FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ATLANTA, Ga., November 17, 2020 –– OUT Georgia Business Alliance is proud to reveal its first-ever Most Influential LGBTQ+ Georgians list for 2020, highlighting 100 LGBTQ+ trailblazers who are making a true difference in their community.
From business and community leaders to entrepreneurs, young people, and celebrities, this diverse list features 100 Georgians who exemplify integrity and progress through their leadership, voice, visibility, and action.
“It is our honor to recognize these Georgians who are using their influence to impact the lives of countless LGBTQ+ people, here in Georgia and beyond,” said Michael Daniels, Board President of the OUT Georgia Business Alliance.
After welcoming nominations from the community, Daniels and OUT Georgia’s executive director Chris Lugo took on the task of finalizing the inaugural Most Influential LGBTQ+ Georgians list, which was unveiled November 17, during the chamber’s 2020 LGBTQ+ Business Summit & Community Honors, presented by Georgia Power.
OUT Georgia’s Most Influential project and list is anticipated to evolve each year, with a small committee charged with establishing ongoing selection criteria and priorities.
“With the announcement of OUT Georgia’s 2020 Most Influential LGBTQ+ Georgians list falling during Transgender Awareness Week, we had a special emphasis on spotlighting Transgender and Gender Nonconforming honorees from our community,” said Chris Lugo, Executive Director of the OUT Georgia Business Alliance. “We are thrilled to highlight TGNC, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ Georgians who are making our state, and our world, a better place.”
From the board room, to film sets, to the White House, Angelica Ross is a leading figure of success and strength in the movement for trans and racial equality. Angelica is the founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, a company that empowers transgender and gender nonconforming people through on-the-job training in leadership and workplace skills, creating a social impact and bringing economic empowerment to marginalized communities.
Mary Anne Adams
Mary Anne Adams is Founder and Executive Director of ZAMI NOBLA-National Organization of Black Lesbians on Aging dedicated to building a national base of power for Black lesbians 40 + centering Service, Advocacy, and Community-Action Research.
She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community Partnerships and over 25 years of work experience in public health, social work education, community engagement, capacity building, group facilitation, outreach and recruitment, planning, community organizing, and mobilization.
Bishop O.C. Allen, III
Bishop O.C. Allen, III is a religious trailblazer, author, human rights advocate, an international and community leader and entrepreneur. He is the Presiding Bishop and founder of the United Progressive Pentecostal Fellowship of Churches, Senior Pastor and Founder of The Vision Cathedral of Atlanta known as “The Vision Church,” and Executive Director of The Vision Community Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization created to address socioeconomic and health gaps in the greater Atlanta community.
TAYLOR ALXNDR (they/she) is a DIY musician, drag performer, and community organizer based in Atlanta, GA. Raised in the rural edges of the metro area, ALXNDR is the co-founder and current executive director of Southern Fried Queer Pride (SFQP), an Atlanta-based non-profit organization empowering Black queer and QTPOC centered communities in the South through the arts.
Kia Barnes, also known as Kia Comedy, is an Atlanta based comedian, entertainer, and advocate with a reputation for bringing people together in a safe and lively environment, Kia is an influencer whose reach spans the beyond the LGBTQ+ community, to which she belongs.
A native of Atlantan, Derek Baugh is a staunch advocate for disenfranchised communities, including the transgender community and those affected by HIV. He founded Ubuntu Incorporated, a nonprofit with a mission to continually examine the ever-changing barriers of the trans community and strategize to create unique programs and practices to remove obstacles that severely impact trans people’s ability to unlock their full potential.
Simone Bell made national history in 2009, when she was elected to represent Georgia’s 58th House District, making her the first out, black lesbian to serve in a U.S. state legislature. After holding the position until 2015, she went on to serve as Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Director, as Chief External Affairs Officer for Planned Parenthood, and as one of President-elect Joe Biden’s two senior advisers in Georgia.
Everton Blair made history as the first black and first openly-gay school board member Gwinnett County Board of Education, sharing a message that He’s Gay on Coming Out Day 2019. At the time, Blair was just the second out black gay man to hold public office in the state of Georgia.
