In a historic decision for marriage equality, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and decided that the supporters of California's Prop 8 gay marriage ban did not have standing to appeal the U.S. District Court's ruling of unconstitutionality.
In a nutshell, the DOMA decision means that married gay couples in the 13 states that allow gay marriage will now be entitled to federal marriage benefits, and the Prop 8 decision makes gay marriage legal again in California. The Prop 8 decision does not, however, undo any gay marriage bans in the 36 states that have them, including Tennessee. The court would have had to rule Prop 8 to be unconstitutional for that to have happened.
Michelle Bliss of the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) will break the decisions down further tonight in a lecture (and likely a celebration) at TEP's monthly meeting tonight at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center at 6:30 p.m.
In honor of National HIV Testing Day on Thursday, June 27th, LeMoyne-Owen College will present the play, The Color of Red at 6 and 8:30 p.m. in the Student Center Little Theater.
In the show, actors and dancers present a look at how the HIV/AIDS epidemic is plaguing the African American community. After the show, they'll be offering free HIV testing with certified counselors.
After being presented in other cities, The Color of Red has led to post-show testing of 40 to 50 percent of audience members.
Tickets are $10 at the door or $8 with a valid student ID.
Now that summer is officially here, some folks may be humming "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." But on Saturday, June 22nd, members of Mid-South Pride and their supporters will be "out" at the ballgame.
At 7:05 p.m., the Memphis Redbirds play the Texas Round Rock Express, and Mid-South Pride will be there. They're offering discount tickets at $6 and parking passes for $7.
And they'll be selling "We Are Family" t-shirts for $17 (adult) or $12 (children).
To buy tickets, go to the Mid-South Pride website and click "donate" to pre-pay for tickets, parking, and shirts.
This month's gay pride-themed installment of "Cherry," a monthly party for lesbians and their friends, will feature the return of burlesque dancer Kitty Wompas.
Wompas, who performed at some earlier "Cherry" parties, has been performing in Florida lately, but she's back in town. Joining her will be dancers Foxy Fairmont and Anne Tag-a-Knee. As always, host Julie Wheeler will be singing and providing the jokes.
They'll be giving away one last $50 tattoo credit from Underground Art, and there will be drink specials.
The second annual cleverly named OUTBid fund-raiser auction for the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center is scheduled for Saturday, June 15th.
Whether you're an adrenaline-driven, outgoing live bidder or a more laidback, introverted silent bidder (or both), there's a chance for you to bid on all sorts of items to benefit the city's only gay community center.
The silent auction begins at 6:45 p.m., and the live auction goes down at 7:30 p.m.
The Randy Ballard Jazz Collective will provide live jazz, and Off the Square Catering will provide food. There will also be cocktails and wine.
Tickets are $50 for individuals, $90 for couples, or $350 for a table of eight.
The annual Memphis Black Pride weekend is going for the gold. From Friday, June 14th to Sunday, June 16th, events associated with the city's African American LGBT celebration will feature gold themes.
The weekend kicks off on Friday, June 14th with "All Gold Everything," a meet-and-greet event, at the Clarion Hotel from 4-7 p.m. Later that night, there's a "Solid Gold" Motown Revue with D Money and Tiona Kourvoiser at the Venue Entertainment Complex at 10 p.m.
On Saturday, June 15th, there's a "White Gold" white party (where attendees are encouraged to dress in white clothing) from 2-4 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel. That party morphs into a "Dipped In Gold" pool party at the hotel after 4 p.m.
Later on Saturday night, drag queens and others will perform in "Gold Dust: 19th Annual Memphis Black Pride Super Show" at the Venue at 10 p.m. The show features The Venue Charms, Jasmine Bonet, Tommie Ross, Monica S. Dupree, Kenya Black Dupree, Otis Mack, and Alicia Kelly.
The weekend winds down on Sunday, June 16th at Chickasaw Heritage Park with "Gold Mines: Pride in the Park," a family and friends picnic and car show from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Finally, there's a "Golden Globes" label Party and farewell show at the Venue at 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Bill Kendall, long considered a pioneer for both art films and LGBT pride in Memphis, passed away at a care home in Atlanta on April 19th. Now his friends and admirers are honoring Kendall's contributions to Memphis film fans in the 1960s and 70s, when he served as manager of the now-defunct movie houses the Guild Art Theatre, the Studio, and Bristol.
"Return to the Ritz: Remembering Bill Kendall," scheduled for Monday, June 10th from 6 to 9 p.m. at Evergreen Theatre (the former home of the Guild Art Theatre), will feature a film screening of Return to the Ritz: A History of Foreign Films in Memphis, a documentary Kendall made about his experiences working in the arthouse theatre world. The event will also feature a screening of the 1969 Miss Gay Memphis Pageant.
Kendall was known for bringing controversial, rare, and campy films to Memphis. Classics such as The Bicycle Thief and Flash Gordon screened here, thanks to Kendall. He also found himself facing an indictment for obscenity by the Shelby County Grand Jury after bringing the films I, A Woman, Without a Stitch, and I Spit on Your Grave. Those charges were dropped when the state declared Shelby County's obscenity law to be unconstitutional.
African Americans are eight times more likely to contract HIV than non-Hispanic whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Also according to the CDC, one in 16 black men and one in 30 black women are diagnosed with the disease.
Those statistics compelled the Memphis-based Red Door Foundation to host the "Saving Ourselves Symposium," an educational event aimed at raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African American community.
The symposium begins on Thursday, June 6th and runs through Sunday, June 9th at various locations. It begins with a June 6th screening of You Are Not Alone, a film about HIV/AIDS, at Studio on the Square. Comedian Sampson McCormick will entertain on June 7th at Stop 345. On June 8th, the Red Door Foundation will host its Tri-State African American LGBTQ Community Summit at Bridges. That night, there's a gala and silent auction at the Holiday Inn Select downtown. On June 9th, there's a community service project that participants can help with.
According to its founder, Marvell Terry, The Red Door Foundation is "...fighting to curtail an epidemic that's rapidly moving throughout black America ... It's a state of emergency! Yet, we haven't heard the siren, and here's why ... poverty, lack of education, and limited access to healthcare are the main factors why HIV/AIDS numbers are so prevalent here."