Today (June 28th) marks the 41st anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations held after an early morning police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a New York City gay bar. The uprising is often regarded as the kick-off to the modern-day gay rights movement. It's the reason most cities hold their gay pride events in late June.
A new documentary — Stonewall Uprising — chronicles the 1969 raid and subsequent demonstrations as told by Stonewall patrons, journalists, and a cop who led the raid. The film opened in limited release to select cities, like New Orleans and Atlanta, this past weekend.
Memphis wasn't chosen for the limited release kick-off, but a Malco representative informed us that Memphis may get the film when it becomes available to other cities. Currently, there are no scheduled screenings here for Stonewall Uprising.
You won't have to chase down the ice cream man (or woman) this Sunday. Save your energy and drive to First Congregational Church for the Tennessee Equality Project's Ice Cream Sundae Social on Sunday, June 27th.
Ten bucks (or $25 for families) buys several flavors of ice cream and toppings. There's also face painting and games for the kids. If you're thinking $10 is a little too much to pay for an ice cream cone, remember that the money benefits the equal rights lobbying work by the Tennessee Equality Project.
The social runs from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.
In October, a group of patrons from the city's first gay club will re-unite at Minglewood for the George's Reunion party.
But you don't have to wait until October to meet up with old George's Disco clubbin' buddies. The George's Reunion organizers are holding an Opening Act Meet & Greet event at R.P. Billards on Thursday, June 24th from 7 to 10 p.m.
The goal of Thursday's event is gather volunteers to help organize the big reunion party for October, but everyone is encouraged to hang out, drink beer, shoot pool, and meet the reunion organizers. Also, Lady May will be on hand performing Tarot card readings.
For more information on the George's Reunion, go to the Friends of George's website here.
Show off your best Adam Lambert impression at Mid-South Pride's Karaoke Idol contest at Dru's Place on Wednesday, June 23rd.
For a $5 entry fee, contestants will sing and be judged by bar patrons. The contest will be integrated into the regular karaoke night at Dru's Place, so contestants will perform in between others singing just for fun.
Finalists will compete for cash prizes at the Mid-South Pride festival on October 16th. Click here for a registration form. The contest on Wednesday runs from 7 to 11 p.m.
Although Memphis Pride has been moved to October to bypass the sweltering summer heat, the folks in Music City aren't shying away from temps in the high-90s. The Nashville Pride Festival will be held on Saturday, June 19th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Riverfront Park.
The entertainment line-up includes Megan McCormick, Kaci Battaglia, and Vanessa Carlton, as well as an appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Pride and a drag show. Admission to the festival is $5. Details (and a handy festival map) are available on the Nashville Pride website.
On another note: Check out the print issue of next week's Memphis Flyer for a full account of Memphian Edie Love's win for LGBT families seeking memberships at the University of Memphis rec center.
Southern Revival Bingo (highlighted in my last post) has been postponed. Sorry for the late notice, but I've been out of town at the Bonnaroo Music Festival without access to the Internet.
The event was postponed due to a date conflict with the funeral of Mickey Maxwell. A respected leader in the gay community, Maxwell was the cornerstone of the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center's Outflix Film Festival. His funeral was held on Sunday, June 13th at Holy Trinity United Church of Christ.
The rescheduled date for the bingo event at Senses is Sunday, June 20th at 3 p.m.
Enjoy an old-fashioned Southern revival to raise money for the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center. The June 13th event at Senses (2866 Poplar) features bingo, Southern-fried delicacies, drink specials, and — according to the event flyer — "devil-risin' booty music."
Don't forget to bring dollar bills for the cake walk, arts & crafts fair, and local celebrity bake sale. The event is hosted by Allysun Wunderland and runs from 3 to 7 p.m.
The fight for equality rights has come a long, long way in the past decade or so, but opinions on how to gain those rights differ within the LGBT community. Some folks want all (rights for gays, lesbians, and transgender people) or nothing. Others (most notably the Human Rights Campaign) are willing to take baby steps.
Tennessee Equality Project president Chris Sanders takes a balanced look at incrementalism in his post on the Grand Divisions: News and Comment on TN Politics blog (read the whole post here). He opposes baby steps when it comes to the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, meaning he wants job protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity added at the same time. Some gay rights advocates support the idea of leaving out gender identity for now to help move the bill along. Transgender issues tend to be a sticking point for some more conservative lawmakers.
But Sanders points out that incrementalism worked in the case of Nashville's 2009 ordinance protecting metro government employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The original ordinance would have extended protections to the private sector (just as Shelby County's original non-discrimination ordinance was intended to do), but before passage, the metro ordinance was scaled back to only protect government employees. The following passage from Sanders' Grand Divisions post illustrates the difference between the two types of incrementalism:
I don't believe we could have gotten half the support for an ordinance that would have applied to the private sector. Since no law (although there was a resolution in Shelby County and a Metro Schools policy) had ever been passed granting job protections in TN based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the territory was just too new. That's a sad statement on the state of equality in Tennessee, but it's where we are. Although the ordinance only applies to Metro government employees, it includes both sexual orientation AND gender identity. We wouldn't compromise on that point.
The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center's "Prom for All" event is Saturday night! Hope you've got your tux or your dress ready.
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. 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.
For years, Mid-South Pride (and before that Memphis Pride) held the city's annual Gay Pride march and festival in mid-June. That's because June is National Gay Pride Month, chosen to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.
However, this year's local festivities have been pushed back to Saturday, October 16th due to organizers' concerns about extreme summer heat.
"We wanted to make the festival more comfortable for everyone by switching to a fall date," said Jason Houston with Mid-South Pride. "We received a lot of feedback [about the heat] in particular after last year's festival, so we felt it would be best to respond by moving the date."
The October 16th date was chosen due to its proximity to National Coming Out Day (October 11th). Though most major cities hold Gay Pride events in June, a few other cities such as Richmond, Virginia and Charlotte, North Carolina, hold events later in the year.
For more information on Mid-South Pride 2010, go here.