Out in Atlanta

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== Out in Atlanta: Atlanta’s Gay and Lesbian Communities Since Stonewall: A Chronology, 1969-2006 ==

The chronology is a work in progress. An entry marked with an exclamation point rather than a date indicates that a more exact date needs to be determined. To provide context, some entries describe events outside of Atlanta or Georgia. Any reader with more specific information about a particular entry, with information about an event or person who has been overlooked, or who wishes to correct an error is welcome to contact Atlanta-Fulton Public Library librarian Cal Gough at (404) 885-7823 or cal.gough@co.fulton.ga.us .


March 10 The 1968 killer of Martin Luther King, Jr. is sentenced to 99 years in prison.

June 27-28 A routine police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, provokes riots involving over 2,000 citizens and 400 policemen. The riots result in organized resistance that grows into the modern-day gay liberation movement.

August 11 Atlanta police raid George Ellis’ Film Forum, which was showing of Andy Warhol’s movie Lonesome Cowboys, and take photos of audience members. One of them, a minister, files a $500,000 lawsuit against the police.


! Militant gay activists form the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance, with chapters of each group springing up in many U.S. cities.

 Miami-born Berl Boykin, after moving to Atlanta, helps organize a Gay Pride rally at Piedmont Park to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City.

 Feminist activists establish the Atlanta Women’s Liberation Center.


 “The Gay Manifesto” is published.

 A year after expelling lesbian members, the National Organization for Women acknowledges lesbian oppression.

! Local activists form a Georgia chapter of the Gay Liberation Front. The GLF organizes Atlanta’s first permit-authorized Gay Pride March, with 125-150 people participating. Activist Bill Smith arranges for the GLF to be legally incorporated on June 27. The lesbian theatrre troupe WomanSong performs at several GLF fundraisers, as does local resident drag performer Severin.


 The first gay synagogue is opened.

 The first openly gay person is ordained by a major Christian denomination, the United Church of Christ.

 Ann Arbor, Michigan voters elect the first politician in the U.S. to a city-wide office.

 Richard Nixon defeats George McGovern for the post of U.S. President.

June 23 First meeting of the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance (ALFA), a major force in the local lesbian community for the next two decades. ALFA, which maintains its own facility on McLendon Avenue near Atlanta’s Little 5 Points neighborhood, is co-founded by activist Lorriane Fontana.

June The Atlanta Gay Liberation Front organizes a local Gay Pride Day demonstration with 300 participants. Organizers Bill Smith and Judy Lambert talk about Gay Pride on a local television talk show; John Gill and Dave Hayward do the same on Georgia Tech's radio station WREK. An alternative newspaper, The Great Speckled Bird, features a centerfold spread on Gay Pride. Two gay bars, The Cove and the Sweet Gum Head, prohibit activists from distributing leaflets about the Pride demo and evict the activists from their premises.

! An Atlanta congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church forms in the city. The congregation meets first at the Pocket Theatre on Juniper Street and later moves near the town square in Decatur. John Gill serves as MCC's first minister.

! Atlanta's Gay Liberation Front sets up offices in a converted warehouse on Pine Street and hosts several well-attended dances.

! Atlanta mayor Sam Massell appoints Charles St. John to the city's Community Relations Commission, the first appointment by a city official of a spokesperson for local gay and lesbian communities.


 The U.S. Congress’ conducts its hearings on the Watergate scandal during Nixon’s presidency.

 The National Gay Task Force is founded in New York City.

Spring Atlanta's Gay Liberation Front moves its offices to Exchange Place and coordinates Gay Pride Day celebrations.

June Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance's first participation in Atlanta's annual commemoration of the Stonewall Riots, which draws an estimated 300 participants.

July Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance member begins hosting "Lesbian Woman" show on local radio station WRFG.

September Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance publishes the first issue of its newsletter Atlanta.

November 15 Gay and lesbian activists establish the National Gay Task Force.

! The Atlanta Journal-Constitution fires employee Charles St. John for putting flyers adverstising Gay Pride activities in newsroom mailboxes. Supporters of St. John picket the newspaper's offices protesting the firing and the paper's discriminatory editorial and advertising policies. (This same year, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation raids St. John's apartment on trumped-up drug charges; his landlord forces him to move.)

 Late in the year, the local chapter of the Gay Liberation Front folds due to internal dissent and public disinterest.


 The American Psychological Association removes homosexuality from its manual of mental disorders.

! Massachusetts citizens elect the first openly gay public official in the United States, Elaine Noble.

July The first openly lesbian softball team in the Atlanta City League, the ALFA Omegas, play their first league game.

September Housewarming for the second location of the ALFA House.

November Atlanta resident Linda Bryant opens, in Little 5 Points, Charis Books and More, the first lesbian/feminist bookstore in the Southeast.

! The local Metropolitan Community Church moves into the old Highland Theatre on North Highland Avenue.

! Bill Smith begins publishing The Barb, a free gay newspaper distributed in gay bars locally and elsewhere until 1983.

! Richard Kavanaugh, Bob Swinden, Rick Burroughs, and others begin publishing Cruise, a monthly guide to activities in gay bars.


! U.S. Civil Service approves employment of gays in federal government agencies.

! Gay/Lesbian Civil Rights Bill introduced by Bella Abzug for the first time into the U.S. Congress; Georgia Representative John Lewis is among the bill's many sponsors.

 Leonard Matlovich, discharged from the Air Force because he is gay, is pictured on the cover of Time Magazine.

May Between 500 and 600 women attend the Great Southeast Lesbian Conference.

June Over 600 people attend a Gay Pride rally in Piedmont Park, but there is no parade preceding the rally.


 Georgia native Jimmy Carter is elected U.S. President.

! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the second time into the U.S. Congress.

 The first Southeastern Conference on Lesbians and Gay Men is held in Chapel Hill, N.C.

June 26 Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson officially proclaims "Gay Pride Day" in Atlanta. A group of Southern Baptists calling itself “Citizens for a Decent Atlanta” protests the mayor's proclamation, buying full-page ads in the local newspapers denouncing "acts against the moral laws of the Judeo-Christian tradition." 300-500 (some reports state as many as 1,000) Atlanta citizens gather for the annual local commemoration of the Stonewall Riots; the theme this year is "Christopher Street South" and the festival is sponsored by the Gay Rights Alliance, founded by Linda Regnier and Victor Host. (The Alliance also sponsors the 1977 festival). African-American Florida transplant Gene Holloway is among this year’s Pride organizers. Gay Pride Week activities include candlelight poetry readings by local writers Liz Throop, Dave Hayward, and Gil Robison.

July Local gay and lesbian activists picket Wieuca Road Baptist Church in response to the anti-homosexual advertisement in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution that had been spearheaded by the church’s pastor William Self.

August Despite a lawsuit by seven anonymous local businessmen and calls for his resignation by several local Baptist ministers, Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson refuses to rescind his June order proclaiming Gay Pride Day in Atlanta. (The next year, however, Jackson proclaims an annual "Human Rights Day" instead of a "Gay Pride Day.")

August 19 Approximately 150 locals picket the Miss National Teenager Pageant at Atlanta’s Memorial Arts Center for honoring Anita Bryant as “America’s Greatest American.”

November The Atlanta-based Lucina’s Music sponsors the city’s first music concert sponsored by an all-women's production company.

! Linda Regnier and Victor Host create the Gay Rights Alliance, which sponsors the local 1976 and 1977 Gay Pride Day marches.

! An informal gay community center begins functioning for about nine months out of a building owned by activist Bill Smith at 4th Street and West Peachtree. The center sponsors a variety of discussion groups, a telephone information/counseling line, and a forum of candidates for upcoming election (organized by Gil Robison).

! Patrick Cuccaro and Michael Chafin produce the first gay male theatre piece shown in Atlanta, The Boys in the Band at Buckhead’s Academy Theatre.


! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the third time into the U.S. Congress.

! Entertainer Anita Bryant launches her “Save the Children” campaign, aimed at repealing a Miami/Dade County, Florida ordinance forbidding discrimination against gay government employees.

 Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE) is formed. President Carter receives the first-ever official delegation of lesbians and gay men at the White House.

June An estimated 1,500 people march in the local Pride Parade, with an estimated 3,000 attending the rally at the parade’s conclusion.

July 2 Gil Robison, Liz Throop, Beth Coonan and other gay activists form the city's first gay political action committee, calling it the First Tuesday Democratic [Party] Club. The organization's name commemorates the date of the Miami/Dade County (Florida) referendum protecting the rights of gay citizens there. First Tuesday launches a series of lobbying efforts, candidates' forums, and voter registration drives.

August With an election only a few months off, Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson issues a proclamation for "Civil Rights Day" instead of "Gay Pride Day" in Atlanta. Approximately 1,500 people attend the city's annual march and rally.

August 19 150 Atlantans picket the Miss National Teenager Pageant meeting in Atlanta to protest its honoring of anti-gay rights activist Anita Bryant as "America's Greatest American."

August Dykes Together, an Alcoholics Anonymous group for lesbians, forms.

Fall A local chapter of gay Christians, Evangelical Outreach Ministries, forms.

! Activist James Moody moves to Atlanta and through the Gay Rights Alliance and with co-anchors David Hayward and Greg James inaugurates the program "Gay Digest" broadcast by WRFG, Atlanta's community-operated radio station.

 Local gay amateur athletes form a new organization, Atlanta Venture Sports.

! Actor/director Howard Brunner produces a sold-out run of the play Fortune and Men's Eyes at the Sweet Gum Head, a local gay bar.

 Congregations of churches and synagogues in Atlanta raise $4,000 to fight Anita Bryant’s “Save the Children” campaign in Florida.


! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the fourth time into the U.S. Congress.

 San Francisco resident Gilbert Baker designs the rainbow flag to fly in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day parade.

March 31 - April 2 The Southeastern Conference of Lesbians and Gay Men holds its third annual conference in Atlanta. Among the event's chief coordinators are Franklin Abbott, Terry Barfield, Leif Sandberg, Stella Eller, and Heidi Silver. Over 500 participate. ALFA women's participation in the conference and in conference planning results in a Southeastern Lesbian Network and initial planning for a Lesbian Writers' Conference.

Summer Responding to a campaign led by Anita Bryant and others, Miami/Dade County council repeals its ordinance outlawing employment discrimination against gay people.

June 11 Approximately 1,800 to 2,000 Atlanta gay men, lesbians, and their supporters from a coalition of human rights groups picket Anita Bryant's keynote speech to the Southern Baptist Convention's conference at the World Congress Center. Local activist Maria Helena Dolan is among the featured (and televised) speakers at the rally. Money collected during the Anita Bryant protest is used to launch an Atlanta Gay Center (later the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Center).

November 27 San Francisco City council member and gay political activist Harvey Milk and San Francisco mayor George Moscone are murdered by former city council member Dan White. December James Moody becomes the first openly gay columnist for a straight Atlanta newspaper, the Atlanta Gazette, a local entertainment/news weekly.

! Howard Brunner stages the 1930s gay musical comedy Boy Meets Boy at the Magic Garden, a local gay bar.


! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the fifth time into the U.S. the U.S. Congress.

February ALFA's Library Committee begins organizing an archive of local lesbian activities.

February Created by the Atlanta Coalition for Human Rights that coordinated gay protests of the June 1978 appearance in Atlanta of Anita Bryant, the Atlanta Gay Center opens in a Midtown facility. Later in the year, the Center, under the direction of co-coordinators Diane Stephenson and Frank Scheuren, graduates its first class of telephone counselors and begins offering a variety of health, legal, and social services.

April 11 First meeting of Atlanta's Liberal Religious Gay Council.

June Shortly after Channel 11 TV runs a series on male prostitution, the Fulton County Solicitor issues warrants for the arrest of three gay owners and employees of local gay publications Score and Cruise Weekly on charges of distributing obscene materials.

June 24 Atlanta's annual Gay Pride Day parade celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Over 700 attend. The festivities include a Lavender Anniversary Film Festival at the local Metropolitan Community Church on June 26th, coordinated by Greg James and Dave Hayward.

June 28 On the steps of City Hall, local activists Gil Robison and Maria Helena Dolan conduct a mock trial of Harvey Milk's assassin Dan White, finding White guilty of murder in the first degree.

August Some 200 people show up for the first “Hotlanta Raft Race” down the Chattahoochee, an annual event eventually attracting gays and lesbians from around the country.

September 27-28 David Hayward and John Howell, under the auspices of the Gay Center Arts Advocates, coordinate the screening of seven more gay films at the MCC.

October 14 Atlanta gays and lesbians travel to Washington, DC for the First National Lesbian & Gay March on Washington and the simultaneous Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference; over 100,000 people attend, including 4 bus-loads from Atlanta. Atlantans Ray Kluka, Eva Salzer, and Elizabeth Monahan are among the primary mobilizers of March attendees from the Southeast.


 Ronald Reagan is elected to succeed Jimmy Carter as U.S. President.

! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the sixth time into the U.S. Congress.

 Black & White Men Together is formed.

 The opening of the movie Cruising sparks nationwide protests by gay rights activists.

 The gay-themed Last Summer at Bluefish Cove opens on Broadway.

 New York abolishes its law against sodomy (the 24th U.S. State to do so).

February Atlanta gays and lesbians (including 20 members of ALFA) travel to Greensboro, NC to an Anti-Klan March and Pro-Civil Rights Celebration. ALFA joins the Atlanta Anti-Klan Coalition.

March 22 The Atlanta Gay Center sponsors a symposium, "Coming Out in the 80's," featuring a speech by Massachusetts state representative Elaine Noble, a lesbian.

April Longtime gay activist Bill Smith dies of a drug overdose.

April 29 A coalition of gay and lesbian organizations picket Atlanta religious TV station WANX (Channel 46) for endorsing a "Washington for Jesus" march organized by Christian fundamentalists opposed to (among other things) civil rights for gay people.

May The Atlanta Gay Center moves from Midtown to Ponce de Leon Avenue. Later, Ray Kluka becomes AGC Director.

Spring Atlanta's First Tuesday Democratic Association breaks its ties to the Democratic Party and becomes the First Tuesday Association for Lesbian and Gay Rights, amending its by-laws to include 50% women and 20% Third World people on its steering committee. June 4 Atlanta Gay Center and First Tuesday Association for Lesbian and Gay Rights hold a press conference to protest Georgia governor George Busbee's deletion of a reference to gay families in a recommendation made by the Georgia delegation to the White House Conference on Families.

June 21 Gay Pride Day renamed Lesbian, Gay, Transperson Pride Day; 1,200 people attend the annual march. The Gay Atlanta Minorities Association (GAMA) sponsors a forum on “Black Lesbian/Gay/Transperson Survival in the ‘80s.”

June Owners of local gay-operated businesses form the Atlanta Business Guild . (Adopting its charter in September, the organization is later re-named Atlanta Business and Professional Guild).

June Gene Loring opens Christopher’s Kind, a gay bookstore, in Atlanta’s Midtown.

July All of Georgia's delegates to the U.S. Congress except Wyche Fowler and Bo Ginn vote for a House provision introduced by local Congressman Larry McDonald that forbids the federal government's Legal Services Corporation from participating in cases that might benefit gay people. (The McDonald Amendment is later deleted from the Senate version of the bill.)

July In response to gay and lesbian activists' objections, and with the help of City Council member Mary Davis, Atlanta Public Safety Commissioner Lee Brown removes a question about sexual orientation from the Police Department's employment form and lie-detector test.

