Queer, trans iden­ti­ties cen­tered in Black Lives Mat­ter At­lanta chap­ter

GA Voice - - NEWS BRIEFS -

A fed­eral judge ruled on Dec. 16 that the law­suit filed by for­mer At­lanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran against the city and Mayor Kasim Reed will move for­ward, how­ever, sev­eral of Cochran’s claims were dis­missed.

Al­liance De­fend­ing Free­dom, an anti-LGBT le­gal group, filed the law­suit on Cochran’s be­half in Fe­bru­ary af­ter Mayor Reed fired him fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of Cochran’s self-pub­lished book. In the book were pas­sages com­par­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity to bes­tial­ity and pe­dophilia. The city filed a mo­tion to dis­miss in March and Cochran got his first day in court in Oc­to­ber.

Cochran made nine claims against the city and Mayor Reed, and U.S. Dis­trict Court Judge Leigh Martin May ruled on the mo­tion to dis­miss in her fil­ing. May ruled in fa­vor of Cochran on the claims of re­tal­i­a­tion, dis­crim­i­na­tion based on his view­point, and vi­o­la­tion of his con­sti­tu­tion­ally pro­tected free­doms of re­li­gion, as­so­ci­a­tion, and due process (fir­ing with­out fol­low­ing proper pro­ce­dure).

At­lanta earns per­fect score on HRC Mu­nic­i­pal Equal­ity In­dex

At­lanta con­tin­ues to lead on work­place equal­ity while the rest of the state lags be­hind. The Hu­man Rights Cam­paign (HRC) re­leased its an­nual Mu­nic­i­pal Equal­ity In­dex on Dec. 17 and At­lanta earned a per­fect score for the third year in a row.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by HRC, the av­er­age score for cities in Ge­or­gia is 33 out of 100 points, which falls be­low the na­tional av­er­age of 56.

Here’s how other cities in Ge­or­gia fared in HRC’s rank­ings: Athens: 19, Au­gus­taRich­mond: 12, Avon­dale Es­tates: 41, Colum­bus: 40, De­catur: 28, North Druid Hills: 12, Sa­van­nah: 19.

Sa­van­nah now be­comes one of only four­teen ju­ris­dic­tions in Ge­or­gia to in­clude sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity as pro­tected classes.

Forty-seven cities earned per­fect 100-point scores, up from 38 in 2014. At­lanta’s per­fect score was awarded as a re­sult of a set stan­dard of LGBT in­clu­sive­ness, with ex­em­plary poli­cies rang­ing from nondis­crim­i­na­tion laws and equal em­ployee ben­e­fits, to cut­ting-edge city ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to HRC.

The full re­port can be read on­line at www.hrc.org.

It was stand­ing room only in­side the fel­low­ship hall of the his­toric Big Bethel AME Church on Dec. 17 for the first meet­ing of the At­lanta chap­ter of Black Lives Mat­ter. Nearly 200 peo­ple re­sponded to a call to ac­tion in de­fense of count­less African-Amer­i­cans, both known and un­known, who have been slaugh­tered at the hands of a cor­rupt po­lice state.

The con­tri­bu­tions of queer and trans folks to Black Lives Mat­ter At­lanta are in­ten­tion­ally cen­tered in the move­ment.

A les­son in pre­ferred gen­der pro­nouns per­me­ated the space early on dur­ing the meet­ing. This set the tone for af­fir­ma­tion of all black lives re­gard­less of one’s level of un­der­stand­ing of queer-iden­ti­fied peo­ple.

“There was a col­lec­tive in­ten­tion to en­sure folks knew LGBT peo­ple were not only in the room but at the core of this At­lanta chap­ter be­ing or­ga­nized,” said An­thony An­toine, an At­lanta ac­tivist and HIV preven­tion coun­selor.

Mary Hooks, or­ga­nizer of the lo­cal chap­ter, tells Ge­or­gia Voice “that the next three years in At­lanta and Ge­or­gia will be game chang­ers.”

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