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OUR PETS, OUR LIVES

OUTANDABOUT NASHVILLE.COM

NOVEMBER 2016 VOLUME 15 | ISSUE 11

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11.16

LETTER

This month, O&AN is featuring pets—our own pets, and the pets of our friends and readers. Reader response was overwhelming, including poignant stories of how special pets had saved their owners’ lives. There were so many of these that few of them could be printed, so be sure to look to our online articles to feature these stories at greater length! We wanted to feature pets because, in our community, pets have long played a particularly important role in our lives and wellbeing. In a world where LGBT people still often face rejection from friends and family, pets provide unconditional love. In a world where many barriers against LGBT adoption remain, adopting a pet gives many an object for their unconditional love. In dark moments they provide light. I remember when I first got divorced. I was living on my own for the first time in my entire life, having transitioned from the dorms at Emory straight into married life. I spent every day with my son at home, so I was rarely alone. Suddenly, I was all alone in an apartment that felt cold and empty as a grave. I had a bit of a nervous breakdown, I admit,

from the

EDITOR

and my ex decided I needed to take one of our dogs. She even paid the pet fee. And suddenly I wasn’t quite as alone, though Joan did lick more than a few tears away. There is also a kinship between a common LGBT experience and that of so many animal companions. As I mentioned earlier, so many LGBT people, especially youth, find themselves abandoned, homeless, without care. Likewise, so many of our pets come to us from shelters, from pounds, where unwanted animals are abandoned by their former families. The grateful expressions, the absolute devotion, these pets give their adopted families, the humans who want them without condition, is amazing. O&AN has long partnered with the Nashville Human Society to introduce Nashville’s LGBT community to some of the pets available for adoption, with the help of NHS’s Kenneth Tallier (picture below with his “Funky Bunch”). Remember, when you’re ready to grow your furry family, there are thousands of animals out there who have been cast aside already—don’t buy, head down to your local shelters or the NHS and adopt. @jamesallengrady

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2017 BRINGS TENNESSEE CONTINUED PROGRESS ON LGBTQ HEALTH DR. PAMELA ROSHELL

More than one year after marriage equality became the law of the land nationwide, President Obama, Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and my colleagues and I at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continue to seize opportunities to improve the health and well-being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questionable (LBGTQ) Americans. We do so because the sad reality is that LGBTQ people still face discrimination in many areas of life, including health care. This discrimination exacerbate very real health disparities and societal challenges LGBTQ people face, including higher rates of depression, smoking, HIV, stigma, violence, rejection by family and community as well as inequity in the workplace and insurance sectors. The Obama Administration has made historic advancements for the LGBTQ community, and as we celebrate that progress, we know there is still more to do. We’ve proudly required all hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (nearly every hospital in America) to allow visitation rights for LGBT patients, funded the first national resource center for older LGBT individuals, and released the nation’s first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy, among many other initiatives. When I’m asked about the most important thing we’ve done for LGBTQ health in Tennessee, the answer is always the same: the Affordable Care Act. You may know some of the law’s benefits—like financial help to help eligible consumers afford health insurance, certain recommended preventive care like cancer and HIV/ STI screenings without cost sharing,

and coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Still, many do not realize just how much the law offers for LGBTQ Tennessee. That’s because LGBTQ people are more likely than their straight, cisgender peers to be uninsured. In fact, because of the Affordable Care Act, nationwide the uninsured rate for low- and middle-income LGBT people dropped from 34 percent in 2013 to 26 percent in 2014. For LGB people, the uninsured rate was nearly cut in half from 2013 to 2015. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more LGBTQ people have health insurance than ever before. And even more have the opportunity to get covered by visiting HealthCare.gov beginning on November 1. As a result of new enhancements to the law, the Affordable Care Act providers increased protections for LGBTQ communities. In May, HHS Office for Civil Rights spelled out significant new nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ. The new rules mean that all LGBTQ people—whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, gender nonconforming, or intersex—are protected from discrimination just for being who they are. These protections apply in every state and mean that: • Health insurance plans sold through HealthCare.gov can no longer have categorical exclusions for services related to gender transition. • A hospital or clinic that receives federal funds cannot turn you away because you are transgender or in a same-sex relationship. • You have the right to be placed in a hospital room or ward based on

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from a health care provider, such as a doctor or nurse intentionally refusing to use your correct name and pronoun. This means that even more LGBTQ people have the opportunity for more meaningful health insurance coverage starting January 1. If you face this or any other type of discrimination, we urge you to file a complaint with the regional Office for Civil Rights at www.hhs.gov/ocr. We know more can be done to improve LGBTQ health and we will continue to build upon the strides we have already made together. But now we need your help to make these protections a reality for millions of LGBTQ people across the country. Beginning on November 1, visit HealthCare.gov to enroll and talk to your loved ones about doing the same. If you pick a plan by December 15, 2016, your coverage may begin as early as January 1, 2017. Financial help is available for those eligible to make insurance more affordable: in 2016, nearly 7 in 10 people

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ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY VOTING...ESPECIALLY THIS YEAR...IS A PATRIOTIC DUTY ROMAN LAWS-MILBURN

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus” If you have ever stood and read those words at the base of the Statue of Liberty, then you can attest to the feeling it inspires. The statue is overwhelming to see. Could you imagine being on a ship and that this was your first view of America? On November 8, 2016, we as a nation will vote for a new president. One of two people on the ballot for president will win—either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Who are you voting for? In a time when tensions with countries like Russia and North Korea run high, how could we elect a man with a fragile

temperament and no experience? Would we trust this man with the lives of our soldiers? Our brave men and women? The flower of our youth? We live in a terribly troubling world, and I think we are much smarter than that. When I hear “Make America Great Again” (MAGA), I think to myself, “When was that? And make it great again for who?” I can think of more than a couple of communities—my own included—for whom the good ole days were not so good. Mr. Trump like so many Republicans wants to ban immigration of Muslims to this country. The Muslims Trump cannot ban are in Arlington National Cemetery. Muslim United States soldiers who answered the call of their country and paid with their lives for our right to vote. Arlington is their permanent home now and we are proud to call them our fellow Americans.