Summer Atlanta City Council members Mary Davis, Richard Guthman, John Sweet, and Marvin Arrington help remove vague language in a city ordinance prohibiting loitering that had been used for years by police officers to harass gay men.

Summer Black gay activist Mel Boozer nominated for U.S. Vice President at Democratic National Convention.

August 24 Arsonists destroy the After Dark, a bookstore and video gallery on Peachtree Street catering to gay customers. Later the Down Under bookstore is blown up in an explosion. Eventually city ordinances are enacted to prohibit explicit sex-oriented magazines and videos in Atlanta.

September Dance Atlanta, a local organization that brings internationally known dance groups to the city, refuses to carry advertisements in its programs paid for by Atlanta's Christopher's Kind Bookshop, objecting to the ad's use of the words "lesbian" and "gay."

! The Gazette Newspaper is launched. Regular contributors include James Moore, Ken Alan Ray, Gil Robison, Maria Helena Dolan, and Dave Hayward.

 Arsonists destroy After Dark, a bookstore and video store catering to gay men. (Later, an explosion destroys another local bookstore, Down Under.)


! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the seventh time into the U.S. Congress.

 The New York Times reports a new cancer taking the lives of otherwise healthy gay men.

June 15 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control first mentions the Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) syndrome.

 The first Gay Games are held in San Francisco, with 1,300 participants from 12 countries.

 The Gay Press Association is organized.

January 22 Lesbian & Gay Rights Chapter of the local American Civil Liberties Union forms. Co-founders include Buren Batson, Jean Levine, Maria Helena Dolan, and Dave Hayward.

March 13 Over 300 gays and lesbians picket an Atlanta appearance of Christian fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell, who was speaking here on behalf of anti-gay federal legislation proposed by Georgia Congressman Larry McDonald.

March 27 Gary Piccola and others form an organization for Atlanta's Jewish gays and lesbians.

April ALFA hosts its first annual Azalea Dance.

May 23-26 American Booksellers Association holds its national convention in Atlanta; votes not to return until Georgia and Atlanta repeal their censorship laws and ordinances.

June 20-27 Lesbian/Gay/Transperson Pride Week celebrated locally by 3,000 to 4,000 participants. Pride events (beginning on the 14th) besides the annual march and rally include a music concert, radio show, art show, film showings (organized by Charlie St. John) at Image Film & Video and The Silver Screen, a history seminar, open houses at the Gay Center and ALFA, a street dance (on 7th Street between Piedmont and Juniper), and a voter registration drive. The Gay Atlanta Minority Association (GAMA) calls for a boycott of the festival, citing racism. June 22-23 Auditions are held for The Pride Players, a local gay theatre/cabaret company directed by Oscar Blake.

July 29 Atlanta gays and lesbians join others to protest President Ronald Reagan's cutbacks on social programs, his attitude toward the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, abortion, gay rights, military policies, etc.

August 29 Auditions are held to form the Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus.

August The Lambda Bowling League begins its first season.

September 22 Representatives of the Atlanta Gay Center, the First Tuesday Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter meet with Public Safety Commissioner Lee Brown and others to discuss police harassment of Atlanta gay citizens. Brown asks the "GayCLU" to appoint a committee to meet regularly with the police department to discuss complaints.

November Southern Feminist Library and Archives, organized by Elizabeth Knowlton, incorporates.

! Michael Hardwick, an Atlanta gay man, is arrested in his bedroom for sodomy; the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel fires him from his job.

 Six of the seven Atlanta mayoral candidates attend a forum sponsored by the gay/lesbian political group First Tuesday.

! Local media speculate that the serial killer of local teenagers is a gay man. Activist Frank Scheuren, by this time national president of the gay Catholics group Dignity, appears frequently on radio and television to rebut generalizations about the "gay community." Scheuren's outspokenness and the content of some of his remarks infuriate other gay people in the city.

 Georgia Dept. of Human Resources begins tracking AIDS cases in the state. Three are reported this year.


! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the eighth time into the U.S. Congress.

! Wisconsin state legislature is the first to outlaw discrimination against gays and lesbians.

 Gay Men’s Health Crisis is established in New York City.

 Torch Song Trilogy opens on Broadway.

 For the first time, a federal judge rules a U.S. State’s (Texas’) sodomy statute is unconstitutional.

January 26 The board of the National Association of People With AIDS meets in Atlanta.

January Women's radio group forms, instigated by ALFA women working at local radio station WRFG.

February 17 A Fulton County Municipal Court judge upholds the right of a deceased local gay man, PWA David O'Shield, to will part of his estate to his gay friend Gary Kaupman, a right contested by O'Shield’s family.

March Lesbian Family Support Group forms in Atlanta.

June The Atlanta City Council proclaims Lesbian/Gay/Transperson Pride Day without Mayor Andrew Young's signature, who says approving of private sexual practices is inappropriate. Atlanta's annual Gay Pride Parade draws 4,000 marchers, whose destination this year is the State Capitol.

! Charlie St. John coordinates the second annual local Lesbian/Gay/Transperson Film Festival.

! Late in the year a group of concerned gay men hold a public discussion of a new disease eventually called AIDS.

 AID Atlanta, a social service agency for people with AIDS, is formed.


! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the ninth time into the U.S. Congress.

 Congressman Gary Studds becomes the first openly gay man to be elected to federal office.

 Key West, Florida elects an openly gay mayor.

 Coretta Scott King announces her support of civil rights for lesbians and gay men.

April Cruise Newsmagazine, a local entertainment publication, is launched.

April A Federal District Court judge, without holding a hearing, dismisses Michael Hardwick's claim that the Georgia sodomy statute is unconstitutional; Hardwick appeals the dismissal to U.S. Court of Appeals.

April 28 - May 1 Virginia Apuzzo, head of the National Gay Task Force, and author Rita Mae Brown address the Southeast Conference for Lesbians and Gays, held again this year in Atlanta.

June 6 Atlanta City Council approves a resolution designating June 25th as Gay/Lesbian Civil Rights Day in Atlanta.

June 25 2,000 march from the Civic Center to Peachtree and 10th Street. For the first time a "Stop AIDS" banner is carried in the march. This is also Atlanta’s first “Dyke March.”

October Atlanta's first candlelight AIDS vigil is held, in Piedmont Park.

! A network of gay-operated Atlanta businesses, the Atlanta Business and Professional Guild, holds its first annual Business Fair.

! The Gazette newspaper discontinues publication.

! Graham Bruton, David Harris, Dr. John Kopchak, Caitlin Ryan and others begin developing AIDAtlanta, a social service organization for people with AIDS.

! Christopher's Kind owner Gene Loring sues Southern Bell for refusing to use the words gay or lesbian in its advertise the store in the local Yellow Pages of the telephone book. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation prosecutes store employee Charlie St. John for selling "obscene" materials.

 The Atlanta Campaign for Human Rights (later the Georgia Equality Project) is formed.

 Fulton County’s health department funds a proposal written by Maury Weil to establish a gay STD clinic in Atlanta.

At the local gay nightclub Illusions at Peachtree and 10th Streets, local drag celebrities Mickey Day, Charlie Brown, and Dina Jacobs emcee a fundraiser for Pride Day.


! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the tenth time into the U.S. Congress.

 Gay diver Greg Louganis wins four gold medals at the Olympic Games.

 Berkeley, California becomes the first U.S. city to legalize domestic partnerships.

 The National Organization for Women sponsors its first conference on legal rights for lesbians.

 The Unitarian Church becomes the first U.S. religious denomination to recognize gay and lesbian unions.

June 21 Another local gay entertainment publication, Pulse, is launched.

July 3 The annual Lesbian/Gay Pride Parade and Rally is held, this time with ex-Mormon feminist and third-party Presidential candidate Sonia Johnson addressing the crowd of about 1,500. Mayor Andrew Young proclaims “ Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Day” in Atlanta.

