Three notable Nashvillians will be honored at the 12th Annual Equality Dinner for their contributions to Nashville's GLBT community.

Marisa J. Richmond, Ph.D., Christopher Sanders and Iris Buhl have been selected by the Nashville HRC steering committee to be honored at the annual dinner, which will be held on held on March 31 at the Lowes Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville.

"This year’s theme is 'Everyday People, Everyday Families,' and these three honorees have made significant strides to create an environment where GLTB persons are truly accepted as 'everyday people' with 'everyday families,' said J. Noble.


Marisa J. Richmond, Ph.D. is the president of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition and also serves on the executive committee of the board of directors of the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) and chair of TEP's public policy committee. However, her commitment to serve her community goes far beyond Tennessee. She serves on the board of directors of the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) as the Congressional lobbying coordinator, and on the board of advisors of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). This past Fall, Richmond traveled the state for “Vote No on 1” met almost daily with legislators to discuss current legislation and how it affects the GLBT community.     


A native of Kentucky, Christopher Sanders came to Nashville fourteen years ago to pursue the M.Div. at Vanderbilt University. He is the director of development at St. Luke's Community House, an Episcopal organization that serves the working poor of West Nashville. His community involvement is focused on the GLBT community and the Episcopal Church. He currently serves as president of the Tennessee Equality Project of which he was a founding board member. Previously he was president of the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce. Under his guidance, the Nashville Association of Professional Persons (NAPP) went from being a social/networking venue to a fully operating gay chamber of commerce.  


When native Nashvillian Iris Buhl started volunteering for Nashville Cares twenty years ago, it was only the start of a litany of dedication and service to her community. She has served on the boards of University School of Nashville (USN), Planned Parenthood, and Nashville CARES, where she was also on staff as director of development from 1995-1998. She was appointed by Mayor Bill Purcell to the Charitable Solicitations Board of Metropolitan Nashville, which she chaired for two years. She currently lives in Nashville with her husband of forty-one years, Mike Buhl.  

About the dinner:

The event will begin with cocktails and a silent auction at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by dinner and the program beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are $175 and can be purchased through or 1-800-494-TIXS. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization in the United States. The HRC envisions an America where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are ensured of their basic equal rights—and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work, and in the community. HRC has more than 500,000 members, both gay and non-gay; all committed to making this vision a reality.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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