MAGA? For LGBTQ? We remember the scene at Stonewall. Our community elders remember. Is that the greatness of America we want to return to? The closet is for clothes. We know what the cost of living a free and open life means. We look to the future. To a true open society. We have a grand opportunity in front of us. We can vote for a future. The numbers of LGBTQ citizens now raising families has risen sharply over last decade. We are developing clean energy at a rate never before seen, and we even have cars that can parallel park themselves. Think about where we will be in another decade or two, unless we as a country invest in an imaginary past and not a future promise! When we vote, we are not only voting for our future and our president. We are demonstrating to the world watching us that we are a brave nation not afraid of new things and that diversity is NOT our problem. It is our PROMISE! I’m going to vote on the side a woman in Saudi Arabia who will be listening to

news of the election on a satellite radio that her husband has on. She will hear that a woman has been elected President, and she will know what’s possible for women in the world. She has no vote. And on the side of Omran Deqneesh, a 4-year-old boy who lives in Aleppo, Syria, whose own president bombs his people. His future hopes rely on a new president with the diplomatic experience to negotiate, so that no more of his family has to die. He has no vote. And on the side of the young man in any one of these United States that dreams of a better life, to live in a place where he will no longer judged for his sexuality but by his hard work and character, where he can love and be loved and know that his government recognizes him as a person and equal. This government will nourish his mind through education and promote his social growth. All LGBTQ citizens in this country have a vote. On election day, take the time and be a better friend to yourself. Do yourself, your country, and, yes, even the world a favor and vote for progress, not regress. The whole world is watching. Let’s show them how we lead. The history books will record how we vote this election. I hope those books have happy endings.

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HRC ISSUES 2016 EDITION OF ITS MUNICIPAL EQUALITY INDEX TENNESSEE CITIES CONTINUE TO FALL BELOW NATIONAL AVERAGE STAFF

Last month, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, released its fifth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), assessing LGBTQ equality in 506 cities across the nation, including eight in Tennessee. The 2016 MEI shows that cities across the country, including in Tennessee, continue to take the lead in supporting LGBTQ people and workers, even where states and the federal government have not. For LGBTQ Americans, legal protections and benefits vary widely, and states and cities have markedly different laws governing discrimination. Only 20 states have non-discrimination laws that include protections for LGBTQ people in employment, and 19 states have laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in places of public accommodation. But cities are leading the way. More than 24 million people live in cities that have more comprehensive laws for transgender people than the states. And that’s an important part of how 135 million Americans—42 percent of the population—are covered under LGBTQinclusive non-discrimination laws. The effort to achieve full equality continues, and the MEI remains a crucial tool in evaluating the patchwork of LGBTQ policies and practices in cities and towns across the nation. “This year, dozens of cities across the nation showed they are willing to stand up for LGBTQ people in their communities even when some state governments are not,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This builds on a trend we have long observed: that local governments are at the forefront of our fight for equality. Unfortunately, our opponents have witnessed this progress too, and in recent years, anti-LGBTQ lawmakers have pushed spiteful legislation aimed at pre-

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empting local protections. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to not only fight for equality at the state and local levels, but to enact comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people under the Equality Act.” “Despite another year of legislative attacks on LGBTQ equality, we are not merely holding our ground; we also continue to make significant gains across the country,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute. “The opportunity for further progress is huge, and we are proud to partner with HRC on the Municipal Equality Index, a powerful roadmap for elected officials and community advocates who want to continue down the path to full equality.” Despite nationwide gains, the average score for cities in Tennessee is 33 out of 100 points, which falls below the national average of 55. “Cities in Tennessee present real opportunities to advance equality in meaningful ways. When we held Murfreesboro’s first Pride celebration this year, we saw a growing interest among allies to work with us, even in conservative areas of the state,” said Chris Sanders, Executive Director of the Tennessee Equality Project. “The challenges remain considerable, but a growing number of Tennesseans are tired of discrimination.” Progress on transgender equality has been particularly noteworthy in cities across America this year, continuing a positive trend that the MEI has tracked—and encouraged—since 2012. Transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits are offered to employees of 86 municipalities this year, up from 66 in 2015 and 5 in 2012. For the first time, this year’s MEI deducted points from the scores of cities that have non-discrimination protections containing carve-outs prohibiting individuals from using public facilities consistent with their gender identity. It

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NOVEMBER 2016

also created a new category of points to recognize cities that are offering transgender-specific city services. Two special reports are also included in the 2016 MEI: Power Struggles and Preemption details anti-equality efforts at the state level to pass laws that strip municipalities of their ability to protect their residents and workers with nondiscrimination measures. Inclusive and Innovative Approaches to Citywide Bullying Prevention lays out the serious public health issue of bullying, how it disproportionately affects LGBTQ youth, and innovative ways municipalities can protect its young people from bullying. Other key findings from the 2016 Municipal Equality Index include: • 87 cities from states without nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people scored above the overall nationwide mean of 55 points. These cities averaged 80-point scores; 22 scored a perfect 100. • Cities continue to excel even in the absence of state laws: 37 “All Star” cities in states lacking comprehensive non-discrimination laws scored above 85 points, up from 31 last year, 15 in 2014, eight in 2013, and just two in 2012. • The average city score was 55 points. 60 cities, or 12 percent of those rated, scored 100 points; 25 percent scored over 75 points; 25 percent scored under 33 points; and 8 cities scored zero points. • Cities with a higher proportion of same-sex couples, as tabulated by a UCLA Williams Institute analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, tended to score better. The presence of openlyLGBTQ city officials was also correlated with higher scores. The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.

