Queer, trans identities centered in Black Lives Matter Atlanta chapter
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.”