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The Georgia Voice

PO Box 77401 Atlanta, GA 30357 404-815-6941 |

2012 Year in Review
People of the Year: Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence help LGBT youth


Editor: Laura Douglas-Brown Deputy Editor: Dyana Bagby Web Manager: Ryan Watkins Art Director: Bo Shell Contributors: Melissa Carter, Brent Corcoran, Jim Farmer, Shannon Hames, Topher Payne, Matt Schafer, Steve Warren, Ryan Lee


Top local news: Atlanta stands up for marriage equality, plus other triumphs


Top national news: Obama says ‘I Do,’ first out U.S. senator and more


Publisher: Christina Cash Associate Publisher: Tim Boyd Sales Executive: Marshall Graham National Advertising: Rivendell Media, 908-232-2021


Richard Eldredge, Sandy Malcolm, Lynn Pasqualetti, Robert Pullen
All material in the Georgia Voice is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Georgia Voice. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. We also do not accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Georgia Voice, but we do not take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. Guidelines for freelance contributors are available upon request. A single copy of the Georgia Voice is available from authorized distribution points. Multiple copies are available from the Georgia Voice office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to reach a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 26-issue mailed subscription for $60 per year. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Tim Boyd, Postmaster: Send address changes to the Georgia Voice, 1904 Monroe Drive, Suite 130, Atlanta, GA 30324. The Georgia Voice is published every other Friday by The Georgia Voice, LLC. Individual subscriptions are $60 per year for 26 issues. Postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. The editorial positions of the Georgia Voice are expressed in editorials and in editor’s notes. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Georgia Voice and its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words and commentary, for web or print, should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Email submissions to or mail to the address above.


The year in photos: Our best shots from 2012’s biggest LGBT events.


Outspoken: The most outrageous and inspiring quotes of the year


The year in A&E: Music, movies, TV, theater and social media

Atlanta mayor speaks out on fallout from marriage support. Page 23 Recent lesbian suicide highlights need to know warning signs. Page 25



Best Bets for Christmas, New Year’s Eve and more. Pages 26-29

That’s What She Said: After tragedy, Melissa Carter reflects on 2012’s good news. Page 30 Domestically Disturbed: Topher Payne is giving up the night.. Page 32


Armorettes’ Christmas: Plan the end of your big gay year.


• Breaking news as it happens • Calendar and daily event highlights • Photo albums and video galleries • Directory of community organizations


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GA Voice

December 21, 2012

Year in Review

he white face, the flamboyant nun apparel, the seemingly ceaseless fundraising for various charities, especially for LGBT homeless youth — all of this, plus the outrageous fun they bring to our city, leads us to celebrate the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as our People of the Year. Founded in 2009 by Sister Gunza Blazin (many Sisters asked their real names not be used in this story) with just a few marching in the Atlanta Pride parade that year, the chapter has grown to more than a dozen dedicated men in holy drag who seek nothing more than to “promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.” For the Sisters, that means to make people feel good while also doing good, whether its handing out condoms at bars or hosting fundraisers for its adopted cause, Lost-N-Found Youth. Lost-N-Found Youth, which serves those 18-25, was founded by the Atlanta Sisters at the end of 2011 when current Abbess Rapture Divine Cox (who many also know as Rick Westbrook) began working with Art Izzard, formerly of StandUp for Kids, to conduct outreach to LGBT youth living on the streets. When they looked for help from local LGBT youth organizations, they said they faced too much red tape and nothing that would help the young people get off the streets immediately. So Westbrook and Izzard (not a Sister) and the entire Sisters chapter decided to create their own organization. In the last year Lost-NFound Youth has rented a six-bedroom house where its six beds have been filled since Day 1 and staffs a 24-hour hotline. The group also brings awareness to the plight of homeless youth by holding vigils, camping out on a U-Haul truck for 48 hours (as Westbrook did in November) and Sister Ursala Polari overseeing Lost-N-Found’s monthly Big Gay Game Show at Jungle to raise funds to keep the doors of its shelter open. In the past two years, the Sisters have raised approximately $50,000 for various organizations. They also hold a monthly fundraiser at Woof’s the first Thursday of month and a new speed dating event at Blake’s. “There’s a part of us that we are supposed to be humble and I know I’ve been on the sidelines for awhile, but the Sisters have worked very hard, tirelessly, to give back to the community,” said Sister Gunza Blazin. “We are constantly bending and twisting around our own schedules so we can do good for others.”

People of the Year:
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence bring benevolence, charity
By Dyana Bagby •

Atlanta’s Sisters

Why we chose our People of the Year
In our last issue of 2012, GA Voice names our third annual Person (or Persons) of the Year — an honor that goes to the LGBT person, group or ally we think has had the most significant effect on LGBT people in Georgia over the last 12 months. This year, we honor the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The group exploded into the city’s LGBT community only three years ago and is now a ubiquitous presence both at their own and many other LGBT events, raising funds and awareness at the same time. We specifically chose the Sisters for their quick growth and success, high visibility and important work in founding Lost-N-Found Youth, which helps homeless LGBT youth who are not served as directly by any other agency. As importantly, we honor the grassroots spirit of the Sisters, which we hope will inspire more of us. It is easy to sit back and critique the work of others, to bemoan what Atlanta doesn’t have or what other activists should do. While there is a role for constructive criticism, it is far more important to do as the Sisters: to step up to the plate yourself, even in a habit and heels, to help make our community stronger.

Atlanta’s Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have raised $50,000 for local charities and founded Lost-N-Found Youth to help homeless LGBT young people. (Photo by Bo Shell)

Past GA Voice Person of the year honorees:
2011: Vandy Beth Glenn, who won a landmark court ruling after she was fired for being transgender 2010: Atlanta Eagle Attorney Dan Grossman, who represented plaintiffs suing over the unconstitutional 2009 police raid — Laura Douglas-Brown years on the streets and admitted drug addiction and prostitution became a way of life and survival. “It’s just been difficult coming out of that place,” he said. In 2010 he tested positive for HIV when he randomly went in for a test with a friend. Through Lost-N-Found, he is now a client of Positive Impact’s MISTER project and receiving treatment after having been off his medications for some time, he said. “For the first time in several years, they made me feel like I deserve a better life,” Chandler said. “In just a short amount of time so many doors and opportunities have opened up for me. They have made me feel like family. They really answered my cry for help.”

Sister Dixie Normous, who will be the new abbess when Rapture’s tenure ends this year, said being a Sister means being part of something greater than yourself. “We’re in our third official year and I think in the past two or three years we have done a lot and grown a lot. In this year alone, spearheaded by Rapture, we founded the Lost-N-Found or-

‘To make a difference’

ganization and put a lot of energy into that. I like being part of an organization that helps our community,” he said. While being named People of the Year is a tremendous honor, Rapture, aka Westbrook, said the Sisters do not do what they do for the publicity. “We don’t do this for recognition,” he said. “We do it to try to make a difference in the community. I’ve always been proud of my sisters because they stepped up with Lost-N-Found. The Sisters will continue to support like they always do but the community has knocked it out of the park in helping us.” Rapture wishes all of Atlanta would realize the importance of helping LGBT youth. “I’m an old queen,” he said. “Things have changed. I would never have thought of coming out when I was 13 or 14 but kids today are. “Things are changing. The [Atlanta City] Council passed a resolution in support of gay marriage and the mayor signed it. Every time we move forward, it affects our youth. One in four youth become homeless the moment they tell their

parents they are gay. We as a community have to realize as a whole they are our future,” he added. The Sisters say they do what they do for people like Anthony Chandler, who until about two weeks ago was sleeping in city parks. Chandler got Lost-N-Found’s number from someone else living on the streets and called it late one night. Westbrook answered and went to meet Chandler immediately, brought him to the home where he was processed by an onsite social worker who also lives in the home. Chandler said he has been living on his own since he was 17 and moved to Atlanta earlier this year from Arkansas seeking a better life. “I was living with my grandfather who was a preacher after my mother lost custody of me and my brother because of drug addiction. I confided in my aunt [that he was gay] and she told my grandfather, who is very religious, Pentecostal, and he gave me an ultimatum — he said he didn’t want that under his roof,” he said. Chandler has spent most of the past eight

