It looks like Representative Stacey Campfield's "Don't Say Gay" bill has rubbed off on Old Navy. The retail giant releases rainbow-lettered "Love Proudly" and rainbow flag shirts in 26 stores, but the shirts won't be sold in Tennessee.
They're also not available online, so Tennessee equality advocates would have to drive to Atlanta, Chicago, or Dallas to purchase one at an Old Navy store. An online petition was launched to encourage the company to sell the gay pride shirts in stores in all 50 states.
Club Spectrum is having an "Ask and Tell" Party on Saturday, May 28th in honor of Memorial Day weekend. Show a military ID, and get in free. And all patrons are encouraged to wear camo to salute our soldiers. Proceeds from cover charges will benefit the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center. Doors open at 9 p.m.
If you haven't been to Spectrum yet, you're missing out. The city's newest gay club opened this past New Year's Eve in the old Downtown Dolls location at 616 Marshall Avenue. Many of the former Backstreet dancers, including the fabulous Demonica Santangilo, perform at Spectrum now. And the dance floor packs out every weekend.
For more weekend fun, check out Michael Hildebrand's "Big Gay Ten" list on his Memphis Loves Gays blog.
If you plan to attend the second annual "Prom for All," the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center is urging you to buy tickets now. They expect the June 11th event to be a sell-out this year.
Last year's first "Prom for All" was inspired by Mississippi high school senior Constance McMillen's fight to attend prom with her girlfriend. Very much unlike the administration at McMillen's high school, the MGLCC decided to host a prom for people of any sexual orientation. Attendees must be 18 or up though since alcohol will be served.
This year's event, with the theme "True Colors," will be held at the Doubletree Hotel downtown. Tickets are $50 per person or $80 per couple. Eight VIP tables are available, and those include 10 prom tickets, a complimentary group photo, a VIP meet-and-greet with the soon-to-be-announced special guests, and goodie bags.
To purchase tickets, call 901-278-6422. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.
Governor Bill Haslam signed the "Special Access to Discriminate" bill into law yesterday, preventing city and county governments from passing ordinances requiring contractors to treat LGBT employees equally.
The law will overturn a recently-passed Nashville ordinance that required local government contractors to enact non-discrimination ordinances, and it will prevent the Shelby County Commission or the Memphis City Council from ever passing similar ordinances.
“Discrimination should have no place in the Volunteer State and the [Tennessee Chamber of Commerce's] opposition to this law sent a strong signal that corporations are on the leading edge of positive change,” said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese. “In contrast, Governor Haslam has put discrimination ahead of the state’s values and even business interests by signing this horrible legislation.”
Major corporations against the bill included Aloca, FedEx, AT&T, KPMG, UnitedHealth Group, Whirlpool, and Comcast.
Although Knoxville representative Stacey Campfield's infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill has been killed several times in past legislative sessions, it somehow managed to pass the Senate this morning in a 19 to 11 vote.
The bill originally prohibited the teaching of or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8. An amended version passed, which rewrote the bill to require that any instruction or materials made available or provided at or to a public elementary or middle school must be limited exclusively to natural human reproduction science.
Thankfully, when the bill was in the House, an education subcommittee declined to take it up, so it's still essentially dead for awhile. Nothing further can happen with the bill until the next session in January 2012.
When the bill was first introduced in 2008, here's what Campfield told the Flyer: "I think the schools should stick to the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. And maybe some civics. But teaching transgenderism to middle school students ... I don't think that's the road we should go down. I think that's what parents should be doing."
If the bill does eventually become law one day, Star Trek cast member/openly-gay actor George Takai has the solution:
One gay man's trash could be another straight man's treasure. Or vice versa. Either way, there should be plenty to pick from at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center's (MGLCC) yard sale on Saturday, May 21st from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The sale is in conjunction with the annual Cooper-Young Yard Sale on Saturday, which will feature multiple sales throughout the neighborhood. All proceeds from the MGLCC sale, to be held on the lawn at 892 S. Cooper, will benefit the struggling center.
MGLCC is currently taking donations of furniture, clothing, kitchenware, home decor, and more for the yard sale. Those may be dropped off at 892 S. Cooper through Saturday at 9 a.m. For more on making a yard sale donation, see the event's Facebook page.
