In the past year, Queer ATL has seen growth in local charities and in local politics. Not all moments impacting LGBT+ Atlanteans have been positive, as we have mourned the loss of queer activists and queer businesses this year. Still, many celebrations of pride were held throughout the year, and multiple hometown drag performers recently moved onto the world stage.
2017 was a big year for queer people in the Atlanta area, and here are the top reasons why, in no particular order:
Indigenous House 7 Celebration
This event comes every year, but is important to include because it doesn't seem to receive the same attention as other annual events like Pride, Black Pride and the Peach Party.
The Indigenous House 7 Celebration took place for 10 hours on Sunday May 21. The event is a celebration of house music and Black LGBT+ culture, including guest speakers and lots of dancing. John Dennis, founder of Indigenous House, told the Georgia Voice that “ I try to really stress on being inclusive of everyone, which most events – especially the club scene – doesn’t offer.”
Scout Schultz Killed by Georgia Tech Police
Scout Schultz was the President of the Pride Alliance at Georgia Tech. In an emotional statement released on the Pride Alliance Facebook page members declared their love for Scout and briefly discussed the positive changes that Scout made. The statement was made on September 17, the day following the fatal shooting.
The shooting caused outrage, as the police used lethal force on Schultz, who was carrying a multipurpose tool. “Why didn’t they use some non lethal force, like pepper spray or Tasers?” Lynne Schultz, Scout’s mom, sain in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The event caused protests that occured the following few days, resulting in a police car being set on fire on September 19, according to the Washington Post.
Nina Bonina Brown on Drag Race
Nina Bonina Osama-Bin-Laden Brown’s time on Drag Race was tainted with drama, but its important to not let that overshadow her immense talent. Despite appearing to be in her head during much of the competition, she came sixth place. There is no doubt to the question of Brown’s talent and we can't wait to see what she does next.
I mean, have you seen her Instagram?
Liliana Bakhtiari runs for Atlanta City Council
Liliana Bakhtiari's campaign for City Council District 5 has opened many queer citizens to the realm of local politics, introducing them to the increasingly evident power and influence local offices hold, especially with Atlanta City Council decriminalizing marijuana earlier this year.
Atlanta will undoubtedly be watching for Bakhtiari and more queer voices in local politics.
Abhora and Biqtch Puddin' on Dragula
-Warning: Spoilers ahead-
Abhora slayed from day one in the competition, turning out sickeningly unique looks that can only be described as abhorrent. Bringing her signature style and delicious drama, she quickly solidified her place as a key competitor. Abhora showed her humanity and strength as she fought through personal issues. She made it to the top four, landing the spot with a performance that caused a direct contrast in the opinion of the judges. Having made it to the top four, it’s clear that this super monster's creativity knows no bounds.
Biqtch got off to a rocky start, landing her in the bottom and in some serious drama. Biqtch had a lot to prove, and she did exactly that by outwitting her competitors. She has since snatched wins and worked her way up to the top three, quickly becoming a fan and judge favorite alike. For those of us that have seen Biqtch preform and know what she's capable of, it has been validating to see her rewarded on a national level.
You can the next episode of Dragula here on January 9.
Jungle Closes Their Doors
After 13 years of serving our community, Jungle was forced to shut its doors on Saturday November 11. This loss will be felt by regular patrons and performers, as well as queer people between 18 and 21, as Jungle was one of the only gay bars that took patrons under 21. Jungle was well known for the many events it hosted over the years—The Other Show was held at Jungle for years, helping launch the careers of many Atlanta Queens, perhaps most notably Violet Chachki, season seven winner of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Barry Lee's How Nice exhibit at Murmur
Local artist Barry Lee debuted his How Nice exhibit on Saturday, July 29 at Murmur. His art showcases his experiences as a bisexual with disabilities and can be described as really personal, and really pink. Barry stepped outside his usual style to depict the reality of life in his shoes. Barry discussed his exhibit and the importance of representation and respect in the bisexual and disability communities in an interview with WUSSY.
Rally to Support the Atlanta Trans Community
A march to support the Atlanta transgender community was held Saturday, July 29. The event was organized by Rainbros to raise awareness about issues facing the trans community, specifically in response to President Trump's attack on transgender troops. Organizers created a GoFundMe page to raise money for local trans organizations, like The Trans Atlanta Housing Program, The Transgender Health Education Alliance and Transgender Individuals Living Their Truths. They have reached $6.5 thousand out of their $20 thousand goal; you can still donate here.
Lost-n-Found Youth opens second thrift store
Lost-n-Found Youth, an Atlanta based charity serving local homeless queer youth, opened a new thrift store in Norcross on May 1. The store is reliant on donations from the public, and all proceeds go to Lost-n-Found, where they are used to provide critical services to members of our homeless queer population, according to Lost-n-Found’s press release.
Rainbow Crosswalks at 10th and Piedmont Become Permanent
On June 12, the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed paid homage to the victims and to Atlanta's own Queer citizens by announcing the news, according to the AJC. This decision became controversial when the city released the budget of the project, revealing that the installation cost $196 thousand, again according to the AJC, who also report that the crosswalks are only expected to last 10 years. Many local queers are left to wonder, why not have used the money to help the LGBT+ money in more relevant ways, like helping house and feed local homeless youth?