ATLANTA, Ga., December 7, 2021 –– Kia “Comedy” Barnes and Dr. Elijah Nicholas will host OUT Georgia Business Alliance’s 2021 Community Honors virtual awards, presented by AARP Georgia, to be held Thursday, December 16 at 7pm Eastern.

The virtual celebration will be broadcast live from Out Front Theatre Company as Georgia’s only LGBTQ+ and allied chamber of commerce recognizes finalists and winners in the categories of Business Leader, Community Leader, Next Gen Leader, Nonprofit, Corporate Ally, Small Business, New Business, and Member of the Year.

“Kia Comedy and Dr. Elijah Nicholas are both incredible leaders and big personalities who will help create a special experience as we recognize the inspiring work happening across Georgia’s LGBTQ+ community,” said Chris Lugo, OUT Georgia’s Executive Director. 

“Plus, we’re broadcasting live from Out Front Theatre Company and using the stage of its Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes – Holiday Edition production…this is going to be fun!”

Finalists for the 2021 Community Honors award categories were identified with guiding input from the community, and OUT Georgia’s executive Board leadership will determine the winners of each category, except for Member of the Year which will be open to Membership voting November 23 through December 8.

Winners in each category below will be announced LIVE during the 2021 Community Honors virtual awards show to be held Thursday, December 16 at 7pm Eastern!

About Kia “Comedy” Barnes

Kia Barnes is an advocate for equality and diversity within the LGBTQ community, and her repertoire includes event production, education, entertainment, and she is also a social media influencer. A former teacher and Fulbright researcher, Kia was appointed to Atlanta Public School’s LGBTQ Taskforce, where she chairs its Curriculum and Policy Board. Mayor Keisha Bottoms also selected Kia to sit on the city’s first LGBTQ Advisory board. Having left the classroom in 2014 to pursue a career in standup comedy, Kia has performed on stages across the country and has also been featured on Netlix, Xfinity, BET, LOL Network, NBC and more.

She has collaborated to cultivate queer safe spaces with numerous LGBTQ organizations and events, including: the Human Rights Campaign, Georgia Equality, Atlanta Pride, Pridelines Miami, Clexacon Las Vegas, Women of Color Weekend, SisterSpace, and the list continues to grow! Kia also produces two nationally touring LGBTQ engagements, the Lez Laugh Comedy Show and the Andro Fashion Show, and she was instrumental in producing Atlanta’s first “Equality March,” in commemoration of the Pulse Orlando tragedy. Simply put, Kia “Comedy” Barnes is not just jokes.

About Dr. Elijah Nicholas

Assigned the female sex at birth, 11-time published author, Dr. Elijah Nicholas spent almost half of his life in the US Military, retiring as a Lt Col in 2012. Transitioning from female-to-male in 2018 manifested because Dr. Elijah could no longer live his core values: Authenticity, Integrity, and Transparency. After retiring from the military and then leading ministers and pastors around the globe, Dr. Elijah found it most befitting to resign his duties as a pastoral leader in 2018, just before he began his gender reassignment.

Dr. Elijah holds a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from The University of Phoenix, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Masters of Science in Leadership and Operational Art from Air University, a Masters of Art in Education Training & Leadership (MAET), and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Administration of Justice. Dr. Nicholas attended the 2021 Harvard Divinity School Executive Education program for “Religious Resources for Living Beyond Crises.”

Dr. Elijah Nicholas is the founder of Dr. Elijah Nicholas Ministries, LLC, Dr. Elijah Nicholas, LLC, Meredith Real Estate Holdings, and The Dr. Elijah Nicholas Foundation. He publishes inclusive books, provides keynote speaking, does trans advocacy work, and provides organizational training on gender identity and transgender and nonbinary inclusion. Dr. Elijah is a Spiritual Light Coach, Author, Actor, Advocate and Motivational Speaker.

Dr. Elijah is a member of the Atlanta Veterans Administration (VA) Mental Health Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the OUT Georgia Business Alliance’s TGNC360 (Transgender, Non-Gender Conforming) Advisory Committee. Dr. Elijah has brilliantly created an LGBTQI+ friendly family & children’s book series featuring Madoodle (aka Madison), a ten-year-old girl whose Uncle Pete was once her Auntie Mary. Based on Dr. Elijah’s personal experiences with family and friends as he navigated his gender transition from female to male,

Dr. Elijah creates stories of love, family, compassion, inclusion, and authentic gender expression acceptance.

About OUT Georgia Business Alliance

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OUT Georgia Business Alliance proudly serves as Georgia’s only LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce.

Since 1994, OUT Georgia Business Alliance (formerly the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce) has served the LGBTQ+ and Allied business community by advocating for the most inclusive and equitable business environment; providing support and resources to fuel economic growth; and driving meaningful community connections and impact across the State of Georgia.

OUT Georgia Business Alliance is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., and is a proud affiliate of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. For more information, contact us at or