Petrina Bloodworth & Emma Foulkes
In addition to their extensive community and civic involvement, Petrina Bloodworth and Emma Foulkes were the first same-sex couple to legally wed after the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.
Gerald Bostock was fired after he expressed interest in a gay softball league at work, which then lead to all the way to the United States Supreme Court with Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the landmark civil rights case in which the Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Boyd serves as Publisher and Managing Partner for Georgia Voice, the media outlet of record for the LGBTQ community in Atlanta and throughout the state.
Micky B is a Black Trans Femme using cultural organizing to make liberation irresistible. In 2015, Micky B co-founded “Southern Fried Queer Pride” (SFQP), a queer art festival turned art education non-profit. Through SFQP, Micky explores the nuanced intersections of queer performance and organized resistance.
Barret Broussard is the President of Stonewall Bar Association (SBA), overseeing and coordinating the activities for all of SBA’s committees, as well as manages the relationships between the SBA and other similar organizations, both in Georgia and throughout the United States. Barret also serves on the Atlanta Leadership Council for Lambda Legal, and he is a member of the LEAD Atlanta Class of 2018.
Malik Brown is an LGBTQ advocate, a first-generation American, and a lifelong Atlantan. Appointed as the City of Atlanta’s Director of LGBTQ Affairs by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Brown is the first full-time official in the City of Atlanta to focus on better connecting the LGBTQ community with Atlanta City Hall. A member of the Human Rights Campaign’s National Board of Governors, and the Democratic National Committee’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, Brown brings a unique culmination of political experience, LGBTQ advocacy, and HIV/AIDS education and prevention to his work.
As a community leader, Percy Brown has a long history of being an agent of change in Atlanta’s LGBTQ community. He has served as co-chair of HRC’s National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and he was named the first Black man to co-chair the HRC Atlanta Gala & Auction, the largest LGBTQ fundraiser in the Southeast. He has also served on the Executive Committee of the LGBTQ Caucus of the Democratic Party of Georgia.
Out and proud Democratic State Representative for Georgia House District 58, Park Cannon is one of the youngest State Representatives and advocates for education, housing, and healthcare for her constituents. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Representative Cannon said “We need to trust black women!” and will continue to stand up for LGBTQ and minority visibility in the South.
Nury Lizeth Castro
Nury Lizeth Castro is the Assistant Director of Community Engagement and Service at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC), a full-time doctoral student, and an active member in the community. Nury is a first-generation, queer Latinx woman who has created programs and partnerships with longstanding Georgia non-profits to create space for thousands of students who are historically underrepresented and/or systemically ignored.
Angie Celeste Snow
Founded by Angie Celeste Snow, Tybee Equality Fest was created to provide a safe, diverse, inclusive event on our beautiful Tybee Island. The organization promotes pro-equality businesses all year, creating personal interactions and life-long friendships. One of our goals is for people to know that the southern hospitality of this region extends to ALL.
DeeDee Chamblee was selected as a “CHAMPION OF CHANGE” by President Obama commemorating the 30th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, becoming the first African-American trans woman to be honored by President Obama. Ms. Chamblee founded La Gender in 2001 to address the unigue needs of the transgender community surrounding issues such as HIV/AIDS, homelessness, incarceration, mental health wellness, discrimination and hate crime violence.
Dusty Church, an entrepreneur and LGBTQ activist, serves as Board Co-Chair of First City Pride Center, which brings the Center, First City Network, Jeffrey’s Place, and Savannah Pride together to serve as an inclusive advocacy, social, and service organization actively working to meet the needs for safety, empowerment, education, and wellbeing of Greater Savannah’s LGBTQIA+ community.
Gabrielle Claiborne is Co-founder and CEO of Transformation Journeys Worldwide, an inclusion training and consulting firm with a transgender focus. Gabrielle has served on the Board of Atlanta Pride Committee and she currently serves as Co-Chair of the Mentorship Committee on the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s TGNC Task Force. Gabrielle also serves as Co-Chair of the Trans Affairs Committee on the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, and she’s been recognized as Atlanta’s Best Trans Activist.
