Slate of Hate pushing ahead into week of June 8

Utterly oblivious to calls for racial justice, concerns about COVID-19, and thousands of unemployed, the leadership of the Tennessee House of Representatives is pressing forward with the Slate of Hate.

June 9

*HB2576, the bill that labels gender-affirming health care for transgender youth as child abuse, is up for a vote in the House Health Committee. TAKE ACTION and use the campaign at this link to contact the committee.

How to Help:

*Click on the campaign listed above and SHARE with your friends on social media and email it to them and urge them to participate.

*If you would like to support our work with a contribution, you can do so at this link. We are grateful!

Slate of Hate moves into week of June 1

Despite a rising number of COVID-19 cases, calls for racial justice, and substantial unemployment, the Tennessee House of Representatives is forging ahead with the #SlateofHate for a second week. Here is the calendar of bills for the week of June 1 with email action campaigns for each bill.

June 2

*HB1689, one of the anti-transgender student athlete bills, is up for a vote in full House of Representatives. ***Update: The Senate companion bill has been deferred until December 1, which stops the bill for now. We will continue to track it, but this is good news! The bad news later on June 3 is that the House bill was passed on the floor.

*HB2576, the bill that labels best-practice gender-affirming care for transgender youth as child abuse, is up for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. ***Update: The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and heads to the Health Committee.

June 3

*HB1572, one of the anti-transgender student athlete bills, is up for a vote in the House Education Committee. ***Update: The bill was taken off notice in the House Education Committee on June 3.


How to Help:

1. Use each of the action campaigns listed above and share them on social media and email them to friends.

2. Be a district captain during our virtual Advancing Equality Days on the Hill on June 2 and 3. Email us at [email protected] to sign up or to get more information.

3. Make a contribution at this link.


TN House picks up Slate of Hate week of May 25

The COVID-19 global pandemic and the Memorial Day holiday haven't stopped the Tennessee House of Representatives from scheduling hearings on some of the anti-LGBTQ bills in the #SlateofHate .

Action Calendar:

May 26

*HB1572, one of the bills that prevents transgender youth from participating in school sports. Take action and use this campaign to oppose HB1572 on May 26 and HB1689 that will be considered on May 28.  ***Update: On May 26, HB1572 passed the House K-12 Subcommittee and will advance to the full House Education Committee.

May 27

*HB2827, the bill that freezes in place current health care protocols for transgender youth. Take action and use this campaign to oppose HB2827. ***Update: As of May 27, the bill is off notice. GOOD NEWS!

*HB2576, the bill that criminalizes providing gender confirmation health care to transgender youth. Take action using this campaign to oppose the bill. ***Update: On May 27, the bill passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

*HB2410 and HB2310, anti-marriage equality bills. Take action on both bills with this campaign. ***Update: As of May 27, both bills have been taken off notice so there is no need to do the campaign at this link. GOOD NEWS!

May 28

*HB1689, one of the bills that prevents transgender youth from participating in school sports. If you took action using the campaign for the bill on May 26, then you do not need to take additional action.

TEP is scheduling virtual Advancing Equality Days on the Hill for June 2 and 3. If you would like to participate, go to this Facebook event page.  If you would like to support our work, you can do so at this link.

Study questions for the COVID-19 diagram of concerns

Venn diagrams have made the leap out of math and logic classes and into the world of memes. Venn diagrams often include a series of circles to show where elements overlap or don't.  If you want an easy explanation of Venn diagrams and sets, take a look at this page.

The popular Venn diagram on concerns about COVID-19:  Lately a Venn diagram has been making the rounds that shows three equally sized circles that intersect. One circle is about taking COVID-19 seriously, one about economic devastation, and the third about expansion of "authoritarian" government policies.  Here's a look at it:


Feelings:  First, all feelings about a situation are valid. People feel a wide range of emotions in a pandemic and their concerns land in different places.  The diagram is a clear and compelling appeal to feelings and is not an assessment of the scale of the issues or even a diagram that shows the cause-and-effect relationship among the three circles. 

How do we know the diagram is about feelings and not an analysis? It's all in the language. With a header that affirms "It's OK," we are tipped off that it is we who are being validated, which can give the illusion that the merits of our beliefs are also being validated.  In addition, each circle uses feeling language such as "taking seriously," "very concerned," and "worried about."

There's nothing wrong with that per se. In fact, it's always important to attend to people's feelings, especially during a pandemic. It's important for mental health reasons and it's important for policymakers and advocates to understand people's feelings in order to persuade the public.  But we should ask critical questions so that we don't allow others to manipulate our feelings to the point of distorting the reality of the situation and the need for specific policy interventions.

Study Questions:  Here are a few study questions to consider that might help you explore whether this diagram is a manipulation or whether it is accurate in important ways.

