Dee Dee Chamblee demands apology from East Point official for transphobic incident
Longtime Atlanta transgender activist Dee Dee Chamblee returned to the municipal court building in East Point on March 23 where she says she was repeatedly misgendered and interrogated about her genitalia by Solicitor General Antavius Weems.
Chamblee originally appeared in court on Jan. 27 to defend a simple traffic charge, but tells Georgia Voice that in the process of her hearing she was “whisked away to a private room, interrogated about her gender reassignment surgery, lied to about the law and threatened with jail time.”
Nearly two-dozen supporters joined her as she confronted Weems and demanded a public apology and thorough training on gender, sexuality and trans identities for all city court personnel.
Weems apologized for how he made Chamblee feel but refused to apologize for misgendering her, citing an unknown law as a requirement for him to address Chamblee by the gender marker on her government-issued identification instead of her preferred pronoun.
GOP lawmaker defends anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill
State Sen. Greg Kirk (R-Americus) addressed the media on March 22 to defend a controversial anti-LGBT so-called “religious freedom” bill, citing the effect marriage equality has had on countries like Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. He also confirmed specifics about the bill regarding local nondiscrimination ordinances and called on Gov. Nathan Deal to sign the bill into law. Deal announced on March 28 his intent to veto House Bill 757.
Kirk addressed several issues raised by opponents of the bill, including whether the bill would supersede local nondiscrimination ordinances. A clause in the bill says it can’t be used to allow “discrimination on any grounds by federal or state law,” but there are no nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people in Georgia on a state or federal level. When pressed on whether the bill would cancel out those LGBT non-discrimination ordinances in 60 jurisdictions across the state—including Atlanta—Kirk confirmed the point, saying, “Federal law trumps state law and state law trumps local law. That’s the way it works.”
Kirk repeatedly claimed that he had an “open door policy” on discussion about the bill but confirmed that he did not consult with Reps. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) or Park Cannon (D-Atlanta) before introducing the revised version of the bill last week. Drenner, Waites and Cannon are the only openly LGBT lawmakers in the General Assembly.
Hollywood heavyweights pile on against Georgia’s anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill
The Weinstein Company, Fox, Viacom, AMC (which films the blockbuster TV show “The Walking Dead” in Georgia), Starz, Lionsgate and Time Warner are the latest media companies to oppose HB 757. Time Warner says the bill “clearly violates the values and principles of inclusion and the ability of all people to live and work free from discrimination,” while the Weinstein Company says it “will not stand behind sanctioning the discrimination of LGBT people or any American.”
The Weinstein Company also threatened to move a Lee Daniels-directed biopic of Richard Pryor starring Oprah Winfrey, Eddie Murphy, Kate Hudson, Mike Epps and Tracy Morgan.
Disney and its Marvel Studios film unit also announced on March 23 that they would pull out of Georgia permanently if Gov. Deal signed the bill into law. The comments came in a Disney statement to the Hollywood Reporter.
Disney’s announcement came on the heels of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau’s statement indicating that over 15 companies would consider moving their conventions out of Atlanta if the bill passed, torpedoing the city’s convention business by 40 percent over the next five years and costing the city’s economy over $6 billion.
The Human Rights Campaign also unveiled a list of entertainment industry leaders who pledged to boycott the state if Gov. Deal had chosen to sign the bill into law. The list included: Dustin Lance Black, Kristin Chenoweth, Lee Daniels, Anne Hathaway, Seth MacFarlane, Julianne Moore, Ryan Murphy, Aaron Sorkin, Marisa Tomei and Gus Van Sant.
Dee Dee Chamblee (left) and Holiday Simmons (right) lead a march to the City of East Point Municipal Court. (Photo by Darian Aaron)