passion for our community.

Brian Sharp – Atlanta Police Department:

Brian Sharp is not only a highly respected Senior Police Officer, but he is also the LGBT Liaison for the Atlanta Police Department (and a talented singer, too). “My work allows me to work directly with individuals and organizations to better understand their needs, while offering them a unique link to an often misunderstood profession,” Brian told FENUXE, “I love to go out and talk with people and share my story. It allows us to connect on a more personal level, and people see that police officers are just like everyone else. My partner and I are both officers and we share the same struggles as anyone else, and I think most folks relate to that on some level. At the end of the day, my work allows me to be out and show that it is ok to be who you are no matter what.” Additionally, Brian has developed LGBT training for law enforcement officers while working with the Atlanta Police Department. “I have had the amazing opportunity to share this training not only with our officers and civilian staff, but also with other local law enforcement officers that work with our community here in our great city,” Brian remembered, “To date I have trained officers from several agencies including Spelman College campus police and Georgia Tech campus police.” However, Brian is just getting started. The U.S. Department of State recently asked Brian to travel abroad and share his expertise. “I am traveling to El Salvador June 14 – 21 to train officers from six different countries at the International Law Enforcement Academy,” Brian revealed. “The training will include LGBT sensitivity training, as well as bias and hate crime identification and investigation.”

Randy Prophater – Team Friendly Atlanta:

Randy Prophater is the chair of Team Friendly Atlanta, which is part of the Mr. Friendly movement, where he works to combat the stigma of HIV. In addition to fostering dialogue with community members one-on-one, he also recently organized a town hall meeting at the Phillip Rush Center to discuss pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). When we asked Randy where his passion comes from he replied: “I was once described by a friend as a Crayola Crayons 64-pack. I loved that he was unable to define me with a single word or a single label. Just like that box of crayons, I have a variety of colorful words that describe me. Son, brother and boyfriend. Spiritual, passionate and creative. Recovering Crystal Meth Addict, dyslexic and HIV+. No one single term defines me. Nor should others be defined by just one term, least of all their HIV status. That is why Team Friendly Atlanta is so important to me, I want everyone to be able to be themselves, without any single word, term, or label holding them back from being themself, their whole self. All 64 colors.”

Joey Helton – AID Atlanta:


Joey Helton believes Atlanta’s future is bright and he works hard everyday as the Chief Development Officer at AID Atlanta to make sure it stays that way. “AID Atlanta seeks to expand its target population from HIV positive individuals to also include historically underserved populations, including minorities, youth, low-income individuals and the LGBT community,” Joey detailed to FENUXE when asked about the future of AID Atlanta, “The health condition of the population in metro Atlanta indicates a strong need for primary care and behavioral health services, with a high prevalence of chronic diseases and poor overall health conditions. AID Atlanta is viewed currently as a provider for HIV/AIDS testing, counseling and treatment, and will need to shift perspectives and payer mix to support its new service delivery model.” It’s a big challenge for the organization but it helps motivate Joey. “I love a challenge,” he told FENUXE, “The word ‘no’ is not in my vocabulary. I prefer to hear ‘not know.’”


Brian Isbell – For the Kid in All of Us:


Brian Isbell is known throughout the gay community for his hard work and dedication to For the Kid in All of Us, the organization behind Backpack in the Park and the Toy Party. However, you may not know that he is also the Starbucks corporation’s district lead for community service. In the past three years he and the Starbucks AIDS Walk team have raised for $12,000 for AID Atlanta. “With the current fight for equality it is important that the general public sees the good that the LGBT community is capable of, rather than judging us on the typical gay stereotype,” Brian explained to FENUXE, “For 21 years I trained and showed American Quarter and Paint horses. I was fortunate to win several world and national titles. While exciting and rewarding, at the end of the day all those trophies and titles weren’t making a difference in the world. I knew I wanted to do something that would make a difference in both the gay and straight communities.” As always, Brian was incredibly humble and included: “I have to thank the current and past For the Kid board members and presidents Alex Wan, Frank Bragg, Jorge Esteban, Chris Bess and Alison Hall. I would also like to thank the numerous volunteers that donate their valuable time year after year to help For the Kid achieve its goals. Lastly, I have to thank Kevin for his unconditional love and support.”