1. What is implied when the circles are equal in size?  Does it mean all three concerns are equal in their harm?  Does it mean all three threats are equally likely to take place?  Based on your information, is there one circle or are there two circles that are more of a real threat?  If so, which one or ones?  How big would you make the different circles if you drew your own diagram?

2. Who or what sectors of our society benefit if we treat the three circles as equal?  Who benefits if you resized the circles based on what you think the greatest threat is?

3. If the circles are all the same size, what effect does it have on people who wish to take action? Does it stall or spur action?  If the circles are resized with the greatest concern represented in the largest circle, what effect would that have as a call to action? 

4. By showing how the three concerns overlap, does the diagram hide ways that one circle causes another?  In other words, is COVID-19 a concern in its own right AND a cause of the other two circles?  Or are the three circles simply three different sets of concerns?

5. Who is the target of the lower right circle discussing "authoritarian" policies? This is an important point. In public debates, some are calling governors and mayors who issue safer-at-home orders authoritarian, while others view the President's seizure of PPE as authoritarian. Many view the extension of the Patriot Act during the pandemic as authoritarian. In Tennessee, questions have arisen about sharing health information with law enforcement.  So it's important to be clear when talking about authoritarian policies whose policies you mean. 

Memes are here to stay. So are our feelings. They will be part of our public debates and the way we come to terms with all the challenges we face. But it is wise to raise questions about both when we're making decisions.  What questions would you add to improve your understanding of the diagram and where it leads people?

From TN Department of Health: National Transgender HIV Testing Day

We are pleased to bring you this information through a partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health:

April 18th is National Transgender HIV Testing Day, and all across the state there are opportunities for transgender people to learn their HIV status, get connected to care, and work with their peers to prevent HIV in their communities. 

Transgender people face significant barriers to health care, especially in the South. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, these barriers include lack of health insurance, lack of access to providers knowledgeable about transgender health, and discrimination. One in three transgender people have avoided or delayed accessing sexual health care out of fear of discrimination. These fears are not ungrounded. Over half of transgender people engaged in healthcare have had to teach a medical provider about providing appropriate care, and approximately 20% of transgender people have been refused medical care by a provider because they were transgender. 

Nearly one million Americans identify as transgender.  Transgender women are at particularly high risk for contracting HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 14% of American transgender women have HIV. That percentage is greater for African American transgender women (44%) and Latinx transgender women (26%). While similar data for transgender men does not exist, transgender men who are gay, bisexual, and same-gender loving are at risk for HIV just as cisgender gay, bisexual, and same-gender loving men are---but they are much less likely to be properly screened for HIV by health care providers. Transgender non-binary people who have sex without a prevention method and/or share needles are also at risk for HIV. Nearly half of all transgender Americans who are living with HIV live in a Southern state. 

Tennessee Department of Health understands that these healthcare barriers will persist unless addressed. Work with health departments, health care providers, and non-profit partners to improve HIV prevention services for transgender people is ongoing. The Tennessee Transgender Task Force, a body comprised of transgender advocates knowledgeable about the HIV prevention and care network, helps shape and inform statewide HIV initiatives. The Cultural Awareness Survey Program assesses health department sexual health services, providing feedback to key public health leadership about how healthcare for transgender patients can be improved. 

Through the Tennessee Department of Health, HIV testing, PrEP, condoms, and HIV treatment are available to all residents, and in celebration of National Transgender HIV Testing Day we raise awareness of these resources. 

Rapid HIV testing is available all over Tennessee, where a simple finger prick can yield an accurate, same-day result. Many places in Tennessee use a double-rapid testing process, which means that a person can test positive for HIV and start on the path to getting into care on the same day. Click here for a statewide list of rapid HIV testing locations. 

Transgender people, regardless of how they identify, can use both PrEP and condoms to safely protect themselves from contracting HIV. Tennessee has a robust condom distribution network, searchable online through Free Condoms TN. Getting PrEP in Tennessee can start online as well, through Get PrEP TN. Anyone can use Get PrEP TN to learn more about PrEP, contact a PrEP navigator, and find a medical provider to help them start the process. For transgender people wary of discrimination in health care settings, the PrEP navigator can attend the first PrEP doctor’s appointment with a client and help leverage resources through patient assistance programs to pay for PrEP. 

Transgender people in Tennessee who want more access to sexual health care still face significant barriers, but also have access to more resources than ever before. Here is a list of regional resources that transgender people can use to improve their sexual health:

Update: April 18th is an opportunity to highlight how HIV affects transgender communities, but this April there is a health concern overshadowing all others. Due to state and local restrictions related to COVID-19, not all of the services detailed above are currently available. If you are worried about COVID-19 and looking for accurate sources of up-to-date information, here is a list of national and regional resources:

Have a virtual weekend out and support your local bar

The gay/LGBTQ bars in Tennessee have been important social and organizing spaces over the years. Now many of them are hurting, but there may be ways to continue supporting them during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Here is a list of bars in Tennessee and links to find out about virtual shows, staff support funds, and in some cases food and drink orders to go.  Note:  No bars have been left out intentionally.  If we have missed a bar, we will be glad to update the list.  Just send the information to [email protected]

Tennessee cities are listed alphabetically and bars are listed alphabetically within each city.


