Tag Archive | "2010"

Fenuxe Interview: Mayor Kasim Reed

Kasim Reed is no stranger to the LGBT community. Atlanta’s 59th mayor has been a vital part of pro-gay legislation going back to his days in the State House in the late 90s and he’s a regular at the Pride parade. But he hasn’t completely escaped criticism due to his views on same-sex marriage and his handling of the Eagle raid, which occurred before he took office.

Fenuxe sat down with the mayor at his offices at City Hall to talk about his first exposure to gay people, what he thinks is the most fair (and unfair) criticism of him on LGBT issues, what he’s learned about the gay community since taking office eight months ago, and his plans for Pride.

Fenuxe: How early was your exposure to gay people? Did you have gay family members or friends growing up?

 Mayor Kasim Reed: No gay family members that I am aware of. They never shared it with me but I’m sure I probably have some. My first real exposure and interaction was in Washington, D.C. at Howard [University] and then it became more meaningful when I had gay friends in law school, which was my first true exposure.

Fenuxe: As times change, peoples’ attitudes and opinions change, especially as they’re exposed to new groups of people and new ways of thinking. Was there ever a time where you weren’t so accepting of homosexuality, or maybe used words or had opinions of gay people you’re not proud of?

Reed: No I wasn’t in that lane. It’s not because of any purity, it’s because of my own view of how black people have been treated in the United States and how you have to work very hard not to take on that position, because if you have that in your heart it comes out.

I operate in an environment now where I’m recorded hundreds of times, so if you have things in your heart it will show. I believe the reason that I am comfortable in that space and comfortable doing interviews like this and others is because I know my heart.

Fenuxe: You’ve taken a lot of pro-LGBT stances in the past, but the one thing people kept coming back to during the campaign was your being against same-sex marriage. You’ve stated it’s your faith that makes you stop short of supporting it, but that you continue to have conversations about it with your gay and lesbian friends. One of the most important factors cited in the recent overturning of Prop 8 was the judge’s finding that marriage is a civil, not a religious, matter. Where is your head at on this now?

Reed: I’m in the same place. And regarding California Prop 8, I was clearly on the right side of that issue. I happen to be the only mayoral candidate and the only politician in any significant position in the state of Georgia that voted against a gay marriage ban. So, I don’t believe that my faith and my views should be used as a barrier to be used to discriminate against you or anyone else. What I talked about during the campaign was my personal faith which is informed through relationships with gay and lesbian friends of mine, and I continue to work through it. But I have made it repeatedly clear that I believe in full integration of the lesbian and gay community and I believe in full legal rights and benefits—but that’s where I end.

If you look at the makeup of the Georgia State Senate when there was a real vote with real consequences, the fact of the matter is that I was one of 10 members to stay and cast a vote when many other members left the floor. So there was a convenient excuse that I could have used to have been off the floor. And then in my campaign following that, I cast that vote knowing that it was going to be used against me in a competitive election for my Senate seat.

Just show me anybody else who owned their votes and policy as strong on issues related to gay and lesbians—the only peer that I had in elected office was Senator Vincent Fort. I’m talking about real issues. I’m talking about banning the ability to allow gay and lesbian people to adopt in the state of Georgia. I was on the Senate & House Judiciary Committee and I opposed that at every single instance. I’m the only person that’s ever passed any legislation in the state of Georgia regarding AIDS testing, so that people can be made aware of their status. I was the House sponsor of the only hate crimes bill that was ever passed by the Georgia Legislature, although I think the Georgia Supreme Court made a horrible decision in ruling it invalid. The hate crimes bill that I was the House sponsor for was in my first term of office in the House, so you know, I didn’t just start this.

Fenuxe: So what do you think has been the most fair and unfair criticism of your administration on LGBT issues thus far?

 Reed: I think a fair criticism has been that we did not work quickly enough to make sure that the police force was more sensitive to the needs of the GLBT community in Atlanta. I think that that has been a fair criticism.

