Joseph Rhymer

  • posted about LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans on Facebook 2016-12-17 12:51:36 -0600
    Sign the petition: LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans

    LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans

    664 signatures

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    An open letter from Tennessee's LGBTQ community to our fellow Tennesseans

     

    As members of the LGBTQ community, we write to our fellow Tennesseans a month after the election and a month before the upcoming state legislative session.

     

    In recent weeks members of our community have experienced grave assaults on our safety and dignity.  A gay, gender nonconforming man was murdered.  A transgender woman’s car was burned. The signs and doors of a church that affirms our community have been vandalized.  A gay couple received a package with a knife sticking out and a message attached urging them to leave the state. 

     

    These attacks upon individuals and institutions have put our lives and safety at even greater risk than usual.  They contravene the welcoming traditions of hospitality for which Tennessee is known.  

     

    The time we have entered is critical.  Many are calling for healing in the wake of a divisive election. Healing is difficult while fresh wounds are being inflicted such as discriminatory state legislation.

     

    So we are speaking out for our safety, dignity, and equal rights under the law.

     

    Our struggle is not against your values, unless you value discrimination.  LGBTQ Tennesseans are your neighbors, your family members, your health care providers, firefighters, grocery clerks, teachers, elected officials, and we fill many other roles vital to the life of small towns and large cities.  Many of us grew up and continue to be active in the same faith communities as you.  

     

    In the long story of our community’s struggles, we have relied on our own strength to sustain us.  We have also experienced the joy of  working with countless allies.  Now is a time for allies to speak out with us and we  invite people of good will throughout the state to build a stronger, inclusive, welcoming Tennessee to meet our state’s common challenges together.

    If you share these values and priorities, we invite you to add your name to this letter.

    Add signature

  • signed No special legislative session for bathroom discrimination! 2016-05-23 23:32:02 -0500
    joseph rhymer

    No special legislative session for bathroom discrimination!

    On the evening of May 17, The Tennessean and The Commercial Appeal reported that legislators are considering a special legislative session to take up a new effort to pass a statewide anti-transgender bathroom discrimination law.  Sign YOUR name to the statement below and we'll deliver your signatures to legislative leaders:

    1,073 signatures

    Dear Speaker Ramsey and Speaker Harwell:

    We oppose a special legislative session to consider an anti-transgender bathroom discrimination law.  It is never justified to spend the state's time and money to advance discrimination.  Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • posted about No Discrimination in Federal Contracts! on Facebook 2016-05-07 20:46:08 -0500
    The U.S. House of Representatives is trying to gut President Obama's non-discrimination executive order. Fight back!

    No Discrimination in Federal Contracts!

    In late April the U.S. House Armed Services Committee voted to undo President Obama's non-discrimination executive orders for federal contracts via the Russell amendment.  This amendment is part of the National Defense Authorization Act. 

    Removal of the President's executive orders on non-discrimination would be a disaster for LGBT people in states like Tennessee that lack employment protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity. 

    Please, sign this petition to Tennessee's two U.S. Senators and nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives and we will make sure copies are sent to their offices.

    554 signatures

    Dear Senators Alexander and Corker and Representatives Roe, Duncan, Fleischmann, Desjarlais, Cooper, Black, Blackburn, Fincher, and Cohen:

    We oppose the Russell amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and similar efforts to reverse President Obama's executive orders on employment non-discrimination for federal contractors.  Protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is important to Tennesseans.  Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • signed Tennessee Loves Target 2016-05-03 07:12:57 -0500

    Tennessee Loves Target

    ellyahnnaTarget.jpgTarget's trans-inclusive policies are under attack in Tennessee.  A Mt Juliet pastor's rant went viral and this week at a Hendersonville Target, protesters shouted religious wrath at employees and customers.  But we know that Tennessee loves Target and it's time to show it!

    As former TEP Board member Ellyahnna Hall (pictured) notes:  

    "I support Target for trying to provide a safe space for all people. I'm a trans woman and I've faced the dangers of not having access to restrooms that corespond to my gender identity. If opponents are really concerned with safety then let's focus on tougher rape laws and enforcing those, not creating a fake danger that doesn't exist."

    Sign the petition statement and show Target some love.  We'll deliver hard copies of the petition to select Target locations in Tennessee.