‘They made me feel like family’

We can think of at least two reasons to celebrate 2013.
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6 2

GA Voice

December 21, 2012

Year in Review

Top local news of 2012: Atlanta backs marriage
City Council, mayor speak out for marriage equality
equality but was not quite ready to say “I do.” In a statement released on Dec. 11, Reed said he evolved on marriage equality after discussing the issue with close friends and family. “Loving couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have the right to marry whomever they want,” he said. For more on Reed’s announcement, please see Page 23. With the council and the mayor backing marriage equality, the Atlanta Police Department followed in step on Dec. 12 by releasing an “It Gets Better” video to help LGBT youth. The video features 23 openly gay and lesbian officers. Atlanta still had its bumps along the way in 2012, however. The city finally settled a lawsuit for $250,000 on Oct. 15 with a man who sued the city after he alleged he was denied a job with the APD because he is HIV positive. Atlanta scored 82 out of 100 on LGBT issues in the Municipal Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign on Nov. 27. The city received 4 out of 8 possible points for the city’s “relationship with the LGBT community,” scoring 3/5 for the city leadership’s public position on LGBT equality and 1/3 for local pro-equality legislative or policy efforts. By Laura Douglas-Brown and Dyana Bagby Whether it was the threat of the end of the world or just plain old fashioned holiday spirit — or most likely political timing — the month of December brought Atlanta officials together in a cornucopia of outspoken support for LGBT equality. First, on Dec. 3, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution 11-2 stating its support for same-sex marriage. The resolution was introduced by Alex Wan, the only openly gay council member, after months of discussion with his colleagues about the difference between civil unions and marriage equality. Wan, who represents District 6, said he pushed for the resolution because it was “the right thing to do.” When the resolution came to Mayor Kasim Reed’s desk for a signature Dec. 11, he not only signed it but came out publicly in support of gay marriage, reversing his earlier position of only supporting civil unions. His announcement also put to rest the issue he said he had been “wrestling” with for some time. Reed met with LGBT activists in June to specifically discuss his position on marriage

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed signs a marriage equality resolution introduced by City Councilmember Alex Wan (left), who is gay. (Photo by Sonji Jacobs)

Anti-gay attack on Brandon White goes viral
When Brandon White, an openly gay man, was viciously attacked on Feb. 4 in the Pittsburgh community of southwest Atlanta as his assailants yelled “faggot,” he had no idea his face would be splashed nationally across TVs and newspapers after the attackers uploaded a video of the beating to a popular hip hop website. State lawmakers renewed efforts for a state hate crime law that fizzled again in the last days of the legislative session. The three men charged in the attack were sentenced to five years in prison in July and called the “ultimate bullies” by Fulton Superior Court Judge Jackson Bedford. A group of LGBT activists sought to have the defendants serve probation rather than prison time in hopes of trying to curb LGBT violence without resorting to sending more people to prison. White said he did not support their actions.

Gilbert’s Café, had expanded next door to open 10th and Piedmont in the former Outwrite space. Rafshoon to is moving on to new challenges: In January, he starts a new position as programming director for the AJC Decatur Book Festival.

In one of GA Voice’s photos of the year, Philip Rafshoon and partner Robert Gaul dismantle the disco ball at Outwrite’s famed 10th and Piedmont location. See other top photos on Page 15. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, the shop that became an unofficial community center for LGBT Atlanta, closed Jan. 26 and filed for bankruptcy. Outwrite owner Philip Rafshoon announced in November 2011 that Outwrite would have to move from the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue because its rent was too high. He told the public that the plan was to find a cheaper location and started a “Save Outwrite Books” campaign

Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse closes

soliciting donations for moving costs. After filing for bankruptcy and citing total debts of more than $500,000, Rafshoon returned donations. The closure of Outwrite, founed in 1993, left a void in Atlanta’s literary and LGBT communities. Gay variety store Brushstrokes tried to fill the gap by hosting a few readings at gay bar Mixx, while lesbian-owned feminist bookstore Charis Books & More continues a full schedule of events. By year’s end, restaurateurs and brothers Sean and Gilbert Yeremyan, owners of neighboring

This year’s elections increased open lesbians in the Georgia General Assembly to three, but brought the number of openly gay men back to zero. The Georgia General Assembly gained a third openly lesbian member in February, when Democrat Keisha Waites won a special election to represent House District 60. With all seats in the Georgia legislature up for election in 2012, Waites had to face voters again in the July primaries, where she handily won over three challengers. Rep. Karla Drenner, Georgia’s first openly gay state legislator, was unopposed for reelection in House District 86. Rep. Simone Bell, the first openly lesbian African-American state legislator in the nation, came out on top in the Democratic primary for State House District 58 after facing Rep. Ralph Long. Please see LOCAL REVIEW on Page 8

Lesbians win, gay men lose in State House races

8 4

GA Voice

December 21, 2012

Year in Review

Chick-fil-A outrage, changes for Atlanta’s Prides among top stories
LOCAL REVIEW, continued from Page 6 The two Democratic incumbents faced off in the primary after Republican redistricting drew them into the same district. Bell then beat Republican challenger Earl Cooper in November. Gay male candidates were less successful. The only openly gay man in the state House, Rep. Rashad Taylor, came out as gay last year while serving in the General Assembly. Taylor lost his reelection bid in House District 57 to Rep. Pat Gardner, a Democratic incumbent with a history of supporting LGBT rights — another victim of GOP redistricting. Longtime gay political advocate Ken Britt hoped to be the first openly gay man elected to the state House, but fell short in the July primary in his bid to represent Atlanta’s House District 56. Three other openly gay hopefuls ― state House District 101 candidate Tim Swiney in Gwinnett County, state House District 59 candidate William Phelps and Senate District 47 candidate Tim Riley in Athens ― were also unsuccessful in 2012. But in another potentially historic race, attorney Jane Morrison proved successful in her bid for a seat on the Fulton County State Court, making her one of the first openly gay judges in Georgia and the Southeast. Georgia’s two largest Pride festivals cited big changes in 2012 as each drew tens of thousands of happy (and gay!) revelers. Atlanta Pride saw a change in leadership as James Sheffield stepped down in February for a new role with the Health Initiative, which works on LGBT wellness issues. The Pride board appointed Buck Cooke, a longtime Pride volunteer and former co-chair of the entertainment committee, as interim executive director. October’s festival drew rave reviews from the Pride board, which pronounced it one of the largest ever as crowds packed Piedmont Park for headliners including Amy Ray, Andy Bell of Erasure and Rita Ora. In November, the Pride board surprised exactly no one by announcing — after accepting resumes for two weeks — it had hired Cooke as the permanent executive director. Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride, billed as the largest such celebration in the world, drew its usual throngs over Labor Day Weekend, but with a new event to bring everyone together on Sunday in Piedmont Park. Sponsored by Traxx Girls and the Vision Community Foundation, the festival drew thousands who enjoyed vendors and free live entertainment, including gospel singing, a hair competition, a J-Sette competition, headliner KeKe Wyatt and more.