I think the criticism around my handling of the Eagle raid has been brutally unfair because it did not happen under my administration. I made it unmistakeably clear how I felt about it at the time. We have a process that we have to work through as a city to bring it to a conclusion. It has been repeatedly said that the previous administration had a time to end the Eagle raid and all of the issues related to it by apologizing. If that offer were made to me to bring this to a close by expressing profound regret, that is something I have made abundantly clear that I would consider. And I’ve just been very saddened by the level of vitriol that’s been directed at me when I have created an LGBT advisory board for the police department. Before it’s all over, we’re going to have three LGBT liaisons with the city of Atlanta police force. So you know, that’s tough but my job is tough.

Fenuxe: So is there anything about the Eagle situation that you wished you had handled differently?

Reed: No I don’t. I think we’re going to work very hard to bring that to a reasonable conclusion and I know that that [an incident like the Eagle raid] would not happen while I was mayor.

Fenuxe: You’re eight months into being at the highest platform of your political career so far. Is there anything you’ve learned about the gay community since then that you didn’t know before?

Reed: I think I have a more intense and well-informed appreciation of all that the GLBT community brings to Atlanta. It is a part of the fabric of our community and a part of this tapestry that makes Atlanta special and unique and vibrant. And I felt that way before but I feel it more intensely now because I live it every day. I’m in all parts of the city in a way that most citizens aren’t.

 And then just having wonderful leaders in my administration who are gay and lesbian and fully involved in every aspect of the government makes it that much better. In terms of the office of the mayor, there are nine people that run this government day in and day out, and two of those individuals are gay and lesbian [Deputy Chief Operating Officer Luz Borrero and Deputy Director of Communications Reese McCranie]. So when there is a major decision being made about the operation of this city, not just on gay and lesbian issues but on every single issue in Atlanta, two out of the nine individuals in the room are gay and lesbian people. I believe in the notion of complete and full integration. Having gay and lesbian people, not as some exception, but as a part of the full operation.

Fenuxe: And you’ll be at Pride?

Reed: No question, I will be there.

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Fenuxe Interview: Kimberley Locke

Kimberley Locke quickly endeared herself to the gay community with her appearance on Season 2 of “American Idol”—performing “Over the Rainbow” and “It’s Raining Men” to a national audience will do that for a gal.

She won us over with her stellar voice and even more outstanding personality, and now she’s showing off those vocals as a headliner Saturday night at Pride. The “8th World Wonder” talent has an infectiously vibrant new single out called “Strobelight.” She rang us from her L.A. home to talk “Idol,” growing up plus-sized and biracial, and why she loves singing for us.

Fenuxe: This is more of a statement than a question but I’ve gotta say, “Strobelight” is probably one of the gayest songs I have heard in quite awhile.

Kimberley Locke: [laughs] Thank you! That’s good, that means you like it! That’s so funny.

Fenuxe: What’s been the response to the song so far?

Locke: It’s been great, we went to number five on the dance charts. I’ve been on the road all summer and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser.

Fenuxe: So your career really took off thanks to your work on “American Idol.” But was there a downside to the “American Idol” experience?

Locke: There’s really not a downside. You get out of it what you put into it and it’s such an amazing experience that it really opens up all kinds of doors for you. When you get off the show it’s not just about the music opportunities, it’s about all the opportunities. That’s been the great thing for me because after the show I modeled, I had an endorsement deal with Jenny Craig, I did “Celebrity Fit Club,” I’ve done a lot of work with different charities and traveled all over the world so the opportunities are endless and you have to feel open to them all.

Fenuxe: Is there anything you would have done differently on the show? 

Locke: I wouldn’t change anything that I did on the show. I think that I did the best that I could have possibly done and I took all the advice and I got better each week. I really had a good time. Maybe I wouldn’t have stressed so much about Simon’s comments on the show because that can be very stressful [laughs].


Fenuxe: What do you think about the choices made for new judges on “American Idol”?

 Locke: I think it’s great. They’ve got Steven Tyler there for the shock factor. J.Lo is a very good choice. She’s had a great career, she started out as a dancer, turned that into a music career as well as other things. She is what “American Idol” kind of represents, that it’s not just about being a singer, it’s about becoming a brand. And that’s what she’s done. And Randy, he does it all too. So it will be interesting to see how the public responds.