December Atlanta Gay Center publishes its first newsletter, The News.

! The Atlanta chapter of Gay Fathers Coalition International (later the Gay Parents Coalition International) is established.

! A court upholds Southern Bell's refusal to list Atlanta's gay bookstore in the local telephone directory.

 Another local gay entertainment publication, Pulse, is launched.

! Ken South is appointed Executive Director of AID Atlanta; under his leadership, this organization becomes nationally recognized.


! U.S. Supreme Court invalidates as unconstitutional an Oklahoma law preventing teachers from discussing gay rights in classrooms.

! Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) founded in New York City.

! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the eleventh time into the U.S. Congress.

 The Normal Heart, an AIDS-themed play by Larry Kramer, opens on Broadway.

January Twenty-six local organizations join forces to establish a coordinating committee, the Metro Council of Lesbian and Gay Organizations (MACGLO).

January Atlanta Gay Center vandalized for the sixth time in two years.

January Atlanta Campaign for Human Rights, a local political action committee, forms.

February Atlanta Couples Together, an organization for gay and lesbian couples, is established.

February Charis Books and More, a feminist bookstore in Little Five Points, begins its weekly series of women-only readings.

March The Times of Harvey Milk wins Academy Award for Best Documentary Film of 1984; plays to record crowds for 4 weeks at Atlanta's Ellis Theatre.

April Atlanta Gay Center moves to 12th Street in Midtown.

May A synagogue for local gays and lesbians, Bet Havarim, forms.

May 21 U.S. Court of Appeals rules in the Michael Hardwick case that Georgia's sodomy statute infringes on the privacy rights of U.S. citizens and is therefore unconstitutional. Georgia's Attorney General Michael Bowers appeals the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

June 15 Three gay men, Pat Coleman, Jaye Evans, and Jim Heverly, launch the first issue of Etcetera Magazine. Before its 10th anniversary, it becomes the Southeast’s largest lesbian and gay publication.

June Mayor Andrew Young signs proclamation for Gay Pride Week in Atlanta.

June Atlanta's first annual community-wide memorial service for people who have died from AIDS-related diseases is held as part of the local Gay Pride celebration.

July 4 Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus marches for the first time in WSB TV's annual Independence Day parade, one of the largest in the U.S.

Summer The Cove, one of Atlanta's oldest continuously operated bars for gay men, celebrates its 13th anniversary.

Fall AID Atlanta celebrates its 3rd anniversary.

October Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG) holds its 4th annual national conference in Atlanta.

October 15 Atlanta gays form Friends Atlanta, an organization providing social, cultural, and recreational opportunities for its members.

November Atlanta Sexual Minority Youth Advocates forms its board of directors.

! Rebecca Ransom's play Warren, about her friend with AIDS, opens in Atlanta, eventually playing in several cities elsewhere.

 Southeastern Arts and Media Education (SAME) is chartered.

 The first International Conference on AIDS is held in Atlanta.

 Due largely to the efforts of Alexander Wallace and others, approximately 20 gay and lesbian groups join together to form the Metropolitan Atlanta Coalition of Gay & Lesbian Organizations (MACGLO), which begins meeting at AID Atlanta’s offices on Cypress Street.


June 30 With a 5-4 vote, U.S. Supreme Court justices announce their decision in Bowers vs. Hardwick that Georgia's sodomy law, when it is enforced against gay people, is constitutional. Hardwick petitions the Court to reconsider the case. The decision sparks a movement to repeal the sodomy laws still in force in 25 states and also spurs momentum for the call for a National March on Washington, D.C.

! National Gay Task Force changes its name to National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

 In California, and for the first time in the United States, an openly lesbian couple is granted the right to legally adopt a child.

! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the twelfth time into the U.S. Congress.

February 9 Gays and lesbians and their supporters encircle the First Baptist Church in downtown Atlanta, protesting minister Charles Stanley's sermonizing that AIDS is God's judgment against sinners.

May 26 A candlelight vigil draws to the Academy of Medicine in Midtown 300 people wanting to honor and remember people with AIDS.

June 21 Pride Day is marked with a parade from the Civic Center to a rally at the State Capitol.

September 2 Two Atlanta City Council members, Richard Guthman and Buddy Fowlkes, introduce a measure to repeal the recently enacted civil rights protection for gays and lesbians in Atlanta. A local group called Citizens for Public Awareness buys a full-page ad in the local newspaper: "Do you want Atlanta turned into another San Francisco?"

October 6 At a city council hearing on the proposal to rescind the city's ordinance outlawing discrimination against gays, Citizens for Public Awareness leader James Zauderer is confronted by his gay brother Doug Zauderer. The emotional and crowded hearing results in the council's eventual reaffirmation of the ordinance with a 12-4 vote. Gay and lesbian activists celebrate on the City Hall steps.

October Citizens for Public Awareness, a local Atlanta group led by Nancy Schafer, begins circulating a petition asking for a referendum on whether or not Atlanta's human rights ordinance should be repealed. (The petition campaign fails when not enough signatures are obtained to place the issue on the ballot.)

! Atlanta City Council votes to forbid discrimination against gays.

! The Southeastern Media and Arts Exchange (SAME) sponsors a performance of actor Michael Kearns' autobiographical play about his "happy hustler" past entitled The Truth is Bad Enough.

 Georgia State University professor Roger Bakeman, along with others at Morehouse College, release a paper showing that AIDS is disproportionately prevalent among African-Americans.

 The AIDS Survival Project forms in Atlanta.

 Christopher’s Kind bookstore closes its doors.

 The John Howell Park Project is begun to honor gay activist John Howell, who before his death due to AIDS-related causes was the widely-liked president of (among other things) the Virginia-Highland Neighborhood Association , president of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Chapter of the local ACLU, a board member of various gay organizations in the city, and a member of the city’s liquor license review board.


! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the thirteenth time into the U.S. Congress.

 Congressman Barney Frank comes out of the closet.

 In San Francisco, The Quilt is begun to honor AIDS victims, 20,000 of whom will have died by the end of the year.

 ACT UP is founded in New York City to protest government indifference to the AIDS pandemic.

January A group of gay volleyball enthusiasts form the Hotlanta Volleyball League.

Spring Threatened with a gay boycott, Atlanta-based Delta Airlines apologizes for discriminating against people with AIDS.

June Atlanta hosts the annual conference of Gay and Lesbian Parents Coalition International.

June With only last-minute planning for a local Pride celebration, approximately 500 people show up for a rally on the steps of the State Capitol.

July After years of refusing to do so, the New York Times finally begins permitting its writers to use the word gay in their stories (although only as an adjective).

July 16 Local gay journalist Ralph Ginn succumbs to AIDS-related complications.

August Local playwright Jim Grimsley's play Mr. Universe premieres at Atlanta's Seven Stages Theatre.

! AID Atlanta abruptly fires Executive Director Ken South, who had made plans previously to resign from the post. Within days eight staff members resign in a flurry of media publicity. Activist Buren Batson is named the new director, provoking further controversy within the agency and from critics of the organization.

 Atlanta lesbian and librarian Elizabeth Knowlton publishes the first known directory of GLBTQ archives.

October 11 Coinciding with a display of The Quilt, a national memorial for AIDS victims, approximately 600,000 lesbians and gay men converge on Washington DC to demand full civil rights. Even though this second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights has the largest number of participants (over half a million) of any march on the capital in U.S. history, and though 640 people (including local activists Ray Kluka and Maria Helena Dolan) are arrested in civil disobedi-ence actions at the U.S. Supreme Court protesting its Hardwick decision, neither Time nor Newsweek covers the story.


 The first National Coming Out Day is announced.

 The National Black Gay and Lesbian conference is convened.