CITY SELECTION AND SCORING CRITERIA The MEI rated 506 cities: the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities (including undergraduate and graduate enrollment), 75 cities and municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples, and 98 cities selected by members and supporters of HRC and Equality Federation state organizations. The MEI rates cities based on 44 criteria that fall into five broad categories: • Non-discrimination laws • Municipal employment policies, including transgenderinclusive insurance coverage and non-discrimination requirements for contractors • Inclusiveness of city services • Law enforcement, including hate crimes reporting • Municipal leadership on matters of equality


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OUR PETS, OUR LIVES JAMES GRADY

Our pets fulfill an astonishingly wide array of roles in our everyday lives, from companion to protector, and from best friend to child. They nurture our children and comfort us when we are sad. They know what’s best for us—sometimes we want to be alone even when it’s not good for us, but they won’t have it. For members of the LGBT community, which has too often been deprived of family and community, our pets are often an even more important part of our coping with the world. We wouldn’t know what to do without them. This month’s edition is a celebration of that special relationship—our staff and our community shares insight into our lives with our pets. We weren’t able to print every photo submitted so please check online for even more! DANE: This month’s cover model, Dane Young, had always had pets growing up— he just wasn’t looking to have one when he got Dante. “I’ve had him for almost five years, and he’s my first of my own. An ex-boyfriend of mine actually got him off Craigslist! He bought him because he was an animal groomer and needed a dog

to practice on. Getting a dog wasn’t on my radar but it was a necessity.” “He had said he was getting a second dog to practice on but he would be my dog. So when we broke up, he used that in his favor… When we broke up, I got dumped with both Dante and his dog. With my

busy schedule and trying to take care of two dogs... Dante was a puppy, and it was rough. Once my ex took his dog, however, the messes stopped and all that, and so, when it was just Dante and I, it was great! “I’m happy to have him… he’s smart, he’s loving… I got the good dog! On fun

thing about Dante is that he knows the name of his toys, so any time I say Elmo, he will specifically go get that toy. He’s also got a definite personality. He pouts when I’m gone, he won’t come downstairs, he won’t socialize with people—he just lays upstairs in a basket of my clothes!”

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FROM EVERY DAY TO OUR MOST SPECIAL DAYS OUR PETS ENHANCE OUR LIVES

Sharon and Sarah McCurry Sarah and I are strong supporters of animal rescue: we currently volunteer with Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. Between Sarah and I, we have five rescued dogs and two rescued cats. While it would have been wonderful for them all to participate and share in the wedding ceremony, we knew some of them would not have been comfortable. We chose Luke and Sylvia to be our “Best Man” and “Maid of Honor.” While we did not have the support of most of my family—my Mother being the exception—we had the complete support and love of our four-legged family. They love us without judgment, just as we do them. Jesse Ehrenfeld & Judd Harly Our rescue pooch Madison is very much a centerpiece in our life. Judd got her in New York two weeks after we met, and as our relationship grew and blossomed, Maddie was alongside of us the entire way … all the way to the altar.

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THE STAFF AT O&AN SHARE STORIES ABOUT THEIR PARTNERS AND THEIR PETS

Donna Huff: These are our two precious guardian angels-in-fur, Annie and Jaque (the smaller white one, pronounced “Jack”). My partner, Crystal, and I rescued both of these babies from a local shelter and have gratefully had them by our sides for many years. Fourteen years ago, Annie fooled us both when we first came to look for a new pet at the shelter, as she stood, covered in poo and mud, serving nicely as a step stool for her sister. We both thought Annie was going to be timid and submissive based on this initial sight, but boy, were we wrong! She rules the roost around our house, dictating the moves of all other dogs and often us too. Since this picture and after 16 loyal years, Jaque has since gone on to join the great pets in the sky. That little guy left quite the impression on us, however, with all of his shenanigans. Given that he was all of about 16 pounds, Jaque was known to often outsmart other dogs. Once while at a friend’s house with three larger dogs, one of the dogs had taken Jaque’s rawhide bone away from him and was guarding it, not allowing Jaque to recover it. So, little trickster as he was, Jaque ran to the front of the house and began feverishly barking at the window. Just as soon as the other dogs rushed into the front room to aid in the alarm, Jaque calmly trotted down the hall to retrieve his bone, seemingly laughing at how easily he played the others. We sure miss him daily and hope he’s surrounded by all the bones he cares for these days. Jerry Jones: Peggy the Pug is part of the Jerry and Benjamin Camarena Jones household. She was a rescue pug and they adopted her in 2008 when she was less than a year old.  She loves barking at other animals on TV. 

Eric Ginsberg: Pitbulls hold a very special place in my heart. Unfortunately, this past February my partner and I had to put our beloved sixteen-year-old Rosie down. Rosie had cancer and it was very hard for us to make this decision. However, we felt it was selfish to keep her alive and in pain because we couldn’t let go. I do feel better though knowing that she lived a very happy life, filled with so much love. We gave her an amazing last day, filled with eating anything and everything she wanted, riding in the front seat of the car, and drinking out of the toilet bowl. She was a blessing in my life that I will never forget. We now have a new blessing in our life. This April Chris and I went to the kennel and saved the newest member of the family, Lucy. She is almost two years old and is a beautiful red nose pit. Lucy was rescued during a meth lab bust. At not even two years old, the vet said she has had at least two litters of puppies without proper healing time. It’s astounding to me how harmful and cruel mankind can be. Having experiences only harm before coming to us, Lucy is still the most loving and sweet pit I have ever met. She is full of love and only wants to share and give it to everyone. I am never concerned about Lucy getting along with anyone or any other animal. She just wants to hug and kiss everyone! James Grady: Both my partner Cody and I have had many pets throughout life. I have had my dog Joan for over ten years, and we’ve adopted two dogs together. The first pup we adopted, Bandit, was with us only a little over half a year. Bandit had suffered severe abuse, losing an eye, before we found him in the shelter. He was barely responsive and just laid there. We brought him home, and we literally had to move @O U T A N D A B O U T N A S H

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him around the apartment. Eventually he came around and would follow us. His person was my son Jacob—the only one of us who could always get him to play. After the happy few months he spent with us, Bandit died suddenly of unknown causes, and our only consolation was that he ended his life happy. A few months later Cody bamboozled me into adopting a dog, which the shelter (I suppose in an attempt to make him adoptable) had classified as a nearly-fullgrown lab mix. In reality, Virgil was a pitmix puppy who has quadrupled in size. He’s the sweetest dog in the world but lord knows he’s more than a handful. Joe Brant: I didn’t care much for pets until my partner Derek and I moved in together. He had a cocker spaniel named Elliott, but who I called That Dog—a name I stole from a Kathy Griffin joke about Anna Nicole Smith and Little Richard. He died earlier this year, and we miss him. Two years ago we rescued That Girl (the white one in the photo); she responds to both Coco, her adopted name, and also

