Tag Archive | "joining hearts"

Men In (Swim) Suits


By D. David Kinney 

Got your favorite swimsuit picked out for Joining Hearts 27 this weekend? If you’re looking for some divine inspiration we’re taking a look at some of our favorite looks from the Mercedes-Benz Swim Fashion Week in Miami.

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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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Out Photos: Joining Hearts’ Change Of Seasons Tea Dance


By D. David Kinney

Joining Hearts welcomed the arrival of spring with its annual Change of Seasons Tea Dance on Sunday at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. Here are some photos we snapped at the event:

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What’s Hip, Hot & Happening In Gay Atlanta


By D. David Kinney 

All week it’s been work, work, work… but now it’s the weekend! Let down your hair and enjoy all of the awesome events and parties happening in Atlanta. The weather may be a bit temperamental on Friday and Sunday, but Saturday looks like a keeper! Highlights for this weekend include the Atlanta Film Festival at the Plaza Theatre and Joining Hearts’ Change of Seasons Tea Dance on Sunday.

FENUXE Event Gay Party Club Bar Atlanta Weekend To Do

7:00 p.m. – Glitter Pop Drag Show 2014 at Georgia Tech

8:00 p.m. – Archer Live! at the Tabernacle

8:00 p.m. – Comedian Cameron Esposito at the Laughing Skull Lounge

8:00 p.m. – “Young Frankenstein” at the Dramatech Theatre

8:00 p.m. – Atlanta Bucks Round Robin Meet-N-Greet at Heretic Atlanta

9:30 p.m. – The Other Show at Jungle Atlanta

10:00 p.m. – Got Leche? at Club Rush

10:00 p.m. – Fundraiser For Mr. SECC 2014 Travel Fund at the Atlanta Eagle

11:00 p.m. – FEMME FATALE at Burkhart’s Pub

11:00 p.m. – Boys Room at Mary’s

11:00 p.m. – Daring Divas at Blake’s on the Park

11:00 p.m. – Fur with DJ Mike Pope at Heretic Atlanta

11:55 p.m. – The Rocky Horror Picture Show (part of the Atlanta Film Festival) at the Plaza Theatre

FENUXE Event Gay Party Club Bar Atlanta Weekend To Do Saturday

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Spring Festival on Ponce at Olmsted Linear Park

11:00 a.m. – The Beltline Boil at Fourth Ward Skate Park

12:00 p.m. – “My feminism is…” Photo Shoot at Charis Books and More

12:00 p.m. - Atlanta Bucks Round Robin at Benjamin S. Carson High School

1:00 p.m. – AV200 & AID Atlanta Margarita Bust at Zocalo Atlanta

7:00 p.m. – Pure Imagination Artist Reception at PB&J Gallery

8:00 p.m. – Comedian Cameron Esposito at the Laughing Skull Lounge

9:00 p.m. – Ruby’s Redd Light District: Spring Has Sprung! at Jungle Atlanta

9:00 p.m. – Jockstrap Sister Twister at Atlanta Eagle

10:00 p.m. – GlitterGlam at Blake’s on the Park

11:00 p.m. – SYNERGY at Burkhart’s Pub

11:00 p.m. – DJ ABEL at Jungle Atlanta

11:00 p.m. - Gurlfrandz: He Is Risen! at Mary’s

11:00 p.m. – Drag Race at My Sister’s Room

11:00 p.m. – The Raid 2 (part of the Atlanta Film Festival) the Plaza Theatre

FENUXE Event Gay Party Club Bar Atlanta Weekend To Do Sunday

11:00 a.m. – Atlanta Bucks Brunch at Joe’s on Juniper

12:00 p.m. – Respect The Brunch at TEN Atlanta

2:00 p.m. – “Standing On The Side Of Love” at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta

3:00 p.m. – Designing Women Live 8 at The Process Theatre Co.

4 p.m. – 9 p.m. – Joining Hearts’ Change of Seasons Tea Dance at the Loews Atlanta Hotel

3:30 p.m. – Push Ups For P.A.L.S. at TEN Atlanta

4:00 p.m. – Hotlanta Softball League’s Extra Innings at My Sister’s Room

4:30 p.m. – Starz Presents: Da Vinci’s Demons (part of the Atlanta Film Festival) at the Plaza Theatre

7:00 p.m. – Comedian Cameron Esposito at the Laughing Skull Lounge

7:00 p.m. – Miss Gay Georgia USofA at Jungle Atlanta

7:00 p.m. – Designing Women Live 8 at The Process Theatre Co.

8:00 p.m. – The Armorettes at Burkhart’s Pub

8:00 p.m. – Cell Block Sunday at Blake’s on the Park

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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.

CHRIS Kids:

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.

PALS:

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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Out Photos: Lips Atlanta Drag Cabaret Benefit


By D. David Kinney

The beautiful new Lips Atlanta celebrated their grand opening weekend with a drag cabaret benefit for Joining Hearts on Sunday night. The gorgeous and talented ladies at Lips joined Mr. Charlie Brown and Phoenix from RuPaul’s Drag Race for an incredible evening of tasty signature drinks, delicious bites, and top-notch drag performances. Check out our photos from the event:

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The Ultimate In Drag Dining Comes To Atlanta


By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

This Friday Atlanta will be crowned with what can only be described as a drag queen jewel as Lips opens its doors to the public. Lips is the ultimate experience in drag dining where a great restaurant meets top-of-the-line Vegas-style drag performance in a bedazzled show palace fit for only the best of queens.

The venue has already sold out for Friday and Saturday, but you can still experience a drag-a -licious good time this Sunday with their opening celebration benefiting Joining Hearts. Join the talented ladies of Lips and guest hostesses Mr. Charlie Brown and Phoenix who will no doubt be serving up their most jaw-dropping performances for Joining Hearts.