 Fenuxe: One of the messages of Pride is that it’s okay to be different. You have experience with being different growing up plus-sized and biracial. Do you think that has anything to do with you having this connection with gay audiences? 

Locke: I think that the gay community just loves big personalities and they like strong people because that’s who they are. Aside from that, I think that they love good music.

 I think that the gay community has a good appreciation for realness. I think that a lot of people have trouble, especially nowadays, just being themselves. For me, I am who I am. I have tons of gay friends and they’re like “You either take it or leave it,” and that’s my attitude. But I think that the gay community is very unique in the sense that they’re very loyal, they relate to so many different people on so many different levels and you’re either for them or you’re against them, you know what I’m saying?

 And for me, growing up, I come from a biracial background so I understand the whole idea of being judged and misjudged or misunderstood because I’m different. So when it comes to the gay community, I couldn’t say “I don’t wanna do that because it’s gay people,” because I’ve had people say, “She can’t be a part of this group because she’s black.” I’ve been there and done that. When I was growing up, I had my feelings hurt many times because I was different.

 So when I first realized I had this gay following, a) I didn’t know why and b) it was intriguing because I wanted to know why. But I think now, seven years later, I’m like you know what, the first and foremost thing that they’ll appreciate is a good singer. The other thing is they like people who are different. 

Fenuxe: So what can the crowd at Atlanta Pride expect for a Kimberley Locke performance?

Locke: I am from the South so anytime I get to come back home or come back to the South, I feel right at home. I’m looking forward to it. We’re just gonna have a good time, hopefully it won’t be too hot down South. Afterward I’ll be around selling some merchandise and taking pictures and all that stuff so it’ll be a lot of fun.

Fenuxe: And what’s next for you?

Locke: I’m actually working on a television project called “Making the Curve,” which I’m executive producing and hosting. It’s about putting together a plus-sized singing group, so more divas [laughs]. Then I’m working on another project that I just shot the pilot for, so hopefully in 2011 there will be a television show in my future!

*Kimberley Locke will be performing on the Coke Stage on Saturday, October 9th at 8:15PM

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Get With The Program

Since you’re reading these words right now, you officially have no excuse not to be entertained for every single second of Pride 2010. So do you like to dance? Drink? Watch rugby? Listen to live music? Get married? Come out of the closet? Keep this Fenuxe Pride Program handy and you won’t miss a thing.

Thursday, October 7th

Pride at The High: Celebrity!, High Museum, 8:30PM

W Midtown Pride Event feat. DJ Lydia Prim & DJ Jeffrey Jacobs, W Midtown, 9PM

Friday, October 8th

Atlanta Pride VIP Party, The Georgia Aquarium, 6PM

Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff Party, The Georgia Aquarium, 6:30PM

HEAVEN Pride Party, Park Tavern, 9PM

MASSIVE feat. DJ Mike Cruz & Frenchie Davis, Club Reign, 10PM

Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff Afterparty: Best of the 80s: Pride Edition with DJ Ed Bailey, Jungle, 11PM

Saturday, October 9th

Pride Kickball Tournament, Piedmont Park Ball Fields, 10AM

Pride Human Rights Exhibit (Saturday and Sunday), Piedmont Park, 10AM

The Community Health Expo (Saturday and Sunday), Piedmont Park, 10AM

Children’s Carnival, Piedmont Park Playground, 10:30AM

YouthPride Presents “Rejuvenation: Fun in the Garden,” The Dock at Piedmont Park, 1PM

Atlanta Bucks Rugby Ruck-A-Buck Pride Tournament, Coan Middle School, 1PM

Trans March, Piedmont Park Meadow Overlook, 1PM

Atlanta Pride Literary Showcase, Piedmont Park Pavilion (Bud Light Stage), 1:30PM

Trans Queer Nation Pride Mixer, Bud Light Beer Garden at Piedmont Park, 4PM

Dyke March, Charles Allen Gate, 5:30PM

Commitment Ceremony, Piedmont Park Pavilion (Bud Light Stage), 6:30PM

Ray Boltz In Concert, First MCC, 7PM

Pride Rejuvenation Party, Helmet Hairworx – Midtown, 7PM

Official Atlanta Pride Women’s Party: “Peach Mega Dance Party”, Center Stage/The Loft, 9PM