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That Girl, because alongside That Dog it was the only name that made sense. And nearly six months ago we rescued Fozzie and (of course) I promptly renamed him My Litta’ Boy. I rarely use his name--in a crunch, though, it must be said--because when I’m home he’s at least in the room, but more likely he’s resting against my foot or thigh or sitting right on my lap. Mike Moore: Four years ago, my husband Levi and I decided that our lives were pretty boring and we were ready to be parents to a little fur child. We went to Love at First Sight in Sylvan Park and it really was love at first sight when we saw him. Levi wanted one of the collies that was there but I was so infatuated with Boone. We decided to be adults about it and sleep on it for a night. Before we went to bed we checked their website and Boone’s photo and bio were gone from the website (they take all of that down when the dog has been sold). I couldn’t sleep at all that night. It was like I literally lost my own child. The next morning, in my depressed state, I got a text from Levi after he was done with work, and

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it was a picutre of Boone and his brother. I jumped out of bed and drove over 65 miles per hour to the shop in my pajamas. That was the day we welcomed Boone to the family! He is a four year old part boxer, part lab, and (we think) part pitbull. He is a continuous ball of energy that needs constant attention and treats who loves to jump on people. Even though he is a lot to handle sometimes, he has brought more joy to our lives than we can even put into words. Our lives would so boring without him!


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NOVEMBER 2016


Jackie + Kelvin with Annastacia

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Lucy, Elijah, Bridgett, Jennings (pup), Kacey and Malie: My fiancé and I have two kids of our own and two nieces we have been fostering for the last 7 months. We have a one-and-a-half-year-old female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Nora. We have been wanting to adopt a rescue dog for the past several months. We were purchasing some dog treats for our dog last Saturday when we came across rescue puppies needing adopted. My fiancé picked up Jennings and we knew immediately she was meant for our family. We couldn’t bring her home until Thursday when she turned eight weeks old. We knew we wanted a mid- to largesized breed but didn’t have an exact type in mind. Jennings was one of six puppies in the litter. She and her siblings were found abandoned with mom at six weeks old. The rescue facility referred to them as the “6 @ 6” because they were six puppies found at six weeks old. All of the pups were named after famous news anchors (Peter Jennings).

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NOVEMBER 2016

Shane Morgan and Jake: This is me and my fur baby, Jake! He has been in our lives and family since 2009. Jake was found by our mom roaming around the country in East Tennessee, and we took him in immediately after we saw his cute little face. Jake loves to go on car rides, sleeping in our bed, and playing at the dog park with all his fury friends. He’s also a Redskins fan!


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Kevin Cohenour and STYX : This is STYX, named after the river STYX in Egypt. I had a cat named Anubis that has passed away. STYX was originally Fitch from his previous owner, a co-worker, who didn’t have time for him with his job and activities. I babysat him while he was trying to find a new home. STYX was a year old or so when I got him. Since Anubis was the Egyptian God that traveled the river Styx to carry those who have passed on to the after life, it seemed fitting to rename Fitch, Styx. So our journey began. STYX has been with me for 10 years and on March 15th 2016 he turned 11. He’s with me through everything. Last year I was going through some very troubling medical issues and he was ever vigilant, laying with me, making sure I was kissed and snuggled. He has been a blessing and I’m thankful for this sweet guy every day. Several years ago he

was having trouble with his knees and required a double knee surgery. Doc said two weeks before he would be able to jump and walk up our 20 some odd steps at the apartment. STYX said no sir. He was walking within a day. Going up steps within 2 or 3. Jumping on furniture in 4 or 5. STYX wasn’t going to be held back from activities. I get strength from him. He’s excited when I walk in the door, each and every time. Demands attention and kisses immediately. He hates getting up in the morning and will do everything he can to stay under the covers and not come out. Huffing the entire way to the door to potty. Once outside he perks up. Likes to take long walks smelling everything he can get to and tries to smell things he can’t get to. I have so much love for this sweet dog I can’t possibly put it into words. Maybe the pictures will do it. @O U T A N D A B O U T N A S H

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TIMMY HARKUM SELLS STIRRUP NASHVILLE NEW OWNER PROMISES SMOOTH TRANSITION JAMES GRADY

change. He said that he loved his job, and

This whole neighborhood is set to expand,

Way back in 2008, a new LGBT bar

he’d always said it would take something

and so this bar is set up for growth for at

opened in Nashville. Timmy Harkum

great get him to leave the company. “I had

least the next twenty years.”

and Mikey Fields, former employees of

a great job. Publix is always listed as one of

“The people who come here are the

the Chute, renovated a building at 1529

the best places to work in the country. But

best people. I just did it because I was

I’ve always said if I left my job it would be

ready,” Harkum said. He also added that

to own and run my own bar. That’s always

he’ll still have his regular bar shift, as well.

been a dream.”

“I just won’t have to go to Sam’s every

4th Avenue South and opened Stirrup Nashville (named for the piano lounge at the Chute). Since its opening Stirrup has been a Nashville off-Church favorite, especially amongst a clientele who prefer a Levis-and-Leather sort of environment. Over the years some things have changed: Harkum has been the sole owner of the bar since Fields’ departure, and Harkum recently did some renovations in the main bar. But for the most part, Stirrup has remained much the same as when

“The important thing for me,” Brown

day, go to the bank, or write the checks!”

said, “is keeping bars like Stirrup in the

For Brown this is like an insurance

family. Timmy told me that when he

policy. “I’m sure there would be some

opened there were over a dozen gay and

trepidation among the regulars if Timmy

lesbian bars in the Nashville area. At the

just disappeared, but with him here three

end of this year there will be six. It’s a big

nights a week people will realize this

deal that with Nashville growing like crazy

change really is just an additional face

that we are dropping our bars.”

at the bar.” Having Harkum around also

it opened. But on October 22, 2016, at a

Asked how he’s going to help

much-hyped customer appreciation event,

Stirrup thrive, Brown said, “The first part

Harkum announced a major change at

of making this gay bar continue to be

So, it looks like Stirrup Nashville has

Stirrup.

successful is holding on to what Timmy

a long and happy future in store: check

For the last few weeks, a new face had

has built, a great clientele. But you have to

it out if you haven’t been recently and

joined the staff of Stirrup—Ryan Brown.

expand its reach. It’s really about growing

welcome Brown as Nashville’s newest bar

Harkum said he listed the Stirrup for sale

it, and there’s plenty of room in this city.

owner!

provides Brown with a built-in tutor as he learns the business.

about a year ago, feeling it was time after being on-call 24/7 for the last eight years.

