Black People : People say that Atlanta is a black gay mecca

dustyelbow

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As Atlanta's gay black community grows, its push for a larger voice grows too
Los Angeles Times
Thursday, May 18, 2006


ATLANTA - On Thursday nights, Bulldogs is the hub of gay blacks in Atlanta. Strobe lights swirl around the chrome dance floor; men in baggy tracksuits and tight tank tops groove to disco anthems and sip strong cocktails from plastic cups.

But outside the small bar on Peachtree Street, there are few signs that Atlanta is home to the largest community of black same-sex couples in the South. Most of the city's gay nightclubs are predominantly white, and the same is true of most gay networking groups and political institutions.

Yet as more gay blacks settle in Atlanta - attracted by the city's low cost of living and party-hard reputation - they are pushing for more representation within the mainstream gay community.

"People say that Atlanta is a black gay mecca," said Gregg Flynn, 46, a Bulldogs regular who works for an Atlanta staffing company. "I'm happy that lots of black gays are here, but I want our voices to be heard."

Resentment in the black gay community was exacerbated recently when the Atlanta Pride Committee turned down an offer from Clik, a national black gay magazine, to make an in-kind trade of advertising space. The magazine hoped to help build blacks' attendance at June's annual Atlanta Pride festival, which has been predominantly white.

Atlanta Pride said its decision didn't single out the magazine, but reflected an earlier decision not to accept in-kind sponsorships because it could not reciprocate with free booth space.

But Dwight Powell, Clik's editor in chief, saw a deeper problem and sent out a mass e-mail complaining that Atlanta Pride was not doing enough to attract a racially diverse audience.

"This was a slap in the face for the black gay community," Powell said last week. "In a heavily African-American city, we have a white gay-pride event and the organizers don't seem to want to change that."

After receiving complaints from blacks across the country, Donna Narducci, executive director of Atlanta Pride, admitted that she had failed to see the "intrinsic value" of sponsorship with Clik magazine. "My decision obviously touched a nerve in the African-American community," she said. "We have tried to be inclusive, but maybe we are not being as inclusive as we think we are."

Racial division is uncomfortable for a community that prides itself on being the progressive gay mecca of the South, a place of opportunity for gays and lesbians. Atlanta is considered the fourth-largest black gay community in the country, behind New York, Washington-Baltimore and Chicago.

Blacks make up more than a fifth of Atlanta's gay community. According to the 2000 census, the Atlanta area has 3,471 black gay and lesbian couples.

Over the years, a legacy of mistrust has built up between the black and white gay communities. Black gays say that white gay venues introduced stricter entrance requirements - asking for two forms of identification or imposing two-drink minimums - to keep black patrons out.

At Bulldogs, which used to be a predominantly white gay bar, Flynn said that whites gradually left the building as more blacks turned up during the 1990s. "Everything we're around, they tend to stray away from," he said.

Brandon C. Bragg, 37, a black community activist who set up the Brunch Conversations Networking Group for gay and lesbian professionals last year, said he tried to attract white gays, dropping off fliers in bars and bookstores in Atlanta's tony, predominantly white gay neighborhoods. But only 5 percent of the people who attend his monthly social mixers are white. "We're in the South," Bragg said. "We have learned segregated behavior."

Yet Earl Fowlkes, president of the International Federation of Black Prides in Washington, said that the racial divide in the gay community was not confined to Atlanta, or the South, and that it was a product of economic disparity.

- Jenny Jarvie
 

OmowaleX

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dustyelbow said:
As Atlanta's gay black community grows, its push for a larger voice grows too
Los Angeles Times
Thursday, May 18, 2006


ATLANTA - On Thursday nights, Bulldogs is the hub of gay blacks in Atlanta. Strobe lights swirl around the chrome dance floor; men in baggy tracksuits and tight tank tops groove to disco anthems and sip strong cocktails from plastic cups.

But outside the small bar on Peachtree Street, there are few signs that Atlanta is home to the largest community of black same-sex couples in the South. Most of the city's gay nightclubs are predominantly white, and the same is true of most gay networking groups and political institutions.

Yet as more gay blacks settle in Atlanta - attracted by the city's low cost of living and party-hard reputation - they are pushing for more representation within the mainstream gay community.

"People say that Atlanta is a black gay mecca," said Gregg Flynn, 46, a Bulldogs regular who works for an Atlanta staffing company. "I'm happy that lots of black gays are here, but I want our voices to be heard."

