Chris Sanders

  • published Boro Pride 2021 Sponsors and Vendors 2021-02-21 21:06:41 -0600

    Boro Pride 2021 Sponsors and Vendors

    We are pleased to announce that Boro Pride returns on August 21 this year.  Please, find the various sponsorship and vendor levels and benefits in the graphic below. When you have selected your level, use the form at the left to make your payment.

    Vendors and attendees must adhere to CDC COVID-19 guidelines. By making your payment, you agree to follow the guidelines that will be provided to you prior to the event. Vendors will be notified of the guidelines in follow-up communication.

    If you wish to pay by check, you may do so by making the check payable to "TEP Foundation" and putting "Boro Pride" in the memo line. Mail checks to P.O. Box 330895 Nashville, TN 37203. Please, let us know that you are sending a check by emailing us at [email protected] so that we can reserve your spot.



  • published Emerging Tennessee Slate of Hate for 2021 in Blog 2021-01-28 13:02:43 -0600

    Emerging Tennessee Slate of Hate for 2021

    As of February 16, we are nearing the end of the bill filing process for the Tennessee General Assembly. Many dangerous bills have already been filed. We will continue to provide updates as we receive them. The Senate bill filing deadline has passed, but the House has extended its deadline to February 24.

    SB228/HB3 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Cepicky: This bill repeats the effort to prevent transgender students from participating in high school and middle school sports. It ties a student's gender to the original birth certificate.  The "whereas" clauses attempt to pit transgender people against women's sports.  TAKE ACTION: This bill will be up for a vote in Senate and House Committees on Feb. 24. It was originally scheduled for February 17.

    SB562/HB233 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Leatherwood: This bill appears to be a caption bill that would eventually carry explicitly anti-marriage equality language. It pertains to marriage licensing and definitions.

    SB193/HB372 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Casada:  This bill allows employees of state or local government (which also includes public universities and colleges) to skip trainings or seminars that conflict with their values or religious beliefs.  We believe that the bill provides a way of undermining LGBTQ-inclusive training sessions and seminars offered by government entities. TAKE ACTION: This bill will be up for a vote in a House subcommittee on February 24. It was originally scheduled for February 17.

    SB1229/HB529 by Sen. Rose and Rep. Moody:  This bill would require public schools to notify parents before offering any curriculum about sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill allows parents to opt their children out of such instruction. 

    SB657/HB578 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Ragan: This bill criminalizes gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

    SB1216/HB800 by Sen. Niceley and Rep. Griffey: This bill censors LGBTQ content in public school textbooks and instructional materials. It's an updated version of the old "Don't Say Gay" bill.

    SB1238/HB1177 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Jerry Sexton: This legislation is an anti-transgender "bathroom" bill.

    SB1208 by Sen. Pody:  "As introduced, prohibits this state and any political subdivision of this state, or any official of this state or a political subdivision, from creating, enforcing, or endorsing policies that respect or promote non-secular self-asserted sex-based identity narratives, sexual orientation orthodoxy, or non-secular marriage doctrine because the policies fail the Lemon test, as established by the United States Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)." Note: There is no House sponsor at this time.

    We will update this list as more bills are filed.

    If you would like to support our work of tracking legislation affecting the LGBTQ community, you can make a contribution at this link.


  • Notes from the TN Dept of Health: Learn about PrEP and PEP

    The following information was written by and is presented in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health:

    World AIDS Day was Dec 1, a day when we remember lives lost to this global pandemic and acknowledge the many lives which continue to be affected by HIV.  Thankfully, in recent years we have much to be grateful for when considering options for HIV prevention.  In addition to external and internal condoms (, we now have biomedical HIV prevention options which include PrEP, an antiretroviral medication which reduces the chance of contracting HIV by 99% when taken as prescribed, and PEP, a 28-day antiretroviral treatment for people who may have been exposed to HIV within the previous 72 hours.  Below you will find the answers to several important questions about these HIV prevention options.

    PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)

    Who could benefit from taking PrEP?  Anyone who does not have HIV and who may be likely to encounter HIV.  This could be someone who is sexually active and doesn’t use condoms consistently or is not in a mutually monogamous relationship (i.e. both partners only have sex with each other, and no one else), someone whose partner is living with HIV, or someone who shares injection equipment with other people when using drugs or silicone, as well as anyone who feels that PrEP will allow them to take more control of their sexual health and reduce their anxiety about HIV.

    How does PrEP work? When HIV enters the body, it attacks our immune system through our CD4 T cells, using those cells to make more copies of the virus.  PrEP stops the virus from making copies of itself inside the CD4 T cells, preventing HIV from taking hold and stopping it from reproducing.  

    How do I take PrEP? PrEP is currently approved by the FDA as a once-daily pill.  It should be taken about the same time of day, every day, and can be taken with or without food.

    Is PrEP safe?  Yes! The medications used for PrEP have been around for 20 years as antiretrovirals used to treat people living with HIV, so we have many years of data to tell us about how PrEP affects our bodies.  A very small fraction of patients may have a decrease in kidney function or an increase in bone density loss, but both side effects are reversible when PrEP is stopped.  Your doctor will monitor kidney function through labs and determine if monitoring is needed for bone density, as well.

    Which medicines can be used for PrEP?  The first PrEP regimen approved by the FDA was Truvada, in 2012, followed by Descovy, in 2019.  While both daily medications work extremely well, there are some differences between the two.  First, Truvada is approved for use in cisgender and transgender individuals of all genders, while Descovy is currently only approved for use as PrEP in people assigned male at birth.  (Studies are under way to expand approval to include people having receptive vaginal sex.)  Second, while Truvada should only be used by people with normal kidney function, Descovy may be used by some people with decreased kidney function.  Additionally, as of this fall, a generic version of Truvada is also available.  Finally, recent studies have shown a long-acting injectable medication, Cabotegravir, to be another highly effective option which may soon be available for use as PrEP.

    Does PrEP have side effects?  As with any medication, some people experience mild side effects when they first start taking PrEP, often called “start-up syndrome.”  These can include nausea, dizziness, lack of appetite and headache.  Only about 20% of patients will have any side effects, and they usually stop within two weeks to a month after beginning PrEP.  

    Is PrEP safe to use with gender-affirming hormones?  Yes!  Although there is limited research on trans folks who use PrEP and gender-affirming hormones, what data that does exist indicates that PrEP does not affect hormones for either trans men or trans women, and hormones do not significantly affect PrEP, either.

    What do I have to do to get PrEP?  In order to get PrEP, you’ll need to see a provider, either in person or virtually, for an initial visit and follow-up appointments every 3 months.  At those appointments you’ll also do important lab work, including HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections), kidney function (creatinine), pregnancy (if applicable), and every six months to one year, Hepatitis B and C testing (depending on need).

    Once I start PrEP, do I have to stay on it forever? No way!  PrEP is a medication intended to be used when you need it and stopped when you don’t.  We like to think about “seasons of pleasure,” when you may have more sexual or drug use encounters in which you could be exposed to HIV.  During these times you may choose to use PrEP to protect yourself from HIV.  If your likelihood of being exposed to HIV changes, you may choose to stop using PrEP.  However, it is important to remember to discuss stopping PrEP with your provider and before starting it again, even if you already have your prescription filled.  This is because you’ll need new labs drawn to be sure it’s still safe for you to take PrEP.  

    Also, keep in mind that it takes 7 days for PrEP to reach maximum efficacy for anal sex and 21 days to reach maximum efficacy for vaginal sex or blood exchange, so if you have a short window of time when you think you don’t need PrEP, consider continuing to use it so that you’re protected when you need it down the road!

    PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)

    When should I seek PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)? PEP should be used in cases when there is a strong likelihood that someone who does not have HIV has been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, which could include not knowing the HIV status of a sex partner with whom you had condomless sex (anal or penile-vaginal), having condomless sex with someone who is living with HIV and who is not virally suppressed (undetectable), or sharing syringes or other works with someone with whom you used drugs or injected silicone, and whose HIV status you do not know, or who is living with HIV.  PEP is for emergency situations and not a substitute for regular use of HIV prevention methods such as using condoms, taking PrEP or not sharing needles or works.  