Big changes for Atlanta Pride, Black Gay Pride

The call went out in January that if YouthPride did not raise some $40,000, the youth LGBT nonprofit would be forced to close its doors, according to Terence McPhaul, the executive director. After the public plea for funds, it was discovered YouthPride did not have a five-member board of directors in violation of its bylaws and that a full board had not met since December 2010. A volunteer independent task force investigated the financial and leadership struggles of YouthPride and determined the agency was deep in debt. United Pride withheld designated donor funds for two weeks in April while it investigated donor complaints. YouthPride was forced to move from its location on Edgewood Avenue after its landlord, Inman Park United Methodist Church, sued to have the organization evicted for not paying rent for more than a year. YouthPride paid $28,000 as part of its settlement with the church and moved out on June 1. The organization reopened in the Ashview Heights area of Atlanta on June 21. The organization currently only has three members listed as board members — Theresa Willis, Tracee McDaniel and Jordan Myers. A post on its website states YouthPride had 4,126 visits during 2012 and that “22 suicides have been prevented.” Willis and McPhaul continue to refuse interview requests; McPhaul has punted requests to Willis, who said this week she will give an

YouthPride falters; LGBT youth organize

In one of GA Voice’s photos of the year, two men kiss in front of the Chick-fil-A at Piedmont Road and Sidney Marcus Blvd. at an LGBT-organized kiss-in. See other top photos on Page 15. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

interview in February 2013. As YouthPride seemed to be destructing at a rapid pace, several LGBT youth and former members of YouthPride decided it was time to form a youth-led organization as an option and started JustUs ATL. The organization is entirely youth-led and began by holding a town hall meeting on March 31 and shortly afterward became an official nonprofit. The group holds regular discussion groups at Positive Impact and raised enough funds to have a booth in this year’s Atlanta Pride fest.

Chick-fil-A didn’t start opposing gay marriage and supporting anti-gay groups in 2012, but the Atlanta-based fast food chain’s stands made news this year like never before. It started in July, when Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy bragged to a Christian media outlet that the chain was “guilty as charged” for opposing gay marriage. Mike Huckabee, the failed GOP presidential

Anti-gay Chick-fil-A sparks national news

candidate turned conservative commentator, responded with “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” Aug. 1. LGBT people then held their own national counter-protests, ranging from kiss-ins at Chick-fil-A restaurants (Aug. 3) to a day of support for Starbucks and other gay-friendly corporations (Aug. 7), and even a day dedicating to backing locally owned “gay-loving” businesses instead (Aug. 8). Students at Atlanta’s Emory University also protested Chick-fil-A’s presence in a campus food court. In late August, members of Emory’s LGBT alumni group GALA sent letters opposing the relationship and students began posting flyers in protest. In October, leaders from seven student LGBT groups sent a letter to Emory administrators decrying the ongoing presence of Chick-fil-A, and in December, the full Student Government Association voted to denounce the chain as a campus vendor. University officials, however, have not taken any public steps to end the relationship.

AID Atlanta, the Southeast’s oldest and largest HIV organization, turned 30 this year, while also undergoing a shift in top leadership. Tracy Elliott resigned as executive director of AID Atlanta in June after serving five years at the helm. At the time, the board announced Elliot’s position would be filled by the AID Atlanta leadership team until a new executive director was hired. Shortly after Elliot’s resignation, however, Jon Santos, the development director and a member of that leadership team, also resigned to take a position with Jerusalem House. At the end of November, AID Atlanta announced it had hired lesbian politico Cathy Woolard as interim executive director. Woolard became Georgia’s first openly gay elected official when she won the District 6 seat on the Atlanta City Council in 1997; four years later, she was elected as the first woman and first openly gay person to serve as City Council president. She ran for Congress in 2004, losing to Cynthia McKinney. Her nonprofit experience includes work with HRC, lobbying for Georgia Equality and serving as Executive Vice President for Global Advocacy and External Relations for CARE.

Leadership changes at AID Atlanta

Year in Review

December 21, 2012

GA Voice


Top national news of 2012: Obama says ‘I do’
President re-elected after endorsing marriage equality
By Chris Johnson In perhaps the biggest year for the LGBT rights movement in history, one story stands out as the most significant: President Obama’s re-election after he publicly endorsed marriage equality. Obama won re-election by taking 51 percent of the popular vote compared to the 47 percent won by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, paving the way for the pro-LGBT policies of his first term to continue over the next four years. Obama won major swing states, including Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Virginia. In May, during a TV interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, Obama announced his personal support for same-sex marriage, making him the first sitting U.S. president to take that step. “I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships ... at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said. In contrast, Romney said on the same day that he opposes both same-sex marriage as well as civil unions offering the same benefits as marriage. Obama’s announcement, which followed Vice President Joseph Biden’s support for samesex marriage announced during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” concluded the 19-month “evolution” that Obama started in November 2010 when he told progressive bloggers that he might eventually support marriage equality. Still, Obama said his endorsement was a personal one and that he was hesitant to address the issue previously because he didn’t want to nationalize it. The president maintained states should be left to debate the issue because marriage hasn’t traditionally been determined at the federal level. Following Obama’s endorsement, a number of high-profile Democrats followed Obama’s lead and made similar statements in favor of marriage equality — such as House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (R-S.C.) — as well as celebrities, such as actor Will Smith and rapper Jay-Z. The move was also positive in terms of financing for the Obama campaign. According to an analysis from National Public Radio, donations to Obama nearly tripled in the immediate period after the announcement. The campaign took in nearly $9 million over three days, compared to $3.4 million in the three previous days. year, nearly doubling the number of out representatives serving in the lower chamber of Congress. Gay Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) won re-election in November, and on the same night, out Democratic candidates Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Mark Takano of California and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin won their races. The new additions — minus Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (DWis.), who are leaving the U.S. House — mean LGB representation in the chamber will jump from four lawmakers to seven. Sinema will become the first openly bisexual member of Congress and Takano will become the first openly gay person of color to have a House seat. Pocan’s election means Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district will maintain gay representation as Baldwin heads to the U.S. Senate. — Chris Johnson

In May, President Obama made history by announcing his support for marriage equality. (Photo by Michael Key / Washington Blade)

Marriage victories in Maine, Md., Wash., Minn.
Marriage equality took a giant leap forward on Election Day when, for the first time, voters in three states approved same-sex marriage rights at the ballot. In addition, voters in Minnesota rejected a ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage. The results brought the total number of states where same-sex marriage is legal to nine plus D.C. Same-sex marriage was made legal by referenda in Maryland, Maine and Washington State. The margin of victory in each state was slim; in Maryland, the measure passed with 52.4 percent of the vote. Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, praised the wins after the results of the ballot initiatives were announced. “Our huge, happy and historic wave of wins last night signaled irrefutable momentum for the freedom to marry, with voters joining courts, legislatures and the reelected president of the United States in moving the country toward the right side of history,” Wolfson said. But those victories came just months after a defeat for LGBT advocates in May when North Carolina approved an amendment banning same-sex marriage. — Chris Johnson

Baldwin elected first openly gay U.S. senator
Tammy Baldwin made history on Election Day when she became the first openly gay person to win election to the U.S. Senate. In a closely watched contest in Wisconsin, Baldwin, a Democrat, won election to the Senate in a race against Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson. She won the election after serving nine terms in the U.S. House and being the first non-incumbent openly gay person to win a congressional race. Following the announcement of her victory, Baldwin said she’s “well aware” that she will be the first openly gay member of the United States Senate, but said she “didn’t run to make history.” “I ran to make a difference — a difference in the lives of families struggling to find work and pay the bills, a difference in the lives of students worried about debt and seniors worried about their retirement security, a difference in the lives veterans who fought for us and need someone fighting for them and their families when they return home from war, a difference in the lives of entrepreneurs trying to build a business and working people trying to build some economic security,” Baldwin said. — Chris Johnson

Supreme Court takes gay marriage cases
The Supreme Court set the stage this year for what might be the demise of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act when it agreed to take up litigation challenging the anti-gay measures. On Dec. 7, justices agreed to take up Hollingsworth v. Perry, the lawsuit seeking to overturn Prop 8, and Windsor v. United States, a lawsuit filed by 83-year-old New York lesbian Edith Windsor seeking to overturn DOMA. Ted Olson, one of the co-counsels representing plaintiffs, expressed optimism following the announcement that justices would rule against the California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which was approved by voters in 2008. “We have an exhaustive record on which to build this case, and it will be an education for the American people,” Olson said. “We are very confident the outcome of this case will be to support the rights of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.” The case comes to the Supreme Court after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in February ruled against Prop 8. Had the Supreme Court declined to accept the case, the ruling would have stood and marriage equality would have been restored to California. The DOMA case comes to the Supreme Court after numerous lower courts determined the anti-gay law was unconstitutional. The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals became Please see NATIONAL REVIEW on Page 12

