Atlanta Has Become Mecca for Black Gays
If you are black and gay — or looking to meet those who are — Atlanta may be the place for you.
Once or twice a week, the women’s drum circle gathers to practice. Drum Sista’s members pound and caress the skins, bonding through the rhythm in an atmosphere of like-minded women activists and artists, all African-American, all lesbian. It is no accident that they found one another in Atlanta. The city and its suburbs have, in recent years, become a mecca for black gays and lesbians. The region now is home to the biggest concentration of black same-sex couples in the South, with nearly as many as the Chicago area, which has more than four times as many blacks.
Many make their homes in Atlanta for the same reasons that tens of thousands of other blacks have relocated to such states as Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas: a moderate cost of living and the familiar culture of the South, where most black Americans have family roots.
Though Atlanta’s blacks generally reflect African-Americans nationwide many are religious, socially conservative and critical of homosexuality lesbians and gays in town are courted by elected officials and they have access to some of the nation’s best HIV-fighting resources geared toward African-Americans. Each year, the city hosts what organizers say is the biggest black, gay festival in the world.
“I had never seen that many black gay folks in my life, and I was blown away,” said Duncan Teague of his first visit, a two-week vacation from Kansas City in 1985. “I was out of the closet, but not as out as I was down here. I could be whoever Duncan decided to be. And I was.”
The story “Pope Figures to Be Big Man in Georgia” is, however, totally unrelated.