    How do I take PEP? PEP is usually prescribed as a combination of three antiretroviral medications, taken once or twice daily for 28 days.  There are several different combinations of medications which can be used for PEP, depending on the patient’s needs.

    How does PEP work? PEP works by preventing HIV from replicating in the body after a recent exposure. 

    Is PEP safe? Yes! PEP regimens consist of several anti-retroviral medications which have been used to treat people living with HIV for many years, so we have a lot of data on how these medicines affect the body.  There is more than one PEP regimen, so your doctor will have options to consider if you have a specific medical concern.

    Does PEP have side effects? Some people experience side effects such as fatigue, dizziness, nausea, flatulence, and headache, although most side effects go away or become manageable within a few days or weeks.  Some of these side effects can be managed with over the counter or prescription medications, as well.  

    PrEP and PEP Access

    How do I get PrEP or PEP in Tennessee? Many, but not all healthcare providers in Tennessee will prescribe PrEP and PEP.  First go to to learn more about PrEP and PEP, then find a navigator to help you walk through the process and to find a doctor to prescribe the medication.  This website is available in Spanish, as well.

    How much do PrEP and PEP cost? You may have heard that PrEP and PEP are expensive.  Thankfully there are a number of programs that can help to pay for prescriptions or prescription copays, and some even cover labs and appointment fees.  Don’t know where to start?  Don’t worry!  Our navigators are trained to help you find the right program, fill out the paperwork, and make sure that PrEP or PEP is accessible to anyone who needs it!  You can find a navigator here:  Even if you don’t live nearby, navigators can help you remotely via phone, text, or video chat- whatever works for you!

    For more information about PrEP and PEP, check out the following resources: 

  • Marisa Richmond Public Policy Fellowship Application

    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 11 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 protected]. The fellowship is a program of the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation.

  • published Update on endorsement in TN Senate District 20 in Blog 2020-10-15 19:49:34 -0500

    Update on endorsement in TN Senate District 20

    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.

    Related: TEP statement on the racist ad in the TN Senate District 20 race.

  • published Racist ad in TN Senate District 20 in Blog 2020-10-13 15:48:02 -0500

    Racist ad in TN Senate District 20

    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.

  • Notes from the TN Dept of Health: Health Literacy Month and STIs

    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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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. 
    3. 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. 
    4. 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. 
    5. 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. 
    6. 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. 

  • published Endorsements for 2020 State and Local Races in Blog 2020-10-09 11:45:10 -0500

    Endorsements for 2020 State and Local Races

    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.  


    TN Senate District 6-Knox County

    Jane George

    TN Senate District 10-Bradley and Hamilton Counties

    Glenn Scruggs

    TN Senate District 14-Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore, and Rutherford Counties

    Chase Clemmons

    TN Senate District 22-Houston, Montgomery, and Stewart Counties

    Ronnie Glynn

    TN House District 4-Unicoi and Carter Counties

    Bobby Harrell

    TN House District 6-Washington County

    Brad Batt

    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

    Robyn Deck

    TN House District 37-Rutherford County

    Mariah Phillips

    TN House District 38-Clay, Fentress, Macon, Pickett, and Scott Counties

    Carol Abney

    TN House District 40-DeKalb, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale Counties

    Paddy Sizemore

    TN House District 48-Rutherford County

    Matt Ferry

    TN House District 49-Rutherford County

    Brandon Thomas-LGBTQ candidate

    TN House District 56-Davidson County

    Bob Freeman

    TN House District 63-Williamson County

    Elizabeth Madeira

    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

    Jerri Green

    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

    Dwayne Thompson

    TN House District 97-Shelby County

    Gabby Salinas



    City Council Ward 4

    Margaret Thompson-LGBTQ candidate

    City Council Ward 5

    Melissa Eldridge

    City Council Ward 9

    Karen Reynolds

    City Council Ward 11

    Ashlee Evans-LGBTQ candidate

    City Council Ward 12

    Joe Shakeenab

    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.

