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Decatur, GA 30033


Gay candidates in contested local races. Page 4 Crowded field in Ga.’s fourth congressional district. Page 6 Battle for LGBT votes in State Senate District 39. Page 6 Governer’s race offers little positive for gay voters. Page 8 State School Superintendent, Attorney General candidates. Page 10 Attorney General race, LGBT group endorsements. Page 12

“We do not need a justice on the Supreme Court who sees it as her life mission to write the homosexual version of Roe v. Wade by striking down one-man, one-woman marriage across America.”
— Tony Perkins of the arch-conservative Family Research Council, urging senators to oppose Elena Kagan’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. During Senate hearings, Kagan has declined to express a direct opinion on gay marriage. (On Top Magazine, July 3)

Gay couple attacked in Piedmont Park. Page 14 Transgender woman wins federal lawsuit against Ga. General Assembly. Page 15 Atlanta Stonewall Week. Page 16 First East Side Pride draws crowd. Page 16 Supreme Court nominee stands by opposition to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Page 18
Photo via

“Their society is finished, they have no morals.”

“Everyone has feelings and everyone is a person. That’s what we continue to promote to our kids. I hope [the gay community] gets equality and what they’re looking for.”
— Brent Sopel, a player for the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks, who carried the Stanley Cup in the Chicago Gay Pride parade. Sopel has since been traded to the Atlanta Thrashers. (Chicago Tribune, June 22)

— Mary Karooro Okurutu, spokesperson for the ruling party in Uganda, reacting to the recent marriage of Iceland Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir to her longtime partner.

Editorial: The very best of LGBT Atlanta. Page 22 Speaking Out. Page 22

Pages 24-33

Margin, in percent, by which California voters passed Proposition 8, which ended gay marriage there. In what could be a landmark case, a federal judge is now weighing a challenge to the law; a ruling is expected as soon as this month and the case may eventually reach the Supreme Court.



Film: ‘The Kids Are All Right.’ Page 35 Music: Melissa Etheridge. Page 36 Events: Joining Heart’s ‘Splash.’ Page 37 Books: ‘Alex Underground.’ Page 38 Theater: Stage Door Players. Page 39 Food: Best barbecue. Page 40

58 to 42 18,000 42 5


“I think I’ve been in every gay club from New York to California. I would be in clubs with my recorders in my pocket, taping people talking. But at the end of the day, I drew more from my sisters and my mother. I’ve been mimicking them my whole life. They’re in my bones.”
— Actor Nelsan Ellis, who is straight, on how he creates the character of Lafayette, the flamboyant gay Louisiana man he portrays on HBO’s vampire series “True Blood.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 4)

HRC’s ‘Gospel & Unity’ puts faith in equality. Page 43 MEGA Family Vacation heads to Lake Lanier. Page 43

Same-sex couples who were married in California

States with laws or constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Georgia has both.

at t h e GAVO IC E .co m

View the full interv iew

Pages 44-46

States, plus the District of Columbia, where gay marriage is legal.
Sources: San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal

“It’s complicated... I have five kids, I’m married. Throughout that marriage, I’ve always been very involved in the gay community.”

Photo via Facebook


“Like maybe I’m having a clandestine affair with Ricky Martin. I know it’s really gonna upset a lot of gay men — I’m sure hundreds of ‘em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge — but I ain’t available. I ain’t gay. Sorry.”
—Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) responding in a New York Times interview to long-standing rumors about his sexual orientation (, July 1)

Photo via


GA Voice

July 9, 2010


Fulton County Commission race includes two lesbian candidates
LGBT groups back Joan Garner for District 6 seat
By Dyana Bagby Two lesbian candidates are vying for the Fulton County Commission District 6 seat, seeking to be the first openly gay person to serve on the Fulton County Commission. Joan Garner and Keisha Waites, both gay, are seeking the post that has been held for 23 years by Nancy Boxill, who decided to not seek reelection. Also seeking the post are Sally Smith, 56, and David Holder, 31. These candidates face off against each other in the July 20 Democratic primary. The winner of the primary will be unopposed in the Nov. 2 election, therefore winning the seat. Joan Garner, a longtime activist who worked for Mayor Maynard Jackson as senior adviser on gay and lesbian issues, is seeking her first elected office. She has received the endorsements of LGBT organizations Georgia Equality, the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats and the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, as well as endorsements from the Atlanta Board of Realtors and Atlanta — North Georgia Labor Union AFL-CIO. The top issues affecting LGBT people in the district are universal, Garner said. “We do have a greater interest in issues such as AIDS funding, which is funneled through the county, civil unions and benefits for unmarried partners, safety from discrimination or hate crimes, and providing services that address the well being of LGBT youth, especially homeless young people,” she said. Garner is principal of Garner Results Inc., a nonprofit and philanthropic consulting firm. Keisha Waites, who has sought public office unsuccessfully seven times since 2001, declined to participate in the candidate survey. Smith, a museum shop manager and retired from Fulton County government, is also seeking her first elected office. “Issues specific to the LGBT community are varied, but all relate to a common core of equality; equality in employment, benefits, civil unions, adoption rights, and health care decisions,” she said. Holder said the top issues facing LGBT
Joan Garner (left) and Keisha Waites, both lesbians, face off in the July 20 primary. Sally Smith and David Holder are also on the ballot. (Photos courtesy campaigns)

This year, Georg ia elects a new nor, every state MORE INFO www.theG constitutional of goverfice, and every seat in the state legisl Primary ature, plus many other of fices ranging Tuesday, July 20 from U.S. Senate to coun ty commissions. Polls open 7 a.m . to The upcoming • To find out wher 7 p.m. e you vote: determine which July 20 primaries will www.sos.georgia. Republicans an gov/MVP/ d Democrats will battle px • Early voting be it out in the Nov gan . 2 general election. A few your county for tim June 7; check with November race es and locations s clude a Liberta rian or independ also inent candidate as well State House Dis trict 80 The primary And while few ca . ballot includes openly gay cand ndidates for the three top stat idates: Joan Gar of Keisha Waites ner and LG fices have openly campaigne e’s for Fulton Cou d for BT votes, man nty Comy mission District some positive, m have long records — 6, and Keith G ore negative — ross for th on issues at impact our co mmunity.

people in his district “mirror the issues affecting LGBT everywhere. 1. Civil Unions; 2. Gay Marriage; 3. Gays in the military.” When asked about their stances on various LGBT-related issues, Garner and Smith said they would use what power they have as an elected county official to support statewide initiatives to enact a state hate crimes law and a non-discrimination policy for state employees that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. Fulton County currently includes a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation. Garner and Smith said they voted against the 2004 state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and support a law to clarify that sexual orientation should not factor in adoptions. They both also support repealing the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and believe gay couples should have the right to hospital visitation, the right to make medical and funeral arrangements for each other, the right to inherit each other’s property, the right to adopt a partner’s children, civil unions and marriage. Holder said he supported a state hate crimes law and a state non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity. He said he supports the current status of Georgia law being silent on adoptions by gay and lesbian people. When asked if he voted for or against the 2004 state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, Holder said he had no position on the amendment and that he has . Holder only agreed that gay and lesbian couples should have the right to hospital visitation, the right to make medical and funeral arrangements for each other, the right to inherit each other’s property and civil unions. He does not support a gay person’s right to adopt a partner’s child or full legal marriage.

Democrats challenge most gay-friendly Republican in Georgia General Assembly
Gay candidate doesn’t win gay endorsements in House District 80
By Matt Schafer Two Democrats are fighting for the chance to challenge incumbent Rep. Mike Jacobs (RAtlanta) for House District 80, located in the northeast Atlanta suburbs. Jacobs was first elected in 2004 as a Democrat and then switched parties after the 2006 election. This will be the first year he has faced a Democrat since becoming a Republican. Business owners Sandy Murray and Keith Gross, who is gay, are vying for the Democratic nomination in the July 20 primary for the DeKalb district that runs from Interstate 285 near Ashford Dunwoody Road to the intersection of Lavista and Clairmont Road. Gross would be the first openly gay man elected to the state House, joining out lesbian Reps. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and Simone Bell (D-Atlanta). The gay Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsed Murray over Gross. Georgia Equality, which recently honored Jacobs with its Political Achievement award for his passage of an anti-bullying bill, did not endorse in the Democratic primary. “If you’re just talking about GLBT issues than it’s probably a toss up,” Murray said. “But when you look at my Democratic opponent I just don’t feel like he has any issues that he’s

campaigning on, and my opponent in the general election he’s taken a very anti-business, and growth position.” Murray has owned several technology and education companies in Atlanta and works as a computer consultant. While supportive of gay issues, she said her main focus would be on bringing jobs to District 80 and making Georgia More business friendly. This is the second time Gross’ name will appear on the Democratic primary ballot, but unlike 2008, the votes cast for him will count. Gross attempted to challenge Jacobs in the last election, but was pulled from the ticket after a legal challenge regarding his residency. Administrative Law Judge Michael Malihi called Gross’s defense of his residency requirements as “evasive,” and ruled Gross had not established a permanent residence in Georgia in 2006. In a statement on his website Gross said he didn’t present evidence of his residency because his lawyer advised him not to, and he is now an unquestionable resident of District 80. Gross has not responded to interview requests from the Georgia Voice. He is the owner of Sprouts Café near Emory University. Neither Gross nor Murray returned Georgia Voice’s candidate survey, but both have expressed support for gay and transgender issues. Murray said she supports gay marriage, the recently passed anti-bullying bill, non discrimination laws and expanding healthcare benefits to state workers. Gross expressed similar positions in 2008, but has not clarified his position since. Jacobs also supports full marriage rights for gay couples.







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GA Voice July 9, 2010


U.S. House District 4 race draws mixed field on gay issues
Gay-friendly incumbent faces five challengers for Dekalb seat
By Matt Schafer U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson’s campaign for a third term representing Georgia’s 4th Congressional District is facing challenges from the left and the right as six candidates try to represent the northeastern Atlanta district. Republicans Victor Armendariz, Lisbeth “Liz” Carter, Larry Gause and Cory Ruth hope to win their party’s nomination in the July 20 Republican primary. On the Democratic side, Johnson faces DeKalb Commissioner Connie Stokes and former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones in the primary. The winners of the party primaries will advance to the Nov. 2 general election ballot. Andrew Phelan, Johnson’s communications director, said between campaign efforts and Johnson’s responsibilities in Washington there was not time for a full interview before Georgia Voice’s deadline. But Johnson’s stands on gay and transgender issues have been well documented. Since his election in 2006 Johnson has scored well with the Human Rights Campaign, earning a 95 out of 100 rating in the 2008 HRC Congressional scorecard, the most recent scorecard available. His actions have earned the support of the HRC, which has contributed to Johnson’s campaign. “We do support Hank Johnson, he’s had a short but great career,” said Mike Mings, director of HRC’s Political Action Committee. Neither of Johnson’s challengers in the Democratic primary returned messages from Georgia Voice. Jones’ staff also turned down numerous requests for interviews from Southern Voice in 2008, but did send a response via email where he supported “the current state statute” that bans recognition of gay couples. Jones also said he supported an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage, supported the military’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and opposed allowing Americans to sponsor foreign-born same-sex life partners for citizenship. Johnson is a co-sponsor of the Uniting Families Act, which would allow same-sex couples immigration rights, and voted in favor of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” During her 10 years as state senator, Stokes voted against the 2004 constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage in Georgia. She left the state Senate in 2004 and in 2006 won the District 7 post on the DeKalb County Commission. While the District 4 congressional seat has long been a Democratic stronghold, Republicans Armendariz, Carter, Gause and Ruth all hope to change that with an upset win. “We have not had a strong Republican run in District 4 before, but District 4 is actually 38

Two Democrats and three Republicans hope to replace U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), who recently voted to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ (Photo courtesy U.S. House)

GOP hopefuls

percent independent, so District 4 is actually a swing district,” Carter said. Carter has the endorsement of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, and says that discrimination against any group doesn’t have a place in federal law. “A lot of Republicans need to uphold the Constitution and you can’t discriminate against a group of people because you don’t like what they do,” Carter said Carter says she supports repealing DADT and would like to see federal recognition extended to the state Supreme Court on the grounds that its description of hate crimes as based on “bias or prejudice” was unconstitutionally vague. Fort also noted that as a member of the Senate Rules Committee, he had worked to prevent legislation to ban gay adoptions. He is also a familiar face at LGBT events. Balch’s prominent LGBT supporters include two gay politicos in East Point, former East Point City Council member Kevin Hudson and former City Council candidate Ken deLeon, as well as Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan, who donated to Balch’s campaign. Balch has argued that his opponent has not been effective in passing legislation, especially since Republicans became the majority in the General Assembly, and the district needs “less talk and more action.” “There is a difference between standing up for an issue and solving an issue,” Balch has said. “I believe Senator Fort is great at standing up for issues, but I think we need someone who is good at solving issues.” As the primary nears, Balch continues to make his case to gay voters. “I marched on Washington for gay rights as a teenager and won’t stop fighting for

gay couples, but isn’t particular about whether it is called marriage or civil unions. Her openness about gay issues has cost her some support among conservative Republicans, but she said she has to be honest about where she stands, including her opposition to the federal government extending domestic partnership benefits, and to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “This won’t win me any popularity contests on either side, but I do think that ENDA goes too far… I think Barney Frank has gone too far, and this bill does more harm than good,” she said. Armendariz is also open about his support for gay issues. He said he believes in civil unions, ENDA and allowing same-sex partners immigration rights. “I’m a big believer in civil unions, and I believe that should be a state issue, it seems to me that there should be something the states can do,” Armendariz said. “It’s a people thing, and we need to do what’s right for people… I think civil unions are the way to go, because that way you can have your traditional definition of marriage and then you can have civil unions… because no one has the right to tell someone they can’t love someone, especially the federal government.” Armendariz repeated several times that the federal government has little or no role in social issues and is running to help return the country to fiscal responsibility. Neither Ruth nor Gause returned messages asking for interviews. gay rights as a citizen and a senator until we achieve full legal equality,” he said. “In this election, I hope the LGBT community votes for a new era of more effective leadership and a real difference in the lives of the LGBT community because the time for grandstanding is over and the time for equality is now.” Georgia Voice surveyed both candidates on a wide variety of LGBT issues, from hate crimes to gay marriage, and they gave similar answers on most. Both Fort and Balch said they would sponsor a hate crimes bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, a non-discrimination policy and domestic partner benefits for state employees, a non-discrimination law banning bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity for private businesses, and a law to clarify that sexual orientation should not be a factor in adoption decisions. Both said they support full marriage rights for same-sex couples.

