Full-cir­cle mo­ments as Ge­or­gia Voice cel­e­brates sev­enth an­niver­sary

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

psaun­ders@the­gavoice.com

“While there is anx­i­ety that comes with such un­cer­tainty, I know that no mat­ter what comes our way in the fol­low­ing months and years, our com­mu­nity will do what those for­mer SOVO staffers did af­ter be­ing shut down – keep go­ing.”

One Mon­day morn­ing in mid-Novem­ber 2009, staffers from South­ern Voice ar­rived to work to find the locks changed and a sign on the door say­ing that the pa­per’s par­ent com­pa­nies, Win­dow Me­dia and Unite Me­dia, closed down. A couple weeks later, those same staffers, along with anx­ious LGBT com­mu­nity mem­bers from around the city, crammed into the sanc­tu­ary of First Ex­is­ten­tial­ist Con­gre­ga­tion in Can­dler Park to find out the next steps – if there were any.

South­ern Voice pub­lisher Chris Cash and ed­i­tor Laura Dou­glas-Brown an­nounced the cre­ation of a new pub­li­ca­tion, but it was up to those as­sem­bled to pick a name for it. Three were writ­ten on a dry-erase board: GA In­de­pen­dent, GA Com­pass and GA Voice. A show of hands re­vealed an over­whelm­ing choice.

“And we have a new name,” Cash an­nounced.

And that’s where GA Voice – now spelled Ge­or­gia Voice af­ter a 2015 re­brand­ing – was born. The first is­sue came out the fol­low­ing March, and we mark that oc­ca­sion in our cur­rent is­sue by cel­e­brat­ing our sev­enth an­niver­sary.

I was in the crowd that night at First Ex­is­ten­tial­ist, not as a for­mer SOVO staffer, but as a re­porter cov­er­ing the event for Cre­ative Loaf­ing, which I was free­lanc­ing for at the time. Ge­or­gia Voice’s lead­ers and I cir­cled each other for a few years af­ter that in the hopes that we could work to­gether and that fi­nally hap­pened in Jan­uary 2014. So it’s kind of a full-cir­cle mo­ment writ­ing about this an­niver­sary as ed­i­tor of the pa­per in 2017.

Look­ing back on what things were like when Ge­or­gia Voice first came out in 2010 versus now, what’s most strik­ing is where we were in terms of mar­riage equal­ity. Same-sex cou­ples could legally marry in just five states across the na­tion that year. By 2013, that num­ber was up to 15 states, then it made a mas­sive jump to 35 states in 2014. The fol­low­ing year, of course, the Supreme Court ruled that mar­riage equal­ity was the law of the land in all 50.

An­other notable dif­fer­ence is the con­ver­sa­tion around trans­gen­der is­sues – as in, there fi­nally is one of sig­nif­i­cance. Greater vis­i­bil­ity of les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual peo­ple was a ma­jor fac­tor in peo­ple com­ing around to gay mar­riage, and you can see the same fac­tor at play as more and more trans peo­ple come out. But with that vis­i­bil­ity comes dan­ger, as we’ve seen by the num­ber of mur­ders of trans peo­ple – es­pe­cially trans women of color – in re­cent years.

And now, af­ter eight years of for­ward mo­men­tum and progress in a num­ber of ar­eas un­der Pres­i­dent Obama, we’re at risk of stum­bling back­ward un­der Pres­i­dent Trump.

While there is anx­i­ety that comes with such un­cer­tainty, I know that no mat­ter what comes our way in the fol­low­ing months and years, our com­mu­nity will do what those for­mer SOVO staffers did af­ter be­ing shut down – keep go­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.