Out & About Today Nashville Channel 5
Happening in Nashville
Trending around OUTvoices
Ally Walker has been an inspiration to me all of my adult life. Growing up in a small town of less than 1,200 people there weren't a lot of role models to be found so I looked to television. I found my role model in Dr. Samantha Waters from Profiler. Walker played Waters with an intelligence, strength, and passion that made me want to get out into the world and make a difference. Because of the show, I went on to study forensic psychology. The sociology and psychology classes paired with forensics I've learned have helped me with a cold case project I'm working on in Kentucky that I hope will provide closure to some families. To call Ally Walker an inspiration is an understatement.
DP/30: Sex, Death and Bowling, director Ally Walker youtu.be
Not only did Walker inspire me with Profiler, but she inspired me with a documentary, For Norman. Walker came upon a woman and a one-year-old baby named Norman in a park one day. They were homeless and the baby had cardboard on his feet to keep them warm. After Walker talked to the mother for a while it became obvious the mother was mentally ill. Instead of walking away like most of society would unfortunately do these days, Walker decided to help these two.
She went to a clinic to have the baby checked out, she called the woman's family to try and get them to help but to no avail, and she ultimately found them a shelter to stay at. However, Walker was so worried about the health of the baby that she discussed this with shelter employees who told her to call the Department of Child and Family Services. This is where For Norman picks up.
Walker saw the same woman on the street, this time without baby Norman. Walker wanted to find out what happened to Norman and whether or not he was okay. Instead she found out about a foster care system that wasn't all it was cracked up to be. “My friend Adam Davidson and I started filming,” she told me.
“The court opened up and let me interview kids in the system. At that time, there were 50,000 kids under the DCFS's supervision. The film won awards for showing the struggles these kids faced: being taken from their homes with no real help given to their parents; being moved as much as 20 times within the first year; being separated from their siblings and sometimes being put into much worse situations.
"For me, the experience was shocking. For a country that likes to stress family values we really don't consider families much. The kids I filmed were some of the most courageous people I have ever met. As were their families, both foster and biological. I'd like to do a follow up documentary and see what became of them. Many people in child welfare credited the film with illuminating the struggles these children face and for helping create a movement for change within the system.”
ALLY WALKER HAS FUN WITH CONAN youtu.be
As if that isn't enough reason to be inspired, Walker adds a gay character to a film she wrote and directed called Sex, Death, and Bowling. She assembled a dream cast who all played their roles perfectly and with a subtle beauty that enhanced the words written by Walker. The film centers on 11-year-old Eli who is faced with the impending death of his father. Eli wonders what is death and what happens when we die so he sets about finding out.
I can relate to Eli as my mother is going through stage three ovarian cancer and was given two years left to live by her doctor. I wonder what is death and what will happen to my mother when she dies. Is there life after death? Add to the mix Sean, who hasn't seen the family in years because he is gay and wasn't accepted into the family because of this. This is also relatable. Growing up in a town of less than 1,200 people you run the risk of being bullied, beaten up, and in my case contemplate suicide instead of dealing with the aspect of being unaccepted because of who you are. Most people in the gay community also have someone in their friends or family circle that have walked away because of their sexual orientation. Walker based this character on her friend, Tom Ford.
“I went to school with Tom Ford,” she said. “I knew Tom when he was 14 and 15 and we hung out. I ran into him when I was writing Sex, Death, and Bowling and realized what that must have been like. To be a young man, a kid really, who's basically going to be ostracized if you really tell people who you are and what your definition of love is. And it really struck me because I had just been losing so many people that I was shocked by it. You really get shocked when you start losing people that you love by how petty everything is and how stupid and meaningless a lot of the stuff we worry about is.”
Walker wrote and directed Sex, Death, and Bowling and when I told her my story her response was kind. “I write for people like you,” she said. “I really am glad it spoke to you. The lack of acceptance is what kind of breaks your heart. When people have these preconceived religious notions or whatever kind of notion, I don't fault religion. I think religion is very good in ways, but we really are just living beings and we really need to be able to co-exist with one another without belittling each other or fighting. There's only love. You can be famous, you can make money, but there's only love.”
