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NASHVILLE March/April 2014

Call Today & Schedule Your Bliss

- Stacy McCloud





151 Rosa Helm Way Franklin, TN 37067

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S e e h ow m a n y o f t he m o s t w e l l - k n ow n W e s t e r n a r t i s t s , i n c l u d i n g M o n e t , Va n G o g h a n d M a t i s s e , w e r e i n f l u e n c e d by t h e s t y l e o f J a p a n e s e a r t a n d c ul t ur e . This exhibition was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.




Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission


Vincent van Gogh. Postman Joseph Roulin (detail), 1888. Oil on canvas, 32 x 25 3/4 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Gift of Robert Treat Paine, 2nd, 35.1982. Photograph Š 2014 MFA, Boston

Letter from the publisher I can’t believe it’s been one year since we launched UNITE Magazine. How time flies! My team and I can’t be more appreciative of your endless readership and support throughout the year. We can’t do this without you. In the past, we tended to put national celebrities on our cover; however, in this special issue, we chose to feature local celebrity Justin Ryan, who is making a difference in Nashville’s Christian music community and is also a proud member of our LGBT community. Ryan’s uphill battle in the world of conservative Christian music should be celebrated as it is not an easy task to break through as a gay Christian artist. This issue, we also shine a light on Nashville’s top businesswomen. These beautiful and talented women are paving the way for future LGBT leaders, and their business acumens and philanthropic efforts should not be overlooked. The year 2014 will bring a couple of new endeavors for UNITE. Along with a highly anticipated subscription service, we will be launching a mobile app so you can keep up with the latest UNITE news and read our publication on the run. Before beginning UNITE, I made a promise that we would give back to the community, and since March of 2013, we have donated over $10,000 in free advertising space to a variety of nonprofits in Nashville. We hope to increase that number in 2014. I would also like to invite everyone to attend our two anniversary events. The first will take place at Tribe on March 20 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and will be followed by a joint event with the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce on March 25 at The Label from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., where the Chamber will also announce the nominees for its Excellence in Business Awards. I encourage everyone to attend. Let’s continue to make 2014 a great year!

Joey Amato Managing Editor Ben Rock associate editor Santiago Melli-Huber creative director Blake Kniffin Publisher

Estella Pan Book Reviewer Sebastian Fortino Business editor A.J. Busé Business Correspondent Michael Burcham, PhD Business Writers Dan J. Groover, Lisa Howe Fitness Editor Mark Allyn Nimmo Food & Wine Editor John Winnett Life & Style Writer Kyle Kressin Music Editor Ron Slomowicz Political Editor Jim Schmidt Arts & entertainment editor

Contribution Writers

Stephen Hubbard, Stewart Mandel Matthew Jeffers content manger Ben Rock Photographers Jessi Coggins, Lisa Binkley Account Executive

advisory board

Tyler Chapman, Mark Farrar, Sam Felker, Scott Glasgow, Joseph McLean Gregory, Lisa Howe, Rana Mukherji, Gordon Publow, Chris Robinette, Jeff Rymer, Jim Schmidt, Ro Toyos Rivendell Media (908) 232-2021 (615) 852-6660, joey@unitemag.com

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Chamber Chat by Lisa Howe The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce is rolling out several new member benefits in 2014. The first program, Partner Perks Discounts, will hit smart phones and wallets this spring. LGBT Chamber members have always been able to offer and have offered discounts to each other on the Chamber website, but the list has never been accessible. With the help of a new printing partner, AlphaGraphics Music City, the card and mobile website are in the final stages of production.

up at one of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp’s Visitor Information Centers, at NLGBTCC member businesses, and at Chamber events. The booklet will include LGBT Chamber information and listings for local LGBT nonprofit organizations and President- and Chairman-level members. The NLGBTCC Visitors and Community Resource Guide is the most trustworthy listing of LGBT-friendly businesses. All listed businesses and organizations are Chamber members. Therefore, users of the guide can be confident that businesses listed are truly part of the LGBT and ally community and adhere to NLGBTCC standards and ethics. According to the Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, an LGBT tourist spends about $800 more than a heterosexual tourist.

Members will receive a card, similar to a credit card, in the mail. One side of the card will have a QR Code on it that, when scanned, will take members to the new mobile website and directly to a list of discounts offered by members. The mobile website is easy to read and will have links to pages of the Chamber website, where users can check the events calendar, purchase tickets or a membership, and use the Chamber directory.

Deadlines for the Visitors and Community Resource Guide are coming soon. Contact the LGBT Chamber as soon as possible to secure your membership and listing.

Chairman- and President-level members who offer discounts will be listed on the mobile website year round. Boardroom-level members will be given three months to list their discounts on the mobile website. Boardroom members choose which quarter they want their discounts to run. The mobile website will be updated quarterly to accommodate members no matter when they join the Chamber or upgrade their membership. As always, all members are able to offer discounts on the Chamber website. Check them out at http://nashvilleglbtchamber.org/member-discounts.

To continue the growth and success of the Chamber, it is imperative to offer a variety of programs that will benefit different types of businesses. While having a discount card is a great perk for all members, this benefit is definitely targeted more towards retailers and restaurants who do not have schedules to attend Brewing Up Business and other after-hours events. Retailers, restaurants, arts & entertainment, tourism-related businesses and services, and any other members who want to make themselves accessible to visitors will benefit from the Visitors and Community Resource Guide. Possibly the best benefit of all is there is no ad to buy or design. The listing comes with Chamber membership, which costs as little as $50 per month. The Partner Perks Discount Program, mobile website, and Visitors and Community Resource Guide have added much value to the Chairman and President levels of membership.

By April 1, before the NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship, the Chamber will begin distributing the NLGBTCC Visitors and Community Resource Guide. The guides can be picked


photo courtesy of William Bullens

LGBT Chamber Board Member William Bullens.

The NLGBTCC wishes to thank the membership committee—Brad Pinson, Jason Facio, Sheika Taylor, Rosa Berger, and William Bullens—and AlphaGraphics Music City for all of their hard work and collaboration on the Partner Perks Discount Program. Join us on March 25 at The Label in the 12South neighborhood for the next Brewing Up Business event, where we will be announcing the finalists for the 2014 Excellence in Business Awards and celebrating the one year anniversary of UNITE Magazine.


Building a High-Impact Personal Brand

by Michael R. Burcham, PhD One of the most important things you can work on today is figuring out who you (really) are, what you are passionate about, and how those things should influence and build your personal brand and reputation. Your personal brand is the one thing that will allow you to make the jump from one pursuit to the next. Today, you’re not really judged by your résumé but by what you’ve done and the individuals you know. Your personal brand encapsulates both of these. Whether you realize it or not, you already have your own individual brand. This brand is the combination of your physical appearance, your digital and online presence, and your conversations, relationships, and behaviors. The mixture of these elements leads to a uniquely distinguishable and, hopefully, memorable impression or brand. To the point: are you creating your personal brand or are you simply being “branded” by your behaviors? Individuals who thoughtfully consider how they wish to be seen are quite capable of intentionally creating and living their personal brands. Others seem to simply become branded by their behaviors.

