At­lanta LGBT lead­ers grade Kasim Reed’s per­for­mance

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Micky Brad­ford, a trans­gen­der ac­tivist, gave Reed an over­all grade of F.

“What do rain­bow cross­walks do for us? What does clos­ing down the largest home­less shel­ter in the city that ac­tu­ally houses transwomen do for us?” Brad­ford said. “I think the next mayor has to have a deep un­der­stand­ing that to ac­tu­ally have LGBTQ

Oc­to­ber 13, 2017

peo­ple thrive in the city, we ac­tu­ally have to have more work that looks at where LGBT peo­ple are in­ter­sect­ing with the po­lice depart­ment; where we’re be­ing crim­i­nal­ized; where rates of HIV are high­est.”

Fulton County is tasked with tar­get­ing the elim­i­na­tion of HIV in­fec­tion rates, but there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for the mayor’s of­fice to af­fect those re­sources. Mary Hooks, founder of South­ern­ers On New Ground, feels Reed failed there.

“There needed to be a more in­ten­tional task­force, a more in­ten­tional dis­tri­bu­tion of re­sources to black or­ga­ni­za­tions that are do­ing that work,” she said.

When it comes to the re­la­tion­ship the At­lanta Po­lice Depart­ment has with the LGBT com­mu­nity, Brad­ford said the Reed ad­min­is­tra­tion had the wrong idea from the start. One is­sue con­tin­u­ously brought up is the Ea­gle Raid, which hap­pened be­fore Reed came into of­fice. Gra­ham said the mayor had some is­sues in the way the af­ter­math was han­dled.

“Cer­tainly the law­suits around the Ea­gle Raid, the re-train­ing of po­lice of­fi­cers, I would have to give the mayor very low marks on that. His ad­min­is­tra­tion was very re­sis­tant to own­ing up to the fact that the city had just had a griev­ous er­ror … and was very slow to re­spond to what the courts had or­dered them to do,” he said.

A more re­cent in­ci­dent, where At­lanta po­lice shut down par­ties dur­ing Black Gay Pride, is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We are con­duct­ing a re­view of the cir­cum­stances around that in­ci­dent,” Reed told Ge­or­gia Voice. “We’re go­ing to pub­licly re­port on it. We’re go­ing to make sure it’s a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us and I have com­plete con­fi­dence that Chief [Erika] Shields will han­dle that mat­ter in a fair way.”

Brad­ford feels Reed avoided work­ing with “more rad­i­cal folks” and groups that “chal­lenge, frankly, the city of At­lanta to do bet­ter” be­cause they ex­press anti-po­lice sen­ti­ments, but did ap­pre­ci­ate some of the LGBT ap­point­ments he made.

Hooks, how­ever, said that trans­gen­der ac­tivist Tracee McDaniel’s ap­point­ment was “to­k­eniz­ing” her ac­tivism.

“What ac­tu­ally re­flects your val­ues — that you are about LGBTQ lives and black LGBTQ lives — is how you in­vest money in re­sources,” Hooks said. “That is a mea­sure of what it means to push an agenda of cen­ter­ing LGBTQ peo­ple as mayor.”

Reed said he does not be­lieve in LGBT ap­point­ments.

“I be­lieve in full LGBTQ in­te­gra­tion through­out ev­ery as­pect of govern­ment, and I think that is one of the rea­sons we re­ceived four per­fect scores on the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign Mu­nic­i­pal­ity In­dex. We’re the only city in the South­east­ern United States to do that and the only city in Ge­or­gia to re­ceive a per­fect score,” he said.

Reed said at the end of his time in of­fice, he’ll “take what­ever toma­toes or warts or de­mer­its folks of­fer,” and asks they point out an At­lanta mayor who did a bet­ter job.

“Show me a mayor of At­lanta that’s had a bet­ter record on the is­sues than we have,” he said. “There’s cer­tainly more room for im­prove­ment. That’s why run­ning a city is a re­lay race: you pass the ba­ton.”

The next steps

“I think there cer­tainly have been some good points and then some real trou­bling ar­eas. I think that does a lit­tle bit of a dis­ser­vice that there’s not one LGBT is­sue, there are so many LGBT is­sues,” Gra­ham said. “In terms of help­ing keep an in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment, I think that again, some­thing like that would be rel­a­tively good. But in terms of ad­vanc­ing in­no­va­tion on LGBT is­sues, that’s where the city has just kind of sup­ported the sta­tus quo.” He of­fered a grade of C+. “I hope the next mayor will have a stronger record than mine,” Reed said. “I think that we need to work harder re­gard­ing young gay and les­bian and trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als who are home­less. I would re­ally like to see greater co­or­di­na­tion between the Rush Cen­ter and the At­lanta Hous­ing Author­ity so that young peo­ple who find them­selves in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances … have a safe haven.” Hooks graded Reed’s ad­min­is­tra­tion with F. “The next mayor needs to lis­ten to those who are most im­pacted,” she said. “We need a mayor that’s go­ing to be led by the voices of those in the com­mu­nity who have been there the long­est, not the de­vel­op­ers, but real peo­ple with real lives who ac­tu­ally have a vi­sion for the com­mu­nity that they live in.”

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