Jeff Graham – Georgia Equality:


“I’ve led marches, been arrested, helped win elections, passed legislation on both a state and local level and secured tens of millions of dollars for HIV medications and other services for LGBT folks,” Jeff Graham, a hero in the Georgia gay rights movement, remembered. Yet, despite all of the incredible things he has done for our community he remains incredibly humble and points toward our community’s success instead of his own. “Some of the success that I am most proud of was the opening of the Grady Infectious Disease Clinic on Ponce de Leon, the elimination of the waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and the creation of the Phillip Rush Center. None of those was done as an individual but by working closely with others who are just as dedicated to making a difference as I am.” Now that’s truly the hallmark of an inspirational leader! And now more than ever Georgia needs his leadership as LGBT equality takes center stage in the political arena. “When it comes to LGBT equality, there is a tremendous amount of need in our city and in our state. Georgia Equality is in a period of growth. As we are able to expand our staff, we will be in a stronger position to influence policies and laws that will benefit all LGBT Georgians. We’ve developed several very strong collaborative partnerships with both local and national organizations that share our vision of equality. Working together, I see a bright future for Georgia Equality and the community that we serve.”

Rick Westbrook – Lost-N-Found Youth:

Rick Westbrook isn’t a man who minces words. At a community meeting a few years ago he raised the issue of Atlanta’s homeless LGBT youth crisis and declared that something had to be done. Shortly thereafter Lost-N-Found Youth was created and the organization made a promise to our community: “Lost-N-Found has promised the community that we will address the ever growing problem of our homeless youth, and we are stepping up to do that,” Rick told FENUXE. Indeed, they’re tackling the issue head on and have met their initial goals ahead of schedule. As promised we have opened a Youth Center to address the needs of the youth on the street. We have also opened a Thrift Store containing all of the gracious donations given to us that allows us to help fund our programs, and we are in the process of renovating a house at 5th and Juniper that will allow us to increase the services we offer threefold,” Rick detailed. It’s hard work, but Rick is motivated by the positive impact he can have on LGBT youths. “It’s simply mind boggling the amount of youths that need us. My mind says we cannot save them all, but my heart says we are going to try our best. [It’s] the look in the eyes of a youth when the wall breaks down and they realize that our community loves them just the way they are. Then to see the youth actually grow when they are with us and then get their life back,” Rick revealed.

Cindy Abel - Atlantis Moon Productions:

Woven throughout our history there is a rich tradition of storytelling, and despite the endless forms of modern entertainment at our disposal we continue to hold storytellers near and dear to our hearts. Cindy Abel is an Atlanta filmmaker, speaker and writer. Yet, above all, she is a master storyteller. Whether you’re reading her blog on Huffington Post or watching her critically-acclaimed film “Breaking Through” from Atlantis Moon Productions, (a production company she formed to develop projects that “launch conversations and impact popular culture”) it is clear that Cindy has a gift for capturing an audience and she uses her gift to affect positive change for the LGBT community. “I initially taught, then added writing and speaking, then led teams combining words and pictures and now with film, those elements have motion and a soundtrack,” Cindy reflected, “But it’s always been about stories. That’s how many of us learn while also being transported into the world of possibilities. As I look at my life now – filmmaking, speaking and writing – I can see how each step has led me to this place. When a young person whispers to me that “Breaking Through” helped them realize they can be all of who they are and want to be, or an older person sobs that after 53 years of living in shame, he finally gets there’s nothing wrong with him, or a mom in a rural area tells me she now has hope for her son – that’s all the motivation I need.”

Steven Shipp – BB&T:

As a Vice President at BB&T Bank, Steven Shipp understands how important it is for major corporations to understand the needs of the LGBT community. “As our community evolves with more acceptance, LGBT couples are able to get married and that ‘modern family’ grows, the importance of having a partnership with a financial institution is crucial to helping these modern families reach their dreams and goals whether that’s to have children, plan for retirement, or, in some cases, continue to grow their business,” Steven explained, “I love being able to help people and make a positive impact in their lives! When I work with retail and small business clients to help them accomplish their dreams of growing their business, buying a new home, or even something as simple as opening a checking account to manage their money I feel like I am truly helping them reach their dreams and goals as their financial partner. Many small business owners don’t have the time in their day to stop what they are doing and focus on administrative tasks while running a business. Their relationship with their banker and partnering with a bank that understands their needs is essential for their success. My team and I are committed to making this happen in the Atlanta market.”

