Atlanta magazine named the city's loudest anti-gay troll a kingmaker, sending shivers down the spines of LGBT people everywhere. Fortunately, it also honored a handful of gays who do good work rather than work hard to hate.
A better name for the magazine's Power issue would be the Best and Worst of Atlanta. To wit, the worst:
31. Erick Erickson
Focus Politics, Media
Erick Erickson, the conservative blogger turned CNN pundit turned WSB radio talk show host, has carved out a niche as Georgia’s answer to Rush Limbaugh, encouraging and hectoring conservative politicians to see things his way. These days, the RedState editor in chief is best known as the man who banned Donald Trump from his political get-together. The RedState Gathering, which effectively overtook Iowa’s long-influential straw poll, turned Georgia into a national battleground for the GOP. With the “SEC primary” scheduled for early 2016, Erickson will remain a force on the right.
Trump takedown Despite criticizing Trump for making disparaging remarks about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, Erickson has his own record of misogynistic comments about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, and others.
In the brief above and a much longer hand job of an interview, Atlanta magazine completely ignores Erickson's wheelbarrow of hate he's dumped on gay Atlanta through his WSB Radio show, Twitter and, until he recently quit, RedState. They can't be bothered to ask about any of it, nevermind hold Erickson accountable for his nasty hatred. Not that time he opined that gays will breed themselves out of existence. Or when he equated gay Atlantans to terrorists or when he lamented that the city's gay mafia lynched a fire chief. Definitely not when he blamed fat lesbians for Ebola or leveled some of his patented trans hate.
But they did slap him on the cover of the October issue. It's really shameful the depth to which Atlanta magazine gave Erickson a pass on his anti-LGBT rhetoric but called him to task for making misogynistic remarks.
21. John Haupert
Grady Memorial Hospital remains open in large measure because of Haupert. Since 2011, the Arkansas-raised CEO has steered the state’s largest hospital, one of vital importance to metro Atlanta, from the brink of closure and through a mammoth restructuring. Amid political uproar, he’s brought the once-debt-ridden downtown facility into the black, despite Republican opposition to expanding Medicaid in Georgia and threats from within the Fulton County Commission to cut funding. Haupert’s impact reaches beyond the hospital walls; he’s also helping shape policy for the state’s public and rural hospitals still at risk of shutting down.
Grady’s Growth Over the past two years, Haupert has led Atlanta’s safety-net hospital through a $74 million expansion.
32. Jeff Graham
Focus Activism, Politics
From his early days in the 1990s as an ACT UP rabble-rouser to his leadership of Georgia Equality since 2008, Graham has been one of this conservative state’s most active—and effective—advocates for the LGBT community. As Georgia’s top gay rights activist, he led efforts to defeat “religious freedom” legislation two years in a row and helped make sure local officials across the state issued marriage licenses following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Expect Graham to keep pushing for greater civil rights protections for Georgia’s LGBT population.
Love wins Hours after same-sex marriage became legal in Georgia this summer, Graham orchestrated a mass ceremony at the Fulton County Government Center.
25. Tyler Perry
Focus Entertainment, Media
Born into poverty in New Orleans, the media and entertainment mogul took inspiration from Oprah’s advice to keep a diary of his thoughts. He turned those early missives into a hit musical, propelling him toward success. Today Perry is an industry unto himself: a writer, director, actor, and producer—not to mention the creator of plays, books, films, and TV shows like the popular House of Payne on TBS. In 2011 Forbes named Perry the highest-paid man in entertainment, with $130 million in earnings.
We bought a fort Perry recently purchased 330 acres of the former Fort McPherson in southwest Atlanta, with plans to redevelop the site into a new movie studio.
The city’s power tops also includes several LGBT allies, including Mayor Kasim Reed, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Emory President James Wagner and Fulton Commission Chair John Eaves.