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kayman

Birmingham's GLBT Community Discussion

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Since last August with the passage of the Inclusion Resolution by the City of Birmingham, and other ongoing issues in the region affecting the residents in the region that are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans gender needs a topic for these ongoing postings and a resource guide.

****However, any bigoted or dogmatic comments or postings will be deleted immediately. The discussion in this topic should remain civil and members who do make these comments will receive an immediate warning.****

I was surfing the net last night and came across a couple of interesting facts, articles, and links involving Birmingham's GLBT community such as this article: Despite Rocky History, Birmingham GLBT Community Making Progress

The article discusses the progress and lack of for Birmingham has made for with GLBT issues. It also talks about State Representative Patricia Todd being Alabama's first out political official elected to the state legislature, but I discovered last night that the new member of the Birmingham Board of Education, Howard Bayless, is also a member of the community. The article also goes in to great detail to reveal that Birmingham has more same-sex couples per capita concentration than other assumed "more progressive Southern cities" like Charlotte, as well as other Southern cities like Memphis and northern liberal cities like Columbus (Ohio). It also talks about how Crestwood has become Birmingham's more progressive part, but the city as a whole is more progressive than the majority of Alabama. The marriage protection amendment passed with 86% statewide, but here in Jeffco it only had 55% support showing that Birmingham is turning the corner. City Councilwoman Valerie Abbot, the inclusion resolution sponsor, said in the article that she hopes one day that Birmingham passes an anti-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation. Overall, the article gives others more incite on the growing GLBT community, and that Birmingham has made some progression in the key areas involving sexual orientation.

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Since last August with the passage of the Inclusion Resolution by the City of Birmingham, and other ongoing issues in the region affecting the residents in the region that are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans gender needs a topic for these ongoing postings and a resource guide.

****However, any bigoted or dogmatic comments or postings will be deleted immediately. The discussion in this topic should remain civil and members who do make these comments will receive an immediate warning.****

I was surfing the net last night and came across a couple of interesting facts, articles, and links involving Birmingham's GLBT community such as this article: Despite Rocky History, Birmingham GLBT Community Making Progress

The article discusses the progress and lack of for Birmingham has made for with GLBT issues. It also talks about State Representative Patricia Todd being Alabama's first out political official elected to the state legislature, but I discovered last night that the new member of the Birmingham Board of Education, Howard Bayless, is also a member of the community. The article also goes in to great detail to reveal that Birmingham has more same-sex couples per capita concentration than other assumed "more progressive Southern cities" like Charlotte, as well as other Southern cities like Memphis and northern liberal cities like Columbus (Ohio). It also talks about how Crestwood has become Birmingham's more progressive part, but the city as a whole is more progressive than the majority of Alabama. The marriage protection amendment passed with 86% statewide, but here in Jeffco it only had 55% support showing that Birmingham is turning the corner. City Councilwoman Valerie Abbot, the inclusion resolution sponsor, said in the article that she hopes one day that Birmingham passes an anti-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation. Overall, the article gives others more incite on the growing GLBT community, and that Birmingham has made some progression in the key areas involving sexual orientation.

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I wondered when this discussion was going to occur. I can really see an increase in Birmingham's GLBT community. Birmingham is home to 4 or 5 mixed lifestyle nightclubs. The GLBT community even hosts a parade in honor of the lifestyle each year on Highland Ave. Almost everytime that I am at work in Brookwood Mall, I notice same-sex females openly holding hands as they walk through the mall. Homosexual guys come to the mall, and they too are open;however, they aren't to the point of holding hands in the mall. I do find it interesting that Birmingham is more progressive than Charlotte, but I will not argue with the facts.

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I wondered when this discussion was going to occur. I can really see an increase in Birmingham's GLBT community. Birmingham is home to 4 or 5 mixed lifestyle nightclubs. The GLBT community even hosts a parade in honor of the lifestyle each year on Highland Ave.