Tickets are $30 in advance ($40 at the door) and alongside the spectacular show you’ll also get some delicious bites, their world famous frozen cosmo, beer, and wine.

For tickets to the Joining Hearts event, click here. For reservations at Lips, click here.

Want to see a sneak peek inside Lips? Here you go:

Lips Atlanta Buckhead Drag

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Joining Hearts Elects New President


By D. David Kinney

Kerry Loftis took to Facebook yesterday to say goodbye as president of Joining Hearts. Loftis served as president during the group’s 26th season, which recently came to a close with an End-of-Summer Margarita Bust at Zocalo’s in Midtown.

 Kerry Loftis Facebook Message

Joining Hearts met last night at Keller Williams Realty Intown to elect their new leadership. Wes Berry, a 2010 FENUXE 50 award winner, was elected as the group’s next president. Berry has volunteered at Joining Hearts for quite some time. However, in 2009 he decided to get even more involved with the group and volunteered as a “host.” Subsequently, in 2010 he was elected to Joining Hearts’ board as the Assistant Director of Events. Now, he will be steering one of Atlanta’s favorite charities toward success in its 27th fundraising year.

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Wes Berry and former Joining Hearts presidents

 (From left to right: Jon Santos, Ben Hadsock, Wes Berry, and Kerry Loftis)

Photo: Dan Lax

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Out Photos: Joining Hearts’ End-of-Summer Margarita Bust


By D. David Kinney

Joining Hearts wrapped up its 26th fundraising season on Sunday with an End-of-Summer Margarita Bust at Zocalo’s. DJ Chris Griswold was spinning as the perfect weather and delicious margaritas made for a great afternoon.

With its fundraising season at an end Joining Hearts also elected new leadership for next year. Wes Berry, a 2010 FENUXE 50 award winner, was elected as the group’s new president. Joining Hearts had some great events this year (Joining Hearts 26 Pool PartyPatron & Sponsor Appreciation Party) and we’re looking forward to what they have in store for next year. Here are some photos from Sunday’s Margarita Bust. Enjoy!

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Gay Atlanta’s Weekend 101


What can’t you do this weekend? We’ve got mega pool parties, a tea dance, drag shows, BBQs, gay singers, and even an award banquet going on. Yes, it is probably going to rain this weekend and there may be some thunder here and there … but who cares? There’s enough amazingly fun things going on both indoors and out that you can get splashed and sloshed to your heart’s content. We’re going to go for a healthy dose of both.

FRIDAY July 19:

Frisky MonkeyFrisky Monkey, featuring gay Atlanta singer/songwriter Juan Cezar and John Miklaucic, is playing at Smith’s Olde Bar starting at 10 p.m. There is an $8 cover.

Joining Hearts 26 Kickoff Party starts at 9 p.m. at Heretic Atlanta on Cheshire Bridge. Tonight’s party ushers in the start Joining Hearts’ weekend of fundraising with their main event tomorrow at Piedmont Park. Tonight’s party features DJ Mike Pope and DJ/Producer Micky Friedmann. Admission is $10. Joining Hearts will receive $1 from each admission paid.

Atlanta Pride’s Food, Flicks, and Fun at Sweet Cheats in Cabbagetown starts at 6 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m. A portion of Sweet Cheats proceeds will be donated to Atlanta Pride.

Atlanta Bucks’ 10th Anniversary Awards Banquet is tonight at the Colonnade. The reception starts at 7 p.m. with a cash bar and the dinner begins at 8 p.m. Banquet tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Awards will be presented after the dinner service. For more information contact Mike England.

TAKEOVER at The Livingston starts at 9 p.m. DJ Kirk Angell will be spinning in the beautiful bar at the intersection of Peachtree and Ponce de Leon.

SATURDAY July 20:

Joining HeartsJoining Hearts 26, Atlanta’s favorite annual pool party, is back and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever. Tickets are completely sold out so I hope you got one before it was too late. For more information about the party and pictures from last year, click here. The party party at 4 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m.

Burkhart’s Extravaganza with Shavonna B. Brooks starts at 11 p.m. featuring Niesha Dupree, Monica Van Pelt, Raquell Lord, Nicole Paige Brooks, Alvion Arnell Davenport.

LeBuzz’s staff and entertainers are going all out to raise money for Marietta Pride’s charity this year, the Health Initiative. You’ll have an opportunity to bid on the staff and entertainers from LeBUZZ for a dinner date. Plus, LeBUZZ is picking up the tab for dinner. Have a fun date and benefit a great Georgia charity.

SUNDAY July 21:

Bulldogs SundayBulldogs Bar Atlanta is kicking off their new Sundays with DJ Caprice starting at 4 p.m. Guests will enjoy $2 well drinks from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and complimentary hot dogs and hamburgers from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. from Smokin T&T’s BBQ.

Atlanta Cotillion’s Weekend Wind Down Fun-raiser is the perfect way to recover from Joining Hearts 26 the day before. The event will benefit AID Atlanta and is presented by Svedka Vodka. Lounging around Century Skyline Apartments’ beautiful rooftop pool sounds like a great way to benefit charity. Tickets are available at AtlantaCotillion.com

Joining Hearts’ Closing Party, with internationally known DJ Isaac Escalante and Atlanta’s DJ Corey David, will be at Jungle Atlanta starting at 7 p.m. You can expect sexy go-go boys and even a performance by Phoenix Atl.

The Armorettes take over Burkhart’s starting at 8 p.m. for their fun and hilarious Sunday show. Join the award-winning ladies as they entertain with comedy and song for a great end to the weekend. You can see FENUXE’s photos from a recent Armorettes show here.

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