The Meanest Woman in Midtown is packing her RV and planning on ridding KOA campgrounds across America of gay clubs and transgender women. But not before taking a victory lap through Atlanta media and one last nasty transphobic jab.
Peggy Denby stepped down from her iron throne at the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance last month, packing up her husband and belongings from their skyscraper condo – which sits on the grave of Backstreet, the gay club she helped kill – and preparing to travel the country.
But before she leaves, Denby enjoyed a victory lap with local media outlets to prove, again, that despite her good intentions that she's a tone-deaf meanie who spews bitterness at most every turn. She also took the occasion to continue her verbal assault on transgender people by comparing them to criminals in a Creative Loafing interview.
CL: You and the organization have plenty of critics saying you're anti-homeless, anti-prostitute, maybe anti-transgender. What's your response to these kind of attacks?
D: Some of those were the problems we faced. Some of them we still face, particularly the trans group. They're the remaining ones.
But these groups, and rather than them as speaking of them as groups we have them as individuals, they bring in the crime.
We have to analyze what our crime was and where it was coming from. If you don't know then you can't deal with it.
We knew that with all the homeless camps came the car break-ins and came the misdemeanor crimes that were just rampant. We knew that the prostitutes brought in the drug dealers. We knew that the drug dealers brought in everything else.
So once you break it down, it's pretty easy to know what you're dealing with and what you have to do. We couldn't always do all the things we needed to have done, but that was our M.O.
She also wishes Atlanta police didn't face any oversight of their actions, which is exactly the sort of consequences-be-damned approach that led its cops to raid the Eagle.
We also as a group, we knew that we had a lot of work ahead of us, we knew it would not be easy, we knew that we would catch some flak and we also knew that in tight situations we would have to take the lead because we didn't have anything to lose, if you know what I mean. Like the police sometimes can't go in and do things because of PR, reporters writing, they have to stay away from all that.
And wishes that her group could work in secrecy, too.
We didn't want to have a light on us either, but somebody had to stir the pot and that kind of became our role because we were residents and neighbors and a volunteer group, so it was kind of our job to represent the neighborhood in terms of public safety issues ... some of them weren't pleasant.
And what of her critics, like us? Screw 'em.
"I would just like to leave positive rather than negative thoughts about what we've done," she says. "The critics, it's so easy to sit back and fire shots at people who are out there busting our buns because we make good targets, and that's what people do, and I understand that and we've always known that."
No, really. Screw them. She won't let them stand in the way of her vision of right and wrong, Denby tells the AJC.
Denby shrugs at such opinions. She’s heard them all. They used to bring a tear. But no longer.
The crime-fighting clean-up lady said she was fueled by righteous indignation all these years. “What makes me go? It’s knowing the difference between right and wrong. Others might see it and not like it but not do anything.”