With the exception of the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 passage in California, 2009 was a decent year for gay rights advances.
President Barack Obama signed a LGBT-inclusive federal hate crimes bill into law. Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009, granting marriage equality to same-sex couples in the nation’s capital.
New York Governor David Paterson issued an executive order extending anti-discrimination policies to gender identity for state employees. New Hampshire legalized same-sex marriage. Locally, the Shelby County Commission passed a non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT employees. The list goes on.
Celebrate these advances (and those to come in 2010) on New Year's Eve. Here's a guide to gay New Year's Eve happenings in the Bluff City:
* The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center is hosting an early New Year's Eve get-together from 6 to 9 p.m. at the center (892 S. Cooper). Stop in before heading to your party of choice.
* Backstreet Memphis (2018 Court) celebrates 15 years at its annual New Year's bash. There's a special New Year's Eve drag show in the Coliseum room at 11 p.m. and a $5,000 balloon drop at midnight.
* The Pumping Station (1382 Poplar) is hosting a New Year's Eve bash for a measly $5 cover. Doors open at 6 p.m.
* It's a regular night at Dru's Place (1474 Madison) with karaoke and darts.
Happy New Year!
The GLBT Research Team at the University of Memphis is seeking gay parents for a new study on same-sex parenting. Specifically, the researchers are looking at experiences of same-sex parents in relation to legal parenting rights.
To participate, you must be 18 years old or older, living with a same-sex partner with whom you've planned and created a family, and have at least one child under the age of 18 living in the home.
If you qualify (and you're interested), click this link to take the survey. It should take about 20 minutes to complete. Participation is anonymous.
For some LGBT folks and allies, spending Christmas Day with the family is out of the question. Maybe you live too far away to travel. Or maybe you've been shunned by some homophobic family members. Or maybe you're doing the family Christmas celebration late or early this year. Whatever the case, the folks at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) is offering a place to gather on Christmas Day.
The annual MGLCC Christmas potluck runs from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, December 25th. Bring a dish to share (and a little good cheer!).
Backstreet Memphis will hold it's "Red and Green Glow Holiday Affair" party on Saturday, December 19th from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The event includes a Sexy Santa contest, and though we're not entirely sure what that entails, you might want to don your fanciest elf hat for the occasion. And maybe throw on something slutty.
For more information, check out Backstreet's website.
Every year, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) releases a buyer's guide to help consumers make LGBT-friendly shopping choices. Companies are ranked according to whether or not they have policies supporting LGBT employees, such as domestic partner benefits, anti-discrimination protections, diversity training, and trans-inclusive benefits.
The new 2010 HRC Buyer's Guide might be handy when choosing holiday gifts this year. For example, Barnes & Noble, Target, and GameStop all made perfect scores for LGBT equality. However, Wal-Mart, Office Depot, and Radio Shack scored low, and HRC recommends that consumers avoid spending money at those stores. Petsmart, Kohl's, and Williams-Sonoma were among a group of low-scoring companies that did not respond to HRC's request for information.
The guide includes other businessess, such as restaurants, pet food companies, and gas stations, as well. To download the free guide, go here.
If you've been wondering what goes on at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) but were too shy to wander into their facility at 892 S. Cooper on any random afternoon, now's your chance.
The MGLCC is hosting its annual Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 13th from 2 to 4 p.m. Staff will be on hand to talk about various programs, meetings, and events at the city's only gay community center. And there will be plenty of refreshments.
For more information, check out MGLCC's website.
Bluff City Sports Association, the city's only LGBT sports organization, is holding a holiday mixer and sports sign-up session at Dru's Place (1474 Madison) on Friday, December 11th at 6 p.m.
In the past, Bluff City Sports was limited to softball, but the group is adding a basketball league to its 2010 sports agenda. The new softball season begins in April.
Interested athletes (or aspiring athletes) may sign up for either sport at the mixer, which doubles as a toy drive. Entry to the mixer is free with a donation of a child's toy for charity. Otherwise, attendees will be charged a $5 cover to benefit Bluff City Sports Association's programs.
Memphis' only gay newspaper, Triangle Journal and its sister publication Triangle Quarterly, will stop producing its print publications, according to the newspaper's website. The monthly newspaper was published by the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC).
The article by Len Piechowski says the decision to stop printing was made by MGLCC's board of directors "due to a decreasing cultural reliance upon printed media and a subsequent dwindling of advertising revenues."
MGLCC will also place Triangle Journal's website on hiatus while the center's main website undergoes a re-design. A new and improved site is expected to launch this summer.
The proposed city ordinance protecting LGBT city employees from discrimination will be the topic of Thursday night's Neighbortalk program on the Memphis Public Library channel (Comcast channel 18).
At 7 p.m., Tennessee Equality Project's Jonathan Cole and Ellyahnna Hall will join host/city council member Janis Fullilove to discuss the proposed non-discrimination ordinance. Viewers are invited to call during the live show at 901-415-2756.