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LGBT

Alison Guillory / WABE

One of the region’s most audacious voices in queer culture has something new hot off the presses.

WUSSY was founded in 2015 as an online magazine for the southeastern LGBTQ community. It focuses on art, nightlife, and culture and through interviews, profiles and numerous opinion pieces, aims to be an outspoken voice in the queer community. That voice just found a new platform with the publication of Wussy Volume 1, the magazine’s first print edition.

Volume 1 is called "The Body Issue."

Closer Look: Perfect Pitch Competition; And More

Oct 4, 2016
Jim Burress / WABE

Tuesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Closer Look: Avoiding Gangs; Delta Outages; And More

Aug 9, 2016
Courtesy of LaGrange Housing Authority

Monday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Alison Guillory / WABE

Monday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Closer Look: Peachapalooza; Solar Panels; And More

Jun 9, 2016
Eboni Lemon / WABE

Thursday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Debra Ngcobo and Bongeka Zuma attended Spelman College as part of a program by Oprah Winfrey for young women from South Africa.
Eboni Lemon / WABE

Wednesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Church leaders and supporters of House Bill 757 gathered inside the Georgia Capitol Friday to pray that Gov. Nathan Deal sign the religious exemption bill into law.

The Georgia General Assembly already passed the legislation, which allows faith-based organizations to deny services to individuals based on religious grounds.

In honor of Good Friday, pastors from Resurrection House for All Nations, a church based in Union City, led prayers and worship in support of what they consider their religious rights. 

Some 80 activists gathered in Atlanta on Monday to discuss their strategy to fight the religious exemption laws making their way through the Georgia legislature.

Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center, says if the bills pass, they will encourage bigotry.

But Cohen says the problem is bigger than the laws themselves, telling the group, “The danger extends to the atmosphere that they will create, to the discrimination, legal or not, that these laws will encourage.”

House members work during the House's session on the final day of the 2015 legislative session, Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Atlanta.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

There are now a total of six bills in the Georgia Legislature all meant to exempt people from certain laws based on their religious beliefs.

In an election year, the issue has the state Republican Party divided on how to appeal to Christian conservatives and business interests.

“We have to balance everyone’s rights,” says Rep. Kevin Tanner (R–Dawsonville). He’s the sponsor of a bill supporters call the Pastor Protection Act. It affirms a clergy's First Amendment right to refuse to marry a same-sex couple.

Jennifer Johnston

There's a song many kids in the South learn to help remember the spelling of “Mississippi.” It starts, “M… I… Crooked Letter… Crooked Letter… I” and continues on from there.

This little rhyme is the inspiration for the title of a new anthology that has nothing to do with folk songs or state names.

Gregory Smith / AP Photo

The 45th annual Atlanta Pride Festival kicks off this weekend. Organizers expect 250,000 to 300,000 people to attend over the course of the weekend.

It’s the largest event in the country for the weekend's National Coming Out Day and the biggest pride festival in the Southeast, said Atlanta Pride executive director Jamie Green-Fergerson.  

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights stands in downtown Atlanta, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Leaders of an Atlanta museum want the space focused on modern and historic civil rights to contribute to a national push to ensure LGBT rights, particularly
Branden Camp / AP Photo

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta is launching a new initiative aimed at continuing the fight for equality for the LGBT community.

The Ccnter's new LBGT Institute is described as a new platform for discussions,  study and the advancement of civil, legal and human rights for the global LGBT community. The institute will also be used as a means to inspire positive change.

Main Quad on Emory University's primary Druid Hills Campus, including the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the right.
Mpspqr / commons.wikimedia.org

The most LGBT-friendly campus in Georgia is in DeKalb County.

It's Emory University, according to a new study from eCollegeFinder.

The findings are based on local LGBT communities and their clubs, programs, housing and overall campus environmental attitudes.

Lawyer: Agency's Ruling Opened Door For LGBT Job Protections

Jul 28, 2015
People hold signs during a news conference at Albany City Hall on Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. Advocates push to pass a law prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment, and education for transgender New Yorkers.
Mike Groll / AP Photo

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling legalizing gay marriage last month, the decision did not include other areas of concern for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, such as workplace discrimination.