 Sweden becomes the first country to enact legal protections for its gay citizens.

! Gay Rights Bill introduced for the fourteenth time into the U.S. Congress.

March 1 The local gay newspaper Southern Voice, originally a project of Southeast Arts and Media Education (SAME), is launched as a 16-page newspaper published every other week. founded by Christina Cash; her partner Leigh VanderEls, later joins as publisher. March Local writers' Dan Pruitt's and Patrick Hutchinson's gay musical revue Different opens at Atlanta's Seven Stages Theatre. Very popular, it returns the following summer.

April Atlanta hosts, for the third time, the annual Southeastern Conference of Lesbians and Gay Men, co-chaired by Alan Perreault and Laney Richardson.

April Local gay playwright Jim Grimsley's Math and Aftermath debuts at Atlanta's Seven Stages Theatre.

May 6-7 A 26-hour AIDS vigil is kept outside the State Capitol, ending nine days of lobbying around the country for government legislation to fund AIDS treatment and research.

May 28-30 The Quilt, a national memorial to AIDS victims, is displayed in Atlanta at the World Congress Center. Thousands of people from the southeastern United States come to see it. Local lesbian activist and playwright Rebecca Ransom's play Higher Ground, based on interviews with over 40 people with AIDS premieres at the Congress Center.

June 28 Longtime gay and neighborhood activist John Howell dies of an AIDS-related illness.

July 18-21 The Democratic Party National Committee holds its presidential convention in Atlanta. The 98 openly gay and lesbian delegates or alternates (a 30% increase over the 1984 Convention and a group that includes local activists Melinda Daniels and Dick Rhodes) meet daily. Keith Gann, a person with AIDS, addresses the convention on July 19th, criticizing President Reagan for not saying the word AIDS publicly for six years while thousands died. An Atlanta chapter of the national Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT/UP) forms during the Convention to push for increased attention and funds for AIDS sufferers. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis fails to mention gays or lesbians in his acceptance speech.

August 23 Maury Weil, chair the Georgia AIDS Legislative Coalition, reads his paper “Atlanta’s Gay Community After Hardwick: One man’s View…” at the annual meetings of the American Sociological Association, held this year in Atlanta.

October 11 During another showing in Washington, D.C. of the Names Project AIDS Quilt, ACT/UP joins in the "die-in" demo at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration headquarters near Washington, D.C., closing down the agency for a day. Local activist Ray Kluka is one of the demo's planner-participants.

! In the latter part of the year, the Atlanta chapter of ACT/UP, formed after the Democratic Party holds its presidential convention in Atlanta, pickets local Circle K stores to protest discriminatory employment practices, the Governor's Mansion to object to the unavailability of the AIDS treatment drug AZT, and Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza to protest those shopping centers' bookstores who censor an issue of SPIN Magazine that includes a free condom.

 The AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta forms.


 Denmark legalizes same-sex marriages.

 Two U.S. Dept. of Defense studies conclude there is no reason to ban lesbians and gay citizens from military service.

$ Gay Rights Bill (this year H.R. 709) introduced for the fifteenth time into the U.S. CongressCthis year by Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

January Over 300 gay and lesbian activists (including over 120 members of New York City's ACT\UP organization) converge on the State Capitol to call for the repeal of Georgia's sodomy law; 63 demonstrators are arrested as part of a civil disobedience exercise. In a related action on January 9th, 49 of some 300 AIDS activists were arrested at the Atlanta headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

January 16 A group of about 80 people (most of them white) from various local gay organizations march together in Atlanta's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade.

January 26 The board for the National Association of People with AIDS meets in Atlanta.

January 28 First regional planning meeting for a proposed national Lesbian Agenda Conference.

February 17 A Fulton County Probate Court jury upholds the will of a gay man who had died of AIDS the previous May. The will had been contested by the man's family when they discovered that the gay man had willed the bulk of his estate to another gay man.

February The Georgia Insurance Commission releases a regulation prohibiting insurance companies from asking potential customers about their sexual orientations, living arrangements, or occupations.

March 6 In Raleigh, NC, at the first national planning meeting for a nationwide Lesbian Agenda Conference in 1991, Atlanta is chosen as the conference site.

April The Atlanta Journal-Constitution refuses to list a local activist's lover's specific request to be listed as a survivor in the activist's obituary.

April 18 Gary Piccola, one of Atlanta's first openly gay psychologists and a founder of the local gay synagogue, dies from an AIDS-related illness.

April 18 Georgia Governor Harris signs into law a bill (drafted by local gay activist Chris Hagin in response to attempts to repeal Atlanta's human rights ordinance) making it more difficult for citizens to hold referendums. In June, Atlanta City Council member Mary Davis sponsors an ordinance placing this state law regarding referendums into the City Code.

May 9 Atlanta Gay Center members picket a rally of the Citizens for Public Awareness, an organization formed in 1986 to make it legal again to discriminate against gay people in Atlanta.

May 20 Atlanta=s Virginia-Highland Park is renamed for an openly gay local citizen and political activist John Howell. This is the first dedication of public property in the city to an openly gay person.

June 19-23 The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library sponsors an exhibit at its Central Library entitled “Lesbian/Gay History in Atlanta,” created by librarian Cal Gough.

June 24 Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson makes an appearance at this year’s Gay Pride celebration.

June 10 Etcetera Magazine editor and neighborhood activist Ray Kluka dies from an AIDS-related infection.

July 24 Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young signs a city ordinance passed July 17 requiring police to count crimes motivated by prejudice, including hatred of gay people. Atlanta City Council member Barbara Asher and five at-large members co-sponsored the ordinance for the city, one of six nationwide mandating the tracking of this type of crime.

August 4-6 11th Annual Hotlanta River Expo activities draw more than 5,000 party-goers and river rafters from over 40 cities to Atlanta.

August 12-13 Over 20 gay volleyball teams from around the country meet in Atlanta for the Hotlanta Volleyball classic III.

August 22-26 Some 60 gay softball tams from cities throughout the United States converge on Atlanta to play their 13th annual week-long tournament.

August Panels from the AIDS Quilt are again shown in Atlanta, at the Georgia World Congress Center.

September 17 Heartstrings: The National Tour, a series of 35 concerts across the nation to raise money for AIDS treatment and education, premieres at Atlanta=s Fox Theatre.

September Simon Nikoli, a gay South African anti-apartheid activist, visits Atlanta; the city government names a day in his honor.

November 4 Charis Books and More, Atlanta=s feminist book store, celebrates its 15th anniversary.

November 10-12 Atlanta=s Image Film and Video Center and the Southeastern Arts and Media Exchange co-sponsor a week-long series of motion pictures with gay or lesbian themes, the first such series in Atlanta in six years.

November After a 17-year legislative controversy over the issue, Massachusetts becomes the second State to grant equal rights to lesbian and gay citizens.

November Georgia native Keith St. John becomes the first openly gay Black politician elected to office when voters in Albany, New York choose him to represent them on their city council.

November The Synagogue Council of Atlanta votes to reject local gay and lesbian Congregation Bet Haverim=s application for Council membership.

December By mid-month, 177 Atlanta gay and lesbian athletes had committed themselves to participating in 17 of the 29 sports events scheduled for Gay Games III in Vancouver the following summer, where 5,500 gay and lesbian athletes, 4,500 gay and lesbian artists, and 16,500 gay and lesbian spectators were expected to participate.

December 19 DeKalb County Commissioner Sherry Sutton introduces an ordinance to punish people convicted of malicious harassment of any citizen, including a gay or lesbian citizen, due to prejudice.

$ A group of local artists and business professionals known as ARTCARE raise nearly $40,000 for battling the AIDS crisis by auctioneering work by local artists.

 SisterLove, Inc. opens its doors in Atlanta to offer resources, especially to women, about safer sex techniques.


 The organization Queer Nation is founded.