Record number of gay candidates win House seats
A record number of lesbian, gay and bisexual candidates were elected to the U.S. House this

12 4

GA Voice

December 21, 2012

Year in Review

Out in 2012: Anderson Cooper, singer Frank Ocean and more
NATIONAL REVIEW, continued from Page 11 the first appellate court ever to strike down the law and was followed by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. This year alone, four federal district courts also ruled against DOMA. — Chris Johnson

EEOC issues landmark descision banning trans bias
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled in April that job discrimination against employees due to their gender identity is equivalent to sex discrimination under existing federal law. Transgender advocates joined legal experts in calling the ruling a historic development that provides transgender people in the public and private sector workforce with full coverage under Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964. The decision was handed down as part of its resolution of a case filed by the Transgender Law Center on behalf of Mia Macy, a transgender woman who charged that she was denied a job as a ballistics technician with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ lab in Walnut Creek, Calif. Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, said it would be hard to overstate the significance of the EEOC decision. “Transgender people already face tremendous rates of discrimination and unemployment,” Davis said. “The decision today ensures that every transgender person in the United States will have legal recourse to employment discrimination and with it a way to safeguard their access to vital employment benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings plans.” — Lou Chibbaro Jr. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for the first time on July 3 an inhome, self-administered HIV test to be sold over the counter. Known as the OraQuick In-Home HIV test, the test was developed by OraSure Technologies, Inc. The FDA says clinical studies of the test showed a 92 percent sensitivity rate, which means that of every 12 HIV-infected individuals tested with the kit, one negative result could be expected. “A positive result with this test does not mean that an individual is definitely infected with HIV, but rather that additional testing should be done in a medical setting to confirm the result,” the FDA said. “Similarly, a negative test result does not mean that an individual is definitely not infected with HIV, particularly when exposure may have

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper came our publicly in an e-mail to gay commentator Andrew Sullivan. The statements were posted on Sullivan’s blog on July 2. (Publicity photo)

been within the previous three months.” FDA officials noted that the OraSure inhome test is the first HIV test that allows users to learn their results at home immediately without interacting with a lab or medical professionals. Experts estimate that one-fifth of the people infected with HIV are unaware of their status and often contribute to the infection of others. — Lou Chibbaro Jr. A number of celebrities, politicians and other officials came out during 2012. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper publicly acknowledged being gay for the first time in a statement gay commentator Andrew Sullivan posted to his blog on July 2. Sam Champion, weather anchor for “Good Morning America,” announced on-air in October that he was engaged to his long-time partner, photographer Rubem Robierb. Gay singer Ricky Martin was among those who applauded Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz after he came out on Oct. 3. R&B singer Frank Ocean in July acknowledged his homosexuality, while Jamaican singer Diana King came out on her Facebook page in June. British singer Mika told Instinct Magazine in August he is gay. — Lou Chibbaro Jr.

Celebrities come out

Home HIV tests become available

Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington and the 2013 Nissan Altima.




2013 Nissan Altima 2.5


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Year in Review

December 21, 2012

GA Voice


Pictures of perfection
Each year, GA Voice photographers take hundreds of photos at dozens of LGBT events in Atlanta and around Georgia. Here are our top 10 favorites. Some are newsworthy, some funny and some just plain beautiful. Check out or “Like us” on Facebook to see the expanded list, and view our best photos in greater detail.

After years of running unsuccessfully for public office, in February Keisha Waites was sworn in as the State House District 60 representative with her mother and nephew by her side. (Dyana Bagby)

Local artist Nikita Gale in her studio, shot for the cover of the June 22 issue. (Bo Shell)

Tracee McDaniel helps Atlanta’s legendary stripper Blondie at the Best of Atlanta shoot in July. (Bo Shell)

Participants in the annual MLK March and Rally strut their stuff in January. (Dyana Bagby)

Outwrite owner Philip Rafshoon and partner Robert Gaul dismantle the bookstore’s big disco ball before doors closed for the last time in January. (Dyana Bagby)

The crowd at Atlanta’s first Black Gay Pride Pure Heat Festival in Piedmont Park in September. (Dyana Bagby)

Members of stud lesbian fraternity Sigma Omega Phi give the ‘shocker’ in a photo with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at the 2012 Pride Kick-off Party in October. (Brent Corcoran)

Summer Knight performs an Adele medly at the 2012 East Point Possums Show in June. (Dyana Bagby)

A party-goer swigs from two PBR cans at Sister Louisa’s Church on Pride weekend in October. (Dyana Bagby)

Atlanta trans rocker Amber Taylor plays the Coca-Cola Stage at Atlanta Pride in October. (Laura Douglas-Brown)

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“Now you can be proud of serving your country, and be proud of who you are.” — U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta thanking gay and lesbian military members for their service on June 15, as the Pentagon prepared to mark June as Gay Pride month with an o cial salute. “You are freeing the soul of the American people.” — Vice President Joe Biden, praising LGBT rights advocates for their “courage” in advancing civil rights “at great expense,” during a campaign visit to Provincetown, Mass. (, Aug. 27) “When I decided to run, I said either you come out and become an activist and have a major role there or I run for Congress. There was no way I could have been out and won.”


Year in Review

“I’m well aware I’m the first woman elected to the Senate from Wisconsin, and I’m well aware I will be the first openly gay member. I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference.”

Photo via Facebook

— Megan Rapinoe,, a midfielder for the US women’s soccer team, who scored three goals on the way to the team’s gold medal. Rapinoe came out in the press before the start of the London Olympics. (Associated Press, Aug. 8)

“I guess [coming out publicly] seems like a weight o my shoulders. I’ve been playing a lot better than I’ve ever played before. I think I’m just enjoying myself and I’m happy.”

— U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), who on Nov. 6 became the first openly gay candidate elected to the U.S. Senate, in a recent interview on her historic victory. (Green Bay Press-Gazette, Nov. 18) — U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on his first run for Congress in 1980. Frank, who came out in 1987, is retiring after 32 years in the U.S. House. (Washington Post, Dec. 3)

“I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo, would publicly endorse same-sex marriage… I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee…” — Maryland General Assembly Delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. in an Aug. 29 letter, sent on o cial letterhead, to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. Burns also stated that he does not know any other NFL player who supports gay marriage. (Yahoo Sports, Sept. 6)

“I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your ‘I know of no other NFL player …’ and shove it in your closeminded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.”
— Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe in a hilariously profane open letter to Mass. State Delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. The Maryland delegate has since backed down from his call to silence Ayanbadejo. (, Sept. 7)



December 21, 2012

GA Voice


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GA Voice

December 21, 2012

Year in Review
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Gay is ‘The New Normal’
LGBT people were everywhere in entertainment in 2012
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By Jim Farmer The old activist slogan “We are everywhere” proved true for arts and entertainment headlines in 2012. LGBT individuals and issues were omnipresent in the media this year, with very little controversy. Here are some of the biggest moments from television, music, movies and local theater.

Frank Ocean
Focus Features

NBC’s gay-themed sitcom has sharply divided audiences but it’s still kicking around. Bryan (openly gay Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) are a gay couple who want a baby. Single mother Goldie (Georgia King) decides to become their surrogate, which doesn’t sit well with her politically incorrect grandmother (Ellen Barkin). The series could come back for a second season, although let’s hope if it does it’s better written. Still TV’s funniest and most awarded sitcom – and possibly its gayest, now in its fourth season on ABC — “Modern Family” doesn’t skimp on the interplay between male couple Mitchell (openly gay Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), whose adopted young daughter has provided more comic fodder. From openly gay Ryan Murphy of “Glee” fame comes this scary, twisty series. Its fall/ second season follow-up “Asylum” is as popular as its first, with plenty of gay and lesbian touches and out performers such as Zachary Quinto and Sarah Paulson. Three Atlanta lesbian chefs appeared on the Food Network cooking competition “Chopped” this fall. Ria Pell, the chef behind Ria’s Bluebird and Sauced, held a local viewing party was held to see how she did – and she won, taking home a prize of $10,000 and delighting LGBT Atlanta. Pell then announced that she is selling Sauced and moving on to new projects. Chef Virginia Willis, author of “Bon Appetite, Y’all” won second on her episode, after having to cook with such disgusting ingredients as lamb “fries” (testicles), while Chef Courtney Renn’s episode was slated to air Dec. 18 as GA Voice went to press.