State Senate race pits longtime LGBT ally, gay-friendly challenger
By Laura Douglas-Brown In the race for State Senate District 39, Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) won endorsement from LGBT political groups Georgia Equality and Atlanta Stonewall Democrats. But high school teacher Graham Balch continues to campaign for gay votes as the two men head for a showdown in the July 20 Democratic primary which, since no Republican is running, will decide who holds the seat. Fort’s campaign includes an LGBT Initiative chaired by state Rep. Karla Drenner (DAvondale Estates), who was Georgia’s first openly gay state lawmaker and is running unopposed for her sixth term, and longtime community activist Craig Washington. On July 1, Drenner and Washington joined
Graham Balch, a teacher, is challenging Sen. Vincent Fort in District 39. Georgia Equality and Stonewall Democrats endorsed Fort. (Courtesy photos)

with other LGBT activists and supporters in the state legislature to host an “LGBTQ and Allies” reception for Fort at Joe’s on Juniper. “I have a record that’s not only theoretical, but based on actions — things I have actually done,” Fort said in an interview in May. “I am very proud of my record and want to continue on that path.” For accomplishments specifically related to LGBT rights, Fort notes that he sponsored Georgia’s first hate crimes law, which passed in 2000 but was eventually struck down by

• Georgia Voice candidate surveys for Balch, Fort

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GA Voice

July 9, 2010


Governor’s race: no competition for gay votes
Thurbert Baker
Occupation: Attorney General Residence: Atlanta, GA Website: • As Georgia’s attorney general, Baker’s office defended the 2004 state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage when it was challenged in court. When the state Supreme Court upheld the ban, Baker issued a statement calling the decision “correct” and saying he was “pleased with the court’s ruling respecting the voters’ choice.” • Baker’s office also defended Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine when he was sued for failing to approve domestic partner benefits. (See Oxendine entry) None of the candidates to be Georgia’s next governor have campaigned for LGBT votes, although several have long — mostly negative — records on LGBT issues. Most candidates declined to respond to surveys from the Georgia Voice and LGBT political groups, while several Republican candidates have tried to use their opposition to gay rights as campaign strategies. Among the major Democratic candidates, former Gov. Roy Barnes has the clearest, generally positive record of not shutting out gay constituents, largely due to his former term in office. Among the Republicans, Insurance Com-

Ray McBerry

missioner John Oxendine has continued his outspoken opposition to fairness for LGBT couples in his bid for higher office, while former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal has attempted to use former Secretary of State Karen Handel’s past support for issues like domestic partner benefits against her. — Laura Douglas-Brown

Occupation: Radio and Television Residence: McDonough, GA Website: • Website includes pledge of support for citizen initiatives “which guarantees the People a remedy against the very real threat of betrayal of their values by elected and appointed officials serving special interests.” Such initiatives have commonly been used to turn back gay marriages.

John W. Oxendine

Carl Camon

Roy E. Barnes

Occupation: Attorney Residence: Marietta, GA Website: • Met with HRC and Georgia Equality during campaign for his first term as governor, but not during his unsuccessful campaign for reelection. • Became first sitting Georgia governor to address a gay rights group when he was keynote speaker for an Atlanta Executive Network meeting. During his speech, Barnes expressed general support for no-discrimination. “People should be hired on merit, regardless of anything about them — what color they are, where they came from, or anything else, sexual orientation included,” he said. • Signed Georgia’s first hate crimes law, although the measure was eventually struck down as “too vague.”

Occupation: Educator Residence: Ray City, GA Website:

Nathan Deal

Randal Mangham

Occupation: Attorney/ Clergy/ Entrepreneur Residence: Decatur, GA Website: • As a member of the Georgia General Assembly, voted twice in favor of the state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Occupation: Former Congressman Residence: Gainesville, GA Website: • As a member of the U.S. House, consistently received scores of zero on HRC’s Congressional report card for LGBT issues and has voted for a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. • In current campaign, has attacked Karen Handel for her past support of gay issues.

DuBose Porter

Bill Bolton

Occupation: Management Consultant Residence: Marietta, GA Website: • Returned the Georgia Equality survey • The only Democratic gubernatorial candidate to answer the Georgia Voice candidate survey, Bolton said he supports full marriage rights for gay couples. • Bolton also says he would sign hate crimes legislation, and would publicly support legislation to offer domestic partner benefits to state employees, clarify that sexual orientation should not be a factor in adoptions, and repeal the state ban on gay marriage. • Bolton said he would veto a statewide non-discrimination law on sexual orientation and gender identity for private businesses. • View his survey at

Occupation: Attorney/CEO Newspaper Publishing Residence: Dublin, GA Website: • As a member of the Georgia General Assembly, voted twice in favor of the state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage; was Speaker Pro Tempore of the House during the debate. • Also voted for a bill sponsored by Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) to prevent cities from requiring private businesses to offer domestic partner benefits to be eligible for city contracts.

Occupation: Former Secretary of State Residence: Alpharetta, GA Website: • During her campaigns for Fulton County Commission, supported domestic partner benefits, and was endorsed and a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP group. • Has flipped from these positions during her subsequent campaigns for Secretary of State and now governor, stating that she never joined Log Cabin and emails supporting issues like domestic partnerships were written by campaign staff without her knowledge. • Includes video against same-sex marriage on her campaign website.

Karen Handel

Occupation: Commissioner of Insurance Residence: Norcross, GA Website: • As Insurance Commissioner, sought to prevent domestic partner benefits in Georgia; the city of Atlanta eventually sued over Oxendine’s repeated rejections and won a court decision against Oxendine, paving the way for DP benefits to be available in the state. • Oxendine has repeatedly denounced gay marriage and attempted to make it a campaign issue even after Georgia’s 2004 constitutional amendment. • In October 2009, his campaign for governor released a press statement denouncing the Equality March, a grassroots LGBT rights march in Washington, D.C. “I am asking Georgians of all races to come together on the issue of traditional marriage and do all we can to protect this sacred institution,” Oxendine said.

Otis Putnam

David Poythress

Occupation: Attorney Residence: Atlanta, GA Website:

Eric Johnson

Jeff Chapman
Occupation: Businessman Residence: Brunswick, GA Website:

Occupation: Architect Residence: Atlanta, GA Website: • As a member of Georgia Senate, voted for state constitutional ban on gay marriage. • In his capacity as president pro tempore of the Georgia Senate, Johnson was named as a defendant in Vandy Beth Glenn’s federal job discrimination lawsuit. Glenn was fired from her job as a legislative editor when she announced she is transgender and planned to transition from male to female.

Occupation: Wal-Mart Residence: Brunswick, GA Website: • Billing himself as the “regular guy for governor,” Putnam is the only Republican candidate for governor to return the Georgia Voice survey on LGBT issues. • Putnam said he would publicly oppose most LGBT legislation, including non-discrimination laws, a hate crimes law and DP benefits for state employees. • Said he supports the current status of state law which is silent on gay adoptions. • Opposes gay marriage and civil unions but says gay couples should get hospital visitation, funeral and medical decision-making rights “if the person’s family can’t be contacted or if his/her family doesn’t want to be involved, but family members should get first shot.” • Adds: “As a Christian, I love all people. I don’t support hate toward any person no matter their sexual orientation.” • View his full Georgia Voice survey at



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GA Voice

July 9, 2010


Five vie for State School Superintendent
The Democratic race for State School Superintendent is the only primary race where all candidates responded to the Georgia Voice survey. The state school superintendent’s office could gain increased attention from LGBT Georgians as the state works to implement a new anti-bullying law passed by the General Assembly this year. Beth Farokhi, Joe Martin and Brian Westlake all said they support gay-straight alliance student clubs, the right for samesex couples to attend high-school proms and anti-bullying programs that specifically address anti-gay slurs. Farokhi and Westlake said they support comprehensive sex education. “Sex education should emphasize abstinence, but should also include factual information about ways to prevent pregnancies and socially transmitted diseases. However, schools should not be used to distribute condoms or birth-control devices,” Martin said. You can view their complete Georgia Voice surveys at — Laura Douglas-Brown

this time would be to seek to improve mutual understanding among all citizens instead of pressing for legal changes to re-define the definition of marriage.”

Brian Westlake

Beth Farokhi
Age: 62 Occupation: Educator Residence: Marietta, GA Website: • Attended Georgia Equality’s Evening for Equality • Supports civil unions but not full marriage for gay couples • Said she had no opinion on the state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriag. • States, “Our students need to have peer on peer education on bullying and sexual harassment. Programs geared to educate the adults and students is very important.”

Joe Martin

Age: 67 Occupation: Education and Business Residence: Atlanta, GA Website: • Asked about a possible statewide non-discrimination law covering private businesses, states, “Sexual orientation and gender identity should not be a factor in the hiring and promotion of all employees, but I do not favor a state law in this regard beyond the federal laws on non-discrimination.” • Supports civil unions, but notes: “All of the legal rights that are available to straight couples should be available to gay couples, who have entered into a legally binding civil union, but the most constructive direction at

Age: 40 Occupation: Teacher Residence: Decatur, GA Website: • Gave detailed response to problem of antigay bullying, noting “Both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have worked with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to put together a series of workshops that would be a good place to start.” • Supports gay marriage.


Occupation: Education Administrator Residence: Rome, GA Website:

Richard Woods

Occupation: Educator Residence: Tifton, GA Website:

Attorney General
Sam Olens
Age: 52 Occupation: Attorney Residence: Marietta, GA Website: • Generally perceived as having brought a more moderate, business-focused tone to Cobb County when he became head of the Cobb County Commission, which had previously made international headlines with a 1993 resolution calling homosexuality “incompatible with community standards.”

The race to replace Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who is running for governor, is the only statewide race where both Georgia Equality and the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats issued endorsements. Both LGBT political groups backed Rep. Rob Teilhet, a Democrat. As a member of the Georgia House, he voted against the 2004 state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

“He is with us the majority of the time,” said GE Executive Director Jeff Graham, noting that Teilhet supports “basic fairness issues in terms of employment protection, supporting basic rights and existing law as it relates to our families and relationships.” None of the candidates returned the Georgia Voice survey. — Laura Douglas-Brown

Max Wood

Preston W. Smith

Age: 50 Occupation: Attorney Residence: Macon, GA Website:

Rob Teilhet

Age: 37 Occupation: Attorney/Business Executive Residence: Rome, GA Website: • As a member of Georgia Senate, voted for state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Ken Hodges
Age: 44 Occupation: attorney Residence: Atlanta, GA Website:

Age: 36 Occupation: Lawyer Residence: Smyrna, GA Website: • Endorsed by Atlanta Stonewall Democrats • Attended 2010 HRC dinner • As a member of the Georgia House, voted against the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and for a bill to prevent cities from requiring private businesses to offer domestic partner benefits to be eligible for city contracts.


GA Voice July 9, 2010


Secretary of State
Georgia Equality chose to sit out the race for Secretary of State, as the job does not deal directly with LGBT-specific issues. Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsed Michael Mills, although Gail Buckner and Gary Horlacher also applied. Mills was the only candidate to return the Georgia Voice survey. He said he would publicly support a broad range of LGBT issues, but stopped short of full marriage rights, backing civil unions for gay couples instead. — Laura Douglas-Brown

LGBT endorsements in contested primary races
Georgia Equality State offices Attorney General — Rob Teilhet Georgia General Assembly Senate District 39: Sen. Vincent Fort Senate District 44: Gail Davenport House District 39: Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan House District 44: Rep. Sheila Jones House District 55: Rep. Rashad Taylor House District 65: George Sneed House District 76: Carlotta Harrell House District 88: Rep. Billy Mitchell House District 94: Dar’shun Kendrick House District 96: Rep. Pedro Marin County races Fulton County Commission District 6: Joan Garner

Gail Buckner
Occupation: Communications Marketing Residence: Jonesboro, GA Website: • Applied for but did not receive the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsement. • As a member of Georgia Senate, voted for the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Brian Kemp
Occupation: Small Business Owner Residence: Athens, GA Website: • As a member of Georgia Senate, voted for state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Doug MacGinnitie

Gary Horlacher

Occupation: Attorney Residence: Peachtree City, GA Website: • Applied for but did not receive the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsement.

Party: Republican Occupation: Businessman Residence: Sandy Springs, GA Website: • Christian conservative and arch gay rights opponent Sadie Fields is consulting for him.

Michael Mills

Occupation: Public Relations Consultant Residence: Atlanta, GA Website: • Endorsed by Atlanta Stonewall Democrats • Attended Georgia Equality’s Evening for Equality • On the Georgia Voice survey, said he would publicly support gay and trangenderinclusive hate crimes and statewide non-discrimination laws, domestic partner benefits for state workers, a repeal of the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and a law to clarify that sexual orientation should not be a basis for adoption decisions. View the whole survey online at

• Neither of the two Democrats running for U.S. Senate — R.J. Hadley and Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond — responded to the Georgia Voice survey and little is known about their stands on LGBT issues. The winner will face incumbent Republican Johnny Isakson in November. • The two Democrats running for Lieutenant Governor — Tricia Carpenter McCracken and Carol Porter — also did not respond to LGBT candidate surveys and don’t have public records on LGBT issues. The winner faces Republican incumbent Casey Cagle in the general election. • Nine candidates are vying for the Republican nomination for Insurance Commissioner. As the crowded field almost assures a runoff for the GOP primary, the Georgia Voice will profile these candidates for the runoff. The winner will face Democrat Mary Squires on the November ballot • Candidates for Commissioner of Agriculture and Public Service Commission District 2 are not included because LGBT groups have not endorsed in these races and gay issues do not figure prominently in their duties.

Georgia Log Cabin Republicans Federal races House District 4: Liz Carter

Atlanta Stonewall Democrats State offices Secretary of State: Michael Mills Attorney General: Rep. Rob Teilhet General Assembly Senate District 39: Sen. Vincent Fort Senate District 44: Gail Davenport House District 14: Dan Ledford House District 33: David Wilkerson House District 39: Rep. Alisha Thomas-Morgan House District 44: Rep. Sheila Jones House District 55: Rep. Rashad Taylor House District 65: George Sneed House District 75: Yasmin Neal House District 80: Sandy Murray House District 96: Rep. Pedro “Pete” Marin County races Fulton County Commission District 6: Joan Garner

Angela “Miss Angela” Moore
Occupation: Businesswoman Residence: Decatur, GA Website:

Georganna Sinkfield

Occupation: Real Estate Sales Residence: Atlanta, GA Website: • As a member of the Georgia House, voted against the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and against a bill to prevent cities from requiring private businesses to offer domestic partner benefits to be eligible for city contracts.


