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Thank you for supporting Tennessee Equality Project.Donate
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.
Christopher Purcell signed Give Nashville businesses a gender-neutral bathroom option 2016-06-03 19:05:30 -0500
In April the owners of the Wild Cow and Graze restaurants added gender-neutral signs to their single occupancy restrooms, but they were later told that this move meant they were no longer in compliance with the Metro code. They made the move to serve their customers and employees and to protest the Legislature's bathroom bill that was pending at the time. You can read about the background here.
Metro Nashville Councilman Brett Withers has filed a bill allowing businesses the option of gender-neutral bathrooms. You can read the bill at this link. The bill is up for second of three readings on June 7 at the 6:30 Metro Council meeting in the Metro Courthouse.
Sign the petition to show your support.150 signatures
We ask that the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County adopt BL2016-238 by Councilman Brett Withers and give Nashville businesses a gender-neutral bathroom option. This bill comes at the request of a local business and it is the right legislation for customers and employees. Thank you for considering our views.
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.2,097 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.
Christopher Purcell endorsed 2016-04-12 07:06:13 -0500
Take a minute to contact Governor Bill Haslam by phone message or on Twitter and then let us know you did it using this form. Let's get to 500 or more!
I called or Tweeted Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and urged him to veto HB1840, the counseling discrimination bill. I'm asking you to do the same this week.Endorse
Christopher Purcell signed VETO Hate Bill 1840, the Counseling Discrimination bill 2016-04-07 22:06:45 -0500
Please, add your voice and urge Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto this discriminatory bill.4,242 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.
Christopher Purcell signed Governor Haslam, Fight for trans students and against SB2387/HB2414 2016-04-02 10:26:19 -0500
Please, join us in encouraging Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to fight against this attack on transgender students.984 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.