On Tuesday, March 1st, equality advocates from across the state will gather in Nashville to meet with lawmakers on LGBT-related legislation.
The annual "Advancing Equality on the Hill" day is sponsored by the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP). Bills of special interest include the "Special Access to Discriminate" Act, which would negatively affect Nashville's non-discrimination ordinance. If passed, the bill has potential to affect the ability of other Tennessee cities seeking to pass future ordinances aimed at protecting LGBT workers from discrimination. This bill will be heard by the Senate State and Local Government committee on March 1st at 10:30 a.m., and equality advocates are encouraged to pack the hearing room.
Another bill would require photo identification for voters, a move that could create problems for transgender voters, as well as the elderly and indigent.
For more information on "Advancing Equality" activities, check out the schedule on TEP's website.
Ever considered running for office? Potential LGBT candidates will learn all there is to know about the political campaigning process at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund's Campaign and Candidate Training 101.
The workshop will cover what to expect when you run for office, what you'll need to win, and how the Victory Fund can help LGBT candidates. Training begins at OutCentral at 1709 Church Street in Nashville (hey, it's only a three-hour drive) on Monday, February 28th from 6 to 8 p.m.
The free event is being held in conjunction with the Tennessee Equality Project's "Advancing Equality on the Hill" Day on March 1st.
For more on the training program, check out the event's Facebook page.
Hello readers! Since the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell goes into effect very soon, I think it's time the Flyer talked to a few LGBT service people (or former service people) about what it has been like serving under the DADT policy, as well as what they think it will be like post-repeal.
I'm looking for LGBT service people from Memphis who would be willing to go on the record with their opinions and experiences. If you know of anyone, please shoot me an email at email@example.com.
On Monday, February 21st, Truth Wins Out director Wayne Besen will speak at Rhodes College on the psychological damage caused by ex-gay ministries that seek to turn gay people into straight people.
“The message of this tour is that you can’t ‘pray away the gay’ and LGBT people are fine just the way they are,” said Besen. “Organizations that claim they can change one’s sexual orientation are committing consumer fraud and harming a great number of people.”
Besen's organization Truth Wins Out aims to counter misinformation spread by so-called ex-gay reparative therapies, like Memphis' own Love In Action (LIA). LIA made national headlines in 2005 when its Refuge youth program was investigated by the state of Tennessee for operating a mental health facility without a license. LIA has since closed that youth program, but it still operates various ex-gay programs.
"It's highly appropriate that the last date of the Pray Away the Gay tour is in Memphis since we hold the unfortunate distinction of being one of the epicenters of the fraudulent 'ex-gay' industry," said Evan Hurst, Truth Wins Our social media director. "It's our hope that this event will help to engender a greater discussion about the harm being done to people right here in our own backyard, all under the guise of 'Christian love.'"
The Truth Wins Out tour was launched in response to an announcement by the nation's largest ex-gay ministry Exodus International that the organization would focus on youth in 2011. The lecture begins in Room FJ-B in the Frazier-Jelke Science Center at Rhodes College at 7 p.m.
For more on the event, check out the Facebook page.
Fat Tuesday won't come around until March 8th this year, but in true Mardi Gras style, the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) is starting the party early.
On Sunday, February 20th, TEP is hosting its annual Mardi Gras party and Gumbo Tasting Competition at the Hi-Tone (1913 Polar). The event kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Bring your appetite.
A report released last week by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality shows discouraging evidence of discrimination against transgender Americans.
More than 6,400 transgender citizens were surveyed for the study, titled "Injustice at Every Turn." Researchers discovered that African American transgender people experience discrimination in much higher numbers than trans people of other races.
They also found that the sample population of trans people were four times more likely to live below the poverty level with a household income of less than $10,000. Also, 41 percent of respondents admitted having attempted suicide compared with only 1.6 percent of the general population.
To see the full report, go here.
Dan Savage, LGBT advocate and editor of Seattle's alt-weekly The Stranger, launched the "It Gets Better" YouTube video project last September after a rash of suicides by gay teens who'd been bullied by their peers.
In his "It Gets Better" video, Savage talked about growing up gay in a Catholic school and assured viewers that life for LGBT people improves as one gets older. Thousands of other "It Gets Better" video testimonials followed, featuring everyone from Glee's Chris Colfer and Ke$ha to Kim Kardashian and President Obama.
Savage will be at Rhodes tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 15th) as part of his "It Gets Better" lecture series. The free, open-to-the-public event begins at 7 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom at the Bryan Campus Life Center. For more information, check out the Rhodes campus calendar.
This Valentine's Day weekend, Club Spectrum is ditching the traditional pink and red in favor of purple, the color commonly associated with anti-bullying. This weekend's Purple Party aims to raise awareness (and funds) for anti-bullying organizations.
The Purple Party is scheduled for Saturday, February 12 at 616 Marshall. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the cover ($5 ages 21 and up/$10 ages 18 to 20) benefits Go Purple! Stop the H8!, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center. Guests are encouraged to wear purple.
For more, check out the event's Facebook page.
On October 15, 2011, the city's annual Mid-South Pride parade will kick off on historic Beale Street, ending in a festival at Robert R. Church Park (corner of Fourth and Beale).
The venue change was announced over the weekend at a Mid-South Pride fund-raiser at Club Spectrum. The move marks a major shift in Pride parade tradition. For years, the annual march route began at Cooper-Young's First Congregational Church and ended at a festival in Peabody Park.
Here's Mid-South Pride's video announcement:
Elderly LGBT people will have a chance to network with those who provide seniors services at the "Focus on LGBT Elders" forum on Thursday, February 3rd from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper).
Also invited are representatives from companies that would like sensitivity training regarding service for LGBT elders or anyone interested in helping out with the MGLCC's elder initiative.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back in October, old-school clubgoers gathered at Minglewood Hall for the first-ever George's Reunion. George's — originally at 1786 Madison — was Memphis' first gay bar. It went through several incarnations and locations before finally settling at Front and Huling as GDI's on the River, but that club closed in 1990.
George's fans are still around, which they proved by showing up in full force at the reunion event. Videographers Tim Goad, Ty Phillips, and Kent Hamson documented the historic event, and their footage is now available in a two-disc DVD collection. The discs contain red-carpet interviews by Corey Welch and guest interviews by Allysun Wunderland, as well as performances by the George's Proud Choir, the "Showplace of the South," and a "We Are Family" finale.
You can purchase the disc here. Fifty percent of the proceeds will benefit the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center.