Paul Conroy is the founder and producing artistic director of Out Front Theatre Company, dedicated to telling the stories of the LGBT community to the greater Atlanta area. Since its inception in 2016, Out Front Theatre Company has existed to serve artistic excellence to the LGBTQIA+ communities of Atlanta by producing outstanding theatrical experiences which focus on the voices of the LGBTQIA+ cannon.
Tony Conway is the owner of Legendary Events, one of the most sought-after, full-service special event companies in the Southeast. Tony has served on numerous nonprofit Boards, and Legendary Events has donated more than $12 million in services and contributions to organizations which share the company’s commitment to giving back.
Tori Cooper is a health and equity advocate, community organizer, educator, published author and leader in the transgender and HIV communities. She leads with more than 30 years of experience at all levels of HIV service, from volunteer roles to her service as executive director and founder of Advocates for Better Care Atlanta, LLC. She now serves as the Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, focusing on economic empowerment; capacity building programs; public safety; and expanded public education campaigns.
David Cowan works as an American Sign Language (ASL) translator for deaf and hard of hearing people. He’s been a deaf interpreter at Atlanta Pride since 2000 and has played the same role at a number of social justice marches and other events over the years.
Lisa Cunningham is a native of Atlanta and has become an advocate and influencer in the LGBTQ community. In 2018 she was appointed by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board. Diversity and inclusion are passion points for her and she uses her vast experiences growing up in the city of Atlanta combined with her fact based knowledge of the issues of the LGBTQ community to deliver talks that unify and inspire.
Originally from Columbus, Georgia, Jon Dean co-founded Legendary Children Atlanta, an artist collective celebrating drag and queer art in the southeast, and Jon created Wussy Mag, an Atlanta-based publication focusing on queer issues in the Southeast.
Lucretia Doyle (CC) currently serves as senior program manager at Points of Light, overseeing the administration of a national volunteer recognition program that encourages citizens to live a life of service.
Lucretia’s passion for youth empowerment led her to create the Patricia A. Doyle Foundation, in memory of her mother. The foundation provides book scholarships and care packages to youth who have a current or formerly incarcerated parent.
Richard L. Eldredge has been chronicling Atlanta since 1990. Since 2010, Richard has been a contributing editor at Atlanta magazine, and over the years he has covered everything from the 1996 Summer Olympics to Coretta Scott King’s seven-hour televised funeral, and the star-studded grand opening of director Tyler Perry’s film and television studios in southwest Atlanta.
Jorge Estevez started on the air with WSB-TV in 2020, officially making him the first openly LGBTQ anchor and second Latinx anchor in the station’s 72-year history. The son of Cuban immigrants, with a Puerto Rican background, he covered the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub where 49 people lost their lives in June of 2016.
Jim Farmer has served as the festival director of Out On Film since 2008. Under his leadership, Out On Film was named a Grand Marshal in the 2017 Atlanta Pride parade and received the Beacon Award for Community Engagement from the ArtsATL Luminary Awards. An Atlanta-based arts writer, he is a member of five regional and national critics organizations.
Jamie Ferferson is Executive Director of the Atlanta Pride Committee, Georgia’s oldest non-profit agency serving the LGBTQ community. Atlanta Pride serves as an advocate of, and resource to, gender and sexually diverse communities in Atlanta and the Southeastern United States. APC’s operations include the annual Atlanta Pride Festival and Parade in October, as well as 60 other educational, social, and historical programs each year, as well as community reinvestment initiatives.
Glen Paul Freedman
Glen Paul Freedman serves as the CFO & COO for Fair Fight Action, Inc. and Fair Fight, Inc., which advocates for fair elections around the country and engages in voter protection programs. Freedman continues to work within the LGBTQ community primarily focusing on achieving Full Equality for all LGBTQ persons and continued political advancement in the State of Georgia for LGBTQ persons.
Charlie Frew serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Jerusalem House, which believes Housing is Healthcare for homeless and low-income individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS and leads the Atlanta community in meeting the needs of this population.
Matthew Garrett, a human capital and organizational development leader with Deloitte, serves on the Board of Directors for the Human Rights Campaign with a mission to end discrimination against LGBTQ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Mayor Joseph Geierman
Doraville Mayor Joseph Geierman has lived in Doraville, Georgia since 2001 and has been actively engaged with the community, serving most recently as a member of city council before being elected to Mayor.
