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Coalition Targets ‘Anti-LGBT’ Bills

Press Release from the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition; Jan. 27, 2011:

Belmont and Transgender

Yesterday afternoon, the Administration at Belmont University announced an update to their non discrimination policy. While the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) applauds Belmont for adding sexual orientation to the policy, we are deeply disappointed that they chose not to include gender identity or expression in the policy. This means that discrimination against transgender and gender non conforming students, staff, faculty, and alumni at Belmont will continue.

The Adminstration’s refusal at this time to include all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members of the Belmont family is especially noteworthy since Belmont’s neighbor, Vanderbilt University, has added gender identity or expression to its non discrimination policy, and even Tennessee State University just across town is covered by the Tennessee Board of Regents’ policy which is also fully inclusive.

Belmont could have joined many other schools, both public and private, across Tennessee and around the nation in covering all LGBT people, but they chose not to do so.

This means that transgender and gender non conforming faculty and staff could still face disciplinary action, including firing from their jobs, if they come out of the closet. Transgender and gender non conforming students could face on-campus harrassment simply because of their gender identity or gender expression without retribution. Transgender and gender non conforming alumni will likely continue to face rejection if they attempt to update their transcripts to match their new genders.

We will continue to urge Belmont to join the other institutions of higher learning in adding gender identity or expression to their non discrimination policy, and we urge all members of the Belmont family not to be content as long as discrimination against transgender and gender non conforming students, staff, faculty, and alumni is permitted.

Contract Accountability Non Discrimination Ordinance Advances

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) wishes to thank the 22 members of the Metro Nashville Council who voted on January 18 to continue the process of banning discrimination against all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees of contractors in Metro Nashville and Davidson County.

The bill now moves to the Personnel Committee for review. Bill sponsors have announced that they will move to defer the Second Reading until Tuesday, February 15.

Opponents of equality and fairness are working hard to defeat this latest effort to end discrimination. Those who believe in equality and fairness are also working hard to demonstrate support.

Every resident of Davidson County is represented by the five At-Large Members, who all voted Yes on Tuesday: Tim Garrett, Megan Barry, Charlie Tygard, Ronnie Steine, and Jerry Maynard, II. Please contact them and thank them for standing against discrimination, and ask them to continue supporting this important piece of legislation through the remaining votes.

If your District Councilmember voted Yes on January 18, please contact them and thank them as well for standing against discrimination, and ask them to continue supporting this important piece of legislation through the remaining votes. If you are not certain of the name of your District Councilmember, click on http://findwhereivote.nashville.gov/ to find your district number.

Even if your Councilmember did not vote Yes, we still need you to contact them and express your support for ending discrimination in Metro Nashville contract work.

Then, please join us at the next Metro Council meeting on Tuesday, February 15, at 6:30 pm, for the Second Reading of the Ordinance. The Metro Council chamber is in the Metro Courthouse on the 2nd Floor.

TTPC Targets Anti-LGBT Bills in State Legislature

With the return of the Tennessee General Assembly, bills that could harm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Tennesseans are now being filed as expected. TTPC has already begun to identify several bills of concern:

SB0049 by Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville). This is not a new bill. Senator Campfield has been introducing this bill, which would ban the teaching of sexual diversity, for many years. It is anti education and a threat to intellectual freedom. TTPC has consistently opposed this bill in the past and will continue to do so in 2011.

SB0016 by Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro)/HB0007 by Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville) & Cameron Sexton (R-Pikeville), would create a new Photo ID to vote, which could effectively disfranchise transgender voters. TTPC, along with several civil liberties and voting rights groups, have fought similar legislation in the past.

SB0113 by Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and others/HB0130 by Debra Maggart & Glen Casada (R-College Grove) would abolishes teachers’ unions ability to negotiate terms and conditions of professional service with local boards of education. In 2008, the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association pushed to have sexual orientation and gender identity added to the non discrimination policy for Metro Nashville Public Schools. To date, Metro Nashville remains the only public school system in Tennessee which bans discrimination against LGBT students, staff, and faculty. We recognize the work of Nashville’s Teachers Union in working for non discrimination language and do not want to have others prevented from doing the same.

TTPC will remain vigilant in identifying any bills we consider harmful towards LGBT people and will fight against any and all of them.

In addition to many more discriminatory bills, we do expect to have the birth certificate and hate crimes bills reintroduced in the next few days.

OutLoud! Bookstore is Closing

The Board and Membership of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is saddened by the closing of one of our corporate sponsors, OutLoud! Bookstore in Nashville.

Over the years, OutLoud! has been an important resource for information and fellowship for the entire LGBT community in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. They are in the final days of their closing sale, so you still have a few days left to find that special item of interest.

We thank the owners, Kevin and Ted, for all that they have done for Nashville’s LGBT community, and we wish them and their employees all the best.

Marisa Richmond

President

And Please Save These Other Dates!

Wednesday, February 9, 7 pm EST

Lobbying 101

The Church of the Savior

934 N. Weisgarber Rd.

Knoxville, TN

TEP Knox County Committee

Tuesday, March 1

7th Annual Advancing Equality Day on the Hill

Nashville

organized by Tennessee Equality Project

March 13 to 15 (new dates!)

Congressional Lobby Days

Washington, DC

organized by the National Center for Transgender Equality

Saturday, July 23, 6:00 pm CDT

TTPC Summer Meeting

Nashville

Contact TTPC for information.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

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