The Tart — Milton’s quietly gay City Council member since 2007, Alan Tart — for weeks snubbed our requests to talk about how a gay man gets elected in a conservative Atlanta suburb. He’s talking now, just not to us.
But we did wonder why he skipped at least two interviews he scheduled with us, how it is that a gay elected official served nearly his entire term without getting on the radar of LGBT political groups and activists, and why he didn’t want to celebrate his achievement like we wanted to. After all, his election put him on an all-too-short list of openly gay elected officials in metro Atlanta. And other than Marietta’s Johnny Sinclair, it’s not often that a gay person gets elected in a conservative burb.
The Tart enjoys support in his conservative enclave. Gay neighbors — yes, girl, there are gays in Milton — responded to our post with support through comments on the story and our Facebook post. He maintains that residents have judged him on his record, not his sexual orientation. Nevertheless, he’s now questioning whether he’ll run for re-election in November.
But what’s curious about The Tart is his take in the GA Voice interview on the gays and Midtown.
There’s nothing here to see, so keep it moving. “I have been out. My friends know I’m gay, my work knows I’m gay, my neighborhood knows I’m gay.”
Only the gay Mayor of Midtown needs to speak with LGBT media outlets. “It’s just not something I would do. If I was running for office in Midtown, maybe.”
We don’t read about “those kind” in Milton. “Let’s face it, there isn’t likely a big gay readership here or places to get those kinds of magazines. The only reason I would go to the gay media would be to say, ‘Hey, look at me.’”
The gays and their groups have an agenda. “I ran a very grassroots campaign. I didn’t ask for endorsement from any one. Because of my political naïveté at the time — I just thought those groups wanted to endorse people who have more stances on social issues.”
You gays in the gayborhood have it easy. “I think it’s easy for those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — for us to move into more welcoming, accepting areas of the inner city. I think, though, that if we are going to make progress we not only do what is comfortable but also what’s uncomfortable, like I did.”
The Tart’s understanding of the inner city gays seems limited to Blake’s. That’s the Midtown gay bar where he snagged a partner over cocktails nearly 11 years ago and apparently, hasn’t looked back since.