“Be yourself because everyone else is already taken.”—Oscar Wilde

Building Your Personal Brand All strong brands are based on what is true and authentic. Your personal brand will disintegrate if it’s not built on characteristics that are authentically you. Moreover, you’ll also be worn out—it’s exhausting to be inauthentic. If you’re wearing a mask and trying to be something you’re not, you’re also quite likely to be viewed as a shallow person or—even worse—a fraud. New employers will google you before they even invite you to


an interview. Your current employer probably has an eye on what you’re doing, too. When you interact with people, both online and offline, they build an image of who you are and what you stand for over time. You have the ability to control your brand, but you have to actively choose to manage your brand. It doesn’t just happen.

Step 1: Take Inventory of Your Current Brand The first step in creating a memorable personal brand is to reflect on the elements that make you authentic. In conducting a personal inventory, take a long look in the mirror and consider these questions: • What are your strengths; what do you do better than anyone else? • What are your core values, the principles by which you choose to live your life? • What are others frequently praising you or complimenting you for? • What type of advice do others come to you for? • What makes the way you achieve results unique? • What are your passions; what gives you energy?

Step 2: Decide How You Wish to Be Known The key to a powerful brand is to become single minded. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, determine what is the one key personal attribute that would be a game changer for you and your career if you were known for it industry wide. It may be your reliability or your perseverance, your attention to detail, or your strategic-thinking skills. Think broadly about your personality and how it affects the experience someone will have with you. Are you incredibly organized? Do people love your sense of humor? Try to focus on one key trait to get started. This alone will put you way ahead of everyone else.

Step 3: Choose to Become World Class at One Thing Write down what it would take to be the best in the world at one thing, hopefully choosing something you’re already considered “good” at doing. Consider these questions as you work through this trait: • How would you need to behave? • What additional things do you need to learn? • How do you dress for the part? • How would you need to change your routine (or develop new habits) to become the living embodiment of that trait? Spend time developing your answer in detail. The more thoroughly you address these questions, the more likely you are to develop a truly memorable and authentic personal brand.

W watermark

Step 4: Build Your Transformation Map After you’ve done Steps 1, 2, and 3, you will have a personal brand to-do list. Now, work on executing that list by setting yourself weekly and monthly tasks to help you manifest your key personal attribute and the one thing you wish to be world class at doing. Personal brands can be quickly developed if you are systematic in developing yourself. Develop your brand mantra and elevator speech, the foundation of your personal brand efforts. This is the heart and soul of your brand, a simple, memorable statement describing who you are and what you have to offer.

Step 5: Execute Your Plan People with strong brands are clear about who they are. They know and maximize their strengths. They get feedback from others to validate how others experience them. Once you have your personal brand strategy plan developed, be consistent. Incorporate your brand into your psyche. The best way to build your personal brand is to propagate it consistently, protecting the integrity of your brand message (your mantra). Reflect your brand message every time you tweet, post, pitch, interact, lead, or speak publicly. Just like a magnifying glass intensifies an image, a well-managed personal brand elevates your impact. Some of the ways you have the ability to maximize your brand’s impact is to think about these three dimensions of engagement: (1) the brand message you send before someone meets you, (2) the brand message you send when interacting with others, and (3) the brand message you send after an interaction. Your brand is the collective what you do, what you wear, what you say, and how you behave. It is your consistent self, and you communicate your personal brand every day, all the time.



the first in florida by Jim Schmidt Tennesseans have always felt a connection with Florida. Whether it’s the fact that we love to take the quick drive down to the beaches along the panhandle, a jaunt down to Disney World, or a cheap flight down to Ft. Lauderdale for a long weekend, Tennesseans have a lot of affection for our neighbors in the South. However, what might surprise many is the similarities between our legislatures—conservative and strongly Republican with a big lack of LGBT representation. At least, that was the case until two years ago. Yes, until 2012 there had been no elected, out, LGBT persons in the Florida legislature. Florida made a big stride forward in equality that year by electing not one but two openly gay House members—Representative Dave Richardson of Miami Beach and Representative Joe Saunders of Orlando. One of those members, Richardson took some time to discuss his stint in the Florida House and what it has been like breaking down a barrier in his state. Richardson is a Democrat and represents District 113 in South Florida, which includes beautiful Miami Beach. His district is very diverse with a 66% Hispanic population and sizable LGBT and Jewish communities. Richardson, while not Hispanic, does speak some Spanish, which


Florida Representative Dave Richardson

photo courtesy of Florida House of Representatives

he credits as helping him reach out to that community. He believes that one of the things that set him apart from his other primary opponents was going out and focusing on the Spanish-speaking parts of the district that actually tended to be Republican. Between that and his background as an accountant and auditor, they appreciated his fiscal experience over everything else and helped carry him to victory. As far as running as an openly gay candidate, Richardson says it really was a non-factor in his race. He never ran as a “gay candidate” and would actually recommend against anyone running under that banner. “I ran as a candidate who happened to be gay, but I’d never ask for someone’s vote just because I am gay; your qualifications and experience matter more,” he says. One of the few times the issue did pop up was in one of the first days of early voting. “Like any candidate, I was out working the polls and approached an older gentleman to ask for his vote. The conversation was cordial and then the man asked me, ‘How do you feel about gay rights?’ After wondering for a minute where this was going, I told him it was pretty significant to me since I am gay.” After a quick chuckle, the voter shared that he was gay too, hence the question, but it demonstrates how little an issue Richardson’s sexual orientation was in the race. Once Richardson won his Democratic primary, he faced no Republican opposition so he was off to Tallahassee. Since arriving at the capitol building, he has lived by a good rule of thumb for freshman legislators—learn the ropes and build relationships before trying to be too noisy on issues. Richardson says he’s made friends on both sides of the aisle and being one of the first openly gay legislators hasn’t been a problem. It has even become something to joke about with some of his more conservative friends in the legislature. In a skillfully planned legislative tactic, Richardson made an attempt on the House floor to attach an amendment to major legislation to overhaul the foster care system in Florida. The amendment would have provided some additional protections for LGBT youth, but it was an issue that never would have seen a hearing in the conservative House committee. Unfortunately, after the 20 minutes of debate on the floor, the amendment failed on a voice vote, but Richardson maintains a working relationship with some of the very colleagues who voted against him. One of those Republican legislators and Richardson now have a running joke to see if he’s “going to gay-up bills.” Richardson has faith that one day the relationships he is building will in time help advance LGBT-friendly legislation, even in a conservative legislature. At this point, Richardson appears to be heading to a second term with no announced opponent, but he is wisely running a full campaign by raising money and getting out his message to voters. Maybe Tennessee can take a page out of Florida’s playbook and have its own “first” legislator in 2014.

Sandy Spain

sspain1@bellsouth.net | sandyspain.com | 615.646.3396

find themselves abandoned by the very government under which they served and, in many cases, suffered.


“While the fight for marriage equality continues to dominate the conversation in the LGBT community and mainstream media, we’ve turned our backs on our LGBT soldiers and veterans. DADT may be over and dead, but we must remain vigilant in the fight against LGBT inequality in the military, because our soldiers and veterans are still at risk,” Smith adds.

Think LGBT Soldiers Are Equal Post DADT?