Alan Gold's:  Check the website for information on to-go orders.


Fusion:  Check the Facebook page for virtual events.


Temptation:  Check out their GoFundMe pageOrder a Temptation shirt.

Johnson City

New Beginnings:  Go to their Facebook page for information.  You can tip performers on CashApp at $Newbiesdragshowlive or on Venmo at @NewBeginningsCast .


Club XYZ:  Go to their Facebook page for information on live events and tipping performers.

The Edge:  Check their Facebook page for updates.


Dru's Bar:  Check the Facebook page for information on virtual events and how to tip performers.

The Pumping Station:  Check the Facebook page for updates.


Canvas Lounge:  GoFundMe page.

The Lipstick Lounge:  GoFundMe page.

Pecker's:  GoFundMe page.

Play/Tribe/Suzy Wong's:  GoFundMe page.

Trax:  GoFundMe page.




A shift in priorities and advocacy

This is TEP's email message from April 1.  If you are not receiving our emails, you can sign up at this link.

Just over a week ago as the COVID-19 crisis was growing, the Tennessee General Assembly quickly passed a budget and went into recess until June 1. Unlike Idaho, our legislature thankfully did not rush to pass anti-transgender bills.  But the bills in the Slate of Hate are not dead; they are waiting for us when and if the General Assembly reconvenes.

A shift in advocacy:  Given the state's slow response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have been devoting our time to making sure Tennessee's LGBTQ community and allies have good information on health, job, financial, food, and volunteer resources.  The first priority has to be that our community emerges from this crisis as healthy and as financially secure as possible.  Below are some of the projects we are pursuing.

Census Day:  April 1 is Census Day. We urge you to complete the Census, even though it is far less inclusive than we had hoped.

*Take a look at our video featuring Tennessee's LGBTQ community and why the Census is important.  #YouStillCount

*Then take the Census pledge at this link letting us know that you are participating in the Census.

COVID-19 information:  We have reached out to about 30 organizations serving Tennessee's LGBTQ community about sharing resources to help us get through this crisis. Many of our regional chairs have been sharing local information in TEP regional Facebook groups and we have been sharing statewide or multi-county information in this Facebook group. Please, join the group if you have not done so.  If you are with an organization that serves Tennessee's LGBTQ community, we would like to talk to you about sharing information. Be in touch at [email protected] .

Voter registration:  Tennessee still has two more elections coming up in August and November.  It is fortunate that we have online voter registration.  Please, help by sharing this online voter registration link with friends and on social media: . You can also check your voter registration at that link.  In addition, we have been working with groups attempting to expand options for voting by mail in Tennessee so that we can all exercise our rights while protecting our health.

Other ways to help:  If you would like to volunteer, contact Jeremiah Dameron at [email protected] .  If you would like to make a contribution to support our work, go to this link.  We are grateful for your support.

Chris Sanders

Executive Director

Go Time! Anti-LGBTQ bills moving March 16-18

Update:  The Legislature will go into recess soon due to concerns about COVID-19.  They will deal with items related to the budget this week and then take a recess.  Anti-LGBTQ bills will be laid aside for the time being, but THEY ARE NOT DEAD.  We will continue to monitor the Legislature's timetable and movement of key pieces of legislation.  At the end of the recess, the Legislature can take up the same bills again.  We are grateful for all your work.

Anti-LGBTQ bills are still moving in the Tennessee General Assembly. Take action now on these three campaigns that are NEW as of March 13.  Details about the bills come after the campaigns.

Note:  The Cordell Building is closed to the public starting March 16 until further notice.

The three big campaigns:

*Take action on the anti-transgender student athlete bill moving in both Senate and House committees.

*Take action on the bill that would freeze in place standards of care for transgender youth that is moving in House and Senate committees.

*Take action on the two anti-marriage equality bills up for a vote in a House subcommittee.

And if you would like to support our work, you can make a contribution at this link.

Schedule for the week:

Monday, March 16

1:30    Senate Education Committee takes up SB1736 (Hensley), an anti-transgender student athlete bill.  Senate Hearing Room 1.

*TEP video on the bill: 

Tuesday, March 17

9:00    The House Public Health Subcommittee takes up HB2827 (Terry) that would freeze health care standards for transgender youth.  The time is actually immediately after the Health Committee, which meets at 8:00. House Hearing Room 3.

