Chris Sanders published Marisa Richmond Public Policy Fellowship Application in Blog 2020-11-03 23:24:17 -0600
We are pleased to release the application for the Marisa Richmond Public Policy Fellowship at this link.
The Marisa Richmond Public Policy Fellowship is a program for Black transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited Tennessee college or university who are interested in public policy advocacy. The fellowship honors the federal, state, and local advocacy of Dr. Marisa Richmond in the areas of racial justice and LGBTQ rights.
Three applicants will be selected for the Spring 2021 fellowship, ideally one from East Tennessee, one from West Tennessee, and one from Middle Tennessee depending on the geographic diversity of the application pool.
Fellowship recipients will receive a $1000 stipend and participate in Zoom/conference call discussions with leading advocates to explore key issues in public policy and build their network. The program will go from mid-January through March to coincide with the state legislative session. There are no project or work requirements so that students can focus on their academic requirements and self-care.
APPLICATIONS ARE DUE ON DECEMBER 4 BY 8:00 P.M. EASTERN TIME/7:00 P.M. CENTRAL TIME. Submit your answers through this Google form. Questions should be directed to email@example.com. The fellowship is a program of the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation.
Chris Sanders published Update on endorsement in TN Senate District 20 in Blog 2020-10-15 19:49:34 -0500
The Tennessee Equality Project rescinds our endorsement of Sen. Steven Dickerson in the Tennessee Senate District 20 race.
Although he has an exemplary record on LGBTQ rights in the Legislature, elected officials are called to speak out against racism in politics.
We have seen the disgusting, racist ad targeting Mayor Heidi Campbell and Gideon's Army that was created by a political action committee. We call for it to be taken down and we call on Sen. Steve Dickerson's campaign to denounce it and call for its removal. Even those who are not responsible for creating a campaign ad must act responsibly when they become aware of it because racism is a deadly force in our state.
We are considering the future of our endorsement in the Senate District 20 race.
Chris Sanders published Notes from the TN Dept of Health: Health Literacy Month and STIs in Blog 2020-10-11 19:47:44 -0500
The following information was written by and is provided in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health:
October is Health Literacy Month, and it could not come at a better time. We have been bombarded with health information because of the pandemic, and wading through it all can be difficult. Health literacy is the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions (source).
Most of us experience greater health literacy in some instances and less in others. Those of us living with a chronic health condition find ourselves becoming expert in that condition and the resources around it. On the flip side, some parts of our health are less familiar to us. Sexual health usually falls on the less familiar side.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a topic where health literacy is often low. While one in two sexually active people will get an STI by their 25th birthday, the common experience of having STIs has not been enough to build expertise and comfort with this facet of our health.
There are as many reasons to change this as there are different types of STIs. All STIs are treatable, and most infections can be cured with oral or injectable antibiotics. For infections like HIV and genital herpes, early and consistent treatment can make a huge impact on how the disease affects a person’s life. Most STIs infect us without symptoms, so routine testing is the only way we have to know when treatment is needed.
Nationally and in Tennessee, rates for almost every STI are rising. But not all STI testing is created equal, and research demonstrates that requesting the right type of STI testing is increasingly important.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15–24 year olds make up a fourth of the nation’s population, but account for half of all new STIs (source). STI rates in Tennessee are also on the rise. From 2018 to 2019 all STI rates increased: Chlamydia by 8%, Gonorrhea by 9%, Syphilis (all stages) by 29% (source: Patient Reporting Investigation Surveillance Manager (PRISM), 2018–2019). Tennessee surpassed U.S. rates for both gonorrhea and chlamydia in 2018-2019 (source).
Even with these rising STI rates, the numbers are still under-estimates because when people present to get STI testing, they are often not getting the most complete testing available. Testing for STIs like Gonorrhea and Chlamydia is recommended at all sites of exposure, including the throat and rectum, and oral and anal testing is referred to as extragenital testing. Those presenting for STI testing usually receive standard testing, which is done by collecting a urine and/or vaginal swab and for some STIs a blood sample; but standard testing only identifies penile and vaginal infections in some STIs, and does not identify extragenital infections. Standard testing is often focused on the least invasive and most comfortable option for the patient, and is what is routinely offered in health department clinics.
