Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monthly "Cherry" Party to Feature Burlesque Show

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 1:16 PM

This month's installment of "Cherry ... a lezzie shindig" features a mini-burlesque show by Kitty Wompas. The party takes place at Cafe Society on Friday, November 2nd at 9 p.m.

Also planned are free palm and tarot readings, desserts by Le Cordon Bleu trained chef Cullen Kent, and drink specials. And as always, the event is hosted by singer/comedian Julie Wheeler. Cover charge is $5.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Win Tickets to the Friends for Life Halloween Party

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM

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You could take your kid trick-or-treating or attend some humdrum house soiree on Halloween party night (that's Saturday, October 27th this year since the real holiday falls on a Wednesday). But the world may be ending in December, if the Mayans can be trusted. And wouldn't you rather spend your last days surrounded by people in fabulous costumes, while sipping an ApoColada (a pina colada for the end of the world)?

If you answered yes, then the Friends for Life annual Halloween party is the place to be this Saturday night. The theme — "Apocalypse 2012: The Party to End All Parties" — is appropriate for the end of times. And while costumes are not required, you'd better believe you'll see some well-planned Halloween attire fit for the apocalypse. We're guessing the place will be crawling with zombies and Mayan gods.

Tickets are $40 for regular admission or $80 for VIP (that's good for a few free drinks), and all proceeds go to support the work Friends for Life does for people affected by HIV/AIDS.

But the Memphis Flyer is giving away one pair of tickets to a lucky winner. All you have to do is click here and enter your name and email. We'll draw a winner at noon on Thursday (Oct. 25th) and contact you by email.

For more information on the party, check out this Facebook page.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rainbow Riders

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 2:22 PM

There's a new LGBT bicycling club in town, and they're taking to the streets for the first time this Saturday.

The Memphis Rainbow Riders will meet at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center at 10 a.m. on October 20th before embarking on a six-mile ride down the Cooper and McLean bike lanes and Overton Park.

For more information about the Rainbow Riders, see the group's Facebook page.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Memphis City Council Approves Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 6:52 PM

The Memphis City Council voted 9 to 4 on Tuesday afternoon to approve an amendment adding "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to a list of city workplace protections.

The language of the amendment had been previously approved to add "sexual orientation," but there was some confusion over whether or not such an amendment would violate the city's charter. At that time, city attorney Herman Morris said he believed the amendment would violate the charter, claiming a referendum may be required. But after further research, Morris changed his opinion. However, city council attorney Allan Wade stuck by his original opinion that passing the amendment violates the city charter.

But Wade's opinion did not dissaude the council members who originally voted to add "sexual orientation." It also didn't prevent councilmen Harold Collins from changing his votes to "yes" this time around. Collins said he'd consulted with faith leaders and decided not to let his religious beliefs affect the way he voted on legislation.

Councilman Reid Hedgepeth, a conservative who voted in favor of the ordinance last time, told the audience that harassment and robo-calls from the amendment's opposition had only strengthened his resolve to vote in favor of the amendment again.

"One e-mail said 'I hope you and your family burn in hell together.' How is that for Christianity?" Hedgepeth asked.

Additionally, councilwoman Janis Fullilove proposed an amendment to the ordinance that added protections on the basis of "gender identity." That amendment passed 9 to 4, as well. The only "no" votes on the "gender identity" amendment and the main motion to amend the city's nondiscrimination ordinance came from council people Wanda Halbert, Bill Boyd, Kemp Conrad, and Joe Brown.

The council chambers were lively before the vote. Speaking for the opposition, a representative from the Family Action Council said the amendment's passage would lead to protections for "grown men attracted to 12-year-old boys." That elicited boos and gasps from the audience. Pastor Larry Hunter, who wore a Taekwondo uniform, said he didn't "want to walk nowhere and see two mens [sic] kissing or two mens [sic] hugging."

After Hunter's statements, which did not seem to pertain at all to the ordinance in question, an impassioned advocate for the ordinance stormed the podium and began screaming at Hunter. Members of the Tennessee Equality Project were forced to drag the man away from the podium.

Speaking for advocates of the ordinance, Rev. Valentine Handwerker from Immaculate Conception said the Catholic church's teachings are clear on why we shouldn't discriminate. A transgender retired Episcopal priest told the council that passage of the amendment would protect the city against liability. But Jake Brown with the Shelby County Democratic Party elicited the most applause when he said, "We are not here to debate morality or immorality. We are not here to debate religious beliefs. We are here to talk about city policy and whether or not the city endorses discrimination."

Final Reading for Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:34 AM

The Memphis City Council will vote today on whether to implement an amendment to the city's nondiscrimination ordinance that offers job protections for gay city employees.

The council approved the language of the amendment last month, but legal questions arose as to whether or not such an amendment was allowed under the city charter.

The Tennessee Equality Project is urging advocates to wear purple and arrive at the council meeting by 2:30 p.m. to ensure they will fill up the front rows. The meeting begins at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ru Paul's Drag Race Series

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 3:32 PM

The monthly installment of the Ru Paul's Drag Race Series features Raven and Nina Flowers on Saturday, October 13th, and the party is moving to Spectrum to accommodate a larger crowd.

The show, which previously took place at Jack Magoo's, will start on the Spectrum stage at midnight. DJs Nathan Ashby and Mary Jane will provide the music. And guests can enter a giveaway for a spot on the Ru Paul's Drag Race Cruise that leaves Miami on December 2nd.

Bonus: Spectrum now boasts a full bar.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cherry Party at Cafe Society

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 3:17 PM

This month's installment of the "lezzie shindig," Cherry, will take place in a slightly more upscale locale than usual — Cafe Society — on Friday, October 12th.