GA Voice July 9, 2010


Arrests made in attack on gay couple in Piedmont Park
Atlanta police LGBT liaison considers offering community safety course
By Dyana Bagby Atlanta Police Department Officer Patricia Powell, the recently appointed LGBT liaison, said she is considering offering a safety course to gay Midtown residents after a gay couple was robbed at gunpoint in Piedmont Park. “I don’t know if gay people are being targeted,” Powell said Tuesday. But she noted the July 2 armed robbery of Rev. Joshua Noblitt of Saint Mark United Methodist Church and his partner, as well as reports of anti-gay epithets used during a series of fights and disturbances by young people at the June 3 Screen on the Green in the park. Another man was also robbed of $10 at gunpoint on July 2 at Linden Lane and Central Park Place by the same group of young men, according to APD reports. Six black males ages 13 through 19 were arrested shortly after the July 2 robberies. Whether or not the incident against Noblitt and his partner can be classified as a hate crime will be up to the prosecutor, said Carlos Campos, APD public affairs manager. While Georgia does not have a state hate crimes law, the APD is one of the agencies in the state that tracks what it deems as hate crimes. “They all face charges of felony armed robbery,” Campos said. Those charged in the July 2 armed robberies are Sam Johnson, 17; Benjamin Johnson, 16; and Daequan Lewis, 15, who are all listed as living at the same residence in Stone Mountain. Also charged is Jarvis Johnson, 19, of Parkway Drive in Atlanta. Sam Johnson was identified by APD as the gunman. Police are not releasing the names of the two juveniles. The juveniles were sent to the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center. Those charged as adults were denied bond on a first hearing shortly after being arrested and remained in Fulton County jail at press time. Noblitt said he and his partner were picnicking in the park near 10th Street on the evening of July 2 when they were approached by three young black youths and one of them asked if they were gay. “Are y’all gay … we should whoop your ass for that,” Noblitt told police the youth said, according to an APD report.

Rev. Joshua Noblitt of Saint Mark United Methodist Church said it was ‘heartbreaking’ to learn one of suspects who allegedly robbed him July 2 is only 13 years old. (Photo courtesy Noblitt) The three youths walked off and returned later with a stick and got into a fight with Noblitt and his partner. During the fight, Noblitt called police from his cell phone. When Noblitt called 911 to report he and his partner were being attacked, one of the three young men allegedly called someone and between eight to 10 others showed up quickly on bicycles and surrounded the two men. “They came out of nowhere,” Noblitt said. One of the men who rode up on his bike had a handgun. He put the gun to Noblitt’s temple, demanding money, Noblitt said. “I told him everything you want is on the blanket,” Noblitt said. The assailants allegedly took Noblitt’s wallet, phone, keys and his partner’s phone and ran off. An Atlanta Police Department officer who was working at the Charles Allen entrance of the park setting up for the Peachtree Road Race responded quickly to the scene. “I do want to say the Atlanta Police Department officers were incredible — they were really respectful and really responsive,” Noblitt said. Noblitt thinks the crime may be gang related, but added that perhaps the assailants figured gay people in the park would be easier to victimize. “There are so many guys in the park. Maybe they think gay folks are easy targets,” he said. Campos and Powell said they were unsure if the suspects were part of a known gang, but when three or more people commit a crime together that is considered gang activity. Powell is serving as the APD’s second LGBT liaison. Officer Dani Lee Harris is currently on

Gays considered easy targets?

Please see Piedmont Park on Page 20


July 9, 2010

GA Voice


Trans woman wins federal lawsuit against Georgia General Assembly
Ruling signifies ‘times are changing,’ says attorney in case
By Dyana Bagby Vandy Beth Glenn was eating breakfast Tuesday when she got a call from Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal transgender rights attorney. “Dru called me and told me we had won,” Glenn said. “I felt excitement and relief.” Glenn’s excitement and relief came after learning a federal judge ruled late July 2 that the Georgia General Assembly illegally discriminated against her when she was fired from her job as a legislative editor after announcing her plans to transition from male to female. Lambda Legal is representing Glenn. After learning the news, Glenn said she broke down in tears. “This is the happiest I’ve been in a very, very long time. It’s been two years this month since we filed the suit and I was fired more than two and a half years ago. It’s been a very long road,” Glenn said. She said she’s been temping and doing freelance editing to make ends meet. In March, she got a job with the U.S. Census. “The Census is my first full-time job since I got fired,” she said. And while her story of unemployment may be similar to many people now unemployed due to the downturn in the economy, there is a major difference. “I lost my job due to injustice,” she said. “Justice may be sure, but is often not swift.” Glenn was not surprised by the decision. “I always thought the facts supported our side,” she said. Lambda Legal’s lawsuit claimed that Glenn’s termination “violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection guarantee because it treated her differently due to her nonconformity with sex stereotypes and her medical condition.” The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, originally named as defendants General Assembly Legislative Counsel Sewell Brumby, former state House Speaker Glenn Richardson, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, former state Senate President Pro Tempore and now Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson, and Robyn J. Underwood, the General Assembly’s legislative fiscal officer. Richardson, Cagle, Johnson and Underwood were dismissed from the suit by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story with only Brumby remaining as a defendant. Atlanta attorney Richard Sheinis, representing Brumby, did not return a call seeking comment. His co-counsel, Nichole Hair, said, “We have no comment.” When asked if they planned to appeal, Hair responded again with “no comment.” They work for the law firm of Hall, Booth, Smith & Slover. Levasseur praised the decision for its message to government entities that they cannot fire a person simply for being transgender. “[This] decision by the court proved that the Georgia General Assembly isn’t above the Constitution,” he said in a statement. “The evidence was clear — Vandy Beth was fired because her boss didn’t like who she is, and that kind of treatment is unfair and illegal.” Vandy Beth Glenn was hired as a legislative editor in 2005 when she was living as a male, Glenn Morris. In 2006, she was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder and informed her supervisor, Beverly Ying, of her intention to transition to female. Glenn presented Ying with photographs of her as a woman and also gave Ying educational materials about an employee transitioning in the workplace. Ying saw no problem with this news and gave the information to Brumby. But when Glenn came to work dressed as a woman on Halloween in 2006 — when two other employees were dressed in costume — Brumby ordered her to go home because her attire was not appropriate. He then fired Glenn on Oct. 16, 2007, after learning she planned to transition. Brumby stated during court depositions that the thought of someone with male sexual organs in women’s clothing was “unsettling” to him, was “something I don’t like to think about,” and was something he viewed as “unnatural.” Brumby also freely admitted he thought Georgia legislators would think Glenn’s presence at the Capitol would be “immoral.” He also stated in depositions that keeping Glenn on the job “was inappropriate, that it would be disruptive, that some people would view it as a moral issue, and that it would make Glenn’s coworkers uncomfortable,” according to Story’s 50-page ruling. Beth Littrell of Atlanta, staff attorney for Lambda Legal, said she was “thrilled and relieved but not surprised” with the ruling that stated, in part, “avoiding the anticipated negative reactions of others cannot serve as a sufficient basis for discrimination and does not constitute an important government interest.” “This is no substitution for a statewide law [to protect transgender employees], but it does send a message,” Littrell said. The defendants may still appeal the decision, Littrell said, and this ruling does not negate the need for a statewide law to ensure people in Georgia cannot be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Still, there is cause for celebration with the ruling, Littrell stressed. By ruling in favor of Glenn, this suit joins other precedent-setting lawsuits that offer protections from bias in the workplace to transgender people as well as to all

Ga. leader: Transition ‘unnatural’

Vandy Beth Glenn sued the Georgia General Assembly after she was fired from her job as a legislative editor when she said she was transitioning from male to female. (Photo courtesy HRC) people, gay or straight, who do not have genderconforming appearances. “This is a good sign the times are changing,” she said. Littrell presented Glenn with the Leon Allen & Winston Johnston Community Service Award at the Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Dinner in May. Glenn also testified before Congress on the need to pass an inclusive Employment NonDiscrimination Act in September 2009.

The court has set July 13 for a hearing to determine a remedy in the suit. Lambda Legal is seeking legal costs and back pay for Glenn. Glenn said she would also like to have her job back. “I would be thrilled to go back to work although realistically I don’t know if that can happen,” she said. Going back to work in the place where she was illegally fired would also send a strong message, Glenn said. “It would be an important symbol for how far our community has come. It would make it clear that we can no longer be treated as disposable people, that we deserve dignity and respect like all workers,” she said. “This ruling recognizes it is illegal for public employers to fire people because they are transgender.” The judge did rule against Glenn in her claim that the state illegally fired her because of her

Glenn: ‘We deserve dignity and respect’

medical condition, Gender Identity Disorder. Brumby stated he had concerns about her using the restroom and the potential for lawsuits to be filed against the state by other employees if Glenn used the women’s restroom. While this was an unfortunate decision, Levasseur said it reflects a lack of education within the court system. “This was a more difficult hurdle and the decision is based on bad case law,” he said. It is not realistic for employers to be concerned with which restroom a transgender individual uses because, as many studies show, transgender people are the ones who oftentimes face harassment in the restroom. “It’s transgender people who should be concerned with safety,” Levasseur said. “And you can’t have a job without having a restroom. We were disappointed in this aspect of the case, but it shows a lack of understanding of transgender issues.” But he said the ruling is truly a victory. “As a transgender person myself, I feel this is a great step in the right direction. I’m really happy with the decision. Vandy Beth is such a fighter,” he said. He and Glenn both said they hope this ruling will help kick start renewed action on the inclusive federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. “This lawsuit was never about me — whatever happened, I was going to be OK,” Glenn said. “But this ruling is good for the LGBT community as a whole as a precedent and as a consciousness raising endeavor.”


GA Voice July 9, 2010


Hundreds turn out for Pride Run, other community events
By Laura Douglas-Brown & Dyana Bagby

Atlanta celebrates Stonewall Week
487 runners, who stepped off from the pool area in Piedmont Park. The fastest time went to Enrique Sanchez, while Katarina Dubcova finished first among the female runners. Also on June 26, the Sylvia Rivera Stonewall Community Brunch — sponsored by Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth, the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation and the Atlanta Pride Committee —focused on the contributions transgender people have made to the LGBT civil rights movement. About 50 people attended the event at Central Presbyterian Church. After the brunch, Atlanta Pride hosted the “Be Visible, Make a Statement” rally and community art project at the State Capitol. There was also an informal picnic in Piedmont Park. Pride Run photo by Project Q Atlanta; other photos by Dyana Bagby

The official Atlanta Pride festival doesn’t take place until Oct. 8-10, but the city rolled out a rainbow of events at the end of June to mark the 41st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The 1969 rebellion against police harassment of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, is widely credited with sparking the modern gay rights movement. Among the many events for Atlanta’s Stonewall Week was the showing of “Stonewall Uprising,” a documentary about the rebellion, for a weeklong run at the Midtown Arts Cinema. The June 26 screening was followed by a panel discussion comparing Stonewall to the September 2009 police raid on the Atlanta Eagle. Earlier that Saturday, a bevy of events drew LGBT Atlantans and their supporters to Piedmont Park and the State Capitol. The 20th annual Atlanta Pride Run drew

• Video: Stonewall / Atlanta Eagle discussion, Sylvia Rivera brunch, ‘Be Visible’ rally • Photo albums: Brunch, picnic in Piedmont Park, ‘Be Visible’ rally

East Side Pride draws diverse crowd to Clarkston
By Laura Douglas-Brown The first-ever East Side Pride drew a diverse crowd to Clarkston’s Milam Park on June 26 for an afternoon of cooking out, dancing, lawn games and playing on the playground — all while building community for LGBT people who live east of Atlanta. “I think this year’s picnic was a great launching point,” said Lorrie King, organizer of East Side Pride with her husband, Clarkston City Councilmember Adam White. King estimated that as many as 125 people dropped in over the course of the afternoon, including several who said they had to see with their own eyes a Pride event in the eastern suburb. “When we were setting up, we had two neighbors wander over and say they were coming to see if it was true — Pride in Clarkston,” King recalled. The family-friendly afternoon included a potluck picnic, games, a raffle, and music from DJ Duck, who had Pride attendees dancing in the shade of the pavilion while a rainbow flag waved from the rafters. “We had such a mix of people: LGBT community, advocates, extended families. Other groups having events in the park came over to say hi,” King said. Several Clarkston political leaders joined in the festivities, including Vice-Mayor Emmanuel Ransom; Amy Ormes-Tygrett, wife of Clarkston Mayor Howard Tygrett; and Council members Dean Moore and Dianne Leonetti. Saturday’s festival is only the start for East Side Pride, King said. They plan a bingo night, holiday party and the second annual East Side Pride next year. The group is publicizing its events through Twitter (EastSidePrideGA) and Facebook (East Side Pride). Their goal is to spread the message that “the East Side really does have a thriving LGBT community” by building on the momentum of the “incredible” first East Side Pride. “I was witnessing the very essence of community before my eyes, a changing of the old South,” King says. “I was choked up.”

Check out full photo album online.

(Photos by Becky Rentz)

July 9, 2010

GA Voice


18 4

GA Voice

July 9, 2010


Supreme Court nominee grilled over ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
Kagan stands by her opposition to military’s gay ban
By Chris Johnson The issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and a controversy over allowing the U.S. military to recruit on college campuses emerged as central concerns during U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings last week. The issues emerged June 28 during the second day of hearings for Kagan — who’s currently serving as U.S. solicitor general — in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearings concluded June 30 and a Senate vote on Kagan’s confirmation is expected this month. Kagan appears headed to confirmation with a Republican filibuster unlikely. During the hearings, Sen. Jeff Sessions (RAla.) directed pointed questions at Kagan about the views she expressed as dean of Harvard Law School over military recruitment on campus. According to media reports, in October 2003 Kagan wrote in an e-mail to students that military recruiting on campus caused her “deep distress” and that she “abhor[s] the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy.” In testimony, Kagan affirmed her opposition to the ban on open service as dean and said she still holds that belief. “I have repeatedly said that I believe that the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy is unwise and unjust,” she said. “I believed it then and I believe it now.” Kagan said as dean she tried to ensure military recruiters had “full and complete access” while she simultaneously tried to enforce Harvard’s non-discrimination policy that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation. She said she worked out a compromise as dean that enabled a veterans’ organization to sponsor military recruiters on campus as opposed to the U.S. military itself. Kagan noted that this policy was changed after the Defense Department voiced concerns about not having full access. Sessions was critical of her efforts and cited examples of actions she took that he said raised doubts about her support for the U.S. military. The ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Sessions has voiced concerns about the Kagan nomination throughout the confirmation process and is a likely vote against seating her on the Supreme Court. Sessions said Kagan participated in a campus protest and spoke out against the Solomon Amendment, which allows the U.S. government
Courtesy photo

The military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is ‘unwise and unjust,’ Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan said during confirmation hearings.

to withhold federal funding from universities if they restrict military recruitment on campus. The senator cited a friend-of-the-court brief that Kagan signed as one of 40 Harvard professors in favor a U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 2004 overturning the Solomon Amendment. In response, Kagan characterized the brief as an argument that Harvard’s accommodation for military recruiters through a veterans’ group was consistent with the Solomon Amendment. “We filed an amicus brief not attacking the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment, but instead saying simply that Harvard policy complied with the Solomon Amendment,” she said. Kagan noted that in the end, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the arguments presented by Harvard professors in a 2006 decision upholding the Solomon Amendment. Sessions accused Kagan of engaging in unscrupulous activity at Harvard by instituting a new policy following the Third Circuit ruling and suggested she shouldn’t have issued a change because the Solomon Amendment remained in effect. The senator said Kagan’s description of events was “unconnected to reality” and that he was “a little taken aback” by her remarks. “I know what happened at Harvard,” he said. “I know you’ve been [an] outspoken leader against the military policy. I know you acted — without legal authority — to reverse Harvard’s policy to deny the military equal access to campus until you were threatened by the United States government with the loss of critical funds.” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chair of the Judiciary Committee, interrupted Sessions to allow Kagan to respond to Sessions’ remarks. Please see SUPREME COURT on Page 20

July 9, 2010

GA Voice


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GA Voice July 9, 2010




Gay couple praises police response to Piedmont Park attack
PIEDMONT PARK, continued from Page 14 medical leave. Harris has also filed a complaint with APD’s Office of Professional Standards against a civilian employee of the department. Powell said she spoke with Noblitt to answer his questions and has reached out to his partner, who lives in Ohio. She said she would follow the case through the judicial system and keep them informed. She also said she would meet with the police commander for Zone 5, which includes Midtown and Piedmont Park, to see what can be done in the park to ensure the safety of all visitors. “What the [LGBT] community can do is be more aware of their surroundings and I’m thinking of doing a safety class for the community,” Powell said in a conference call with Campos. “It doesn’t make me feel good when gay people are attacked. But I don’t feel good when anyone is attacked,” Powell said. Noblitt, who is social justice minister at Saint Mark, said when the gun was held to his head, he thought of his niece and newborn nephew, his work at his church and “this cannot be the way this goes down.” The fact one of the suspects is only 13 is

Atlanta Police LGBT Liaison Patricia Powell says she is working with the gay victims of the July 2 robbery in Piedmont Park. (Photo by Dyana Bagby) “heartbreaking,” added Noblitt, who works with young people in the criminal justice system as part of his ministry. “I’m more sad than angry,” he said. “There’s a story that leads up to a choice being made … and I wonder what the story is for all of them.” He added he plans to hold another picnic soon in the same spot he was robbed. “Piedmont Park is an important place to me,” he said. “I’d like to plan a picnic in that same spot and create new memories.”