Club Q feat. DJ Paulo, 714 Spring St., 10PM

Sunday, October 10th

HRC Atlanta Pride Brunch 2010, Nickiemoto’s, 11AM

The Annual Atlanta Pride Parade, Midtown, 1PM

Official Atlanta Pride Closing Party, Opera Night Club, 6PM

Overhaul feat. DJ Martin Fry, Spring 4th Center, 2AM

Monday, October 11th

National Coming Out Day, EVERYWHERE


Atlanta Pride Concert Series

Bud Light Stage

Saturday, October 9th

Anye Elite, 12PM

Eryn Woods, 12:40PM

Hannah Thomas, 3:40PM

Citizen Icon, 4:30PM

The Orkids, 5:20PM

Sunday, October 10th

Nesrin Asli, 3PM

YouthPride Entertainment Block, 3:40PM

Coke Stage

Saturday, October 9th

Shara, 2PM

Gurufish, 3PM

Josh Zuckerman, 4PM

Demizes, 5PM

Nadira Shakoor, 6:05PM

MEN, 7:10PM

Kimberly Locke, 8:15PM

Sunday, October 10th

Michel Jon’s Band, 3PM

Erika Jayne, 4PM

Niki Harris, 4:40PM

Antigone Rising, 5:40PM

The Starlight Cabaret, 7PM

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Ask Mary: Terribly Timid

Dear Mary,

I recently moved to Atlanta from a small Southern city. Pride is coming up and I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve never been involved in the community because we didn’t have a gay community where I was from. It seems intimidating and I feel like I’m not going to fit in. Help?


Terribly Timid

Dear Timid,

Oh, Pride. Just thinking about it makes me giddy and slightly nauseated. As a normal, full-blooded straight southern woman, I look forward to few things as much as Pride weekend. Well, maybe I should clarify that I enjoy surrounding myself with gorgeous gay men as I am actually a gay man trapped in a full-blooded straight southern woman’s body—but I digress.

My first trip to Pride occured when I was 17 years old. I skipped school (Catholic school, mind you) to drive to New Orleans with my boyfriend, having no idea it was the start of Decadence. He got arrested. It was really a magical trip. Never had I seen such things. But it absolutely can be overwhelming for a first timer, so I’ve made up a little list of tips:

1. Prepare. 250 pounds of six foot tall man in a sequined mini dress and false eyelashes can be intimidating the first time you see it in the full sunlight of an October Atlanta afternoon; spend some quality time at some fabulous drag shows in advance of your first Pride.

2. Hydrate. With booze. Some call this lubricating, but that’s another step entirely.

3. Document. Bring a camera. Invariably, something outrageous is going to happen as soon as everyone you know is taking a Portalet break…and they will never believe you when you tell them about it.

4. Look fabulous. You never know who you’ll see at Pride…

Pride is fun and silly and big, but don’t forget what the weekend is really all about: your right to love whoever you want without hiding it. Pride is the opposite of shame, so go out, have fun, and be Proud!


Mary Makers-McMark

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Pride’s Final Beats

The biggest fanfare is always saved for finales. The final show. The final season. The final song of the drag show.

So Chris Coleman Enterprises is teaming with Atlanta Pride to bring you the Official Atlanta Pride Closeout Party at Opera on Sunday, October 10th. Most nights, the cavernous Midtown dance club is home to Ed Hardy-wearing straight boys and the hoochies who love them, but Opera goes gay every now and then. They’ve been home to Pride weekend’s closing night event the last three years, but this is the first time Atlanta Pride is making it an official part of their party lineup.

Coleman described it to Fenuxe as a tea dance party that leads into the main event, as DJ Luis Perez out of San Diego starts spinning his high-energy beats at 6PM. Then once 8:30 rolls around, the big show

begins as superstar DJ/Producer Manny Lehman mans the booth.

Lehman came up in New York City’s explosive house music scene of the 90s, making his mark early by executive producing CeCe Peniston’s blockbuster club anthem “Finally.” This led to him becoming one of the industry’s most sought-after remixers, most notably with Madonna’s “What It Feels Like For A Girl” and the theme to Brokeback Mountain.

