Out & About Today Nashville Channel 5
Happening in Nashville
Trending around OUTvoices
This Valentine’s month O&AN would like to introduce you to some of the AMAZING LGBT couples who are not only giving back to our community, but also fighting for our causes and representing us on the Nashville scene. There are innumerable couples we could have chosen, and many worthy examples aren’t presented here, so if you know of couples who should be featured, feel free to contact the editors and make suggestions for future features! Now, let’s take a look at the couples shaping our community.
Abby Rubenfeld and Helia Rethmann
Attorney and champion for equality Abby Rubenfeld runs her own legal practice focused primarily on family law and civil rights issues. Abby was Legal Director at Lamda Legal Defense from 1983 to 1988, and served on its Board of Directors for seven years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. She served on the Board of the ACLU for Tennessee for 20 years and has helped found several different Tennessee LGBTQ groups over the years.
Helia Rothmann is a teacher, trainer, educator, and translator, as well as a once-certified court interpreter! She takes care of the couple’s thirteen acres and many animals. The couple have three daughters between them (Lily, 23; Sarah, 19; and Laura, 19). They’ve been involved with the Tennessee Equality Project from its inception, and do their best to support the community. They met through political events (the Gore campaign and gay pride, among others). Their first time “almost” going out together was the TEP’s holiday party in 2004: Their first “date” was the next night.
“Helia is a saint for putting up with me,” said Rubenfeld. “She would tell you that I have worked every single day that we have been together, including the day of our wedding.” The wedding was during a national conference of LGBTQ lawyers in San Francisco. “I spoke at a plenary and then we got married,” said Rubenfeld. “Seriously.”
Rubenfeld has led the state’s fight for marriage equality, and continues to fight for the rights of Tennesseans to marry. And it’s paid off, as this year the Supreme Court of the United States will take up Tennessee’s case. One thing’s for sure: No matter what any court says, this couple’s the real deal.
Jim Schmidt and Joe Woolley
Jim Schmidt and Joe Woolley will have been together for fourteen years in May. They were married on their thirteenth anniversary last May in San Francisco. They have two dogs and live in the Belmont-Hillsboro neighborhood. The couple have been very active in politics. Schmidt and Woolley helped found the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) in 2003 because of a lack of a statewide advocacy group for the LGBTQ community, and have also been active in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Victory Fund.
Schmidt has worked in government affairs on state level policy in Nashville for 20 years. He runs his own lobbying firm, Schmidt Government Solutions, currently specializing in healthcare lobbying. He currently serves on the boards of the Nashville Children’s Theatre, Davidson County Mental Health and Veterans Court Foundation, the Tennessee Lobbyists Association, and the Brooks Fund. He is a past Board Chair for the Victory Fund Campaign.
Woolley has worked in journalism with CBS in New York and then in marketing, but now he is a marketing and operations consultant for small businesses and non-profits. He is the current Vice President of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and also serves on the Belmont-Hillsboro Neighborhood Association. Woolley previously served on the Board of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. Joe also volunteers for CASA (Court Appointed Child Advocate), an organization for children removed from their families due to abuse or neglect.
“It is important for everyone to step up and get involved in any way they can to help make change happen,” says Woolley. “There is an old saying that if you are not at the table then you are on the menu. We think that is very true. So, we want to make sure we have a place at that table.”
Lisa Howe and Wendy Holleman Howe
Even after thirteen years together, the Howes think their relationship continues to grow stronger, with every life experience bringing them closer together. They are best friends. And, with so much in common, it’s easy to see why!
Wendy Holleman Howe grew up in Dallas, Texas, and played college soccer at Jacksonville State University. After being an Assistant Coach in NCAA Division I, she now teaches lower school PE and coaches varsity girls’ soccer and middle school girls’ lacrosse at USN. Wendy has twice been named Coach of the Year, and won a state title in 2012 and runner up in 2014. Wendy is one of the co-founders of the Nashville Gay Parents, and is a member of HRC and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
Lisa Howe is also from Dallas, Texas. She played soccer at Barry University and won the Division II National Championship. In her seventeen-year career coaching NCAA women’s soccer, she was named Conference Coach of the Year in the Atlantic Sun Conference three times. In 2011, she received the NCLR Justice Award, and has also been honored at Autumn Honors and received a Making History Women’s Award from Vanderbilt Divinity School.
In February 2012, Lisa became the first Executive Director of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. In three years, the organization has more than tripled its membership and revenue. She is also serving her fourth year on the Pride board, with responsibility for the Equality Walk.
Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard
Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard were ceremonially wed in 2006 and legally married in San Francisco in 2013. They are fathers to three-year-old Micah and eight-month-old Esther.
Copeland is the Chief of Broker Services for Village Real Estate and a corporate keynote speaker. He became the first openly gay Realtor of the Year for the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors in 2011, and holds numerous positions at the local, state, and national realtor organizations. He was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Leaders in the Country in 2014 and 2015.
Copeland has served on the boards for the Family Equality Council, the American Fertility Association, TEP, Hands On Nashville, Greenways for Nashville, and the Nashville Farmer’s Market Commission. In 2011, Brian founded Nashville Gay Parents, which has grown into a network of over 200 families throughout Middle Tennessee. He also founded the largest online network for gay fathers, which has 4000 members internationally.
Bullard is the founder and pastor of Covenant of the Cross in Madison, which runs the only LGBT-affirming food pantry in Tennessee and feeds more than 200 households monthly. In 2014, he accepted Hands On Nashville’s Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Group of the Year Award for that work, for which Covenant was also recognized at Autumn Honors. In 2014, Greg received the Community Service Award at the HRC Equality Dinner.
