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Atlanta Pays Homage to Stonewall with Pride Events

by Conswella Bennett
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Wednesday Jun 13, 2012
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It’s summer time and for most cities that can only mean one thing for the GLBT community -- the much anticipated energetic and entertaining pride festivals. Although the city of Atlanta won’t hold its pride festival until October 13-14, the GLBT community is paying homage to the Stonewall Riots this June with a month-long schedule of events.

"We’ve hosted Stonewall Week for several years and wanted to branch out to include more events and more community partners in the hopes of reaching more members of our community, which lead to the creation of our most extensive and diverse list of Stonewall offerings thus far, lasting far longer than just a week," said Atlanta Pride Committee Board Chair Glen Paul Freedman.

With the variety-packed schedule of events, the Atlanta Pride Committee is certain that everyone will find something of interest to attend or participate in. "These events are a collection of collaborations with various organizations and a way to showcase some of the outstanding work being done on behalf of the LGBT movement in Atlanta and across Georgia," said Freedman.

The month features Pride dinners, film screenings, panel discussions, athletic and sporting events, and much more. Social events include Dine with Pride dinners at different restaurants like Doc Chey’s Noodle House and Osteria 832 Pasta and Pizza. A portion of the dine-in and take-out dinner sales will be donated to the Atlanta Pride Committee.

One of the highly anticipated events is a screening of the movie, "Legalize Gay" on Monday, June 11 at the Landmark Midtown Art, 931 Monroe Drive NE, in Atlanta. The screening is co-sponsored by Out on Film, the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation and Atlanta Pride Committee.

Jim Farmer, Coordinator and Out on Film Festival Director, said they have worked with Atlanta Pride to have film screenings during Stonewall. Out on Film held a world premiere of the film in October during the Out on Film Festival.

The film features Ben Cohen, a former England Rugby Union international player and activist who is also gay. Cohen is also the founder of the Atlanta-based The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. The Foundation supports organizations, programs and people that advance equality for the LGBT community and helps at-risk youth by standing up against bullying.

After the screening of the film, Farmer said that there would be a panel discussion. Cohen will take part in the panel discussion.

"A lot of films that Out on Film show are entertaining and educational and shows history to the younger generation to show what happened back in the 1960’s and 1970’s," said Farmer, who hopes that younger LGBTs attend. "It’s important to remember what happened at Stonewall."

Cohen will also take part in the June 27 second annual Out in the Stands at Turner Field: Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks. Cohen’s fans have an opportunity to hang out with him and take in the game in a catered party suite with the purchase of a VIP ticket for $200. The upper box package is $20 and includes one drink ticket at a pre-game patio party. Outfield tickets are $35 and include two drink tickets. A portion of every ticket sale will be donated to the StandUp Foundation. Tickets can be purchased by calling 404-614-1325 or by emailing stacey.nicely@braves.com.


LGBT Seder and Transgender Panel Discussion

For those looking for some spiritual enlightenment, the Atlanta’s LGBT Jewish community will also celebrate Pride Seder this month on June 22.

According to Kellie Scheer, Rabbinic Intern at the Congregation Bet Haverim, Seder is held on the fourth Friday of every June. Scheer said Pride Seder is a ritual created from the Jewish Passover, and it has been changed to apply to the LGBT community and their fight for equality.

Scheer said while the ceremony has a spiritual undertone, it’s an opportunity for people to talk about the issues facing youth and homelessness keeping in line with this year’s theme.

This year’s theme is "Gay and Homeless LGBT Youth." Scheer said that there would be a number of organizations like Chris Kids and a host of others that deal with young people and organizations that work to prevent suicide. A roundtable discussion will be held. The groups will be able to talk about their organizations and give people an opportunity to learn how they can lend a hand and become volunteers.

In the past, there have been about 100 people in attendance. The Seder is open to the public and often Scheer said the people from other faiths attend. The Seder will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at Central Congregational Church, 2676 Clairmont Road NE.


Another event that is working to help open doors and to work toward the inclusion of the transgender community is the third annual Sylvia Rivera Community Event. This is the third year that the panel discussion has been held as a part of the Stonewall activities. Rivera was an advocate and veteran of the 1969 Stonewall riots who fought against the exclusion of transgender people.

It is an event that holds a special place for Tracee McDaniel, a local transgender activist and executive director and founder of Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc. McDaniel has been a part of the community event each year.

"It’s been well attended," McDaniel said of the previous events. For McDaniel the discussion is an opportunity for people to fellowship, ask questions and to learn. "People will see that transgender people can be good productive citizens and not just as the way they are stereotyped on television."

Despite how some transgender people have been portrayed on daytime talk shows like Jerry Springer, McDaniel said that transgender people aren’t all prostitutes or hooked on drugs. Her goal is "to dispel the myths...I want to use my voice to let people know that we are educated." She has been married for more than 17 years and likes to show that there a positive couples within the community who are involved in monogamous relationships.

McDaniel said that she enjoys participating in the forum because they touch on different topics such as the Stonewall riots and the transgender community. Although the event is open to the public, McDaniel said that most in attendance are transgender or partners of a transperson. However, she is hopeful that more members of the LGBT community will attend. "I believe that we should all interact and educate each other," McDaniel added.