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Kagan could face cases on gay marriage, military gay policy
SUPREME COURT, continued from Page 18 Noting her father was a military veteran, Kagan said she has “respect” for the military and “one of the great privileges” of her time at Harvard was working with students who were former service members or who wanted to enter the military. Doug NeJaime, a gay law professor at Loyola Law School, said Kagan “took the position that we expected her to take” in response to Sessions’ questioning by explaining school policy on military recruitment. “I don’t think this is huge issue because, I think, it’s very much in the mainstream of law schools’ decision-making around ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the Solomon Amendment,” NeJaime said. “And so, I think she defended the position in a satisfactory way.” NeJaime said Sessions was trying to make it seem that Kagan was trying to undermine the U.S. military during her tenure as dean, or prevent them having access to students. “She made it very clear that that’s not what she was doing,” NeJaime said. “The military

A T L A N T A C O T I L L I O N 2 0 1 0 S P O N S O R S

had access to the students, and students had access to the military, and she had great respect for the military.” Kagan’s opposition to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — which she articulated during her confirmation hearings — renews the question of whether she would have to recuse herself if confirmed and the issue came before the high court. But NeJaime said he didn’t think such statements meant that Kagan wouldn’t be able to take part in a case on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “She’s been pretty clear about speaking about it as a political matter and as an ethical matter,” NeJaime said. “She thinks it’s a bad policy, but I don’t think that that means she can’t fairly adjudicate equal protection or due process claims raised by the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.” Further questions arose about LGBT cases in which Kagan may have to recuse herself in light of Leahy’s questioning on what matters she believed she would have sit out if they came to the bench. In response to Leahy’s questioning, Kagan said she would recuse herself in cases that came before the court if she had been a “counsel of record” in any state of the process for litigation. “I think there are probably about 10 cases that are on the docket next year … in which I have been a counsel of record in a petition for certiorari” or played a similar role, she said.

July 9, 2010

GA Voice


2 year old female

— Salsa



GA Voice July 9, 2010


The Georgia Voice
1904 Monroe Dr., Suite 130 Atlanta, GA 30324 404-815-6941

The very best of LGBT Atlanta
It’s the people that make the place
So as we honor the wonderful people, places and things that make Atlanta an LGBT mecca — and those that are bringing acceptance and community to LGBT people around the state — we also have to thank you, our readers, not only for taking the time to vote (sometimes repeatedly) for our awards, but for your overall support and encouragement as we work to create this new print and online LGBT media outlet. As LGBT people in a region not exactly known for acceptance and equality, many of us have faced questions about why we stay. If you live elsewhere in Georgia, why don’t you move to Atlanta, where life would be a little easier as an LGBT person? If you live in Atlanta, why do you stay in the South, as gay marriage expands in the Northeast and domestic partnerships become more prevalent in West Coast states? The many winners in these “Best” awards, as well as all of the worthy nominees, answer that question. Yes, there is a lot of progress still to be made Editorial By Laura Douglas-Brown This issue of the Georgia Voice marks a milestone: our very first Best of Atlanta awards, which will be an annual event. While our seasoned staff has worked on “Best Of” issues before, the task still initially seemed daunting for a new media outlet: Voting began in early May, barely two months after the launch of our website, and we were hopeful but not entirely certain how readers would respond. But respond you did. Thousands of votes were cast in both the open nominations and multiple choice finalists phases of voting, and many of our finalists used their own social media networks to rally their fans to push them into the top spot.


Editor: Laura Douglas-Brown Deputy Editor: Dyana Bagby Web Manager: Ryan Watkins Art Director: Bo Shell Contributors: Jim Farmer, Shannon Hames, Shannon Jenkins, Robin Kemp, Ryan Lee, Mike Ritter, Matt Schafer, Christopher Seely, Steve Warren, Justin Ziegler


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


here. Many of our winners are on the frontlines fighting for that progress every day, and I hope many more of us will join them. Yet there is also much to celebrate, from our diverse community groups, dynamic activists and artists and vibrant nightlife to the many businesses who welcome us to simply shop or dine. Change doesn’t only come in landmark events, be they protests like the 1969 Stonewall Riots that sparked the modern gay rights movement, or major court decisions like gay marriage in Massachusetts, the first state where same-sex couples were allowed to wed. Change also comes in the quiet moments between these landmarks, as we come out to our families and friends, consciously choose to support businesses that support us, or simply hold our partner’s hand on the street. It’s been an honor over the last four months to cover all of the changes, big and small, in our community’s journey, and we look forward to covering many more to come.

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 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.

So what if the Savannah gay beating victim winked at two Marines?

attention from men. (Note: In their view men have the right to treat women boorishly)

Whenever men “flirt” with me in a way that I find either irritating, rude, or actually threatening (i.e., getting into my personal space or touching me), I’m generally told that I should take it as a compliment and get over it. Double standard much?

Re: “‘May have been more to’ alleged Savannah gay bashing, police LGBT liaison says” (, June 15) Just because we’re gay doesn’t mean we can flirt with whoever, whenever, as if we have a free pass. My prayers to the beaten victim, and my prayers for our future behaviors and acceptance. Unless the victim was actually attempting to forcibly rape these guys, there is simply no justification for meeting an unwanted advance with extreme violence. Women would be murdering straight men on a daily basis if that were the case. My point is that no one in this world has the right to hoot and holler at a person they think is attractive. It’s disrespectful and turns someone defensive. You cross boundaries when you taunt someone like that. Everyone

Re: “Obama speaks at LGBT Pride Month reception” (, June 23) Wouldn’t it have been cool if he’d been standing in front of a rainbow flag?

Obama speaks for Pride, but should he?

and their mother has cried “hate crime” all over this. Maybe so, or maybe the victim’s actions instigated the altercation, which a court will pass judgment on. In reality, our actions should not disrespect anyone, especially the ones we’re trying to show we are just as normal and deserving as them. Of course so much homophobia is really about sexism: Insecure straight men who have such disdain for women or such a tenuous grasp of their own sense of manhood that they turn violent when they feel they are being treated “like a woman,” i.e. receiving unwanted sexual

I think he has more important things to do, you know? Nothing is more important than full equality for all American citizens.

Editor’s note: These comments on Georgia Voice articles were submitted via our Facebook page ( Want to weigh in? Follow us there or submit comments on our website.

July 9, 2010

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GA Voice July 9, 2010




If eligible you will participate in a study to evaluate the safety and the potential efficacy of an HIV vaccine. The vaccine does not contain HIV. You will receive $75 per study visit for your time and travel expenses to the study location in Decatur, Georgia. This study is being conducted by Dr. Mark Mulligan of the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center, located at 603 Church Street, Decatur, GA 30030.


Little Bangkok on Cheshire Bridge Road ( is the top vote getter for Asian fare, with tangy Thai and Chinese food. This perennially well-populated restaurant has an almost endless array of appetizers and entrees. Little Bangkok is often busy — for good reason. Ru San’s ( and Thai Chili ( round out your favorites.
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Best of Atlanta

July 9, 2010

GA Voice



Asian: Little Bangkok

When you’re in the mood for tacos, burritos and enchiladas, Taqueria del Sol ( is your favorite Mexican joint, with locations all over Atlanta to whet your appetite. Who on Earth knew there were so many kinds of tacos? A very close second was Las Margaritas (, while El Azteca (www.elaztecaatlanta. com) rounded out the top three. Some say it’s hard to find good Italian in town, but Atlantans are sold on East Atlanta’s Noni’s ( With a risotto of the day, Noni’s Lasagna Bolognese and Noni’s meatballs, it’s easy to understand the love. Just behind Noni’s was Sotto Sotto (www. while La Tavola ( and Bambinelli’s ( were your third and fourth place choices.

Mexican: Taqueria del Sol

top locale for breakfast and brunch. The Biscuit serves breakfast all day (with lip-smacking omelets) and has salads, sandwiches, desserts and entrees that sate, as well as a uniqueness all its own. Like Little Bangkok, it’s not unheard of to see weekend lines, but the wait it worth it. Radial Café ( placed second and Ria’s Bluebird (www.riasblubord. com) placed third.

Italian: Noni’s

Eating out is always more fun on a nice patio, and Joe’s on Juniper’s (www.joesatlanta. com/juniper/) outdoor location makes it your fave. It’s a great place to see and be seen, especially on a spring/summer Atlanta night, while munching on burgers, wings and sandwiches. Roxx ( placed second, Einstein’s ( third and Noni’s ( fourth. It may have a full menu, but Café Intermezzo’s ( desserts make it a top-flight destination. It’s your favorite place to go with a sweet tooth – tarts, tortes and oodles more beckon.

Dining/Outdoor Patio: Joe’s on Juniper

Still going strong at its Midtown spot after oh so many years, Einstein’s ( is your top spot for business lunch. It’s a terrific place for a quick bite to eat while meeting with clients/colleagues, with a menu that never seems static. In second place is Nickiemoto’s Midtown ( while Cowtippers ( is your third place selection.
Best Italian & Best Bar with Food: Noni’s

Business Lunch: Einstein’s

Dessert: Café Intermezzo

Southern Sweets Bakery ( placed second and Bakeshop ( third.

With locations in Midtown and East Atlanta, Flying Biscuit ( is the

Breakfast / Brunch: Flying Biscuit

Waffle House ( never changes – and everyone likes that. With decadent hash browns and waitresses who went to high school with Abe Lincoln, it’s still your favorite place to grab a bite after a night on the town. Landmark Diner (www.landmarkdiner. com) was a strong second place and in third is Noni’s (

Late Night: Waffle House


TIckeTs On sALe nOW!

Tickets available at the venue box office all outlets, or (800) 745-3000.


GA Voice July 9, 2010

Best of Atlanta
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Apres Diem ( is the top vote getter for a romantic night out. Among the bistro’s perks are its candlelit ambience, great wine choices and wait staff who never seem in a hurry to get rid of customers. The roasted lamb and Moroccan salmon are great too. In second place is Café Intermezzo (www. and in third Sotto Sotto (

Romantic: Apres Diem

Best Place to Dance & Theme Night/Party: Flux with DJ Vicki Powell

Best Vegetarian/Organic: Radial Cafe

Radial Café ( is one of the most environmentally responsible joints around, as well as your vote-getter for veggie dining, both for breakfast and lunch/brunch. Its creative menu includes the likes of veggie sausage and apple pie vegan pancakes. Metrofresh ( was in second place and Café Sunflower ( third.

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Best Bookstore: Outwrite

Best Gift Shop: Brushstrokes

The versatile Noni’s is not only known as a restaurant but as a bar/hangout — albeit one with some tasty, not-yourtypical-bar-food eats. A late night meatball sub: yum! Woof’s ( placed second and Burkhart’s ( third. — Jim Farmer

Bar with the Best Food: Noni’s

Best Karaoke: Mary-oke at Mary’s

With a diverse crowd as well as a hard-core group of regulars, Flux with DJ Vicki Powell (she’s on Facebook, y’all; look her up) is always the place to be to listen to the best music, see the most beautiful people and leave your worries on the dance floor. Once a small party, Flux with DJ Vicki Powell has grown to a two-day affair at the Livingston in the historic Georgian Terrace that attract hundreds each month. She set the Georgia Terrace rooftop on fire for the Fourth of July weekend with an epic party that attracted “American Idol” alum Adam Lambert. Jungle ( placed second and Heretic ( placed third.

Place to Dance & Theme Night/Party: Flux with DJ Vicki Powell

Blake’s on the Park (www. is smack dab in the middle of the Midtown gayborhood, just a short walk away from Piedmont Park, and always filled with hot men and cold drinks to keep the party going. Whether standing outside on the patio or inside sitting at the bar, there is no denying the neighborhood vibe Blake’s always boasts. Burkhart’s Pub ( finished second and Gilbert’s (www.gilbertscafe. com) placed third.

Neighborhood Pub: Blake’s on the Park

Each week, Mary Edith Pitts and a wide range of drag characters perform at Burkhart’s Pub ( to a loyal and loving fan base, giving this bar the title for Best Drag Show. Whether it’s kitschy drag to make you laugh or entertainers who lip-synch for their lives to contemporary favorites, the weekly drag shows are an Atlanta favorite. The East Point Possums Show ( placed second and coming in third was Dragamaki at Nickiemoto’s (

Best Drag Show: Burkhart’s Pub

Mary-oke at Mary’s (www.marysatlanta. com) in East Atlanta, now held every Tuesday night, takes top honors in this category. The bar packs in a large crowd for those wanting to take the mic and sing their favorite song to a room full of friends and soon-to-be friends. Conducted by CJ, who likes to sing a few tunes himself, Maryoke is a long-standing tradition for those who love a good time and don’t mind a bad harmony. East Point Corner Tavern ( placed second while My Sister’s Room ( placed third. The fairly new Atlanta Eagle Karaoke Night ( received an honorable mention.

