The first hearing began today in a legal challenge against Tennessee's HB600/SB632, which took away the rights of local governments in the state to pass ordinances protecting LGBT employees. At the time of its passage earlier this year, Nashville's Metro government had just approved a non-discrimination ordinance, and the state law also overturned that decision.
At the hearing, attorneys for the Tennessee Equality Project and other plaintiffs are arguing that attempts were made to conceal information about the true intent of HB600/SB632.
Check back to Memphis Gaydar for updates as the case unfolds.
The University of Memphis is looking for people who identify as women, whether they're lesbians or transgender woman, who have found community after moving to or coming out in Memphis.
The research study will address local issues of social justice through stories of hope, discrimination, isolation, transformation, and community.
From the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center's newsletter, where the call for participants was first reported:
"Such research is at the forefront of current American social justice research and has the intent to educate and sensitize communities by offering a deeper awareness of the joys and hardships of local LGBTQ lives. Our intent is to expose, contextualize, and raise awareness of the community experiences of those LGBTQ-identified women that choose to live their lives in Memphis."
If you've got it, you know what they say to do with it. And do so you can at this weekend's second annual Friends of George's blowout party, Flaunt, at Minglewood Hall.
In their words, here's what the party is all about:
On October 22nd, the team behind the legendary George’s Reunion will return to Minglewood Hall to bring you a chance to dance & FLAUNT! This community celebration brings together some of the Mid-South’s hottest dancers, models, and performance artists for an experience that must be lived to be believed!!
The party benefits the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center, and tickets available at www.friendsofgeorges.org.
Wear purple on Thursday, Oct. 20th to show your support for LGBT youth. The annual Spirit Day was started last year by teenager Brittany McMillan after several LGBT kids and young adults across the country committed suicide. Most of those who died were victims of anti-gay bullying.
Don't have any purple clothing? You can probably find something on FCKH8.com, a clothing company with a pro-LGBT message that raises money for suicide prevention. Check out this FCKH8 video on why bullying sucks.
There was only one lonely comment on last week's giveaway post for tickets to the Friends for Life Halloween party. So Flyer reader George Paul Comeaux, you're the lucky winner!
Please email me your mailing address by clicking here, and we'll have two tickets for the Oct. 29th fund-raiser in the mail, pronto.
The annual Mid-South Pride parade is moving to Beale Street this year, followed by a festival in Robert Church Park. The parade starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15th, and the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In the recent past, the parade has been held on Cooper, but organizers are hoping to expand the event by bringing it into the city's tourist district. The parade features two 100-foot rainbow flags, as well as floats and walking groups (including the Tennessee Equality Project's zombie march). It kicks off at FedExForum, goes south down Third, circles around Beale, and then heads to Robert Church Park. Flyer managing editor Susan Ellis wrote about the event in this week's paper, and you can find that article here.
The festival features live music by Carol Plunk, Summer Osborne, the Glory Holes, Porcelan Chalet, Sibella, and a performance by the Absent Friends shadow cast from Evergreen's regular showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Speakers include Downtown Memphis Commission president Paul Morris, U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen, and Will Phillips, the 11-year-old from Arkansas who made national headlines for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance until there is "liberty and justice for all."
Here's some video from last year's parade for idea of what you might see:
Friends for Life is planning another wild costume throw-down for Halloween, and they've offered two tickets to one lucky Memphis Gaydar reader.
The party, themed "Angels, Aliens, & Outlaws," is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29th at Bridges (477 North 5th St.) at 8 p.m. Costumes are strongly encouraged. Svedka Vodka is an official sponsor, and you know what that means? Cosmopolitans and vodka martinis for everyone!!
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling us what you plan to be for Halloween. We'll select one lucky winner in a random drawing on Monday, Oct. 17th. Check back here at 10 a.m. on Monday to see if you're the lucky winner.
Filmmaker/funny man John Waters, who claims he knew he was gay the moment he first saw Elvis Presley, expresses the importance of being out in this YouTube clip.
On Friday, radio talk show host Thaddeus Matthews asked his listeners "Is Lee Harris a faggot?" Harris finished first in last Thursday's election for former Memphis City Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware's seat, but he must face a run-off with Kemba Ford in the November 10th election because they were only four votes apart.
Why was Matthews, who has a history of stirring controversy, using homophobic slurs against Harris? The equality-supporting candidate appeared in a video on the Memphis Loves Gays website vowing to stand up against discrimination.
Matthews also posted a link on his website to that video with the title "Is Lee Harris Gay?." He also uses racist slurs against Harris on his site.
Memphis Loves Gays blogger Micheal Hildebrand confronted Matthews in his office to ask him to remove the link to his video interview of Harris. Rather than comply, Hildebrand says Matthews became violent and used homophobic slurs against him. Read all about Hildebrand's encounter with Matthews and more on this story at TEP's Grand Divisions blog.
Tupelo, Mississippi is the home to the very anti-gay American Family Association. In fact, the AFA was labeled a "hate group" last November by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their demonizing propaganda about homosexuality.
On Monday, October 10th, a group of equality advocates are holding "Give Hate a Holiday" in Tupelo to protest the stance of the AFA. At noon, there will be a demonstration outside the Tupelo Link Centre, and then at 2 p.m., there's a free public screening of Out in the Silence," a film about love, hate, and the quest for justice and equality in America's heartland. That takes place at Tupelo's Link Centre Concert Hall.
At 4 p.m. in the Link Centre Reception Hall, there will be an information and networking fair with representatives of local, state, and national groups and organizations to learn how to get involved and take action.
For more information, check out the group's Facebook page.
Two weeks ago, Jerry Pitman and his boyfriend Dustin Lee were physically attacked and verbally assaulted with homophobic slurs on their way into a church service in Fruitland, Tennessee, right outside of Humboldt. The craziest part? The man who ordered the attacks was Jerry Pitman's father, the church pastor.
Evan Hurst, social media director of Truth Wins Out, has the full story on his blog.
Mark your calendars for October 22nd. That's the date of Flaunt, this year's installment of the George's Reunion party.
Last years inaugural event drew both former George's Disco patrons, as well as plenty of folks too young to remember Memphis' first gay club. Just like with last year's party, Flaunt will feature drag shows, music, and more.
From the event's Facebook page: "So what is FLAUNT!? ITS A PARTY!!! Its a non-stop, innovative EXPERIENCE with music, lights, hot models, divas, dancing, and fantastic shows!! IT ONLY HAPPENS ONCE on October 22nd at Minglewood Hall!!!"
Most importantly, the money raised benefit the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go here.