Jeff Graham is the executive director of Georgia Equality, an organization that works to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities throughout Georgia. Jeff began advocating on LGBT and AIDS related issues as a college student in the mid-1980s and has continued his advocacy on these issues since that time.
Zahara Green is the Founder and Executive Director of TRANScending Barriers Atlanta, a trans-led, trans-issue focused non-profit organization whose mission is to empower the transgender and gender non-conforming community in Georgia through community organizing with leadership building, advocacy, and direct services so that lives can be changed and a community uplifted. Green is a formerly incarcerated trans woman of color who used her experience to inspire the creation of TRANScending Barriers.
Chanel Haley was the first African-American Transgender person hired by the Georgia House of Representatives and the first Trans-person to be elected Chair of the City of Atlanta Human Relations Commission.
As Gender Policy Manager for Equality Foundation of Georgia, Chanel leads efforts that ensure nondiscrimination legislation and policies are inclusive of transgender and gender variant individuals and communities.
Cale Robert Hall
Cale Robert Hall is the owner of Creative Approach, a full service LGBT-owned printing company located in Savannah, Georgia serving customers across the nation. Creative Approach is now a family of creatives that love making the world a little more beautiful with great design, innovative products and a heart for supporting local non-profits.
Since 1970, Dave Hayward has advocated for LGBTQ rights, co-founding Washington, D.C.’s Gay Liberation Front before migrating to Atlanta and serving countless LGBTQ groups along the way. As a journalist, Hayward has been published in local, regional, national and international publications, including The Advocate, OUT Magazine, and Frontiers Magazine. In 2002, he founded Touching Up Our Roots to share our community’s stories.
Monica F. Helms is a transgender activist, author, and veteran of the United States Navy. In 1999, she created the Transgender Pride Flag, which was first flown at a Pride Parade in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2000.
Helms was the first trans person elected to a DNC Convention from Georgia and the South, and she founded the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA), which sponsored the first ever Transgender Veterans March to the Wall.
Project Q Atlanta launched in September 2008 by gay journalist Matt Hennie, who has been in journalism for 25 years. He was the editor of Southern Voice, a gay newsweekly based in Atlanta, for five years, editor of LGBT newspaper Houston Voice for two years, and was also a reporter for newspapers in metro Atlanta and South Carolina.
Dr. David Holland
Dr. David Holland is the Chief Clinical Officer for Medical and Preventive Services at the Fulton County Board of Health in Atlanta, Georgia, and Associate Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at Emory University.
His research aims at improving the efficiency of clinical trials, and his clinical interests include treatment and prevention of tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infection, and HIV (including pre-exposure prophylaxis).
LGBTQ activist Darlene Hudson is the co-founder of the Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast which honors two groundbreaking Black, LGBTQ activists with deep social justice roots that have contributed substantially to intersectionality-focused work happening in Atlanta and across Georgia today.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Pat Hussain co-founded Southerners On New Ground (SONG), a home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South. SONG builds this movement through leadership development, intersectional analysis, and organizing.
Justine Ingram is currently the Transgender coordinator for Fulton County Board of Health. Raised in rural middle Georgia, Justine saw first-hand how Transphobia can leave the Transgender and Gender Non-conforming community voiceless due to stigma, discrimination, and marginalization. Justine sits on the executive board for Trans Housing Atlanta Program and is the co-chair for FLUX- Atlanta. Her mission is to create a safe and affirming environment for all Transgender and Gender Non-conforming individuals through promoting health equity, safe and affordable housing, and Anti-discrimination in the public and private sector.
Rev. Kim Jackson
Rev. Kim Jackson is first black, LGBTQ+ person ordained as a priest in the Episcopal diocese of Atlanta and now the first black, LGBTQ woman elected to the Georgia State Senate, serving District 41. As the Vicar at the Episcopal Church of the Common Ground, Kim co-creates Church with people who are unhoused in downtown Atlanta.