Noon    The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee takes up HB2576 (Ragan) that prevents transgender youth from accessing best practice health care.  House Hearing Room 3.  

*The Senate companion bill is not yet moving.  We have already done campaigns on this bill and it is possible that the Legislature’s focus is becoming HB2827 by Rep. Terry.

4:30    The House K-12 Subcommittee takes up HB1572 (Griffey), one of the anti-transgender student athlete bills.  House Hearing Room 3.

*The Senate companion bill is not yet moving.  The most likely scenario is that the Legislature is focusing on HB1689 by Rep. Cepicky, so there will be no campaigns on this bill until further notice.  We have already done campaigns on this bill.

Wednesday, March 18

8:00    The House Education Committee takes up HB1689 (Cepicky), an anti-transgender student athlete bill.  House Hearing Room 1.

8:30    Senate Government Operations likely takes up SB2233 (Haile) that freezes health care standards for transgender youth.  Senate Hearing Room 1.  

*The bill is still not officially on the calendar for this committee as of Midnight on March 13.

2:00    The House Children and Families Subcommittee takes up two anti-marriage equality bills, HB2410 (Ragan)  and HB2310 (Leatherwood). House Hearing Room 2.

*The Senate companion bills are not yet moving, but since this is the first time the House bills have been put on notice, we are doing campaigns just in case one gets through a House committee and triggers movement in the Senate committee system.  The campaigns are in the top section of the post.

RED Alert for March 9, 10, and 11

Anti-LGBTQ bills are still on the move in Tennessee.  Here's what to expect March 9 through March 11.  All email action campaigns and Facebook events are new as of the evening of March 5.

March 9:

SB2233 by Sen. Haile is up in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. It is a caption bill that will likely carry language affecting the access of transgender youth to best practice health care.  This bill and amendment were not sought by the transgender community, LGBTQ organizations, parents of transgender youth, or health care providers.  Our understanding is that it will put into law the existing protocols. The problem is, besides the fact that no one affected requested the bill, that protocols change as research and experience provide new information.  We should not have to go through a legislative or regulatory change every time the standards evolve.

*Link to the email action campaign on the bill.

*Link to the event for the hearing.

March 10:

HB1689 by Rep. Cepicky is the second anti-transgender student athlete bill and it is up for consideration in the House K-12 Education Subcommittee. 

*Link to the email action campaign on the bill.

*Link to the event for the hearing.

*Watch TEP's video on the issue.


March 11:

SB2233 by Sen. Haile was rolled from Monday to the March 11 meeting of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.  It will carry language putting into law existing protocols about best practice care for transgender youth.  No one affected by the bill asked for it.  See the explanation given for March 9.

*Link to the event for the Senate hearing.

SB2896/HB2721 is the "censor the libraries, jail the librarians" bill.  It is back up in Senate Government Operations Committee and House Cities and Counties Subcommittee.

*Link to the event for the Senate hearing.

*Link to the event for the House hearing.

*Note:  We are not currently doing additional email campaigns on these bills because Tennessee Equality Project, Human Rights Campaign, and Tennessee Library Association members have already generated a large volume of email to the Senate and House committees considering the bill.  If we decide to add email campaigns, we will post them here and on social media.

HB2410 by Rep. Ragan is an anti-marriage equality bill up for consideration in the House Children & Families Subcommittee. 

*Link to the email action campaign on the bill.

*Link to the event for the hearing.

As always your financial support of our work is very much appreciated.  You can give at this link.

Massive attacks on TN's LGBTQ community March 3 and 4

This is a statewide call to action.  Massive attacks on Tennessee's LGBTQ community are coming on March 3 and 4 as the #SlateofHate moves into full swing.  Here is information on the bills up for votes next week and information on what you can do.  As always, we are grateful for your support of our work.

Note:  All the email campaigns below are new as of the evening of February 26. Please, take action on each one individually.  And attend as many events as you can.  We need to fill these committee rooms in the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville.

March 3

HB2576, the bill preventing transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care and labeling the doctors who provide it as child abusers, is up for a vote.

*Use this form to tell the House subcommittee to vote NO.

*Attend the subcommittee hearing to show support for transgender youth

HB1572, the bill that prevents transgender student athletes from participating according to their gender identity, is up for a vote in a House subcommittee.

*Use this email campaign to tell the House subcommittee to vote NO.

*Attend the subcommittee hearing to show support for transgender student athletes.

*View our new video on the bill.

March 4

SB2896/HB2721, the attempt to put in place parent boards for every public library system in the state that would result in censorship and fines and jail time for librarians who violate their edicts, is up for a vote in Senate and House committees on this date.

*Use this email campaign to tell the Senate committee to vote NO.

*Attend the event in RED to show opposition to the bill in the Senate.

*Attend the House subcommittee meeting in RED to show opposition to the same bill.

Take action and share with your friends.


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