 The U.S. President signs federal legislation mandating the collection of statistics on Hate Crimes against gays and lesbians (among other minority groups).

January 8 ACT/UP states an anti-sodomy statute demonstration at the State Capitol.

June An estimated 5,000 people attend the annual Pride celebrations in Atlanta, which inaugurates an annual “Cabaret Night.” The local Front Runners sponsor the first annual Pride race.

 PALS (Pets Are Loving Support) is formed by two Atlanta businesswomen to provide pet care to people living with AIDS.

 The National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities forms in Atlanta.

 The “Billboard Project: “Gay Atlanta Loves You.”


 Connecticut and Hawaii enact legislation protecting gay and lesbian citizens in those states from discrimination.

 For the first time, a major U.S. corporation (Lotus) extends workplace benefits to same-sex domestic partners.

June Comedienne Lea Delaria emcees the local Pride celebration, attended by an estimated 20,000 (some reports claim 30,000). The annual AIDS Candlelight Vigil moves to John Howell Park.

June 23 The results of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Gay in Atlanta” poll makes the front page of (and three additional entire pages worth of copy in) the AJC’s Sunday edition. Quoted and/or appearing in accompanying photographs: Ron Greaves, David Greer, Jeff Corrigan, Jimmy Smith, David Salyer, Sam Coppock, Claudia Scarbrough, Joanne DeMark, Carolyn Upton, Jim Knoll, Kent Wilson, Nancy Wilkinson, Robert Johnson, Scott Auerbach, Jim Grimsley, Michael Phillips, Chester Old, Christina Cash, Jeff Graham, Heinz Brandt, Lane Fischer, Gene Bowers, Lyn Hall.

July 5-6 The 7th Annual Armory Classic Softball Tournament hosts 33 teams of lesbian and gay softball players from 15 cities.

 The first AIDS Walk in Atlanta is held in Piedmont Park.

 Queer Nation’s Atlanta chapter organizes a nationwide boycott of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain after it fires lesbian cook Cheryl Summerville from a suburban-Atlanta Cracker Barrel.


 Colorado passes anti-gay Amendment 2 to its constitution.

 New Jersey enacts legislation protecting that state’s gay and lesbian citizens from discrimination.

 The Lesbian Avengers is founded in New York City.

June An estimated 40k,000 attend Atlanta’s annual Pride celebration.

September 11-November 29 Actor’s Express reprises The Harvey Milk Show, a musical written by Dan Pruitt and Patrick Hutchison. This production stars Chris Coleman as Harvey.

 Positive Impact, Inc. is formed to provide mental health services for people living with or affected by HIV.

 Emory University establishes its Office of Gay and Lesbian Student Life.


 The Third National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights attracts one million protestors.

 The movie Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks as a person with AIDS, appears in U.S. movie theatres

 The first Dyke March in Washington, D.C.

April Olympics Out of Cobb co-chairs Pat Hussain and Jon Ivan Weaver release Spiked: Olympics Out of Cobb, a book describing their struggles with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

June The Dyke March becomes an official Atlanta Pride event. Over 100,000 people attend the local Pride celebration, but the event’s sponsorship lands the organizers with a large post-festival debt.

 Grady Hospital’s Infectious Disease Clinic opens a new site on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

 Cobb County, located to the north of Atlanta, adopts an ordinance declaring homosexuality to be “incompatible” with Cobb’s “community standards.”

 Olympics Out of Cobb is formed to protest Cobb County’s anti-gay ordinance, and to make sure that Cobb would not benefit from Olympic activity in Atlanta, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games having taken a public stand against anti-gay communities.

 Lesbian activist Julia Strong is chosen to be one of the “faces of diversity” depicted in an Olympics-celebrating mural in downtown Atlanta.

 The city establishes its domestic partner registry for city employees after the city council approves workplace benefits for the partners of city employees.

 Atlanta’s OutWrite Bookstore opens its doors for business.


January The Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s airing of the miniseries “Tales of the City,” by Armistead Maupin, triggers Congressional hearings where some lawmakers try to de-fund the CPB. In Georgia, the legislature threatens to kill funding for a new state public tv production facility after the miniseries aired.

February 1 The Cobb Citizens Coalition unveils a billboard that reads “Stop the Hate – Rescind the Resolution.”

February 27 Olympics Out of Cobb Coalition stages its first demo, in Woodruff Park. The next day, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games announces it would not move the volleyball events scheduled in Cobb County, but would listen to OOCC’s demands.

March 14 Queer Nation/Atlanta, a key mover in the Cracker Barrel controversy of 1991-92, votes to disband, citing “lack of interest in direct action.”

March 30 The Swedish furniture company Ikea becomes the first corporation to depict a gay couple in a television advertisement.

April 10 Lesbian Avengers/Atlanta sponsor a mock Olympic torch run from Olympic headquarters in Atlanta to Cobb County’s Marietta Square to protest the scheduling of an Olympic venue in a county that vilifies gay people.

April 27 The U.S. Coast Guard (a division of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation) lifts its ban on gay service-members.

May 2 Wayne County, Georgia officials pass a resolution identical to the one on the books in Cobb County, hoping it will prevent pro-gay lesson plans from being used in Wayne County school systems.

May 10 More than 350 protestors rally in downtown Atlanta’s Woodruff Park during a visit from the International Olympic Committee’s president.

May 25 Thirty-seven Cobb County ministers sign a proclamation calling for the county commissioners to repeal their anti-gay resolution.

June 10-12 An estimated 150,000 attend the local Pride celebration, making it the fifth largest in the nation.

June 18-25 More than 11,000 athletes compete in Gay Games IV, which are conducted this year in New York City, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the city’s Stonewall Riots. For these two events, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno temporarily lifts the ban on people with HIV from other countries entering the United States.

June 20 A group of Lesbian Avengers on their way to New York City’s Stonewall 25 celebration stage protest the Olympic Games’ plans to hold an Olympic event in Cobb County and the Centers for Disease Control’s lack of research into lesbian health issues.

June 22 Cobb County Commission Chair Bill Byrne’s daughter Shannon Byrne announces she is a lesbian in hopes of changing her father’s mind about the county’s anti-gay resolution. The resolution remains on the books.

June 23 The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1994 is introduced into the U.S. Congress after languishing in various committees for the past 18 years. Protections for gays and lesbians in housing are dropped from the bill.

June 27 The Neighbors Network releases a report that links Cobb County anti-gay resolution author Gordon Wysong with a Christian extremist group that advocates the death penalty for gays and the abolition of the U.S. Constitution’s first amendment’s provision separating church and state.

June 28 The Cobb County Commission reaffirms its anti-gay ordinance by declaring it was correct to condemn “the gay lifestyle.”

July 29 The U.S. Senate holds its first-ever hearings on a gay civil rights bill. Atlantan Cheryl Summerville tells the Senate about Cracker Barrel restaurants firing her and other lesbians and gay men because of their sexual orientation.

July 29 The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games faxes its decision to move the upcoming Olympic volleyball venue out of Cobb County. The Olympics Out of Cobb Coalition is dissolved (even though its $3,000 indebtedness wouldn’t be paid off until November).

August 25 The U.S. Congress passes (and President Clinton later signs) the first hate crimes legislation that covers lesbians and gay men.

August 28 Cobb County rabbi Steven Lebow holds a rally attended by more than 1,000 people who demand that the county’s commissioners rescind the county’s anti-gay ordinance.

September 15 Activists in Savannah persuade the Chatham County commissioners not to adopt a proposed anti-gay ordinance similar to the one on the books in Cobb County.

October 14-22 ACTUP/Atlanta sponsors an AIDS-themed art exhibit at the King Plow Arts Center to advocate for the passage of pending federal legislation that would fund more research for a cure for AIDS.