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After discovering this article it was quite surprising to know that Birmingham has such progressive mindset, and this is coming from someone that has lived here on and off through my life. I think the fact that the local media particularly ABC 33/40's choice to censor Ellen DeGeneres "coming out" episode created this preception that Birmingham is a "don't ask, don't tell" type of place, but is good to know we have made a progressive steps since the mid-90's. On my way out of town towards my parents' house, I have noticed rainbow flags on certain houses in the Avondale and Crestwood areas, so I do believe when they say the area is more prominent for same-sex couples. However, I think the turning point is going to be when Birmingham does pass anti-discrimination law covering sexual orientation and offers domestic benefits for same-sex couples.

On the nightlife, I used to bar and club hop when I from 18-20, but my grades began to suffer because of the ripping and running all the time. I'm not afraid to admit I'm bisexual, but I'm not a big club or bar person this days. Even then I went to hetero bars and clubs although I knew about about clubs like The Quest, Phoenix, and Club 21. If I do go out (which is rare due to my studies and job), I go to mixed bars like Lakeview Yacht Club.

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which of the clubs, if you know, is most welcoming of heteros? some places attract an all-gay or all-lez crowd, but my favorite type of bars have always been gay bars with plenty of straight people, etc. i just haven't ever thought about the gay bar scene in bham, figuring it was pretty limited. i'm straight, so i have always felt i'd be sending the wrong message going alone into a gay bar with a strictly all-male clientele. when wife & i have done so in other places, we've gotten odd looks - never an issue in the highly mixed gay bars.

highland in general is a good place to spot gay / lez couples walking dogs, holding hands, etc. i love living here, because this area's welcoming feel positively kills the open culture in some other cities' most 'progressive' neighborhoods. rainbow flags hanging from the street lamps around parade time blows my mind - i always think, 'the city is actually paying for this?' pretty cool for a supposedly backassward southern town.

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Actually, there are some parts beyond Crestwood & Avondale that are slightly more tolerable than we may think. A close male friend of mine, him and his boyfriend have a house in the Woodland Park neighborhood in South Titusville. Their neighborhood demographic is mainly 50+, and they know about them being a couple and they don't have any problems at all.

I think one of the main problems is that our local media lacks the courage like WTVF, NewsChannel 5 in Nashville to admit Birmingham has a sizeable GLBT community. I think this stems from fear of backlash and loss of advertisement dollars from the overall conservative nature of Central Alabama outside of the large urban areas.

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What exactly do you like about going to alternative lifestyle clubs...the music, the people, or the entire experience? I think a bar similar to Euro nightclubs would be awesome in Birmingham since they are very similar to gay bars.

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Mayor Langford strikes again!

Now, he should have known if you are going to open your mouth and call being GLBT a "lifestyle" that he doesn't support then he shouldn't have decided to do that sackcloth and ashes stance with the citywide pray rally in March. The Central Alabama Pride organization is still going to be able to do their 20th annual Birmingham Gay Pride Parade on the Southside, but they won't be able to put up rainbow flags and banners as they have in years past. Even past mayors Arrington and Kincaid didn't have any qualms allowing them to use the city's right-of-way for the flags and banners in Five Points South. Langford is just going to give Birmingham another black eye when it comes to outsiders views of this placed because of his hypocripsy. If you are going to do that open promotion of a certain establishment of a citywide pray rally and lunchhour bible study in city hall then you shouldn't have a problem with allowing the GLBT doing what they always have done with the annual parade.

It is also becoming more and more apparent as time goes by that the GLBT folks are the only ones that seems migrating to the city at this point, so I wouldn't want to alienate the last group of people that wants to live here.

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Mayor Langford strikes again!

Now, he should have known if you are going to open your mouth and call being GLBT a "lifestyle" that he doesn't support then he shouldn't have decided to do that sackcloth and ashes stance with the citywide pray rally in March. The Central Alabama Pride organization is still going to be able to do their 20th annual Birmingham Gay Pride Parade on the Southside, but they won't be able to put up rainbow flags and banners as they have in years past. Even past mayors Arrington and Kincaid didn't have any qualms allowing them to use the city's right-of-way for the flags and banners in Five Points South. Langford is just going to give Birmingham another black eye when it comes to outsiders views of this placed because of his hypocripsy. If you are going to do that open promotion of a certain establishment of a citywide pray rally and lunchhour bible study in city hall then you shouldn't have a problem with allowing the GLBT doing what they always have done with the annual parade.