Organizations like OutServe-SLDN—created to help thousands of these veterans challenge their dishonorable discharges and claim the benefits they are owed—find themselves struggling to get funded, due to the overwhelming sense that, since DADT was repealed, LGBT soldiers and vets no longer need help.

by Sebastian Fortino

In his new book Closets, Combat, and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Army, Rob Smith writes about the five years he spent as an infantry soldier in the U.S. Army from the ages of 17 to 22. Smith was a poor, black, gay kid from Ohio who entered the military right out of high school because it was his only means to get a college education.

“It is important to remember that as long as there is no nondiscrimination policy in regard to sexual orientation in the U.S. military, as long as transgender soldiers cannot serve openly, and as long as thousands of soldiers fight for their rightful benefits, the fight for LGBT equality in the military is not over,” Smith says. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’s repeal may have won the battle, but it did not win the war: we must not forget our military brothers and sisters in—or out of—uniform.”

“While I suffered silently under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I also survived the policy, earning an honorable discharge and much needed benefits,” Smith recalls. “However, thousands of my fellow LGBT soldiers were not so lucky. Not only did they suffer the humiliation of a dishonorable discharge, but they were also stripped of the very same hard-earned benefits I received, and the consequences have been dire.”

Closets, Combat, and Coming Out is available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other LGBT booksellers. For more on Rob Smith, visit www.robsmithonline.com. For more on OutServe-SLDN, visit www.sldn.org. Rob Smith

Additionally, though the repeal of DADT allows lesbian, gay, and bisexual soldiers to openly serve, it is not a nondiscrimination policy; harassment remains common, and Smith mentions transgender soldiers can still be dishonorably discharged. “I’m betting most Americans, gay or straight, just assumed the repeal of DADT has leveled the playing field for LGBT soldiers and discrimination is now legally a thing of the past. For every Facebook photo of a smiling LGBT soldier, there are hundreds of veterans and fellow LGBT [people] living in fear,” he says. That these LGBT soldiers have been forgotten since the DADT repeal was implemented is a bitter reminder of how much mainstream America continues to forget its veterans.

LGBT veterans who were dishonorably discharged—already at greater risk of unemployment, homelessness, and suicide due to post-traumatic stress disorder-related mental health issues—now


photo by Omar Columbus

“I get angry when I realize that while our LGB (no T) soldiers can now serve openly, they remain unprotected by a nondiscrimination policy. I get angry when I realize that transgender soldiers still cannot serve openly and can be dishonorably discharged for being who they are. I get angry when I realize that thousands of soldiers who were dishonorably discharged because of DADT are now unable to claim the educational and health care benefits, which they are rightfully owed in exchange for serving their country.”

04.25.2014 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. @ Sheraton Nashville, Downtown

presented by

media partner

$60 per person | sponsor table: $750 | half table: $375

buy tickets @ nashvillelgbtchamber.com | discounted valet parking televised by NECAT made possible by Nationwide | finalists will be announced on 3/25 @ The Label

The Strong Ones Nashville’s Most Beautiful Women in Business


ALEXA BASS Raised a preacher’s daughter in Fayetteville, North Carolina, 47-year-old Alexa Bass is a strong and decisive leader with Southern girl hospitality fused with urban contemporary style. Her 24 years of experience in business development has included endeavors in sales and marketing, event coordinating, and music and entertainment industry promotion as well as the former ownership of a salon and spa in Nashville, making it noticeable Bass has not regretted her move to Tennessee. “I love the city of Nashville and can appreciate its diversity in the 18 years of living here,” Bass says of watching the city evolve in many aspects from its traditional surroundings to rapidly growing urban developments. She notes that Nashville has been quite welcoming of her personal life as well. “My personal life being ‘out’ is filled with love and acceptance from both my family and friends,” she explains, “and is shared with my beautiful life partner. With her expertise in the salon and esthetics industry, we mesh well together in our creative passions. Life is good!” On any given night out in Nashville, Bass can be seen promoting events inspired by women, hosting writer’s nights in support of her friends, or singing vocal harmonies just for her love of it. “I’m also a regular paid extra on the TV show Nashville,” she says, enthusiastically. “My friends tell me I’m always doing something fun and dramatic and that I could sell ice to an Eskimo.”


photo courtesy of Alexa Bass

In 2014, Bass is going to put her sales skills to good use as she plans to take the Nashville real estate market by storm. “Teaming up with my ex-partner, Linda Byrd, in real estate after an eight-year split may seem strange to many,” she says. “Knowing we excel in business together, why wouldn’t we? My life is a testimony that it’s better to forgive, live, and love!”

jen foster Nashville-based Jen Foster persists on nurturing her dreams and, in doing so, making a difference with her music. While some artists dare to change the world, few have the vision to do so, and even fewer make their vision a reality. Foster is well on the way to this lofty goal. Her label, Fosterchild Records, has spearheaded several projects that align music with the charitable causes Foster is passionate about, and this model has now become the foundation of the label. It all began with The Writer’s Share songwriter series at the Bluebird Cafe, where Foster brought together high-profile artists and writers, such as Richard Marx, Keb’ Mo’, Mike Reid, and Chuck Cannon, to raise money and awareness for the T.J. Martell Foundation for cancer, leukemia, and AIDS. “This event was a turning point for me,” Foster says. “My mom had just died from endometrial cancer, and the healing that came from doing this event in her honor was so powerful, it made me rethink how I wanted to spend my time. I knew I needed to do more projects like this.” Most recently, Fosterchild Records, along with legendary LGBT director Nicole Conn (“Claire of the Moon,” “A Perfect Ending”) and Melke PR, has created the #She4MarriageEquality campaign, which centers on Foster’s song “She.” Marriage Equality USA quickly jumped on board, as did the renowned Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood, California, and together, they are rolling out a national promotion.

photo courtesy of Jen Foster

The cornerstone of the project is an extended music video introducing a mix produced by Eve Nelson, the acclaimed producer behind Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, and Nicki Minaj. Directed by Nicole Conn, the large-scale video features over 150 cast and crew members and is a stunning statement for marriage equality. Nicole Pacent, from the web series Anyone But Me, and Gabrielle Christian, from South of Nowhere, play the leads, with Barbara Niven and Mike C. Manning also being featured. Many other recognizable faces can be seen. Foster and company premiered the video on Valentine’s Day as a celebration and testament to the power of love. #SHE4ME looks to be a life-changing step in Foster’s celebrated career. In the coming months, she plans to align more of her songs with relevant causes and raise money and awareness for organizations dear to her in the process.


jessi coggins When she is not rescuing animals, going to school, or working, Jessica Coggins is looking through the lens of a camera, capturing exciting moments around Nashville, Tennessee, particularly at events in the LGBT community for Out & About Nashville and Unite Magazine. “I have had the honor of working with an amazing group of people like Beverly McClellan, Chip Coffey, Kimberly Caldwell, and Antigone Rising,” Coggins says. However, her involvement in the community does not stop with photography. A veteran member of the Nashville Pride Committee and a new addition to the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, she takes pride in the community and enjoys helping with the expansion of understanding and awareness. “I love to spend my spare time rescuing animals,” she says of her other passion as an advocate for animal rights and tougher laws pertaining to animal cruelty. “It would not be surprising to find me stomping through the woods looking for a complete stranger’s dog.” Coggins is currently working towards an occupational therapy degree, which she hopes to use to help stroke victims, but she finds her inspiration in her photography and thanks her family for encouraging her to pursue the art. “My mother always said she admired the way I could find the beauty in anything,” she says. “She handed me my first camera on a road trip to Mammoth Cave when I was four, and I was hooked. I began capturing every moment I could.

