LGBT advocacy group says Atlanta fire chief unfit to lead a diverse workforce

LGBT advocacy group says Atlanta fire chief unfit to lead a diverse workforce

ATLANTA — A Georgia LGBT advocacy group is calling on Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to terminate the city’s fire chief, saying the viewpoints expressed in a self-published book make him unfit to lead a diverse workforce.

Kelvin Cochran
Kelvin Cochran

On Monday, Reed suspended fire chief Kelvin Cochran for two weeks, saying Cochran he violated policy by self-publishing a book that describes homosexuality as a “perversion.”

Cochran’s book, titled “Who Told You That You Are Naked?”, includes a passage that compares compares homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality. The book has been available publicly at least since November 2013, according to

Reed said Monday he was “deeply disturbed” after learning about the book last week, and that he will not tolerate discrimination within his administration.

But the LGBT rights group Georgia Equality said the suspension does not go far enough, and that Cochran must go, reports WABE.

“It appears that his language is so extreme, so belittling of gay and transgender people that I don’t see how he could possible lead a diverse workforce,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality.

Graham says Cochran’s beliefs create a “chilling effect” for anyone that has to work with him.

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“I think he needs to be held accountable for his words and that frankly the only course of action at this point and time is his immediate and permanent dismissal,” said Graham.

City council member Alex Wan, who is openly gay, says Reed should also investigate whether Cochran’s views have affected LGBT employees.

Anne Torres, a spokesperson for Reed, said it was too soon to say whether the mayor would take any additional action against Cochran.

“That will depend on the outcome of the investigation,” she said.

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