The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center is looking to start a fund for LGBTQ domestic violence victims.
You can donate by attending the "Love Doesn't Hurt" drag show and fundraiser at Club Spectrum (616 Marshall) this Friday, March 29th. Guest speakers will include a representative from the district attorney's office, Kevin Phipps from Shelby County Pre-trial Services, Jonathon Cole from the Tennessee Equality Project, Lt. Doreen Shelton from the Memphis Police Department Domestic Violence Bureau, and domestic violence survivors.
The $5 cover will go toward the domestic violence fund. If you are unable to make it but would still like to donate, click here. Make a note that you are donating to the Anti-Domestic Violence Fund.
LGBT activism is alive and well in the South, but what special issues come along with preaching equality in the Bible Belt?
Jonathan Cole of the Tennessee Equality Project will discuss "LGBT Activism in the Deep South" in front of the Marxist Student Union on the University of Memphis campus. The lecture is open to the public on Thursday, March 28th at 7 p.m. in the Mitchell Hall Auditorium on the University of Memphis campus.
The event is co-sponsored by the Progressive Student Alliance.
Beginning Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin listening to oral arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a case which has potential to be a landmark in the struggle for LGBT equality.
A group will gather at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center on Tuesday, March 26th for a "Light the Way to Justice" candlelight vigil at 7 p.m.
The event is one of 160 vigil events across the country.
For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.
Memphis' LGBT theatre company will present The Divine Sister, which pays hilarious homage to Hollywood films involving nuns, this weekend from Friday, March 22nd through Sunday, March 24th and again March 29th through the 31st at Theatreworks (2085 Monroe).
Expect parodied scenes from Doubt, Agnes of God, The Sound of Music, The Da Vinci Code, and other films.
The show begins at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday showings and 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees. Tickets are $15. For more information, go to Emerald Theatre Company's website.
The third annual LGBT Law Symposium, presented by the University of Mississippi School of Law, will be held on Friday, March 22nd from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Ole Miss' Robert C. Khayat Law Center.
The event features presentations and panels on law topics related to LGBT issues, including pro-bono advocacy and community involvement, HIV/AIDS, challenges and triumphs in the transgender community, diversity in the law profession, family law, and estate planning.
The symposium includes breakfast, lunch, and a cocktail party reception. An after-party will be held at 9 p.m. for those who wish to stay. The event is open to the public, and admission is free. To register, go here.
Members of Mid-South Pride and the LGBTQ community will be carrying a giant rainbow flag in this year's St. Patrick's Day parade along Beale Street on Saturday, March 16th at 3:30 p.m.
But once the parade is through, the party continues with a Rainbow Pub Crawl and Pot of Gold Poker Run. The crawl starts at the Pumping Station at 5 p.m. with a cookout. Then it moves to Dru's Place at 7:30 p.m. for games and karaoke. The crawl ends at Club Spectrum at 10:30 p.m. for drink specials and the drag show.
As part of the poker run, participants will receive a card with every drink purchased during the crawl. The player with the best hand at the end of the night wins. No word yet on what the prize is.
For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.
The annual Cherry party for lesbians and their friends will have a vintage Vegas theme this month, and it doubles as a birthday celebration for party host Julie Wheeler.
Set for Saturday, March 16th at Cafe Society, Cherry will feature a burlesque show with Kitty Wompas, Kissame Suga, and Anne Tag-A-Knee. After the show, Foxy Fairmont will perform an outdoor fire show. DJ Carol from the former Madison Flame will be spinning tunes, and chef Cullen Kent is offering a special light-night menu.
Bonus: One lucky winner will take home a $50 credit toward a tattoo at Underground Art.
General admission is $10 and VIP seating is $20.
For nine consecutive years, the Tennessee Equality Project has dedicated a day to lobbying state lawmakers in favor of bills that advance equality and against bills that take away equal rights or promote discrimination.
On Tuesday, March 12th, the Shelby County Committee will be joining other TEP committees from across the state in Nashville for Advancing Equality on the Hill Day.
The event begins with a light breakfast and policy briefing at the Rhymer Gallery in downtown Nashville at 8:30 a.m. At 9:30 a.m., the group will head to Legislative Plaza for individual appointments with lawmakers.
There's also a TEP Foundation and Clergy for Justice anti-bullying prayer breakfast from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Legislative Plaza cafeteria. Clergy and other guests will hear presentations on school bullying issues to help them advocate for safe schools in Tennessee.
TEP will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. at the top of the escalator in Legislative Plaza to discuss important legislation and to make public the Tennessee Human Rights Statement, which provides a contrast to discriminatory legislation filed this session.
For more information, see the event's Facebook page.
Memphian Kal Dwight is easily one of the most active young people involved in the local fight for LGBTQ rights. At age 21, he's already a veteran of the equality movement, having co-founded the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center's Gen Q group for college-aged LGBTQ people and their allies. Gen Q offers a place for young people to socialize and get active in the fight for equality.