Best Karaoke: Mary-oke at Mary’s

Best Place to Meet Women: Bellissima

Blake’s on the Park ( is known as the place to go to see and be seen, where all the beautiful men gather in their tight polo shirts and sexy, formfitting jeans. Exactly the kind of bar you want to go to meet Mr. Right or even just Mr. Right Now. Squeezing through a packed crowd on the ground floor bar gives men the perfect opportunity to get close while seeking the perfect date.

Best Place to Meet Men: Blake’s on the Park

Woofs ( placed second and Burkhart’s ( placed third.

Best Place to Meet Women: Bellissima

Located in Amsterdam Walk, Bellissima ( continually attracts the most beautiful women in the city while holding some of the best parties for women who love women. By regularly showcasing live music and art shows to bring

Photo by Bo Shell
o by Phot e Bo Sh ll

Vegetarian / Organic: Radial Café
in various crowds, there’s always a woman who fits your style for you to meet. My Sisters Room (www.mysistersroom. com) placed second and Flux with DJ Vicki Powell placed third.

Best of Atlanta

July 9, 2010

GA Voice


People outside the Perimeter know how to party every day of the week thanks to the Marietta bar, LeBuzz (, which holds regular drag queen and drag king shows and is hosting the city’s first gay Pride event on July 24 with the Marietta Rainbow Festival. Just because you don’t live in Midtown doesn’t mean you can’t be out and proud. East Point Corner Tavern ( placed second and finishing third was Savannah’s Club One (

Best Bar Outside Atlanta: LeBuzz

With more than three-quarters of all the votes cast, Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse ( was the dominant choice for Georgia Voice readers to pick up their latest reads or see their favorite author appear in person. Now in its 17th year, Outwrite continues to pull in A-List authors and has become an iconic part of Atlanta’s landscape. Second place chain store Borders ( beat out the independent third place Brushstrokes (

Bookstore: Gift Shop: Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse Brushstrokes

Known for offering anything and everything gay-related, Brushstrokes ( led the voting for best gift shop. Run by Mark Jackson and Tom Schloeder, Brushstrokes has gained a sterling reputation as a longtime community business, and offers apparel, DVDs, books, collectibles, calendars, adult items and much, much more. Decatur’s Heliotrope ( finished in second and Paper Affair ( was third.

Restoration Hardware ( narrowly beat Traders Neighborhood Store (www.tradersatlanta. com) for first place. Third place went to Intaglia Home Collection (, with honorable mentions for Domestic Comfort ( and Lightnin’ Bugz (www.

Home Décor: Restoration Hardware



— Dyana Bagby

Anchoring the gayest outdoor malls in Atlanta, L.A. Fitness in Ansley Mall (www. continues its popularity with the workout set, garnering half the votes. Located at the corner of Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive and just a few miles from Piedmont Park, it continues to draw gays and girls. Urban Body Fitness ( finished second and Gravity Fitness finished in third ( Work Out Anytime placed fourth (

Gym: L.A. Fitness Ansley Mall

Helmet Hairworx and Bodywerx ( opened up a new salon in West Midtown this year on its route to a first place finish, adding to its locations in Midtown, East Atlanta, Virginia Highlands and in Gravity Fitness. Boys’ only Axiom Salon for Men ( finished second while Cortex Hair Studio ( made it to third place. Honorable mentions to Salon 2000 (www. and Liberty Hair Studio.

Hair Salon: Helmet

Sitting in the heart of the gay Midtown community at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, Caribou Coffee (www. is our readers’ choice to grab a cup of caffeine. Everything from business meetings to hanging out happens at the shop that sits only a few hundred feet from Piedmont Park. The always-crowded Starbucks (www. in Ansley Mall finished second while San Francisco Coffee Roasters ( finished third.

Coffee Shop: Caribou Coffee


GA Voice July 9, 2010

Best of Atlanta


Payne by Bo Shell, Clark via , Justin via Facebook, Katz via

Furthering Ansley Mall’s dominance with our readers, Ansley Beach won more than half of the votes for best tanning salon. A staple in that location, Ansley Beach has built up a strong following of bronze-skin seekers. Circuit Tan ( was second and Palm Beach Tan (www.palmbeachtan. com) finished third. Midtown’s Blue Med Spa ( dominated the voting for best day spa. Known for an always expanding range of services the spa effectively beckons those looking for a little pampering, whether you are looking for traditional spa services, clinical services like Botox or laser hair removal, or both. Only two votes separated second place Bliss ( and third place Spa Sydell (

Tanning Salon: Ansley Beach

Best Local Artist: Jon Arge

Day Spa: Blue Med Spa

Best Local Writer & Best Local Actor: Topher Payne

Best Local Female Musician: Dana Clark

Best Drag King: Justin Atlanta

Best Local Male Musican: Katz

Poncy-Highland’s Young Blood Gallery & Boutique ( was deemed best art gallery by Georgia Voice readers. The gallery’s owners try to showcase new artists with new showings each month. Mason Murer ( and Bill Lowe Gallery ( finished second and third respectively.

Art Gallery: Young Blood Gallery & Boutique

International fashion icon H&M (www. was the choice of our female readers. Known for mixing fashion and affordability H&M offers something for the entire family. Mitzi & Romano finished second and Bill Hallman (www. came in third. — Matt Schafer

Clothing Store for Women: H&M

is the top place to drop them off, offering attention and love. Private accommodations are also the norm for Piedmont Bark’s day care services. Rounding out the category are CampWoof ( in second, BarkATL ( in third and Funnybones ( in fourth. Again, Piedmont Bark ( is your favorite for a new haircut or a pedicure for the pets — or even a full-service dog wash, of course catered to unique canine needs. Wag-A-Lot ( is second place, Chateau Animalia ( in third. Honorable mentions go to PetSmart ( and Puddle of Pooch (

Grooming/Spa: Piedmont Bark

( provides pet care to those in the Atlanta area who are ill/disabled, including people with HIV. Food and basic vet care are among provided services. The non-profit group holds a still popular monthly PALS Bingo – hosted by Bubba D. Licious — to raise funds. Each month has its own, often hilarious, theme. The Atlanta Humane Society ( placed second and LifeLine Animal Project ( third. — Jim Farmer

Chalking up another win for Ansley Mall, Ansley Wine Merchant (www.ansleywine. com) takes first in this category. Ansley Wine Merchant offers a wide selection of wine from across the world. Green’s Discount Beverages ( finished second and Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits (www.towerwinespirits. com) was third.

Liquor Store: Ansley Wine Merchant

Offering a full range of services, from emergency care to preventative medicine, East Atlanta Animal Care ( is the top choice for veterinary care. A large staff is omnipresent for whatever sort of pet concerns arise. Second place is Chateau Animalia (www., while Banfield (www. and Indian Trail Animal Hospital ( came in third and fourth.

Veterinary Care: East Atlanta Animal Care

Supplies/Accessories: PetSmart

Local Male Musician: Katz of Athens Boys Choir

Continuing its reputation as the place to shop for men, Boy Next Door ( near Piedmont Park won by a dominating margin. Local chain Bill Hallman ( finished second and chain store Zara ( was third.

Clothing Store for Men: Boy Next Door

According to you, PetSmart ( is the place to go buy those collars, toys and accessories you didn’t know you needed until you saw them — plus pet food, bedding and other necessities, of course. Basically, if you need it, PetSmart has it. Hours are flexible and PetSmart even offers boarding, training and grooming, in addition to a Doggie Day Camp. Park Pet Supply ( came in second and Wag-A-Lot ( third.

Leaving “the kids” behind for a long weekend? Piedmont Bark (

Daycare / Boarding: Piedmont Bark

One of Atlanta’s best-known and wellliked nonprofits, Pets Are Loving Support

Non-profit/rescue: PALS Atlanta

Katz of Athens Boys Choir ( is just your “average transsexual man living in the Deep South” who gives it to you straight. Or gay. Or queer. Through homo-hop, spoken word and performance art, he spreads his message, oftentimes with humor, of gender, politics, love, sex and everything in between. He performs every year at Atlanta’s own Mondo Homo queer fest and has shared the stage with artists such as Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, Michelle Malone and Bitch. Barry Brandon ( came in second and Guyton Maurice ( placed third.

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Best of Atlanta
some good ol’ fashioned acrobatics thrown in for good measure. She takes the spot as top Atlanta drag queen this year while her fellow Drag Race contestant, Nicole Paige Brooks, (www.facebook. com/nicolepaigebrooks) finished second. Dax! placed third. takes the stage at events throughout the Southeast. He also happens to be Mr. National MI (Male Impersonator) 2010. Owen McCord ( placed second and Diego Wolf (www. of Athens, Ga., placed third.

July 9, 2010

GA Voice


Dana Clark (, a guitarist for First Metropolitan Community Church of Atlanta, beat out the rest for Best Local Female Musician. One half of the band Satin Britches, Clark can play nearly any stringed instrument and sings in a low alto voice. She can teach you to do the same, too. The Lindsay Rakers Band ( placed second and Eryn Woods ( placed third.

Local Female Musician: Dana Clark

He’s got a book, “Necessary Luxuries,” detailing some of the more lurid, and quite interesting, experiences of his past, but Topher Payne ( has made his mark as a playwright with 17 plays so far written, including “Don’t Look At the Fat Lady,” a nominee for the 2009 Metropolitan Atlanta Theater Awards Best Original Work and Best Play. Through his insightful wit, Payne is able to make you laugh — and learn — through the written word. Ryan Lee placed second and Nico Ramos placed third. Atlanta has a thriving arts scene but one man stands above the rest — Jon Arge (www., better known as ARGE. His meticulously designed, layered pieces of paper depicting everything from fancy cars to women with sly stares are explosions of color that can only make you smile. See his work as part of the “Monsters” exhibit at Kai Lin Gallery beginning July 16. Katie Stover ( placed second and Robert Sherer ( placed third. An honorable mention goes to Alli Royce Soble (www.

Local Writer: Topher Payne

With his smoldering good looks, muscles that don’t quit and piercing blue eyes, Justin Atlanta ( makes the women, and men, swoon when he

Local Drag King: Justin Atlanta

“The Mayor of Midtown,” as he is affectionately known, is Philip Rafshoon (www., who founded Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse in 1993 in Mid-

Local Businessperson: Philip Rafshoon

town Promenade before relocating into an old disco at the corner of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street in 1996. His store brings in numerous top-notch LGBT authors, plus hot celebrities, including Chelsea Handler and Pam Grier. And while he’s book selling, Rafshoon continues to support numerous other businesses and nonprofits. Bill Kaelin ( placed second and Ria Pell (, placed third.


Local Artist: Jon Arge

Topher Payne ( not only likes to write plays, but he loves to act in them as well, starring most recently in “Loot” at OnStage Atlanta. Other starring performances in an illustrious career include roles in such favorites as “Designing Women Live” (coming back July 15-17 at OnStage Atlanta), “Golden Girls Tribute” and “Southern Baptist Sissies.” Joey Ellington placed second and coming in third was Bryan Lee. Sonique (, who made her mark on Rupaul’s Drag Race last season, continues to travel the circuit and entertain the masses with her stylish beauty, creativity and

Local Actor/Actress: Topher Payne

Local Drag Queen: Sonique


GA Voice July 9, 2010

Best of Atlanta


Well, the gays love Mary Norwood (, who beat out U.S. Rep. John Lewis by seven votes to take this top honor this year. A former Atlanta City Council member, Norwood received much support from gay residents for her outspoken stance in favor of gay marriage in her losing campaign for Atlanta mayor last year. Her current bid for Fulton County Commission chair is now in doubt after she missed the qualifying deadline to run as an Independent and must now await a judgment by Fulton election officials to see if she will be able to be on the ballot. State Rep. Simone Bell (www.simonebell. com) placed third.

Georgia Politician: Mary Norwood

Best Special Event Outside Atlanta: East Point Possums Show

Best LGBT Rights Activist (Female): State Rep. Simone Bell

Best Georgia Politician & Best Local Straight Ally: Mary Norwood

Best Activist Outside Atlanta: Derrick Martin

DJ Vicki Powell is the hardest working DJ in Atlanta, playing her own special Flux Deluxe parties every month while also regularly playing numerous venues across the city almost weekly as well as many charity events. Her sets are often called “epic” and nobody stands still when she’s behind the tables. DJ Jay McCracken ( placed second and DJ Doug Gazlay ( placed third. DJ Adam Saunders ( received an honorable mention.

Local DJ: DJ Vicki Powell

Biggest Local Foe to LGBT Rights: Gov. Sonny Perdue
Bell, Perdue courrtesy photo, Norwood by, Martin by Shannon Jenkins, Possums by Dyana Bagby

Zac at Mary’s ( was voted top bartender by Georgia Voice readers, beating out Chance at Burkhart’s (www. by a slim six votes. Whether you want a PBR, a rum and coke or a copy of Butt magazine, Zac is there to serve with his signature alternative style. Tim at Sauced ( placed third.

Local Bartender: Zac at Mary’s

Laura Gentle (, a straight ally who became deeply involved in the Atlanta Eagle raid protests and started her own Shirt Off My Back photography campaign to battle homelessness especially among LGBT youth, was voted this top honor this year. Steven Igarashi ( placed second and Ravi Batra (www.facebook. com/zzravizz) placed third.

Up-and-coming Activist: Laura Gentle

Rights Activist (Male) by Georgia Voice readers for his work on such issues as working to find a way to bring a first-class LGBT community center to Atlanta as well as hosting fundraisers for AID Atlanta and other HIV/AIDS organizations. He’s also the executive director of the Atlanta Executive Network and regularly volunteers his time with LGBT groups. Kyle Keyser ( placed second and Max Corwell ( placed third.

Mary Norwood (www.marynorwood. com), who believes in gay marriage, continues her streak as a favorite among Georgia Voice readers, winning this category — and without having to get some 23,000 signatures to be on the ballot. Laura Gentle ( placed second and Juliana Illari ( placed third.

Local Straight Ally: Mary Norwood

State Rep. Simone Bell brings power to the people under the Gold Dome, speaking out for everyone and especially ensuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues aren’t swept under the rug or anti-LGBT policies aren’t ushered through without a vocal opponent. She’s devoted her entire career to helping others, whether working as a health care advocate or for the national LGBT legal organization Lambda Legal. As the founder of the all-female motorcycle club Sweet Vibrations, she makes our readers’ hearts go vroom-vroom. Kiki Carr ( placed second and Laura Gentle placed third.

LGBT Rights Activist (Female): State Rep. Simone Bell

As president and co-founder of TransQueer Nation (, a social networking site for the transgender and gender queer community, Tristan Skye knows the sky is not the limit. He recently chronicled his top surgery in a frank and honest manner on his Facebook page, complete with pictures and video, giving insight to many friends and fans of a very personal journey. Sir Jesse of Decatur ( beloved_warrior) placed second and Tracee McDaniel ( placed third.