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Brown saw the listing about four months ago, and the two began negotiating until things all came together.Harkum promises that the handover will be smooth. “We

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Sunday at 3pm

time. It won’t affect any of the groups who have regular beer busts and fundraisers here. The staff will remain the same—he likes the staff and they like him—so it’s going to be a smooth transition. I know

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NOVEMBER 2016


NASHVILLE’S SUZY WONG CROWNED Miss Gay America CELEBRITY CHEF WINS BIG AS PAGEANT RETURNS TO MEMPHIS STAFF

Photo: KristoferReynolds

Forty-four years ago, the Miss Gay America pageant was born right here in Tennessee. In 1971, Jerry Peek opened the Watch Your Hat & Coat Saloon, one of the South’s earliest LGBT dance and show bars. The following year, Peek founded Miss Gay America and the first pageant was held in his Saloon. Founded four decades before the advent of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the Miss Gay America pageant is now the world’s longest running and most prestigious female impersonator competition. To date, over 10,000 men from over thirty states have competed for the Miss Gay America crown. Over the years, the pageant has been held in many locales, but last year it returned to Memphis, where it was again held this year. And on Sunday, October 9, Nashville native Suzy Wong was crowned Miss Gay America 2017, becoming the 44th Miss Gay America Suzy Wong is the alter ego of Arnold Myint, the Nashville based chef and restaurateur and of Bravo’s Top Chef and Food Network fame. She is also the primary spokesperson and business partner for Suzy Wong’s House of Yum in Nashville, from which her persona was created. A devoted philanthropist, Suzy has used her talents as an emcee and personality to give back to her community. Contributions include hosting the red carpet at Nashville Fashion Week, as well as working with NOH8, The Human Rights Campaign, Nashville Pride and 10,000 Degrees (a non-profit vowing to financially assist 10,000 people on their quest to higher education). More recently, she was at NYC Pride with Absolut Vodka for the Trevor Project, Palm Springs Pride, and hosted a monumental birthday bash for the infamous Lady Bunny. Shortly after winning the crown, Suzy answered a few questions from O&AN about what the win means to her and where she goes from here! @O U T A N D A B O U T N A S H

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How does it feel to bring the crown home to Nashville? Winning the crown, I feel such a sense of accomplishment; especially since my mother, father and sister were there for that magical moment. I think by winning, I am bridging a huge social gap. I’ve always been who I am and never compromised that for any setting, be it in chef’s coat or heels, and I’ve experienced nothing but support from my community. It’s quite encouraging and I hope I am a positive example of unity. Nashville is already a community of amazing female impersonators, like former Continental Brooke Lynn Hytes and reigning USofA Aurora Sexton. I’m honored to contribute to the roster.

How do you feel being a pageant winner will influence your culinary fusion of drag & food? We all have a commonality through food. Both food and drag are passions of mine and at the end of the day everything I do seems to interconnect. My biggest thing is calling on my surrounding resources for a greater cause. If I have a singer friend, a chef, a queen, whatever, at some point, I will join the forces for charity. As far as drag & food? Well, check out Suzy Wong’s House of Yum for Drag n’ Dinner or Drag Brunch: that pretty much sums it up [wink]. For more about Suzy Wong visit suzywongbna.com. Find out more about Miss Gay America at missgayamerica.com.

Photos: Daniel Rineha, Brett Warren, Barb Mccrickerd

What do you plan to do with the platform the crown will provide? Through the years, Nashville has given me great opportunity to work with nonprofits on a local level. I have a passion for fundraising and am honored to have this title so my voice can reach a broader market. During my reign as MGA, I will be traveling quite a bit. The money I earn through efforts during

my tour will go to a local LGBT Youth Organization which will be selected by random draw at my step down next year. My goal is to inspire youth and nurture their passions, whatever it may be. Hopefully my contribution will provide a learning annex and make a difference in someone’s life.

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SEX TIPS FOR STRAIGHT WOMEN COMES TO NASHVILLE THE EDUCATIONAL EVENT OF THE YEAR HITS TPAC JAMES GRADY

The show that TheaterMania called “One of the best date-night shows you’ll see this year” is on its way to Nashville for a twonight-only showing that is sure to set the buckle of the Bible belt all atwitter. That’s right, churchmen, when your wives go missing on November 4–5 they may be heading off not to knitting circle, but to Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s James K. Polk Theater to catch the Off-Broadway hit comedy, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. You’ll thank us later…. As a stage show, Sex Tips got its start a few years ago during a conversation between playwright and producer Matt Murphy and his wife. “I was talking to her about doing a show centered around a faux sex tips sort of seminar, and she said that there was this book that she and her friends had been talking about back in college, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man.” The book version of Sex Tips, written by Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman, was first published in 1997. Championing the straight girl/gay guy friendship in mainstream pop culture, Sex Tips went on to become a national, and international, best seller and cult classic. The book was praised by the New York Daily News for “offering witty—and yes, explicit—descriptions of all manner of how-to’s;” by The New York Post as “straightforward and saucy ... a playby-play account of how to make the most of every moment;” and by Salon.com as “a cannily entertaining romp through the nuts and bolts of sex from the male perspective.” Murphy immediately looked the book up on the internet. “I thought to myself, ‘I

