Tyler Calkins, Publisher & Editor
I’m usually pretty bummed around the holidays partially due to family drama and partially due to being single, but this year something new and special came into my life. I was driving down the on-ramp talking to my friend about the Ice Party about to merge onto I-20, when all of a sudden the cutest little puppy runs out from behind a little bush into oncoming traffic. Without thinking, I stopped the car and jumped out not even concerned about the other cars behind us.
I ran around for about an hour weaving through traffic trying to coax the little puppy to come to me – I even had a driver give us a can of dog food, but to no avail. She ran right into the highway and just barely missed a few cars. Screaming, I ran out into the right hand lane trying to stop the cars – she then turned and ran back up the on-ramp and onto Moreland. At that moment two huge firetrucks pull up and stop. Almost instantaneously 12 courageous firemen and women sprang from both trucks and stopped all the traffic (which isn’t an easy thing to do), but before they could get every car, a man driving a tan Ford Taurus sped down the road and ran over this poor defenseless puppy’s leg which sent her screaming in pain. He then stopped his car, looked at me, shrugged, and kept speeding down the road.
The puppy then lurched forward, running on only three legs and parked herself right underneath a street sweeper car. When I finally pulled her out, her leg was crushed, bleeding, and she was shaking in pain. I thanked the firemen & women (Thank you so much Dekalb Firefighters, you guys rock!! If anyone knows who these brave men and women are, please let me know, I’d like to give them tickets to the Ice Party) and rushed to the Village Vets in Decatur. I then called my friend Rebecca Guinn with the Lifeline Animal Project who, without hesitation, said that they would cover her emergency room bills. (Thank you so much Rebecca & all the great folks at the Lifeline project!) We then discovered that her leg bones had been shattered and that she needed surgery or possibly amputation.
Within a few hours of putting her story up on the Fenuxe Facebook page, she had secured enough donations to cover her $5,000 surgery, which leads me into my next point: Our community rocks! No, seriously, our community is strong, resourceful, creative, helpful, driven, safe, and knows how to come together. The whole time I was with the little puppy (who I have temporarily named “Little Fenuxe” until we find her a good home) I kept thinking to myself – all of us in this community at one point or another have been this little puppy – lost, alone, and scared.
I remember when I first came out, I was lost, alone, and scared. I went to Blakes (the first gay bar I ever went to) and found people who thought like me… who supported me… liked the same crazy dance techno music I like, but most importantly I found people who accepted and embraced me for me with no strings attached. Many things, though, had to come together for that to happen. For starters, there had to be a gay movement in NYC so that we knew we needed solidarity. It took entrepreneurs who weren’t afraid of being mocked or even killed who created an environment for gay people to socialize and be safe, and it took building a community of individuals who fought (and still fight) for our rights and our way of life.
Fenuxe Magazine would not exist today if it weren’t for the contributions of those that came before us and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for specific people in our community who “scooped me up” and showed me that it’s okay to be gay – I didn’t have to be that scared, lonely, and lost puppy anymore. I know that you too can look back at your life and identify those individuals who made a profound impact on your life as a gay man or a lesbian woman. This is why I am so passionate about our Fenuxe 50.
While we can’t honor everyone every year, our community has nominated 50 individuals to be honored as the 50 most outstanding members of our community. Guys, these people help us in so many ways – they make laws that protect us, advocate on our behalf, spread the news about what it means to be gay from the radio microphone to the pulpit, fight in the trenches with those dying of HIV/AIDS, rescue animals from certain death, foster businesses that directly benefit our way of life, and raise money for those who don’t have a voice. Now, it’s our turn to thank them.
If you’ve ever been to a Fenuxe party – you know you are in for a great time, but I have really pulled out all the stops this year. Trust me, you will be simply amazed with the Icy Wonderland we have built to honor these 50 individuals. They don’t get a lot of praise during the year, so please join me in thanking them in person at the Ice Party for all they do for us. Here’s a little preview of what we have in store for you: 27,000 lbs of sculpted ice, a gourmet buffet-style dinner, a sponsored bar by Ketel One Vodka, and performances from members of the Atlanta Opera, the Atlanta Ballet, the Gay Men’s Chorus, and the Armorettes. It will be something very special that I know our 50 will treasure for the rest of their lives.
If you’re single like me, there perhaps is no better event all year that you could attend where you will find quality men and women all gathered in one place. It is black tie optional, but don’t forget how sexy you look in a tux
Open Admission is $20 (admission only) General Admission is $75(includes dinner, open bar), VIP is $150 (includes valet, private reception with the Fenuxe 50 Members, guaranteed seating for ceremony, and VIP bag).
I would hope that anyone reading this magazine would do exactly what I did – try to help a poor, defenseless animal in any way I could. That’s what community does. Strangers coming together for a cause.
This year is going to be huge for or community – the upcoming Supreme Court case has the potential to have rippling effects on our rights across this country.
Let’s start this year right by honoring those who have selflessly sacrificed on our behalf, while we look with anticipation to our bright future.
See you at the Ice Party on January 12.
To purchase tickets visit:
Thank you to all of our Fenuxe 50 this year: Anna Leary, Art Izzard, Ashley Derrick, Barb Rowland, Barry Brandon, Brandon Rudat, Buck Cooke, Chandler Bearden, Cleo Meyer, David Janke, Dennis Flores, Dino Thompson-Sarmiento, Rev. Erin K. Swenson, Frank Mendez, Heath Loupe, James Randell Chumbley, Jeremiah Lawson, Jesse Morgan, Congressman John Lewis, Former President Jimmy Carter, Rev. Josh Noblitt, Kat Graham, Kate Trahan, Kevin Bryant, Kevin Kelly, Councilman Kwanza Hall, Laura Douglas-Brown, Lena Lust, Lynn Barfield, Maggie Lopez & Pat Cianciullo, Marci Alt. Margaret Cho, Mark Jackson & Tom Schloeder, Mary Edith Pitts, Melissa Carter, Neal Boortz, Dr. Nedra Dodds, NeNe Leakes, Palmer & Mary Marsh, Park Krausen, Philip Bonneau, Rabbi Joshua Lesser, Randy New, Rev. Paul Graetz, Richard Rhodes, Sean & Gilbert Yeremyan, Sheila Merritt, Sister Ursula Polari, The Armorettes, and William Campbell.