“I have been blessed with a great family, partner, and friends. I am thankful everyday for the support group I have around me.”


photo by Jack Coggins

“My mother and grandmother, who passed away in 2012 and 2013, respectively, were always very supportive of my life in every way. They were both very artistic and supported my desire to be creative. My father, who is a painter and photographer, has continued to push me towards my goals. My sister has been my rock through everything. She serves as my inspiration for life.

kim ewell A native Tennessean and world traveler, Kim Ewell left the corporate world in 2009 with a commitment to create a more balanced life for herself that included a career focused on making a positive difference for others. Today, Ewell is an International Coaching Federation-certified life and development coach, an experienced peacemaking circle facilitator, and owner of KE Innerworks. “I get to coach successful individuals who are committed to experiencing their life in a deeper, fuller, richer way,” says Ewell. “I love witnessing the shift in a client’s level of confidence and the ‘Aha!’ moments that bring new self-awareness. It is life-giving, life-affirming, life-sustaining work, and I feel so blessed to be part of it.” As a circle facilitator, Ewell has overseen more than 100 circles at nonprofit and for-profit companies with a variety of themes including team building, strategic planning, stress management, appreciation, and leadership development. “I fell in love with the circle process in 2009,” she explains. “It is collaborative in nature, and there is something special about sitting in a circle with other people. A natural bonding experience happens that can dissolve barriers and bring people together with respect and dignity. My favorite circles are those I facilitate for people who spend their lives in service to others: nurses, ministers, coaches, teachers, etc. It is a joy to provide a loving, supportive space in which they can be nurtured and appreciated.”

photo by Kevin Schlatt Photography

Ewell received her ICF certification in 2012, and she expects to complete a presence-based coaching program with Doug Silsbee later this year. Along with her formal training and personal daily practice, she draws from nearly 30 years of corporate experience that includes project management, business process management, strategic planning, global program leadership, and organizational change management. Ewell is a member of several nonprofit organizations, including ICF Tennessee, where she is serving her third year on the board of directors and recently received the 2013 ICF Tennessee Pat White Chapter Service award for her volunteer efforts, and Nashville in Harmony, where she sings to build community and create social change.


linda byrd A seasoned entrepreneur and founder of five successful service industry startups at age 43, Lynda Byrd is finally in preretirement and is pursing her dream of real estate in one of the top 10 ranked cities in America for real estate investments, Nashville. “I paid my dues with a 20-year track record of success straight out of college working for a Fortune 500 company,” Byrd says of her job implementing the construction and full operation of mainline cafeterias for companies like Abbott Laboratories and Dupont. After leaving corporate America, where she acquired a variety of business development skills, Byrd launched nearly half a dozen businesses ranging from a salon and day spa to a heating and air business. Byrd’s passions are exotic cars, travel, and most importantly, her partner in life. “She’s my rock, my soul mate, a sexy police officer,” she says. “I am ‘cougar-ing’ it at 43, and my partner is a very young 24 years of age. “Like most lesbians, I could write a book about my successes and failures with past partners,” she continues. “With age comes patience, but if you can learn this early in life with a combination of communication and love, drama can be brought down to a minimum and a lifetime of happiness awaits.” Byrd encourages everyone to never burn bridges. Her best friend and former partner of 11 years is on her real estate team. Some might consider it an awkward arrangement, but Byrd says even though they were not the right fit personally, they are great business partners.


photo courtesy Linda Byrd

“Now we choose to take Nashville by storm through a team effort in sales of upscale urban living!”

maria salas What’s for dinner mom? It’s hard to believe that question can stump an accomplished attorney and community activist like Maria Salas. “Parenting is the best, hardest, and most important job I’ve ever had,” Salas says of the hours she’s not working full time as one of Nashville’s premier bankruptcy and debt relief attorneys. Needing a more flexible schedule as a single parent, she formed Salas Law Group in 2005. “I also wanted to provide more personalized service to my clients.” As a result of the firm’s success, Salas was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007 by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce and purchased the firm’s Music Row office condo in 2010. “We take pride in and appreciate the fact that 95% of our clients are referrals,” she says. “Our clients and those referring them know and appreciate our caring approach, efficient service, and effective results.” Outside of the office, Salas offers her time and talent to numerous organizations. She serves on the board of directors for the Nashville Bar Association and the Stonewall Bar Association of Tennessee as well as Nashville CARES and the Leadership Nashville Alum= ni Association. A member of the Victory Fund’s Campaign Board, she works nationally and locally to help elect LGBT leaders to public office.

photo courtesy of Maria Salas

Salas quips that getting her daughter to the bus stop on time without either of them having a meltdown is one of her biggest achievements. “Seriously, I’m extremely proud to have received the 2010 Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign,” she says of her recognition by the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization where she has previously served on the national board of directors. “I’m also humbled and honored to have been recognized by Middle Tennessee State University with the 2012– 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to Community.” Even with all these accolades, Salas will tell you her most notable work is still in progress. “I’m trying to raise a happy and healthy kid. Helping clients navigate financial distress and doing my part for LGBT equality is icing on the cake.”


Rachel (left) and Amber Stanton

photo courtesy of Rachel Stanton

Rachel Stanton Ten years ago, Rachel Stanton would have never believed that her company, Diversity Builder, Inc., would be celebrating its 10 year anniversary. It all began in 2003 when Stanton and her business partners decided to create a resource listing for LGBT individuals and their allies as a community service. What set their model apart from others was that Diversity Builder was committed to offering resources and personal referrals to service providers in every state in the country. “There were no gaps. We didn’t want to skip over states like Tennessee or Mississippi where the LGBT business and medical referrals were difficult to unveil,” said Stanton, who left her corporate career as a training manager for Cigna Health Care for a full-time career with her new fledgling company. From there, Diversity Builder clients’ demand for offshoot services emerged. Soon, Stanton formed a corporate training division and began offering courses to help educate companies on how to respect others and build a more inclusive work


environment. Diversity Builder was the first training company to be certified as a diverse supplier by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. It now has a full curriculum of in-person and online courses and has trained numerous Fortune 500 companies, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Army, and many others. The third division was born almost simultaneously with the training division. Stanton’s background in business analysis and her Master’s in Economics equipped her to build a traffic-rich website. Her customers began to request added services, such as email marketing, search engine optimization, and website development. The internet marketing division of the company completed the trifecta. Entrepreneurship has always been a big part of Stanton’s professional and personal life. She even met her wife, Amber, at a business networking meeting. They were married in 2011 and now work alongside each other in their home office in Hermitage, Tennessee. In November 2013, they were thrilled to welcome their son, Ryman Neile Stanton, into the world.