Gay dads are ‘The New Normal’

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‘Modern Family’ stays way gay

‘The New Normal’

‘American Horror Story’

ATL lesbian chefs get ‘Chopped’


Openly gay Michael Urie of “Ugly Betty” fame starred in this comedy as one half of a straight/gay best friend bromance. Louis (Urie) and Joe (David Krumholtz) are lifelong friends and now co-workers, but new people in their life (including Brandon Routh as Louis’ boyfriend) have changed the dynamics. Unfunny and forced, it has already been canned by CBS after a few months.

‘Partners’ breaks up

had both ballads and his traditional dance-untilyou-drop music. After a successful performance at the halftime show of the Super Bowl this year, Madonna’s long-awaited new album, “MDNA” dropped in March. The immortal one came to Atlanta in November and the audience was packed with LGBT fans. As popular and respected as ever, Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Saliers started their first ever symphony tour in 2012 and performed several other shows for hometown crowds in the ATL. Ray also headlined Atlanta Pride; her latest solo album, “Lung of Love,” came out in February.

Madonna delights LGBT fans

Topher Payne
cast, with Logan Lerman as the main character whose new best friend Patrick (Ezra Miller) is gay. The likes of Emma Watson, Dylan McDermott, Paul Rudd, Joan Cusack and Melanie Liskey shone, but Miller (who came out as queer earlier this year) was the standout. Out director Dee Rees turned her acclaimed short film into a feature, detailing the coming out of 17-year-old, poetry-writing Alike, played wonderfully by newcomer Adepero Oduye. Bold and beautifully shot, it is one of the few films with African-American lesbians. Ira Sachs’ heavy-hitting tale of a love affair between a filmmaker and young man with a drug problem started the year winning raves at Sundance and ended the year shocking many by getting a number of Independent Spirit Award nominations alongside some heavyweight motion pictures.

Indigo Girls break new ground

‘Pariah’ brings visibility

Hip hop/R & B artist Frank Ocean came out at the beginning of the year about falling in love with a man, though he does not like to label his sexual orientation, and got little to no flack for his announcement. In December he was nominated for six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for “Channel Orange.” Adam Lambert became the first openly gay musician to have an album debut atop the Billboard charts. Released in May, “Trespassing”

Frank Ocean reveals love for man


‘Keep the Lights On’

Adam Lambert tops the charts

One of the year’s best films, this adaptation of the Stephen Chbosky novel about an outcast and the new crowd he falls in with was well-

Enjoying ‘The Perks’
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Year in Review

December 21, 2012

GA Voice

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This indie comedy drama from Lynn Shelton starred Mark Duplass as Jack, struggling after his brother has passed away. His brother’s girlfriend Iris (Emily Blunt) suggests he get away to a secluded cabin, only her lesbian sister Hannah (Rosemarie Dewitt) is there. The film loses some steam after a certain plot point but still remains appealing thanks to its cast, particularly the sexy, droll DeWitt. Out actor Alan Cumming, in one of the finest performances of his career, stars as a gay man/drag queen by night in the ‘70s who tries to get custody of a teenager with Down Syndrome, who lives down the hall and whose mother is unfit. Based on a true story, it’s heartbreaking stuff, opening in Atlanta on Dec. 21.

‘Your Sister’s Sister’



‘Any Day Now’ worth waiting for

A photo of Hillary Clinton texting (originally taken by Diana Walker and published in Time) became the basis for Texts from Hillary (, which in one week drew 32 posts, 83,000 shares on Facebook, 8,400 Twitter followers, over 45K Tumblr followers — and even a submission from Clinton herself. Gay creators Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith retired the meme after meeting Clinton (who thanked them for the LOLZ), but versions continue to have a life of their own on the internet.

Focus Features

Actor’s Express staged Geoffrey Nauffts’ drama about the relationship between a religious, 20-something man (Joe Sykes) and a 40ish fellow (Mitchell Anderson) — and an accident that forever changes things. Anderson came out of semi-retirement to star. This well-acted version of “Next Fall” was directed by out Kate Warner, who is back in town after moving to Boston. A mainstay in the community, Marietta’s Theatre in the Square — founded by Palmer Wells and his late partner, Michael Horne — closed this year under sad circumstances, with members of its board/staff trying to start a new theater company shortly after they closed the company for financial reasons. It was an unexpected ending for a theater that had plenty of gay pickings over the years. Openly gay Steve Yockey’s world premiere at Actor’s Express – about a co-dependent, newly single young gay man frightened by the world outside – was bloody and often silly but salvaged by out Melissa Foulger’s direction and on-the-money performances, especially lead Clifton Guterman and Joe Sykes as a wolf-like creature. The uber busy Topher Payne had a world premiere this season (“Evelyn in Purgatory” as part of Essential Theatre’s summer season) and as a performer starred as a nun in “The Divine Sister” and the force of nature titular character “Auntie Mame” at Process Theatre. Look for more of the GA Voice columnist and “Best Actor” and “Best Playwright” winner soon – his play “Angry Fags” opens at 7 Stages in early 2013.

It all seems to have started with a video entitled “Shit Girls Say,” posted late last year on YouTube, that quickly went viral. Millions of views later, parodies flooded the internetz, including a half-dozen or so LGBT-themed responses. The first LGBT-themed video we found, “Shit Girls Say to Gay Guys,” was uploaded in January and has somewhere in the neighborhood of a half million views. That was followed by lesbian and trans-themed parodies, plus “Shit Southern Gay Guys Say” and more.

‘Next Fall’ brings Mitchell Anderson back to stage

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Theatre in the Square closes

In the wake of November’s election victories for marriage equality, offered the hilarious threat that “Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends” if they can’t marry each other. “Lesbians Will Marry Your Boyfriends” was soon to follow.

The pop culture phenomenon that is TLC’s hit reality series “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” centers on the life of 7-year-old pageant contestant and South Georgia resident Alana Thompson, including her simple acceptance of her gay “Uncle Poodle.” Our October interview with Uncle Poodle, a.k.a. Lee Thompson, was our most-read story of the year, garnering nearly 37,000 pageviews. It was linked everywhere from national gay blogs to US Weekly, proving that gay people really are everywhere — including the rural South.

World premiere of ‘Wolves’

Topher Payne stays busy

Atlanta lesbian duo Bria and Chrissy quickly made a name for themselves with original songs posted on YouTube poking fun at Chick-Fil-A and satirizing Mitt and Ann Romney. Other songs include odes to voting and interviews bringing hope to LGBT youth. To date, they’ve garnered more than 375,000 views at — Laura Douglas-Brown

Atlanta mayor promises to change conversation on gay marriage in Ga.
By Dyana Bagby

‘I did it in my own time and way’
When Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed called Lee Schreter on Dec. 11 to tell her was announcing publicly his support of marriage equality, she whooped out loud. “And I had a smile pasted on my face the rest of the day,” she recalled. Schreter first met Reed about 15 years ago when Reed began working as a new attorney at the same firm where she was a partner. Over the years, Reed became close friends with Schreter and her partner, De Linda Bunnell, who have been together 31 years and were married last year in New York. Reed credits Schreter with being perhaps the most influential person in his recent decision to support marriage equality rather than just civil unions. “Kasim has been a good friend and I recognize people move along in their own process,” Schreter said. “I always believed Kasim would get to the right place on this.” Last year, Schreter and Bunnell traveled to New York for a legal marriage in a church. Reed thought seriously of attending, but said he decided not to go because he thought it would be “hypocritical.” But he continued to have conversations with Schreter, his father, and also his chief of staff, Candace Dyer, a religious woman. All told him he was wrong from the beginning and he should support marriage equality. When openly gay Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan got the council to pass a resolution Dec. 3 stating its support for gay marriage, Reed realized the time was right to make his own public announcement by signing the resolution. “There was no anticipation of me signing [the resolution] … but it did present what I thought an appropriate moment. And I think so much in life is timing these moments,” Reed said. “The fact of the matter is equal protection matters. There shouldn’t be a cadre of people who don’t have access to the same rights I do. That’s the bottom line,” he added.