                                

    1,050 signatures

    Tennessee loves Target.  I support the company's transgender-inclusive policies and I will continue to shop at their stores.                                               

     

     

    Add signature

  • posted about Defend Diversity at UT-Knoxville: Veto SB1912 on Facebook 2016-04-23 07:10:58 -0500
    Sign the petition: Defend Diversity at UT-Knoxville: Veto SB1912

    Defend Diversity at UT-Knoxville: Veto SB1912

    The Legislature passed SB1912/HB2248 that removes funding from the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  Sign this petition that we will deliver to Governor Haslam asking him to veto the bill.

    2,096 signatures

    Governor Haslam, we call on you to veto SB1912/HB2248 and protect the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's Office for Diversity and Inclusion.  The office plays a vital role in making the university competitive for the best students, faculty, and staff and it makes campus life welcoming for all.  Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • posted about Stop using religion to discriminate in Tennessee on Facebook 2016-04-21 08:57:10 -0500
    I'm tired of religion being used to discriminate in Tennessee. Aren't you?

    Stop using religion to discriminate in Tennessee

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    On April 18, 2016 about 30 pastors shamefully stood in Legislative Plaza and spoke in favor of the anti-transgender student bathroom bill.  And religion was used to advance the counseling discrimination bill.  Many more clergy across Tennessee publicly opposed both bills.

    Whether you're religious or not, aren't you tired of religion being used to support discrimination in our laws?  If so, endorse this statement:

    We oppose the use of religion to justify discrimination in Tennessee law.  To use religion to divide us in our public life violates the spirit of the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions, does harm to the people of Tennessee, and brings scandal to religion.

    Endorse

  • posted about Governor Haslam, Keep listening and oppose HB2414 on Facebook 2016-04-14 15:14:08 -0500
    Sign the petition: Governor Haslam, Keep listening and oppose HB2414. Will you help us get more signatures?

    Governor Haslam, Keep listening and oppose HB2414

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    Sign this NEW petition urging Governor Bill Haslam to keep listening to the voices opposed to the anti-transgender student bathroom bill!

    1,533 signatures

    Governor Haslam, please continue to oppose HB2414 and listen to the voices of transgender students and the business community speaking out against the bill.  Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • posted about VETO Hate Bill 1840, the Counseling Discrimination bill on Facebook 2016-04-08 17:21:32 -0500
    Sign the petition: VETO Hate Bill 1840, the Counseling Discrimination bill

    VETO Hate Bill 1840, the Counseling Discrimination bill

     

    Please, add your voice and urge Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto this discriminatory bill.

    4,239 signatures

    Dear Governor Haslam,

    We urge you to veto HB1840, which allows counselors to turn away clients based on the counselor's biases and values.  This bill puts the focus on the desires of counselors rather than on the needs of clients, damaging the counseling profession and putting clients at risk. 

    An anti-bullying amendment was stripped from the bill in the House Health Committee leaving youth vulnerable in areas where mental health services are not widely available.

    Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • posted about Governor Haslam, Fight for trans students and against SB2387/HB2414 on Facebook 2016-03-21 09:48:09 -0500
    Sign the petition: Governor Haslam, Fight for trans students and against SB2387/HB2414

    Governor Haslam, Fight for trans students and against SB2387/HB2414

    Please, join us in encouraging Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to fight against this attack on transgender students.

    985 signatures

    Dear Governor Haslam,

    We call on you to do everything in your power to lobby against passage of SB2387/HB2414, the anti-transgender student bathroom bill.  We also ask that you VETO the bill if it reaches your desk. 

    The bill endangers vulnerable students and it risks significant U.S. Department of Education funds to Tennessee.  If this bill became law, the enforcement would be a nightmare for school districts across the state. 

    Show the world that Tennessee is a welcoming state.  Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • posted about The People's Resolution Opposing Tennessee House Joint Resolution 529 on Marriage Equality on Facebook 2016-02-06 19:07:22 -0600
    I'm endorsing Tennessee Equality Project. Please join me!

    The People's Resolution Opposing Tennessee House Joint Resolution 529 on Marriage Equality

    Sign on as a co-sponsor of the People's Resolution Opposing Tennessee House Joint Resolution 529 on Marriage Equality.

