Friends, fans mourn the death of drag per­former Lateasha Shuntel

GA Voice - - Health News -

At­lanta’s LGBT com­mu­nity mourns the sud­den and un­ex­pected pass­ing of pop­u­lar drag per­former Lateasha Shuntel. Shavonna Brooks, a close friend and col­league of Shuntel, broke the news on Nov. 18 in a Face­book post.

“It is with great sad­ness that I in­form the com­mu­nity of my sis­ter Lateasha Shuntel’s pass­ing,” wrote Brooks.

“Lateasha was found peace­fully this morn­ing in her ve­hi­cle and was not the vic­tim of foul play THANK GOD! I am hurt, cry­ing, a mess, tore up, any­thing you can think of at this point.”

An iconic drag queen, Shuntel was a main­stay and crowd fa­vorite as a drag per­former at Blake’s on The Park. She also worked as a dis­trib­u­tor for DAVID At­lanta Mag­a­zine and Southern Voice, the pre­de­ces­sor to Ge­or­gia Voice.

A GoFundMe cre­ated on Nov.18 to raise funds for Shuntel’s fu­neral ex­penses quickly ex­ceeded its $7,500 goal, with do­na­tions pour­ing in from all around the coun­try.

Delta Air­lines de­nies sur­vivor ben­e­fits to gay wid­ower

Ge­or­gia couple Dan Wal­ter and Jay Bea­dle planned to spend the rest of their lives to­gether. That was be­fore Bea­dle was di­ag­nosed with non-Hodgkin’s lym­phoma in 1999 and head and neck can­cer in 2010. In a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship for 21 years, the couple legally wed in Min­nesota two months be­fore Bea­dle’s death in Jan. 2014.

Wal­ter, Bea­dle’s sur­viv­ing hus­band, is now fight­ing to amend the terms of Delta’s pen­sion plan to al­low sur­viv­ing spouses like him, who were mar­ried to long-term Delta employees, to re­ceive sur­vivor ben­e­fits. He is rep­re­sented by at­tor­neys at the Civil Rights Ed­u­ca­tion and En­force­ment Cen­ter (CREE) and Lambda Le­gal. Delta’s cur­rent pol­icy re­quires cou­ples to be legally mar­ried for at least a year in or­der to be el­i­gi­ble for ben­e­fits. Lambda Le­gal and CREE have sent a let­ter urg­ing Delta to amend the plan retroac­tively to waive the one-year mar­riage du­ra­tion re­quire­ment, as Wal­ter and Bea­dle were un­able to marry un­der Ge­or­gia law prior to the Supreme Court rul­ing in Oberge­fell v. Hodges in June.

Delta has been a proud sup­porter of Ge­or­gia’s LGBT com­mu­nity and openly cel­e­brated the Supreme Court rul­ing in June,

Beloved drag per­former Lateasha Shuntel’s legacy lives on. (Photo via Face­book) not­ing that as a re­sult of “the court’s de­ci­sion to fully le­gal­ize same-sex mar­riage in all states and ju­ris­dic­tions ... Delta will be able to pro­vide an eq­ui­table ben­e­fits pack­age to all Delta peo­ple.”

“Jay and I were blessed with more than 20 years to­gether, tak­ing care of each other in all the ways that a com­mit­ted couple would— phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally and fi­nan­cially,” says Wal­ter. “I really hope Delta will get this straight­ened out be­fore any­one else has to go through this.”

The Hu­man Rights Cam­paign re­cently awarded Delta Air­lines a score of 90 on its an­nual Cor­po­rate Equal­ity In­dex.

HRC re­leases 2016 Cor­po­rate Equal­ity In­dex

The re­sults of The Hu­man Rights Cam­paign’s (HRC) an­nual Cor­po­rate Equal­ity In­dex (CEI), a na­tional bench­mark­ing tool on cor­po­rate poli­cies and prac­tices re­lated to LGBT work­place equal­ity, were an­nounced dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in down­town At- lanta on Nov.18.

Chad Grif­fin, Pres­i­dent of HRC, was on hand to de­liver re­marks on the find­ings of the an­nual re­port. In to­tal, 851 com­pa­nies were of­fi­cially rated in the 2016 CEI, up from 781 in the 2015 re­port. The av­er­age score for com­pa­nies and law firms based in Ge­or­gia is 82 per­cent. Of the 24 com­pa­nies ranked, 13 earned 100 per­cent, 3 earned 90 per­cent or above, and 1 earned 80 per­cent or above.

“At­lanta was the first city in the deep South to score a per­fect 100 on HRC’s Mu­nic­i­pal Equal­ity In­dex,” says Grif­fin. “While sup­port for LGBT work­ers is grow­ing in the U.S. and around the world, too many com­pa­nies still fail to guar­an­tee ba­sic, vi­tal work­place pro­tec­tions that al­low employees to bring their full selves to work,” Grif­fin adds.

The 2016 CEI re­vealed that a record 407 busi­nesses earned a top score of 100 per­cent and the dis­tinc­tion of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equal­ity.”

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