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have to get my hands on this book,’” he explained. “I got in touch with the authors’ agent and told him I was interested in adapting the book for a staged romantic comedy. I chatted with the authors—Dan, who is, of course, the gay man, and Maggie, the straight woman—and explained to them what I wanted to do. I told them I loved the witty, charming, nurturing voice of the gay man, and said I felt it was a great voice—and would be a great character—for the stage.” In the process of writing the show, great care was taken to preserve that authentic voice, while also avoiding making the character into a stereotype. “Our gay lead, the author Dan Anderson, is not written over the top,” Murphy said. “He’s a normal guy, he’s a charming and caring individual who happens to have some great advice for those in the audience and on stage. Then we put him in the middle of a rom-com as a kind of mentoring voice for the mild and unassuming female lead who had not yet grasped her own inner goddess.” The resulting show plays out according to the premise that had originally inspired Murphy. It is set in a local university auditorium where the English Department holds its monthly meet-the-author events. Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event, and this month’s featured author is Dan Anderson, author of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Thwarting Robyn’s attempts to moderate a scholarly discussion of his book, Dan aims to entertain those in attendance with a highly theatrical, audience-interactive sex tip seminar. At the heart of this show is the premise of the book that inspired it: “Let’s have a frank

OUTANDABOUTNASHVILLE.COM

NOVEMBER 2016

discussion about how to be better in bed!” Murphy summarized. “That’s the central focus of the show. We don’t highlight the fact that he’s gay for its own sake, either—the main focus is on the positive influence and what gay and straight, young and old, can take away from it.” “We’ve had a great run in our off-Broadway production at 777 Theatre in New York,” Murphy said. “When we started off our tour, though,” he added, “our first stop was Des Moines. And I thought, ‘Here we


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are, bringing this show to Des Moines? The audiences was double the age of what we averaged in New York, and included a lot more couples, people with season passes.” The result confirmed the wide appeal of the show. “Our run time in Des Moines was fifteen minutes longer than in New York, mostly because there was so much laughter that it took longer to get through. They ate it up, and we sold out shows. We extended, and they kept selling out.” That pretty much set the pace for the tour. “We’ve been selling out all over,” Murphy said. “People are really responding to it. In part it’s because it’s a staged rom-com like people haven’t seen in a lot of years. Plus, the title just sells it: you read that, and you know you’re in for a great time.” “We’ve taken pride in the show’s ability to attract diverse audiences, and not just in New York but in every city on the road,” Murphy said. “From eighteen to eighty, men and women, birthday and bachelor parties, gay and straight … it’s just one of those shows that speaks to everybody.” Bringing the show to Nashville has a special significance, as Murphy and his wife have a Middle Tennessee connection. “My wife and I have a home in New York that we purchased from Marilyn Bryant. We had become good friends during her last year in New York, and when she decided to leave, she wanted to sell her home to a young family. And we were the lucky family.” Bryant left New York just before Sex Tips was developed, and Murphy has invited Marilyn, as well as her mother, Hattie, and some of her friends to the show, and he’s eager to see how they will respond. In a broader sense, it will be interesting to see how Middle Tennessee at large responds to this play, however comic, which puts a gay man in such a positive and nurturing light and celebrates the wisdom he might have to offer mothers, wives, and daughters. Broadway World’s characterization says it all, calling the show “a night of fun and exhausting laughter that makes you feel good in all the wrong places.” For some it may be too wrong, but we’re betting that it’ll be just right for the audiences it will draw. For more information on the play, please visit SexTipsPlay.com. Remember, this is a two-night-only event at TPAC’s Polk Theater on November 4–5. Visit TPAC.org for tickets and additional info.

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NOVEMBER 2016

10/20/16 4:51 PM


OVER

the RAINBOW

GROUPTHINK GONE WILD

JULIE CHASE

I have a dream: Breakfast with Kim Davis and convincing her to change her opinion on LGBTQI issues. Yes, I know! For most of you out there this is a really super crappy dream, but please hear me out. After this awful election, it just might be the right time to take a page from retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s playbook and extend, to those who fear and oppose us, an honest invitation to chat. Archbishop Tutu is rather familiar with our problem and chose to be an openly supportive ally long before his daughter’s marriage publicly brought him into the family. For those unfamiliar: The Most Reverend Tutu was the first African to be elected as the Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa in 1986. A leading critic of the South African government’s program of enforced racial segregation—called apartheid— he has since become a leader in the fight for LGBTQI rights throughout Africa and the world. But there is another side to this warrior for justice. He has partnered with his daughter Mpho to spearhead a worldwide effort to teach the art of forgiveness. His Forgiveness Challenge, utilizing a Southern African philosophy called Ubuntu, emphasizing the need for all people to support each other, teaches participants the necessity of learning how to forgive in order to bring about peace. Forgiveness and a willingness to step forward and talk is a very hard concept for most of us. The majority of our tribe have been hurt in one way or another because of who we are and what our adversaries have been taught. But we need to try...especially since we are probably going to see a tsunami of hate coming our way soon. Homophobic jingoists and those who dislike political progressives will not go away overnight.

They will continue to fight for their version of what American culture should look like and we will continue to be public enemy number one in their eyes... probably for many years to come. Now this is important: This is an American problem and not just a Southern one. These guys are everywhere, and it is very unfair to pick exclusively on the South. That said, the problem, in my opinion, is that we tend to lump the dangerous right-wing together with mainstream social conservatives of all flavors. Is there a way peel some of the “these folks” off somehow? We’re dealing with intense fear here and that often bleeds over to hate. I posit that we can bring more than a few of these people into our camp over time through honest discussion and earning mutual trust. I always tell my friends, when discussing LGBTQI issues and recent events, that it probably seems to the majority of this crowd that the Martians have taken over. Everything they have been taught in church and school about LGBTQI-ness has been pitched out the window. Suddenly, what used to be called the “alternative lifestyle” crowd is now the entering the mainstream, no longer confining themselves to the West Coast. What was very recently considered shameful, immoral, and wrong is now all of a sudden acceptable, legal, and courageous. We need to find a way to talk with this crowd. It takes two to tango, but I’m sure we could find willing participants on the other side who would also respectfully listen and discuss our differences and similarities. We should find impartial moderators who could bring the adults in both camps to the table. We should try to do this before we try anything else. Talking with the opposition may not solve a thing. Then again, they said the same thing in South Africa and Northern Ireland. The resolution in both regions

