People Megan Fox (Memphis, TN) is a bisexual actress and model. She is best known for her roles in the movies Transformers, Jennifer’s Body, and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. “I have no question in my mind about being bisexual,’ she told Esquire. Miley Cyrus (Franklin, TN) is pansexual. Although she may be best known for her acting role as the eponymous Hannah Montana and her songs such as ‘Wrecking Ball’ and ‘Party in the USA,’ Miley has been a fierce supporter of LGBT inclusion through her art and philanthropy. This Grammy-nominated artist will be pushing the envelope for years to come. Calpernia Addams (Nashville, TN) is a transgender icon. She served as a Hospital Corpsman with the Navy and United States Marine Corps and came out as transgender during her last year of service. Her personal and tragic love story was showcased in the movie Soldier’s Girl. In 1999, while working as a performer, Addams began dating PFC Barry Winchell. Word of their relationship spread at Winchell’s Army base, where he was harassed by fellow soldiers and ultimately murdered. The trial resulted in widespread press and a formal review of the US military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT) policy. Eden Atwood (Memphis, TN) is an out intersex artist, jazz musician, actor, activist, teacher, mother, and co-creator of the Interface Project website.
The Interface Project emphasizes that “No Body Is Shameful” and encourages intersex people to record videos to provide representation for intersex people who have yet to find community and support. Rebecca Young, with the assistance of the ACLU of Tennessee, filed a lawsuit when she was publicly reprimanded and censored by the school system for wearing a shirt that read ‘Some people are gay, get over it!’ ACLU-TN legal director Thomas H. Castelli stated, “Students have a First Amendment right not only to be out at school, but to an education free from such discrimination and harassment.” The case reached a settlement in 2016. Places The organization East Tennessee Faith for Equality published a list of congregations welcoming to same-sex couples in various ways: sanctioning participation, performing marriages, and ordaining to the clergy, among others. Depending on your faith or beliefs, this list includes welcome places to practice. The 7 Best Towns in Tennessee for LGBT Families is a list of the state’s most gay-friendly places to live, including Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis. Clarksville reigns as #1.
Queer Facts The Tanco v. Haslam case ended up becoming part of the landmark US Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges. Four couples (later three couples when one withdrew from the case) had been married in same-sex-legal states before moving to Tennessee, which did not legally recognize their same-sex marriages. Tennessee Judge Trauger ruled in favor of the plaintiffs but also ruled that ‘the court’s order does not open the floodgates for same-sex couples to marry in Tennessee . . . [and] applies only to the three same-sex couples at issue in this case.’ The case did not allow other same-sex marriages to occur in the state of Tennessee. House Bill 600 was passed by the legislature and signed into law when people were focused on the “Don’t Say Gay” bills of 2011 and 2013.
This bill invalidated all LGBT-inclusive municipal ordinances and prevented the enactment of new ones, mandating that no city could have a nondiscrimination law broader than the state’s laws. The sponsors of the bill called it “pro-business and pro-taxpayer.” Attempts to nullify the law have been unsuccessful. Know Your Rights, also known as the LGBT Toolkit, is a helpful website that lists rights for any member of the LGBT community. Tennesseans are encouraged to take a look and read up on their rights. It is also a helpful guide for any information on changing legal names or genders and a great resource to report discrimination or violence against members of the community. https://lgbtrightstoolkit.org/tennessee-lgbt-rights-information/ A 67,000+ signature petition was delivered to lawmakers on April 18, 2016, asking them to veto Tennessee’s proposed bathroom legislation. Deliverers of the petition to the governor’s office included two Tennessee public high school students, Henry Seaton and Jennifer Guenst. Nearly 6,000 of the signers self-identified as clergy or people of faith when signing. The local ACLU of Tennessee was involved in this political action.
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