Dana Johnson serves as Executive Vice President of Economic Development for the Cobb Chamber and Executive Director of Select Cobb, the organization’s economic development strategy. Dana has worked in Cobb County Government since 2005, leading the strategic direction of the county’s economic development arm, including the overhaul of the county’s incentives ordinance and the creation of a business concierge service to assist businesses of all sizes to relocate and expand within Cobb County.
Bill Kaelin is the founder of Bill Kaelin Marketing, a versatile consulting, events, and project management firm that applies in-depth cultural awareness, innovative marketing techniques, and unmatched experience and enthusiasm to drive buzz, action, and brand loyalty for our clients. Like his idol, Madonna, Bill Kaelin continues to adapt and stay relevant through changing times. His keen understanding of the importance of human connection in a technology-saturated culture was born of his background in the nightlife, hospitality, and service industries.
Matt Keith is the Business Strategies & Initiatives Executive supporting the Local Market Organization at Bank of America, with a long-standing commitment to advancing the LGBTQ+ community, diversity, and inclusion. Matt previously served as Co –Chair and now serves as the executive sponsor for Bank of America’s LGBT + Pride Georgia chapter, along with the enterprise executive LGBT + Pride council.
Matt is a member of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board and active in Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ community.
Dionne Kettl is a dynamic Millennial who focuses her considerable talents on creating workplace equity and inclusion for trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) persons of color. Dionne is on the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, works with Transformation Journeys Worldwide, and she also serves as co-founder and Deputy Director of TRANScending Barriers Atlanta, a Black trans-led nonprofit with a mission to uplift and empower Georgia’s TGNC community.
Stephe Koontz became the first transgender elected official in the Southeast when she was elected to the Doraville’s City Council in November 2017. The following year, she wrote and sponsored a non-discrimination ordinance for Doraville that has been adapted by cities across the state. She was honored by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2019 for her promotion of inclusive policies across metro Atlanta.
Kyle Lamont serves as the logistics coordinator for The Vision Community Foundation where he ensures that marginalized communities are served through programs that feed the homeless, provide resources to at risk youth, and health and wellness is promoted through HIV/AIDS testing and other services. Mr. Lamont has served on the Democratic National Convention LGBTQ Advisory Board and as a past President of the Oakland City Community Organization in the historic West End.
Rabbi Joshua Lesser
Rabbi Joshua Lesser leads Congregation Bet Haverim as a place dedicated to celebrating all aspects of Jewish life and creating an accessible and engaging spiritual home. He breathes new life into Jewish tradition, and his adventurous spirit has propelled him to found new programs like the Rainbow Center, a Jewish communal response to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Ivette LópezFreeman currently serves as Latino LinQ’s Secretary and is on the Human Rights Campaign’s National Board of Governors. Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico by way of Texas, her passions meet at the intersection of gay, lesbian and Latinx issues.
She was a founding member of InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) LGBTQ and Latinx employee resource groups and the recipient of the 2016 Georgia Diversity Council Young Leader Award.
Dr. Annise Mabry
Dr. Anise Mabry is the founder of the Dr. Annise Mabry Foundation, with a mission to develop and implement creative community based strategies that provide the framework for economic opportunity and development. The Foundation operates the Southwest GA Community Policing Resource Center and Tiers Free Academy, which operates an alternative diploma program for sex trafficking survivors, homeless LGBTQ youth, and high school dropouts.
Dr. David Malebranche
Dr. David J. Malebranche is a highly respected author, Black/LGBTQ advocate, and HIV/AIDS behavioral researcher, exploring the social and structural factors influencing the sexual health of Black men in the United States.
He is a recognized leader in behavioral health and HIV/AIDS prevention within communities of color, and specifically in addressing health concerns among Black gay men.
As a seasoned and trusted political operative with more than 15 years of experience in campaign leadership, government, media relations, crisis management and public policy creation, Reese McCranie is no stranger to Democratic politics. In July, McCranie was appointed as Deputy State Director for the Biden for President campaign in Georgia and is a veteran of President Barack Obama’s historic 2008 & 2012 campaigns.
Currently, McCranie serves as the Deputy Chief Equity Officer in the Mayor’s Office of One Atlanta where he works to advance Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ progressive public policy agenda on equity and inclusion, with a focus on health disparities, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ affairs, and economic empowerment and inclusion, and workforce development.