The toned-down, classed-up version of Cherry will serve as a post-pride cocktail party. Hors d'oeuvres will be served. In the past, Cherry has been held at more casual bars, such as Dru's Place, Sky Grille, and Jack Magoo's.

According to organizer Julie Wheeler, "This is perfect for people who aren't into the club scene and crave a more mature, conversational vibe."

Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover charge is $5.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Knoxville Says Its Non-Discrimination Ordinance Does Not Violate Its City Charter

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 3:04 PM

On Tuesday, September 18th, the Memphis City Council discussed the passage of a non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT city workers, but its final passage was delayed until October 16th because of confusion over whether or not its passage would violate the city charter.

Council attorney Allen Wade and city attorney Herman Morris were of the opinion that such a change might require a public referendum.

Knoxville's council unanimously passed a very similar ordinance last year, and county commissioner Steve Mulroy, an advocate for the city's passage of the ordinance, decided to investigate if there was any issue with Knoxville's charter.

Ronald Mills, Knoxville's deputy law director, wrote Mulroy a letter that says: "This letter is to confirm that the City of Knoxville Law Department did not find the recent revisions to various sections of the Knoxville City Code regarding discrirrńuatìon based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and other factors to violate Knoxville’s home rule Charter. Given the Wording of our Charter, this really is not an issue that came up in consideration of the ordinance, because there is nothing in our Charter which we find to be a definitive and exclusive list of discriminatory practices."

Said Mulroy in response: “I thought it prudent to check with another big Tennessee city and see how they were able to do it. Their opinion is instructive. Their charter and ordinance are virtually identical. Indeed, the argument that the City Council has authority under the charter is even stronger in Memphis."

To read the full letter from Mills and statements from city councilman Lee Harris and Tennessee Equality Project's Jonathan Cole, check out this post on Grand Divisions.

Friday, October 5, 2012

City Employees, TEP Demand City Council Add Gender Identity to Protections

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 1:26 PM

At a Tennessee Equality Project press conference Friday afternoon at the AFSCME headquarters on Beale, Memphis Police officer Virginia Awkward, a 9-year veteran and former cast member of TLC's Police Women of Memphis, made a plea for the Memphis City Council to include "gender identity and expression" to the amended non-discrimination ordinance. The ordinance was amended to include "sexual orientation" last month, but "gender identity and expression" were left out of the discussion.

"I believe my city is a city of love and compassion, and I believe my city is a pioneer for equality," said Awkward, who invited TLC viewers into her same-sex relationship when the reality show aired in 2010.

TEP's Shelby County Committee chair Jonathan Cole said the gay-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance, which passed last month but remains on hold while the council sorts out whether its passage is legal under the city's charter, is incomplete until all employees, including those who are transgender, are protected.

When asked why he didn't include "gender identity" when he made the amendment to add "sexual orientation," city councilman Lee Harris said "the political will just wasn't there." But he supports the addition this next time around. The ordinance comes back up for a vote on October 16th.

"We've already done one miracle. Don't discount us just yet," Harris said. "Hopefully, the same seven votes will be around again."

Chad Johnson, the director of AFSCME, said there should be more than seven votes. He said the council should approve the changes unanimously.

Jake Brown, political/operations director of the Shelby County Democratic Party, said the party endorses passage of the amendment and the addition of gender identity.

"This is not a question of whether you endorse homosexuality or not. It's about whether you endorse discrimination," Brown said.

Ellyanna Hall, a transgender woman, spoke at the conference about the discrimination she has faced trying to find work in the city.

"When someone is denied work, you deny them housing. You deny them food," Hall said. "I've experienced discrimination for many, many years. It's dehumanizing. It's isolating. It's wrong."

As for the religious influence that seemed to hold some council members back during the discussion about adding "sexual orientation," Davin Clemons, a 10-year city employee and a minister at Cathedral of Praise, had a few words for pastor Steve Gaines of Bellevue Baptist Church. Gaines spoke at the council meeting against the addition of "sexual orientation" to the city's non-discrimination protections.

"Steve Gaines' job is not to tell the city council how to vote. His job is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, the correct version of the gospel. That's the gospel that says we should love everyone," Clemons said.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mid-South Pride Parade and Festival This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Mid-South Pride will hold its annual parade and festival on Beale Street for the second year, a change from years and years of holding the event in the Cooper-Young neighborhood.

The parade, which will be grand marshaled by Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center director Will Batts and local Tennessee Equality Project chairman Jonathan Cole, kicks off at 2 p.m.

The parade will end at Robert R. Church Park, where the pride festival will be underway. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and features Latin roots artist The Glo, singer-songwriter Jeremiah Clark, folk soul artist Summer Osborne, teen pop punk band The Hot Pink Paper Clips, and acoustic folk rockers Sibella.

After the pride festivities are over, Mid-South Pride is sponsoring a Pride Crawl after-party. The crawl begins at the Hard Rock Cafe from 6 to 7 p.m. and then moves to Jack Magoo's at 7:30 p.m., Dru's Place at 9 p.m., the Pumping Station at 10:30 p.m., Crossroads at midnight, and Spectrum at 1:30 a.m.

For more information on any Mid-South Pride events, check out their website.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Tennessee Queer Premieres On Tuesday

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 3:20 PM

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Local filmmaker Mark Jones' new film, Tennessee Queer, will make its Memphis debut on Tuesday, Oct. 2nd at Malco Paradiso.

Tennessee Queer tells the story of a gay man who visits his rural hometown and winds up throwing a gay pride parade there. The scenes were filmed in Memphis, and the film features local actors Christian Walker, Billie Worley, Jerre Dye, Anne Marie Hall and Jim Eikner.

There are two scheduled screenings, one at 6:30 p.m. and one at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on the Brown Paper Tickets website. For more information, see the event's Facebook page.

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