joyce peacock Joyce Peacock never set out to be a self-employed accountant. As the valedictorian of her high school, Peacock was told she should be a math teacher at a women’s college, but with her stronger calling to help others, she thought she would pursue social services of some sort. Naturally, when this certified financial planner (CFP) went to Furman University, she got her degree in psychology. During her summers back home in Augusta, Georgia, Peacock worked part time in a bank, where she got her first job in accounting. This helped her realize that “math + psychology = working” with real people and helping them improve their lives. Peacock got her CFP designation to help people more. “I believe [full-service financial planning] is just as important as accounting,” she says. “Tax work is a big piece of the pie, but complete financial planning is a multilevel pie.” While working at an accounting firm, Peacock had a vision to help others with the whole CFP picture by providing a lot more than just accounting or tax services. So she opened Peacock Financial Services in 1986 to do just that. She and her three employees now work from their offices in Berry Hill, Tennessee. “This is an exciting time,” Peacock explains, referencing marriage equality and the federal government’s recognition of same-sex marriages. She points out that if a couple is legally married they now must file their federal income taxes with the IRS as married, either jointly or separately. “This will be an interesting tax season for me,” she quips.

photo courtesy of Joyce Peacock

Peacock and her partner, Sue Ross, have been together for more than 22 years. When asked if they plan to marry any time soon, she replies, “We’ve dug our heals in and are waiting until we can get married in our home church.” That would be St. Ann’s Episcopal in East Nashville, where they both sing in the choir. Along with helping others with full financial planning services, Peacock also serves as a conservator for some clients. This allows her to come full circle with her psychology degree and accounting background by dealing with people’s finances and their family dynamics to come up with the best solution for them and their situation. “What could be more challenging and rewarding than that?” she confidently exclaims.




Cheekwood Botanical Garden 1200 Forrest Park Drive (615) 356-8000 www.cheekwood.org Frist Center for the Visual Arts 919 Broadway (615) 244-3340 www.fristcenter.org

OSHi Flowers 150 Third Avenue South (615) 259-0444 217 A. Sixth Avenue North (615) 254-6744 www.oshiflowers.com

Ryman Auditorium 116 5th Avenue North (615) 889-3060 www.ryman.com Schermerhorn Symphony Center 1 Symphony Place (615) 687-6400 www.nashvillesymphony.org

Insurance for Tennessee Tom Lejsek (615) 822-5007 InsuranceForTennessee@comcast.net

Tennessee Performing Arts Center 505 Deaderick Street, 3rd Floor www.tpac.org War Memorial Auditorium 301 6th Avenue North www.wmarocks.com

BOOK RETAILERS Barnes & Noble 2501 West End Avenue (615) 343-2665 www.vanderbilt.bncollege.com Hope Diamond Collection, Inc. www.josephmcleangregory.com

CREATIVE SERVICES b-kreative, llc (615) 870-4545 www.b-kreativellc.com Jump Start Agency (615) 656-5277 www.jsanow.com

EVENT SPACES Scarritt-Bennett Center 1008 19th Avenue South (615) 340-7500 www.scarrittbennett.org

FINANCIAL SERVICES Capital Financial Chris Robinette 12 Cadillac Drive, Brentwood (615) 309-6468 www.capitalfinancialgroup.net Fifth Third Bank Fifth Third Center 424 Church Street, Suite 700 (615) 687-3115 www.53.com Radian Partners 341 Cool Springs Boulevard (615) 261-4632



New York Life Erik Lindsey 840 Crescent Centre Dr. Franklin (615) 224-9572

LEGAL SERVICES Rubenfeld Law Office, PC Abby Rubenfeld 2409 Hillsboro Road, Suite 200 (615) 386-9077 arubenfeld@rubenfeldlaw.com

MEDICAL SERVICES Dr. Bradley Bullock—General 1607 Westgate Circle, Suite 200, Brentwood (615) 376-8195 Dental Bliss—Dental Services 151 Rosa Helm Way, Franklin (615) 794-8810 Dr. Brian Hooper—Psychotherapy (615) 485-5923 www.drbrianhooper.com Dr. Allan Redash—Integrative/Natural Medicine 953 Main Street #111 (615) 226-2244 http://drredash.com Toyos Clinic—Eye Care 600A Frazier Drive, Suite #110, Franklin (615) 764-1999 1800 State Street, Nashville (615) 327-4015 www.toyosclinic.com

NIGHTLIFE Play 1519 Church Street (615) 322-9627 www.playdancebar.com Trax 1501 Ensley Blvd. (615) 742-8856 Tribe 1517 Church Street (615) 329-2912 www.tribenashville.com

Be a part of the UNITE Magazine LGBT business directory. Email joey@unitemag.com for more information.

NONPROFIT The Community Foundation 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Suite 400 (615) 321-4939 www.cfmt.org Prime Timers (615) 269-3263 www.tnprimetimers.org

REAL ESTATE Exit Realty Kel Williams (615) 859-5626 Village Real Estate Lon Hurst (615) 946-3177 lhurst@villagerealestate.com

RESTAURANTS Batter’d & Fried 1008-A Woodland Street (615) 226-9283 www.batteredandfriend.com Beyond the Edge 112 South 11th Street (615) 226-3343 www.beyondtheedge.net East Side Drifters 1008-B Woodland Street (615) 262-2776 www.driftersnashville.com Watanabe 1400 McGavock Pike (615) 226-1112 www.watanabesushibar.com

RETAIL The Label 2222 12th Avenue South (615) 915-0722 www.thelabelnashville.com

SALONS/SPAS Elan Hair & Skin 3756 Hillsboro Pike (615) 269-0222 www.elannashville.com Studio BBC 1219 17th Avenue South (615) 473-6954 www.studiobbcsalon.com Studio Gaven 100 International Drive, Franklin (615) 503-9788 www.studiogaven.com

TRAVEL Cruise Planners (615) 953-9516 www.letsvamoose.com Tropicana Evansville (800) 342-5386 www.tropicanacasinos.com

“Our brand is the collective what we do, what we wear, what we say and how we behave. It is our consistent self – and we communicate our personal brand every day, all the time.” - Michael Burcham

find your authentic self at the nashville entrepreneur center. www.ec.co


breaking barriers MICHAEL SAM COMES OUT by Stewart Mandel, courtesy of Sports Illustrated Sports are such an intrinsic part of American society that some of the biggest moments have become intertwined with our nation’s history. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to recognize footage of Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio. You don’t have to be a hockey fan to remember the Miracle on Ice. But the events that truly transcend sports are the ones that change the face of our culture. It’s not presumptuous to suggest Michael Sam’s decision to announce he is gay will become one of those seminal moments. It’s a certainty. It’s extraordinarily important news that a recent college football star—a first-team All-America selection and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year—came out on Sunday and may soon become the first openly gay player in the National Football League. In fact, it could be a momentous step on the long road toward the not-too-distant day when a person’s sexuality is no longer considered news at all.