Love is what life really is all about. The LGBT community has an ally in Walker and I wondered if this felt odd to her. “No, I do the same thing for women and kids too,” she said. “I speak up when I see injustice and I got to tell you I have a lot of gay friends. When people are not accepted, when people have to struggle, when people have been hurt, I relate to those people. I do fight. I do advocate for gay rights. I do advocate for equality for people. I'm sick of this. It should be over. These chapters should be done. They should be in a book somewhere that we read about and go wow I can't believe we were like that.”
“It's hard to be discriminated against,” she added. “It's hard to be judged for what you do and what you look like. People and their preconceived notions of what you are. And that's something that's really hard to get around.”
Yet with Walker on our side we will always have someone humble, kind, and passionate. Walker brings hope and love to everything she touches.
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.
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.
When I was 14 years old, I surreptitiously made my way through the stacks in the local library until I came to the Psychology section. One after one, I took down the books whose titles I thought would provide an answer, went to the table of contents and, if there were any, I flipped to the pictures.
Eventually, I landed on one with a word I had never seen or heard: Transvestite. And on the next page there was a black and white photo of a man wearing a dress, looking like he had just crawled out from under a rock. I can still see the expression of guilt on his face.
Not long after that, the newspapers and TV broke the story of Christine Jorgensen, a former member of the U.S. Army who had gone to Denmark to have Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS). Of course, the majority of the reports were always accompanied by some sort of joke, such as “Christine Jorgensen went abroad and came back a broad!”
America's First Trans Celebrity: Christine Jorgensen youtu.be
But those two events rescued me. I learned that I was not the only person in the world with this “affliction,” this sense that something wasn’t right. And I got a word I could apply to it and maybe even hope for a cure. But it was too early. I knew that to say out loud, even maybe, that I should have been born a girl, would mean being ostracized, becoming part of the joke, so I chose the path followed by most transgender people of my generation. I put all of my energy into making sure that no one knew.
And that wasn’t easy. For no matter what I did, I couldn’t match the image of the all-American boy, so I became the class clown. If I wasn’t the John Wayne male, at least I could be Lenny Bruce. It was my way of deflecting the mismatch, and, to some extent, it worked.
Others like me took varying escape routes, becoming athletes, businessmen, or whatever role they could slip into and hide behind. Most married, had kids, and did whatever was necessary to survive, with varying results, but never with happy endings.
Segue to the present. The scenario I described above is, to a great extent, still being played out, but now there are exceptions. Transgender kids today can find some consolation on the Internet. They can learn early on that they aren’t “afflicted.” They can make contact with others like themselves. And they can read about transgender people who are proud of themselves and what they have accomplished as well as hearing about transgender children whose parents accept them and allow them to be who they are.
But the information highway is not all smooth driving. And naïve youth can get lost on detours and take wrong turns, winding up as prey to the trolls, predators, and religious zealots—as well as various other kinds of bullies—who inhabit the virtual world.
So is it any better today for our transgender youth? Most still have parents who reject them and peers who bully them. Nearly half of transgender teens have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having attempted suicide  compared to a rate of 1.6 percent for the general population.
It’s far from a perfect world. But I believe it is definitely better than the one I grew up in, because it’s a world where the President of the United States has condemned “the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender”; it’s a world where the parents of transgender children have publicly supported their sons or daughters and stood up to schools that would try to discriminate against them; it’s a world where the medical and psychiatric professions have come to recognize that being transgender isn’t a disease. All these things were inconceivable possibilities on the day I sneaked into the library.
Nina Simone To Be Young Gifted And Black youtu.be
When I was a teenager, Nina Simone had a hit record titled “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black” that has since been covered by artists as diverse as Elton John, Rah Digga, and Faith Evans. A portion of the lyrics say, “We must begin to tell our young / There’s a world waiting for you / This is a quest that’s just begun.” That same message applies today.
To be transgender is not a curse; it’s a gift. As Derrick Moeller, a graduate student in Education at Iowa State University and a transman explains, “Having to contemplate what your gender identity and gender expression looks like is a privilege that most folks don’t have to go through” . Rather than being rejected they will know that they have been blessed, so that their plea “Why was I made like this?” will be replaced by a prayer of gratitude: “Thank you for making me like this.”
 Grossman, A.H. & D’Augelli, A.R. (2007). Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors. *Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviors* 37 (5), 527-37.
 Tiffany Herring, January 28 2015 Iowa State Daily [goo.gl/YSL3SC].