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|Pride: Diverse honorees represent best of local LGBT communities|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|October 12, 2012 00:00|
The Atlanta Pride Committee will have a diverse group of grand marshals leading this year’s Pride parade. From a trans woman who won a groundbreaking legal battle to a camp-drag fundraising troupe that’s raised $2 million for HIV/AIDS causes in Atlanta, this year’s group of honorees has contributed to the LGBT rights movement in countless ways.
“We are so proud of our 2012 grand marshals. It is going to be really exciting having such a diverse group of individuals representing the LGBT community at the Atlanta Pride Festival this year,” said Atlanta Pride Board Chair Glen Paul Freedman when the grand marshals were named.
“If you know any of these individuals or members of one of the groups, please congratulate them on this honor... and if you don’t know them, we hope you will show your appreciation of their support for the LGBT community by giving them a wave as they are on the parade route,” he said. “It is really going to be great day for everyone.”
The grand marshals:
For more than 35 years, the Armorettes have raised money for local HIV and AIDS organizations and other non-profit groups such as Atlanta Pride. This camp-drag troupe has seen many members over the years, and each has dedicated herself to the cause of awareness.
The Armorettes perform every Sunday at Burkhart’s Pub and every third Saturday of the month at The Heretic Backroom Burlesque Show.
The group surpassed the $2 million mark last month in funds raised and has received countless honors including from the City of Atlanta for the ongoing work it does to fight HIV/AIDS.
Danny Ingram is the president of American Veterans for Equal Rights and was on the forefront of the recent repeal fight against the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which barred gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military.
Ingram served in the United States Army from 1988 to 1994 and after making a statement in support of repeal in 1992, became one of the first soldiers discharged under the DADT law. After his discharge, Ingram fought for repeal of the discriminatory policy.
Ingram currently works for Georgia Institute of Technology as a senior business analyst. He is also affiliated with the DeKalb County Democratic Party, AMVETS, Veterans for Peace, the Alexander Hamilton Post of the American Legion and the Atlanta Prime Timers.
He witnessed President Barack Obama sign the law repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on Dec. 22, 2012, and was gifted one of the pens the president used to sign the bill.
Ingram lives in Decatur.
Jeff Graham is the executive director of Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization. Graham is a tireless advocate for HIV/AIDS related issues and has worked in grassroots campaigns to raise awareness for nearly three decades.
With his work at Georgia Equality, Graham has worked to elect LGBT politicians and fight for LGBT causes in the Georgia General Assembly.
He is a current board member of Georgians for a Healthy Future and the national Equality Federation, and is a former board member of the Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief Coalition.
Graham also helped organize the Atlanta chapter of ACT UP.
Graham lives in Atlanta with his partner, Peter Stinner.
Vandy Beth Glenn
Vandy Beth Glenn is a transgender woman who made national headlines when she was fired from her job as a legislative editor in the Georgia General Assembly after she informed her boss of her plans to transition from male to female.
Glenn, with the help of Lambda Legal, sued the state and her former employer and eventually won her case.
Glenn was also GA Voice’s “Person of the Year” in 2011. She lives in Decatur.
Rev. Joshua Noblitt
Rev. Josh Noblitt is the minister of social justice at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Midtown Atlanta.
Noblitt was the victim of an anti-gay assault and robbery in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park in 2010, which the Atlanta Police Department called an anti-gay bias crime. Instead of being angry with his young attackers, Noblitt showed compassion and publicly forgave them and corresponded with at least one assailant.
Noblitt serves on the board of directors for the Reconciling Ministry Network, a national organization that seeks full inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the United Methodist Church; is a member of the Atlanta Police Department LGBT Advisory Board; serves as vice president of the South Atlanta Civic League; and is a 2011 LEAD Atlanta alumni.
Dr. Julie Kubala
Dr. Julie Kubala is the Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Women’s Studies Institute at Georgia State University.
Kubala earned her doctorate from Emory University, where she focused on feminist and queer theory, literary and cultural criticism and personal narrative.
Kubala was also an early organizer and one of the first participants of the annual Dyke March during Atlanta Pride and helped form what is now the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Life at Emory University.
Kubala has worked with Estrofest, Cliterati, Amazon Feminist Group, Lesbian Avengers, Queer Progressive Agenda (past), ACT UP, MondoHomo, Sisters in Sports, and Girls’ Rock Camp. Currently, she is affiliated with the East Point Possums, Faces of Feminism, Black Out and the Atlanta Women’s Foundation.
Anita Rae Strange
Anita Rae Strange, better known to locals as “Blondie” from the Clermont Lounge, is a local legend who really knows how to entertain.
Strange was also the winner of the 2012 GA Voice Best of Atlanta Local Icon category, where she beat out U.S. Rep. John Lewis and local politico Cathy Woolard.
Strange was the focus of a recent documentary, “AKA Blondie,” which examined the performer’s life and career, through hardships and perseverance. The film debuted at the Atlanta Film Festival this year and is currently making its way across the indie-film festival circuit.
Alpha Chapter of Sigma Omega Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Sigma Omega Phi Fraternity Inc. is a non-collegiate, social service fraternity for lesbian women everywhere who consider themselves to be dominant, aggressive or stud. It was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Atlanta with two additional chapters in Trenton, N.J., and Richmond, Va.
The group says it is the first African-American Greek organization in the history of the Atlanta Pride to walk in the parade.
Aside from the social aspect of the organization, the group also participates in and organizes local community service projects.
Top photo (clockwise from top left): The Alpha Chapter of Sigma Omega Phi (via Facebook), The Armorettes (by Brent Corcoran/RNZ Photography), Danny Ingram (by Laura Douglas-Brown), Jeff Graham (by Dyana Bagby), Vandy Beth Glenn (by Dyana Bagby), Rev. Josh Noblitt (via Facebook), Dr. Julie Kubala (via Facebook), Anita Rae Strange (by Bo Shell)
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