Bil Browning

LGBT in Atlanta: "They are a swing vote"

Filed By Bil Browning | September 28, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Atlanta, Georgia, LGBT voters, mayor, swing vote

Interesting. The LGBT vote is a swing vote in Atlanta.

All four leading mayoral candidates -- Lisa Borders, Mary Norwood, Kasim Reed and Jesse Spikes -- sent statements urging city officials to conduct a fair investigation into the Sept. 10 raid at the Atlanta.jpgAtlanta Eagle and punish any police officers found to have violated the bar patrons' civil rights.

Another candidate, Kyle Keyser, went to a rally at the bar the following Sunday to protest what demonstrators argue was police misconduct.

The quick responses to the raid highlight the increasingly fierce battle among the candidates for votes from Atlanta's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Some estimate 15 percent of Atlanta residents are LGBT, and which way they vote could ultimately decide who becomes the city's 59th mayor.

Georgia has a lesbian member of the legislature. The Democratic candidates for Atlanta mayor all promise the community untold opportunities and stand with us on our issues. I guess I'm going to move Georgia a little closer to "Coastal" instead of just "Southern" in my mental hierarchy of state rankings. It definitely beats Indiana, but, hell, we're the middle finger of the south.

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Don't give the State as a whole too much credit.

Before last years election one of the local weekly papers ran a very fitting cover. It was titled "Blue City, Red State". The graphic was a cartoon of the city surrounded by a dike, against which sloshed a sea of red. Afloat on that sea were a large number of bass boats in an aquatic attack armed with fishing poles, deer rifles, and McCain/Palin signs.

The population of the city itself is only about 500,000. The metro area is fairly large with a population over 5,000,000.

What flies in Atlanta does not nescessarily fly outside the city limits. The northern suburbs are a right wing strong hold. Newt Gingrich's old district stops at the Chattahoochee River, the city limit on the north side.

Frequently when the state legislature is in session we get the esteemed representatives from South Georgia diving into their pet topics with something like "Now, Ah'm not sure how they do things up thar in A'lanna but the good people of (insert south Ga locale, near where God lost his shoes here) take a more traditional stance."

As Atlanta goes, the state as a whole is not nescessarily going to follow.

I live in the very area that JP mentioned to be Newt's old district. I been in this area nearly 10 years and seen a lot of stuff. The area I live is slowly chipping away of the Republican elected positions for the local and state, but still have very conservative Congressmen. We do have one of just a few gay bars outside the Perimeter (I-285 Loop.)

The city has a fully inclusive non-discrimination law that covers everyone and everything, but has no teeth. A year after the law was passed, my trans friend became homeless and all the woman's shelters turned her down, blatantly violating the law. None were ever prosecuted. She ended up committing suicide.

I have spoken to all of the candidates on the issue of homeless trans women not being allowed in woman's shelters, and to the top two candidates multiple times. The new mayor will get a visit from me in January. But, politicians change when they get the job.

I'm glad to see they all support punishing the abusive members of the Red Dog Squad, but they will not be mayor for another four months. This election will be very interesting.

Atlanta aint the rest of Georgia.I am a South Georgia girl and most folks here could care less what went on in Atlanta.In fact many wouldnt mind if the state was split in 2 states so yeah what goes on in Atlanta means nothng in the rest of the state of for that matter even in the rest of Fluton Country most of the time.

Ooooh the Atlantans are on their game tonight.
I agree with everything JP and Monica said.

Expect a runoff, Norwood vs Borders or Reed.
Very competitive races this year, they are saying anything they can to get an edge.

There is also a split along racial lines of LGBT, Norwood has gay support, but likely near zero black GLBT support.

I like Liz Coyle for Midtown City Council district.

Oh Indiana.

Atlanta's going to have ANOTHER lesbian state representative soon, too...