Charlie Paine has a passion for preserving Atlanta’s LGBTQ history

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Charlie Paine’s passion for preservation was ignited as a teenager when he pushed Emory to save a century-old building. Now his attention is focused on saving LGBTQ Atlanta’s history and historic places.

Paine’s work – he is secretary of Historic Atlanta and chair of its LGBTQ Historic Preservation Advisory Committee – earned him recognition from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and a $5,000 fellowship.

The money will help fund initiatives in the committee’s strategic plan, which includes a study to provide a framework for understanding, evaluating and preserving historic and culturally important LGBTQ spaces in Atlanta.

“What we’re going to start seeing in the next few years if we don’t preserve LGBTQ spaces, creatively using historic preservation, I think when one goes down, it could cause others to go down with it because all of these spaces live off each other,” Paine said during a new episode of Podcast Q.

Paine and the committee want to help Atlanta get better at recognizing and preserving LGBTQ history – whether it’s the decades-old space that now houses the Heretic and is threatened by a new MARTA station, or the Virginia-Highland house where Michael Hardwick was arrested in 1982. His arrest led to a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld Georgia’s sodomy law. A second case overturned state sodomy laws in 2003.

“It’s important to preserve these spaces because they connect us to our own histories and our community’s stories,” Paine said. “It’s when we lose those places that really are unique to our city’s history – I think that is a huge loss.”

In this episode of Podcast Q, Paine also graded existing local preservation efforts and discussed the importance of fundraising, the MARTA and Heretic situation, and how people can help.

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe with Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher or your favorite podcast app.

Photo by Russ Bowen-Youngblood


  • (1:21) Focusing on historic resources in LGBTQ Atlanta
  • (2:22) Michael Hardwick, sodomy and preserving LGBTQ history
  • (5:03) The origins of the LGBTQ Historic Preservation Advisory Committee
  • (8:24) A strategic plan for preserving LGBTQ Atlanta’s historic places
  • (10:22) Marking and recognizing Atlanta’s LGBTQ history
  • (11:44) Grading Atlanta’s efforts protecting LGBTQ history
  • (12:51) MARTA and the history of the Heretic
  • (14:27) How is the pandemic impacting your work
  • (15:34) A grant from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation
  • (18:10) His passion for historic preservation
  • (20:34) How people can help preserve Atlanta’s LGBTQ history


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