Demo­cratic state Se­nate can­di­date’s Face­book posts re­vealed

GA Voice - - Front Page -

Take a step back to look at the lo­cal LGBT news land­scape in Ge­or­gia in 2017 and you might wince. An anti-LGBT can­di­date wins a Ge­or­gia Con­gres­sional race, mul­ti­ple deaths in the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity, an early bar clo­sure dur­ing Black Gay Pride, a law­maker sug­gest­ing an HIV quar­an­tine, the dis­ap­pear­ance of At­lanta LGBT nightlife and a ton of losses on Elec­tion Day in Novem­ber. But hey, a trans woman made his­tory in Do­rav­ille, and there’s al­ways cross­walks.

Anti-LGBT Karen Han­del beats Jon Os­soff in 6th District race

For­mer Ge­or­gia Sec­re­tary of State Karen Han­del pulled out a win in June against Demo­cratic up­start Jon Os­soff in the most ex­pen­sive House race in U.S. his­tory. Han­del ap­peared to dou­ble down on her stance against gay adop­tion, telling the mother of a LGBT daugh­ter and a Re­porter News­pa­pers writer just days be­fore the elec­tion that her “faith calls me to a very dif­fer­ent place on this is­sue.” She also came out against gay mar­riage and civil unions in her 2010 race for Ge­or­gia gov­er­nor. The 6th Con­gres­sional District seat is up again in Novem­ber 2018, and Os­soff has yet to say if he’s run­ning again.

Five deaths in trans­gen­der com­mu­nity

Ge­or­gia’s LGBT com­mu­nity was rocked this year by a num­ber of deaths of trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als in a va­ri­ety of ways. Rowan Feld­haus, 25, died from com­pli­ca­tions from gen­der af­fir­ma­tion surgery in May; Ava Le’Ray Bar­rin, 17, was mur­dered in Athens by an­other transwoman in June; Tee Tee Danger­field, 32, was mur­dered in Col­lege Park in July; Ge­or­gia Tech Pride Al­liance Pres­i­dent Scout Schultz, 21, was shot by cam­pus po­lice in Septem­ber; and Ma­con

De­cem­ber 22, 2017

res­i­dent Can­dace Towns, 30, was found shot to death on Hal­loween.

Ge­or­gia Voice hon­ored these five as the 2017 Peo­ple of the Year. See story on page 11.

Rain­bow cross­walks in­stalled at 10th and Pied­mont

The City of At­lanta in­stalled per­ma­nent rain­bow cross­walks at the in­ter­sec­tion of 10th Street and Pied­mont Av­enue on July 1, mark­ing the un­of­fi­cial LGBT ground zero of the city. The move fol­lowed a groundswell to make the cross­walks per­ma­nent af­ter tem­po­rary ones were put in briefly dur­ing At­lanta Pride in 2015. A Ge­or­gia Voice Face­book Live video of the in­stal­la­tion went vi­ral af­ter anti-LGBT trolls na­tion­wide de­scended on the page, lead­ing many lo­cal LGBT com­mu­nity mem­bers to weigh in in re­sponse. The mayor’s of­fice told Ge­or­gia Voice that the pub­licly funded project cost $196,000 and the life ex­pectancy is 10 years.

At­lanta po­lice close bars early dur­ing Black Gay Pride

Ge­or­gia Voice read­ers weren’t buy­ing it when an At­lanta Po­lice De­part­ment spokesman claimed a “mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion” be­tween city po­lice and APD led to the clo­sure of sev­eral Mid­town LGBT-owned bars dur­ing Black Gay Pride. TEN, Blake’s on the Park, 10th and Pied­mont and G’s Mid­town were forced to end events, de­spite hav­ing per­mits that al­lowed them to op­er­ate past nor­mal clos­ing hours. TEN owner James Nel­son posted on Face­book about the in­ci­dent, say­ing it was dis­crim­i­na­tory and an “un­law­ful clo­sure.” Po­lice Chief Erika Shields — who qui­etly came out in an At­lanta Magazine pro­file in June — re­as­signed the watch com­man­der on duty at the time.

Ge­or­gia Voice read­ers were in an up­roar in Oc­to­ber af­ter we broke the story un­cov­er­ing anti-LGBT and misog­y­nis­tic Face­book posts by a Demo­cratic can­di­date for state Se­nate District 6, which cov­ers parts of North­west At­lanta, Sandy Springs, Ma­ri­etta, Smyrna and Vin­ings. Den­tist Jaha Howard apol­o­gized for the com­ments later that day, but ap­peared to dou­ble down on them in sub­se­quent state­ments. Howard later made it to a runoff against at­tor­ney Jen Jor­dan, but lost by nearly 30 points.

Repub­li­can law­maker sug­gests HIV quar­an­tine

Ge­or­gia state Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) caused a na­tional up­roar af­ter sug­gest­ing dur­ing a House study com­mit­tee meet­ing in Oc­to­ber that HIV-pos­i­tive peo­ple should be quarantined. She is­sued a state­ment the fol­low­ing week­end say­ing that her com­ments were taken out of con­text, that they were “rhetor­i­cal” and that she was just be­ing “provoca­tive.” Price is the wife of for­mer U.S. Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Tom Price.

A sta­ple of gay At­lanta nightlife had its last dance in Novem­ber as dance club Jun­gle closed. Owner Richard Cher­skov said new de­vel­op­ment is to blame — news that height­ened anx­i­ety among At­lanta’s LGBT com­mu­nity about parts of the cul­ture be­ing wiped out. Ge­or­gia Voice ran a se­ries on nightlife through­out the year, and some bar and club own­ers ex­pressed con­cerns about ris­ing rent and new de­vel­op­ment threat­en­ing to push them out as well. The disco ball from Jun­gle (which used to hang at Back­street) was later do­nated to the At­lanta His­tory Cen­ter.


16 out can­di­dates, three wins

Six­teen LGBT can­di­dates ran for of­fice in Ge­or­gia this year, with three pulling out a win. Les­bian Liz Or­diales was elected mayor of Hi­awassee, a small town of less than a thou­sand in North Ge­or­gia, and the Do­rav­ille City Coun­cil wel­comed openly gay civic ac­tivist Joseph Geier­man and trans­gen­der woman Stephe Koontz to its ranks. Koontz be­comes the first openly trans­gen­der elected of­fi­cial in Ge­or­gia. Mean­while, Cathy Woolard — Ge­or­gia’s first openly LGBT elected of­fi­cial in his­tory — fin­ished a close third in the At­lanta may­oral race, ul­ti­mately en­dors­ing Mary Nor­wood, who lost to Keisha Lance Bot­toms by less than a thou­sand votes in the runoff. Of note: with Alex Wan’s loss in the At­lanta City Coun­cil pres­i­dent race, that leaves the Coun­cil with­out an out LGBT mem­ber for the first time in over 20 years.


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