    WHEREAS, Rep.  Susan Lynn has introduced a resolution urging the members of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee to express their disagreement with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges; and

    WHEREAS, the Tennessee Constitution affirms "That the citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together, for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other proper purposes, by address or remonstrance;" and

    WHEREAS, the State of Tennessee ought to be focused on the legal equality of all its people rather than attacking the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community; and

    WHEREAS, "the equal protection of the laws" is a cherished principle in American jurisprudence; now, therefore,

    BE IT RESOLVED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, that we oppose House Joint Resolution 529 and urge the members of the 109th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee to uphold the entire Constitution of the United States, including the Fourteenth Amendment, and cease their legislative attacks on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

    Endorse

  • Updated with response: Stand against the hate of Minister Ben Bailey of the Central Church of Christ in McMinnville

    UPDATE:  Minister Ben Bailey of the Central Church of Christ called us this morning and talked about his views.  He is not pro-equality, but he wants to make absolutely clear that he does NOT support the stoning of LGBT people.  You can read his response at the link

    The New Civil Rights Movement has reported on the teachings of Minister Ben Bailey of the Central Church of Christ in McMinnville in which the pastor tries to justify the stoning of LGBT people as biblical. 

    People of faith and people of no particular faith alike reject the dangerous extremism of Pastor Bailey.  At a time when hate crimes are up against LGBT people in Tennessee and at a time when the nationwide murders of transgender people in particular have reached crisis levels, such hate has no rightful place in religion or in civil society. 

    Despite the pastor's notoriety, hate will NOT define McMinnville or the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee.  We were in McMinnville recently for the Summer of Love tour with a strong showing of equality advocates.  Read the report if you doubt there are many great people in the area living their hopes for full equality.  Upper Cumberland Pride, which serves the region, is an organization that is growing again and now reunited to TEP.  We know they will continue to raise awareness for the safety and equality of LGBT people in the area.

    We urge people of good will across the state and nation to stand with those in McMinnville and the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee and against the hateful rhetoric of Pastor Bailey.  Add your name as a show of solidarity!

    Endorse

  • posted about Volunteer with TEP on Facebook 2015-07-20 08:55:41 -0500
    I signed up to volunteer for Tennessee Equality Project. Join me!

    Volunteer with TEP

    TEP needs volunteers throughout the year.  Please, fill out this form or contact us at chris@tnequalityproject.com for more information.  Thank you!

    Become a volunteer

  • donated 2015-05-14 08:04:43 -0500

    RFRA Wedding Cake Emporium

    $700.00 raised
    GOAL: $3,000.00

    SUPPORT OUR START UP!*  With the Supreme Court taking up the marriage issue, it looks as if marriage equality is FINALLY coming to Tennessee.  But that's not all that's coming.  Family Action Council of Tennessee is going to try to bring an Indiana-style RFRA to Tennessee again next year.  You'll remember that we beat the bill last year, the one we called "Turn the Gays Away." 

    So we wondered what to do and how to prepare.

    Then the answer came to us!

    A startup, of course!  If bakers and pizza places can turn away LGBT people, why not start our own RFRA Wedding Cake Emporium to meet all your needs when the haters can't be bothered.  This is social entrepreneurship at its best.

    So invest in our RFRA Wedding Cake Emporium where we welcome everyone!

     

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    Help us build a better wedding cake toward the $1000 level! Each completed cake layer means $500 toward our $3000 goal!

    *(OK, so we're not actually starting a wedding cake emporium.  But when you make a donation, we can fight negative bills like RFRA and Mini Indy/Counseling Discrimination style bills in the Legislature and WIN!  Because your donation supports excellent professional lobbying and grassroots policy organizing, it is not tax deductible.  But it tastes great.  Wedding cake minus the discrimination.)

    Donate

  • posted about Marriage PLUS Pledge on Facebook 2015-05-14 08:00:55 -0500
    I'm endorsing Tennessee Equality Project for the Marriage Plus Pledge. Please join me!

    Marriage PLUS Pledge

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    MARRIAGE PLUS PLEDGE

    I pledge to continue to work for full

    legal and lived equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender

    people in Tennessee after we achieve marriage equality.  

    I recognize that we have more work to do on job discrimination, public

    accommodations discrimination, housing discrimination, safe

    schools/anti-bullying, bisexual erasure and visibility, health disparities,

    domestic violence, senior care, HIV/AIDS, hate crimes, documents for

    transgender people, and other issues.

    Endorse

  • posted about Tuesday Twitter Team on Facebook 2015-05-04 07:58:59 -0500
    I signed up to volunteer for Tennessee Equality Project. Join me!

    Tuesday Twitter Team

    We need you for the Tuesday Twitter Team.  Once you sign up, we'll send you a sample message to tweet on Tuesday that you can adapt or edit.twitterfollow.png

    And every Tuesday or almost every Tuesday, we'll send you information about what needs to be tweeted that day.  You can help move the equality message forward in Tennessee every Tuesday.  Welcome to the TEP Tuesday Twitter Team!

     

    Become a volunteer

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