Hear that sound? That’s you be­ing courted.

GA Voice - - Front Page -


“I could go on about all of the other races in which LGBT can­di­dates lost on Nov. 7, but there’s some­thing to be said for what we def­i­nitely won: clout.”

As much as we in the LGBT com­mu­nity are used to be­ing let down and dis­en­fran­chised — es­pe­cially since last Novem­ber’s elec­tion — we do have our good days, and they need to be rec­og­nized and ap­pre­ci­ated.

Many might not have con­sid­ered this Novem­ber’s elec­tion one of those good days. Cathy Woolard — the first openly LGBT elected of­fi­cial in Ge­or­gia history and as good a chance as we’ve ever had to lead the city — lost.

So did Lil­iana Bakhtiari, a queer Mus­lim busi­ness owner who gen­er­ated a lot of ex­cite­ment in the At­lanta City Coun­cil Dis­trict 5 race. And Reese McCranie and Josh McNair, who com­peted against each other and a slew of other can­di­dates in the Ful­ton County Com­mis­sion Dis­trict 4 race. McCranie’s and McNair’s en­try into the race made for the rare oc­ca­sion of two LGBT can­di­dates in the same race in Ge­or­gia. Openly gay po­lit­i­cal new­comer La­ban King joined the same rare com­pany by his pres­ence in the At­lanta may­oral race, ul­ti­mately fin­ish­ing with­out any votes.

I could go on about all of the other races in which LGBT can­di­dates lost on Nov. 7, but there’s some­thing to be said for what we def­i­nitely won: clout.

First off, the Do­rav­ille City Coun­cil elected two LGBT can­di­dates — Joseph Geier­man and Stephe Koontz, who be­came the first openly trans­gen­der elected of­fi­cial in Ge­or­gia.

And yes, Woolard lost in the At­lanta may­oral race. But she came in a strong third, gar­ner­ing dou­ble the per­cent­age of votes that many polls said she would gain. And with that, she gained a great deal of at­ten­tion from the re­main­ing two can­di­dates. She was even able to have them par­tic­i­pate in a pub­lic “con- ver­sa­tion” about the is­sues she ran on.

Woolard’s nar­row loss and the re­sult­ing at­ten­tion on her since Elec­tion Day am­pli­fied the at­ten­tion on the LGBT com­mu­nity as a whole. Bot­toms and Nor­wood know we’re po­lit­i­cally en­gaged, and they’ve shown their ea­ger­ness for our vote by at­tend­ing and host­ing events for us since Elec­tion Day.

All of the can­di­dates in the nearly 30 other races in the metro At­lanta area headed for the runoff are court­ing us as well.

The LGBT can­di­dates in those races in­clude Alex Wan for At­lanta City Coun­cil pres­i­dent, Keisha Waites for Ful­ton County chair and De’An­dre Pick­ett for Ge­or­gia House Dis­trict 60, which cov­ers parts of At­lanta, Hapeville, East Point, Col­lege Park and For­est Park.

A win for Wan and/or Waites puts them in a high profile seat with a lot of (here’s that word again) clout. And with a win in HD60, Pick­ett would join Karla Dren­ner, Park Can­non, Renitta Shan­non and Sam Park as the only openly LGBT mem­bers of the state Leg­is­la­ture.

So while we may not see an openly LGBT per­son sit­ting be­hind the At­lanta mayor’s desk for at least the next four years, there are still other op­por­tu­ni­ties for our com­mu­nity to lead. The first one hap­pens on Dec. 5.

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