    Johnson City

    City Commission

    Kyle Beagle-LGBTQ candidate

    Jeffrey Clark-LGBTQ candidate

    Debbie Harley-McClaskey


    City Council

    Sarah Herron


    Board of Aldermen

    Lloyd Dunn-LGBTQ candidate

  • TEP City Government Candidate Surveys: Equality on the Ballot

    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 [email protected] 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

    Kevin Quinn


    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.

    *Ward 4

    Margaret Thompson-LGBTQ candidate

    *Ward 5

    Melissa Eldridge

    *Ward 9

    Karen Reynolds

    *Ward 11

    Ashlee Evans-LGBTQ candidate

    *Ward 12

    Trisha Butler

    Joe Shakeenab


    There are eight candidates for city commission; voters may select up to three.

    Kyle Beagle-LGBTQ candidate

    Jeffrey Clark-LGBTQ candidate

    Debbie Harley-McClaskey


    There are four candidates for city council; voters may select up to two.

    Sarah Herron


    There are eight candidates for alderman; voters may select up to four.

    Lloyd Dunn-LGBTQ candidate

    If you would like to support the work of Tennessee Equality Project, you can contribute at this link.



  • TEP state legislative candidate surveys: Equality on the ballot

    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

    Patti Young-Write-in candidate

    District 6-Knox County

    Jane George-Democrat

    District 10--Bradley and Hamilton Counties

    Glenn Scruggs-Democrat

    District 14-Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore, and Rutherford Counties

    Chase Clemons-Democrat

    District 20-Davidson County

    Sen. Steven Dickerson-Republican

    Heidi Campbell-Democrat

    District 22-Houston, Montgomery, and Stewart Counties

    Ronnie Glynn-Democrat



    District 4-Unicoi and Carter Counties

    Bobby Harrell-Democrat

    District 6-Washington County

    Brad Batt-Democrat

    District 13-Knox County

    Rep. Gloria Johnson-Democrat

    District 18-Knox County

    Eddie Mannis-Republican and LGBTQ candidate

    District 25-Cumberland, Putnam, and Van Buren Counties

    Robyn Deck-Democrat (received after deadline)

    District 37-Rutherford County

    Mariah Phillips-Democrat

    District 38--Clay, Fentress, Macon, Pickett, and Scott Counties

    Carol Abney-Democrat

    District 40-DeKalb, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale Counties

    Paddy Sizemore-Independent

    District 48-Rutherford County

    Matt Ferry-Democrat

    District 49-Rutherford County

    Brandon Thomas-Democrat and LGBTQ candidate

    District 56-Davidson County

    Rep. Bob Freeman-Democrat

    District 63-Williamson County

    Brad Fiscus-Independent

    Elizabeth Madeira-Democrat

    District 82-Crockett, Haywood, and Lauderdale Counties

    Andrea Bond Johnson-Democrat

    District 83-Shelby County

    Jerri Green-Democrat

    District 89-Knox County

    Kari Keeling-Write-in candidate

    District 90-Shelby County

    Torrey Harris-Democrat and LGBTQ candidate

    District 96-Shelby County

    Dwayne Thompson-Democrat

    District 97-Shelby County

    Gabby Salinas-Democrat


    To see our survey of city government candidates in Bartlett, Clarskville, Johnson City, Maryville, and Portland, go to this link.

  • endorsed 2020-03-29 21:52:08 -0500

    TEP Census Pledge - #YouStillCount

    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.


  • Censure Commissioner Hurst, make Sevier County policies inclusive

    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. 

    Add signature

  • signed Call on the Coffee County DA to Resign 2019-06-11 10:41:36 -0500

    Call on the Coffee County DA to Resign

    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.

    Add signature

  • signed Veto SB1297/HB1151 2019-05-02 17:49:45 -0500

    Veto SB1297/HB1151

    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.

    Add signature

  • The People's Petition Against the Slate of Hate

    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.

    390 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.

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  • Urge Gov. Haslam to protect LGBTQ state government employees

    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.

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  • signed NO to Adoption Discrimination in Congress 2018-07-17 09:10:59 -0500

    NO to Adoption Discrimination in Congress

    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.

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  • 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.

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