Transgender Rights Activist: Tristan Skye

munity is still hurting from that major defeat in 2004 that banned gay marriage — again — in the Peach State. Since then he’s spoken out against gay people adopting and regularly panders to the Religious Right, who are always wrong on issues facing our community. His term expires this year; unfortunately, an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality is not among the candidates to replace him. The Atlanta Police Department’s Red Dog Unit ( placed second and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed ( placed third. East Point Mayor Earnestine Pittman ( got a, well, dishonorable mention. — Dyana Bagby

LGBT Nonprofit: Georgia Equality — Savannah

Known by most as just “JZ,” Justin Ziegler ( was voted Best LGBT

LGBT Rights Activist (Male): Justin Ziegler

When he was elected governor in 2003, LGBT people had no idea one of the top items on Gov. Sonny Perdue’s ( agenda was to support a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Georgia. Our com-

Biggest Local Foe to LGBT Rights: Gov. Sonny Perdue

Thrust into the spotlight by a possible hate crime, Georgia Equality Savannah (www. was named Best LGBT Non-Profit outside Atlanta’s city limits by Georgia Voice readers. GE’s Savannah branch has made headlines nationwide this year by protesting the alleged beating of a gay man by two U.S. Marines.
Macon PFLAG ( finished second in the voting and Augusta Pride ( came in third. First City Network was fourth. ( AID Gwinnett’s ( 18 staffers manage a $2.1 million budget and 250 volunteers to provide services to 1,100 clients in one of Georgia’s most densely populated counties. Athens’ Boybutante AIDS Foundation ( finished second and the East Point Possums (www.eastpointpossums. com) was ranked third. readers. Her blend of news, opinion and occasional snark has kept readers dropping in for their daily fix. Podcaster Ruby Fruit Radio ( finished second while Autostraddle ( was third.

Best of Atlanta
com) was second with Twitter (www.twitter. com) a distant third.

July 9, 2010

GA Voice


LGBT Adult Website: XTube

HIV Nonprofit: AID Gwinnett

Dominating the Georgia Voice polls as it does the lives of many of its readers, Facebook ( outdistanced the competition with more than 80 percent of the vote. Transqueernation (www.transqueernation.

Social Networking site: Facebook

Porn megasite XTube ( was far and away the favorite adult site for Georgia Voice readers. The pornographic version of YouTube has something to satiate almost every taste from mild to wild. Hookup site Manhunt (www.manhunt. com) was ranked second while Adam4Adam. com came in third ( — Matt Schafer

The East Point Possums Show (, originally begun in the backyard of some friends, now brings hundreds of people each year — gay and straight — to downtown East Point for those wanting to see a drag show with dozens of performances, ranging from raunchy and sassy to just good fun. This year the show raised some $10,000 to benefit Atlanta Pride and the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative. Athens’ Boybutante Ball ( placed second and Savannah Pride ( finished third.

Special Event: East Point Possums Show

Activist: Derrick Martin

High school student Derrick Martin took his boyfriend to his prom in rural Cochran, Ga., and was kicked out of his parent’s house once his story received coverage in the mainstream media. Martin received support from across the country with offers of limo rentals, flowers and had a Facebook group created to support him. Rick Westbrook of the East Point Possums was voted second and Kevin Clark of Georgia Equality Savannah came third. Edric Floyd of PFLAG Macon was fourth. — Matt Schafer

Project Q Atlanta (www.projectqatlanta) dominated the voting on its way to being named best gay blog by Georgia Voice readers. Owned and operated by Matt Hennie and Mike Fleming, the site covers the spectrum of gay Atlanta news and events while providing an impressive social calendar and your daily dose of beefcake. Towleroad ( was voted second and Break the Illusion ( was third.

Gay Blog: Project Q Atlanta

Pam’s House Blend ( proved her strength with our female

Lesbian Blog: Pam’s House Blend


GA Voice July 9, 2010

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Well, one thing Annette and I had going for us was that we’ve both been married a long time. When you’ve been living that sort of life — as spouses, as parents — it gives you the sort of shared sensibility that made it very easy to connect that way in terms of these two characters. These two women have been together for 20 years. They have two children. They have a lot invested in each other, in that family, in that relationship. As with most couples I know who’ve been together a significant amount of time, there are any number of bumps along the way.

Arts & Entertainment


‘The Kids Are All Right’
In ‘The Kids Are All Right,’ Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play a lesbian couple shaken up by the sperm donor, Mark Ruffalo, who helped them become parents. (Photo by Suzanne Tenner)

What do you think about the statement this film makes about gay parents? To be honest, I think the greatest thing about it is that it’s making no statement at all. People always ask me whether I think movies influence culture, but I actually think that movies more often reflect society. That’s why we’re able to have a movie like “The Kids Are All Right.” It presents a situation that’s fairly prevalent in our society right now. For my own children, this is a reality for them. They know other kids with two moms or two dads, so it’s not unusual for them. It simply is. If only the older generation could be that accepting and understanding, right?

Julianne Moore on gay parenting and going all the way with Annette Bening
By Bert Osborne Having dabbled in screen lesbianism before — in isolated scenes opposite Toni Collette in “The Hours,” Amanda Seyfried in “Chloe” and Blake Lively in “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” — Julianne Moore finally goes all the way with Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right.” Directed and co-written (with Stuart Blumberg) by lesbian filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko (“High Art”), the new movie casts Moore and Bening as Jules and Nic, a longtime couple. When their teen children, played by Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson, decide to make contact with their sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo), alternately humorous and heartfelt complications ensue. Moore, 49, a four-time Oscar nominee (“Boogie Nights,” “The End of the Affair,” “The Hours,” “Far From Heaven”), spoke about the film during a recent interview in Los Angeles. Georgia Voice: What usually draws you to a project — the character or the story ? Julianne Moore: In this case, I was just sold on Lisa Cholodenko. We met several years ago, and I’m a big fan of her movies. Every time we’d run into each other, I’d joke with her: “Why hadn’t I seen the script for ‘High Art’?” (She laughs.) I signed on to “The Kids Are All Right” almost five years ago, but it took a while for all of the financing to finally come together.

In all honesty, though, I probably would’ve done anything she sent me. One interesting thing about the evolution of this script was that, from the time she first gave it to me until the time we actually did it, it just kept evolving and getting better and better. You have an admirable track record working with other openly gay filmmakers (Todd Haynes’ “Safe” and “Far From Heaven,” Tom Kalin’s “Savage Grace”). It’s interesting. On the one hand, I’ve been asked that before and it’s a valid question. But, at the same time, I don’t like categorizing people based on their gender, sexuality, race or nationality, you know? I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my career to work with so many talented filmmakers, many gay filmmakers among them, but I’ve never found that their sexuality had very much to do with anything. It’s all about telling stories, sometimes extreme stories, about what it is to be human. That’s what I’m attracted to — filmmakers with that sensibility, whether they’re gay or straight. Is it any different shooting love scenes with women as opposed to men? No. I’ve done love scenes with both, and the only thing that really matters is that you have a partner you can really trust, where both of you know what the tone of the scene is, and that you’re in it together. I would imagine those scenes are only difficult if you’re uncomfortable with the other person you’re working with, and fortunately I’ve never been in that situation.

Talk a little at first about your scenes with Mark Ruffalo. They were easy, because we know each other so well. We’d done “Blindness” together, where we basically never spent a moment apart, but I’d been really good friends with Mark and his wife for years before that. In terms of playing Jules, how did you justify her relationship with Ruffalo’s character? There’s nothing conscious about what she’s doing. She’s just searching. She’s at a point where she’s freaked out about where she is in her life. Her oldest child is leaving for college, and the younger child isn’t far behind. Jules has been a stay-at-home parent all these years. All her stabs at working outside the home have fallen through. She’s just trying to figure out what she wants, and Mark’s character validates Jules in a way the rest of her family doesn’t. He sees her differently. It’s not necessarily a sexual or romantic attraction. It’s just a connection she feels because he actually sees her. Had you also met Annette Bening? Once, during Oscar season. (She laughs.) I love saying that. It’s so actorly. We were nominated together years ago, so for a couple of months we’d keep running into each other at award functions. “Hey! How ya doing? Nice to see ya.” That was pretty much the extent of it. So was it harder playing that relationship, because you didn’t have a personal history with her, like you did with Ruffalo?

You have a great line in the film about porn movies and how a lot of girl-on-girl sex scenes are “inauthentic,” because they’re usually performed by women who are straight as opposed to lesbian. You and Annette Bening are straight, too, and yet your relationship in the film feels totally authentic. Why do you suppose that is? Is it just that the two of you are great actresses? It’s all about great writing first. The acting is important, too, but it’s secondary to the writing. I’ve been thinking a lot about that Newsweek article, that f-ing asshole who made the comment about gay actors not being able to play straight. [“Straight Jacket,” by Ramin Setoodeh, published April 26, 2010, at newsweek. com] Come on. Gay actors have been playing straight roles for centuries. It goes both ways. Annette and I are acting.

Did you write a letter to the editor in response to the Newsweek story? No, but I’ll never buy a copy of that magazine again. As actors and filmmakers, our job is to channel stories like this about what it means to be alive. The relationship in the film is the relationship, whether it’s two women, a man and a woman, or whatever. Like all long-term relationships, it can be challenging, but it can be rewarding, too. At the end of the day, “The Kids Are All Right” is a portrait of a family. That’s why it’s so touching and relatable.

‘The Kids are Alright’ • Opens July 16 in Atlanta for two-week exclusive at UA Tara Cinema • Additional theaters on July 30

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July 9, 2010



by Laura Douglas-Brown

Fear, love and change
For rocker Melissa Etheridge, music is means for evolution
Melissa Etheridge’s list of accomplishments is long even for a celebrity: In the 22 years since her first major label album debuted, she’s released 10 studio records, come out as a lesbian, won two Grammys and an Oscar, become the mother of four children, survived breast cancer, and been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, environmental awareness and other issues. But the rocker, 49, isn’t slowing down. In April, she released her 10th album, “Fearless Love,” followed by a tour that brings her to Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on July 23. “I love Atlanta. It’s always a great place to play — this mecca in the middle of the South,” Etheridge says in a July 5 interview from New York City, where she enjoyed July 4 fireworks the night before. Etheridge says concertgoers can expect a mix of new songs from “Fearless Love,” her biggest hits, and “deep album cuts” for the diehard fans. “I’ve changed as a person, I‘ve grown, and I hope my work has gotten better — that is really the goal,” Etheridge says. “I think when I finally started taking myself seriously, like I am a songwriter and this is my craft, it gave me permission to work at it, to try to be great at it.” In 1992, Etheridge released her fourth album “Never Enough,” which included “Ain’t it Heavy,” which won her a Grammy for Best Female Vocal Rock Performance. In 1993, she released “Yes I Am,” which went Platinum six times over and included blockbusters “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” which also won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. In between, she officially came out as a lesbian — obviously without hurting her career. “It’s one of the best things I ever did — being open and honest about myself,” Etheridge says. “It gives you a lot of power. You don’t fear anymore. You don’t spend all that energy trying to hide so you have more energy for yourself and your work.” While coming out is a personal choice, she says she would encourage other gay artists “to believe in themselves and that there is nothing wrong with them at all.” “If you are creating a career but you are only halfway living it, you will only halfway feel it,” she says. “You won’t get the full feeling of success if you only present half of yourself.” Of course, with celebrity comes public scrutiny of your personal life — whether gay or straight. Both tabloids and entertainment media Melissa Etheridge takes on the personal and the political, including the fight over gay marriage in California, on her new album, ‘Fearless Love.’ (Photo by James Minchin III) covered Etheridge’s decision to have children with then-partner Julie Cypher, the revelation that musician David Crosby was their sperm donor, and their break-up. The media also covered her relationship with “Popular” actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, their 2003 commitment ceremony, the birth of their twins in 2006 — and their breakup, which made headlines again July 2 when Etheridge filed to officially dissolve their domestic partnership in California. “It’s just deeply difficult,” Etheridge says of the end of her nine-year relationship with Michaels. That’s a bit of an understatement. Her ex has taken to blogging in pseudo-poetry about Etheridge allegedly abandoning her without financial support after she gave up her career to raise the couple’s twins and Etheridge’s two children with Cypher. And as mainstream entertainment magazines and blogs cover the messy split, commenters inevitably resort to homophobia and claims that the break-up is further proof gay relationships don’t deserve legal rights. But Etheridge says that gay break-ups prove the need for not only gay marriage, but the access to divorce that comes with it. Relationships are hard, whether gay or straight — “we’re all pretty messed up,” she says. Gay marriage will “recognize and have a structure to not only help people who wish to combine their lives and become married, but also to untie those knots, and do it without hurting as many people, and have those rules and boundaries,” she says. “Fearless Love” debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, garnering Etheridge appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Ellen, The Tonight Show and even QVC, among others. The album is a mix of rock and ballads that makes the most of Etheridge’s strong vocals and signature guitar style. The title track, like many other songs in

Personal and political

Etheridge’s discography, can be interpreted both as personal journey and a political anthem. The song’s quest to find a “fearless love” may ring especially true for lesbian and gay listeners, for whom coming out means learning not to be afraid to love who you love. “I try to write especially that song, but all of my songs, in different layers,” Etheridge says. “If you are a gay youth listening to ‘Fearless Love,’ I hope it inspires you to be fearless and open about what your love is. If you are a straight person, the song could just be about I need to be fearless in the choices I make.” “Miss California,” a hard-rocking comment on the Proposition 8 that banned gay marriage in the state, is the most overtly political track on the new album: “Miss California was I a little too proud / I’m standing in the streets now / And I’m screaming out loud / You try to shove me in the closet / With your skulls and your bones / I can be who I am you see / If I want to do it all alone.” Yet despite the heartbreak of California voters turning back gay nuptials, Etheridge says she believes that in the long term, the debate will further the cause of gay rights by putting the issue in the public eye. And as her multi-layered interpretation of the familiar phrase “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” in the complex track “We are the Ones” points out, societal change starts with the individual. “The only way change ever comes about is individuals changing hearts and minds,” she says. “You have to have individual peace and clarity before you can ever see it out in the world.”