Additionally, he serves on the national board of GLAAD.
A trans human rights advocate and published author, Tracee McDaniel is motivated by a strong desire to ensure that all trans and gender non-conforming people receive equity, justice, civil, and human rights protections.
She was the Founder and Executive Director of Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, which is an advocacy, consulting, and social services referral organization, specifically designed to empower the non-monolithic Trans and Gender Non-Conforming community.
Jaye Meggs is the founder of Trans Gentlemen of Excellence (TGE), which exists to foster relationships between trans gentlemen and the community that evaluates, educates, and elevates them as a whole. Jaye’s mission is to help Transgender people find their voice, empower black men to be comfortable in their own skin, and create opportunities for the less fortunate.
James Mintz serves as President of August Pride, with a mission to promote visibility and pride and to provide cultural unity and diversity education for the LGBTQ+ communities of the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). The nonprofit organization also supports efforts to raise awareness of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in the LGBTQ+ community and provides resources in support of those living with HIV.
Kenyatta Mitchell is a Principal in the Atlanta office of Paramount Consulting Group and Board Chair of Georgia Equality, where she brings her policy experience to corporations, state agencies, and non-profits. Kenyatta previously worked for Republican and Democratic governors, and as a Policy Analyst she maintained a diverse portfolio of policy issues, including natural resources, transportation, economic development, trade, and labor.
Sandy Mollett is a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) and Chief Operating Officer at True Diversity. Prior to her role at True Diversity, Sandy founded Equal Footing LLC, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Corporate Consulting organization.
Sandy previously served as an executive with First Data, and she was instrumental in developing their corporate Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and revising corporate policies that included anti-discrimination, gender orientation and identity, gender neutral parental benefits and gender affirming benefits.
Rev. Dr. Joshua Noblitt
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Rev. Dr. Joshua Noblitt provides individual, relationship, and group therapy. He has served on a number of boards nationally and locally, including; the Fulton County Division of Family and Children Services Board; the Emory University Hope Clinic for HIV/AIDS Research Community Advisory Board; Greensboro College Board of Trustees; and the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.
Born and raised in Georgia, Sam Park is the State Representative from Georgia House District 101 located in Gwinnett County. He was the first Asian American Democrat and first openly gay man ever elected to the Georgia State Legislature, and he serves at the intersection of faith, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.
Matt Parkey is the Senior Vice President, Enterprise Transformation at UPS. Matt previously worked with The Coca-Cola Company, served as Board Chair of AID Atlanta, and was selected to serve on the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.
Eric Paulk is a lawyer and advocate working on issues impacting LGBTQ communities and communities of people living with and vulnerable to HIV acquisition. He currently serves as Deputy Director of Georgia Equality and oversees all day-to-day operations, developing and managing local, state, and federal policy and advocacy activities that advance equity and fairness for LGBTQ communities and improves public and private responses to the HIV epidemic.
Dr. Emile Pinera
Dr. Emile Pinera is a champion for LGBTQIA+ health care in Atlanta, and is an expert in the provision of care for Transgender patients, developing treatment guidelines and best practices for those undergoing gender-affirming surgery and routine primary and preventive healthcare.
Dr. Pinera is a champion for LGBTQ+ healthcare and is the physician lead for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity at Kaiser Permanente.
Savannah’s first openly gay city council member, Kurtis Purtee was recently named to Savannah’s PROUD task force, a group dedicated to ensuring the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities can work and live in a welcoming and safe environment.
Nathan Regan currently serves Invest Atlanta as senior vice president of Economic Development, where he focuses on business attraction, business retention and expansion, small business development, innovation and entrepreneurship, foreign direct investment (FDI) and creative industries activities.
Dr. David Reznik
Dr. David Reznik is the Director of the Oral Health Center of Grady’s Infectious Disease Program, a program he founded 26 years ago. He also serves as Chief of the Dental Medicine Service for the Grady Health System. Dr. Reznik is president and founder of the HIV Dental Alliance (HIVdent.org), a not-for-profit organization of concerned healthcare providers committed to assuring access to high quality oral health care services for people living with HIV disease. He also serves as Vice Chair of The AIDS Institute.