When it comes to STIs, a little bit of additional discomfort during testing is worth it. Nationally, traditional urine testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia miss 70%–88% of infections that are found using extragenital testing with men who have sex with other men (source). In 2019, a Tennessee Department of Health study identified that standard testing alone would have missed up to 46% of infections in males, and 18% of infections in females (Source: Patient Tracking Billing Management Information System [PTBMIS], 2019).
STI tests now include a lot of new options, and one key characteristic of STI screening that can significantly impact its accuracy is the type of sample used to run the test. Unless you specifically request something different as the patient, you are likely to be provided with standard testing for STIs.
In 2019, a Tennessee Department of Health study found that when extragenital testing was offered to all patients, testing increased significantly. Among males, rates of rectal testing increased by 200%, and oral testing increased by 78%; among females, oral testing increased 122%, and rectal testing increased 316% compared to 2018 testing data (Source: PTBMIS,2019). This suggests that patients and health care providers are not always talking about oral and anal sex. If health care providers use patient reporting alone, oral and rectal testing may not be completed or offered, even if warranted. This is why it is so important to not only talk to your health care provider about all of your sexual practices, but also to request extragenital testing.
Extragenital testing is not new, but health literacy and personal advocacy are required to get access to it. Healthy literacy includes knowing that this type of testing is more accurate and where you can go to get it. In Tennessee, local health departments that provide STI testing have oral and rectal testing available. Personal advocacy involves asking for the version of the test during the appointment that fits your needs and answering the detailed questions about sex asked by a medical provider that will lead to knowledgeable, personalized care. Medical providers often assume that patients will be more comfortable giving a urine sample than they will be using an anal swab, so personal advocacy includes speaking up to let your provider know that you want to get more comfortable taking oral and rectal tests.
Annual testing is recommended for all adults for all STIs, so every year you have a chance to use your increased health literacy and personal advocacy skills to get more effective testing. Asking for STI testing that includes oral and rectal swabs will not increase the cost you are asked to pay, and health departments all over Tennessee offer STI testing at little to no cost. HIV testing on its own is free, and the cost range for full STI testing is usually between $10–$20 in metro areas and is either free or calculated using a sliding scale based on income at regional Health Departments. When making an appointment, the clinic can provide information on cost. You will not be turned away due to an inability to pay the day of services. Many clinics have same day or next day appointments and some clinics allow for same-day walk-ins.
Here are some helpful steps to take as you get ready to get STI testing:
- Identify your testing location and learn more about STI testing there. Click here for a list of health departments in Tennessee to quickly find one close to you. Once you’ve identified the place, go on their website or call to learn more about their scheduling procedures, what forms of identification you need to bring, and what your STI testing (and potential treatment) will cost.
- If you are coming to a health department clinic after being tested at another location, bring your information with you. Bring any lab results and information from your last clinic appointment with you to your health department visit to save time and ensure you are getting the correct tests and treatment options.
- Be ready to answer questions about your sexual history. Be prepared for the questions they will ask you, and bring questions of your own. Write down 2 – 4 questions you have so that when you are face-to-face with your provider, you don’t forget what to ask.
- Write down any requests that are important to you. This includes requesting extragenital testing for STIs. It can also include requesting a walkthrough of the exam before you start.
- Learn more about STIs before you go. Doing your own research can both increase your knowledge and help you feel confident and comfortable during the process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s STI resource page is a great place to start.
- Choose a change to make in the next year. STI testing is annual, and it can be a great time to make a new resolution to improve your sexual health. Learn more about how to get free condoms, start on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and other ways you can improve your health on Tennessee Department of Health’s HIV Prevention page.
STIs are common, but STI testing is widely available in Tennessee. Start planning today, and don’t let discomfort or a lack of information stop you from getting the best testing and care possible.