“I’m not afraid of who I am,” Sam said in an interview with ESPN. “I’m not afraid to tell the world who I am. I’m Michael Sam, I’m a college graduate, I’m African-American, and I’m gay.” All the openly gay athletes before Sam made their own courageous decisions to come out, with 12-year NBA veteran Jason Collins’s Sports Illustrated story last year serving as a landmark for major professional sports, but football dwarfs all other sports in popularity. It’s also a bastion for deeply entrenched homophobia, as evidenced by the initial reaction to Sam’s announcement from several NFL executives who spoke to SI’s Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans. “In the coming decade or two, [an openly gay player] is going to be acceptable, but at this point in time, it’s still a man’s-man game,” said an NFL player personnel assistant. “To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.” It’s no wonder, then, that generations of gay players have come and gone through the NFL unable to be open about their sexuality. Just last year, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reported that at least one gay player had fully planned to make a public declaration. Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and gay rights advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo said last spring that he believed four current players were considering coming out. Still, no announcements came to pass. “Quite simply,” wrote Freeman, “teams remain terrified of signing an openly gay player.” Instead, a 24-year-old prospective rookie will become the first to challenge that theory. While former NFL players like

David Kopay and Wade Davis came out when their respective careers were over, Sam does so at the beginning, meaning his reception to the league will play out in real time. Sam’s story will resonate on football’s most visible stage. Last season’s Sunday Night Football broadcasts averaged 21 million viewers. If an NFL team drafts Sam, he could well play in one or more of those games next fall. As the broadcasters inevitably tell his story, Sam could serve as a role model for any viewers who’ve felt they must live in secrecy. But first, Sam, a projected mid-round pick, must go through the draft evaluation process, beginning with the all-important NFL Combine in Indianapolis February 22–25. That makes the timing of Sam’s announcement both admirable and risky. Remember, this is the event where the football lifers who run franchises pick apart early 20-somethings they’ve never met. This is the event that, last year, in the wake of the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend hoax, then-prospect Nick Kasa, now a tight end for the Oakland Raiders, said a team asked in his interview: “Do you like girls?” The NFL executives interviewed by SI universally believed Sam’s draft stock will dip. “There’s no question about it,” said one veteran scout. Unfortunately, there are probably certain teams that will eliminate Sam from consideration—not necessarily because he’s gay, but because of institutionalized fears that some players won’t accept him as a teammate. Other franchises may want to avoid the media onslaught that’s sure to descend on whatever franchise selects him. Cameras from every national network will be on hand to document Sam’s first day of minicamp, first training camp practice, first exhibition, and first game. Teammates will be interviewed about playing with a gay teammate, with reporters waiting to pounce on the first one who reacts like Chris Culliver. But this was always going to happen. It needed to happen. We need to find out, once and for all, if this longstanding paranoia over how players will treat an openly gay teammate is real or overblown. Sam may be risking his professional livelihood to be that guinea pig. Hopefully, there’s a team out there in need of a dynamic pass rusher that becomes too enamored with Sam’s talent to let fear dictate its decision. Even better, perhaps an owner will embrace the opportunity for his franchise to serve as a model for acceptance. “It shouldn’t matter,” Sam said of his sexuality. “If I work hard, if I make plays, that’s all that should matter.” Whatever is the case, Sam can pursue his desired profession without having to live his off-field life in secrecy. Ideally, other current and future players facing the same decision will feel comfortable following his lead. Whether they come out a week from now, a year from now, or several years from now, Sam has broken a barrier. It’s just the latest of many that needed to fall.

1501 Ensley Blvd 12:00 PM - 3:00 AM 615.742.8856



D I FFER ENT by Stephen Hubbard

“I’m a single man, going on 33. And folks are probably wondering if there’s something wrong with me...” The first lines of the title track from Justin Ryan’s Different gives hardly a clue to what the song is really about, but for Ryan, it’s more than a little autobiographical. “The first time I heard it, I had the same experience I believe a lot of folks will. I was haunted. I felt like it was telling the story of my life,” he said. “Then, when I met with Will Hopkins to talk about him letting me release his song, I think my age did kind of help seal the deal,” the 32-year-old added with a chuckle. “Ultimately, it’s a huge compliment that he felt I had the authenticity he was looking for to trust me with what I really believe is an important song for the gay community right now.” Written with one of Nashville’s best kept secrets, guitarteacher-to-the-stars Ellen Britton, Hopkins’s composition delicately delves into waters that resonate deeply with someone who always believed he would grow up to sing gospel music. “I grew up in Kentucky, and my dad played the piano, so we were always going to ‘singings,’ as we call them in the South. I was obsessed with the Happy Goodmans and was particularly drawn to Vestal, as you might imagine,” Ryan said, laughing. “I was forever memorizing all the harmony parts on all their old records,” he explained, a pastime that paid off when the teen got to share the stage with the legendary gospel diva. “Before the concert, I’d been bragging that I could do the bass part on one of those old convention songs, and before I knew it, she’d called me onstage to sing with them.”


photo by Mark Moseley

Ryan’s coming out dashed his early promise in the conservative Southern Gospel world and severed ties with his even stauncher father—but not with the Grammy-winning matriarch. “I’d moved in with my first partner after my dad kicked me out, and I hadn’t been in touch with Vestal for a while,” he said. “But one day, the phone rang, and it was from a Nashville number I didn’t recognize.” On the other end was the gospel legend famous for her hairdo and her hankies. “I’ll never forget it,” Ryan said, remembering Goodman’s phone call. “‘Hello darlin’! It’s about time I found you. I found you, and Jesus found you, and I just wanted you to know that no matter what anybody else says I love you and God loves you!’” Those were words Ryan was hungry to hear but were ultimately not enough to stave off the firestorm of heartbreak in his life. Ironically, it was his own suicide attempt that paved the way to put his sidelined music career back on track. “I was working my little retail job in Paducah, and one of my co-workers—who happened to be the only other gay person I knew—invited me to MCC [Metropolitan Community Church].” Ryan said. “He knew I was having a hard time, but I don’t think he realized I didn’t have any idea that gay-affirming churches even existed! Long story short, the way the Metropolitan Community Church there loved me absolutely changed my life. “They introduced me to Marsha Stevens,” he added, referring to the lesbian songwriter who composed the Jesus movement anthem “For Those Tears I Died.” “Marsha invited me to Nashville to sing on her next CD. The church paid my way. That led to studio work. Before I knew it, I was singing backgrounds for Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, George Jones, too. It wasn’t long before I started believing what Vestal said was really true.” Since then, Ryan has sung extensively in gay-affirming churches, his most recent tour in response to the rash of teen suicides because of bullying. Now, with three gospel albums and a country project behind him, he has set his sights on new territory. “Before, I really worked to make music to remind us that God could still love us even though we’re gay, that we didn’t have to be disenfranchised,” he said. “Now, I think we’ve come so far the conversation has changed. On Different, I’m a lot bolder. I dare to ask if ‘church,’ however you define it, is really working for the LGBT community like it should.” Songs like Charlie Daniels’s “God Save Us All from Religion” and Susan Werner’s “Our Father (New Revised Edition)” drive that point home, with the latter re-imagining “The Lord’s Prayer” from a lesbian point of view. “I don’t want you to get the idea this album is haughty, though,”

Ryan explained. “There are intensely vulnerable moments like Julie Miller’s ‘Broken Things’ and Mary Gauthier’s ‘Mercy Now.’ Really affirming songs like Reba Rambo’s ‘You Brought Us Out’ and her daughter Destiny’s gorgeous storytelling in ‘He Starts with the End in Mind.’” If fans are worried Ryan has strayed too far from his gospel roots, they only need listen to “She’s Better Now,” his tribute to his beloved grandmother who supported him during his coming out. “Did I say it’s really gay too? I did Kristen Chenoweth’s big song from Wicked for God’s sake!” he said, joking about his cover of “For Good.” “I’m not sure I would’ve had the courage to do Levi Kreis’s ‘Love in Another Light’ earlier either.” Stylistically, he shrugs off the question of how to categorize the album. “I have no idea! I was harmonizing and rapping at the same time on (Pink’s song) ‘Perfect!’” Ryan’s muses didn’t lead him astray either.

