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|StoryCorps 'Out &OutLoud' project documents LGBT Atlantans|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|June 24, 2010 14:33|
The “Out & OutLoud: Stories of Atlanta's LGBTQ Community” event at Radial Café Wednesday night, part of Atlanta Pride Stonewall Week and WABE 90.1 FM’s StoryCorps project, began with a sweet “coming out” story.
The event’s host, John Lemley, who also hosts WABE’s City Café weekdays from noon to 1 p.m., shared with the crowd that he had an exchange of emails prior to the event with Dave Hayward, a local gay historian. Hayward asked Lemley if he was going to come out as gay at the StoryCorps LGBTQ event. Well, Lemley said, if people didn’t already know he is gay, he asked, “Are we headless?”
The crowd responded with laughter and applause.
But it was the stories of local LGBTQ residents who recorded their stories with the Atlanta StoryCorps project that were the true highlights of the evening.
The stories included a gay male couple who discussed how they met and how they are now planning their wedding, a lesbian couple who plan to grow old together, a young transgender man who dealt with his mother’s anger when he started taking testosterone, a transgender woman’s journey to “come out” physically, and a YouthPride teen’s interview with state Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta), the nation’s first openly lesbian African-American state legislator.
Some of the stories have already aired and can be found here along with numerous other stories from a diverse group of people.
Several people who participated in the Atlanta StoryCorps Out & OutLoud project attended and explained why they felt sharing their stories was important.
The stories of LGBTQ people need to be preserved, they all agreed, specially those from the South, so years from now people can actually hear real stories from real people and understand the history of where we were and the issues we were dealing with in 2010.
For Jamie Strand, who was a football player and married a cheerleader and then later transitioned into a woman, family support has been key for her new life.
Someone asked, “Where is the cheerleader?”
“She’s right here,” Strand said, pointing to a smiling woman as everyone erupted into cheers. You can listen to Strand’s story, with her friend Natalie Schulhofer.
Dozens of people attending the event last night signed up to make appointments to share their stories as well.
Asha Leong, 33, and Orlando Momtford, 19, of Atlanta, made an appointment to record a story together.
“I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet, what the topic is going to be. But this is an amazing idea … you never know what you have inside in you that might help inspire someone else,” Momtford said.
However, Leong said she has the topic they will discuss already in mind.
“Orlando doesn’t know it but we’re going to talk about the difference when I was a queer youth and when he was a queer youth,” Leong said.
“I feel like there’s a radical difference in the community that I grew up in and came into as a community organizer and the community he’s grown up in. There are some very interesting cultural differences that have produced those changes that should be talked about.”
If interested in sharing your story, reservations can still be made.
Top photo: Orlando Momtford (right) and Asha Leong plan to record a story about queer youth organizing for Atlanta’s LGBTQ Out & OutLoud StoryCorps.
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