Kirk Rich is on the Board of Commissioners for Atlanta Housing, bringing more than 35 years of commercial real estate experience. Kirk is currently a principal at Avison Young, providing brokerage and consulting services for commercial and residential transactions, and he has served on the board of Invest Atlanta and as co-chair of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.
He has also chaired the board of Jerusalem House, the largest provider of housing in the U.S. for individuals and families dealing with HIV/AIDS.
Ryan Roche is the Director Of Development at Emory’s Oxford College and on the National Board of Governors for the Human Rights Campaign. He’s a steering committee member of HRC Atlanta and is a member of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.
Ryan Roemerman serves as Executive Director of the LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, where he heads the work of connecting academics and advocates to advance LGBTQ equity through research and education focused on the American South.
Jonathan Russell serves as Chief Development Officer, Discovery Programs at Emory University, and he has spent two decades advocating for LGBT rights and HIV care and research in Washington DC and Atlanta.
Brian Sawyer is the Managing Partner of Peach ATL, the LGBTQ community’s guide to Atlanta’s nightlife, culture, and entertainment experiences. Through a diverse mix of content consisting of pop culture, local interests, and event coverage, Peach ATL has been the premier weekly gay publication for the metro Atlanta market for more than two decades.
Larry Scott-Walker is the executive director and co-founder of THRIVE SS: Transforming HIV Resentments into Victories Everlasting Support Services, a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission of improving health equity for Black gay men living with HIV through direct support, advocacy, and building collective power.
Michael Shutt is the Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
Michael’s past experience includes strategic leadership at Emory University and the University of Georgia, where he advocated for and served as the Founding Director of the University of Georgia’s LGBT Resource Center, the first LGBT resource center at a public university in Georgia.
Holiday Simmons, a Black Cherokee transmasculine two-spirit activist, serves as the Director of Resilience and Healing for the Campaign for Southern Equality, which works to build a South where LGBTQ people are equal in every part of life. Holiday has a private therapy practice, and his work focuses on transgender rights, refining masculinity, police violence, Black and Native American healing and power-building.
Juan and Gee Smalls
Juan and Gee Smalls are the dynamic duo behind the non-profit The Gentlemen’s Foundation and Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar, an eatery in the Atlanta suburb of College Park. The couple’s mission is to build a sustainable foundation in the community, while at the same time challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about same-gender loving (SGL) men.
Fred Smith Jr. is associate professor at Emory University School of Law. He works to promote equity and social justice, and he serves on the board of Invest Atlanta, the economic and community development authority of the City of Atlanta. He also serves on the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board; the national board of Lambda Legal; the national board of Civil Rights Corps; and the LGBT Advisory Board of Historic Atlanta.
Rickie Smith is president of In The Life Atlanta Foundation, which serves as the official organizer of Atlanta Black Gay Pride, now the world largest pride celebration for African American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
The organization’s mission is to promote unity, pride, self-empowerment, and positive visibility within Atlanta’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community of African descent through education, advocacy, and coalition building programs.
Sybastian Smith is a LGBTQ+ community advocate, Certified Health Educator, and Medical Assistant. Sybastian plays a vital leadership role in the Georgia chapter of the Black Trans Men Inc. and he is on the board of Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, which aims to help improve the black transgender human experience by overcoming violence and injustice in the world through the power, value and love of all people.
Rebecca Stapel-Wax is the Executive Director for Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (SOJOURN), serving as the American South’s resource for Jewish & LGBTQ+ programming, education, support, and advocacy. She specializes in working with LGBTQ people, people who have HIV, and those who have substance use/abuse issues.
Charles Stephens is the Executive Director of the Counter Narrative Project (CNP), with over 10 years experience developing innovative community engagement initiatives, piloting programs, and mobilizing black gay men. He has worked with such organizations as AIDS United, AID Atlanta, and the Kaiser Family Foundation as a consultant, providing strategic guidance and thought-partnership around program development and policy advocacy with black gay and bisexual men.
Pamela Stewart is Senior Vice President, National Retail Sales at The Coca-Cola Company. She serves as Board Chair of GLAAD, Board member of Coca-Cola’s Global Women’s Leadership Council, and Co-Chair of City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.