But last week, the federal agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace did.

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, or EEOC, ruled in a 3-2 vote that the existing federal laws, like the 1964 Civil Rights Act, already protect the LGBT community from sexual discrimination in the workplace.

Those conducting Atlanta's homeless youth count wear T-shirts to clearly identify them with Georgia State University. Survey takers must ask intimate questions, which is why they try to build rapport and come across as non-threatening. One volunteer says
Jim Burress / WABE

Teams of Georgia State University students, researchers and volunteers are spending the summer on Atlanta's streets, trying to get a grasp on just how serious youth homelessness is here.

And while the goal is to come up with an accurate number, researchers understand solving the problem will take more than just compiling raw statistics on homeless youth.

That means getting personal.  

According to a lawsuit, Georgia prison officials did not provide sufficient treatment for 36-year-old Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman.
Courtesy of Southern Poverty Law Center

Lawyers for a transgender inmate say she still faces harm while being held in a men's prison in Columbus, Georgia.

In a report filed in court, lawyers for Ashley Diamond allege she was sexually assaulted while being temporarily held in Reidsville's Georgia State Prison in a holding cell with another inmate last month.

It's the eighth time she's been sexually assaulted while being incarcerated, according to her attorney. An independent investigation into the assault is currently underway, the report said.

Ga. Gay Bar Dress Code Sparks Talk Of LGBT Community Racism

Jul 13, 2015
Alison Guillory / WABE

An Atlanta gay bar is at the center of a controversy over a dress code flyer.

The flyer, which appeared briefly in the entranceway at Blake’s on the Park last week, listed about 15 different items of dress that would not be allowed in the club – including baggy pants, hoodies, sunglasses, big chains and big medallions and more.

The sign quickly sparked intense and inflammatory comments on social media. Some people applauded the management’s dress code decision. Others charged that the items on the list profiled and targeted African Americans in the LGBT community.

LGBT Community Prepares For Next Step In Gay Rights Battle

Jul 7, 2015
In this Friday, June 26, 2015 file photo, people gather in Lafayette Park to see the White House illuminated with rainbow colors in commemoration of the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

When the United States Supreme Court recently ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, the LGBT community, family members and friends celebrated the decision.

Parades erupted across the country, couples rushed to the courthouse to take their vows, and millions on Facebook users turned their profile pictures “rainbow” colors in solidarity with the gay community.

“Certainly the marriage ruling had such a significant impact on us on a very emotional level,” the executive director of Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, said during an interview on “A Closer Look.”

Author Matthew Vines
Jason Parker / WABE

By the end of the month, the U.S. Supreme Court will determine the legality of same-sex marriage in the United States.

And many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians ─ and their supporters ─ are concerned whether the church will accept them.

This week, about 300 Christians will convene at the Sheraton Atlanta for what organizers call a “Bible-based training to advance LGBT inclusion in the church.”

Fight Over Ga.’s 'Religious Freedom' Bill Far From Over

May 22, 2015
Katy Clyde, from left, Patricia Lassiter and Wandra Jordan, all of Columbus, Ga., cheer during a rally against a contentious "religious freedom" bill, Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Atlanta. The Georgia Senate gave decisive approval to the bill, one of a wav
David Goldman / Associated Press

The fight over Georgia’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, did not end when the measure stalled in the state legislature last month.

Debate over the RFRA measure continued last weekend at the Republican State Convention in Athens.

Convention delegates agreed on a resolution that urged GOP lawmakers to pass the bill without an amendment that would prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Georgia Sen. Josh McKoon, left, who is sponsoring the "religious freedom" bill, talks to Sen. Mike Crane, right, in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol on the final day of the 2015 legislative session April 2, 2015, in Atlanta.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

A local franchise of AlphaGraphics in Suwanee refused to print wedding invitations for­ a same-sex couple looking to get married this summer.