It is also becoming more and more apparent as time goes by that the GLBT folks are the only ones that seems migrating to the city at this point, so I wouldn't want to alienate the last group of people that wants to live here.

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I agree with you and not to be agreeing with Langford, but he did say that he is not going to be the object standing in the way of this...he is allowing it, but wants no part in it. He has every right for not wanting to take part in it. It is(the parade) is still going to happen from what I understand without the mayors concent. That leaves the question though, is it still going to be a week long event with the decorations in Five Points South?

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so all the mardi gras-style beads i saw on southside this past weekend (june 7) were GLBT festivities adornments? what's the connection between GLBT and beads? is there one? or is it just that mardi gras beads lend themselves to all manner of revelry in general?

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so all the mardi gras-style beads i saw on southside this past weekend (june 7) were GLBT festivities adornments? what's the connection between GLBT and beads? is there one? or is it just that mardi gras beads lend themselves to all manner of revelry in general?

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I am with Leaping Larry on this.. I have to give him credit.. he's just standing up against a lifestyle he strongly disagrees with.. as do i. I'm not going to protest and tell them they are wrong.. but I don't believe I should have it rubbed in my face either.. am I going to tell them I am proud of them and tell them they are brave.. no... why should I? if I did I'd be lying.

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Woob, I would have to arguably disagree on the lifestyle statement. [...]strongly advised for Mayor Langford to not burn the bridge with the few people who are still migrating to the city to reside. It is your personal choice to agree or disagree, but realize that the way this city's leadership acts towards such things like a Pride Parade is a reflection to outsiders with no knowledge of Birmingham of how progressive this place really is.............

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i just want to clarify that my comments & question were not intended to be disparaging of any aspect of GLBT life here or anywhere. one of the reasons i like bham, and the part of town where i live, is its unpublicized but well-entrenched defiance of southern stereotypes on this issue. i am not gay, but totally cool with it (for all i know, it's my loss that i'm straight) and was just asking a real question about what significance the beads play in the parade - is it a local thing; a general GLBT thing; merely a theme of this year's event, etc. i was not belittling their use as garish, effete, flamboyant, etc. (what's wrong with garish, effete & flamboyant?) i've told my son since he was 11 or so that i have no idea what he will or won't turn out to be, and that the issue is as unimportant to me as that first quasi-deep, quasi-playful conversation probably was for him. i'm trying to get him to realize that sex is heavy enough an emotional issue, period, without burdening it further by implicating it in family relationship dynamics.

if it's a religious issue for some of those who agree with the mayor's position, well, i have no problem with that either, so long as those who agree with the mayor truly believe what they believe (which really is most folks). i resent red herrings on either side of any issue (welcome to american politics, i know), and the mayor has a pattern of parading one red herring after another before his constituents in the hope of mobilizing majority opinion under his aegis.

i can't control other people's sense of morality and what aspects of life others feel should be included in or omitted from moral considerations. if religious conservatives or just secular people from any walk of life have strong feelings that homosexuality is immoral, that's fine with me. but if those feelings are well-reasoned and honestly come by...well, it shouldn't be a challenge for anyone who reasons well to resent the manipulative, sanctimonious grandstanding of a cynical issue-monger like langford - even if one agrees with the words he's saying.

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Woob, I would have to arguably disagree on the lifestyle statement. Your sexuality is not "lifestyle", a lifestyle is something you choose which to do actively such as drugs, frequent clubbing, etc. Considering the fact that the only people who are moving Birmingham as of late are same-sex couples, singles, and young professionals (mostly not native to Alabama), I would be strongly advised for Mayor Langford to not burn the bridge with the few people who are still migrating to the city to reside. It is your personal choice to agree or disagree, but realize that the way this city's leadership acts towards such things like a Pride Parade is a reflection to outsiders with no knowledge of Birmingham of how progressive this place really is.............

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that's why we live in the greatest country in the world.. we can disagree!

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that's why we live in the greatest country in the world.. we can disagree!

