Life coach Gwendolyn Clemons and her son Davin are two peas in a pod — they are both gay, both ministers, and both work in the criminal justice system.
And now the pair is collaborating on a new talk radio show for the LGBTQ community. Called "Relationships Unleashed," the first hour-long episode will air on KWAM 990 on November 22nd at 5 p.m.
"Our topics will range from building healthy relationships to domestic violence issues in the LGBTQ community," said Gwendolyn, a supervisor in the counseling department at the Shelby County Division of Corrections. "We want to do some AIDS/HIV awareness and bring in guest experts, and we'll talk about the self-esteem of the community. We just want to offer something to a community that we feel like is being overlooked and not represented."
Eventually, the show will accept live calls, she said. But for the first month or so, as the mother-son team gets a feel for their audience, they'll simply discuss topics without taking callers. They will be taking questions to discuss on the show through a suggestion box on their website. They're also looking for sponsorships, and they're having a launch party on Saturday, November 1st at No. 2 Vance (325 Wagner) from 7 to 10 p.m.
"We're seeking sponsors and donors because it's going to be tough, and there will be people against us," said Davin, an officer in the Memphis Police Department's TACT unit and the LGBTQ liaison for the department. "But we're bringing a whole new listening audience to KWAM 990."
Gwendolyn said they called the show "Relationships Unleashed" because they hope the show can help some in the LGBTQ community unleash their own voices.
"People have been bound in the closet. You have to hide who you are all the time. You have to hide at work. You have to hide at school," Gwendolyn said. "I don't have the privilege that heterosexuals have to walk down the street holding my wife's hands, and we're legally married. I'm unleashing myself from these chains that have been placed on me. Our mantra is 'Don't be afraid to come out.' You're hurting more by hiding."
Davin founded the Cathedral of Praise Church of Memphis, Inc. with his life partner Pastor Darnell Gooch in August 2012. Gwendolyn is a minister in the LGBT-affirming church.
"It's an inclusive ministry. Even my 76-year-old grandmother is a member," Davin said. "We have regular church service just like everyone else. Every church has gay members, but in some churches, they don't want to say that. In our church, you can say you're gay."
Much like their church, Davin and Gwendolyn want people to know that their new radio show will be inclusive as well.
"This is not a black show or a white show. It's not a gay show or a straight show," Davin said. "We're targeting the LGBTQ community, but we want the larger community to tune in and bridge this gap."