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed credits Lee Schreter (right) and her wife, De Linda Bunnell, with helping change his mind on marriage equality. (Reed photo by Dyana Bagby; Schreter courtesy photo)

Political motivation?

Critics, including some in the LGBT community, charged the mayor’s new position is simply a political move — he is running for reelection in 2013.

In 2009, Reed won a tough run-off election against Mary Norwood, an open supporter of gay marriage, but he lost District 6, home to the city’s gayest neighborhoods, by a wide margin. Reed dismisses accusations he is doing this for political reasons. He said by supporting marriage equality, he is actually hurting his political chances because the majority of Atlantans don’t support it and most certainly the majority of conservative Georgians don’t support it. Reed said he has received many calls from religious people who said they are disappointed with his decision. But Reed points to his long history of supporting LGBT rights when he was a state representative and a state senator, including sponsoring a hate crimes bill (which was later struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court) and voting against the 2004 constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Reed continues to feel he has been treated unfairly, even viciously, by the gay press during his entire term as mayor. “I’d like someone to show me a mayor who has done more than me,” he said. “The politics around this decision [to support marriage equality] are not good for me.” Andra Gillespie is an associate professor of political science at Emory University and author of “The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark, and Post-Racial America.” Gillespie said she takes Reed at his word this was a personal decision, but in a political context, there is no denying that Americans are increasingly in favor of gay marriage, and the mayor does not face major public vilifica-

tion over his stand. “In the African-American community there wasn’t a backlash against President Barack Obama,” she said. “It is safer to do now than a year ago, than five years ago.”

Praise for Reed’s stand

Since Reed’s announcement Dec. 11, he has received much praise — from Atlanta’s own LGBT community as well as nationally — for supporting same-sex marriage. Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, a rising star in the Democratic Party like Reed, congratulated Reed via Twitter on Dec. 12. Gillespie said Reed, 43, is a young man and has a long political career ahead. “Suffice to say he is going to have public profile for decades. He does have a national role as a Democrat surrogate and he will be in that role either in an elected or non-elected capacity,” she said. “By stating his support of [gay marriage] he is signaling to everyone that this is something that is going to be in his portfolio,” she added. Schreter said she knows Reed didn’t come out in support of marriage equality for political reasons. “I think that’s unfair to say. I think people can evolve,” she said. “Look at the president and the entire American public.”

Civil unions not enough

Reed said it would be disingenuous to not acknowledge President Obama’s role in making the environment more welcoming to other elected officials to state publicly they support marriage equality.

He credited Atlanta’s LGBT community — including a petition of more than 5,000 signatures asking him to support marriage equality, his friendship with people such as Harry Knox and also Phillip Rush, an early supporter of Reed’s who died in 2009 — for keeping his mind open to change. In the end, though, it was Schreter who was the key. “Even after 30 years, being able to say we were married was life-changing,” Schreter said tearfully. “I still get emotional. It’s just so important and that is what I conveyed to the mayor. I know it is his belief that this is a civil rights struggle and he wants all people treated fairly and equally under the law,” she added. “He came to understand over time that a civil union is not equivalent to be able to say you’re married.” The mayor won’t say what, if any, political aspirations he has other than seeking to be reelected as Atlanta’s mayor next year. But he said that he intends to try to change the conversation in Georgia on the issue of gay marriage. “I think that it is very important that people who evolve share how they got there in their thinking,” he said. “And I think because I am one of highest profile Democrats in the state of Georgia and I govern the largest city in the state of Georgia, my position matters as we change the conversations and change people’s minds.” And while some may argue the mayor did not evolve fast enough, Reed said he can take the heat that comes with the job. “I have a great deal of peace in my spirit ... I did it in my own time and way,” he said.

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GA Voice

December 21, 2012

DIRECTORY LISTINGS To advertise, email


December 21, 2012

GA Voice


Publicized search for Lisa Lawson ends in tragedy
By Ryan Watkins Lisa Lawson, a Clayton County lesbian reported missing Nov. 19, was found by police deceased in her car Dec. 4. The death shocked Atlanta’s LGBT community, who had learned of Lawson’s disappearance thanks to a media campaign created by her girlfriend, Michelle Alexander, to help find Lawson while she was missing. Less than 24 hours after the campaign went viral, Lawson was found deceased in a Wal-Mart parking lot of an apparent suicide. Investigators determined her last known location using cell tower records. Lawson had taken her life with two selfinflicted gunshot wounds, according to a McDonough police report. She was 40 years old. “I am tremendously grateful for the community in the way they came together to help find Lisa. No matter what, we support one another,” Alexander said in a brief statement to GA Voice. Alexander and Lawson had been together for around five months, Alexander told GA Voice in another interview before Lawson was found.

Recent lesbian suicide highlights importance of prevention

Warning signs of suicide:
• Talking about wanting to die • Looking for a way to kill oneself • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain • Talking about being a burden to others • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly • Sleeping too little or too much • Withdrawing or feeling isolated • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge • Displaying extreme mood swings

Lisa Lawson, a 40-year old lesbian from Clayton County, was found deceased Dec. 4 in McDonough after apparently taking her own life. (Photo via

Gay people more likely to attempt suicide

While the reasons for Lawson’s apparent action remain unknown, the case highlights the issue of suicide, especially among LGBT people, who are more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexuals. “A meta-analysis of 25 international population-based studies found the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in gay and bisexual male adolescents and adults was four times that of comparable heterosexual males,” according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. “Lifetime suicide attempt rates among lesbian and bisexual females were almost twice those of heterosexual females,” according to the report, which was compiled in conjunction with the Na-

tional Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The holidays are a particularly stressful time and can exacerbate symptoms of depression, said Atlanta therapist Paul Austin, who been counseling LGBT people for two decades. This time of year, Austin said, is filled with tradition and can be a reminder of past trauma. “Often times, people who are having issues with guilt or regret, or they haven’t gotten through traumatic experiences they’ve had in the past,” Austin said of the underlying causes of depression. “You’ve got the lonely side and not connecting as much socially as they want or you have someone who has bad memories or trauma. It can be just trauma or just things that have gone a bad way based on relationships with the family.” But how do you know if someone you love is dealing with debilitating depression? And what can you do if you believe someone you care about is considering suicide? Austin said there are warning signs, but they are easy to overlook.

“A change in interest and activity, so their activity level will alter or change, usually decreasing,” he listed. “Increased isolation or if they’re in a crowd, they may be less outgoing than they normally are. If they are the life of the party, they might turn down the volume [if they’re depressed].” Other warning signs include changes in appetite, sleep habits and failing to maintain appearance. If you believe someone is dealing with these issues, Austin has a piece of simple advice: Talk to them. “You can ask about it. Reaching out and connecting socially is one of the best ways that someone can be there. They may be a lifeline to the person in sharing the pain and help them walk through whatever they’re going through,” he said. When someone talks or jokes about suicide, it can be a final cry for help, Austin said. Taking those conversations seriously could help save a life.

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:
• Do not leave the person alone. • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt. • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.
Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

“Usually when someone’s talking about a suicide, they’re asking for help,” Austin said. “They want to be connected. You can help them to find a therapist or counselor they can connect with to start working through it. Take them seriously.”

