Checking in on Atlanta’s LGBT Media Scene

Atlanta’s weekly alternative Creative Loafing looked at the current landscape for LGBT media in Atlanta after the death of Southern Voice due to the collapse of Window Media, as well as staff shake-ups at LGBT media upstarts in Atlanta. 

When Georgia’s first gay, African-American lawmaker, Simone Bell, formally took her seat in the state House of Representatives last week, the occasion marked a rare progressive milestone – for the South, anyway.

Too bad no newspapers were paying attention.

“The mainstream media, and even the alternative media, isn’t going to cover the gay community with the same level of detail that a gay newspaper would,” says frustrated state Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, during a break in House action.

Drenner, who became Georgia’s first gay state elected official in 2000, laments the November closing of Southern Voice as a major setback for Atlanta’s gay community. Bell’s first day on the job wasn’t the only story that seemed to fall through the cracks in the wake of the sudden demise of the state’s premiere gay weekly. Just days after the 21-year-old newspaper was shuttered, Chamblee banned discrimination against gay city workers, a story that didn’t appear in the AJC until nearly a month later.

Also, Ed Scruggs, an 80-year-old veteran activist who’d marched in the Atlanta Pride parade only two weeks earlier, died. But with SoVo gone, there would be no print obituary recounting Scruggs’ contributions to gay causes, only a short article on the Project Q media website – a situation that concerns Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the state’s largest gay rights group.

“If younger gays can’t read about people like Ed, they won’t understand the struggles that got us to where we are today,” says Graham, who believes SoVo served a critical role in a place that the current issue of the Advocate crowns as the “gayest city in America.”

The story details the rise of ProjectQAtlanta and Atlanta Free Press, as well as three planned publications: Just In magazineGeorgia Pulse, and  GA Voice, which is headed by people with long connections with SoVo.

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