Lehman has played virtually every high profile club and circuit party in the world. And now he’ll spin the turntables at Opera till the early morning hours to give the gays a proper sendoff, and to start the countdown till Pride 2011…

Official Atlanta Pride Closeout Party

Sunday, October 10th, 6PM-3AM


1150B Peachtree St.

Atlanta, GA 30309

Advance tickets available at Outwrite

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Equality by Design

The goals of the Human Rights Campaign and of world-renowned fashion designers Alex & Chloe are remarkably similar. One inspires and engages people about LGBT rights and the other inspires and engages people through their fashion line.

The two have collaborated for the second year in a row to introduce a new limited edition t-shirt and necklace collection called “Proud.” The collection was launched to coincide with National Coming Out Day on October 11th.

Proud” features a vintage black, custom dyed t-shirt with eight screen-printed activist buttons with sayings like “Kiss Me, I’m Equal” and “Closets Are For Clothes.” The necklace has a laser cut black acrylic equal sign pendant with “Human Rights Campaign” debossed along the bottom edge and comes with an antique brass extender chain.

Teaming with notable fashion designers in the fight for equality is familiar territory for HRC—Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Kenneth Cole have all contributed designs in recent years. Alex & Chloe are well on their way to reaching such vaunted status.

So come out, come out wherever you are. Pride is in fashion.

*Alex & Chloe’s “Proud” collection available at www.shop.hrc.org. 100% of net proceeds go to the Human Rights Campaign.

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Fenuxe Interview: JP Sheffield

Photo courtesy of ProjectQAtlanta.com

JP Sheffield started volunteering for Atlanta Pride as a 19-year-old, stapling papers together in the hallway outside the office “because there wasn’t enough room in the broom closet that Pride was operating out of.” Now 10+ years on, Sheffield has risen to Executive Director of the Atlanta Pride Committee, but that’s not the only change he has experienced.

Sheffield came out as transgendered and, in 2008, he began transitioning from female-to-male. We sat down with him and his girlfriend on a beautiful day outside the Ansley Starbucks to talk about why the transition process is like going through puberty again, the divide between the gay and transgender community, why he finds himself smiling all the time these days for no reason, and why he’s more excited about this Pride than any other.

Fenuxe: Tell us about how the transition experience has gone so far.

JP Sheffield: I have been incredibly fortunate with how good my experience has been. Ya know, I wasn’t in a position to have to worry about losing my job with already working for a queer organization. The board of directors has been incredibly supportive, the committee has been supportive, which I think for a lot of trans people that’s the first hurdle. It’s not “What will my family think?”, it’s “Will I still be able to provide for myself?” So I never had to ask myself that question.

Fenuxe: What’s been the best part about finally making the transition?

Sheffield: I think my favorite part is when I find myself smiling for absolutely no reason, which is not something that I would have done before. It’s kind of like “Why am I happy right now?” I don’t know, maybe people are just happy when they’re not completely worried about everything and feeling uncomfortable on a daily basis, so I guess that’s it ya know?

Fenuxe: And the worst part?

Sheffield: It’s really exciting, and with every small change you feel more and more comfortable in your body, and with every person who starts to master the pronouns and name and stuff you feel good about that—but in the same sense it’s the complete unknown. It’s like going back to puberty and you have no idea how you’re going to end up looking and what your emotions will be. It’s a huge question mark so you’re pretty much stuck in a state of change for years. So what you see now is not what you’re going to get down the road, and that can be hard.

You have to take the good with the bad, so most of the changes are amazing and awesome but at the same time I’m like, “Oh my God, am I gonna go bald?” It sounds silly but these are things I never had to think about. I never had to think about cholesterol. My doctor is like, “Welcome to being a 30-year-old man!”

Fenuxe: What’s the biggest misconception about trans people?

Sheffield: I think the biggest misconception is that there’s something wrong with us, that we hate the way we were born. Like it’s a birth defect. I look at it and I think, even though I definitely was never comfortable in the female body I was born into, I still can’t say I was born in the wrong body because it completely shapes who I am.

Fenuxe: What about misconceptions the gay community has about the trans community? How much of a divide is there between the “LGB” and the “T”?