Chris Sanders published Endorsements for 2020 State and Local Races in Blog 2020-10-09 11:45:10 -0500
Tennessee Equality Project
State and Local Endorsements
Tennessee Equality Project lobbies the Tennessee General Assembly and local governments around the state on behalf of the LGBTQ community. We are pleased to endorse a strong group of candidates for state and local government this year, including a number of LGBTQ candidates who can significantly change the conversation about our issues in Tennessee. The Slate of Hate, which is a set of vicious anti-LGBTQ bills, looms as a threat when the Legislature reconvenes in January. On the other hand, we have important opportunities to advance equality in many of our cities. The candidates we have endorsed can play a vital role in fighting discrimination and making life better for LGBTQ Tennesseans.
TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ENDORSEMENTS
TN Senate District 6-Knox County
TN Senate District 10-Bradley and Hamilton Counties
TN Senate District 14-Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore, and Rutherford Counties
TN Senate District 22-Houston, Montgomery, and Stewart Counties
TN House District 4-Unicoi and Carter Counties
TN House District 6-Washington County
TN House District 13-Knox County
Rep. Gloria Johnson
TN House District 18-Knox County
Eddie Mannis-LGBTQ candidate
TN House District 25-Cumberland, Putnam, and Van Buren Counties
TN House District 37-Rutherford County
TN House District 38-Clay, Fentress, Macon, Pickett, and Scott Counties
TN House District 40-DeKalb, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale Counties
TN House District 48-Rutherford County
TN House District 49-Rutherford County
Brandon Thomas-LGBTQ candidate
TN House District 56-Davidson County
TN House District 63-Williamson County
Our endorsement goes to Elizabeth Madeira for her strong outreach to the LGBTQ community. We also wish to commend candidate Brad Fiscus for his clear expressions of support for our community.
TN House District 82-Crockett, Haywood, and Lauderdale Counties
Andrea Bond Johnson
TN House District 83-Shelby County
TN House District 89-Knox County
Keri Keeling (Write-in candidate)
TN House District 90-Shelby County
Torrey Harris-LGBTQ candidate
TN House District 96-Shelby County
TN House District 97-Shelby County
CITY GOVERNMENT ENDORSEMENTS
City Council Ward 4
Margaret Thompson-LGBTQ candidate
City Council Ward 5
City Council Ward 9
City Council Ward 11
Ashlee Evans-LGBTQ candidate
City Council Ward 12
Our endorsement goes to Joe Shakeenab for his demonstrated willingness to take action to address discrimination. We are also grateful to candidate Trisha Butler for her expressions of support for the LGBTQ community.
Kyle Beagle-LGBTQ candidate
Jeffrey Clark-LGBTQ candidate
Board of Aldermen
Lloyd Dunn-LGBTQ candidate
Chris Sanders published TEP City Government Candidate Surveys: Equality on the Ballot in Blog 2020-09-28 20:04:52 -0500
The Tennessee Equality Project surveyed candidates in these cities that are holding November 3 elections. All candidates for the city legislative body were surveyed. If you are a candidate and we didn't survey in your city and you would like us to do so, be in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will consider your request.
Below are the responses for those candidates who completed surveys by the September 28 deadline:
Voters cast their ballots for alderman by district and may select one candidate in their district.
*Alderman Position 6
Voters cast their ballots for city council according to the ward in which they live. There are multiple candidates per ward in most races, but voters may only select one.
There are eight candidates for city commission; voters may select up to three.
There are four candidates for city council; voters may select up to two.
There are eight candidates for alderman; voters may select up to four.
Chris Sanders published TEP state legislative candidate surveys: Equality on the ballot in Blog 2020-09-17 20:00:26 -0500
The following state legislative candidates (TN Senate and TN House) turned in surveys to Tennessee Equality Project by the September 17 deadline. TEP did not survey in all legislative races. For example, there is only one candidate in many races where an incumbent is seeking reelection. In some races in which we sent out surveys, no candidate responded.
Candidates are listed within their district in the order in which they responded to the survey.