Executives at AlphaGraphics' national headquarters quickly apologized and offered to print them for free.

The owner of the store didn’t really break any rules, according to Tanya Washington, a law professor at Georgia State.

“The printer has the legal right to adhere to his religious beliefs,” Washington says. 

Courtesy of Catherine Han Montoya's Facebook

Atlanta’s advocacy community is grieving the death of Catherine Han Montoya, a human rights activist who was the victim of an April 13 homicide.

Montoya, who described herself as a “Queer Chicana Korean Feminist,” represented a number of causes, including LGBT rights, immigration policy and Asian-Pacific Islander issues.

Her activist work in Atlanta included numerous organizations, including the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, which she co-founded.

Mike Bowers on A Closer Look, March 27, 2015
Jason Parker / WABE

In 1986, then-Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers and his office won a U.S. Supreme Court case, which upheld the constitutionality of Georgia's sodomy law.  

In 1991, Bowers terminated an employment offer his office made to attorney Robin Shahar because she was planning a marriage to another woman.  Shahar sued, but eventually a federal appeals court ruled for Bowers, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Shahar's appeal.

Tasnim Shamma / WABE

A new private school is planning to open this summer. It would be one of the first of its kind in the country – specifically looking to attract students from the LGBT community.

It will be known as Pride School Atlanta and serve as an intentional safe space for children, parents and even teachers.

Director Christian Zsilavetz is pumped up when he talks about the new school. He’s still deciding between a few locations, but a top contender is Rock Spring Presbyterian Church. 

A rolling billboard in opposition to "religious freedom" legislation circles the Georgia Capitol.
Jason Parker / WABE

Georgia’s “religious freedom” bill has sparked debate within the religious, business and LGBT communities.

If passed, the law could possibly weaken local anti-discrimination ordinances in Georgia cities ─ including Atlanta.

Such local policies go beyond the state’s protection.  For example, Atlanta’s ordinance says businesses can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, state lawmakers behind the religious freedom bill are adamant ─ the measure wouldn’t strip those safeguards.

Senate 'Religious Freedom' Bill Hits A Roadblock

Feb 20, 2015
A rolling billboard in opposition to "religious freedom" legislation circles the Georgia Capitol.
Jason Parker / WABE

Controversial legislation that gay rights activists, religious leaders and others have been fighting over has hit a stumbling block. One of the “religious freedom” bills that’s making its way through the state legislature got hung up in a state Senate committee yesterday.

It was a procedural fight over a bill supporters say is needed to ensure government can’t infringe on someone’s religious rights without a good reason. Opponents say it could lead to the unjust treatment of gays and lesbians and protect child abusers.

Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale) during an interview in her Capitol office on February 13, 2015.
Alison Guillory / WABE

The Georgia Legislature may soon be taking another look at the rights of the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.  

After several previous efforts failed, Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale) has introduced HB 323, which would ban the state government from discriminating in hiring and promotion against anyone based on sexual orientation.  

Stanley Fong / flickr.com/eggrollstan

A Democrat and Republican will once again try to pass a bill aimed at strengthening protections for state employees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, is sponsoring House Bill 323, which would ban the state from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation. Drenner, a lesbian, has sponsored similar legislation in the past, but each time those efforts have failed.

Lauren Waits / WABE

14-year-old Britt Baldy’s favorite video games are “Dragon Age” and “Skyrim.” She likes being able to customize her characters’ hair, clothing and gender.

“I didn’t have a choice, the way I was born. Nobody does,” Britt said. But online, she said, “I like being able to choose.”

At the WABE studios, Britt told me, “I never wanted to be a boy, ever … and I never want to be.”

Alison Guillory / WABE

The Atlanta Police Department says it’ll change its recently-implemented transgender policies, after meeting with members of the transgender community Thursday night. 

In November, Atlanta police implemented guidelines on how officers should interact with transgender individuals during stops, searches and arrests – such as addressing a person by their preferred name, and allowing people to searched by an officer of the same gender.

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