Illustration: Melissa Gay

Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. -Nelson Mandela

was not perfect, but it did lead to better lives for most. You may still parley in the long hard slog. African-American civil rights leaders did this all the time. The idea of being civil to folks like Ms. Davis is not my idea of a great morning either, but we can talk to her and attempt to bring like-minded folks over to the light side of the force. People like Kim Davis are misguided and an obstacle to our full freedom, but not evil. Neither are most of her fans. It is time for the grown-ups in our tribe to come to the table and politely hammer home a simple message. This is about freedom. Period. We will never

stop fighting for it, but we are always willing to talk with those who choose to listen. We will never forget our struggle, but we can learn to forgive and become peaceful warriors. Our kids and grandkids will be proud of our efforts and learn from our example.

Julie Chase is the pen name for a local 40-something trans woman. A graduate of The University of the South at Sewanee, she loves butterflies, strong women and the Austrian School of Economics. @O U T A N D A B O U T N A S H

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A KIKI WITH PAIGE TURNER | @PaigeTurner01

Hey there, my lovely readers! It’s time for the latest edition of Untucked! This month I had a wonderful little kiki with none other than Tyrah Hunter! Thats right, Miss Nashville Gay Pride 2016! It has been a huge pleasure to know this lady and get to know her more over the years. She takes her craft very seriously and works her tail off to ensure that we all stay entertained. She is well known for how she can slay some Janet Jackson, but how well do we know her? I figured it was high time to see what she is all about, so let’s get untucked with the beauty herself! What brought you to Nashville? I am from Dickson, Tennessee—born and raised. I moved to Orlando after high school because I had to get out of the smalltown mindset of Dickson County. I went to Orlando for a reason, and that was to discover myself and figure out who I was. When I felt like I had done that, I decided to move to Nashville, and I’ve liked it. It’s grown on me!

Oh my, that is a loaded question! This has always been a struggle because it seems like while so many love and support the drag scene, there are still many who don’t completely understand it. When guys find out I do drag, my personal experience has been that either they want me to teach and nurture them and eventually put them in drag, or they think that I want to be a woman so they are completely turned off … or completely turned on! Lol I’ve learned to be somewhat cautious of drag when it comes to my love life. What to you makes a good drag performer? There are many, many different forms of drag, and it’s an expression of that individual… There is makeup and hair, poise and etiquette, song selection, creating the illusion, fashion sense, and talent one must consider. But ultimately, I have always said that you need to know your gig and play to your strengths! Understanding what you do best and showcasing that, to me, makes a great performer.

What were some hardships you faced growing up? I guess the things that stand out the most would be dealing with my weight and suffering from eating disorders, trying to understand the feelings I had for the same sex, wanting to understand my sexual identity, and just dealing with the social pressure of fitting into a box. How does doing drag make you feel? Drag is the only thing in my life that I have found which allows me to utilize almost everything I enjoy. Hair, makeup, fashion design, dance, singing, performing, entertaining and creativity. It has also opened many doors to friendships, acquaintances, business ventures, social platforms, and [LGBT] awareness. To sum it up, doing drag makes me feel alive! How has your love life been affected by doing drag?

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OUTANDABOUTNASHVILLE.COM

NOVEMBER 2016

Do you feel accepted as a drag performer by local clubs? I do. It can be frustrating at times when you’re performing and it seems the crowd is not feeling it but, I always try to be positive, have an open mind, and look at it from their perspective. It’s not all about the tips or the applause: those things fade away. I have worked hard to get where I am and created a career of longevity, and that is shown through the lives I’ve touched, the love I receive when I go places, the support I get when I am in need, the respect I enjoin when I am in the room, and the amazing friends I have made over my years of female impersonation. Do you feel you have been accepted by other performers? The ones that matter, yes! There will always be haters and people who don’t or won’t accept you, but there will be those who do love and support you. I am who I am; I also have a respect for everyone who deserves it. I would want for us as a drag community to respect and support each other mutually, but I don’t have time or energy to waste on those who won’t. Do you feel there is a suppression of the newer performers by the experienced performers in Nashville? No, not at all. However, I do feel that sometimes the newer performers don’t respect the

journey. It seems like they expect instant gratification and success, which is not always the case. The old were here yesterday and the new will be here tomorrow; there is still room for both today. How do you feel Nashville could better its drag scene? Honestly, I just feel like we need to continue to grow and push each other. We need to continue to broaden our horizons and support one another with open minds and open hearts. This is for those both on stage and off, because ultimately we need each other in order flourish successfully. Congratulations on winning 2016 Miss Nashville Gay Pride! How amazing did it feel to win? Thank you! It felt so amazing and like a huge personal accomplishment for me! This was the third time I had competed in the Pride pageant. After getting runner-up placements the first two times, I had just about thrown in the towel. I wasn’t sure If I would compete in the pageant again, but something I always try to do is learn from each pageant experience. It’s really important not to point fingers, bash, or hate, instead of taking responsibility and learning if you don’t win or get the placement you expected. So, I took a couple of years off to learn, and I came back this year with a strong, consistent and improved package. I felt


really good going into the pageant but I knew I would have serious competition. It was a great night, and I was ecstatic [about] winning almost every category! How do you feel someone should represent the title? They should embody pride, and not just during the pageant: it should be something displayed throughout their entire reign. They should embody strength and diligence, as well as professionalism and a willingness to successfully contribute to the Nashville [LGBT] community. Are you active with fundraising or charitable work within the gay

community? I am actively open to fundraising and charitable work. My king, Trey Alize, and I have been working on a few special projects and fundraising events to come in the near future. What is your definition of pride? My definition would be knowing who you are better than anyone else, acknowledging your strengths, accepting your weaknesses, embracing your sexuality, and not ever being afraid to show it. Where can our readers keep up with you? You can find me on Facebook and Instagram under Tyrah Hunter.

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November 11 – 13

Mommy Dearest / Harvest Weekend Special

A special salute to gay icon and “mean girl” Joan Crawford. Mommie Dearest screening at The Tavern Saturday afternoon with cocktail specials.Themed party at the Tavern Saturday night. Prize for best Joan of the night!! 10% Discount on 2-night stay. November 24 – 27

Thanksgiving Weekend

Traditional menu and a gathering of great friends and family. Special Gobble-Gobble Go-Go Dance Party at the Tavern Friday and Saturday nights! December 9 – 11

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15th Annual Christmas Open House Weekend

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SNARKOLOGY: HAPPY GENOCIDE POTLUCK! DISCLAIMER: Amy Sulam is a comic, and not everyone thinks she’s as funny as she does. We condone nothing she says, particularly not if you decide to take the following seriously. It should not be taken as such.

AMY SULAM | @Amysulam

Let’s talk about cultural appropriation for a second shall we? I feel like, in the shadow of Thanksgiving, it’s the perfect time. Now, understand that I operate from the standpoint that, if you are not a member of a race, religion, ethnic group, gender identity, etc., YOU don’t get to decide what is or isn’t offensive to them or what constitutes them being “too sensitive.” So if you’re one of the ass hats who thinks you can be morality police for a group you don’t belong to, you’re gonna hate this month’s column. Let’s start with Thanksgiving. Well, Columbus Day, actually. If you think Columbus discovered America, please go discover a cliff to walk off of. Americans look forward to Thanksgiving every year, basically as the kick-off for Christmas shopping, but I digress… I’d like to point out that you won’t see any native Americans celebrating it. Because getting the s**t end of a hostile takeover isn’t really something to celebrate. Can you imagine having to watch someone who completely screwed you over, stole your money, burned down your house, and shot your dog celebrate doing this to you?! And then telling your future grandkids, “It was a long time ago, get over it”? We’re Americans; it’s not like we need another holiday to overeat. At the very lease we could call it Pilgrim Day or something…. For another example, take Asians. Ever notice how Asian women are overly sexualized, while generally Asian men are portrayed as comic relief, like Long Duck Dong in Sixteen candles? Katie Perry got into some hot water for a video that looooooked pretty racist. She was in a kimono playing up Asian stereotypes of over sexualized submissive women. White women came out of the wood work to defend her. Really?!

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Without even realizing how privilegesoaked that is? “As a member of NOT your ethnic group, I’m going to tell you how and when you can be offended!” WOW. Moving on… You know when you go to a Mexican Resturant and you start using all your high school Spanish? Yeah ... about that. Look, it’s annoying for multiple reasons, not the least being that, out of you two bilinguals, the one

looks like you really appreciate and respect black culture except, 1) this is only one specific part of the culture (I bet you can’t define ‘Harlem Renaissance’, on the other hand), and 2) these people will generally be the first people post some “all lives matter” thing. I saw a video on Cosmo.com showing a white girl getting corn rows done by a super expensive stylist, and the video was titled “you’ve NEVER

with the brown skin and better Spanish gets the s**t end of the deal in society in general. Now, the staff at this restaurant is supposed to be dazzled by your ninth grade education? How progressive of you… Now let’s go to my personal favorite, white people appropriating black culture. From backwards hats to bro-ing out, white guys in pickup trucks BLASTING hardcore rap… Wow! It

seen a braid like this….” Are you fluffy kitten me?! The same site, a few months later, showed a white model being given an Afro by the same stylist, and the video was titled “Wild spirals are the hot new trend…” Wild spirals? You mean an Afro? Hair styles that are common and natural are deemed “unprofessional” and “ghetto” until Kylie Jenner rocks them?! And we wonder why the black

OUTANDABOUTNASHVILLE.COM

NOVEMBER 2016

community is fed up? Another thing, I don’t give a s**t how many black friends you have, if your partner is black, or (my favorite) if you were “practically raised by a black family”—if you are not black, ESPECIALLY if you’re white, you are NEVER under any circumstances allowed to use the N-word (-er or -a, it doesn’t matter). If you use it and get clapped on social media or get your ass kicked, you deserve it. Also, for clarification, being Jewish and being white are not the same thing. Jewish is its own race. It’s an ethnoreligion. So, dear white people, if you are not Jewish, please stop posting on social media that “white people have experienced racism, look at the holocaust.” That’s not your struggle. Then the same people who say stuff like this will be the first people to insist on prayer and Christmas trees in public school classrooms. Because a Jew is only white when it’s useful. Now, let’s get even more personal: white people calling themselves gypsies when they hippie. Ethnic gypsies are told they have no right to be offended by this. Seriously, f*** you, from the bottom of my Romani heart. Gypsy culture isn’t about going to music festivals. It’s an ethnicity: Indo-Caucasian to be specific. You learned to read tarot cards? That doesn’t make you a gypsy. The thing that’s annoying is that because we are such a small minority people don’t take it seriously. And they wonder why we get snotty with them. In short, if someone tells you something is culturally offensive and you are not from that culture (because it’s not just white people who do this), don’t argue with them. Apologize, and ask questions. Try to grow as person rather than holding on to privilege, and lies about history, like a child would cling to their favorite blanket. You’re an adult, act like it. Don’t be a bigot. And, again, happy Christmas-shopping tailgate fiesta!


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VOTING IS NOW OPEN FOR OUR

2016 READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS O&AN Faves & Raves – our LGBT readers’ choice awards – began its two-week voting process on October 21. Readers can log onto the O&AN website through close of business Friday, November 4 and vote on the Top 3 nominations in each category. Don’t wait to vote on your favorite LGBT and LGBT-friendly individuals, businesses, and community events in over 50 categories. Winners will be unveiled in the O&AN year-end Faves & Raves issue in December.

OUTANDABOUTNASHVILLE.COM /OUTANDABOUTNASHVILLE /OUTANDABOUTNASH Celebrating 14 YEARS of bringing Tennesseans LGBT NEWS.


O&AN | November 2016  

Best Friends & Fur Babies. Tennessee cities lag in HRC Municipal Equality Index. Timmy Harkum sells Stirrup Nashville bar. Nashville's Suzy...

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