According to the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), Representative Stacey Campfield's "Don't Say Gay" bill will make a comeback in this General Assembly.
Be prepared to fight Campfield's push to ban talk of homosexuality in schools and other anti-gay legislation with the "Lobbying 101" workshop on Saturday, January 29th from 10 a.m. to noon. The event — hosted by the University of Memphis Law School's OUTLAW group and TEP — will focus specifically on lobbying during Tennessee's 107th General Assembly.
Attendees will learn how to research and track bills, how to handle meetings with elected officials, and how to advocate on behalf of legislation. The workshop will be held at the University of Memphis Law School in room 226.
For more information, see the workshop's Facebook page.
"Bring Out & Equal to the Workplace" is hosting an LGBT business mixer tonight (Wednesday, Jan. 26th) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Memphis Hilton (939 Ridge Lake Blvd.).
Topics for discussion include best practices for workplace inclusion, economic empowerment, and social and professional development. Dress is business casual, and entry is a $5 donation to the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center. Bring business cards.
For more information, see the event's Facebook page.
LGBT people without family support or recognized legal relationships may have a few more hurdles to cross when it comes to planning for one's funeral.
Susan Williams-Stinson of Memorial Park Funeral Home will present a free presentation on funeral pre-planning on Tuesday, February 1st at 7 p.m. at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper).
For more information, call Susan at 901-258-7123.
On Tuesday night, Nashville/Davidson County's Metro Council approved a bill on first reading that would extend the metro area's nondiscrimination policy to companies that contract with the city.
The bill passed with a vote of 22 to 13, and it would require companies that contract with Nashville/Davidson County to adopt non-discrimination policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity. According to a story in Nashville's City Paper, some council members voted for the bill out of respect for the three-reading legislative process, but future readings are expected to bring out more opposition from council conservatives.
In the summer of 2009, Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy attempted to impose a nondiscrimination policy on companies that contract with the county. But Mulroy's ordinance was compromised down to apply only to county employees. This past summer, Janis Fullilove brought a similar resolution to the Memphis City Council, but it was removed from the agenda for lack of support.
In November, Backstreet Memphis was closed as a public nuisance for a second time after undercover officers alleged that owner Shane Trice had failed to make promised improvements. Upon being allowed to re-open after the club was first closed in 2009, Trice had supposedly agreed to add security in the parking lot, check customers for weapons, and turn the infamous "dark room" into a coffee bar. Police alleged that Backstreet allowed underage drinking, drug sales, and sexual acts.
After the most recent shutdown, District Attorney Bill Gibbons said he'd aim to keep the club closed for good. Now the Backstreet website links to an online petition to re-open the club. From the petition's website (the typos are theirs, by the way):
I support the Re Opening of Backstreet Memphis. i Have been to Backstreet Memphis and it was never to Have Sexual Encounters, Purchase or Use Drugs. I believe Backstreet is a Safe Place for me and my firends. Backstreet is very strict on ID's and minors, the sale or use of Drugs or sexual acts taking place on the premise. Backstreet also does not allow people to hang out in the parking lot to prevent desturbing others. I agree to the best of my knowledge that this is true and Backstreet is a good place for the community of Memphis to have here in Memphis.
Every Friday night, Club Escape (known as Escape Alley Sundry by day) morphs into a gay club. On Friday, Jan. 14th, the event — called Diamond Jackson's Mix & Mingle — features DJ Spaceage on the turntables and a sexiest underwear contest with cash prizes.
The event is 18 and up, but legal drinkers will need to bring their own booze. Admission is only $1, but it's free before 11 p.m. Club Escape is located at 655 Marshall.
Mid-South Pride holds its first fundraiser of the year at Crossroads on Saturday, January 8th. The event features a performance by drag queen Miss Mod at 9 p.m.
Attendees will also have a chance to win gift certificates for the soon-to-be-released George's 2010 Reunion DVD.
There's no cover, but donations to Mid-South Pride will be accepted. The fundraiser runs from 8:30 to 11 p.m. For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.
Besides making the usual resolutions to eat better and work out, it can't hurt to resolve to get tested often. Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region can help you keep that resolution right away since they're starting free HIV testing and counseling every Monday at Caritas Village (2905 Harvard) from 4 to 7 p.m. The testing kicks off today.
That's in addition to their other long-standing free testing night at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper) every Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. Planned Parenthood also offers free HIV testing every day at their new 2430 Poplar Avenue location.
For more information, call (901) 725-3008 or go to the Planned Parenthood website.