BEST BETS 12.21 - 01.03
Friday, Dec. 21
Join Libby Whittemore and her alter ego Connie Sue Day, “The 31st Lady of Country Music,” as they perform some of the most beloved holiday classics. 7:30 p.m. tonight through Sunday night at Actor’s Express, 887 W. Marietta St. Suite J-107, Atlanta, GA 30318, Jennifer Knapp, who made headlines when she came out in the world of Christian music, and Margaret Becker bring their “Hymns of Christmas” to Atlanta. 8 p.m. at Eddie Owen Presents at the Red Clay Theatre, 3116 Main St., Duluth, GA 30096, DJ Manny Lehman spins at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, Get down with DJ Ree de la Vega and DJ Fluff at the “End of the World Party: Mayan Calendar Edition.” 9 p.m. at Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, Traxx Girls presents the Friday night Banjee Girls hip-hop party from 9 p.m. – 4 a.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, The dance floor opens at 10 p.m. as DJ Lydia Prim spins for the End of the World Party at the Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,
Photo via Facebook Publicity photo


GA Voice

December 21, 2012



There are two ways to add your events to our online and print calendars. Submit your info to or e-mail details to

Saturday, Dec. 22

Wednesday, Dec. 26
Queer songstress Amy Andrews joins Will McCranie, Russell McLaughlin and Phil Pickens for a songwriter showcase at 7:30 p.m. at Red Clay Theatre, 3116 Main St., Duluth, GA 30096,

Today is the last day to bring an unwrapped toy for the Model T’s 4th annual Gift of Christmas Love event to benefit Jerusalem House. The Model T, 699 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308,

Expect campy hilarity for “It’s an Armorette Christmas!” at 8 p.m. at Burkhart’s, 1492 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Saturday, Dec. 22

The East Point Possums, known for their summer drag show, host “A Very Brady Trailer Park ‘N Possum Christmas” to benefit Lost-N-Found Youth, which helps homeless LGBT young people. 9 p.m. at East Point Corner Tavern, 2783 Main St., East Point, GA 30344, DJ Tater, aka Jeff, spins a going away set before moving to Nashville. 9 p.m. at the Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, DJ Nat spins at the Atlanta Eagle, 306 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308, “’Tis the Season to Rock an Ugly Sweater,” so don your finest, um, worst and head to My Sister’s Room, where it just might win you a prize. DJ Liz Owen spins. Doors open at 8 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316,

Austria Andrews joins the girls of Extravaganza. 11:30 p.m. at Burkhart’s, 1492 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,

MORE LGBT EVENTS: Visit our website for our extensive daily calendar, including nightlife schedules, sports, worship services and community organization meetings.

Traxx Girls presents the Jingle Bash Christmas Show at Scores All Star Sports Bar, 2425 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur, GA 30035,

Sunday, Dec. 23

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Madisa Lateefah Thomas, founder and president of Black Non-Believers, Inc., speaks on “14 to 34: My Journey Back to Atheism.” 11 a.m. at First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Dr., Atlanta, GA 30307. Marietta PFLAG hosts its monthly Fourth Sunday support group for parents, friends and family members of LGBT people. 1-3 p.m. at Pilgrimage United Church of Christ, 3755 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta, GA 3006, DJ Rick and DJ Maestro spin Sundays at 7 p.m. at Mixx Atlanta, 1492-B Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Monday, Dec. 24

LGBT-inclusive Saint Mark United Methodist Church offers three Christmas Eve services: a “family-friendly” service at 5 p.m., followed by candlelight communion at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. 781 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308, LGBT-inclusive Virginia Highland Church offers a children’s Christmas Eve service at 5 p.m. and a candlelight service at 11 p.m. 743 Virginia Ave. Atlanta, GA 30306, LGBT-inclusive First Metropolitan Community Church offers a Christmas Eve service of Candles, Carols & Communion. 10:30 p.m. at First MCC, 1379 Tullie Road, Atlanta, GA 30329,

Saturday, Dec. 29
DJ Roland Belmares spins at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Photo by Dyana Bagby

Tonight is Rubber & Gear Night with DJ Brett Long at the Atlanta Eagle, 306 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308,

Sunday, Dec. 23


December 21, 2012

GA Voice

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Editor’s note: Several of Atlanta’s LGBT bars had not announced their New Year’s Eve plans by press time, but rest assured there will be parties all over town. Here are a few to get you started.

DJ Scott Anthony spins with no-cover for a NYE 2013 benefit for CHRIS Kids. 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. at Amsterdam Atlanta, 502-A Amsterdam Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306, DJ Shane V spins for the third annual Glitter & Fur party, which also includes the announcement of the Top 12 contestants for Barry Brandon’s “Sing For Your Life” competition. 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. at Takorea, 818 Juniper St., Atlanta, GA 30308. Traxx Girls presents “The Red Carpet Affair VII” at 10 p.m. at Club XS, 708 Spring St., Atlanta, GA 30308, DJ Mike Pope spins an opening set before DJ Phil B from San Francisco takes over for the Genesis party. 9 p.m. at Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, Dress to impress with black and white clothing preferred as DJ Liz Owen and DJ Tina V spin for the “Black Tie Affair” NYE party at 7 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, DJ E and DJ Lynnee Denise spins for Ladies at Play’s NYE bash. 10 p.m. at Cantina, 3280 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30305, Lesbian singer/songwriter Sonia Leigh rocks in the new year with special guest the Brian Collins Band. 9 p.m. at the Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave, Atlanta, GA 30307, DJ Lydia Prim spins at 9 p.m. at the Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, Head to Cobb County’s best and only gay bar for “On Christmas Eve,” starring all your favorites from DRAGSTAR Season 4. Hosted by Aurora Savage, with Destiny Brooks, Monica Van Pelt and more. 10 p.m. at LeBuzz, 585 Franklin Road, Marietta, GA 30367,

Monday, Dec. 31

Monday, Dec. 31

Lesbian blues rocker Michelle Malone plays two NYE shows with Gareth Asher. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Eddie’s Attic, 515-B McDonough Road, Decatur, GA 30030,
PUblicity photo

PUblicity photo



Monday, Dec. 31

DJ/Producer Oren Nizri spins for the 7th annual “Party Like a Rockstar” NYE bash. 9 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Tuesday, Jan. 1

At 3 a.m. on the first day of 2013, head over for the debut of Alexander at Xion, 2241 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, Enjoy a special New Year’s Day Special meal of ham, collards, black-eyed peas and macaroni at 12 p.m. at Woofs, 2425 Piedmont Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324, The Heretic opens at 10 p.m. with resident DJ Lydia Prim spinning. 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Thursday, Dec. 27

Thursdays are Dirty Boy Bingo with Ruby Redd at 10 p.m. at Cockpit, 465 Boulevard SE, Atlanta, GA 30312 Phoenix of RuPaul’s Drag Race hosts the “Dancefloor Divas” show. 11:30 p.m. at Burkhart’s, 1492 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Tuesday, Dec. 25

Neighborhood gay bar Blake’s opens at 7 p.m. 227 10th St., Atlanta, GA 30309, Share a cocktail and memories with no cover; opens at 9 p.m. at LeBuzz, 585 Franklin Road, Marietta, GA 30367,

Friday, Dec. 28

DJ Smash spins for the grown and sexy at Mixx Atlanta, 1492-B Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 Absolut sponsors the “Centennial Bash” to celebrate 10th Street turning 100. Blake’s on the Park, 227 10th St., Atlanta, GA 30309,


December 21, 2012

GA Voice


Saturday, Dec. 29

It will technically be Sunday morning as Jalil Z keeps the boys dancing from 3-7 a.m. at private club Xion, 2241 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Saturday, Dec. 29

Sunday, Dec. 30

DJ Diablo Rojo keeps the videos going for Pit Pop Video on Saturdays at Cockpit, 465 Boulevard SE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Send the holiday season out on a sarcastic note with the year’s last performance of “The Santaland Diaries,” based on gay humorist David Sedaris’ tale of working as a Macy’s elf. Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307,