Resentment in the black gay community was exacerbated recently when the Atlanta Pride Committee turned down an offer from Clik, a national black gay magazine, to make an in-kind trade of advertising space. The magazine hoped to help build blacks' attendance at June's annual Atlanta Pride festival, which has been predominantly white.

Atlanta Pride said its decision didn't single out the magazine, but reflected an earlier decision not to accept in-kind sponsorships because it could not reciprocate with free booth space.

But Dwight Powell, Clik's editor in chief, saw a deeper problem and sent out a mass e-mail complaining that Atlanta Pride was not doing enough to attract a racially diverse audience.

"This was a slap in the face for the black gay community," Powell said last week. "In a heavily African-American city, we have a white gay-pride event and the organizers don't seem to want to change that."

After receiving complaints from blacks across the country, Donna Narducci, executive director of Atlanta Pride, admitted that she had failed to see the "intrinsic value" of sponsorship with Clik magazine. "My decision obviously touched a nerve in the African-American community," she said. "We have tried to be inclusive, but maybe we are not being as inclusive as we think we are."

Racial division is uncomfortable for a community that prides itself on being the progressive gay mecca of the South, a place of opportunity for gays and lesbians. Atlanta is considered the fourth-largest black gay community in the country, behind New York, Washington-Baltimore and Chicago.

Blacks make up more than a fifth of Atlanta's gay community. According to the 2000 census, the Atlanta area has 3,471 black gay and lesbian couples.

Over the years, a legacy of mistrust has built up between the black and white gay communities. Black gays say that white gay venues introduced stricter entrance requirements - asking for two forms of identification or imposing two-drink minimums - to keep black patrons out.

At Bulldogs, which used to be a predominantly white gay bar, Flynn said that whites gradually left the building as more blacks turned up during the 1990s. "Everything we're around, they tend to stray away from," he said.

Brandon C. Bragg, 37, a black community activist who set up the Brunch Conversations Networking Group for gay and lesbian professionals last year, said he tried to attract white gays, dropping off fliers in bars and bookstores in Atlanta's tony, predominantly white gay neighborhoods. But only 5 percent of the people who attend his monthly social mixers are white. "We're in the South," Bragg said. "We have learned segregated behavior."

Yet Earl Fowlkes, president of the International Federation of Black Prides in Washington, said that the racial divide in the gay community was not confined to Atlanta, or the South, and that it was a product of economic disparity.

- Jenny Jarvie


Hmm...now how did I not see this post?

What is even more interesting is the fact that this was published in the los angeles times. wow..

When my daughter was three years old, her mother and I broke up and they moved to Atlanta. I had a few friends and knew of some community activists who had either moved to ATL or were palnning on moving there. At one time I had planned on going to law school at emory university.

Ironically, my daughter is now finishing her third year, at emory university, and last year I was re-contemplating on moving closer to her, and was looking at investment property in Lithonia. My daughter AND my ex still suggest I should move there and ATL was on my list last year but I decided on Dallas instead.
Why?

As a single, Black man involved in the music industry, ATL...I did not and still do not want to be caught up in that open and DL scene. Los Angeles was bad enough. And to comp;icate matters I was engaged to a Sister in Baltimore, and that DC/Maryland scence....no thanks...

So I moved to Dallas which most reviews suggest to be a better location for Black FAMILIES. So, it's a spot where I can deal with my grandkids when that time comes and my brother-in-law's family is near in Fort Worth, as well as my own extended family in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, all closer together and I am still closer to my daughter in ATL.

Ironically, I may spend a large part of this summer in ATL, at the invitation of my daughter and my ex who will be attending an advanced degree progrm in Spain this summer.

I have explained to my daughter that outside of the allergies, the reason I am still not much interested in ATL is that "gay scene"...I don't even want to be caught in that mix...but the problem is that I have a friend...a Black woman...who is a singer...that I have spoken to about hooking up and doing some promo work for when her cd is released this summer...

The situation is so bad that my daughter is 19 and doesn't date...the sisters just don't know if the brothers are "clean" or not...and it's beyond the DL phenon in ATL because more Black men are OPENLY GAY...

I got out of the club scene in LA because I got tired of that ish so why would I move down south and deal with an even worse situation than LA...???
 

Bisabee

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Apr 4, 2006
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OmowaleX said:
As a single, Black man involved in the music industry, ATL...I did not and still do not want to be caught up in that open and DL scene.

I have explained to my daughter that outside of the allergies, the reason I am still not much interested in ATL is that "gay scene"...I don't even want to be caught in that mix...

