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Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Suspended For Anti-Gay Religious Tract

FEMA_-_41848_-_Kelvin_Cochran,_Administrator_for_the_Federal_Emergency_Management_Agency_US_Fire_Administration

Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has been suspended from his position for one month for writing a religious book in which he describes homosexuality as a “sexual perversion,” reports AJC.com.

In the self-published book “Who Told You That You Are Naked?” (yours for only $13.18!), Cochran argues that homosexuality is akin to bestiality and pederasty. Kelvin Cochran Who Told You That You Are Naked?

Arguing that “men who carry the curse of condemnation and deprivation cannot fulfill their purpose as husbands, fathers, community and business leaders,” the book includes passages such as the following:

• “Uncleanness — whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”

• “Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s spokesperson Anne Torres said the administration didn’t know about the book until employees came forward with complaints last week.  Reed wrote on Facebook that he was “deeply disturbed” by the book book and will “not tolerate discrimination of any kind” in his administration.

Cochran has been ordered to undergo sensitivity training and has been barred from distributing copies of the book on city property.

Additionally, Reed’s office has now opened an investigation to determine whether Cochran has violated city policies or discriminated against employees.


Wiki Loves Pride Edit-A-Thons Improve LGBT Content On Wikipedia

Wikimedia lgbt

Last month, Wikipedia launched a series of Wiki Loves Pride edit-a-thons to improve LGBT-related content on various Wikimedia projects.

The edit-a-thons aim to increase “the number of people and perspectives contributing to LGBT information on the site, as well as encouraging institutions to add their authority information, research and images to the public domain.”

Edit-a-thons have already taken place in Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon.  Future edit-a-thons are planned for Atlanta and Houston and for Bangalore and Delhi, India.


Man Turns Himself in After Anti-Gay Attack on Cyclist in Atlanta: VIDEO

Beltline

An Atlanta man has turned himself in after a cyclist and surveillance cameras captured him in an anti-gay assault on a cyclist on the Atlanta Beltline, WSBTV reports:

Quinn Chrzan, 24, says the man shouted anti-gay slurs just before the man slammed him into a gate and punched him repeatedly.
 
"I was pinned against the wall and my hand was sliced up so, there was nothing I could do," said Chrzan. "He just punched me in the face."
 
The incident happened at Beltline Northeast near McGruder Street.
On Wednesday, Michael Sanders turned himself in to Atlanta police. He was charged with battery and released Thursday morning on $5,000 bond.

"(He) kept calling me homophobic slurs and all I said to him was, Please don't use homophobic slurs,’" Chrzan said.

There were also several witnesses to Sanders' attack, which he said was motivated by Chrzan riding too close to him as he ran on the trail.

Watch the report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Man Turns Himself in After Anti-Gay Attack on Cyclist in Atlanta: VIDEO" »


Jason K. Friedman's 'Fire Year': Book Review

BY GARTH GREENWELL

Fire YearIt’s not surprising that a collection centered on gay Jewish experience in the American South would be filled with outsiders. The seven stories in Jason K. Friedman’s rich, funny and finally very moving debut all feature characters who feel like transplants in a strange land, even though often enough it’s the land to which they were born.

In several of these stories, sexuality is among the reasons for this sense of displacement. In “Blue,” the opening piece, a boy takes refuge in religion after a night watching hotel porn, when he realizes his excitements are different from those of his classmates. In “Reunion,” a forty-year-old gay man returns home from New York to find himself embroiled in a brief and bewildering affair with the star athlete of his class, now married with kids. “A little air started to leak in around the edges of the me who was filling the space of my body,” the narrator says, “the confident new me I was presenting." 

But these characters’ sense of apartness persists even when sexuality in itself is no longer a source of conflict. In “There’s Hope for Us All,” the book’s longest story and also one of its best, a young art historian finds himself working at a small museum in Atlanta, having failed to find an academic job after earning his Ph.D. from Yale. Adrift in the sprawling urban landscape of the New South, “a city of suburbs and ring roads,” and estranged from his Guyanese boyfriend, he makes a discovery that will bring him sudden fame and also a fuller sense of his own isolation. 

Friedman has already been compared to Philip Roth, and the first two stories here have something of Roth’s erotic comedy and brilliant sense of Jewish life in the suburbs. Salvatore Scibona, who selected Fire Year for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, also invokes Saul Bellow in characterizing Friedman’s work. But as I read this collection, I found myself thinking most often of the third in that trio of 20th-century Jewish American greats, Bernard Malamud, whose stories and novels are sriking, like Friedman's stories, both for their elegance and for the extraordinary compassion they show for their characters. 

Jason_Friedman_Photo This compassion is most evident in the book’s tremendously good title story, the last piece in the collection and the only one that takes place outside of America. In an unspecified country in an unspecified time, a boy comes of age in a Jewish town cursed to burn every seven years. The son of a great Rabbi, feared for his mysterious tie to the fires that plague the town, Zev’s own fears center on the desire that seems to blight his life, separating him both from his father and from the brother he loves, making him “a sapless tree, a dry well.” With its gorgeous, surprisingly redemptive end, “Fire Year” is among the best stories I’ve read all year.

Having recently published Caitlin Horrocks’s tremendous first collection of stories, and with Kyle Minor’s much anticipated second collection out in February, Sarabande Books is cornering the market on exciting young writers of short fiction. Fire Year is an excellent addition to their list. Friedman’s bio suggests that he may have a novel in the works; if it’s anything like these terrific stories, I can’t wait.

Previous reviews...
David Levithan’s ‘Two Boys Kissing’
Thomas Glave’s ‘Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh’
Duncan Fallowell’s ‘How to Disappear: A Memoir for Misfits’
Frank Bidart’s ‘Metaphysical Dog’



Garth Greenwell is the author of Mitko, which won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for both the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award and a Lambda Award. He is currently an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.


Gay Rights Activists to Protest Coca-Cola Headquarters Today Over Sochi 2014 Olympics

Sochiallout

The activist group AllOut is planning a protest at Coca-Cola's headquarters in Atlanta today at 12:30 pm, Atlanta INtown reports:

 The organization is asking for the soft drink giant to call for a repeal of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Coke is one of the largest sponsors of the Olympic games.

AllOut has been pressuring Coca-Cola executives to speak out against Russia's anti-gay laws and a petition has received more than 350,000 signatures urging the company to do so.


Gay, African-American City Council Candidate Drops Out Of Race In Atlanta, Endorses Incumbent

Jon Jones reportedly dropped out of the Atlanta City Council race, according to Atlanta Progressive News. As Towleroad reported less than a month ago, Jones would have been the first openly gay, African-American man elected to the city council. Jones cited fracturing votes in a competitive race as the impetus for his removal, and he is now backing the incumbent candidate for District 5, Natalyn Archibong.

JonjonesGA Voice reports:

Before Jones dropped out, there were four opponents trying to unseat Archibong, who has held the District 5 seat since 2001. 

The three remaining candidates are Matt Rinker and Christine Enterkin, both openly gay; and John Paul Michalik. 

...

"If I stay in the race, it could fracture the vote. It could lead to District 5 losing… someone who’s genuinely worked on their behalf, and replaced with a candidate that’s unknown, Matt Rinker or Christian Enterkin. They stand on their promises, but they don’t come close to the record that Natalyn has,” Jones told APN.

Archibong told APN she was "humbled" by Jones backing her.

Jones will be missed in what could have been a historic election.  

For her part, Archibong has been embroiled in controversy after reports came out regarding an $11,000 sum she paid to her brother's company between 2007 and 2008. She has settled with the Board of Ethics to pay a $250 fine.  


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