Thursday, Jan. 3

Wednesday, Jan. 2

On Wednesdays, catch the Lust & Bust Show with host Lena Lust and featuring Shawnna Brooks. 11 p.m. at Blake’s on the Park, 227 10th St., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Tuesdays, Thursdays and early Saturday, get your country on with 3-Legged Cowboy nights at the Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, Inspired by Beats and Traxx Atlanta present Tribal Thursdays, spinning house music (deep, underground and tribal) starting at 10 p.m. at XS Ultra Lounge, 708 Spring St., Atlanta, GA 30308,

Friday, Jan. 4
DJs Beardawg and Headmaster Ritual spin for Furry Disco Balls at 9 p.m. at Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, The gay Atlanta Bucks Rugby Club hosts Rugby 101. Details to be announced at

Saturday, Jan. 5

Friday, Jan. 11

Thursday, Jan. 10

Georgia Ensemble Theatre presents the world premiere of “Swell Party,” a new comedy about a zany Southern wedding party by GA Voice columnist Topher Payne. Tonight’s show at 8 p.m.; play runs through Jan. 27 at Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell, GA 30075,

Lesbian favorite and self-declared “Southern original” Kristy Lee brings her tunes to Atlanta. 9 p.m. at Eddie’s Attic, 515-B McDonough Road, Decatur, GA 30030,

Thursday, Jan. 17

Friday, Jan. 11

The Atlanta Executive Network presents openly gay State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta). 6:308:30 p.m. at Hudson Grille Midtown, 942 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309,

Dr. Bettina Love discusses her latest book, “Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Identities and Politics in the New South,” which focuses on young women in Atlanta. 7:30 at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307,

Friday, Jan. 18

Budding gay-favorite Ellie Goulding performs a show after opening act St. Lucia. 8 p.m. at the Tabernacle, 152 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA 30303,


GA Voice

December 21, 2012



Good news to end the year
Tragedy struck last week, but we can’t forget the triumphs of 2012
It has been a somber week for the country. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut left us all feeling overwhelmed by grief and frustration and anger. In the coming weeks, discussions of gun control, mental illness and violence will consume the media. But I have chosen to use this space to remind you of the achievements our country has made in the past year instead of our tragedies. Indeed, 2012 has been a banner year for LGBT rights, both locally and nationally. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced last week his support for same-sex marriage. He signed a City Council resolution backing gay marriage which was drafted by openly gay Councilmember Alex Wan. The Atlanta Police Department debuted its “It Gets Better” video. It showcases LGBT personnel from many ranks, including a deputy chief, a captain, several lieutenants, sergeants, and officers. They talk about coming out, the difficulties of growing up “different,” and how they overcame their personal challenge and are living their dream. The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and a California law that bans same-sex marriage. Gabrielle Ludwig became the first transsexual to play intercollegiate ball as both a man and a woman, after being cleared this month to play with the Lady Saints at Mission College. The Merck Foundation issued a press release saying it had suspended funding to the Boy Scouts of America due to the organization’s discrimination against gays and lesbians. The foundation gave around $30,000 to

Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huffington Post. She broke ground as the first out lesbian radio personality on a major station in Atlanta and was one of the few out morning show personalities in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter

the Boy Scouts last year. The University of California Hastings College of Law announced the appointment of lesbian Elizabeth Hillman as the school’s new academic dean. Hillman is an experienced legal and military scholar, a veteran of the Air Force, and a mother to five children with her wife. Last week marked the first day same-sex couples in Washington could marry. Hundreds of well-wishers braved the cold and wet weather to celebrate 140 weddings that day at Seattle City Hall. Last month, Washington, Maine, and Maryland became the first U.S. states to extend marriage rights to samesex couples by a popular vote. The University of Iowa has become the nation’s first public university to include optional questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on its admissions application. It simply asks students whether they identify with the gay, bisexual, or transgender communities. Goat farmers and stars of TV’s “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge won the 21st season of CBS’s “The Amazing Race.” It’s the second time a gay duo has won the competition. Bad news still gets more air time than good news. Maybe it is because bad news causes more emotion or we have a need to know about what is not working so we can try to fix it. But we do ourselves — and those who fought for change before us — a disservice if we don’t take a moment to celebrate the things going right. By letting ourselves indulge in life’s joys, we can find the strength to make it through all of life’s sorrows.


December 21, 2012

GA Voice


Giving up the night
How I learned to let go
I cannot remember exactly when it started — late July, maybe? But one night I looked up from my work at four in the morning and said, “Aw hell, it’s better if I just don’t sleep.” I got a few extra hours of tasks accomplished, the sun rose, and I went on about my day. Sure, I guzzled like five pots of coffee, and I was a little weepy and reactionary by sunset— I had an argument with the dog that I’m pretty sure I lost — but overall I was pleased with the number of things which got checked off the to-do list. I recognized that, just for a little while, I’d scheduled more tasks than could actually be accomplished during normal human waking hours, and I might have to sneak in an all-nighter here and there to stay on top of everything. But then something horrible happened. I discovered I was actually capable of doing this twice a week, preferably on Sundays and Wednesdays, which afforded a few days in between to reboot my system. I called it “Giving up the night,” which was a misnomer. I was actually gaining the night, finishing off various craft projects, stuff for work, catching up with old friends online. I also was watching a lot of mediocre television. Even in a 900-channel universe, with a seemingly infinite playlist on demand, a person will run out of anything decent to watch and find himself engrossed in a thriller about a conniving mother starring Joanna Kearns. Some of you are no doubt asking, “Who the hell is Joanna Kearns?” To you I say, “Exactly.” I had discovered a dark dangerous secret, a ritual commonplace among ER physicians, truck drivers, and parents of newborns: Your body doesn’t absolutely have to go to sleep every single night. You gain up to 16 previously unused hours each week, while almost kinda functioning! But here’s the flaw: No free time ever remains unclaimed for very long. Once I discovered I had magical hours that were mine, all mine, I began to book them. I started scheduling appointments on my Outlook calendar from five to eight in the morning. Giving up the night was no longer the failsafe I used when things got hairy. It had become a required part of my week. My husband’s job often requires him to rise in the predawn hours. He’s done it for so many

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Topher Payne is an Atlanta-based playwright, and the author of the book “Necessary Luxuries: Notes on a Semi-Fabulous Life.” Find out more at

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years, he’s able to shower, dress for work, let the dog out, have a cup of coffee, and get in his car before he ever actually wakes up. He’s got it down to a science. Only one thing can destroy the routine: if I am still up from the night before. Then he’ll stumble into the living room, bleary-eyed, observing my java jitters and the flat-out exhausted dog who’s been following me around the house all night. “What’re you… what’re you doing?” he’ll ask. “I replied to like 40 emails and I think I made real progress on my script and I talked to my friend Kevin who’s never seen ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,’ isn’t that crazy? Then we got in this long conversation about Wilford Brimley and whether he was born an old man because we couldn’t find young photos of him online and I made peanut butter cookies, you want coffee?” “What’re you… what’re you DOING?” Following a good night’s sleep, I’ll re-read the scattershot work, or apologize for an overly sentimental Facebook message, or reflect upon whether I really needed to see that Joanna Kearns movie — she was the mother on “Growing Pains,” people — and realize that what’s really driving me ultimately isn’t the nightmarish schedule. Schedules can be adjusted without too much fallout. But the fear, that I’m missing something, that if I turn down the wrong thing I’ll miss out on something extraordinary, leads me to rarely say no to one more thing. As my friend in a 12-step program is fond of saying, “How’s that working for ya?” (12-steppers have lots of nifty catchphrases, like “I can only love myself as much as I believe I am loveable,” and “Let’s all go chain smoke at Waffle House.”) It’s a rough thing, learning you have to let go, first of non-essentials, then a few less-essential essentials. But one can do so gradually, taking the time to examine what’s still working, versus the things you’d love to hang on to, if only there were more hours in the day. I think I should sleep on it.

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