Michael Shutt – Emory University:

Emory University is a great place to be a LGBT student and Michael Shutt is a major reason why that is true. As the Assistant Dean for Campus Life and the Director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Life, Michael has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. “My work is very complex as it straddles a space between being an activist and an administrator in a large organization,” Michael explained, “Both at Emory University and at other institutions of higher education throughout the country, LGBT support services programs continue to evolve into more complex organizations. Most started out as points of crisis and were established to support the problems LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff faced on campus. Today, there are still issues of access, equity and inclusion that must be addressed. We must therefore be engaged in ending injustice on and off our campuses. At the same time, we must utilize the amazing strengths of our community to change the world. For example, I hope the Emory University Office of LGBT Life plays a role in recruiting and retaining the best students, scholars and researchers in the world. This sets us up to cure cancer, eliminate HIV, end violence and create a world where everyone can thrive. This means we must support a fully inclusive, accessible, and equitable environment while building a community that values and affirms everyone. If we can do this, the rest will be easy!” It’s a large undertaking, but if anyone can help Emory realize this progress we’re confident that Michael can. He has an impressive history of successfully helping LGBT students. In fact, in 2005 he helped create the first LGBT center at a public university in Georgia and served as its founding Director while at the University of Georgia.

Dino Thompson-Sarmiento – Spotted Dog Agency:

Whether he’s serving as a Senior Advisor for the GLAAD Leadership Council in Atlanta or as the CEO and co-founder of the Spotted Dog Agency, (a branding, marketing and film production company here in Atlanta) Dino Thompson-Sarmiento is a hard working advocate for the LGBT community. “Atlanta has a rich and important history that reflects humanity’s arduous and challenging growth process,” Dino opined to FENUXE, “Our city embraces change and as difficult and sometimes painful and scary as change can be, Atlanta continues to open doors and take risks for the betterment of our society.” Yet, Dino isn’t someone willing to stand on the sidelines and wait for change to happen slowly. He is determined for his life to have a positive effect on society for the LGBT community: “I’m motivated by how I feel when I go to bed. Did I do my best? Did I help change the world for the better? It’s my legacy. I don’t have children so my impact in the community is what I will leave behind.”

J Tyler – Musician:

Justin Tyler Ellingwood moved to Atlanta just over a year ago, but he has already captured the attention of Atlanta’s gay community through his art. You may know him better by his stage name – J Tyler – Atlanta’s gay rapper. He’s a natural entertainer and performs at different venues throughout the metro area. J Tyler also frequently performs at benefits raising money for LGBT charities and has a loyal gay fan base. However, things weren’t always so easy for the rapper. “A lot of people don’t know that I started from below the bottom and had to work my way to being stable before even thinking about pursuing my dreams,” J Tyler recalled during an interview with FENUXE, “Luckily, I had help getting pulled up to where I was able to get out there and perform. But I was focused on my dream the whole time. And it’s all thanks to people like Brent Star, Monica Van Pelt and Ruby Redd. They’ve given me the opportunity to step into the Atlanta spotlight!” For more information about J Tyler and to hear his music you can check him out on MTV.com and on Soundcloud.

Dr. John Ouderkirk – Piedmont Avenue Health & Wellness:

Dr. John Ouderkirk was born in San Diego, however, he was quickly drawn to the East Coast. First he went to North Carolina where he obtained a degree in psychology. From there he went to Washington, DC where he earned his Doctorate of Medicine and did his residency in internal medicine. And finally he conducted a fellowship in infectious disease medicine in New York City. Dr. Ouderkirk has devoted his life to providing state-of-the-art HIV care and since 2001 he’s been treating Atlantans at Piedmont Avenue Health & Wellness. “My medical office is a safe haven for transgender, gay and lesbian patients,” Dr. Ouderkirk said in response to what excites him about his work specializing in HIV, “I want them to feel at home and not like they’re being judged for who they are. I feel that Atlanta is an oasis in the Southeast where all types of people can come together and get along.” His patients appreciate his medical skill and attention, and the future is bright at Dr. Ouderkirk’s office. “Piedmont Avenue Health & Wellness is growing by leaps and bounds, he explained, “An infusion center is our latest venture. I have a new physician starting next month and hope to expand to three to four physicians in the next year.”