Peter Stinner, a passionate HIV tester, educator, and activist in Atlanta, passed away in August of 2020, but his impact lives on. Peter worked as an HIV educator at Grady Health System, and he was a tireless advocate for LGBTQ community and for homeless people. Stinner was the longtime partner and husband of Jeff Graham of Georgia Equality.
Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker (Steven Igarashi-Ball)
Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker (Steven Igarashi-Ball) is using drag to give a voice and visibility to some of our community’s most vulnerable members by working to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth and their families. Miss Sugarbaker promotes diversity, creativity, collaboration and literacy through Drag Queen Story Hour Atlanta, capturing the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and giving kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.
Feroza Syed is a transgender activist and advocate, and Associate Broker at Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. Feroza serves on the City of Atlanta Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board and was one of Atlanta Pride’s 2019 Grand Marshalls. She works with groups locally to help with intersectionality, specifically cultural and religious background issues targeting the Asian LGBTQ community.
Hillary Thomas is the Associate State Director Advocacy and Outreach with AARP Georgia, with a focus on LGBTQ outreach, fraud prevention, and federal lobbying.
Brian Tolleson is a co-founder and managing partner at Lexicon Strategies. He previously served as CEO at The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and he was responsible for the launch of Logo, the first-ever 24-7-365 channel for LGBT Americans.
Recently, Mr. Tolleson has been named to Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Power 100, was awarded The Georgia Equality Champion for Equality Award, Emory University’s GALA Alumnus and Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and is a member of Leadership Atlanta’s 50th Anniversary Class of 2020.
Alex Wan is Executive Director of Horizons Atlanta, an affiliate of Horizons National, which aims to improve the life trajectory of underserved students and their families by instilling in them the joy of learning, the skills for success, and the inspiration to realize their dreams.
Previously, Alex represented the in-town neighborhoods of District 6 on the Atlanta City Council for two four-year terms.
Craig Washington is a writer, HIV advocate, and public speaker living in Atlanta. He is cofounder of Southern Unity Movement and organizer of the Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast, held each year on Martin Luther King Day.
Bishop-Elect Sonya E. Williams
Bishop-Elect Sonya E. Williams is a long-time resident of Atlanta, Georgia and is ordained by the United Church of Christ, Southeast Conference, and The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. She founded Real Inspiration Ministries Fellowship UCC and is serving as the Chairperson of the Clayton County Georgia LGBT Advisory Board.
Toni-Michelle Williams serves as Executive Director of Solutions Not Punishment Collaboration, a group that deals with the criminal legal system, concentrating on black trans and queer individuals, which also includes those living with HIV.
A native Atlantan,Toni-Michelle has become an innovator in her community, developing ideas and practices based in transgender futurism and feminism, along with peer-led based leadership for Atlanta Trans Leaders (ATL) and SNaP4Freedom School programs.
Matthew Wilson is a former teacher and current Brookhaven attorney representing GA House District 80 that covers parts of Brookhaven, Chamblee, and Sandy Springs.
Matthew is active in the community, serving on the boards for the Red Clay Democrats, Stonewall Bar Association, and Georgia Watch, a consumer rights organization.
Cathy Woolard was the first openly gay elected official in Georgia when she joined the Atlanta City Council in 1997, and she was the first woman to be elected President of the Council. She was a candidate for Atlanta Mayor in 2017, she worked as a professional advocate on behalf of Planned Parenthood and Georgia Equality, and she’s currently a public affairs consultant to companies and organizations committed to diversity, inclusion, and corporate social responsibility.
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter who came out as gay while “Old Town Road” was atop the Hot 100, becoming the only artist to do so while having a number-one record. Nas X is the first and only openly LGBTQ artist to win a Country Music Association award, and Forbes named him to its 30 under 30 list in 2020.
Connor Fair, a student at Riverwood International Charter School in Fulton County, made history as the first transgender man to win homecoming king in Georgia. We thank you for your courage, pride, visibility, and leadership, Connor!
About OUT Georgia Business Alliance
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 OUTGeorgia.org or info@OUTGeorgia.org.