Friends of Di­a­mond Lil launch fundraiser in advance of me­mo­rial ser­vice

GA Voice - - Newsbriefs -

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.

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