District 2-Blount and Sevier Counties
District 6-Knox County
District 10--Bradley and Hamilton Counties
District 14-Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore, and Rutherford Counties
District 20-Davidson County
District 22-Houston, Montgomery, and Stewart Counties
STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
District 4-Unicoi and Carter Counties
District 6-Washington County
District 13-Knox County
District 18-Knox County
District 25-Cumberland, Putnam, and Van Buren Counties
Robyn Deck-Democrat (received after deadline)
District 37-Rutherford County
District 38--Clay, Fentress, Macon, Pickett, and Scott Counties
District 40-DeKalb, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale Counties
District 48-Rutherford County
District 49-Rutherford County
District 56-Davidson County
District 63-Williamson County
District 82-Crockett, Haywood, and Lauderdale Counties
District 83-Shelby County
District 89-Knox County
District 90-Shelby County
District 96-Shelby County
District 97-Shelby County
Chris Sanders endorsed 2020-03-29 21:52:08 -0500
We've all seen the articles that say that the LGBTQ community doesn't count in the 2020 Census. Questions more directly related to our community were left out of the final version. But it's still important to participate because it affects the federal funds that come back to Tennessee and it shapes the way our federal, state, and local districts are drawn for accurate representation. You still count!
So we are asking LGBTQ people and allies in Tennessee to take the pledge. Please, add your name if you have already participated in the Census or if you plan to. If you haven't done so, you can fill it out online at this link.
I pledge that I have either participated in the 2020 Census or that I plan to participate and I urge all my friends and neighbors to do so.Endorse
Chris Sanders signed Censure Commissioner Hurst, make Sevier County policies inclusive 2019-10-28 08:41:59 -0500
The racist and homophobic comments of Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst have shocked people across the country. Please, add your name to protest his divisive words and call for policy change in Sevier County, Tennessee. We will deliver your signatures to the Sevier County Government in November at the next county commission meeting.1,741 signatures
To the Honorable Larry Waters, Mayor of Sevier County, and to the honorable members of the Sevier County Commission:
Calls have gone out across the country for Commissioner Warren Hurst to resign over his racist and homophobic comments. While that decision is in his hands, we call on you to censure him by resolution of the Sevier County Commission and to update the employment non-discrimination policy of Sevier County Government to protect county employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. We urge you to make this policy change by executive order immediately, to be followed by a confirming ordinance or resolution of the County Commission.
Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott has made anti-Muslim statements and said that he does not treat LGBTQ people experiencing domestic violence the same as other survivors. He can no longer effectively serve the people of Coffee County or the thousands of people who visit Coffee County each year for Bonnaroo.433 signatures
We call on Craig Northcott to resign the office of District Attorney for Coffee County. His anti-Muslim statements and his admission that he does not treat LGBTQ domestic violence cases with respect are disqualifying for office. He must step down so that the people of Coffee County can be served by a District Attorney who will apply the law according to the principle of equal protection.
SB1297/HB1151, also known as the indecent exposure bill, was amended to remove the portions specifically targeting the transgender community. Legislators noted in committee meetings and during floor debates that it codifies existing law. If that is the case there is no reason to proceed. Given the long history of harassment of transgender people in spaces like restrooms, we believe Governor Bill Lee should veto the bill to prevent any anti-transgender misuse of the legislation.41 signatures
Dear Governor Lee,
We call on you to veto SB1297/HB1151. Even though it has been amended, risks remain for the transgender community in any bill that further enumerates Tennessee's indecent exposure law. Legislators commented during committee and floor debates that the bill merely codifies existing law. If that is the case, there is no reason to allow the bill become law, considering the potential harm to transgender people and the negative reaction of the business community.
Thank you for considering our views.
The people of Tennessee are speaking out against bills that result in discrimination against LGBTQ people in our state. Here is our statement with a summary of the bills.389 signatures
"As residents of Tennessee, we oppose these bills in the Tennessee General Assembly. They promote discrimination rather than justice and demean the worth of LGBTQ people in our state. We call on people of good will to join us in speaking out for basic fairness."
The bills are:
SB848/HB1152 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan and SB1304/HB836 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Rudd. These bills promote state-sanctioned discrimination by private adoption agencies against prospective parents on the basis of religious and moral objection.
SB364/HB563 by Sen. Gardenhire and Rep. Zachary. The Business License to Discriminate bill. The bill casts businesses rather than the LGBTQ community as possible victims of discrimination and opens the door to taxpayer funded discrimination.