photo by Mark Moseley

“Even though I invariably make music for people like me,

I think Different really leaves some room for you if you’re not traditionally religious,” he said, “even if you’re straight for Heaven’s sake! This album makes you think but doesn’t tell you how you should feel or believe.” Five albums in, Justin Ryan has something to say, something gleaned from a journey begun trying to fit LGBT life into religious experience, evolving into a mission to let spirituality waft its way into everyday gay life, all the while fighting for equality alongside his brothers and sisters. These days, the church kid even tempers his Coca-Cola addiction with the occasional shot of Fireball. You get the sense Justin Ryan finally knows exactly who he is, and he’s perfectly content with the answer: different—just like the rest of us. “Do I make you nervous, just a little bit? Would you want me as your neighbor, would you trust me with your kids? Are you afraid of me cause I’m not like you? Is there any one of us who isn’t...Different?” For more information about Justin Ryan’s music and upcoming performances, visit www.JustinRyanOnline.com.




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Moods of Norway: Atle Tonning Veluor Cocktail Jacket $459.99 Stone Rose: Plum/ White Check Long Sleeve Shirt $169.00 Shade 55: Denim, Tapered Leg, Lewis and Clark $197.99

Two Guys & a Bowtie: Wooden bowties on adjustable straps. Louie $45.00 & Leon $55.00

Everything Visual Tie Clasps: Silver Pearly Rose, Collectors Crescent, Mother of Pearl $74.99–$79.99 Showcased on a DIBI Velvet Burgundy Tie at $64.99

To see more designs, visit The Label at 2222 12th Avenue South or the recently launched online store at www.thelabelnashville.com


photos by Blake Kniffin

The Label’s Monica Thompson gives the scoop on the one-of-a-kind 12South boutique. Describe The Label’s typical customer. The Label primarily caters to entertainers, their respective stylists, and regular guys. We offer a wide range of price points and styles, so there is truly something for everyone. What differentiates The Label from other fashion stores in Nashville? Over 80% of the products The Label carries are made in the United States, which differs from traditional big name stores. We also support over 18 (soon to be 20) local designers. It is refreshing to find so much local talent. Associates strive to maintain a culture similar to that of European boutiques. We want every guest to feel as though they are the most important person in the room. Hospitality is a staple of our store’s culture. The store itself is very warm and inviting. That atmosphere, coupled with our wonderful associates, sets the stage for an amazing shopping experience. Is The Label only for high-end consumers? No. By offering the best quality products at the best possible prices, we are able to cater to every type of customer. Rather than picking one demographic like other stores, The Label offers Three Levels of Luxury, a phrase that enforces our commitment to quality at every price point.

vote 05.06.14

www.jonesforjudge.com | (615) 983-4500

Which lines do you carry exclusively? The Label is the only store in Nashville that carries our lines (with the exception of a few). Almost to a fault, we love being the first store in town to offer products from up-and-coming designers. We’re also very excited to announce that we have started designing and selling our very own product lines! Currently, we offer custom T-shirts, leather jackets, belts, and jeans. This spring will also see the launch of our own mid-price level of custom suits. Does The Label carry anything for women? Yes! Due to popular demand, The Label has started adding ladies clothing and jewelry to our inventory. These lines are a reflection of our famous menswear lines. Our associates love seeing couples come in and shop together. It was mentioned that celebrities shop at The Label. Can you drop some names? For starters, we dress many characters on the ABC show Nashville. Some of the celebrities we have dressed are Florida Georgia Line, Darius Rucker, Eli Young Band, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, and the list goes on...


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The best part is dressing regular guys and girls and making them feel like a rock star when they come in. Does The Label ever host events? We host writers’ nights right here in the store. We also host trunk shows, which are events that allow our guests to meet our designers. We love to throw a good party, and we do so every chance we get!

• Walking distance to Vanderbilt, Music Row & restaurants • Delicious on-site catering & reserved dining facilities • Complimentary parking 615.340.7500 • reservations@scarrittbennett.org • 1008 19th ave s • scarrittbennett.org A non-profit education, retreat and conference center, Scarritt-Bennett creates space where individuals and groups engage each other to achieve a more just world. Your support, through the rental of our historic facilities and donations, helps us to offer programs that continue our mission.



SPEAKS OUT AGAINST BULLYING by Estella Pan As a young girl growing up in Breckenridge, Texas, Morgan Frazier dreamed of moving to Nashville to pursue her music career and, with the help of her parents, set the gears in motion to make that happen. “My mom and dad helped me make a CD when I was nine years old,” she said, “so that’s really the start of me wanting to pursue music professionally.” With the first order of printed albums in hand, the aspiring entertainer was motivated to start selling her new album, and she had a plan. Frazier told her parents to take her to the town square and she would walk into stores and ask if they wanted to buy her CD. “How else does a nine-year-old girl from Texas get herself to Nashville?” she joked.

With promising results from her first go-around, Frazier and her family packed up everything they had and hit the road for two years to continue selling her album, a total of 30,000 CDs. The profits from the album sales were enough for Frazier and her family to head to Nashville. “It was a lot of pressure for a nine-year-old,” she admitted, “but I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t gone through that. I wouldn’t be so independent now, knowing that I can take care of myself. I was very fortunate that I got to learn a lot about life at a young age.” While she yearned to continue with music, Frazier also wanted to experience all the typical teenager milestones, prompting her move back to Texas. “I had a boyfriend and went to football games—all that fun stuff!” she explained. “About a year later, I got a phone call from John Northrup, who is my manager now, asking me, ‘Are you still interested in getting a record deal?’ Well, yeah!” The next year, she signed a recording contract with Sidewalk Records. Inspired by a myriad of musicians from Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn to Led Zeppelin and AC/DC, Frazier hit the studio and recorded her most recent single, “Hey Bully,” a tune she cowrote with Sherrié Austin and Tiffany Goss. Frazier’s own elementary school experiences with being bullied

photo courtesy of Morgan Frazier

“I feel like it was a really hard thing to go through. It’s so much bigger than calling people names now,” she said, adding that one of the difficulties of being bullied is not knowing who to talk to about it. “You don’t have anybody to talk to tell what’s going on. I think the biggest part of it is these kids committing suicide over this problem—they are ending their lives before it really starts. It’s just really, really sad to me, and that’s what really pushed me to write this song.” While addressing this detrimental epidemic that affects not only children but people of all ages, “Hey Bully” also shares perspectives from those who bully others. “My mom and dad always told me to pray for them, so I learned to not lash back, because really, in doing that, you are stooping down to their level,” she explained, advising kids to be the bigger person. “Like in ‘Hey Bully,’ it says, ‘I won’t be a link in your chain.’ You never know what they’re going through either, and that’s what we really wanted to put in the song. They may be going through being bullied at home, and they have no one to take [the hurt, frustration, and anger] out on, so they go to school and pick on other kids. I bet 98% of the kids who do the bullying are hurting from something.” Frazier is currently working very closely with Stand for the Silent. “A family from Oklahoma started this organization,” she said. “Their son, Ty, was 11 years old and was bullied by this one kid. One day, he ended up punching a kid in the face, and he got suspended from school. He just didn’t know how to handle it and ended up ending his life. So, his family has devoted their lives to traveling to schools and raising the awareness on anti-bullying.” Earlier this year, Frazier had the opportunity to share her message and perform “Hey Bully” at the Grand Ole Opry. “Oh my goodness, that was amazing!” she exclaimed. “Debuting on the Grand Ole Opry was huge for me because that’s something I’ve always dreamed of. I never thought that I would actually get to do it, especially this soon in my life.” Along with her Opry debut, Frazier has also had the opportunity to open for Luke Bryan on tour. “Looking out at the crowd, I kept thinking, man, I want to do this every weekend for the rest of my life,” she said. “As long as I am able to play music, make people smile, and help others, that’s going to be my goal forever.” “Hey Bully” is available on iTunes or on Morgan Frazier’s official website: www.morganfraziermusic.com.


