How sterile do you want Atlanta’s LGBT community to be?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.