Planned Parenthood of Memphis has teamed up with the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) to offer a seven-session program aimed at preventing HIV and other STDs among African American men.
Called "Many Men, Many Voices," the workshop series is aimed at black men who have sex with men, but the participants don't necessarily have to identify as gay. The target audience includes heterosexual men "on the down low," who enjoy gay sex unbeknownst to their female partners.
The intervention sessions will address sexual relationship dynamics, factors that influence the behavior of black men who live "on the down low," and the social influences that racism and homophobia have on HIV risk.
In order to participate in the seven-week program, men must show up for the first session on Sunday, February 28th at MGLCC at 6:30 p.m.
Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign released its annual Corporate Equality Index, ranking hundreds of America's largest companies based on treatment of LGBT employees.
Memphis-based AutoZone and Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel both scored in the bottom 10. AutoZone placed ninth-worst for not prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or expression and for not providing same-sex partners with health coverage.
Cracker Barrel received the third lowest corporate equality score. The company doesn't prohibit discrimination based on gender, provide partner benefits, or require diversity training that encompasses sexual orientation.
During Mississippi-born photographer Jack Robinson's New Orleans period (in the 1950s, when he shot his famous Mardi Gras/Bourbon Street gay district photographs), he fell in love with a man named Gabriel.
Robinson became a bit obsessed with photographing his lover, often in the nude. His play with light and shadow created particularly sensual images.
Some of that work will be on display in an exhibit at the Jack Robinson Gallery (400 S. Front) through March. The show opens during the South Main Trolley Tour on Friday, February 26th from 6 to 9 p.m.
The monthly planning meeting of Tennessee Equality Project's (TEP) Memphis chapter will be held Tuesday, February 23rd from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper).
On the agenda: Updates on the city's proposed ordinance to protect LGBT workers and planning for TEP's Advancing Equality on the Hill day.
For more information, check out TEP's Facebook page.
Since the Memphis Area Gay Youth (MAGY) group was founded 15 years ago, the youth-run, adult-advised support group has kept its meeting place a secret. At the time, group leaders wanted LGBT kids to have a safe place to retreat, and they feared that revealing the meeting location would put some kids at risk.
But on Friday, Feb. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m., MAGY members will finally open their doors to the public in the group's first-ever open house at First Congregational Church.
"We want to send a positive message about being out,” says advisor Mary Park, a former MAGY youth participant. “How can we encourage young people to come out of the closet if we as an organization don’t do the same thing?”
Since its inception, MAGY has served as a support group for LGBT and questioning youth ages 13 to 20. Advisor Derek Norman says MAGY offers youth a safe place to be "out" since many regular members have to hide their identity at school, at home, and from their close friends. The group meets every Friday night at First Congregational Church.
“One of the challenges of growing up gay is that, unlike most people of ethnic or racial minorities, you often don’t share an identity with anyone in your family," says Norman. "There may be no one at home who understands what you are going through."
Back in June of last year, hundred of LGBT rights supporters gathered on the steps of the First Congregational Church in Midtown to rally for the Shelby County Commission's proposed non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT county workers.
Later in October, many of those same people showed up for another rally held inside the First Congo Church. That time, the group was gathered to express anger over the destruction of a pro-gay billboard downtown. At that rally, representatives from the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) promised the fight wouldn't end there.
And they've kept that promise with a new group — called "Raise Your Voice: Speak Up, Speak Out" — aimed at uniting LGBT rights advocates in the fight against oppression. "Raise Your Voice" will hold its first planning meeting on Thursday at the MGLCC (892 S. Cooper) at 6:30 p.m. For more information, go here.
Gawker.com posted this funny guide to gay male stereotypes ... just for fun. If you have trouble differentiating the Gay-listers from the Show Queens, this guide is for you. Click here.
On Tuesday, March 2nd, gay rights advocates will gather in Nashville to push for pro-LGBT legislation on the Tennessee Equality Project's (TEP) Advancing Equality Day.
Specifically, advocates will be lobbying against a proposed bill that would prevent unmarried couples from adopting. They'll also be working to expand hate crimes protections.
LGBT folks with an interest in running for office should attend the "Candidates and Campaigns 101" informational session hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund on Monday, March 1st at OutCentral Cultural Center (1907 Church St. in Nashville). An Advancing Equality Day opening reception is planned for Tribe (1517 Church St.) on Monday as well.
TEP has secured group rates of $89 per room at the Doubletree Hotel (315 Fourth Ave. North in Nashville), but reservations must be made prior to Saturday, Feb. 20th.
For more information on Advancing Equality Day events, go to TEP's Facebook page.
On a day set aside to celebrate love, Neshoba Unitarian Universalist Church wants to show folks that God loves LGBT equality.
On Sunday, February 14th at 2 p.m., Neshoba (7350 Raleigh-Lagrange) is hosting "Standing on the Side of Love," a community-wide equality worship service and reception featuring LGBT-supportive clergy from five area churches.
Participating clergy include Rev. John Gilmore from Open Heart Spiritual Center, Rev. Joe Pfeiffer of First Congregational Church, Rev. Tommy Sheppard from St. Francis Old Catholic Church, Rev. LaPaula Turner of Holy Trinity, and Neshoba's Rev. Bill Neely.
The worship service will focus on the need for LGBT equality, and a symbolic community wedding reception follows. Guests will be treated to wedding cake adorned with same-sex couple toppers.
“Many of us were energized by last spring’s Shelby County Commission discussion of equality in the workplace. While the resolution that was finally passed by the commission was not all that many of us had hoped for, it was nonetheless a victory for equality in Memphis,” said Neely. “Interfaith voices of support for equality had much to do with that victory. We would like to continue in the spirit of that advocacy so that the religious climate of Memphis continues trending toward equality.”
A love offering will be collected to benefit the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center.
Ladies, need a date for Valentine's Day? Maybe you'll meet Ms. Right in 10 minutes or less at the Dru's Place Speed Dating event on Sunday, February 14th.
Participants pay $15, which guarantees 12 quick dates (that's only $1.25 per date!). And the cost includes one "free beer for a sweetie" to award the woman who lights up your heart.
The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. at Dru's Place (1474 Madison) and is sponsored by the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center's Women's Advisory Committee. Registration is limited and all participants must pre-register. To enter, go here.
It's not exactly LGBT-specific news, but supporters of equality should note that a Tennessee House Employee Affairs subcommittee is set to discuss an "equal pay for equal work" bill on Wednesday, February 10th.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Turner (D-Nashville), increases penalties for denying equal pay for equal work based on gender. The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition strongly supports the bill.
Rep. Mark White, a Republican from Memphis, sits on the committee.
Did you know that, in Shelby County, 87 percent of men living with HIV/AIDS and 92 percent of women with the disease are African American?
Yep, it's true. Those numbers come from the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department. As millions of Americans gnaw on hot wings and celery during SuperBowl XLIV (go Saints!) this Sunday, February 7th, they should take a moment to reflect on the AIDS epidemic on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
In recognition of the day, Planned Parenthood of Memphis is offering several days of free testing for anyone, regardless of race.
Monday, February 8th - Memphis Towers Community Room - 4pm - 6pm
Tuesday, February 9th - LeMoyne Owen College Student Center -12pm - 3pm
Wednesday, February 10th - University of Memphis Student Union - 10am - 2pm
Wednesday, February 10th - Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center - 6pm - 9pm
Artist Ellyhana Watts-Hall's previously scheduled art show at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) was canceled last Friday due to inclement weather. But Watts-Hall's first public art show has been rescheduled at MGLCC (892 S. Cooper) from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, February 5th.