Melissa Etheridge in concert Friday, July 23, 7:30 p.m. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway Atlanta, GA 30339


July 9, 2010

GA Voice



by Shannon Hames

Making a ‘Splash’ for HIV
Joining Hearts 23 heats up Piedmont Park pool
Hundreds of hot men (and some women) will pack the Piedmont Park pool July 24 for Joining Hearts 23, the annual fundraiser that helps provide housing for people with HIV. “Joining Hearts has always been one of the highlights of the gay community each summer,” says Kerry Loftis, director of events for Joining Hearts, an all-volunteer, non-profit charity. “We get people who come here from all over the country for this event. They plan their vacations around it. People consider it like a big family reunion.” DJ Roland Belmares, an Atlanta favorite from Austin, Texas, returns to spin for this year’s event, dubbed “Splash.” “People like his style of playing really upbeat, fun music,” Loftis says. “He has a big following here because we all love the way that he makes it a really fun, good party. He mixes music that everyone just loves.” DJ Mike Pope also returns as the opening DJ for this year’s party. A new element for this year is the expanded VIP section. “Last year, our VIP section was too small and we missed an opportunity to really go all out for our patrons. This year, we’ve increased the capacity to be able to handle about 350 guests,” Loftis said. “We moved it to the south wing of the beach house and are giving it a comfortable loungetype of feel. Our VIPs will have much more airconditioned space, a private staff with special guest hosts, gourmet catered food and tasty specialty cocktails by Grey Goose Vodka,” he says. Loftis is also quick to add that although Joining Hearts is a favorite event on Atlanta’s gay party calendar, the focus is on the funds raised: 100 percent of every dollar raised through ticket sales and tips goes directly to AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House. “The donations that we raise at this event and the other events that we do throughout the year are the most significant part of their budgets,” he notes. Alex Wan, director of development for Jerusalem House, agrees. “The funds that Joining Hearts provides to Jerusalem House provide the overwhelming majority of monies needed for maintenance on our two facilities,” he says. “These facilities house about 50 men, women and children. What they [Joining Hearts] do is absolutely critical to what we do.” Jerusalem House is a non-profit charity that provides over 60 percent of the permanent sup-

DJ Roland Belmares returns to spin for Joining Hearts 23, the annual benefit that raises funds for HIV housing. (Photo by Project Q Atlanta) portive housing designated for Atlanta’s homeless and low-income population living with or directly affected by HIV/AIDS. This will be the 14th year that Jerusalem House will be a beneficiary of Joining Hearts. Wan, also the Atlanta City Council member for District 6, has a long personal history with Joining Hearts as well. “It was one of the first organizations that I ever volunteered for when I got back from college. It started me on the path of volunteerism and public service,” he says. “They have really impacted other organizations in the GLBTQ community by demonstrating the potential that we all have to make an impact on our causes. They have been around for 23 years now,” he says. “Do you know how hard it is for a non-profit to keep going for that long and to be successful at it? They do a tremendous job.” Joining Hearts also draws a tremendous crowd, so Loftis wants to remind people to buy their tickets early this year. “Last year, we sold out on the day of the party and we reluctantly had to turn people away at the party. It was so disappointing for us and for them,” he says. Tickets are only available for purchase at and, if there are any left, at the event itself. General admission tickets are $65 each and VIP tickets are $150.

Joining Hearts 23 Saturday, July 24 4-11 p.m. Piedmont Park Pool Patron & Sponsor Party Sunday, July 18 Details TBA

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GA Voice

July 9, 2010



by Dyana Bagby

Rising above the ‘Underground’
Atlanta author Jonathan Lerner explores sexuality, radical politics in new novel
When two hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, Atlanta writer Jonathan Lerner remembers thinking how he could identify with Mohamed Atta. Atta, a college-educated man who was raised by affluent parents in Egypt, was the hijacker-pilot who flew the first plane into the World Trade Center. Lerner’s friend, sex columnist and blogger Michael Alvear, who is gay, told him he needed to put those thoughts down on paper. So Lerner took a manuscript he had been trying to complete as a memoir about his days as a founding member of the Weather Underground and condensed it into 6,000 words for an essay published Feb. 24, 2002, in the Washington Post Magazine. “Like many children of affluence, I was horrified by racism and poverty, and filled with idealism,” Lerner writes in the essay. “I became an activist in the civil rights movement, and renewed my desire to perfect the world in response to Vietnam. Yet by the end of that decade I had become warped enough to help found the Weathermen, a cult of leftist cynicism and violence. We were contemptuous of others, convinced we had the answers, and willing to impose them through violence. In other words, we were political terrorists.” With that essay, Lerner, 62, thought he was finally finished with grappling with his days as a member of the Weather Underground. But in a daze a few years ago, like being on an acid trip he says, he saw this entire arc of a story in his mind, from beginning to end, and knew he had to write a book. The result is “Alex Underground,” a semiautobiographical tale of a young man at the forefront of a radical political movement who is struggling with a deep secret — he is gay. “The novel isn’t exactly my story, but there are scenes and bits of dialogue that are certainly mine,” Lerner says. Writing the book was cathartic, he adds, as was writing the essay. He doesn’t feel any strong personal guilt anymore for his involvement with the Weather Underground, which bombed government buildings and incited riots mostly as a result of the Vietnam War. But he says he deeply regrets their actions. “I just feel that we really didn’t help matters,” he says. The story is most biographical when it shares Alex’s stories of being a hustler, seeking sex with men to fund “the movement.” “I do think Alex and I were doing the same thing under cover of the political rationale of

Atlanta gay author Jonathan Lerner, a founding member of the Weather Underground, reads from his novel ‘Alex Underground’ on July 21 at Outwrite. (Photo by Dyana Bagby) having to survive … this gave us permission to explore,” Lerner says. “When I was underground and hustling, the only people who knew was this tiny group of people I was with. I didn’t have to deal with judgment worries because it was the way we were making money, therefore it was imperative to keep doing it,” Lerner says. “And I was enjoying it — both the sex and intimate encounters with people — without having to take the risk of coming out.” But Alex’s life and Lerner’s life diverge when Alex comes out and lives his adult life as an openly gay man. Lerner didn’t come out until he was 42 after being married for 13 years. Lerner wrote the book over the course of two years, finishing it in 2005. He had two agents who tried to sell it to every publishing house in the country, but was told “Alex Underground” was “too gay” and that the “gay novel is dead.” So Lerner self-published the novel because he believes it’s an important story to share. “It’s a great story. And I think it tells one valid story of gay history,” he says. “Certainly a small percentage of gay people have explored their sexuality through hustling. And it’s also a valid telling of a radical experience.”

Jonathan Lerner reads from ‘Alex Underground’ July 21, 7:30 p.m. Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse 991 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

sexual” and had Robert holding the hand of his friend Peter. And in one version of the musical, Robert admits to a homosexual experience. But regardless of whether audiences find Robert straight, gay or possibly bisexual, Egizio feels it is a production that speaks to everyone. “No matter whether Bobby is gay or straight, it’s about not making a commitment,” he says. “Bobby is turning his nose away from the idea of settling down. But as one of his friends tells him, ‘You have to give up something to get.’ In the end, Bobby realizes that being alone is alone, not alive. Everyone can relate to that.” Back in 2006, “Company” was restaged on Broadway with Raul Esparza in the lead. The production, which won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, was innovative in that the ensemble also played musical instruments. Many people liked John Doyle’s new approach but others found the instruments distracting, drowning out what is considered one of Sondheim’s best scores. Egizio’s version is instrument-less. On July 12, cast members of the national touring version of “The Phantom of the Opera” will perform a benefit for Synchronicity Performance Group’s Playmaking for Girls programs at Theatrical Outfit’s Balzer Theatre. Among the dozen or so participants is openly gay D.C. Anderson, who appeared on Broadway in “Phantom.”

July 9, 2010

GA Voice


Commitment pros and cons
Robert Egizio remembers hearing Elaine Strich’s version of “The Ladies Who Lunch” from the musical “Company” and buying the cast album almost immediately after. Since that time he has longed to be involved in a production of the musical, and next week he gets the chance at his Stage Door Players. Egizio, the openly gay artistic director of the company, is directing the production. His version of “Company” hits almost 40 years after the original bowed on Broadway. In the musical, openly gay Dustin Lewis stars as Robert, the main character who is celebrating his 35th birthday. Over the course of the show, we meet his married friends — all of whom are urging him to settle down and get married — as well as his three girlfriends. Robert has rejected the notion of making a commitment to any of them. Besides Lewis, the cast features some recognizable local theater names. Jennifer Levison (of Souper Jenny fame) plays Joanne, the role originated by Stritch, while Marcie Millard (who starred in Stage Door’s recent “Master Class”) plays Jenny. Ironically, both performers were in an Actor’s Express version of the


by Jim Farmer

‘Company’ offers an Everyman’s journey to settling down
musical together. Also in the cast are Barbara Cole Uterhardt, who plays Amy (the role originated by Beth Howland of “Alice” fame) and her husband Googie Uterhardt, as Larry. Egizio feels that “Company” is one of Sondheim’s best works, one that introduced a new era of musical theater, as well as one of his most personal shows. “It’s still relevant,” he says. “It’s about Bobby’s journey in finding love. He is single and is playing the field; middle aged and dating women younger than he is. His friends want him to settle down but he sees all the good and bad parts of being married. Whenever they invite him over they say it will be ‘the three of us.’ In a sense, he is all alone and is the third wheel among them.” For years, one theory about why Robert is single is that he is gay. Some versions of “Company” have subtly hinted at that. George Furth, who wrote “Company,” has long denied it, as has Sondheim, although the openly gay Sondheim has mentioned that much of “Company” is based on his own experiences. According to Egizio, a recent London production was “overtly

In ‘Company,’ Dustin Lewis stars as bachelor Robert, who spends the night of his 35th birthday weighing married life. (Photo courtesy Stage Door Players)

‘Company’ July 16 – Aug. 8 Stage Door Players 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody, GA 30338 770-396-1726 ‘Broadway Sings for Synchronicity’ July 12 Balzer Theatre 84 Luckie Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303 404-484-8636

‘Phantom’ for Synchronicity

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GA Voice

July 9, 2010


Nothing beats barbecue for signature summer meals

I’ll admit that I’m no BBQ OCD like some critics who rock back and forth muttering descriptions like char and bark. As a child in the Atlanta ‘burbs, I only knew the Old Hickory House, which we rarely went to at night since my mother didn’t eat barbecue in public because it was messy and would get her burgundy manicured nails dirty. Their barbecue beef omelet is still really good. Today Atlanta has a ton of crave-worthy barbecue joints that embrace the imaginative, yet don’t lose sight of Southern traditions. At many, the sides can be as good and as creative as the meats. Rolling Bones, located on Edgewood Avenue, made Bon Appetit’s 10 best barbecue places in the U.S. for 2009 and serves organic meats. Rolling Bones has that smoky, spicy complexity that signifies a real talented pit master, y’all. I really love their rich pulled-duck sandwich with fig relish. Or try the succulent spiced and sliced brisket sandwich with smoked onions; a

huge portion for only $8. This sandwich is as smoky, spicy and meaty as a ‘70s gay bar. Also, try smoked trout with corn relish, or salmon. The sides at Rolling Bones are marvelous, too. My favorites include Benton’s bacon potato salad, creamy and rich with smoky bacon; a sweet potato with maple butter; Brunswick stew and some porky mustard greens. Other very notable Atlanta places are DBA Barbecue in the Highlands and Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q in Candler Park.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q 1238 Dekalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307 DBA Barbecue 1190 N. Highland Ave. Ste. B, Atlanta, GA 30306 Fat Matt’s Rib Shack 1811 Piedmont Ave. , Atlanta, GA 30324 Old Hickory House Dunwoody & Tucker locations

Be a Pit Mistress and throw your own barbecue party. The ubiquitous Nathan’s grilled hot dogs and burgers are always good and you could jazz the burgers up with prepared ahead thick bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese, guacamole or canned green chilies. Get a cute straight guy to run the grill while you host, or better yet, a lesbian. Lesbians are the unsung heroes of the grill, like my friend Ellie. My favorite barbecue food is smoky grilled portabello mushrooms. Under the cap, spoon scrape off the thin gills so they won’t burn. Brush ‘shrooms very liberally with olive oil, grill seasoning and Worcestershire and grill 3-4

Backyard barbecue

minutes on each side. Top with melted herbed goat cheese (cheap at Trader Joe’s), grilled red peppers and onions, cilantro, garlic mayonnaise, arugula or avocado. No yard or grill? No prob, invite your peeps over for some Fat Matt’s take out, and poof — it’s a summer party. For dessert, go crazy and drizzle Grand Marnier and/or chocolate syrup over buttery pound cake, whipped cream and grilled peaches. Pig-N-Chik (Roswell Road): For a perfect summer night go to a concert or picnic at Chastain Park, and stop by Pig-N-Chik before-

Other Hotlanta faves

hand for inexpensive tasty smoked meats and comforting Southern sides. Roasters (Lenox Road): OK, I know this isn’t a barbecue joint and the main reason I put it here was because of the scene. They have moist rotisserie chicken with barbecue sauce, traditional veggies and those pillowy yeast rolls. Weeknights there are lots of cute masculine jocks post work-out, not eating chicken skin and acting butch. Community Q (Clairmont Road in Decatur): First-rate barbecue staples like pork, juicy ribs and from-scratch sides. I go for the mac-andcheese as I’m a mac-and-cheese love-ah. ‘Cue (Ga. Highway 9 in Milton): The best complex, layered barbecue I’ve ever tasted on smoky juicy brisket and gourmet macand-cheese. The must have is the banana pudding topped with flambéed bananas, toasted pecans, butter, brown sugar and Meyers dark rum — fierce.

Photo via stock.xchng

Atlanta pit masters



Rolling Bones Barbecue 377 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30312

July 9, 2010

GA Voice


D e li r&
deli sandwiches & panini homemade pasta beer & wine imports

“Best Italian”
– GaVOICE, 2010

“Bar with Best Food”
– GaVOICE, 2010

“Best Meatball Sandwich”
– Atlanta Magazine

“a thousand times cuter and fresher than comparable pasta places”
– Christiane Lauterbach, Knife & Fork

“noodles so light...only the sauce keeps them from floating off the plate”
– Besha Rodell, Creative Loafing

lunch M-F • dinner nightly • 357 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30312 • 404.343.1808 •

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GA Voice

July 9, 2010

DIRECTORY LISTINGS To advertise, email 404.312.5392

Faith in full equality
HRC’s ‘Gospel & Unity’ celebrates spirituality, social justice
By Mashaun D. Simon The Human Rights Campaign’s Gospel & Unity celebration is back and in full effect this year, organizers say. The ninth annual event will take place Saturday, July 24, at the First Metropolitan Community Church from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. “We do the event to bring the community together and connect with LGBT partners,” says Ebonee Bradford, a member of the HRC Board of Governors for Diversity and Inclusion. Organizers are especially excited to bring the event back after skipping last year. In 2009 it was not held because Bradford was co-chair of the HRC Dinner. “So we had one year off,” she says. “We try to keep it moving.” The HRC Atlanta Diversity and Inclusion Committee coordinates the event. Bradford said they hope Gospel & Unity will bring together members of the community from different race and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations and religions. “It gives us a chance to celebrate our common values and the progress being made toward full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans,” she says. “The primary goal of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest organization fighting for LGBT equal rights, is to include a wide diversity of the community in the fight for equality through events like this.” This year’s keynote speaker, Will Horn, founder of the Power Center, is definitely someone people should look forward to, Bradford says. “Will Horn is an awesome speaker,” she says. “He actually spoke at one of our Gospel and Soul events a few years ago. I just wanted to bring him back.” Organizers have also asked participating ministers to bring their choirs and are expected


July 9, 2010

GA Voice


MEGA Family Vacation heads to Lake Lanier
By Dyana Bagby
After four years of hosting its popular MEGA Family Vacation at Tybee Island, the nonprofit organization that serves LGBT families is moving the annual retreat to Lake Lanier this year. Kathy Kelly, executive director of MEGA Family Project, says the downturn in the economy played a major role in moving the vacation spot. Tybee Island lodging costs, plus travel expenses for many of the metro Atlanta and North Georgia families who attend the vacation, were simply too high this year, she says. Lake Lanier offers numerous lodging options, including a family-friendly campground, for a wide range of affordable prices, she says. There were also complaints last year that there were too many drunk people at Tybee Island, Kelly adds. Concerns that Lake Lanier may be too conservative and even anti-gay were unfounded, Kelly says. “We’ll have our own private pool, and they assured us there would be no problems” from others who may not appreciate seeing LGBT families, she says. “They are very enthusiastic about us coming,” Kelly says. “This is a more family-friendly place. It’s safe. So we thought we’d try it out.” Activities include a water park, horseback riding and pony rides, potlucks, ice cream sundae making, arts and crafts, pool parties and a kids’ movie night. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure our weekend is a success,” she says. People who register early are eligible for three free water park tickets. While early registrations are encouraged, people can register up until the day of the vacation.

