Atlanta area voters elect lesbian to Georgia House of Representatives

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Wednesday Dec 2, 2009

Atlanta area voters have elected the country's first openly lesbian state legislator of color.

The Associated Press reported Simone Bell received 53 percent of the vote in a runoff election against lawyer Asha Jackson to represent the 58th House District, which includes East Atlanta, Kirkwood, Woodland Hills and other areas of the city and adjacent DeKalb County.

"As a longtime activist and advocate for social justice, fairness and equality, I am looking forward to listening to the voters and providing a voice for the people of the 58th District in the Georgia General Assembly," Bell said in a statement posted to her Web site earlier today.

Born in Detroit, Bell has been an activist and community organizer in Atlanta for more than 20 years. She has worked on a broad range of issues that includes reducing HIV/AIDS stigma, LGBT and women's rights.

Chuck Wolfe, president and chief executive officer of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, applauded Bell's election.

"This is a tremendous victory for LGBT Georgians," he said. "Simone is a longtime leader in her community, and she will be a huge asset in the Georgia State House."

Bell is the second LGBT person elected to the House. State Rep. Karla Drenner [D-Avondale Estates] has represented the 86th House District since voters first elected her in 2000.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.


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