The Great Recession of 2009 took its toll on employees everywhere, but transgender folks and displaced gay youth took a huge hit.
To help, the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center is compiling a list of job opportunities from employers with clear non-discrimination policies. If you own a small business and need part-time or full-time help (and you're LGBT-friendly of course), send your recommendations to MGLCC director Will Batts. His email is email@example.com.
The job listings will be compiled and provided to everyone in the local LGBT community.
Beginning January 1, 2012, Memphis-based FedEx will begin offering insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners.
The company has been offering such benefits to employees in California (where its required by law) and at the FedEx Office locations for several years.
But a lack of across-the-board coverage for same-sex partners had led to poor rankings in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. In 2007, Diversity Inc. removed FedEx from its list of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity due to the company's failing to offer insurance coverage to same-sex partners.
The monthly meeting of the Tennessee Equality Project's Memphis chapter will include planning of the June Gay Pride picnic and a discussion on assisting with the campaigns of LGBT-friendly political candidates.
The meeting convenes at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper) on Tuesday, May 25th from 6 to 8 p.m.
Newly elected Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) board member Christy Tweddle is celebrating her birthday at Crossroads this Saturday night. And you're all invited.
The party, billed as a Drag Extravaganza, benefits TEP's work to advance equality for LGBT folks across the state. All the money raised from the $5 bar cover, the $2 Jello shots, and the drag performer's tips will go to the organization.
Drag performers scheduled to appear include "Diamond Doll" Keleigh Klarke, Beverly Hills, Nadya Symone, Sydney Allure, Kiera Mason, and the Divas of Crossroads.
The party starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Crossroads is located at 1278 Jefferson.
For more information and to RSVP, go to the event's Facebook page.
LGBT business professionals and straight allies are invited to a networking meetup at the Hilton Hotel on Thursday, May 20th from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Attendees are advised to dress business casual and bring business cards. The event's Facebook page offers these tips for starting conversations:
-Describe how and when you started working at your company or organization.
-Share your most rewarding experience at work or in the community.
-Share two things about yourself that you think no one may know.
-Describe a positive customer interaction you have experienced.
-Talk about something you appreciate about your employer.
-Give professional development tips that helped your career.
Monday, May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, marking the 20th anniversary of the World Organization's removal of homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.
To celebrate, the Tennessee Equality Project is asking people to make a YouTube video about equality. It could be a video about how the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act could help with your job security or you could talk about how the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy has affected the life of a loved one. You could even make a video about why you think the Memphis City Council should adopt a non-discrimination ordinance similar to the one passed by the Shelby County Commission last year. The topics are wide open.
Just a reminder that tickets for the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center's "Prom for All" are still on sale. The June 5th event at the Doubletree Hotel will feature guest of honor Constance McMillen, the 18-year-old Fulton, Mississippi high school student who made national headlines when the Itawamba County School District refused to allow her to bring her girlfriend to prom and wear a tuxedo.
The local prom, open to gay and straight couples (and even single folks!) ages 18 and up, is being held on the heels of McMillen's high school graduation. The batshit crazy (excuse the editorializing, but I can't help it on this one) Westboro Baptist Church (of "God Hates Fags" fame) has plans to protest McMillen's graduation, so the Memphis prom may be a welcome getaway from all that negative attention.
Couples of all orientations and ages will enjoy a traditional prom atmosphere, complete with prom photos, live music by Venus Mission, and a light buffet.
Tickets are $50 per person or $80 per couple. This is the largest fund-raiser of the year for the MGLCC, and the money raised will go toward the center's operating budget. For tickets, contact the MGLCC at 278-6422.
Indulging your sweet tooth comes with less guilt when you buy dessert for a good cause. For the entire month of May, Fuel Cafe is selling brownies to raise money for the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center.
Sure, you might get fat, but charity fat is good fat. Right? Fuel is located 1761 Madison (former site of Petra and Hattley's Garage).
For centuries, religious types have been using the Bible as ammunition against homosexuality. But whether or not the Bible condemns gay people is really open to interpretation.
On Sunday, May 9th at 5:30 p.m., Tommy Sheppard from the St. Francis Old Catholic Church is hosting a workshop called, "What Does the Bible Really Say About Gay People?" The workshop will focus on passages typically used by Christian fundamentalists to condemn gay people. A Holy Eucharist follows the in-depth study.
The workshop will be held at Neshoba Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 7350 Raleigh Lagrange Rd. in Cordova.
Eighth District Republican congressional candidate Ron Kirkland made comments that seemed to condone violence against gay service members at a Tea Party forum in Paris, Tennessee Thursday night.
Candidates at the forum were discussing their views on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which Kirkland supports. According to the Jackson Sun, during the discussion, Kirkland said of his days serving in Vietnam: "I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can't describe to you."
Another candidate — Randy Smith — followed with this: "I definitely wouldn't want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said."
The comments fueled a backlash from gay rights advocates. Though Smith apologized, maintaining that he has a gay daughter, Kirkland has remained unapologetic. Kirkland attempted to explain his refusal to apologize in this letter to the editor of the Jackson Sun:
Since recent reports have been published about the Tea Party Forum in Paris on Thursday evening and my defense of the “Don't ask, don't tell” policy in the U.S. military, I have been attacked by liberal forces from all over the country. Allow me to be perfectly clear. I will not back down. When any of us is cowered into apologizing for speaking the truth, our constitutional freedoms are diminished, not increased.
The 8th District includes Millington and a few other small towns at the northern edge of Shelby County, as well as Madison, Lauderdale, and Tipton Counties.
In this YouTube video, the Tennessee Equality Project is calling on Kirkland to apologize, and they're encouraging equality supporters to contact Kirkland's campaign.