Tag Archive | "Georgia Equality"

Fox News Contributor To Host Atlanta Fundraiser For Anti-Gay Group

By D. David Kinney

Host of Atlanta’s Evening News on News/Talk WSB, Erick Erickson, is no stranger at right-wing events. He’s also a Fox News contributor and the editor of a conservative blog making it no wonder that Erickson gets invited to events with some extreme views. However, Erickson isn’t just reporting the news anymore. He’s now making major steps to try and actively bring more radically conservative anti-gay and anti-abortion laws to Georgia.

Next month Erickson will be hosting “An Evening With Erick Erickson” at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “As the go-to legal organization for social conservatives, ADF has compiled a record of extreme anti-gay activism,” Media Matters For America wrote on Friday. ADF is same group that helped write the religious freedom bills (HB 1023 and SB 377) that were considered by the Georgia Senate and House but were eventually stalled.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in July 2013 that [ADF] has worked to help criminalize gay sex in Belize,” Media Matters wrote, “Benjamin Bull, the executive director of ADF Global, has applauded the criminalization of homosexuality in India and has traveled to Russia to meet with Yelena Mizulina, one of the authors of that country’s notorious ‘gay propaganda’ law.”

Think being anti-gay is enough for Erickson? No. He’s ramping up his anti-abortion efforts in Georgia, too. On Thursday, the AJC reported that “talk radio provocateur Erick Erickson has fessed up to being part of the effort to persuade the National Right to Life organization to disassociate itself from Georgia Right to Life.” Georgia Right to Life is an organization that fights abortion rights here in the peach state. Erickson is essentially trying to kill Georgia’s “most powerful anti-abortion force in the [Georgia] state Capitol,” the AJC explained.

Why is a conservative talk show host and Fox News contributor trying to take down a major conservative organization? Erickson is furious that the group isn’t extreme enough. He wants to create a new group, the Georgia Life Alliance, and has announced that he will be on its board.

Want to learn more about how to combat anti-gay efforts like Erickson’s self-titled fundraiser? Georgia Equality works tirelessly to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for our community. They do great work but it takes money. Consider making a donation to Georgia Equality so they can continue to defend gay rights. You can also become a sponsor for their 10th annual Evening For Equality. This year it will be at the Twelve Hotel at Atlantic Station on June 21, 2014.

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Local Organizations Prepare For Pride

By D. David Kinney

Atlanta Pride is this weekend and our local gay groups and organizations are busy planning to make this the best Pride yet. So, what is your favorite organization planning for Pride? We asked and we’ve got the answers below. Some groups are still formulating their plans and we’ll update this post with the information as it becomes available.


What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is a wonderful celebration of diversity, acceptance and inclusion. It is a time to step forward, claim our place and celebrate acceptance. At CHRIS Kids, our mission is to heal children, strengthen families and build community…We believe that it is through love, acceptance and mutual respect that we can build and unite our community.

Where can we find you and CHRIS Kids this weekend?
The CHRIS Kids Booth is located in Green Zone – G35. Our parade float is in Row D. You won’t want to miss our fabulous float and booth. They were created in partnership with Ernst & Young. Make sure to stop by for a fabulous Pride greeting!

A special note from CHRIS Kids’ communication officer Sally Larsgaard:
You definitely can’t miss our float! It’s a culmination of our values (Creativity, Honor, Respect, Integrity and Safety) and our Family of Services (Behavioral Health, Safe Homes & Environments, Strong Communities, and Education & Training). It is CHRIS Kids. We partnered with Ernst & Young for the second year in a row and they always bring a spirit that can’t be ignored!

What is Larsgaard’s favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
My favorite part of Atlanta Pride is seeing the numbers grow every year. I love the feeling I get when everyone comes together – our community, our schools, our restaurants, our youth, all validating and supporting each other.

Jerusalem House:

What does Pride mean to you?
Atlanta Pride is a celebration of our LGBT community, past, present and future. The celebration, like our community, encompasses many components including the famous Parade and Festival Marketplace.

Jerusalem House loves every opportunity to reach out to new friends and connect with our community. We welcome any chance to talk about our housing programs, and to let people know that housing truly is healthcare.

Where can we find Jerusalem House this weekend?
Booth B49, right near Greystone (the poolhouse). Look for our Bright blue banner with ‘Fairytales and Magic’ (our upcoming Halloween Party and fundraiser on October 26th) on it.