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Tom Lejsek 615.822.5007 (p) | 615.826.7711 (f) InsuranceForTennessee.com InsuranceForTennessee@comcast.net

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breaking up with your scale by Mark Nimmo

Are we becoming too obsessed with a number on the scale? The simple answer is yes! We spend hours every day trying to figure out how to get the number on the scale to go down. In a society so concerned with how we look instead of how we feel, it is no surprise that many people are trying every way possible to drop the pounds. But, are we going about it in a healthy way? Registered dietitian Malia Chamness doesn’t think so. “Society gravitates towards rapid weight loss methods, and while they may have results, there are also consequences,” she says. “Underfeeding comes at the cost of losing lean muscle mass. The focus on health needs to start shifting to be centered on sustainable life habits.” While there are plenty of overthe-counter medicines with attractive spokespeople or celebrity endorsements that promise to help you “drop 10 pounds in the first week,” the truth is that none of them work as well as watching what you eat and exercising daily. “Losing only 10 percent of your total body weight correctly will greatly decrease your risk for developing chronic diseases,” Chamness explains. “The research shows that the majority of people who lose more than 10 percent of their body weight will gain back most of that weight within two to three years.” What happens when you count your calories and work out for an hour a day and you still do not see the numbers drop? That answer is simple as well: while you may be losing weight from fat, you are also gaining weight in terms of muscle mass. We have all heard it before: muscle weighs more than fat; however, that is not completely true. One pound of fat weighs the same as


one pound of muscle; the difference is muscle and fat differ in density. Muscle is about 18 percent more dense than fat; therefore, one pound of muscle occupies less space within the body than one pound of fat. While you may not see the number on the scale drop, it could be because it’s not able to differentiate from the fat that you have lost and the muscle you have gained from working out. My best advice: THROW AWAY YOUR SCALE and stop weighing yourself. I get it. We can’t seem to cut the ball and chain, and yet it is still disappointing to work so hard and not see the results on your trusty friend, the scale. But don’t let this disappointment cause you to quit your workout program. “We tend to become obsessed with our ‘ideal’ weight and what we wish the scale would tell us,” says Keenan McLaren, a certified yoga instructor and life coach. “We would even sacrifice our health and sanity to be at that magic number. The number is just that—a number! It’s not a reflection of how you feel, look, or even how healthy you are or how your body is functioning.” When you are eating right and properly working out you will know because you will start to notice changes in your body. There are more important ways to track your progress that will present a more accurate picture of what is actually happening with your body. These include circumference/girth measurements, the “howdo-my-cloths-fit-and-feel” method, and body composition testing. By tracking this data, you will be able to determine whether or not you are on the right track with your health and fitness program.

Now that we have an understanding on why we should not trust the scale and ways to accurately track the progress of our programs the next step is also simple. Enjoy the path you are on and focus on your goals. It is not the end destination that shapes us but rather the journey that we take to get there. When we obsess over measurements and numbers, our vision can become cloudy and muddled by frustration, expectation, and criticism. “Start spending that time focusing on what you are feeding your body, exercising, and how it all makes you feel,” McLaren suggests. “Once you know what truly makes your body feel good, you can feed your soul.” The best time to reassess is six to eight weeks after your initial assessment. Seeing the difference between week one and week eight will provide you with the encouragement you need to propel yourself into the next phase of your healthier lifestyle. One of the most important things to remember when getting ready to start a new lifestyle change program is to get help when needed. This could be in the form of a fitness/health professional or a friend on a similar journey. This will not only hold you accountable for showing up and working to your full potential but also keep things fun and interesting.

“When you are eating right and properly working out you will know because you will start to notice changes in your body.”

Advocating for Same Sex Partners Financial and Legal Issues • Estate Protection • Personal Protection • Income Protection • Tax Protection • Investment Protection An industry leader in educating clients, peers, and adult learners in estate planning and wealth transfer, Frank C. Weightman, PH.D., CEP, is a strong advocate for the Nashville LGBT community. His office is located at 341 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067, 615.261.4632. Securities and advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC. Radian Partners is not affiliated with FSC or registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor.



Melon Ball Alabama Slammer The Phillip (pictured, green) Melon Liquor Vodka Orange Juice Splash of Sprite


(pictured, orange) Southern Comfort Grenadine Orange Juice

(pictured, red) Epic Peach Vodka Epic Cherry Vodka Orange Juice Cranberry


GALA Thursday March 27, 2014 Omni Nashville Hotel


ROB LOWE Cocktail Reception at 5 p.m. Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Program at 7 p.m. For sponsorship information or to purchase tickets visit:




photos by Lisa Binkley

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Culture Cheekwood is Blooming by Estella Pan

When spring comes to Nashville, it chooses Cheekwood as its main stage every year. With large-scale colorful plantings, special programming, and naturally gorgeous views, the botanical garden and art museum are a must-see for locals and visitors alike as the seasons change. More than 100,000 brilliantly colored tulips are set to bloom across Cheekwood’s grounds in early April—nearly double the number used to create 2013’s impressive carpet of color—along with daffodils, magnolias, redbuds, and dogwoods. The organization’s signature spring festival, Cheekwood in Bloom, will kick off on March 22 with six weeks of family-friendly seasonal programming, quality entertainment, and plenty of creative opportunities to explore and experience nature’s seasonal beauty. “Spring allows us show off a bit here at Cheekwood,” said Patrick Larkin, senior vice president of gardens and facilities at Cheekwood. “Since we received such an overwhelming response to last year’s tulip display, we decided to double the intensity and color for a view you won’t find anywhere else in the area. We can’t wait for that first bloom to make its appearance so we can kick off the festivities with our members and visitors.” With garden tours, live music, and interactive programs for all ages, Cheekwood is Nashville’s premier place to experience and celebrate spring. A complete schedule of all events and programs is available at http://cheekwood.org.

Color Garden photo by Kyle Drier



DECADES a night of big hair, fast cars & new wave




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Profile for Joey Amato


UNITE Magazine presents its 1-Year Anniversary issue staring gay Christian singer Justin Ryan. UNITE is Tennessee's only LGBT magazine.


UNITE Magazine presents its 1-Year Anniversary issue staring gay Christian singer Justin Ryan. UNITE is Tennessee's only LGBT magazine.