"It’s always good to show positive role models and to show others that you can be transgender and be successful and that you can thrive," said McDaniel. "We have much more to offer than being the court jester and providing entertainment."

The event is interactive and people can ask questions. "I tell people there are no stupid questions. I don’t want anyone to leave with any wrong impression," McDaniel noted.

This event will be held on Saturday, June 30 from 11:30-2:30 p.m. at the Phillip Rush Center, 1530 DeKalb Avenue in Atlanta. It is being co-sponsored by Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, TILTT (Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth and Atlanta Pride Committee).

For a complete listing of events, visit http://atlantapride.org/about/stonewall-events-june


Stonewall Schedule of Events

June 11
"Legalize Gay" Screening -- Co-sponsored by Out on Film, the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, and Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc. 7:30 p.m. at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive NE.

June 12
Bayard Rustin Centennial: Lessons Learned -- "Then & Now I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters" book discussion (Part 2 of 3) Co-sponsored by Charis Books and More/Charis Circle and Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc. 7:30 p.m. at 1189 Euclid Avenue NE.

June 13
Dine With PRIDE -- Osteria 832 Pasta & Pizza (Virginia Highland)
Dine Out for Pride Wednesday Nights in June. A portion of dine-in & take-out dinner sales will be donated back to APC. 832 N. Highland Avenue. 404-897-1414 or www.osteria832.com

June 15
"Stonewall Uprising" screening -- 7 p.m.
Co-sponsored by First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta and Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc., 470 Candler Park Drive.

June 16
"Examining What We Have & Where It Can Take Us" is a poetry workshop that will be led by Pushcart Prize nominee Dustin Brookshire. Workshop participants will bring in one "finished" poem or a poem in progress for a semi traditional workshop experience and participate in a generative exercise. Free; 2-4 p.m. at The Phillip Rush Center, 12530 DeKalb Avenue. Register with Dustin Brookshire at dustinvbrookshire@gmail.com.

Fifteenth Annual East Point Possums Show to benefit the Phillip Rush Center Presented by the East Point Possums. 7 p.m. at The Commons, 2727 East Point Street, East Point, GA.

June 19
Taking Pride in World Refugee Day Event. Co-sponsored by Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta and Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc. 7:30 p.m. at The Phillip Rush Center, 1530 DeKalb Avenue.

Bayard Rustin Centennial: Lessons Learned -- "Then & Now I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters" book discussion (Part 3 of 3) Co-sponsored by Charis Books and More/Charis Circle and Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc. 7:30 p.m. at 1189 Euclid Avenue NE.

June 20
Dine With PRIDE -- Doc Chey’s Noodle House (Grant Park) Dine Out for Pride Wednesday Nights in June. A portion of dine-in & take-out dinner sales will be donated back to APC. 563 Memorial Drive. For info call 404-688-4238 or visit www.doccheys.com

June 22
Pride Seder. Presented by Congregation Bet Haverim. 7 p.m. at Central Congregational Church, 2676 Clairmont Road NE.

Eight Annual Evening for Equality -- Presented by Georgia Equality, 7 p.m. at Twelve Hotel at Atlantic Station, 361 17th Street NW.

June 23
Pride Run. Co-sponsored by Front Runners and Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc. 8 a.m. at Piedmont Park, northeast of downtown Atlanta. Sign up at http://www.eteamz.com/frontrunnersatlanta/news/index.cfm?cat=542061

Augusta Pride -- Presented by Augusta Pride. Parade steps off at 10 a.m.; Festival runs from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Augusta Common, 836 Reynolds Street.

June 27
Dine With PRIDE -- Doc Chey’s Noodle House (Morningside/Va-Hi) Dine Out for Pride Wednesday Nights in June. A portion of dine-in & take-out dinner sales will be donated back to APC. 1424 N. Highland Avenue. For info call 404-888-0777 or visit www.doccheys.com

Out in the Stands at Turner Field: Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Presented by the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation and the Atlanta Braves, 7 p.m. at Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Drive SE. For tickets call 404-614-1325 or email stacey.nicely@braves.com to obtain the order form.

June 29
Sinclair Sexsmith: Radical queer masculinity and body confidence workshop. Co-sponsored by Charis Books and More/Charis Circle and Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc. 7:30 p.m. at Charis Books and More, 1189 Euclid Avenue NE.

June 30
Third Annual Sylvia Rivera Community Event -- Co-sponsored by Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, TILTT (Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth), and Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc. Fellowship, food and a panel discussion with trans community members. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at The Phillip Rush Center, 1530 DeKalb Avenue.

Sinclair Sexsmith: Readings from "Say Please" -- Co-sponsored by Charis Books and More/Charis Circle and Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc. Lesbian BDSM erotica and discussion of tips to unleash your inner erotic voice. 7:30 p.m. at 1189 Euclid Avenue NE.

July 1 - Bonus Event
Queer Childrens’ Story Hour -- Presented by Charis Books and More/Charis Circle, 1189 Euclid Avenue NE. For more info call 404-524-0304.


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