How ster­ile do you want At­lanta’s LGBT com­mu­nity to be?

GA Voice - - Georgianews - By Bruce Gar­ner

I have wit­nessed much in our city over my life­time … the good, the bad and, of course, the ugly. The story about Cheshire Bridge Road got my blood boil­ing. It doesn’t tell the his­tor­i­cal “story” about how At­lanta has dealt with many is­sues.

I was born and raised in At­lanta, even­tu­ally left for ca­reer rea­sons and re­turned in 1978. I bought the town­house in Mid­town where I con­tinue to live. Need­less to say, Mid­town has changed and I’m not sure al­ways for the bet­ter. So-called gen­tri­fi­ca­tion drove out many of us queer folk, and city at­ti­tudes and zon­ing changes did the same with many of our com­mu­nity wa­ter­ing holes and busi­nesses.

Our City Coun­cil and its mem­bers have al­ways been be­hold­ing to the real es­tate com­mu­nity or has had a large num­ber of real­tors as mem­bers, even back when it was the Board of Al­der­men. That’s how and why many trea-

July 21, 2017

sures were torn down in the name of progress.

How many re­mem­ber the en­ter­tain­ment we once had at Cheshire Bridge and Lind­bergh/Lav­ista? Now we have a Whole Foods. Do they know there was once a bath­house there? There is a straight strip club on Cheshire Bridge where the Sweet Gum Head once flour­ished.

So is it any sur­prise what is go­ing on with Cheshire Bridge? Some folks just can­not han­dle the fact that LGBTQ busi­nesses are brazen enough to ex­ist on a ma­jor thor­ough­fare with en­trances on the road right out in front of God and ev­ery­one in broad open day­light!

Big­otry, racism, sex­ism, clas­sism, xeno­pho­bia, ho­mo­pho­bia, trans­pho­bia, et al. are alive­and well. They just mas­quer­ade as other things at times or as more bla­tant words and ac­tions in re­sponse to us get­ting our rain­bow cross­walks. Yes dears, funds might be bet­ter spent else­where, but that will al­ways be the case in some­one’s view­point. We might want to ad­dress our in­ter­nal­ized ho­mo­pho­bia that won’t al­low us to take pride in our very ex­is­tence.

We can be as pas­sive as we have al­ways been about claim­ing our right­ful place in what goes on in this com­mu­nity as we al­ways have been. The only rise that was ever got­ten out of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity prior to Or­lando was the Ea­gle raid. Then of course, we had many who were quick to dis­tance them­selves from “that kind of place.” Get over it folks … ev­ery­one knows where ev­ery­one else goes … it’s not that large a com­mu­nity in re­al­ity. On the other hand, we can res­ur­rect some of the ac­tivism of the ACT UP years dur­ing the AIDS epi­demic and claim who we are with pride and honor. Just think how much it would shake up the es­tab­lish­ment if queers ac­tu­ally did cause a ruckus, es­pe­cially if those lead­ing it were the sil­ver-haired el­ders who were fi­nally fed up?

Re­mem­ber the phrase “Si­lence equals death?” Well, it doesn’t just ap­ply to HIV/ AIDS. It also ap­plies to us as a com­mu­nity, re­gard­less of how frac­tured we might ap­pear to be. When was the last time you sounded off to an elected of­fi­cial about how you were be­ing treated? If they don’t hear from us, they pre­sume (as­sume might be bet­ter) we agree with them. Do we? Do you? Just how ster­ile do you want your com­mu­nity to be?

“Re­mem­ber the phrase ‘Si­lence equals death?’ Well, it doesn’t just ap­ply to HIV/AIDS. It also ap­plies to us as a com­mu­nity, re­gard­less of how frac­tured we might ap­pear to be.”

Bruce Gar­ner wrote this ed­i­to­rial in re­ac­tion to our story “The ‘ster­il­iza­tion’ of Cheshire Bridge: How LGBT cul­ture can thrive amidst new de­vel­op­ments.” Got some­thing on your mind? Sub­mit your guest ed­i­to­rial to edi­tor@the­gavoice.com.

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