Jerry Henderson – Joining Hearts:

Jerry Henderson first got involved with Joining Hearts after attending one of their events several years ago. Little did he know at the time that he would eventually rise within the organization to become the Director of Marketing for the them today. He remains faithful to the organization because the work hits home for him. “It’s personal to me as I have friends with HIV and I’ve seen their struggles,” Jerry explained to FENUXE, “I knew I had to do something so I started volunteering. Last year, I wanted to take a bigger to role to promote and educate the community and was elected to the Board of Directors by my peers.” In his role as Director of Marketing, Jerry believes he has a clear mandate from the group’s Board of Directors and donors: “We want to build upon the 26 years of Joining Hearts history and to take it to the next level.” In conclusion, Jerry offered a call to action for Atlanta’s gay community: “I challenge the community to get involved and do something to make Atlanta a better place.”

Dr. T. Douglas Gurley – T. Douglas Gurley MD:

When Dr. Gurley began his career he was working for a large HMO here in Atlanta, however, he wasn’t happy with their standards. Between pressuring doctors to spend as little time as possible with patients to the unfriendly and sterile environment, Dr. Gurley knew there was a better way treat patients. So over a decade ago he hung his hat at his own practice specializing in HIV care and his patients couldn’t be happier. The difference is noticeable the moment you walk in the door. Dr. Gurley’s office is peaceful, tasteful and incredibly inviting. “We have a lot of different types of people who come here. It’s not just HIV people,” Dr. Gurley explained during a recent interview with FENUXE, “It’s botox, primary care, etc. I think a lot of people with HIV want to come and experience a warm environment and not feel like they’re visiting an HIV clinic. I don’t want them to be sitting in the lobby and feel like everyone knows they’re HIV. People can be tense or nervous when they’re coming to the doctor and that’s not a good time to interview someone and get their real emotions.” If you are HIV positive finding the right doctor can make all of the difference in the world. So we asked Dr. Gurley what the most important factor is when picking a physician: “I think the main thing is that you have to find a doctor who is educated and will fight for you.”

Angelica D’Paige – Entertainer:

From lighting up stages throughout Atlanta with her signature performances to being crowned the reigning FENUXE Queen of Queens, Angelica D’Paige is a force in Atlanta’s LGBT nightlife scene. We all know she is wickedly talented, however, did you know she frequently uses her talent to raise money for LGBT groups? “When an opportunity to help an LGBT charity presents itself and I’m available I try my best to help out our community,” Angelica told FENUXE during a recent interview, “I’ve done a lot of things for Lost-N-Found Youth, AID Atlanta and even the Armorettes. We work together a whole lot and I work with Ruby Redd every week at Ruby’s Redd LIght District.” In addition to lending her talent to do good, Angelica also promotes community unity. “I truly believe that we have to stick together and work together as a community to make things right,” Angelica commented, “I believe that Atlanta is a family-oriented kind of place. Whether it be a heterosexual family or a gay family, drag family or club family, Atlanta is a family-oriented place. You’re always going to belong somewhere, and you’ll always feel like you belong to something in Atlanta. I think there is a true sense of community wherever you are in Atlanta.”

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Italian Artist Creates ‘River of Love’ During Milan Pride

Italian Artist Creates ‘River of Love’ During Milan Pride

By D. David Kinney

Thousands of people gathered in Milan this year to celebrate Pride in the Italian capital of fashion, however, it wasn’t the fashion forward looks turning heads at their annual Gay Pride Parade. Local artist Angelo Cruciani organized a flash mob that took over Milan’s streets after the annual parade, and they raised over 15,000 red hearts into the air on cue. It was a powerful statement for equality that both Milan Pride and the City of Milan were happy to see realized.

