Activists who recently called for local cities to create annual “LGBT Days” say they’re shifting focus to statewide legislation and won’t visit Brookhaven and Dunwoody city council meetings as previously planned. The activists, who call their group Queer Youth for Equality, also say they’re happy with Sandy Springs’ LGBT-friendliness at this point.

Queer Youth did stage a protest outside a June 13 Doraville City Council meeting after that city declined to put an LGBT Day on the immediate agenda. After that protest, Queer Youth member Haseena Peera said, the LGBT rights group Georgia Equality approached them for a team-up.

“We were impressed by their enthusiasm and energy,” said Georgia Equality Deputy Director Amanda Hill-Attkisson, “and we reached out to Queer Youth for Equality to engage them to join in our efforts for LGBT equality statewide with specific emphasis on fighting ‘bad’ bills anticipated in the 2017 Georgia legislative session.”

In May, the Queer Youth activists attended a Sandy Springs City Council meeting and presented their argument for an LGBT Day to recognize and celebrate the city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents. While the city government has not created an LGBT Day, it did recently tighten its nondiscrimination policy to better protect LGBT people.

“Congratulations to the city of Sandy Springs upon passage of the new protections for LGBTQ citizens and employees!” the Queer Youth for Equality activists said in a press release about the Doraville protest. “The city listened to us and is friendly to our community.”

Peera said that the mass murder at a gay nightclub in Florida earlier this month has put a spotlight on the group’s efforts. “Orlando shouldn’t have had to happen for our fight against discrimination to be recognized more seriously,” she said, “but it has done just that.”

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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