October The U.S. Paralympics, a sporting event for disabled athletes, pulls its planned venues from Cobb County, depriving the county treasury of $72,000 in expected rental agreements.

October 26 As part of his re-election bid, anti-gay resolution author and Cobb County commissioner Gordon Wysong pledges to repeal the resolution if Georgia’s Supreme Court finds the City of Atlanta’s domestic partnership ordinance unconstitutional.

November 4 SAME opens its 7th Annual Lesbian and Gay Film & Video Festival. Poor attendance leaves the festival in debt.

December 6 A large crowd attends a meeting at the Stone Mountain, Georgia city hall to protest a pending anti-gay resolution similar to Cobb County’s. City councilmembers defeat the measure.

December 9 President Clinton fires Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders for describing masturbation as a healthy sexual outlet at a World AIDS Day conference on December 1st.

December 13 Lief Eric Spivey, co-producer and host of gay-themed cable tv programs airing in Atlanta, dies at his home of AIDS-related complications. Spivey, 35, had also served as a delegate from Cobb County to the 1992 Democratic National Convention and had run for Atlanta City Council in 1993.

 ALFA disbands and discontinues its monthly newsletter Atalanta.

 Queer Planet/Atlanta, a direct action group, forms. In December, members of the group pass out flyers at Atlanta’s Grady High School calling for realistic sex education; others picket a fundraiser for re-electing Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich.

 A judge rules that the City of Atlanta’s domestic partnership ordinance violates the state constitution’s home rule clause.

 Marietta police raid Players, a recently-opened gay bar in Cobb County, for hosting adult entertainment (a “Mr. Cobb” strip contest) without a permit; they arrest two contestants.

 Queer plays presented by Atlanta-area theatres this season include Howard Crabtree’s Whoop-Dee-Doo (OnStage Atlanta); Unidentified Remains and the True Nature of Love (Actor’s Express); The Faggots of the Coronado (OutProud); Southern Gothic (Acme); The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me and The Sum of Us (SAME); House of Balls and Eula Mae’s Beauty, Bait and Tackle (Neighborhood Playhouse); and the Pulitzer Prize-and Tony-winning Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (Alliance).


 President Clinton signs an executive order the denial of security clearances for federal employment based on sexual orientation.

 Angels in America by Tony Kushner arrives on Broadway.

 The Elton John AIDS Foundation is formed in Atlanta.

Labor Day Weekend Although a gathering of African-American lesbians and gay men in Piedmont Park had been a tradition for many years, 1995 marked the first official Black Gay Pride event.

October 11-15 Southeastern Arts, Media & Education (SAME) sponsors the 8th annual gay/lesbian film festival.

 The Georgia Supreme Court strikes down the city of Atlanta’s original domestic partnership legislation.

 Emory University approves workplace benefits for the domestic partners of Emory employees.

 The Georgia Equality Project, the state’s first statewide gay political organization, is organized.


 The U.S. Congress passes the Defense of Marriage Act, and President Clinton signs it.

 1.2 million people visit the AIDS Quilt, again displayed in Washington, D.C.

 The U.S. Supreme Court declares Colorado’s anti-gay Amendment 2 unconstitutional.

 South Africa becomes the first county to include protection for its gay and lesbian citizens in its constitution.

February When anti-gay Nancy Schaefer’s organization, Family Concerns, let its corporate license lapse, some Atlanta activists file to use the name to form a pro-gay group. State attorney general Michael Bowers issues a ruling preventing the name takeover, and “Georgia Family Concerns” is formed instead.

April 10 Faced with a lawsuit and an unfriendly opinion issued by Georgia attorney general Michael Bowers, Georgia Tech’s student newspaper agrees to accept an ad from the Campus Crusade for Christ about “curing homosexuality.”

April The Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative is formed.

June 1 Atlanta’s Outwrite Bookstore celebrates its grand opening.

June The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Visitor’s Center opens to serve gays and lesbians attending the 1996 Olympic Games. The Center, conceived by the Mayor’s Advisors for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Community, is led by local entrepreneur Julie Rhoad. The Center operates an information center, showcases exhibits, and puts on concerts and shows.

June 28-30 Some 200,000 people (some reports claim 300,000) attend this year’s local Pride celebration. The Indigo Girls perform, and Coretta Scott King is among the guest speakers.

July 12-16 As an official part of the Olympic Arts Festival, Actor’s Express reprises its previous two runs of The Harvey Milk Show, a musical written by Dan Pruitt and Patrick Hutchison. (The show is held over for a subsequent run August 10-September 8.)

July 14 The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and the Atlanta Feminist Women’s Chorus join more than 500 other choral group members for a performance in Woodruff Park in the middle of downtown Atlanta.

 Protests against the anti-gay resolution approved by suburban Cobb County results in the International Olympic Committee’s decision to re-locate its venue for the Olympic volleyball competition.

 Georgia legislators outlaws same-sex marriages, and, in April, governor Zell Miller signs the bill into law.

 Georgia’ Supreme Court upholds the state’s sodomy law.

Atlanta’s mayor Bill Campbell signs an administrative order forbidding city contractors from discriminating against their employees on the basis of sexual orientation.


 New Hampshire and Maine pass gay rights laws.

 A federal appeals court strikes down an Alabama law barring gays from forming organizations on that state’s college campuses.

May 30 A federal appeals court rules 8-4 that Georgia attorney general Mike Bowers did not violate the constitutional rights of staffer Robin Shahar when he withdrew a job offer after learning she and her partner had been married in a religious ceremony. (Shahar loses her subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court in 1998.)

June 25-27 Emory University hosts “Queering the South: A Gathering of LBGT Artists, Activists, and Academics.” Local speakers and performers include Saralyn Chesnut, Cindy Abel, Harry Knox, Pat Hussain, Pam McMichael, Jim Grimsley, Donna Smith, Debbie Fraker, Lynwoodt Jenkins, Jonathan Lerner, Dave Hayward, Berl Boykin, Steve Warren, Edward Gray, Morticia DeVille, Mark Parham, Jane Seville, Jon-Ivan Weaver, Jane Morrison, and the African-American performance group Adodi Muse (Tony Daniels, Duncan Teague, and Malik M.L. Williams).

November 14 Methodist-affiliated Emory University announces it will allow same-sex couples to take marriage vows its chapels, but only if officiated by a leader of one of 24 recognized religious groups.

 Members of the Cobb Citizens Coalition, formed to oppose the county’s anti-gay resolution, declare the resolution “dead” when a new set of commissioners refuse to re-enact the resolution.

 A bomb explodes at The Otherside Lounge, a local gay and lesbian nightclub, and injures five people. Investigators later charge Eric Rudolph with the bombing, along with others, including one that killed a visitor to the 1996 Olympic Games.


 Maine rescinds the state’s gay non-discrimination statute.

 Washington becomes the 27th U.S. state to ban same-sex marriages when the legislature overrules the governor’s veto of the legislation.

June Over 300,000 attend the local Pride celebration.

October Wyoming college student Matthew Shepherd, age 21, dies of wounds suffered during a hate crime.

 The Hotlanta Softball League hosts the Lesbian and Gay World Series.

 Georgia’s Supreme Court strikes down the state’s ban on consensual, private sodomy between adults.


January 8 Activists protest in Atlanta the decision of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust’s decision to delete from its guidelines for teachers the only two paragraphs that mention the Nazi persecution of gay men.

June Some 250,000 brave the rain to participate in the local Pride celebration. Funds are raised to pay for the placing of banners along prominent streets marking the celebration.

 Atlanta’s city government files suit against the state’s insurance commission, John Oxendine, for refusing to permit domestic partner benefits to employers who want to offer them. City councilmember Cathy Woolard joins the suit as a plaintiff.


January Pine Lake, a suburb of Atlanta, swears in Georgia’s first openly-gay mayor, Al Fowler.