During the sale, the center will be open for tours.
Former Memphis Police officer Bridges McRae was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison and two years of supervised release for violating the rights of Duanna Johnson and for tax evasion.
In 2008, McRae was videotaped beating Johnson, a transgender woman, over the head inside the booking area at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Complex. Johnson, who was murdered later that year in a seemingly-unrelated incident, told media that McRae called her "he/she" and "faggot."
McRae also evaded his federal income taxes from 2004 to 2008 by providing the City of Memphis a W-4 form that claimed he had 99 dependents. As a result, the city did not hold any taxes out of his paycheck.
The annual Outflix gay film festival won't happen until September, but the fun starts a little early with the Outflix Summer Series.
The first film — Sunset Boulevard — screens on Thursday, May 19th at 7 p.m. at Malco's Studio on the Square. Admission is $10, and it benefits the Outflix Film Festival.
Other summer series films include The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (May 26th), Rent (June 2nd), Footloose (June 9th), The Color Purple (June 16th), and Mommie Dearest (June 23rd).
For more on Outflix, check out their website.
Yesterday, the Tennessee Senate approved SB632, known by equality advocates as the "Special Access to Discriminate" Bill. This means that employees who work for local government contractors in the state will have no legal protections from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
An amendment to the bill must be passed by the House, but then the bill will go to Governor Bill Haslam's desk. He has the option to veto, and the Tennessee Equality Project is urging people to contact Haslam with their concerns.
If signed into law, the bill would repeal LGBT-inclusive workplace protections passed by Nashville's Metro government in April.
Crazy Stacey Campfield was the butt of a joke on the Daily Show last night, thanks to his ridiculous bill seeking to ban discussion of homosexuality in Tennessee classrooms. The state senator's "Don't Say Gay" bill (SB049) was due for a senate vote this morning, but that has been rolled to Thursday morning at 9 a.m.
In the Daily Show clip, host Jon Stewart mentioned that Tennessee legislators are trying to ban discussion of homosexuality at the same time that another bill is attempting allow teachers to instruct students in creationism. Yes, when you put the two together, we do look like quite the backwater, redneck state.
Anyhow, the Tennessee Equality Project is starting a phone bank to encourage people to let their senators know why they should vote "no" on Campfield's "Don't Say Gay" bill. Click here to find your senator's contact information.
Here's the Daily Show clip. Enjoy!
Drag queens may be fabulous, but not as fabulous as their mothers. After all, it's the influence of mom that taught those lovely ladies to walk in heels and apply rouge.
Honor your mama (or your "drag mama") and help the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community (MGLCC) raise a little money this weekend at Drag-Tastic, a Mother's Day-themed fund-raiser with performances by Allysun Wunderland, Pat McCooter, Camille Collins, Kiera Mason, Ava Larue, Ashlyn Tyler, and Miss Joann.
Sponsored by the Friends of George's, the event at Evergreen Theater will benefit the life-saving programs at MGLCC. Wine and Jello shooters will be served throughout the evening. Cocktail hour begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 7th and showtime kicks off at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.
For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.
The Tennessee Equality Project has done a little digging in regards to the "Special Access to Discriminate" Bill (SB0632), which would prohibit local governments in Tennessee from extending LGBT-inclusive workplace protections to the employees of government contractors. The bill was passed by the state house of representatives last week, and it was deferred in a state senate committee today.
So who is William D. Morgan and what does he have to do with all of this? Morgan is the chair of the Family Action Coalition of Tennessee, an anti-gay group and one of the bill's biggest supporters. Morgan is also president of John Bouchard & Sons, a privately held business and major contractor with Metro Davidson County Government (where Nashville is located). John Bouchard & Sons has a contract to repair electrical equipment, one for machine shop services for Metro Water Services, one for cast iron sewer boxes for Metro Water Services, and one for construction services.
Metro Davidson County Government just passed an ordinance requiring businesses that contract with the local government to provide workplace protection for LGBT employees. That ordinance would be repealed if SB0632 is signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam. Do you see where this is going? Read more at the Nashville Scene.