Hate crime report shows mixed results

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s newly released crime statistics for hate crimes have given the state’s GLBT community equal doses of good and bad news.

While hate crimes based on orientation went down in 2009 vs. the previous year, the numbers went up in Nashville and other parts of the state. Overall, the state logged 52 recorded sexual-bias crimes in 2009, down from 60 in 2008.

“Overall, the report is good news,” said outgoing Tennessee Equality Project board chair Chris Sanders at a post on the Grand Divisions blog site. “The report is a reminder that areas that are becoming more tolerant such as Nashville still have work to do in reducing the number of bias related incidents.”

The TBI report does not cover crimes based on gender identity unless it is now putting such crimes in with the category gender, Sanders added. “The federal hate crimes law was signed in 2009 which covers both sexual orientation and gender identity, so hopefully the 2010 report that comes out next year will have a full breakdown of statistics. The lack of specific reporting is another reason to pass the Richardson/Marrero bill in the Legislature that would add gender identity and expression to the state hate crimes statute.”

According to the TBI, Davidson County saw 16 hate crimes in 2009, compared to 11 in 2008. Those numbers were in the single digits for Rutherford, Sumner, Wilson and Williamson Counties. The numbers were about the same Memphis and Shelby County, which came as no real surprise to Jonathan Cole, incoming TEP board chair.

“It could be that the urban jurisdictions are doing a better job of capturing data like this, and our more rural jurisdictions are not,” Cole said. “It seems at first glance that the numbers for gay men are flat, but that they are rising against lesbians and the transgendered. We’ll be looking more closely at the report, and we think that the federal legislation will help in terms of capturing numbers based on gender identity.”

Having stronger data should also help in the push to add gender identity to the hate-crimes statue in Tennessee, Cole added.

For a look at the TBI report, click here.

National Margarita Day

A lot of us have really picked up an interest in tequila and it's no wonder. Its popularity is soaring in the U.S. and doesn't look like it'll be slowing down any time soon. The only contender would probably be whiskey. Meh, but they have their own day. Now, it's National Margarita Day and we put together some of the best margarita recipes around so you can pick one or maybe even all of them to try.

We have a few surprises in there too. Maybe it's not all about tequila but it certainly has a theme going on. Take a look at some of these great tequila brands and start making some amazing margaritas today!

Keep reading Show less
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Gender-Inclusive Universities and Student Privacy

For many students, attending university is a profound, often life-changing, transition. It is often the student’s first time living on their own without parental supervision. This lifestyle is also accompanied by a period of self-discovery, of defining and redefining a sense of personal identity largely independent of the influence of family and friends from home.

For students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, this rite of passage can also be a deeply empowering one. Indeed, attending university may be the student’s first real opportunity to explore their gender identity in a safe, comfortable, and accepting college.

Keep reading Show less

José Cuervo's Reserva de la Familia agave fields

Disclaimer: My trip was provided courtesy of a press trip but all opinions about the trip and events are my own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I had the opportunity to visit Mexico for an event José Cuervo was putting on, the unveiling of their premium tequila brand, Reserva de la Familia. The trip was all about tequila, how to drink it properly, how to pair it with food, and of course, visiting various points of interest in Guadalajara while tasting tequila along the way.

Keep reading Show less