The flash mob was made possibly by strategic and supportive partnerships between Angelo Cruciani and both Milan Pride and the City of Milan. In fact, it was city officials who first approached Angelo Cruciani with the idea of creating an iconic image supporting gay rights for Milan Pride 2014.

Angelo-Milan-River-of-Love-

Photos: Manuel Scrima

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Demi Lovato Shows Her Pride And Dedicates Video To Equality

Demi Lovato Shows Her Pride And Dedicates Video To Equality

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

This guy has a ‘Burn In Hell’ poster. You don’t have to hate, because my Jesus loves ALL“. The words come from pop sensation Demi Lovato who performed at the L.A. Pride parade just weeks ago, and they open the video for her new hit song  ‘Really Don’t Care’.

Demi Lovato has always been an avid supporter of the LGBT community and with this video she steps it up a notch by showing lots of footage from the parade showcasing everything from leather bears, bulges and french-kissing boys and girls to drag queens, unicorns, rainbows and sexy go-go boys. Celebrities like Perez Hilton, FENUXE favorite and Vampire Dairies star Kat Graham and even beau Wilmer Valderrama make brief appearances in the clip, and, of course, the interluding rap is undertaken by Cher Lloyd.

The video and song both ooze of confidence, carefree attitude … and of course PRIDE. Which is why we love it already. And we’re so digging the cool undercut ms. Lovato is flaunting on stage!

Take a look at the video below and tell us that you won’t be singing along to this tune on a dance floor some time soon? And if you’re not or of the message of the song and video don’t agree with you? Well, as the song says: We really don’t care!

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Atlanta Royals Release Cover Of ‘Human’

Atlanta Royals Release Cover Of ‘Human’

By D. David Kinney

Atlanta drag performers Evah Destruction, Evelyn Caldwell and Aria B. Cassadine have teamed up again for a cover of “Human” by Christina Perri. The trio originally got together to perform “Royals” by Lorde.

The video was released on Friday in honor of the Stonewall Inn Riots. “To me, Stonewall was the turning point in LGBTQ history,” Evelyn Caldwell wrote in a statement issued to the press, “When we all stopped, and said, ‘You know what? No. We aren’t going to take this anymore. Who are you all to tell us what we can do behind closed doors?’ I don’t think many members of the LGBTQ community nowadays really stop to think about, and be grateful for the trailblazers who paved the way for us to be able to live openly and be who we are. I think we as the gay community should look back at this pivotal moment in our history and realize what we can accomplish if we stand together with our brothers and sisters. We have all the tools we need within us, all we need to do is fight.”

“Human” is incredibly powerful and touching when Christina Perri sings the song. I thought it would be hard to match the emotion behind her performance. However, Evah, Evelyn and Aria capture it and take it to new heights. The lyrics even take on greater meaning in the Atlanta Royal’s cover.

Check it out and see what you think:

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National HIV Testing Day 2014

National HIV Testing Day 2014

By D. David Kinney

Friday is National HIV Testing Day and organizations throughout America are calling on individuals to learn their status by getting tested for HIV. Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, a contributor for the AIDS.gov blog, explained on the site yesterday that National HIV Test Day is “a day on which we join with partners from all walks of life to promote HIV testing and early diagnosis of HIV across the United States, and remind every American that HIV testing saves lives.”

If you live in Atlanta there are several great doctor’s offices, organizations and clinics where you can get tested. Some also offer free testing. Additionally, you may need an appointment at some locations. Here are a few along with links to their websites:

AID Atlanta

Positive Impact

Someone Cares of Atlanta

AbsoluteCARE

Piedmont Avenue Health & Wellness

Dr. T. Douglas Gurley

Select Walgreens locations in the Atlanta metro area are also offering free HIV testing on Friday and Saturday in honor of National HIV Testing Day. You can receive a free HIV test on Friday from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at these Georgia stores:

2711 Metropolitan Parkway Southwest Atlanta, GA 30315

3740 Cascade Road Southwest Atlanta, GA 30331

2035 Candler Road Decatur, GA 30032

631 Professional Drive, #100, Lawrenceville, GA 30046

4120 Austell Road Austell, GA 30106

2351 Dawson Road Albany, GA 31707

7935 Tara Boulevard Jonesboro, GA 30236

 

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