Friends of Diamond Lil launch fundraiser in advance of memorial service
A Georgia pastor with congregations in Atlanta, Brunswick and Jacksonville who said victims of the shooting at LGBT Orlando nightclub Pulse “got what they deserved” has been charged with child molestation.
Authorities say Ken Adkins, pastor of the Greater Church, molested a young man in his church, the victim’s home and in different areas across Brunswick. The Florida TimesUnion reports that he faces charges of child molestation and aggravated child molestation. The incidents possibly occurred in 2010. The legal age of consent in Georgia is 16.
Adkins was a controversial figure in Jacksonville politics for his fight against the city’s proposed LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance, claiming that the law would make it easier for sexual predators to find victims in bathrooms.
After the Pulse shooting in June, Adkins tweeted, “Been through so much with these Jacksonville homosexuals that I don’t see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve!!”
Adkins, 56, has asked to be put on unpaid leave from the church and his wife said she will serve as acting pastor. The investigation is ongoing.
Friends of Diamond Lil, the iconic Atlanta drag queen who died earlier this month, have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for her memorial service.
Diamond Lil died on Aug. 9 of complications from cancer, leading to a massive outpouring of tributes from Atlanta’s LGBT community and beyond. Friends launched the online fundraiser on Aug. 26 and surpassed the $1,000 goal within three days, raising $1,150 total from 20 donors. Any remaining proceeds after expenses from the service will go to Lil’s favorite charity, Lost-n-Found Youth.
“Diamond Lil gave so much to our community so please let’s give back,” the GoFundMe campaign read.
Lil passed away at age 80, with the announcement being made on the entertainer’s official Facebook page. She was born in Savannah and dressed in drag for the first time when she was five years old, performing publicly in drag for the first time at age 18.
She moved to Atlanta in the early 1960s and proceeded to perform in the gay bars of the time, including Mrs. P’s on Ponce de Leon Avenue and Chuck’s Rathskellar and Rose Room on Monroe Drive. She was called the “Queen of the Jukeboxes” as she was featured on jukeboxes around the Southeast—unique among female impersonators as she often performed in her own voice and composed her own songs.
Lil continued to perform throughout Atlanta in the decades that followed, including at Manuel’s Tavern and Mixx. In recent years, Lil scooped up several notable awards. Georgia Voice readers voted Lil as Best Icon in the 2014 Georgia Voice Best of Atlanta awards. And in 2015, Atlanta Pride and Touching Up Our Roots honored her in the first ever Our Founding Valentines event celebrating LGBT pioneers, trailblazers, and community builders.
The memorial service will take place Sept. 17 at the Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta.