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SEPT 2011


CAN WE BE SAVED FROM DISCRIMINATION? Emergency services personnel face challenges in the workplace

Q&A: k.d. lang

Musician prepares for her concert at Ryman Auditorium

FEATURE: University of Tennessee Knoxville campus steps forward for diversity with first LGBTQI conference

PROFILE: Nancy VanReece Metro Council candidate reminisces about her history-making campaign

SEPTEMBER 27 – OCTOBER 2 TPAC’s Jackson Hall

ON SALE NOW! s 615-782-4040

TPAC Box Office (Downtown or inside The Mall at Green Hills) Groups of 20 or more call 615-782-4060 W W W. B L A S T T H E S H O W. C O M

SAFETY IN NUMBERS? Emergency services personnel face challenges as out and BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR proud members of their profession

What’s it like to be an out gay person in the emergency services field? Tony Smith (above) and A.J. Powell (below) are among the few willing to share their stories with Out & About Newspaper.

What’s it like to be an out gay person in the emergency services field? It seems like a simple question, but getting people to share their stories with O&AN was challenging. More than 15 gay and lesbian emergency service personnel who work in Middle Tennessee were asked to participate in this story. Very few were willing to do so. Choosing to be out as a firefighter, medic, 911 dispatcher or police officer can often land an employee in a dangerous position. When working alongside others who are responsible for the safety of each other, coming out to co-workers could be considered a life-or-death decision. And with lawmakers on a mission to revoke rights for the GLBT community, the basic protections that others take for granted can be compromised. “I will have to say I thought there was some bias when I first applied to my current position,” admits Tony Smith, DNP, RN, ACNP, CCRN, CFRN, EMT-IV, a chief flight nurse for Vanderbilt LifeFlight. “However, I now know it was due to some uneducated homophobia, which now is not present and, in my opinion, has been changed due to having well-educated and prepared nurses in the current positions.” Smith is one of the few employees we interviewed that works for a company that provides protection to it’s GLBT employees, and also provides same-sex benefits. Vanderbilt has been doing so for more than ten years. Smith’s experience suggests that, with a new generation entering the workplace, emergency service staffs are slowly creeping into the 21st century. Others aren’t so sure about this shift. “There are a lot of people with hate, and that’s just the nature of the business,” says paramedic Matthew Fuson. “They don’t care for anything that might deviate from the social norm. We deal with the public, and Nashville has a big Hispanic population, Kurdish population, and so on. To be fair, it can be any group (that is discriminated).” The recent controversy involving Nashville Fire Department paramedic Kevin Kennedy, who posted homophobic remarks directed at fellow employees on his Facebook page, illustrates that discrimination is no longer tolerated. In 2009, Metro Nashville leaders passed an ordinance which protected city workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. SEPTEMBER 2011

One would assume that the South’s fire departments, long dominated by older white men, might be a constrictive environment. According to Fuson, residue from those old-fashioned attitudes remains. The question then arises: How would these employees react to an openly gay co-worker? “It would be the same exact thing as if a woman walked into the room,” Fuson says. “Speech would get tailored and the conversation would change. I wouldn’t say it’s discriminatory, but some of the conversations are less than desirable. There are certain things I know not to add to the conversation. That’s as much to do with my own bias than anyone else’s.” Emergency medical technician (EMT) Nick Keel has been the subject of those conversations. Keel and a former boyfriend were assisting a patient last year when the air conditioning unit in their ambulance stopped working. To maintain the patient’s temperature, he broke the window to allow for more air. Keel’s sensible solution to an on-the-job problem became comic fodder for his co-workers. “Later that night I had to come back to do a report. I found two co-workers of ours talking about the incident and saying we must have been getting it on in the back of a truck and broke the window,” he says. There were no negative consequences after this private conversation: “Now a year has gone by and one of those employees has been promoted.” The Nashville Fire Department’s swift condemnation of Kennedy’s comments included a passage about how discrimination can have a negative impact when lives are at risk. Though Fuson says the Kennedy incident has “set a precedent” for emergency services departments across the country, homosexuality is still a taboo topic. “Part of my safety was my anonymity. They looked at me as a paramedic. My private life was my private life,” Fuson says. “My sexuality does not impact my patient care, and patient care is the most important thing to me.” For emergency services dispatcher A.J. Powell, exhibiting excellence at the workplace is far more important than the intimate details of their personal lives. Safety Continued on page 4 O U T A N D A B O U T N E W S PA P E R . CO M


Nashville Fire Department employee charged with misconduct over homophobic comments Paramedic Kevin Kennedy to face five separate violations at departmental hearing Sept. 12 by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

A Nashville Fire Department paramedic has been charged with five counts of misconduct after posting a Facebook rant against gay and lesbian fire department employees. Kevin Kennedy, a paramedic with the Nashville Fire Department EMS Bureau, posted his comments in mid-August in a closed Facebook group that was part of Nashville Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Steve Nashville Fire Department paramedic Kevin Kennedy. Meador’s page. Kennedy directed some of his remarks at particular GLBT individuals on the department, expressing a desire for “the queers” to “crawl back into the closet.” After department officials learned of Kennedy’s comments, he was immediately placed on administrative leave. His case will now be considered at a hearing Sept. 12, where Kennedy could face disciplinary actions up to and including termination. The 30-day waiting period will allow time for Kennedy to attain legal representation if he chooses to do so. “At the meeting, Mr. Kennedy will be permitted to present any additional information on his behalf,” says Deputy Chief Kim Lawson, leader of the department’s Community Services Bureau. “The chief (Stephen Halford) will then have up to 10 days to make a decision on the matter.” Out & About Newspaper has obtained Kennedy’s letter of charges, and the violations include: the use or threat of violence or intimidation when directed toward another person; participation in a pattern of harassment toward an employee of Metropolitan government; any failure of good behavior which reflects discredit upon himself, the department and/or the Metropolitan government; and conduct unbecoming an employee of the Metropolitan government. A separate clause states that employees may be disciplined for content on social media sites if it violates departmental rules. “Because you have chosen to disparage some of your co-workers in your expression of your opinion, some gay citizens under your emergency care may wonder if you would render the best medical care to them if you were to suspect or have knowledge that they were gay and/or possibly lesbian, bisexual, or transgender,” the letter reads. Kennedy’s actions go against the department’s goal of maintaining a protective and welcoming environment, Lawson says. “We are taking this matter very seriously,” she says. “It’s been a very thorough investigation, and these are some very serious charges. They are some of the more serious charges I’ve ever seen.”


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Safety Continued from page 3 “Although my sexual orientation is very much a part of who I am, I’m very privileged to be working for an employer that values my skills as a emergency services dispatcher,” he says. “I think my dedication to the public can be seen by my quality of work. I have a wonderful working relationship with all of my co-workers. We are dedicated to saving lives and sexual orientation has nothing to do with that goal.” Powell was prepared for ridicule over his sexual preference, but instead he was pleasantly surprised at the reaction. “I had some initial fears, but I overcame those and decided to be very open and honest about my sexual orientation at work,” he says. “Although my sexual orientation is very much a part of who I am, I’m privileged to be working for an employer that values my unique skills. The case of Nashville Fire Department paramedic Kevin Kennedy, who posted homophobic comments on his Facebook page, In a line of work where employees are has raised questions about the impact of discrimination in the emergency services field. Photo credit: Derek Ward. risking everything for the sake of someone’s well-being, the wall of intolerance can make morale suffer. Though he’s frustrated by the occasional comment, Keel’s will has been galvanized through the difficulties he’s faced. “I don’t let it stop me because that just makes me stronger,” he says. “People think that we can change our sexual orientation overnight or think of someone else to love. You have to stand up for who you are and don’t let anybody break you down because people will think that it’s okay and keep letting it go on. Powell believes that hiding one’s personal views can create a toxic workplace and compromise their important mission. “I don’t know if anyone can be truly passionate about saving lives and protecting the public if they feel like they have to hide who they are,” he says. “Nobody deserves to be bullied at work. The public is counting on us and there is no reason for emergency responders to ever be subjected to discrimination or hate.” In the end, finding the simple joys in a difficult profession is what keeps these trusted individuals motivated to serve. All can agree that the quality of care they provide should surpass all else. “When someone is hurt, they’re not looking at there sexual orientation or the color of their skin, but they’re looking at the inside of a caring person that would risk their own life to save them,” Keel says. Despite the usual stereotypes associated with his field, Smith encourages job seekers to pursue their passions regardless of any criticism they might receive. “Sadly, being a male nurse is a cliche. However, no matter what you want to do, just do it,” he says. “With time and a lot of effort, you can do it. Success will not just happen; you have to make it happen.” Fuson agrees with this glass-half-full approach: “I wouldn’t let anybody try to stop me from pursuing my goal and my passion.”

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Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund to hold Nashville event

Hutton Hotel hosts champagne brunch on Oct. 16; speakers include Fort Worth councilman Joel Burns by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, an organization that works to elect LGBT leaders into public office, will host a champagne brunch Sunday, Oct. 16 at the Hutton Hotel in downtown Nashville. Tickets for the event are $100. It will include assorted refreshments, a silent auction, and a selection of speakers. The featured guest is Joel Burns, a city councilman in Fort Worth, Texas, who garnered national attention last October when his impassioned speech about bullied gay teens went viral. Chuck Wolfe, President/CEO of the Victory Fund, Joel Burns, a city councilman in Fort Worth, Texas, will be the featured will also be in attendance. Since 1991, the organization speaker at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund champagne brunch in Nashville he founded has helped thousands of openly LGBT Oct. 16. Burns received national candidates win election to local, state and federal attention last October with his speech about bullied gay teens in front of the offices. Fort Worth city council. “We’re hoping to build a Victory Fund presence with many trainings and just continue to build an awareness of the organization,” says Jim Schmidt, Nashville’s representative on the Victory Fund Board of Directors. “Financial support from our community helps. I anticipate a lot of national board members will be in attendance. We really want to showcase Nashville as a welcoming place.” Three corporate sponsors have signed on for the event: AT&T, Curb Records, and Fifth Third Bank. Their outspoken support goes a long way towards the Victory Fund’s simple but profound goal. “We are educating people on what takes to be involved and want to give more people an opportunity to get into politics,” Schmidt says. Nashville is one of only six cities hosting a Victory Fund brunch this year, testament to the influence of the city’s LGBT advocates and their active participation in local politics. Organizers are currently building a list of table captains who will lead publicity efforts for the event. With recent state legislation offering no support of the LGBT community, their assistance is vital. “It helps when there are people locally who want to drive an event like this,” Schmidt says.”The program is going to be short and fun. It’s very interactive: we have great video and it’s going to be a fun day. The community has really galvanized around what’s been happening and they’re looking for something inspirational.” The 2011 Nashville Victory Champagne Brunch will feature a table captain celebration on Saturday, Sept. 10. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page. Date/Time: Saturday, Sept.10 7-9 p.m. Location: The Rymer Gallery 233 Fifth Avenue North Nashville, TN

Honorary Chairs: Dena Scearce Jim R. Schmidt Rob Sikorski David Taylor

SEPTEMBER 27 – OCTOBER 2 TPAC’s Jackson Hall

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Out & About Newspaper strives to be a credible community news organization by engaging and educating our readers. All content of Out & About Newspaper is copyrighted 2008 by Out & About Nashville, Inc. and is protected by federal copyright law and shall not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. All photography is licensed stock imagery or has been supplied unless otherwise credited to a photographer and may not be reproduced without permission. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representations does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of the person or persons. Out & About Newspaper accepts unsolicited material but cannot take responsibility for its return. The editor reserves the right to accept, reject or edit and submission. All rights revert to authors upon publication. The editorial positions of Out & About Newspaper are expressed in editorials and in the editor’s notes as determined by the editor. Other opinions are those of writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Out & About Newspaper or its staff. Letters to the editor are encouraged but may be edited for clarity and length. All letters sent may not be published.

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Nashville CARES plans AIDS Walk for Sept. 24

Riverfront Park to serve as new venue for yearly fundraiser by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

The premier fundraiser for Nashville CARES, Tennessee’s largest HIV/AIDS services organization, gets underway next month with a few new twists to the annual event. The AIDS Walk and 5k Run will be held Saturday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. More than 1500 people are expected to attend. Right in the name is one big change to the event: this year’s edition will include a 5k run for the first time, an added perk for attendees who want to combine fitness with philanthrophy. The entry fee is $25, and all participants who finish the run will receive a free t-shirt. Attendees will support the cause from a new location, as Riverfront Park replaces Bicentennial Mall as the official venue for the walk. This shift is designed to draw more attention to the festivities. “We were trying to look for a location where there would be more public exposure,” says Mitch Turner, Development and Communications Officer of Nashville CARES. “We knew we wanted a place where we could stop traffic and we wanted to make this walk a big deal. This way people will see it and have to stop for it. All the 2nd avenue tourists and the people on Broad will be around. Our goal is to get them to gravitate towards the walk.” Nashville Pharmacy Services returns as presenting sponsor. In its 20th year, the event will also feature an afternoon concert headlined by celebrity co-chair and American Idol alum Kimberly Locke. Festivities include a Community & Business Fair, entertainment and children’s activities.

HIV/AIDS in Middle Tennessee

Unsafe sexual behavior (both homosexual and heterosexual) are the main transmission factors, accounting for 68%+ of new infections.

As of December 2009, almost 7,500 Middle Tennesseans have been reported with AIDS or HIV infection since the epidemic began. This represents 35% of the 20,500 Tennesseans diagnosed statewide.

Bianca Paige group to host first award show

‘Mystikos’ features Calpernia Addams and Charlie Brown; by O&AN STAFF REPORTS

The Bianca Paige Awareness Network (BPAN) will present its first annual awards show Thursday, Oct. 6 in support of the late entertainer’s favorite charities. Tennessee Performing Arts Center hosts the event in its Polk Theater beginning at 7:30 p.m. Mystikos (from the Greek meaning “to see with one’s eyes closed”) is sub-titled “Mystery, Marvels & Magic.” The event will feature entertainment from a variety of performers: BPAN is thrilled to bring everyone together for a night honoring major contributors to the LGBT community in Nashville, Tennessee and beyond. Prepare for a night of Mystery, Marvels and Magic as a star-studded cast (featuring such legends as Calpernia Addams, Charlie Brown and Cezanne) dazzle with musical prestidigitation. BPAN is committed to raising both funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS care and research. Proceeds from the event will be donated to a number of charitable organizations. BPAN was developed by Mark Middleton, whose alter ego Bianca Paige entertained local and regional audiences for over twenty years before his death in June 2010. Billed as “The Pantomime Rage,” she was a must-see performer for locals and visitors alike. In addition to performance work, Middleton also donated his time and behindthe-scenes talents to Nashville CARES, Nashville Pride, Vanderbilt’s AIDS/HIV vaccine studies, Vanderbilt Children with AIDS, The Conductors, Human Rights Campaign and the Comprehensive Care Center.

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About 5,600 Middle Tennesseans are currently living with HIV infection or AIDS (75% of diagnosed).

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These are diagnosed individuals; experts believe that another 20% are HIVinfected but do not know it. (Total = 6,700.)

Although the majority (70%) live in Davidson County, cases have been reported in every county in the region (and the state).

Music Row / Vanderbilt Area




Changing course

Nancy VanReece re-focuses after her Metro Council run by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

When contemplating her unsuccessful bid for Metro Council, Nancy VanReece acknowledges one aspect of her campaign that she would’ve handled a lot differently. “I would not have printed some campaign materials so early,” VanReece says with a laugh. The District 8 runner-up is referring to last spring’s redistricting that dramatically altered the nature of her campaign. Previously unopposed, VanReece suddenly found herself facing off with incumbent Karen Bennett after redrawn council lines removed her from District 4. Unfazed by the prospect of learning new neighborhoods, VanReece dug deeper into her district to establish connections with workingclass people who had basic concerns about the community. Usual topics included code violations, beautification projects, and other seemingly mundane details that truly mattered

in their everyday lives. As a 21-year resident of Madison, VanReece relished the opportunity to discuss these issues with her potential constituents. “It’s important to empower people to demand the changes in our community and see what we can accomplish,” VanReece insists. “I feel like people now are more informed about what a council member is supposed to do. Now I hope to continue to provide a voice for the community. These discussions need to be had. I felt we were able to reflect back what the people in the district were saying.” VanReece credits her partner of 23 years, Joan, and campaign manager Linda McFayden-Ketchum for focusing her efforts and forging ahead through a challenging year. “She (McFayden-Ketchum) demanded the discipline from me and helped me articulate in a way that was just priceless,” VanReece says. “I made a lot of friends inside this campaign and built lifetime relationships that are often undervalued.” “Though her effort to become Nashville’s first openly lesbian Metro Council member fell short, she continues on her mission of improving her community in a number of ways. Future plans include the formation of a committee that addresses community issues in Districts 8 and neighboring districts. “Another thing that I learned those this campaign is the discovery of the community’s assets and the historic aspects of it,” VanReece says. “The best takeaway from this experience is an awareness of my surroundings.” A numbers game The story of VanReece’s campaign can be boiled down to a number of statistics: six different mail pieces, 300 individual donations, 2500 home visits. It all added up to one other important statistic: over 700 people placed their vote for VanReece, including Country Music Hall of Fame member Kitty Wells. VanReece also relied on support from other high-profile backers. An endorsement from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and encouragement from Tennessee Equality Support buoyed her spirits and built momentum within the GLBT community and beyond. Her status as an out lesbian, she says, was no obstacle in her campaign. “There were a couple stories about it not being a story, which was a surprise,” VanReece says. “There was a weird letter distributed before the election, but I don’t know if that had a negative impact. We don’t know if there was a whisper campaign. I don’t think anybody would look at that part of town and consider it a conservative stronghold. But when you’re standing at someone’s door, they’re talking more about things that effect them.”


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Moving forward VanReece has pledged to spin this disappointing loss into greater opportunity. It’s a skill she’s mastered since her arrival in Middle Tennessee more than 25 years ago. Born in Oklahoma and educated at Baylor University, VanReece moved here to pursue a career in the music business. Over the next two decades, she provided a variety of licensing, publishing, marketing and branding services. In recent years, VanReece has shifted priorities and shaped the media strategies of numerous organizations. Through her company Carpe Diem Management, VanReece is the Senior Director of Social Media Strategy & Development for Cool People Care, Inc. and manages online media platforms for The Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee. VanReece is also a member of the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Tennesseans for the Arts and NashvilleCABLE, as well as consultant for both for-profit and nonprofit small businesses. In her mind, diversity is key to the city’s development. “If it (Metro Council) doesn’t reflect the diversity of the city and it gets too homogenized, it doesn’t work out for anyone,” she says. “There’s been a story about it being a younger council, and I think that will bring a natural change of conversation and will ensure equal rights. You’ve got a pretty good mix of experience that will help maybe temper the youthful exuberance. And the at-large candidates are really strong.” VanReece acknowledges that she’s in “survival mode” and seeking new opportunities since her campaign ended. Though she experienced a turbulent political campaign in her first attempt, there are no regrets about the decision to pursue a career in politics. “We could not have knocked on more doors or made more phone calls,” VanReece says. “I’m really proud that we are able to have these conversations and I look forward to helping my community in any way I can.”

‘O&AN’ endorses candidates in Metro Council runoff elections

NASHVILLE - Runoff elections will take place in September in five district council races after candidates failed to secure a majority of the votes. The runoffs occur September 15 in Districts 4, 5, 6, 13 and 33. ‘O&AN’ endorsements are listed below:

District 4-Brady Banks vs. Dave Patterson Banks, who received our endorsement when he ran at-large in 2007, receives our endorsement for his district race.

District 5-Scott Davis vs. Pam Murray Davis has reached out positively to our community and we believe he would continue to as a councilman.

District 6-Peter Westerholm vs. Dave Rich Westerholm has been the public policy chair for the Tennessee Equality Project and continued to support equality initiatives after he left the organization’s board. He is the embodiment of an ally. District 13-Marilyn Robinson vs. Josh Stites Robinson has reached out to our community and would welcome the support of her campaign.

District 33-Page Turner vs. Robert Duvall Turner challenges incumbent Robert Duvall, who aggressively opposed the NDO (Non-Discrimination Ordinance) and CAN DO (Contract Accountability Non-Discrimination Ordinance).

Dance Theatre of Tennessee opens new season Sept. 30

Ballet legend Elaine Thomas to be honored during weekend performances by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

The Dance Theatre of Tennessee (DTT) will host a special tribute to celebrate the 75th birthday of former senior soloist of London’s Royal Ballet Company Elaine Thomas on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1. Performances begin at 8 p.m. in Harpeth Hall Auditorium. A special reception will be held prior to the Oct. 1 performance. Thomas is currently artistic associate and principal coach for DTT. Artistic Directors and Principals Dancers of several ballet companies that Thomas has been associated with or have worked with will be flying in for the event. Some of these companies include Ballet West, Pennsylvania Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater and Australian Ballet. They will present premieres of works by Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Ben Stevenson, among others. The second half of the evening will be Act II of Swan Lake presented by Dance Theatre of Tennessee. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dance in London, Thomas received the academy’s highest honor, The Adeline Genee Medal. Upon graduation she joined the Royal Ballet Company, rising to senior soloist and dancing the title roles in ballets such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppelia and The Sleeping Beauty. She also distinguished herself as a teacher at the Royal Ballet School and, while touring

extensively, conducted master classes throughout England and America. In addition, she served as assistant ballet mistress for the Royal Ballet. Thomas has worked and shared her talents as a ballet mistress, repetiteur, coach, choreographer and director with several major ballet companies in the United States and have been in the faculty of several major schools where majority of her students are now Artistic Directors, Principal Dancers, Major Choreographers and Artistic Leaders. Tickets to the performance are $25 for adults and $15 for children and are available at For more information on this special performance and celebration, including tickets to the reception, please call 615-391-5500 or visit DTT’s website at www. Dance Theatre of Tennessee (DTT) is the performing arm of Asian American Performing Arts Society (AAPAS), Their Academy is a progressive arts studio located in the heart of the historic Donelson/Hermitage/Opryland area of Nashville. (2710 Old Lebanon Road, Suite 15; Nashville, TN 37214)








Memphis invites all to Mid-South Pride Oct. 15 event features parade and musical entertainment


Old Man River, the ghost of Elvis, BB King’s and the gay community all in one place? Yes, time rolls on just like the mighty Mississippi River. Not only has Mid-South Pride moved the traditional June celebration to October, both the parade and festival have been moved from midtown Memphis to downtown Memphis. The festivities are Saturday, Oct. 15, with a variety of offerings for residents and tourists alike. Out & About Newspaper serves as Platinum sponsor of this year’s celebration, and all of its readers from across the state are invited to Memphis for a weekend of Southern gay hospitality, fun and gaiety. Whether you just want to watch or want to join in the annual march of gay pride, this historic event has something for everyone. With the lineup beginning at 1 p.m. and step off at 2 p.m., the 2011 Mid-South Pride Parade begins and ends in front of the home of the Grizzlies and the University of Memphis Tigers, the FedEx Forum (on Third Street, just south of Beale

Street). The parade will proceed in front of The Westin (hotel), turn north on Second Street, and then turn east onto historic Beale Street at BB King’s and proceed down Beale street back to FedEx Forum. The trek down Beale Street will pass such Memphis establishments as Silky Sullivan’s, Hard Rock Cafe, Coyote Ugly and the New Daisy theatre, as well as W.C. Handy Park, where the ghost, or at least the statue of Elvis Presley, reminds us that even the King of Rock & Roll was influenced by the blues. Whether before or after the parade, join everyone at the Festival, held across the street from the FedEx Forum at Robert R. Church Park, a 10-acre park located at Fourth and Beale Streets. The festival is open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Musical entertainment will be provided on two stages at the festival this year. Entertainers at press time included Nashville’s Carol Plunk, Summer Osborne, the Gloryholes, Immigrant Punk, Sibella, Porcelan Chalet and Kenneth Jackson. Absent Friends will present songs from Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the cast of Playhouse on the Square’s production of Avenue Q will present selections from this Broadway hit. The Mystic Krewe of Pegasus Memphis will bring the Mardi Gras party to the stage with music, grand costumes and, of course, beads. Flaunt will also bring the show girls to the stage.

For those wanting to participate in the parade, cost is only $40 before Sept. 30 and $50 after. Mid-South Pride invites participants, whether walking groups, vehicles, or even floats, to remember this year’s theme, “Pride by the Riverside.” Parade judges will award first, second and third place awards for marchers/walking groups, for rolling groups (either motorized or horse-drawn) and best use of theme. Best of Show also will be awarded. Mid-South Pride offers an extremely inexpensive way to get your organization or business in front of thousands of people. In 2010, more than 5,000 people attended the event with more than 50 vendors taking part. Participation at the festival costs $50 for nonprofits, $75 for organizations and $100 for vendors. Electrical connections are available for an additional $75 ($55 for nonprofits). A table and two chairs can be rented for $10. After Oct. 1, any booth/vendor application will need to include an additional $10.


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Nashville Ballet opens 26th season with ‘Cinderella’ preview Presentation of selected scenes to be offered at Ballet studios Sept. 30

“I think there are a lot of gay people who enjoy ballet, maybe a higher proportion than (other communities),” Dawidjan says. “I thought it would be nice for the Nashville Ballet to present themselves at a special event and preview their up-and-coming programming. This is going to be a very special preview of the Ballet.” Nashville Ballet hosts “Beer at the Ballet” Saturday, Sept. 24 at the company’s dance studios. The event will be an opportunity to meet other young professionals and Nashville Ballet company dancers. Refreshments will include beer from a variety of local breweries and food from a few of Nashville’s top eateries. Attendees will see excerpts of the Ballet’s live performances. Ticket price includes membership to Friends of Nashville Ballet with access to discounts and special events throughout the year.


Nashville Ballet will begin its 26th season with a preview presentation of their fall production, Cinderella. The event will be hosted by the Greater Nashville Prime Timers at the Ballet studios in West Nashville Friday, Sept. 30. “My main goal of course is to expand Primetimers,” Dawidjan says. “Initially this was just going to be a small event. I asked Paul (Vasterling, Nashville Ballet’s CEO/Artistic Director) if he’d be interested in doing an event with the Primetimers and he said he’d be happy to.” As a preview of their popular cantata Carmina Burana, the Nashville Ballet copresented an event last April with the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce. The sneak peek of Cinderella will be very similar in nature, Dawidjan says. “There will be food and drinks before the presentation, and then we’ll all go into the main rehearsal room for the performance,” Dawidjan says. Participants attending the preview will see an excerpt from the classical ballet about a poor, lonely girl who finds a new life with the help of four magic fairies. With original choreography from Vasterling, Cinderella features a handsome prince and two ugly stepsisters played by men dancing in pointe shoes. The performance includes 18th Century period costumes in contemporary color palettes and impressionist sets. A youth cast of dancers will add bumblebees, flowers, ladybugs and snow angels to the whimsical fairy tale. “Opening our doors to the Primetimers gives us an opportunity to learn about their organization and its members while in turn giving them an inside glimpse into our world of inspiring others through dance,” says Jim Johnson, Nashville Ballet Director of Sales and Marketing.




In with the Nuvo East Nashville restaurant Nuvo Burrito offers good food and fun comfort by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

The Plymouth is one of numerous menu items that make East Nashville's Nuvo Burrito stand out in the city's crowd of restaurants. Photo by Rachelle Morvant.

A staple of East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood, Nuvo Burrito just marked its two-year anniversary with a series of fresh ideas to complement an already successful campaign. In early 2008, owners Sean Perry and Tom Justice (along with former owners Andy Knight and Shane Yocom) began work on their dream of opening an American burrito restaurant. When the store debuted in

August 2008, East Nashville residents swarmed the new restaurant, and word quickly spread to other Nashville neighborhoods. Without a doubt, this venture was a winner. The Nuvo menu reflects American culture with unique combinations such as the 90210 ques-idea, with seasoned chicken, artichoke hearts, mozzarella and goat cheese, roasted red peppers and cilantro pesto. Another healthy choice is the Plymouth burrito, with ground turkey, dried cranberries, spinach, whole-grain rice, cheddar cheese and a low-fat, poppyseed dressing. With a creative menu that caters to any appetite, Nuvo Burrito offers a fun atmosphere for a long lunch or a night out with friends. In building their burrito restaurant, the owners want to be accommodating to all guests. “It’s not just about the food, but the experience,” says Perry. “We want to know not just people’s faces, but their names. It’s good for business, but it also makes this more meaningful. Every day is different, but we want to develop friendships with the customers.” The restaurant’s name, deriving from the French “nouveau” meaning “new,” is just one sign of the offbeat nature fostered inside. Nuvo even features its own music network with the latest and greatest pop, rock and dance tunes. “We try to find music that’s edgy and light-hearted and fun,” Perry says. “Most of it comes out of Europe, but there are songs even from South America and Scandinavia.” On Tuesdays, Nuvo offers weekly GLEE parties so customers can gather to watch the hit show and win prizes during commercial breaks. That same concept has now been applied to American Idol, which featured two

Nashville residents during the 2011 season. Nuvo has offered their services for philanthropic causes as well. A number of “fun, different and wellattended” fundraisers have given assistance to local charities including Nashville CARES. The restaurant also acts as a sponsor of the Pink Panthers softball team, and has catered events for the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Ballet. “We think it’s really important to give back to the community,” Perry says. “The neighborhood has been so great to us and we want to return the favor.” A “Nuvo After Dark” menu for customers who may want to enjoy a cocktail and snack. Signature drinks include the Margarito and the Scru Nuvo (an upgraded screwdriver), both sure to please the palate on a warm summer night. COCKTAIL SELECTION Margarito Fresh Fruit Juices and 100% Blue Agave Tequila, with Gran Gala & Fresh Mint.

Scru Nuvo Russian Vodka, Orange and Pineapple Juices with Triple Sec. The Nuvo Bloody Mary Russian Vodka, Tomato Juice, Worchestershire, Schiracha, Horseradish, Sean’s Spice and Coffee.

Mimoso California Brut, Orange and Cranberry. Tres Leches Vodka, Triple Sec and Vanilla/

Caramel Liqueur. BraiTai Vodka, Iced Tea and Lemonade.

STAND UP  FOR  LOVE VOLUNTEER FOR AN HIV VACCINE STUDY We’re looking for HIV-negative men, 18-50 years old. You cannot get HIV from the vaccine. You will be paid for your time. 615-322-HOPE

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2/2/2011 10:14:07 AM

Tennessee Performing Arts Center has a ‘BLAST!’ Tony Award-winning product hits Nashville Sept. 27 - Oct. 2 by O&AN STAFF REPORTS

Nashville residents should prepare to have a BLAST! with Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s first production of the new season. Born on athletic fields across the nation, BLAST! is a novel art form evolved from the showmanship of outdoor pageantry. A celebration of movement and music, BLAST! explodes the genre with the artistry of the theatre. BLAST! is musical spectacle; it is music in motion. “BLAST! is wholesome, family entertainment that crosses cultures and generations,” said Kathleen O’Brien, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The musical talent, athleticism and high energy of the young performers is breathtaking. This show is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, celebrating an American tradition in the same way Riverdance stages Irish dance and Stomp plays with percussion. Everyone has a great time!” Winner of the 2001 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event, and the 2001 Emmy Award for Best Choreography, BLAST! kicks off HCA/TriStar Broadway at TPAC 2011-12 Season. It will play Sept. 27 - October 2 at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Jackson Hall. Performance times are as follows: Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m and 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $25-$67 and are available at the TPAC box office at 505 Deaderick Street (downtown) or the new Satellite box office in the Mall at Green Hills, located at the mall’s concierge desk, near

J. Crew and Express. Order online by visiting or by calling 615-782-4040. Tennessee Performing Arts Center has also announced the shows in its 2011-12 series of HCA/ TriStar Broadway at TPAC. The organization bills next season as “a unique mix of familiar titles, family favorites, and non-traditional shows with proven appeal to Broadway fans and the general public.” The six-show season features Blast!, Memphis, The Addams Family, South Pacific, Mary Poppins and Rain, and the two season specials, Wicked and Spamalot. “Across the board, we’re proud of the production values and high entertainment value of every single show in our series,” said Kathleen O’Brien, President and Chief Executive Officer. “As a whole, the series honors different traditions in American music, from Broadway and Billboard charts to the marching band, from Rodgers and Hammerstein to the Disney musical.” Season tickets for the six-show season are now on sale. The cost of the six-show package for the HCA/TriStar Broadway at TPAC series ranges from $390 to $145, depending on seat location and day of performance. For the second year in a row, pricing for the six-show package has decreased. This year, those who subscribe to all six shows may receive a savings of up to 32% over purchasing tickets to each show individually. Single tickets for the individual shows will be on sale to the general public approximately six to eight weeks prior to opening at TPAC.

Exclusive and late breaking news at




Q&A: k.d. lang

Veteran singer-songwriter performs at Ryman Auditorium Oct. 3 by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

When Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter k.d. lang performs at Ryman Auditorium Oct. 3, she will offer 25 years of hits to her adoring audience. The focus will be her newest release, Sing It Loud, recorded in Nashville and featuring accompaniment by her band Sis Boom Bang. The Grammy and Juno-winning artist, best known for hits such as “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine,” has issued another winning entry in a wonderful catalog that encompasses country, traditional pop and blues. In advance of her Nashville concert, lang speaks with Out & About Newspaper about gays in the media and her deep and abiding love for country music. What’s so special to an artist about performing at Ryman Auditorium? Well, it’s the history and the mojo of the place. So much k.d. lang performs at Ryman Auditorium October 3. music has been infused in the seats, in the beams and the Her new album, 'Sing It Loud' is a musical fusion of pop, blues and jazz. windows. My friend Minnie Pearl’s picture is in the dressing room. The Ryman has so much history. It’s really about the glory of Nashville and the glory of country music. Your first major successes came in country music. Describe your relationship with the genre today as compared to the late Eighties? It’s basically the same. I love singing and listening to country music. Now, I have to disclaim that by saying it’s not all country music. I love more classic country music; that’s where my tastes lie. As a singer, I just love the lyrical content and the melodies. Country music gives me room to move around emotionally. It facilitates a lot of application of both the voice and the soul. I’ve always approached country music with a sense of humor. All that I loved about country music and what I drew from it was a self-effacing humor, whether that be from Minnie or Cousin Jody or Stringbean. That’s really important in life and in music. Your favorite country singers? Oh, George (Jones) and Tammy (Wynette). Loretta (Lynn). Patsy Cline, that goes without saying. You’ve moved effortlessly through different genres in your career, starting with country music and segueing into pop and adult contemporary. What’s motivated that diversity? My listening at the beginning of my life was more classical music. I didn’t come to country and jazz until my late teens and 20s. I think of myself as a musical nomad. If I get inspired by something, I don’t necessarily stop myself. There’s no reason I can’t go try something and move through the different genres. Inspiration is one of the most important ingredients in music. I can go from an opportunity to make something in the traditional pop sense like the Tony Bennett album or do something with Sis Boom Bang. I never would’ve imagined I’d get to work with these artists like Tony or Roy Orbison or Loretta Lynn. You’ve released a couple covers albums, but the new album features a lot of your own writing. Is it more natural for you to be the songwriter or to interpret others’ material? My main instrument is being a vocalist, so I just enjoy going back and forth between being a songwriter and being an interpreter. As a writer, there’s such an emotional connection to the song that’s innate and it’s something where you know something so intimately. As an interpreter, the palate is way more open and there’s more subtext to play with, so that can be interesting. As a lesbian in the music industry, how have you handled the extra pressures and texpectations? I don’t really think about it, but there has been a definite change in the audience. With Queer Eye and Ellen being on the TV, with gay marriage being openly talked about, the culture of gays and lesbians is being infused into the basic culture of America and Western civilization. It’s less alien, and it’s less scary and less threatening now. It’s been absorbed into the daily understanding. I definitely notice that some of the reactions and interactions with the audience have progressed. I’ve had a broad spectrum and a broad demographic at the shows.


O U T A N D A B O U T N E W S PA P E R . C O M


Lesbian couple discusses Dollywood controversy

Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton express disappointment in park officials for poor treatment by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

Knoxville residents Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton, a lesbian couple who were married last year, recently garnered headlines after a particularly difficult trip to Dollywood water park Splash Country. A Dollywood employee refused them admittance to the park because Odom’s shirt included the phrase “Marriage is so gay.” They were later allowed inside the park once Odom changed her shirt, but both women were disappointed by the employee’s poor treatment. Odom wrote a letter to Dollywood officials that she posted on Facebook, one that would later catch the attention of local and national media. The couple were visiting Splash Country with the two young daughters of long-time friends, and felt compelled to set an example to them about equal rights and having respect for all human beings. Dolly Parton herself eventually apologized for their experience in a statement to ABC News. Though they appreciated her apology, the couple still feels park officials haven’t taken the incident seriously. In an interview with Out & About Newspaper, they share their perspective on the controversy. You must have felt a range of emotions when you were first prohibited from entering the park. What was your initial reaction? Olivier: Initially I was a little surprised. I was really shocked. It was just a rapid response. I thought “How do I handle this situation and make sure these girls are OK without causing a scene?” The man said “This is a family park,” and that’s when I physically started shaking. I didn’t make a fuss about it; I just thought we should go in and have a good time with them. I was very insulted. I was there with my family, and I was going to be made to explain to these girls what happened. Jennifer: We had friends with kids and we were babysitting. We took the girls for three nights. They’re our family. Olivier: I’m sure you can understand. When you live away from your immediate family, you make another family. I think that’s been part of the misrepresentation in this. Some people are saying that we’re trying to shove our values down their throats. We had to explain to our kids what happened and why I had to turn my shirt inside out. I told them that I think maybe the man at the gate is homophobic and he doesn’t think that gay people should get married. I sat them down and asked if they had any questions. I told Sophia (one of the children) that I was going to write a letter to Dollywood and that sparked her curiosity. My main motivation for writing the letter was that I wanted them to understand how to handle a situation with tact without making a scene or being angry, that you can voice your concerns and your opinion without screaming. Did you have any idea the shirt might stir up a response? Olivier: I thought that for a moment I might potentially catch flak from other patrons at Dollywood, but I didn’t expect it coming from the staff. Read the full interview at

UT-Knoxville to host first LGBTIQ Conference Oct. 22 event to feature presentations, workshops and entertainment by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

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For an ADA accommodation, contact Lisa Reeves at 354-6342.


The University of Tennessee - Knoxville is set to expand its support of diversity with its first LGBTIQ conference on Saturday, Oct. 22. OUTstanding is a free, one-day seminar exploring, celebrating, and building bridges around LGBTIQ issues. Anyone, including UT faculty, staff, and students as well as community members, local organizations, regional groups and other education institutions, are welcome to attend. This inclusiveness is a crucial element in advancing equality issues, according to Steve Stothard, a UT-Knoxville graduate student and organizer for OUTstanding. “Success to us means that everyone come away from OUTstanding with the tools, contacts, and hope necessary to keep fighting for equality and compassion,” he says. “It’s about strengthening our community and hopefully organizing an OUTstanding Seminar every year so we can also strengthen our collective voice for equality into the future.” Stothard acknowledges the assistance of campus resources such as the OUTreach LGBT & Ally Resource Center and the Commission in continuing dialogue about these issues. OUTstanding will serve as a rare opportunity to collect the area’s advocates in a friendly setting. “We’re awed and inspired by the organizations and people who’ve been working in the community, on campus and in the region for years,” Stothard says. “We just hope to support and add to the great projects and groups already here in East Tennessee. The keynote speaker for the event will be Keith Boykin, editor of The Daily Voice online news site, a CNBC contributor, a BET TV host and a New York Times best-selling author. Other activities during the day will include a number of presentations and workshops centered around LGBT issues. “We are looking forward to a wide variety of creative, inventive, and thoughtprovoking proposals from diverse individuals, organizations and groups on LGBTIQ Issues,” Stothard says. OUTstanding organizers encourage presentations with a balance regarding topics, formats, and audiences. For more information, visit http://

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8/31/11 10:25 AM





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Laying down the law

Tribe bartender Loy Carney begins a new career by BLAKE BOLDT, MANAGING EDITOR

It might seem like a long leap from bartending at Tribe to passing the Tennessee state bar examination, but Loy Carney has handled these two distinctly different professions with equal aplomb. A 2010 graduate of Nashville School of Law, Carney recently founded his own firm located in Green Hills. The Carney Firm, PLC is a full service law firm with a focus on real estate, DUI defense and personal injury claims. In his mind, Carney has an advantage in this competitive marketplace: connections in the city’s GLBT community. It’s become a personal mission to promote himself as an out and proud gay man. “I’m going to be more than comfortable with that in the courtroom,” Carney says. “I want to be able to let (GLBT) clients speak openly and frankly when they might be more reserved when talking with someone else. It’s all about developing a comfort level.” Since 2003, Carney has honed his craft as a closing agent at Grissim Title & Escrow. The experience molded him into an expert at all things real estate. At this time, he’s stretched

out into other areas of practice, but discretion for his clients is paramount regardless of the issue at hand. “In the gay community we all struggle with the idea that gossip just runs rampant,” he admits. “There’s this assumption that if somebody knows something, they’re going to talk about it. It’s an uphill battle we have to overcome. Trust is an essential piece in the attorney-client relationship. I want people to know they’ve spoken to me in confidence. That’s something people need to hear.” Carney, an eight-year veteran of Tribe, will continue to work at the popular Church Street bar on weekends to supplement his income and solidify relationships with friends and fellow staff members. Though he’s transitioning into a completely unique environment, Carney plans to use the important lessons from his previous position to enhance his professional life. “I’ve had an intimate knowledge of the service side in the last twenty years,” Carney says. “Now it’s time to segue into something a little different. Now I focus on what happens with people when they go home and out onto the street. Many are overserved and go out on the road. I feel that many DUI laws are oppressive, so there’s a satisfaction in helping people who are trying to make corrections in their behavior.” Carney’s obvious devotion to customer service now simply has a different outlet, and one final statement about his business sums up the special relationship that people share with their trusted authorities. “If you give people the best help they can get in the marketplace, then they will keep coming back,” Carney says. Loy Carney can be reached at or by calling 615-298-1826.

If you, a loved one, or a friend is feeling suicidal, don’t suffer in silence. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and live to see better days.


Homecoming Celebration Sunday, October 9

Special Worship Time - 10:30AM Worship will feature Russ Taff in concert! A huge potluck will follow worship. Russ Taff has been hailed by Billboard Magazine as "the single most electrifying voice in Christian music." He has won 5 Grammy awards and 9 Dove awards.

Regular Sunday Worship Times: 8:55, 10:15 & 11:35 — children & youth: 10:15 6727 charlotte pike | nashville, tn 37209 | 615.352.3838

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National Suicide Prevention Month observed in September

Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network plans schedule of events to educate public, raise awareness by O&AN STAFF REPORTS

from Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network Recent high-profile suicides among GLBTQI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, and intersexed) youth are drawing attention to what we have known for years: that growing up gay can be a cold and frightening experience. But it shouldn’t have to be a fatal one. Precise numbers on the connection between sexual orientation and suicide risk vary, but the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey, to date the most authoritative source on the subject, found that GLBTQI youth were four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Suicide is also Scott Ridgway, director a threat to GLBTQI adults affected by family rejection, social of Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. isolation, harassment, hate crimes, and job discrimination. The risk is especially high for transgendered persons-a recent survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) found that transgendered persons are 25 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. While the number of GLBTQI resources has increased in recent years, many mental health providers and physicians do not have accurate information about GLBTQI suicide risk; consequently their response to troubled and/or suicidal youth may be ineffective, cause further psychological damage, and/or discourage further disclosure attempts. In regards to schools, Tennessee was one of 42 states which received a grade of “F” in the 2004 State of the States report issued by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The report cited a lack of a state nondiscrimination law and substandard safe-schools policies at the local level. GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation. GLBT students were also four time as likely to as their heterosexual counterparts to cut school due to safety concerns, and the reported GPA of students who were harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression was almost half a grade lower than for students who were not.

Talking can help.


O U T A N D A B O U T N E W S PA P E R . C O M


Generally speaking, the suicide risk factors and warning signs for GLBT youth are largely the same for other young adults, but the GLBT adolescent is subject to several unique risk factors. An early, forced, mistimed, or forestalled coming-out process puts such an individual at increased risk. Understanding the family and school background is crucial to assessing suicide risk; depending on the support they offer and their overall safety, these environments can become major protective facts or the GLBT youth’s greatest threat. A 2009 study out of San Francisco State University found that GLBT teens who were rejected by their families were more than eight times the risk for a suicide attempt. Teens in rural communities or those with lower adult educational attainment typically experience hostile, even dangerous school climates. To this end, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) is extending an open invitation to a suicide prevention training session to be held Monday, Oct. 3 at OutCentral (1709 Church St., Nashville). Participants in this session will learn how to spot the warning signs of suicide, engage severely depressed and/or actively suicidal persons, dissuade them from drastic action, and connect them with community mental health and crisis intervention services. Due to space constraints, RSVPs will be necessary and should be directed to TSPN by phone at (615) 297-1077 or by e-mail at Last year’s session filled up quickly with several people being turned away at the door, so it is recommend you register at the next possible opportunity. The OutCentral training session is part of a series of memorial and awareness events planned for across Tennessee as part of TSPN’s annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month observance. The highlight of these will be the Suicide Prevention Awareness Day event, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept.14, at Trevecca Community Church (335 Murfreesboro Rd., Nashville). The event will feature the Presentation of Governor Bill Haslam’s formal proclamation of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and the dedication of the “Love Never Dies” Memorial Quilts. Lunch will be provided by New Life Cafe and sponsored by Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital. For additional information on Suicide Prevention Awareness Month events elsewhere in Tennessee, contact TSPN.

Oasis Center new home of PFLAG Nashville


Beginning Sept. 20, PFLAG Nashville will hold its monthly meetings and other gatherings at the Oasis Center. PFLAG Nashville meets the third Tuesday of each month from 7 - 8:30 p.m. “Tennessee lawmakers have taken active steps this year to make the state inhospitable for their gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered constituents. This leaves the parents, family members and friends of GLBT people wondering how the state’s new laws and homophobic views will impact the lives of their loved ones. PFLAG Nashville is here to offer an environment of welcome, understanding and acceptance,” said Kathy Halbrooks, President, PFLAG Nashville. “Due to the recent anti-gay rhetoric in our community, we specifically chose our new meeting space at the Oasis Center with accessibility and visibility in mind to make it easier for people to find the support they need.” PFLAG Nashville is one of 540 local chapters of a national organization whose goals are to offer support to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered individuals and their families and friends.The Nashville chapter of PFLAG was founded in the late 1980s through the efforts of a small group of parents of gay and lesbian young people. PFLAG Nashville’s monthly meetings provide a safe place for dialogue for individuals to share experiences; discuss problems and solutions; build connections; and enjoy fellowship. Meetings are informal and often feature speakers on a variety of topics of interest to regular attendees.

EXPOSED Jonathan david watkins

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An interview with jonathan One item you can’t leave home without:

My greatest achievement has been:

What is your favorite food?

What do you hope your next greatest achievement will be?

My iPhone. I’m never without it, and I even hold it when I sleep.

Sushi! Because it has rice and fish. Two of my favorite things. I feel most confident when:

When I am in charge. I love to be the boss because I naturally have a dominant personality, and I like to make sure everyone knows it.

Graduating high school with honors.

Graduating from hair school. I am beyond excited about this. If you won $1 million (tax free) and had to give half of it away, who'd get it:

That’s easy! I would donate it to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Boxers or briefs:

Preferably neither, but if I have to choose I would pick low-rise boxer briefs. Sexy, yet functional. SEPTEMBER 2011



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O U T A N D A B O U T N E W S PA P E R . C O M


Don’t stop believin’

This is the first in a series of articles from a young man living with the HIV virus. The perfect day would involve sunshine but not too much. There would also be soft music, most likely French, that would play every time I entered the room. It would be something low and cool like Eartha Kitt or every song on the Something’s Gotta Give soundtrack that would signal my arrival. I would have to be wearing my favorite tank and cargo shorts or rolled up jeans. They wouldn’t be obnoxiously rolled up to my thighs but would lie comfortably on my calves. Three or four cuffs are all it would take to get that right look. My cell phone would be in one hand as I haphazardly text my BFF something important like “How did your bangs turn out?” or “I am thinking of growing out a beard...” while bumping into every single person in my path. Oh, and of course, there would be a Mocha Light Frappuccino from Starbucks in the other. The perfect day would involve sunshine but not too much, Eartha Kitt, my favorite tank, appropriately rolled-up jeans, conversations about hair, a drink for the gods, and being HIV­­-negative. I have been positive since I was 19. Instead of pondering on which guy will be lucky enough to be my next conquest, I think and worry about the day when my doctor tells me it is time to go on medication. There are situations I have faced that I once thought unsuitable for someone my age, for someone of any age for that matter, and there are questions I continuously ask myself that I have no answer for. There is not a magical incantation that can change the fact that I am HIV-positive. I cannot blow out the candles and wish it away. There isn’t a magical lamp waiting to be found that has Robin Williams tucked inside, preparing to change my life. The only thing I can do, the only thing any of us can do, is be smart, play it safe, and don’t stop believin’. Signed Mr. Positivity



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September 16 – 18 Underwear Weekend Boots ‘n Boxers Party on Friday and Tighty Whitey Party Saturday night.

September 23 – 25

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Pool Closing Party Weekend Make plans to attend this last pool party of the season. Hot men and happy hour poolside cocktails on Saturday.

Steve. Hospitality is home here.

September 30 – October 2 Cocktobearfest 2: Fall Bear Weekend Hirsute men and those that admire them come to the mountains for a very festive weekend with Deutsch flair! German-inspired menus and hot parties at the Tavern.

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on an American Express® Reward Card* by mail when you buy a set of four eligible† Bridgestone tires.

Offer valid September 1 through October 1, 2011. For complete details or the nearest Bridgestone retailer, call 1-877-TIRE USA. *Offer good in the U.S. only. Mail-in claim form required. Card can be used virtually anywhere American Express® Cards are welcome in the U.S. (not for online purchases); not redeemable for cash. Card issued in the name submitted on the rebate form; cannot be issued to minors and is not transferable. Use of Card constitutes acknowledgment that it is given as a Reward Card and no consideration, value or money has been paid by the holder in exchange for this Card. Card valid for 6 months. Remaining balance subject to monthly fee of $2.00 beginning in 7th month (except where prohibited by law). Terms and conditions apply; see for details. ©2011 American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. †For eligible tires, see your participating Bridgestone retailer. Eligible tires must be purchased from a participating Bridgestone retailer’s inventory between September 1 and October 1, 2011. Certain restrictions and limitations apply. Offer excludes Costco purchases. See your participating Bridgestone retailer or for complete details.

O&AN September 2011  

The Sept issue of OAN explores what its like to be gay and work in the field of emergency services.