A special note from Jerusalem House’s Jon Santos:
Come talk to us about Jerusalem House and spin our prize wheel for a chance to win treats like tickets to Fairytales and Magic on October 26, shirts, candy and more. Every spin wins!

What is Jon Santos’ favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
How can you not love a parade! There is celebration. There is a call to action. It’s a great chance to honor LGBT leaders and thank community servants.

HRC Atlanta:

What does Pride mean to you?
For HRC in Atlanta, this year means celebrating the victories that is bringing full equality closer for all LGBT Americans. And it also means renewing our focus and energy to continue to fight for full rights, most notably the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Where can we find Atlanta HRC this weekend?
HRC will once again host a great viewing area on the corner of Peachtree and 10th at Empire State South. We’ll have a brunch and beverages and welcome all to join us. We’ll also be participating in the parade and have a booth in the park!

A special note from HRC Atlanta’s Ed Patterson:
“Please stop by our booth in the park. Attendees and your readers can learn all about HRC and sign-up to volunteer with us throughout the year. And, they can get info on our planning for the 2014 Dinner Gala and Silent Auction.”

What is Patterson’s favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
The entire weekend is such a wonderful experience. But nothing is more inspiring than walking the parade route with our HRC flag and hearing the shouts of encouragement from the tens of thousands of onlookers.

Georgia Equality:

What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is the one time of year when the entire community can come together to celebrate our own diversity, publicly share our victories and talents and remind the broader community that we are here.

Where can we find Georgia Equality this weekend?
You can find Georgia Equality’s booth in the yellow section next to our friends at The Health Initiative. Anyone who wishes to march with us should join us in section C of the parade staging area at the corner of Ralph McGill and West Peachtree.

A special note from Georgia Equality’s executive director Jeff Graham:
People who are interested in supporting advocating for workplace fairness, creating safer schools for LGBTQ youth, addressing health disparities or advancing the freedom to marry should come by our booth to fill out an equality pledge card!

What is Graham’s favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
Definitely the parade. The powerful statement of thousands of people marching together is always empowering. It’s also the clearest example of where we are as a community. We’re diverse in so many ways and have so many interests. It’s also encouraging to see the number of straight allies who come out and march with us each year. It’s also important for them to make a public display of their support for the cause of LGBT equality.

Lost-N-Found Youth:

What does Pride mean to you?
As the Executive Director of Lost-N-Found, Pride reaffirms my belief in our community – it’s an incredible way to show our youth how big, vibrant, and caring our community is.

Where can we find Lost-N-Found Youth this weekend?
Lost-N-Found will be in the parade and we have a booth at Y29 right – next to the Atlanta sisters.

A special note from Lost-N-Found Youth’s Rick Westbrook:
“Certainly stop by the booth and let us educate you concerning the chronic ever-expanding problem of homelessness OUR youth face.”

What is Westbrook’s favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
I love all of pride but the parade on Sunday has a special place in my heart.


What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our community as a whole and to show all those who misunderstand or choose to be blinded by the hatred for something they do not understand that we are no different than anyone one else, we have families, pay taxes, we celebrate and we suffer with day to day conquest and struggles just as every living being on this earth,” PALS told FENUXE.

What is PALS’ favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
The gathering of those friends that we see so very little of during the year.

Where can we find PALS this weekend?
We will be in the Parade on Sunday.

AID Atlanta:

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is all about celebrating the rich diversity of our LGBTQQIA communities, as well as a time to remember the historical movers and shakers who’ve earned us the rights we have today. We’re living in an exciting time for our community, so we have a lot to celebrate. Still, though, we have a lot to push forward to as well – so it’s a time for us to focus on where we want to be in the future. For us at AID Atlanta, that includes an HIV/AIDS free community!

Where can we find AID Atlanta this weekend?

AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run will be visible throughout the weekend. We’ll be giving out information about the Walk at the AID Atlanta booths in the vendor market. We’ll also be walking in the parade on Sunday – encouraging everyone to come join us for the Walk on October 20th. In addition, many of our Walk teams will be hosting fundraising events all over the city during PRIDE weekend. There will be plenty of opportunities to see us out and about.

A special note from AID Atlanta’s Kimberly Holland:

We’re excited to be just a week out from the AIDS Atlanta Walk! We hope everyone will enjoy Pride, but also that you’ll rest up to join us in the Park on October 20th for AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run. We’ve got Miss USA 2012 as our Spokesperson, RJ Helton from American Idol will be performing and a few other surprises! You definitely won’t want to miss it!