January Atlanta city council member Michael Bond introduces legislation to outlaw gender discrimination against city employees. The legislation wins unanimous passage in March.

February The suburban-Atlanta Decatur City School Board enacts protections for employees against sexual orientation and gender discrimination. (In June the city of Decatur enacts similar protections for all city employees.) March Georgia legislators approve (and the governor signs in April) hate crimes legislation…after eliminating from the bill a phras referring to sexual orientation.

June A DeKalb County superior court judge rules against a lesbian who wanted joint custody and visiting rights after her ex-partner (and biological mother) of their child objected.

June Atlanta-based Coca-Cola announces it would offer workplace benefits to employees’ domestic partners. The announcement came as the Georgia Equality Project launched a campaign to persuade nine other companies to do the same thing.

June The B-52s perform for a crowed of approximately 300,000 participants in the local Pride celebration. Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell is one of the parade’s 30 grand marshals.

July Unopposed by a Republican Party opponent in the primary round of voting, Georgia’s Democratic Party voters select suburban-Atlanta Avondale resident Karla Drenner as Georgia’s first openly-gay representative to the State Legislature.

August The mayor of Columbus, Georgia holds the first-ever meeting with representatives of that city’s gay citizens. (The meeting comes shortly after the local chapter of parents Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays were denied an application for a booth at a city festival.)

September Thousands of African-Americans from around the country converge on Atlanta for the city’s annual Black Gay Pride celebrations held every Labor Day weekend.

September The owners of Atlanta Gas-Light company announces it will begin offering benefits to domestic partners of its subsidiaries’ employees.

September Savannah, Georgia holds its first Gay Pride festival, drawing up to 2,000 participants.

October Atlanta-based Delta Airlines finally joins other major U.S. carriers who have long since begun offering workplace benefits to its employees.

October Fulton County Commission Chair Mike Kenn, elected after promising to lead the fight for domestic partner benefits for county employees, reverses his opinion, claiming that he only agreed during the campaign to “examine” the issue, and ignoring the recommendations of a committee appointed to draft the legislation.

October Under orders from its denomination’s ruling body, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church cancels a commitment ceremony for a gay male couple that the church’s congregation had approved.

November The National Lesbian & Gay Task Force holds in Atlanta its 13th annual “Creating Change” conference, drawing thousands of gay activists from around the county to the event.

December Atlanta’s city council adopts (and mayor Bill Campbell signs) a non-discrimination ordinance proposed by openly gay councilmember Cathy Woolard.

December Lesbian Jane Morrison, former director of the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Atlanta office, is appointed as the first judge in the state to join the bench after a career in gay rights.


 The AIDS Memorial Quilt moves its headquarters from San Francisco to Atlanta.

 Atlanta voters elect Cathy Woolard as city council president.


June Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin speaks at the local Gay Pride celebration, attended by 300,000 people this year.

October Sgt. Connie Locke, a 15-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department, becomes APD’s first liaison to the local gay community. (After Locke retires, she is replaced in December 2005 by Officer Darlene Harris.)


June Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin marches in the annual Pride parade and speaks at the rally in Piedmont Park.


 Massachusetts becomes the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriages.

November Georgia voters approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.


January Druid Hills Golf Club, cited by the city in 2004 for discriminating against two gay members by not offering spousal-equivalent benefits to their domestic partners, sues the city to avoid paying a $90,000 fine. Georgia legislators introduce legislation that prohibits the city for punishing private groups for discrimination. (The law is later passed and approved by the governor.)

January The city approves an ordinance that favors vendors vying for city contracts that offer their employees domestic partnership benefits. Georgia legislators pass a law gutting these sorts of ordinances, and the governor signs the bill into law.

January Attorneys from the ACLU of Georgia, Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, and the law firm of Alston & Bird files suit against the 2004 anti-gay, voter-approved amendment to Georgia’s constitution.

April Eric Rudolph pleads guilty to a string of bombings, including a 1997 attack on the Otherside Lounge, a gay bar. (In August, Rudolph is sentenced to life in prison.)

April Local police officers arrest six gay men in Piedmont Park after the park’s 11pm closing. The persons arrested claim police made anti-gay remarks during the arrests. (The men were eventually fined and/or sentenced to community service. After a five-month investigation of the incident, one of the arresting officers is fired.)

June The Indigo Girls again perform at the local Pride festival, which draws over its three days an estimated 320,000 participants.

July Georgia Equality launches a “We are your Neighbors” billboard campaign, which places ads on 12 billboards within a 75-mile radius of Atlanta. (The second phase of the campaign is launched in November.)

December A student group’s celebration of “Coming Out Day” at Macon’s Baptist-affiliate Mercer University leads Southern Baptist Convention executives to announce it would seek to sever its ties with Mercer. If the vote is ratified, it would mean the loss of some $3.5 million in Convention funding for Mercer. December Fifteen year-old student Jessica Bradley, expelled by the private Covenant Christian Academy in Loganville, Georgia after school officials heard she had kissed another female, sues the school for $1 million.

 Archivist Wesley Chenault curates an exhibit at the Atlanta History Center of artifacts from Atlanta’s pre-Stonewall past, “The Unspoken Past: Atlanta Lesbian and Gay History, 1940-1970.”

 Project Open Hand serves its 10 millionth meal.


January The National Black Justice Coalition organizes a Black Church Summit in Atlanta, bringing together African-American clergy and gay and lesbian activists to discuss ways to fight homophobia within Black congregations.

May 18 On a procedural issue, a federal judge strikes down the voter-approved amendment to the state’s constitution that bans same-sex marriages.


Previous Chronologies:

• “Atlanta’s Gay and Lesbian Communities Since Stonewall: A Chronology, 1969-1989" compiled by Cal Gough, Reference Librarian, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library. 1989.

• “20 Years of Pride” compiled by Dave Hayward. 1991.

• “Atlanta’s Gay Pride Celebrations” compiled by Cal Gough. 1992.

• “1994 in Review” Etcetera Magazine, December 30, 1994, pp. 18+.

• “1996: News from a Queer Planet” by Rob Nixon, Etcetera Magazine, December 27, 1996, pp. 16-30.

• “From Stonewall to Piedmont Park: Three Decades of Atlanta’s Gay History” by Laura Brown. Southern Voice, June 24, 1999, p. 1, 32-33.

• “”Highlights of Atlanta’s Gay History: 1970-1999,” pages 11-15 of Covering Us: A Journalist’s Guide to Resources in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Gay-Friendly Communities of Metro Atlanta compiled by the Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Lesbian and Gay Journalists, 2000.

• “Annual Atlanta Pride Festival: The Early Years” by Richard L. Eldredge. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 23, 2000, pp. E-1, E-8.

• “Historic Victories, Ongoing Battles Across Georgia” by Laura Brown. Southern Voice, December 28, 2000.

• “[2005:] Year of Hard Knocks for Gay Atlanta” by Andrew Keegan, Southern Voice, December 30, 2005, pp. 12-14.

• “A Brief History of PRIDE in Atlanta & the Atlanta PRIDE Committee, Inc.” http://new.atlantapride.org/history/ (consulted May 26, 2006)

• “Milestones in the HIV Epidemic” Southern Voice, June 2, 2006, page 14

• “Georgia History Timeline” http://www.ourgeorgiahistory.com (consulted May 26, 2006)

• “Sears’ Queer Southern Century (Or So) Timeline” http://www.jtsears.com/histline.htm

• “Swade’s Tribal Chant Lesbian History” http://www.swade.net/lesbian/tribal_chant (consulted May 26, 2006)

Other sources:

• GLBTQ Encyclopedia http://www.glbtq.com (consulted May 26, 2006)

• “Atlanta’s Gay Community After Hardwick” by Maury Weil. Presented August 23, 1988 at the Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems; sponsored by the ASA’s Lesbian and Gay Caucus. <comments />