MEGA Family Project Exe cutive Director Kathy Kelly with her dau ghter, Maggie. (Photo courtesy MEGA Fam ily Project)

Rev. Kathi Martin (left) is among the scheduled speakers for ‘Gospel & Unity,’ which organizer Ebonee Bradford hopes will foster fellowship across races and sexual orientation. (Photos via Facebook)

Gospel & Unity Saturday, July 24, 4-5:30 p.m. First Metropolitan Community Church 1379 Tullie Road Atlanta, GA 30329

the First MCC Quartet, the Power Center Chorale and others. Confirmed ministerial guests include Rev. Paul Graetz, First MCC; Rev. Elliott Sommerville, The Shepherd’s Table; Rev. Sonya Williams, Restoration Inclusive Ministries; and Rev. Dr. Kathi Martin, Interactive Faith Café. Other highlights include participation from Martin and Keisha Waites, who were the first co-chairs of the event, Bradford said. Martin said she hopes this year’s Gospel & Unity will draw a more diverse crowd. “If not, at least the event will bring together LGBT people from various churches to celebrate and fellowship together,” she says. When Martin first got involved with HRC, her goal was to dispel rumors about HRC’s fo-

Diversity encouraged

cus and purpose. “Most of the African-American community thought the HRC was a white organization for the most part,” she says. “When I heard the HRC wanted to hold an event that focused on the African-American community, I wanted to support it.” She says the hope was that the event would enable heterosexual and LGBT Christians to celebrate faith together through music and fellowship, thereby bridging the gaps of fear and stereotypes. Unfortunately, the attendance for the event has been mostly LGBT. But such an event is important for the city of Atlanta, Martin believes, especially if it can eliminate barriers between persons. “Anything that can do that is a positive for our community,” she says. “Social justice, environmental and political issues require coalitions that can work for the common good rather than focusing on the well-being of only our particular group.” Bradford is thrilled at the possibilities that may come from the event. “There will be music, dancing and poetry. What better way to bring together the mission of the HRC to the tradition of faith?”


Celebrating a MILESTONE? Share your engagements, weddings, births, adoptions, anniversaries, birthdays and other events! Announcements can be up to 200 words and can include a photo. E-mail with your milestone and contact info to see your name in print.

5th Annual MEGA Family Vacation July 23-25 Lake Lanier Island Resort 7000 Holiday Road Lake Lanier Islands, GA 30518


“Greater Tuna” continues through July 18. Showtime is 8 p.m. Theatre in the Square, 11 Whitlock Ave., Marietta, GA 30064, It’s time to get Primal with DJ Rick Walsh. No cover before 11 p.m., $5 after. Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road NE, Atlanta, GA, Kitty LeClaw’s Meow Mix and Karaoke. 11 p.m., Blake’s on the Park, 227 10th St., Atlanta, GA 30309, Traxx and Traxx Girls invite everyone to the newly renovated Atlanta Live, a.k.a. Mansion Elan Nightclub. Several DJs, two dance floors, go-go dancers, hip-hop and house music, special VIP sections. Cover $10-$25. 11:30 p.m.-5:30 a.m., Atlanta Live, 3595 Clairmont Road, Atlanta, GA, 30319,,

Photo by Gleason Moldovan

Photo via Myspace

BEST BETS 07.09 - 07.24
Friday, July 9 Friday, July 9
Lesbian singer-songwriter Lindsey Hinkle performs live. 9:30 p.m. My Sisters’ Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316,


GA Voice

July 9, 2010



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

Friday, July 9Sunday, July 18
“The Phantom of the Opera” plays through July 18 in its farewell tour — meaning the last time it tours the Southeast. Various show times. The Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, 404-881-2100,

Saturday, July 10

DJ Duck helms the tables for Twist every Saturday. No cover. Bellissima, 560-B Amsterdam Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306,


Sunday, July 11

Looking for more events? Visit our website for our extensive daily calendar, including nightlife schedules and community organization meetings, provided by our friends at Dine out for Joining Hearts with 20 percent of food sales to go to the non-profit that raises funds for AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House. 7 p.m.-10 p.m., Woofs, 2425 Piedmont Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, Discuss “Gay in America: The Politics of Pride” and the legal issues LGBT Americans face. 7 p.m., AID Atlanta, 1605 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309. 404-870-7763, email, Journalist and now novelist Helena Andrews visits Atlanta from Washington, D.C., to read from her memoir, “Bitch is the New Black,” her story of being young, single and black. The book is currently in production to be made into a film. 7:30 p.m., Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307,

Celebrate the eighth anniversary of East Point Corner Tavern with the second annual Bar Field Day. Jello tug o’ war, three-legged race, drink tray relay and more games. 2 p.m. East Point Corner Tavern, 2783 Main St., East Point, GA 30344,

Friday, July 9 Saturday, July 10
The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus presents a 50th anniversary tribute to the Beatles with “All You Need is Love: The Music of the Beatles” that combines songs based on the Fab Four’s original arrangements with the performances of the 100-voice chorus. Tickets: $20, $30, $40. Tickets available by calling 404-413-9849 or online at tickets. Friday’s performance at 8 p.m., Saturday’s performances at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State, 80 Forsyth St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Monday, July 12

Second Sunday of Atlanta, a group for black gay men, meets to discuss various topics. 3 p.m.-5 p.m., Positive Impact, Inc., Bruce Almond Room 139 Ralph McGill Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30308, The Roy G. Biv Project and My Sisters’ Room join forces for a “Luau Edition” of family day. 4 p.m.-8 p.m., My Sisters’ Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316,, It’s Grown & Sexy Sundays every week with WassupNAtl. Doors open at 7 p.m. Free admission before 8 p.m. with guest pass from WassupNAtl’s website. Django’s, 495 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308. 404246-9000,

Growling allowed. Bear Night every Monday at the Atlanta Eagle with drink specials for those who go shirtless. 10 p.m., Atlanta Eagle, 306 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308,

Tuesday, July 13

Every Tuesday is “Alternative Perspectives,” an LGBT radio show on WRFG 89.3 FM. Hosted and produced by Betty Couvertier. 7 p.m.-8 p.m.,

Thursday, July 15

Wednesday, July 14

Support Pets Are Loving Support with its monthly bingo fundraiser. This month’s theme is “Luau.” Hosted by Bubba D. Licious and Alexandria Martin. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., first number called at 7:45 p.m. Cost is $20. Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

“Designing Women Live” returns to the stage with Dewayne Morgan, Joey Ellington, Johnny Drago and Topher Payne performing as your favorite Atlanta ladies — Julia, Suzanne, Mary Jo and Charlene. Proceeds benefit the Process Theatre, a non-profit organization. Online tickets are $20 with a $1.50 service fee. Tickets are $23 by phone or at the door. Showtimes are 8 p.m. each night. OnStage Atlanta, 2597 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033, 404-245-4205,

Photo by Dyana Bagby

GSAGA (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgendered Seniors Advocacy of Georgia) presents “Planning for Successful Aging” covering topics including social networking, legal protections, and health. 2 p.m.-4 p.m., Phillip Rush Center, 1530 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307,

Sunday, July 11

The National Flag Football League of Atlanta holds its end of season awards ceremony. 4 p.m.-6 p.m., Blake’s on the Park, 227 10th St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309,
Photo via


July 9, 2010

GA Voice


Thursday, July 15

T-Time is a discussion group open to transgender youth ages 13-24. 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., YouthPride, 1017 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, Join the Atlanta Executive Network for its annual Summer Party. Free for AEN members, $10 for guests. Food provided, drink specials. 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Aurum, 108 8th St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, MEGA Family Project hosts its coming out support group, “Coming Home,” every third Thursday of the month for adults 18 years and older. 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. 1530 DeKalb Ave., Suite A, Atlanta, GA, 30307, 404-8083350,

Friday, July 16

Kai Lin Art Gallery hosts an opening for the new show “Monsters,” featuring the works of gay artist Jon Arge and others. 7 p.m.-10 p.m., 800 Peachtree St. Suite A, Atlanta, GA 30308, 404-408-4248,

Friday, July 16

Friday, July 16-Saturday, July 17

Tyler Perry dresses in drag, er, women’s clothing once again as he reprises his role as Madea in “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family.” Friday show at 8 p.m., Saturday shows at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339, 770-916-2800,

Star of the AMC series “Mad Men,” Bryan Batt reads and signs his book “She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother, ” the story of a classic Southern belle who teaches her son everything he needs to know about being a man. 7:30 p.m., Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 991 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-607-0082,

Saturday, July 17

Fenuxe Magazine holds a launch party and fundraiser for For the Kid in All of Us. $10 cover includes complimentary drink and raffle ticket. Buy tickets at 7 p.m., Aurum, 108 8th St., Atlanta, GA 30309, The Atlanta Freedom Bands host a summer concert at St. Paul United Methodist Church, featuring Americana tunes and the introduction of Dr. Patrick Carney as the Bands’ new music director. 8 p.m. at St. Paul, 501 Grant St. SE, Atlanta, GA 30312, Celebrate the Sixth Annual Bastille Day in your best French attire with French pop, French disco and French kissing. MC 5 Hour Boner and special guests. Champagne specials. 9 p.m. Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA 30316, 404-624-4411, DJ Vicki Powell makes her debut at the Atlanta Eagle. 10 p.m., 306 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308,

Send the Atlanta Trout off in style by joining members for the team’s final beer bash before heading to the Gay Games in Cologne, Germany. $10 bottomless beer. 4 p.m.-6 p.m., F.R.O.G.S. Cantina, 931 Monroe Drive #A107, Atlanta, GA 30308, SUNsets @ Noni’s + Happy Birthday DJ William Roman brings together the beats of Roman, DJ Vicki Powell and an early set by DJ Kyle Keyser. 6 p.m., Noni’s, 357 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30312, Lesbian singer Jen Foster performs live. Doors open at 8 p.m., show begins at 9 p.m. My Sisters’ Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316,

Sunday, July 18-Monday, July 19
Although all shows to see the Indigo Girls at Eddie’s Attics are sold out, the venue is inviting guests to watch a live broadcast of the show from its TVs on the patio. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. shows both nights. 515-B North McDonough St., Decatur, GA 30030, 404377-4976,

Tuesday, July 20

Sunday, July 18

It’s Primary Election Day in Georgia. Polls are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Visit to find out where to vote. The Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce hosts a business builder luncheon. $20 cash only includes an entrée, side item, appetizer, beverage and gratuity is included. 11:55 a.m.-1 p.m. Cowtippers, 1600 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30324, 404-874-3469,

OutWorlders, an LGBT science fiction, fantasy and horror fan group, will hold its 10th anniversary picnic from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Chattahoochee River Park, Roswell, GA 30076, DJ Chris Griswold mans the tables for “Quench.” 3 p.m.-7 p.m., The Artmore Hotel, 1302 West Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-876-6100,,



GA Voice July 9, 2010


Publicity photo

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45 A fundraiser for Sulli Sullivan, the longtime guitar tech for the Indigo Girls who recently suffered a stroke and has no medical insurance, features performances by Group Sex, Tricksy and A Fragile Tomorrow. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 8 p.m., The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316,

Friday, July 23

Melissa Etheridge brings her “Fearless Love” tour to metro Atlanta. 7:30 p.m., Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339, 770-916-2800,

Friday, July 23 – Sunday, July 25
The fifth annual MEGA Family Vacation takes place for the first time at Lake Lanier Islands. Multiple events throughout the weekend. www.

Wednesday, July 21

50% off the first 3 months!*

Jonathan Lerner, a founding member of the Weather Underground, reads from and signs his fiction novel “Alex Underground.” The book is the story of a young man involved in radical politics in 1970 who must also come to terms with his sexuality. 7:30 p.m., Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 991 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-607-0082,

Saturday, July 24

Thursday, July 22

Clark University professor Daniel Omotosho reads from “Perfect Peace,” a book that explores gender and sexuality in one rural Southern African-American family. 7:30 p.m., Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307,

The Marietta Rainbow Festival celebrates its first gay pride event with live music, entertainment, food and drinks. The fest takes place at LeBuzz from noon to 3 a.m. and is a family-friendly day with events for adults after 8 p.m. An outdoor movie screening of an independent gay film will also take place at dusk in the bar’s parking lot. Free. 585 Franklin Road, Marietta, GA 30067, Rainbow-Coalition-site The Human Rights Campaign hosts Gospel & Unity, an afternoon of inspiring gospel music and speakers. 4-5:30 p.m. at First Metropolitan Community Church, 1379 Tullie, Atlanta, GA 30329.

Friday, July 23
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Humidity & temperature controlled 24-hour surveillance Covered loading area Clean indoor environment Wine storage at Midtown location
FREE Truck Rental at Move-In!

Emory/VaHi 404.888.9688
1248 Zonolite Rd, Atlanta, GA 30306

Herman Put Down the Gun plays its signature rock and roll at 9 p.m. at Lenny’s Bar, 486 Decatur St., Atlanta, GA 30312, www.,

Midtown/14th St. 404.733.1400
680 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Friday, July 23Saturday, July 24

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Decatur 404.292.0606
2910 N. Decatur Rd, Decatur, GA 30033
* Restrictions may apply.

Atlanta’s Choice for Self Storage

Black Box Comedy Troupe’s Improv Tournament has eight comedy teams battle it out, two at a time. The team to get the most audience feedback moves on to the next round. The last surviving team is crowned BBIT 2010 Champion. Shows start at 8 p.m. both nights. Under the Couch, located on the second floor of Georgia Tech’s Student Center, 350 Ferst Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30318.

Cyndi Lauper wants us all to have fun when she performs in Atlanta with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings and David Rhodes. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Chastain Park, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta, GA 30327 (at the intersection of Powers Ferry Road and Stella Drive),

Friday, Aug. 6