What is Holland’s favorite part of Atlanta Pride?

My favorite part of PRIDE is of course the parade on Sunday! AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run is the weekend after PRIDE, so this is a final push for us to get the word out and encourage some of our walkers and runners to do some final fundraising! Walking in the parade, we are surrounded by individuals, companies, community groups and churches that all support us and our efforts in the community. It’s a very powerful feeling and it certainly makes us feel PROUD.

Joining Hearts:

What does Pride mean to Joining Hearts’ president Wes Berry?

For me Pride is a time to enjoy friends and the community – it is a time to celebrate being who I am and the ability for me to do so in a supportive environment of love and great energy. I love Atlanta and its a time for me to celebrate that as well with people in the city as well as visitors, friends, and strangers.

What is Berry’s favorite part of Atlanta Pride?

Honestly I just love walking around, feeling the energy and love and excitement, and people watching. Being in the middle of the crowds and excitement is my element. The Pride Parade is probably my favorite event.

Where can we find Joining Hearts this weekend?

While we aren’t participating in the Pride Parade this year, we do have two events going on that will benefit Joining Hearts: Keller William’s KW Intown Charity Concert Fundraiser “Love Is All You Need in the Red Submarine” at Park Tavern and Baraonda’s “Peaches Wine Tasting,” a wine tasting session with “Peaches” aka manager Travis Denison (aka Miss Joining Hearts).

Georgia Log Cabin Republicans:

What does Pride mean to you?
We are who we are, and we are proud to show who we are. It’s also a time to thank and remember those who made all our current advances in equality possible.

Where can we find Georgia Log Cabin Republicans this weekend?
We’ve decided not to do a booth this year, instead we’ll be around helping elect and re-elect our endorsed candidates: Doraville City Councilman Brian Bates, the first openly gay Republican elected in the Deep South, Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan, Matt Rinker- Candidate for Atlanta City Council District 5, Mary Norwood-Candidate for Atlanta City Council Post 2 Citywide, and Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell.

A special note from the Georgia Log Cabin Republican president Jamie Ensley:
“We’re more of the golf clap, wine and cheese crowd, so I doubt any of our folks will be causing a noticeable disturbance.”

What is Ensley’s favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
The Atlanta Pride Parade on Sunday.

Our Song:

What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is our time to celebrate all the gains we have made as a LGBTQ community! It is also a time to reflect to remember where we’ve come from and where we need to go. It’s also a great time where we get to see and meet so many people.

Where can we find Our Song this weekend?
We will be at our booth, helping with the bucket brigade, at parties, at the parade, at concerts, and enjoying all the activities.

A special note from Out Song:
“We’ll be performing a concert for GALA Choruses Symposium at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church at 7:15 PM. We’ll be performing with the other local GALA Choruses. Come hear us sing!”

What is Our Song’s favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
Seeing old friends, making new friends, and knowing how important our community is to our daily lives!

Stonewall Bar Association:

What does Pride mean to you?
Freedom, Equality, Justice, and the ability to be yourself.

Where can we find the Stonewall Bar Association this weekend?
Marching in the Parade and staffing our Booth in the Pride Market.

What is the Stonewall Bar Association’s Rebecca Glatzer’s favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
The Atlanta Pride Parade.

Lambda Legal:

What does Pride mean to you?

A time to share aspects of our work, outreach to more people in need, and to celebrate our beautiful existence as lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and people living with HIV.

Where can we find Lambda Legal this weekend?
We’ll be at booth B48. That’s the Blue section, then #48.

A special note from Lambda Legal’s national community educator Holiday Simmons:
Lambda Legal turned 40 years old this year, so we have a commemorative petition where we are asking people to tell us “who inspires them”. We’ll have a photo booth open for people to take a picture holding a sign of the name of the person who inspires them.

What is Simmons’ favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
Meeting people that come from all over the world to attend the biggest Pride in the south.

If you would like to submit your group’s information e-mail [email protected]

Positive Impact:

What does Pride mean to you?
Positive Impact believes that Pride is when individuals value themselves enough to express their individuality, knowing that they are worthy of compassion, love and support.

What is your favorite part of Atlanta Pride?
We love seeing the diversity that Pride brings to the Atlanta community, as well as meeting the thousands of attendees who stop by the Positive Impact – AID Gwinnett HIV Testing Booth!

