Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 LGBT News Round-Up

Posted By on Sun, Dec 26, 2010 at 2:42 PM

For the most part, 2010 was a momentous year for equal rights (spurred by the recent repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy). But locally, Memphis experienced a major setback when the city council failed to pass an inclusive non-discrimination policy. Here's a look back at local highlights and lowdowns in LGBT news:

* In January, the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center expanded its services to include finding temporary homes for struggling LGBT youth. The Youth Empowerment Services (YES) program was made possible by a generous holiday donation from an anonymous donor.

* In April, Knoxville Republican Stacey Campfield's "Don't Say Gay" bill was killed in the Tennessee State Legislature for the second time. The bill would have banned teachers from discussing homosexuality in elementary and public schools.

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* Also in April, a federal judge failed to reach a verdict in the trial of Bridges McRae, who was charged with violating the civil rights of transgender woman Duanna Johnson. In August, McRae finally pled guilty.

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* In May, Memphis-based FedEx announced that the company will begin offering insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners in January 2012.

* Also in May, the University of Memphis changed its policy to allow gay families to join the student gym.

* In August, city councilwoman Janis Fullilove withdraws the proposed non-discrimination ordinance protecting city workers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity at the request of the Tennessee Equality Project. TEP cited a lack of support by the council but promised to bring the ordinance back at a later date.

* In October, Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel Restaurant jumped up 40 points from last year on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index after the company implemented a non-discrimination policy and diversity training.

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* In November, TEP brings the non-discrimination ordinance back to council but it fails to gain enough votes on second reading, effectively killing the ordinance for at least six months.

* In December, President Barack Obama signs legislation repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Though it's not local news, it will certainly effect plenty of Memphians with military ties.

Happy New Year!

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