Nashville has a diverse and active LGBT community. It seems like there is always something going on, with organizations often double-booking activities and forcing us to choose! Honestly, if you tried to take advantage of half the opportunities, you’d have time for nothing else! So we have to prioritize, selecting the organizations (TEP, HRC, CARES, Music City Sisters, etc.) and activities (Grizzlies, HotMess, Nashville in Harmony, etc.) we deem most worthy of our efforts and energies. This year, our readers have selected a diverse and powerful slate of community representatives that remind us how much we have to be proud of.



Community Organization and Non-ProfitNashville CARES

Nashville CARES dominated two categories with strong contenders, and it truly is one of Middle Tennessee’s most important organizations, not only for the LGBT community but for every community touched by HIV/AIDS. The organization has, for nearly three decades, pursued an audacious mission, “to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Middle Tennessee.  We work to achieve this through education, advocacy and support for those at risk for or living with HIV.” In the last year alone, CARES has served thousands of people in Middle Tennessee, including offering testing services, support and mental health care, as well as food and bill assistance. That’s a lot of lives touched.



Community EventPride

Nashville Pride was transformed into an epic celebration this year, beginning as it did on the day the Supreme Court announce the decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. By the time Pride began that night, the weddings had already started, and it was time to let the good times roll.

So far Nashville seems to be enjoying the new venue at Public square park, where the symbolism of celebrating in the public sphere was even more meaningful this year! We have no doubt that we can continue to look forward to bigger and better things!



LGBT Sports TeamHotMess Kickball League

HotMess Kickball League graced the cover of O&AN in the June 2014, and our readers clearly can’t get enough of them! But with well over 200 members playing last season, they have plenty of voters!

Since Derrick Lachney founded HotMess, it has grown from a kickball league into a year-round sports league, featuring dodgeball and volleyball. “This summer we started volleyball,” Lachney said. Now the only month we don’t have something going on is December. In January, we are going back to the Sin City Shootout—we have two teams going to play kickball—and when we get back dodgeball starts almost immediately. In July we went to D.C. for the Stonewall Kickball tournament, so we’re traveling a little more as well.”

Lachney, who was awarded a Rising Star Award by Nashville Pride for his work with HotMess, says that his goal now is not to expand the league to other cities or add more sports, but to focus on growing the seasons he already has.



Local PoliticianMayor Megan Barry

THANKFULLY Nashville and Davidson County are bright blue beacon in a sea of red, and thus LGBT favored candidate Megan Barry handily defeated conservative Republican David Fox, to become Nashville’s first woman mayor. There are many reasons to love Mayor Barry—from her support for non-discrimination to her readiness to wait all day at the clerk’s office to marry LGBT couples on the first day of marriage equality, remaining long after the cameras were gone. But what would we expect from such a kind person … who also happens to be the daughter of a gay man! (Photo of Mayor Barry, along with Food Network Star contestants, by James Grady)



LGBT Musician –  Cheley Tackett

Cheley Tackett is a talented lesbian musician, who was featured prominently in the November 2015 issue of O&AN. Most notable among her impressive work is one that has been requested at a number of LGBT weddings this year: That song is "Right Side of History," which has described as a ‘call to arms for all to join the fight for gay rights.’ This year, the appeal of a song like that needs no explanation!



LGBT Artist/Actor — Casey Promise Thompson

Casey Thompson, also known as Casey Promise, is one of Nashville’s fastest rising stars in the visual arts and is on her way to becoming a well-known name in the national art circles. And what’s not to like: besides her visually stunning work, Promise, a resident of East Nashville likes to play her music loud and drink whiskey, while being creative. How Nashville!





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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