Sheffield: In some instances there are but I think it’s definitely gotten better. I think the biggest question is, “If you identify as male and you date women, then you’re not gay so why are you part of our alphabet soup? It doesn’t make sense.” We need to start to have a bigger perspective than just who we happen to be in relationships with.

Like I said before, from college on I was part of a strong queer community. I never cared for the word “lesbian” at all but that’s how I was pegged. I can’t delete any of the experiences I’ve had, like walking down the street in Athens and having people roll down their windows and call me a faggot or threatening to break a beer bottle over my head in a bar. These are common experiences that happen to everybody else in the queer community regardless of how they identify. I don’t get to lose that just because technically speaking, “Oh you’re a straight man,” and I’m like, “I don’t feel straight, I’m queer—that’s who I am.” I think the community is getting better about understanding that.

Fenuxe: So what’s different about this year’s Pride?

Sheffield: I am more excited about this event than I’ve been about a Pride event in a long time. Us being the second weekend in October and being affiliated with National Coming Out Day gives us something to sink our teeth into. I think that it separates Atlanta Pride from Pride events everywhere else in a good way because no one else is doing it. And I think it makes us a destination Pride. People in other cities are really excited about it. Before, when we were in June and we were competing with New York and San Francisco and Houston and Minneapolis and all these other cities, we were just another Pride in the mix. Now we’re not. We have the potential to really break through a glass ceiling.

*The 2010 Atlanta Pride Festival
iedmont Park
October 9th – 10th

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Eats: Hudson Grille

Gay guys and sports bars not named Woofs typically aren’t a match made in heaven. But a sports bar with the same owners as Joe’s and Einstein’s, located in Midtown on the Pride parade route, with a burger called The Flamethrower? Yes please!

Hudson Grille has four locations around town but we’re pulling up a chair at the Peachtree Street spot. The two-story red brick facade gives way to a large, open main dining room with more flat screen TVs than there are flight attendants on Delta’s Pride float. Sports bars aren’t famous for groundbreaking interior design choices, and Hudson Grille is no different. But at least they’ve created an inviting atmosphere with ample amounts of wood and dim lighting to offset the glare from all the flat screens.

The wine list is skimpy as expected (hey, we love watching ultimate fighting with a glass of blush zinfandel as much as the next guy), so try knocking back a beer from one of the 50 on tap. The high gravity Allagash White is a smooth, citrusy choice for a crisp Fall day.

The food at Hudson Grille is typical bar fare with an upscale twist. So you can get the requisite sliders or chicken tenders for a starter, or opt for the roasted corn lobster dip. It’s a hearty concoction of cold water lobster, oven-roasted corn, scallions, and fresh dill to pair nicely with your Allagash.

Mary Makers-McMark would collapse in a heap of eye shadow and loose morals at the sight of Hudson Grille’s entree of choice: the Maker’s Mark Burger. A half-pound of certified Angus beef covered in bacon, cheddar cheese, onions and Maker’s Mark Bourbon BBQ sauce. Yes Mary, dreams do come true.

In the good time vibe the restaurant gives off, we’re prone to sampling a shooter. Many are familiar—the Alabama Slammer, the Red Snapper—but we prefer a good old-fashioned Bear Fight. It’s a Jager bomb followed by an Irish car bomb which will make you either purr with delight or pass out, whichever.

Finish off with a slice of the Babe Ruth Cheesecake. They take a traditional New York cheesecake, fill it with Baby Ruth bars, and surround it in an Oreo cookie-peanut crust. You won’t be proud of your waistline, but you’ll sure as hell enjoy the splurge.

Pride is about knowing who you are and not being afraid to show it. Hudson Grille abides by the same code. It’s a sports bar through-and-through, but one you can take a date to for a welcome change of pace.