Bullard is also known in the community for his work with Nashville Pride, and has led Nashville Pride’s Spirituality Night for fifteen years. He has also served on the board for the Nashville Interfaith Alliance and Mending Hearts, a recovery center for women. Currently, he is also a child advocate with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, with an emphasis in transgendered children and teen advocacy.
Barb Neligan and Amy Parker
After eighteen years together, Barb Neligan and Amy Parker say their secret to keeping the romance alive is making each other laugh. Their proudest accomplishment? Raising their beautiful twenty-two-year-old daughter, Avery.
They both have volunteered and served on committees for many events over the years, including Pride and Nashville Cares Zootopia. They also volunteered on parent and event committees throughout the course of Avery’s school years in Nashville and were members of the George Eastman Circle and Parents Council at the University of Rochester, from which Avery graduated last spring.
Parker is Director of Support Services at HCA/Parallon. She is currently serving on the Brooks Fund board. Neligan is the Senior Product Trainer at Education Networks of America. Over the years, she has served on the GLBT Center Board, co-chaired the HRC dinner, and served on the HRC Steering Committee and on the HRC Board of Governors.
Jason Warner and DeMarco DeCiccio
Musicians Jason Warner and DeMarco DeCiccio are relative newcomers to Nashville, having moved to Franklin just last year. A couple of nearly fourteen years, they were married in 2010 and welcomed twin sons, Mason and Noah, through surrogacy in 2011.
With the international release of their album Til the End of Time, Jason and DeMarco became familiar names to music fans around the world. Their first single, “Trying to Get to You,” climbed the Billboard charts and their second single, “This is Love,” won “Music Video of the Year” at the 2006 MTV LOGO Awards.
Jason and DeMarco have performed at numerous high profile events, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Awards in Los Angeles, the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s Annual Gala in Denver, and the 2006 HRC Gala at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. They have also been a part of the HRC’s star-studded benefit album, Love Rocks, alongside artists such as Christina Aguilera, P!nk, and the Dixie Chicks.
In 2010, the duo founded a non-profit, S.A.F.E., and opened a drop-in center for homeless LGBTQ youth, serving over 400 clients in less than eight months. Warner said, “In relocating to Nashville, rather than opening another drop-in center, we feel we can better serve our youth and the community by helping to prevent them from being homeless to begin with.”
They hope that their non-profit will be able to work with the Department of Children Services (DCS) to help connect affirming foster parents with LGBTQ foster youth, and to provide DCS with S.A.F.E. (Safe, Affirming, Family Environment) families for these LGBTQ youth. They are also exploring possible housing solutions for youth transitioning out of foster care. Since launching S.A.F.E., the duo has raised more than $100,000 while also releasing a music video to their hit single “Safe,” written by fellow gay artist Josh Duffy.
Zac Woodward and Chad LaBoy
Zac Woodward, twenty-two-year-old model, actor, host, and radio personality, is the producer and on-air personality for Nashville’s #1 rated morning radio show, The Woody & Jim Show, on WRVW-FM 107.5 The River. Zac can be seen in “Mockingjay: The Hunger Games Trilogy,” “Insurgent,” and “Madea’s Christmas,” as well as in Abercrombie campaigns, to name a few.
Chad LaBoy is a twenty-five-year-old music business technology professional. Chad is the founder and “Chief Visionary Officer” for MusicCred, a revolutionary mobile application aiming to launch early this year. Chad’s passion in business is generating ingenious ideas across various platforms to improve businesses.
Recently, Zac and Chad were selected to play a couple in Kelly Clarkson’s music video for her new single “Heartbeat Song.” While on set, Chad arranged with the production team to surprise Zac by proposing while shooting. This epic proposal is actually going to be part of the video, enshrining it in pop-culture history. Here’s to you two for reaching multiple platforms and helping represent same-love equality so publicly!
Jeremy Davis and Matt Dillman
Jeremy Davis is the Chief Mortgage Officer for the Bank of Nashville and leads the mortgage banking divisions for three Synovus affiliate banks. Previously, Davis led a successful, high-profile growth campaign for Fifth Third Bank, and executed successful expansions for JPMorgan Chase and Washington Mutual Bank into new market territories throughout the southeast. In 2009, Nashville Business Journal honored Davis as one of Nashville’s top 40 most influential business leaders under 40.
Matt Dillman is a realtor with Reliant Realty. He began his real estate career in 2005, and quickly discovered a passion for assisting first time homebuyers in navigating the hurdles of home buying. While Dillman helps clients of all backgrounds, the majority of his clients are from the LGBT community, and he prides himself in helping his clients navigate through the specific needs of LGBT homeowners.
The couple has a long history of supporting LGBT organizations as well as organizing and volunteering for equality-minded political candidates. They have hosted dozens of fundraisers for candidates, including Mayor Karl Dean, Metro Councilmember At Large Megan Barry, and Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN). The couple was heavily involved in the Vote No on 1 campaign against a marriage ban in Tennessee, helping to organize and host multiple fundraisers for the organization, including an event at TPAC’s Johnson Hall with comedian Leslie Jordan. Davis served on the TEP Board from 2005 to 2008, and the board of the Brooks Fund from 2010 to 2012.
Davis and Dillman have been very active supporters of the HRC in Nashville, both serving on the Nashville steering committee and volunteering in multiple roles from 2005 to 2012. Their work includes assisting with the planning and execution of HRC’s premier annual gala, the Equality Dinner, from 2006 to 2012. Davis also served as co-chair of the HRC Dinner from 2008 to 2012. In addition, Davis served on the HRC Board of Governors from 2005 to 2011, and served as Chair for the Corporate Relations/Sponsorship Committee.
They have most recently focused on working with the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, devoting their energy and resources to assist with growing the Chamber’s membership, fundraising, and organization. Davis has served as a board member for the LGBT Chamber since late 2009 and was elected President/Chairman of the Board in 2012.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
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.