Where can we find you and Positive Impact this weekend?
You can find us at the Positive Impact – AID Gwinnett HIV Testing Booth directly across from the pool house and children’s play area.

A special note from Positive Impact’s director of advancement Michael Baker:
Positive Impact will be teaming with AID Gwinnett, for the third year, to provide free, rapid HIV testing from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. You can also stop by the Positive Impact booth (located at the end of the testing booth row) to try out our trivia games and learn important information about taking better care of yourself.

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Vote for Georgia Equality’s Video And Win!

Want to help spread the word about HIV prevention, help Georgia Equality win $4000, and be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Six Feet Under for yourself? Sounds like a win-win-win to us!

AIDS United asked organizations to create a video that persuades viewers to use the tools available to them in their “HIV prevention toolbox.” The video that gets the most votes will win $4000 to help with their organization’s work. 

You can click here to vote for Georgia Equality’s video on AIDS United’s Facebook page. Want to win the $50 gift certificate? Just share the video on your own Facebook page. One lucky person who shares the video will win the gift certificate!


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What’s Your Status? Today is National HIV Testing Day!

HIV. There is no way to sugarcoat reality. It is important to know your status and to get tested regularly. Luckily, today is the 19th annual National HIV Testing Day and there is no better time to get tested. The CDC currently estimates that 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV. Sadly, 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. Do you know your status?

According to Doctor Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, “Every time someone gets tested for HIV, we are one step closer to ending the AIDS epidemic. Learning your HIV status opens the door to powerful HIV prevention and treatment options that could save your life or the life of someone you love.”

“If more Americans were tested as recommended, we could prevent thousands of needless HIV infections and deaths. National HIV Testing Day serves as a reminder to take a stand against one of the key issues driving this epidemic — not knowing your HIV status,” Mermin reiterated.

Also helping with the fight against HIV/AIDS is OraQuick. OraQuick is the first FDA-approved at-home test for HIV-1 and HIV-2. The test is painless and you get the results in 20 minutes. Plus, you can test in the privacy of your home. To find OraQuick in a store near you, click here.

No matter how you test it is important that you know your results. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “The Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] has already expanded access to free HIV screening for many people.”

However, according to Georgia Equality, “Sequestration and other budget cuts already have resulted in cuts of $375 million from the federal government’s response to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic.” So what does this mean for Georgia programs that our community relies on? “We can predict that cuts to HIV prevention will lead to fewer HIV testing and outreach efforts which will lead to increased infections.”

It is because of such cuts that free testing programs, like those at Pride Medical, are so incredibly important. Take advantage of this valuable resource while it is still free.

“Take the Test and Take Control.”

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[PHOTOS] Gays Celebrate Supreme Court Decisions

Atlanta’s gay community met at the intersection of 10th and Piedmont on Wednesday to celebrate the Supreme Court’s DOMA and Prop 8 decisions.


































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Celebrate the Supreme Court Decisions!

Georgia Equality, the largest LGBT organization in Georgia, is planning a gathering at the corner of 10th and Piedmont. The event will start at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Additionally, several other gay groups will also be in the area to celebrate. HRC Atlanta will be on TEN’s patio after the 5 p.m. rally.

For more information about the Supreme Court’s decisions on Prop 8 click here. For additional information about DOMA click here.

Do you have a question about the upcoming Supreme Court decisions? We’ll have a licensed Georgia attorney answer it for you on FENUXE.com. Submit your questions to [email protected].

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Who Lobbies for LGBT Equality in Georgia?

Dwayne Kinney, Digital Editor

Decisions from the Supreme Court on DOMA and Prop 8 could come any day now. Many experts think the Court will spill the beans tomorrow, but no one really knows for sure except the Justices. In these (hopefully) landmark cases our community has several national organizations fighting for LGBT equality. But who fights for the LGBT community in Georgia?

Georgia Equality, the largest LGBT organization in Georgia, “works to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for Georgia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.” Georgia Equality accomplishes these goals by raising money for candidates who support us, educating citizens and leaders on LGBT issues, and through direct advocacy.

Karla Drenner.jpg

This Wednesday Georgia Equality is hosting a reception at Steel Restaurant & Lounge in Midtown to support Georgia State Representative Karla Drenner. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and will go until 7 p.m. The suggested minimum contribution is $250.