Hudson Grille’s Ultimate Nachos

1 tequila basted chicken breast cut into ½” slices

6 oz. tortilla chips

6 oz. queso dip

1 oz. Monterrey-cheddar shredded cheese

½ c black beans
1 oz. tomatoes diced
2 oz. Salsa
1 oz. sliced jalapenos

1/3 c sour cream
2 tsp. cilantro (chopped large)

Chargrill the sliced chicken breast pieces then place in heated tequila baste for one minute or until hot. Layer the chips with queso in two layers so all the chips have equal queso. Top with shredded Monterrey-cheddar shredded cheese, black beans, tomatoes, salsa and sliced jalapenos. Drain the warmed chicken well and add over the ingredients. Top it off with a drizzle of sour cream and freshly chopped cilantro.

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Living the Life: Atlanta Pride

The only place to Xplore is Atlanta. Whether it’s your first Pride or you’ve been coming since the heyday of Honcho Magazine, follow these tips and you’ll be sure to make it through the weekend with your body and your dignity intact.




What To Bring


Cash: For the Pride Market vendors who don’t accept cards AND to throw on the rainbow flag during the parade.


Backpack: You need at least one person in your crew with a backpack or purse to carry all the Pride swag.


Patience: 200,000 of your closest friends will be there. And we mean close. Keep your cool, leave the drama at home, and make this your best Pride ever.




Things You’ll Regret Saying


“Of course I got in his Ford Festiva. He was hot!”


“I just gave my number to some guy holding a Bible and a megaphone.”


“No sunburn for me, that guy over there just gave me this new sunscreen called Astroglide.”




Rainbow Rules


-If you’re in the parade for the first time, keep your endurance up. The two-mile parade route takes over two hours to complete.


-That’s very sweet of you but no, condoms are not a suitable contribution to the donation bucket.


-Come by the Fenuxe booth and say hi!

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Pride & Joy

One of the certain happenings at Pride every year—other than rain—are complaints. “It’s become too much of a party.” “It’s not enough of a party.” “It’s become a glorified meat market.” “What’s with all the militant activism?”




So what is the reason we celebrate Pride?




Putting Down Roots




There’s a good argument for celebrating Pride strictly as an activist event. The original Pride “festivals” weren’t festivals, and they weren’t parades either. They were marches.




It started as a commemoration of the Stonewall riots in June of 1969, when a group of courageous LGBT people fought back against an unlawful police raid in Greenwich Village in a startling instance of activism that lasted for four days.




The following June, Pride marches occurred in several cities and the list grew from there every year after. Today, hundreds of cities across our country and the world celebrate Pride.




So the roots of Pride undoubtedly lie in politics and activism, although a fair share of partying took place after the day’s marching was done.




As time went on, marches and parades took on less of a militant tone in order to expand the dialog with the straight community. Words like “Freedom” and “Liberation” were dropped in favor of “Gay Pride” or, simply, “Pride.” The events expanded to include more entertainment and more vendors, then corporate sponsors jumped in. Cities started moving Pride outside of June.




Some took these developments as a sign that we were getting away from the original message. That it was simultaneously becoming too corporate and becoming too focused on partying. But who is in a position to pass judgement on what we do during Pride?




The Work Ahead




The truth is that each of us should feel free to celebrate Pride in our own way.




The tiny pockets of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people who gathered in bars and other social spaces in the 50s and 60s grew into larger networks which we now call “communities.” But without community support, there is no community to speak of.




The ironic part is the bigger the community, the more divisions created. With all we have going for us and, more importantly, the work we have ahead, the last thing we need to do is sacrifice the community we’ve built. There are too many people waiting for us to stumble.




So if it’s just about the politics and the activism for you, then keep passing out flyers and hold your signs high during the parade. If it’s just about the partying, keep it going all night and into the morning. If it’s just about picking up a guy or girl, don’t stop when you hit 10 new phone numbers. If it’s just about money or pushing a product, be proud when you sell out.




If Pride is about celebrating our differences, then why can’t we appreciate that Pride doesn’t mean the same thing for all of us?




No Apologies




The roots of Pride lie in the courageous acts of those who stood up to power that sweltering summer New York night in 1969.




Through their deeds, we eventually became powerful. And with that power came the freedom to be who we are, and to celebrate Pride as each of us sees fit.




If we learned anything from that night, it’s that there’s no wrong way to be proud.




We are driven and we are accomplished. Whatever your situation, take Pride weekend to celebrate where you are in life. Celebrate who you are as a person—a person who happens to be LGBT.

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