Last week, Memphis Gaydar reported that Franklin, Tennessee Republican state representative Glen Casada withdrew his bill banning Tennessee cities from passing non-discrimination ordinances protecting LGBT employees of city contractors.
Casada's decision to withdraw the so-called "Special Access to Discriminate" Act is a temporary move giving him time to lobby the bill's opponents, one of whom is Cordova Republican Representative Steve McManus.
Now the Tennessee Equality Project is urging LBGT equality advocates to sign a petition thanking McManus "for opposing big government intrusion into local affairs."
Apparently, the Memphis Tea Party and the Family Action Council of Tennessee are actively pressuring McManus into voting for another version of the act in the House Subcommittee on Commerce. According to an email from TEP, "[McManus] needs to hear from equality and labor advocates and proponents of small government alike that we support his firm stand against HB0598 and HB0600."
Click here to sign the petition.
On Wednesday, March 24th, Franklin, Tennessee Republican state representative Glen Casada withdrew his bill banning Tennessee cities from passing non-discrimination ordinances protecting LGBT employees of city contractors. But he told The Tennessean that he'd be bringing the bill back in two weeks.
Dubbed the "Special Access To Discriminate" Act by LGBT equality advocates, Casada's bill came after Nashville-Davidson County's Metro Council took up an ordinance protecting LGBT workers at companies that contract with the metro area. Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy attempted to pass a similar ordinance here two years ago, but the language was watered down to exclude contractors.
Casada said he withdrew the bill as a "parliamentary move," and he plans to put the bill back on notice in two weeks. In the interim, he will lobby the bill's opponents, one of whom is Cordova Republican Representative Steve McManus.
Breaking news! Change.org is reporting that Apple has officially pulled Exodus International's iPhone app. The nation's largest ex-gay organization's free app has been drawing complaints since its launch, and a Change.org petition garnered 146,000 signatures in a matter of days (just last week, we reported the petition was only up to 20,000).
Apple has a pretty decent track record when it comes to supporting LGBT matters. Last year, Apple pulled another anti-gay app after a petition garnered only 7,000 signatures. Plus, Apple donated money to fight California's anti-gay marriage proposition.
In the immortal words of Neil Sedaka, "breaking up is hard to do." But most everyone has to go through it at some point.
The Break-Up Show, the latest production from the Emerald Theatre Company, may offer a sense of catharsis to anyone who's ever experienced heartbreak. The play is based on real-life break-up stories, but fortunately, it's a comedy, so tissues shouldn't be necessary.
The Break-Up Show opens at TheatreWorks (2085 Monroe) on Friday, March 25th and runs through Sunday, April 3rd.
The nation's largest ex-gay organization, Exodus International, recently released a controversial, free iPhone app offering everything from links to the latest ex-gay news, a calendar of "change ministry" events, podcasts, FAQs about Exodus, and even advice on dealing with bullies.
Interestingly, their bully advice article touts tolerance, and then goes on to say, "Uphold the belief that homosexual, bisexual, or transgender behavior and/or identity are outside of the intentional design of human relationships and sexuality, and therefore aren't what's best for us." Um, that pretty much sounds like intolerance to me. How can you tell straight kids not to bully gay kids when you teach people that being gay is wrong?
Needless to say, the LGBT-advocacy community isn't happy with Apple for offering such an app. A change.org petition has gathered over 20,000 signatures calling for Apple to pull the app from the App Store.
From the petition site:
Apple doesn't allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it gives the green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a "sin that will make your heart sick" and a "counterfeit." This is a double standard that has the potential for devastating consequences.
To sign the petition, go here.
If you skipped out on the annual St. Patrick's Day parade down Beale this past Saturday, here's what you missed:
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people and straight allies will be allowed to show their true colors in Saturday's annual St. Patrick's Day parade down Beale Street. At least 30 people will be carrying a 100-foot gay pride flag in the march. The parade kicks off at 3 p.m. at the corner of Fourth and Beale.
That's in stark contrast to what happened at New York City's Staten Island St. Patrick's Day parade last Sunday. A gay group was barred from marching in that parade when they showed up wearing rainbow ribbon pins. According to the New York Daily News, the group was only allowed to march if they agreed not to carry any banner that "would violate Catholic doctrine."
Members of the group contacted New York City Councilperson Christine Quinn to alert her of the discrimination, and when the group showed up at the march wearing pride ribbons, they were turned away. Quinn was also banned from marching in the parade.
"The told us we couldn't march because we contacted Christine Quinn," Gerard Mawn, a Staten Island Pride co-founder, told the New York Daily News. "I was stunned." Mawn instead joined Quinn at an inclusive parade in Sunnyside, Queens.
Read more at the New York Daily News website.
The Memphis Hustlin' Rollers take on the Tallahassee Rollergirls in a Memphis Roller Derby bout at the Pipkin Building on the Mid-South Fairgrounds on Saturday, March 12th from 5 to 8 p.m. But roller derby isn't nearly as sweet without cookies and other baked treats.
The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center's Gen-Q youth group will host a bake sale at the derby bout. Oh, and if that's not awesome enough, there's a drag show at halftime. Also, the Angels of Death will take on the Women of Mass Destruction.
Entry to the event is $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 5 to 12. Kids under 5 get in free.
Click here for more information.
The body of a 25-year-old transgender woman was found near Highway 334 in Forrest City, Arkansas on Tuesday morning. St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May told WREG that Marcel Camero Tye appeared to have a head wound and appeared to have been dragged by a car, but the office is awaiting the official autopsy results. Forrest City, a town of about 14,000, is located about an hour's drive west of Memphis.
Mays did say some witnesses claimed to have heard gunshots in the area near where Tye's body was discovered. Although Tye identified as transgender, May referred to her as a "cross dresser." The Times-Herald of Forrest City reported today that the FBI has joined the sheriff's department in the investigation of Tye's murder as a possible hate crime. Arkansas does not have a law against hate crimes.
Tye is one of several transgender murder victims, including Duanna Johnson, Tiffany Berry, and Ebony Whitaker, in the Mid-South over the last few years. This morning, the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center issued a statement regarding the problem:
“Memphis is known to many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities around the country as a city unsafe for transgender women. That’s not the type of reputation we want. Definitely not something to be proud of,” says Will Batts, executive director of Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center.
"We certainly hope that law enforcement officials will make every effort to bring to justice those who committed this horrible crime. It is important for every citizen in our Mid-South community to feel safe and equally protected under the law.”
Harvest Creative designer Michael Hildebrand is seeking submissions for a June art show of posters and prints with LGBT equality themes.
According to his post on the Memphis Loves Gays blog, Hildebrand is seeking silk screens, lithographs, etchings, serigraphs, woodcuts, and giclee prints with a theme on "the light & dark aspects of the desire for LGBT equality." The use of photos and illustrations within the work is permitted.
Submissions should be mailed electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15th. The art show is scheduled for June 24th from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Harvest Creative (348 N. Main). Fifty percent of the money from the sale of each print will benefit the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community and the other 50 percent will go to the artist.
For more information (and links to examples of what Harvest is looking for), check out Michael's post on Memphis Loves Gays.
Green won't be the only color in Beale Street's annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday, March 12th. This year, volunteers from Mid-South Pride will carry a 100-foot rainbow flag in the procession.
As you might expect, it takes a lot of folks to carry such a large piece of fabric. Mid-South Pride is seeking at least 30 volunteers to hold the flag and throw beads to the crowd. They also have a limited supply of beads, so donations of beads will be accepted.
For more on volunteering or the parade, check out the event's Facebook page.