Additionally, Georgia Equality’s Ninth Annual Evening for Equality & Silent Auction is on June 29, 2013. You can get tickets here. The event will take place at Twelve Hotel at Atlantic Station. There are three 2013 Georgia Equality honorees that will be recognized during the evening. The Phillip Rush Community Builder Award is being awarded to the Lloyd Russell Foundation. The Champion for Equality Award will be presented to Dázon Dixon Diallo. Finally, the Allen Thornell Political Advancement Award will go to Anthony Michael Kreis.

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Gay Activist Runs for House Seat

Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Someone very close to Ken Britt isn’t happy about his bid for Georgia House of Representatives. His name is Loki, and he’s a Jack Russell.

“He doesn’t like this campaign at all because I’m not there,” Ken said of his pet.

Hopefully Loki has plenty of chew toys because Ken doesn’t appear to be losing interest in his quest for the District 56 seat, which recently came up for grabs when incumbent Kathy Ashe decided not to seek re-election. Ken faces Mable Thomas for the seat, and since there is no Republican opponent, the new representative will be decided in the July 31 Democratic primary election.

“I would have regretted it if I had walked away from the opportunity to at least try to gain office,” said Ken. “I felt like it was the perfect opportunity for me to put to work my background in the community and business.”

If Ken were a high school senior, his yearbook bio would make even the most overachieving student look like a slacker. Among his extensive community service and activism are board positions with Georgia Equality, AID Atlanta, the Human Rights Campaign and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. After working with Georgia Equality, Ken dipped his toe in the political pool by helping elect qualified LGBT people to office, starting with Representative Karla Drenner.

“I realized through watching the political process that as LGBT people we are not going to get our rights unless we got involved in the political process,” said Ken, who retired as executive director of the law firm Alston & Bird in 2009 and served in the Georgia Legislature as a registered lobbyist volunteer in 2011.

Ken also worked on the successful campaigns of Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan and Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner and became very involved in the Victory Fund, a national organization that strives to get LGBT people elected to public office.

Considering his background, becoming a politician seemed like a natural next step for Ken

“I’ve done a lot of political work behind the scenes and I felt it was time for me to step up to the plate and see if there was some good I could do,” he said.


Hit the Road Running
“I already have relationships with people like Alex Wan and Joan Garner and other city council members and state representatives and senators. I can put the team together to help get things done for District 56.”

A Logical Perspective
“I’m not naïve enough to think I’m going to make major changes in the Legislature considering the political environment. What we can do is stop bad things from happening (or try to stop them from happening) and try to enact some laws that will help the people we represent.”

The Needs of District 56
“There’s great need on the south side for economic development. The south side doesn’t have the goods and services that our citizens have in the north side. So there are all kinds of potential and opportunity for economic growth and development there. Another issue in the district is jobs. A lot of people are in an economic crisis and are looking for work. Public safety is an issue north and south. Economic development, transportation and education are other issues I’d work on.”

His Heritage
“I come from a working class background. My mother is Italian American. She was the first American-born sibling in her family. We moved to Atlanta when I was in my early teens. My father was a mechanic early in his life. My grandfather and uncles were barbers. They were working class people and they were Italian immigrants who moved here in the 1920s with the mass immigration from Europe.”

Hello Georgia
“My family moved to Tucker from Brooklyn. The change from New York to Atlanta was quite a traumatic experience but it turned out to be a great one for me. Growing up for me was typically normal—whatever normal is.”

Serving America
“The Army was a great experience for me. I was fortunate that although I was in the Army during Vietnam, I was assigned to duty in Europe. I was in a tank battalion and did administrative and legal work while I was there. It made me grow up and become independent and self-sufficient and gave me good training for the rest of my life.”

The Meaning of “America”
“Freedom of choice. To be able to live openly and free. To be able to make your own decisions with your life without being controlled by government. I think government should be there to help but shouldn’t be intrusive.”

Favorite ice cream
“Oreo cookie!”

Spare Time? What’s That?
I’m a food junkie. I don’t cook so I’m at restaurants all the time. I love theater. I work out a good bit, although I haven’t worked out lately because this campaign has been crazy.”

Celebrating Independence Day
“A typical Fourth of July for me would be to watch the parades on television and then spend the evening watching fireworks with friends.”

To learn more about Ken Britt, please click HERE.

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Events Galore…Black Gay Pride, Electroqueer Tour, Georgia Equality

Labor Day weekend is almost here, but there are a lot of cool events happening around town before and after the holiday. Check out below for a list of events you need to know about.