The situation is so bad that my daughter is 19 and doesn't date...the sisters just don't know if the brothers are "clean" or not...and it's beyond the DL phenon in ATL because more Black men are OPENLY GAY...

I got out of the club scene in LA because I got tired of that ish so why would I move down south and deal with an even worse situation than LA...???

Brother, this might sound naive, but aside from the issue of grandkids, why does it bother a hetereosexual person to be around lots of gay people? I mean, how does it really affect a hetereosexual person to be around them? Do they get on your nerves by flirting with you? Are they physically aggressive/intrusive towards you? Help me to understand this.

I love going to Provincetown, Massachusetts--that's known for "gay"ness and all kinds of other "ness"es. :lol: Anyway, it never bothers me being around them because they have their preference and I have mine.

Granted, I may not be as worldly as some people, but is there something I'm just not seeing, that I need to see?
 

OmowaleX

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Bisabee said:
Brother, this might sound naive, but aside from the issue of grandkids, why does it bother a hetereosexual person to be around lots of gay people? I mean, how does it really affect a hetereosexual person to be around them? Do they get on your nerves by flirting with you? Are they physically aggressive/intrusive towards you? Help me to understand this.

I love going to Provincetown, Massachusetts--that's known for "gay"ness and all kinds of other "ness"es. :lol: Anyway, it never bothers me being around them because they have their preference and I have mine.

Granted, I may not be as worldly as some people, but is there something I'm just not seeing, that I need to see?

Sister, my point here was after living 47 years in los angleles and watching the Black population dwindle, and the Black FAMILY structure along with it I moved to Dallas instead of Atlanta because it is supposed to be a better place for Black FAMILIES.

You and I both grew up during the so-called "Sexual Revolution" which means we also most likely had friends or family who also sffutered progressively from syphillis to gonorrhea to herpes to hiv/AIDS. I cannot speak for you but as a musician/DJ I also lived through and experienced a change in the club/dating scene where heterosexual COUPLES used to make up most of my peer group and over time they became mixed groups and then more bisexual then the DL phenom and then I found myself often being the ONLY "heterosexual male" that was SINGLE in MY peer group and it reached a point that I desired a change in location because what also was progressively happening was that the "club scene" had shifted progressively from the Black community to the predominantly white and gay "West Hollywood".

Being around a few gay people doesn't bother me just as being around a few white people doesn't bother me. Personally, I just have a preference for heterosexual WOMEN and prefer to be in their company. I do not even run in large circles of men as I did used to run in a very large social circle. So if I only have a select group of Black men that I associate with on a SOCIAL basis, I PREFER that they be heterosexual. This is one of those areas where I believe that "Birds of a feather flock together" and one place I don't flock is in groups of gay men, unless there is something going on that I don't know about at my health club!
 

OmowaleX

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Bisabee said:
Brother, this might sound naive, but aside from the issue of grandkids, why does it bother a hetereosexual person to be around lots of gay people? I mean, how does it really affect a hetereosexual person to be around them? Do they get on your nerves by flirting with you? Are they physically aggressive/intrusive towards you? Help me to understand this.

I love going to Provincetown, Massachusetts--that's known for "gay"ness and all kinds of other "ness"es. :lol: Anyway, it never bothers me being around them because they have their preference and I have mine.

Granted, I may not be as worldly as some people, but is there something I'm just not seeing, that I need to see?


"I love goint to Provincetown, Massachusetts--that's known for "gay"ness and all finds of other "ness"es.."

I just wanted to address this. One of my favorite hang-out spots was in Pasadena, north of downtown LA. It is very cosmopolitan and has a good variety of restaurants. Of course, this is one thing I do miss about LA. Now, onetime my daughter, my ex and I were doing some shopping in "Old Town" Pasadena and my ex made a remark to me. Seems she noticed some guys checking me out and asjed if that happens often. I told her I don';t know because I had gotten so accustomed to just going my way without really checking to see if others were checking me out. Just like I don't notice if and when "white people" look at me funny. I went to junior and senior high school lving in mostly Black neighborhoods but attendiing schools which had large numbers of white kids. Mostly jewish. Nearly 20 years of undergraduate/graduate and professional schooling and the same situation---mostly white students were my classmates. So, the point is, I am sure that increasingly more of my co-workers and classmates were "gay". I worked with folks who I really didn't pay much attention to because I was always so into my own program that I really didn't know until someone else would bring something to my attention.

So again, it's not so much that they "bother me" as it is that I just prefer the company of WOMEN....
 

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