SB1297/HB1151 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Ragan. While the bill seems to be about indecent exposure, its original text is a devious attempt to criminalize transgender and gender nonconforming people in restrooms and locker rooms. The bill has been amended in a House subcommittee to remove the portions targeting the transgender community. We want to make sure the amendment remains on the bill.
SB1499/HB1274 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Holt. This bill requires the Attorney General to defend school districts that engage in anti-transgender bathroom discrimination.
SB1282/HB1369 by Sen. Pody and Rep. J. Sexton. The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act is an attack on marriage equality.
Chris Sanders signed Urge Gov. Haslam to protect LGBTQ state government employees 2018-12-21 09:46:16 -0600
Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich recently signed an executive order barring discrimination against state government employees on the basis of gender identity. Discrimination based on sexual orientation was already banned.
Outgoing Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam could do the same for our state government employees. Sign the petition and urge him to protect LGBTQ state government employees by executive order. If we get 1000+ signatures, we will deliver them to the Governor's office.646 signatures
Dear Governor Haslam,
We urge you to sign an executive order protecting Tennessee state government employees from job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the same protections that Ohio state government employees enjoy thanks to the recent executive order signed by outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Employees of our public colleges and universities already enjoy these projections as do the public employees in Metro Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, and Knox County. Everyone deserves the opportunity to work without the fear of discrimination.
Thank you for considering our views.
A foster care and adoption license to discriminate measure was recently put into a health and human services funding bill in the House Appropriations Committee.
The “Aderholt Amendment” allows foster care and adoption service providers across the country to discriminate against children and prospective parents based on sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and marital status.
We need your help to tell Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker: NO ADOPTION DISCRIMINATION in the 2019 Appropriations bill! We will deliver hard copies to their offices.1,052 signatures
Dear Senators Alexander and Corker:
We urge you to act to oppose the Aderholt amendment allowing discrimination in foster care and adoption services in the FY19 House Labor-HHS appropriations bill and ensure that the measure is NOT included in any Senate or final appropriations bill.
It would allow taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption service providers to discriminate against children in care and against prospective parents, based on sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and marital status.
The measure breaks the cardinal rule of child welfare services: to act in the best interest of the child. This amendment would actually HARM CHILDREN.
This amendment would greatly harm the 440,000 children in foster care, particularly the 117,000 who are waiting to be adopted into loving, forever homes. There is a crisis in foster care due to the huge shortage of available families for children. Each year, over half the children waiting to be adopted do not find a loving home, and most devastatingly, over 17,000 foster youth age out of care without a forever family. Those youth are at greater risk of involvement with the criminal justice system, homelessness, unemployment, and being trafficked.
Speak out against this poison pill amendment,; let your leadership know you will not support a funding bill with the measure included, and vote against any appropriations measure that includes such discriminatory provisions. Thank you for considering our views.
Chris Sanders signed Urge Senators Alexander and Corker to speak up for LGBTQ people when the next Supreme Court justice is appointed 2018-06-27 20:53:25 -0500
Urge Senators Alexander and Corker to speak up for LGBTQ people when the next Supreme Court justice is appointed
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring so the President will name a successor who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Sign to urge Senator Alexander and Senator Corker to speak up for the LGBTQ community during the confirmation process. TEP will deliver a hard copy of the signatures to their offices.1,069 signatures
Senator Alexander and Senator Corker:
When the President announces his choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, we urge you to speak up for the rights of LGBTQ people. It is vitally important that members of the Supreme Court support the principle of "equal protection" and that Justice Kennedy's successor uphold the existing rights of LGBTQ people and oppose discrimination against LGBTQ people. We respectfully ask you to raise these concerns publicly and not to vote for any nominee who supports discrimination.
$4,080.00 raisedGOAL: $6,000.00
Please, considering making your tax deductible contribution to the TEP Foundation. Your investment supports programs like Voter Registration Drives, Advocacy 101 training sessions around the state, Boro Pride in Murfreesboro that more than doubled its attendance this year, and Tennessee Open For Business that encourages an inclusive business environment in our state. We are grateful for all your support.Donate