On March 12th, Gen Q members will be in Nashville taking part in the Tennessee Equality Project's "Advancing Equality Day on the Hill," an annual day of lobbying in favor of LGBTQ-friendly bills and lobbying against those bills that would harm gay people and families. Kal took a few minutes to chat with the Flyer about Gen Q, activism, and his undying love for Elton John.
Flyer: Why did you help start Gen Q?
Kal Dwight: Originally, when my best bro Ray and I started it, we were 19 and too young for the bars. This was before Spectrum (gasp!). But we knew we wanted to be involved. We also knew that there were others like us. There isn’t much to do in Memphis if you’re under 21, whether you’re gay or straight. If you’re not in college or a church youth group, it’s hard to go out and meet people. So we started in early 2010 at the MGLCC.
What's the goal of the organization?
To create a healthier, safer environment for young adults while strengthening the local gay-straight alliances (GSA). We meet every Friday, and we reserve the second Friday of every month specifically for college GSAs to come and create events together.
You're currently fundraising to take Gen Q to Nashville for "Advancing Equality on the Hill Day." Why take the group?
Memphis young LGBTQA people rarely get a chance to go to Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) events in Nashville because of the cost and distance. Every year that I have been, it has been all Middle Tennessee kids and other adults. It’s time for our presence. I also hate being the youngest person at every event, so I’ve made it my mission to target young adults to get more involved. I can’t honestly keep bitching about it unless I do something. As for our fundraising goal, I think we’ve almost reached it. People keep donating every day.
Are there any particular bills in the state legislature that you're very concerned about?
I am always concerned with the “Don’t Say Gay" bill [Senator Stacey Campfield's bill that would ban discussion of homosexuality in grades K through 8]. I can’t wait to be rid of that one for good. Not only is it a threat to our kids, it makes us look so bad in Tennessee!
You're probably the most active young person in the LGBTQ equality movement in Memphis.
Haha … I am older than Justin Bieber at least! I might be the youngest but not for long.
When did you first get involved in the LGBTQ equality fight in Memphis?
When I moved home from L.A. and decided that this is where I needed to be, specifically for activism. I was all fired up after Prop 8. I knew that I couldn't represent anything I didn't know, and all I know is the Delta. I remember my first trip to the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center. I was glad to find a place that I now consider home.
Younger people tend to be more accepting of equality, but are there any issues that you face trying to convince the younger generation to get involved? Is there a lot of apathy?
A lot of the younger people that want to be involved are also involved in a million things. I only see the younger ones who come to me asking for projects to work on. I know that a lot have families and have to sacrifice free time to make a living. However, when my dad was in college, they were demonstrating and picketing everything. They were organizing sit-ins and bus boycotts. Okay, maybe dad isn’t that old but you get the point. We are the future, and this country isn’t going to get better until we MAKE it better.
As a transgender guy in Memphis, have you ever faced discrimination?
I’m very privileged to live in my little gay bubble; I have a very strong support system. It is certainly not a walk in the park for everyone though. Memphis is so far behind on trans issues. We are barely scraping the surface of what other places have already accomplished. Physically and mentally, this is a rough place for anyone who is LGBTQA. My biggest problems often come from within my own community. L’s, g’s, and b’s maybe don’t realize how uneducated they are and how much it hurts. My friend and a trans woman said, “Sometimes it seems that, by being trans, it is assumed that you are an open book or a walking educational seminar.” And I can get impatient.
How do you handle those situations?
I am pretty easygoing with the pronoun problem (people calling me “she” instead of “he”) but if I sense the situation could escalate, I just leave. I don’t have time to deal with jerks these days.
And now for some lighter questions: What's your favorite Memphis restaurant?
So you're pretty much the world's biggest Elton John fan. When did that obsession begin, and how many times have you seen him perform live?
OMG elton!! He's the man of my dreams! I first saw him when I was 13. I have seen him four times since then. And once in London! I think that he and David Furnish (his hubby) are so amazing and I'm so happy that they finally have a family. And yes, I will be seeing him next weekend.
What are you reading right now?
This month’s Rolling Stone. I am about to start [Pete] Townshend’s biography.
If you could be a celebrity for a day, who would you be?
Prince Harry. My dad even agrees.
And what are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
This is the hardest question. I want to be here, but I don’t think I will be. I want to do event coordinating and planning for nonprofits. I hope to be contracted out one day to the big organizations like in D.C. and L.A. But this is only March. It will probably be a different story next month..
Marco McMillan, the first openly gay candidate for mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, was beaten, dragged, and set on fire, according to a statement from his family that was released on Monday. His body was recovered last Wednesday from a levee along the Mississippi River.
McMillan, 34, was reported missing early last week after his SUV was recovered from a crash on Highway 49 near the Coahoma/Tallahatchie county line. McMillan was not driving his vehicle at the time of the crash. Instead, it was driven by 22-year-old Lawrence Reed, the man who police charged with McMillan's murder last Thursday.
McMillan's death remains under investigation.