Black Gay Pride Kicks-off tonight (September 1st). Click here for official events sponsored by In the Life Atlanta or click here for the various parties around town.

Also happening tonight: the Electroqueer Music Tour, featuring Adam Tyler, hits Jungle Nightclub.

Electroqueer mastermind, Raj Rudolph explains, “EQ is delighted to present our first ever EQ Music Tour in North America this summer as we continue to pioneer the movement from blog page to stage in showcasing pop’s hottest new up-and-coming talent. We couldn’t be more excited to have Adam Tyler kick off our inaugural music tour as his music resonates deeply within our pop-loving community and as an artist, Adam pushes the envelope forward within the pop and electronic genre. Not only will blog readers and pop music fans get to enjoy seeing Adam Tyler perform for the first time in some of the hottest clubs in North America on the EQ Music Tour, but they will also have access to original behind-the-scenes footage as we follow Adam and the tour every step of the way through Eqmusicblog.com, Twitter and Facebook.” Check out Electroqueer here.

EQ Music Tour: Adam Tyler Footage from Pittsburgh & Charlotte from EQ Video on Vimeo.

Also check out these up-coming Georgia Equality Events:

The next lunch with Georgia Council for International Visitors is set for next Tuesday. The event topic for this lunch will feature a discussion on advocating for LGBT rights in Romania. Ms. Irina Georgeta Nita will lead the talk scheduled to start at Noon on September 6, 2011. Georgia Equality is a co-sponsor of and will host the lunch at the Phillip Rush Center. For more info click here.
And finally:

A few weeks back Georgia Equality announced plans to sponsor “Out in the Stands” at Turner Field on September 13, 2011 at 7PM. Several other MLB teams sponsor similar events, but this is the first time the Braves have hosted the event. Some of the proceeds from the Marlins vs. Braves game will go to Georgia Equality. Tickets must be purchased using this special form.

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Great Things Are Coming To Atlanta

What happens when all the gay nightclubs, bars, restaurants, retail establishments, and tourism industries all come together?  GREAT things!  That’s exactly what’s taking place right here in our city.

A new organization called GREAT Atlanta has been formed with a primary objective of helping our local LGBT community thrive. “With America’s ongoing economic crisis we can not just sit back,” states Don Hunnewell, President of GREAT Atlanta, owner of Holey Glass and former gay bar owner, “Our [LGBT] business community is struggling to survive and we can’t continue to complain with more and more of our doors closing. Our business and community leaders must come together with energy and fresh ideas and that is exactly what’s happening with GREAT Atlanta.”

GREAT stands for Gay Retail, Entertainment, and Tourism and has evolved from previous organization called BOA (Bar Owners Association). BOA was instrumental in the late 90s in working with the city to make Atlanta’s nightlife scene more vibrant. The time has now come for a multi-industry coalition to join forces to not only restore Atlanta’s nightlife scene, but to attract and retain more LGBT individuals and encourage those individuals to shop within the community.

One of the key components to GREAT is education. “The great & open lifestyle that we have in Atlanta is made possible from the many open LGBT businesses.” says Philip Rafshoon, the owner of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse and Vice President of GREAT, “It is important [that we] educate & remind our community of the role those businesses play in the community. Education is a key component of our alliance & will remain a big part of it to ensure that our community doesn’t take us for granted.”

Look for amazing changes and exciting ideas coming to our community as we continue to solidify Atlanta as one of the go-to gay destinations.

Top 5 Reasons to eat, shop, and drink from local gay-owned or gay-friendly businesses:

  1. Shopping local puts three times as much money back into a community versus shopping at a big chain store and that means when you shop, eat, and drink at a local LGBT establishment you are investing in our local LGBT community, in your neighbors, and in yourself.
  2. Shopping within the community supports those local businesses which give Atlanta it’s unique, gay culture distinguishing us from other cities.
  3. The more money we have in the community, the greater the voice we have in political matters.
  4. Shopping within the community allows LGBT businesses to create better programming, hire more employees from within the community, and host more events thus attracting more tourists and new residents.
  5. Non-profits also receive greater support – studies show that non-profit organizations receive an average 350% greater support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses. This means that organizations like Aid Atlanta, For the Kid, CHRIS Kids, Jerusalem House, Atlanta Pride, ALHI, Georgia Equality, PALS, Joining Hearts, and many other great organizations like these can receive more support and continue serving our community.

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