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Yeah, but you can't say whatever you want to say in this particular forum topic on this forum, and it is clearly delineated in the first post. As rtkenmore mentioned, you better realize you are teetering on the line of disagreeing with others and being disrespectful of others.

One thing many fail to see is in a large city like Birmingham most people come from numerous walks of life, do you have to agree with no but you do have to respect them since all those participating are law-abiding citizens. There are no laws on the books in this state forbidding the celebrating in a pride parade anymore than it is from a group of people holding a prayer rally at Boutwell Auditorium with the proper permits. Arguably, both of them can be considered the imposition of a set of morals upon people, but you don't see people complaining about the latter as vocally as some do the former. Apparently that is the root of this whole issue, respect.

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I would think the general population of Birmingham is college educated due to the high median income in that area. More educated people seem to be more accepting of the GLBT community. It's your government there that seems to be the problem and the main one keeping Birmingham from attracting new more progressive companies is the lack of anti-discrimination laws. GLBT persons have been known to turn whole neighborhoods and cities around. An excellent example is St. Petersburg, Florida. Just a few years ago the city was nearly abandoned and boarded up. The GLBT community and progressive open minded people totally renovated the abandoned historic neighborhoods and Central Avenue has opened lots of cool stores and nightclubs, a lot of health food and organic stores and they have a huge weekend farmers market. Now only in its 6th year, St. Pete Pride is the largest in the state with over 80,000 people expecting to attend this year. In Orlando, the mayor attends the opening party of Gay Days and the whole city and county roll out the red carpet for that week, it is the largest event in the Orlando area, larger than any of the huge conventions we have here, with around 150,000 attending. And in just a few short years Orlando Pride in October has grown dramatically, with 25,000 turning out for the parade and after party, with the mayor leading the parade. The parade goes through the downtown neighborhood of Thornton Park around the city's center piece park, Lake Eola. The residents in the neighborhood seem to love the parade and it's colorful floats and the yuppies couples bring their kids down to watch the parade. All this has occured in just a 5-6 year time period. It seems the same thing can happen in Birmingham. Doesn't the city government know who has the most disposable income and if made to feel welcome can do a major part in turning the city around? Also Tampa has a very progressive mayor and when a lot of business from Ybor City moved to Channelside, she has helped develop and market the Gaybor District that has over 70 gay friendly businesses and clubs. All the high rise downtown condo developments in all 3 cities have market heavily to the gay community, even in the Orlando Sentinel. The reason for my concern is I really love Birmingham and think it's a beautiful city. It's hard to understand why it's not getting a lot of overflow companies from Atlanta moving in to that area since it is so close. We have the I-4 corridor here that's marketed to include Tampa/St. Pete, Orlando/Daytona which is about a 100 miles accross the middle of the state and is turning in to a huge megopolis, soon approaching 7,000,000 people. I suppose since Atlanta and Birmingham are in two different states probably makes a difference. How can they be so close and so culturally different? Get out and vote for more progressive leadership!! I'd love to visit or even move to a more liberal/progressive Birmingham!!

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Yeah, as the demographics within Birmingham begins to shift further to the more affluent and educated end of the spectrum, we will see more progressive measures take place. Unfortunately, I don't think the current mayoral administration is going to help that because most people have either a love-it or hate-it ideology now. The conservatism and the civic apathy has been entrenched in this region so long that it will take at least a decade of aggressive push by the small groups and individuals (likely non-native to the region) to get the wheels turning here where you will see massive policy changes like Orlando. The continued growth and develop spun off by UAB like the Innovation Depot will likely help Birmingham bring in better educated, open-minded individuals to help Birmingham get there.

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Now it word came out today that Central Alabama Pride has filed a lawsuit in the federal court here in Birmingham against the City and Mayor Langford for the violation of First Amendment rights. This stems from the Mayor's refusal of signing off allowing city workers to hang rainbow banners along lightposts on the Southside and Five Points South in preparation of Central Alabama Gay Pride Week in June 1-7. The Mayor's said,

"The bottom line is I don't condone the lifestyle and what they were asking me to do. ... Proclamations are under my purview as mayor, so they're asking me for a personal endorsement."

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