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The race for vice mayor is far more uncomplicated as a straight-up, head-to-head matchup between former councilman David Briley and former councilman and state legislator Tim Garrett. Since the incumbent, Diane Neighbors, is term-limited, citizens will have to choose between these two experienced local politicians.
Twenty-six people, on the other hand, are seeking one of the five at-large council seats. These seats are chosen by countywide election, like mayor and vice mayor, and this field is heavily populated by both concerned citizens and term-limited district councilmembers. This is a race to watch, filled as it is with both friends and foes of LGBT rights.
Many of Nashville’s district races are also hotly contested. There are thirty-five districts represented on the Metro Council, and while nine of those races have uncontested, some have fields that ensure a runoff. District 1, for instance, has a field of eight candidates.
In order to help LGBT and allied citizens get a better feel for the race, O&AN sent questionnaires to every candidate for whom we could find a reliable contact. Having assembled those responses, our senior leadership compared them and considered the candidates’ public record on the issues, if there was any, and where possible we came to an agreement on our endorsements, which we present to you here.
In some cases there were many worthy candidates for our endorsement, and the decision was hard. We thank all the pro-LGBT candidates, even those we did not endorse, for your commitment to justice and equality, and we wish them the best of luck.
David Briley — however, both candidates have a history of outreach to, and have elicited strong support from, the LGBT community.
In this wide open field, there are more candidates in support of LGBT rights than there are seats, which makes this a difficult set of choices. In the end our board chose to endorse Erin Coleman, Jason Holleman, Lonnell Matthews, Erica Gillmore, and John Lasiter. Holleman, Matthews, and Gillmore are all solid allies with strong voices when it comes to LGBT issues.
Coleman impressed us with the frankness of her responses. “Frankly, by walking through the door,” Coleman wrote, “our elected officials should reach out to Just Us and other civic organizations, attend meetings, learn what they are about. I want to be a voice for all of Nashville.” And we believe she will.
John Lasiter is an out, gay man in Nashville, who is committed to working for the rights of other LGBT people and for the good of the greater Nashville community.
However, there are a number of candidates we must mention—they too would, we believe, be supportive of issues pertaining to LGBT rights: Phillip Hostettler, Bob Mendes, Buddy Baker (a Republican who sponsored the 2009 non-discrimination ordinance and voted ‘Yes’ on partner benefits), Adam Dread (a Republican who voted for and worked in behalf of non-discrimination around 2002-03), and Frank Harrison, Walter Hunt, and Sandra Moore, all of whom voted ‘Yes’ on partner benefits.
On the other hand, there are candidates who must be mentioned for the opposite reason, an anti-endorsement if you will. Robert Duvall was a staunch opponent of LGBT rights while on the Council, while Karen Bennett either abstained or absented herself from the vote.
City Council Districts
District 1: Jonathan Richardson has committed to working with the LGBT community on diversity training and inclusiveness in city government and services.
District 2: NO ENDORSEMENT
District 3: NO ENDORSEMENT
District 4: NO ENDORSEMENT
District 5: Incumbent Scott Davis was an important voice behind the push for domestic partner benefits last year, and thus has a proven record of standing up for the LGBT community, and thus receives O&AN’s endorsement. However candidate Sarah Martin would also be a strong ally.
District 6: This race pits openly gay candidate Brett Withers against Peter Westerholm, the driving force behind Metro’s domestic partner benefits ordinance. Ultimately, with both men strongly in the corner of LGBT rights, Brett Withers’ strengths in neighborhood planning and fighting for zoning issues earned him our endorsement
District 7: Anthony Davis has been a powerful voice in nondiscrimination and partner benefits debates, and he remains committed to “pushing the State of Tennessee to change and adapt to our times."
District 8: Nancy VanReece — as an out candidate with a well-known stance on issues of concern to the LGBT community, you can’t go wrong here.
District 9: NO ENDORSEMENT. While we lack enough information to know if his opponent is better on the issue, it is important to note that incumbent Bill Pridemore is opposed to LGBT well-being. He didn’t just vote no, he vigorously opposed domestic partner benefits, pleading in the final reading that offering equal coverage to hardworking LGBT Nashvillians somehow compromised his values and those of his constituents.
District 10 – NO ENDORSEMENT. While incumbent Doug Pardue is unopposed, his opposition to LGBT rights couldn’t have been made any clearer in his votes of partner benefits. Creative write-ins might send a message.
District 11 – Larry Hagar is unopposed but during an interview with O&AN related to a controversy around some of his comments overheard in a café, Hagar came across as supporting LGBT issues. Let’s see if he puts his money where his mouth is!
District 12 – NO ENDORSEMENT. Steve Glover is unopposed, but he too voted against partner benefits, so while you should go vote, you might want to think twice before adding to this guy’s yes column.
District 13 – Marilyn Robinson is former president of the local NAACP, and has worked well with LGBT advocacy groups in the past.
District 14 – Kevin Rhoten is unopposed but he’s committed to the fight against discrimination and homelessness.
District 15 – Jeff Syracuse presents a real opportunity. Incumbent Phil Claiborne, who is term-limited, was one of the driving force against LGBT interests on the last council. Syracuse is a game changer for this district: “I believe LGBT issues are Civil Rights issues and will vote in favor on issues helping to ensure all citizens are treated equally.”
District 16 – Mike Freeman is a clear choice here, challenging as he is one of the opponents of partner benefits. This former Scout and Marine pledges that he would never vote for legislation that did not treat “members of the LGBT community fairly.”
District 17 – This district race presents three candidates all of whom strongly support the LGBT community and all of whom bring passion to the job. We could be proud to support any of them, but Paula Foster is the candidate we endorse. As a lesbian and a mother, with a 19-year career working with HIV/AIDS patients, we feel she would bring much needed wisdom to the Council.
District 18 – The unopposed Burkley Allen proved has proved an unflappable ally!
District 19 – Freddie O’Connell doesn’t just support LGBT rights in theory, he’s pounding the pavement, attending Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition meetings and keeping abreast of the issues of concern to our community.
District 20 – NO ENDORSEMENT. In this district, all the candidates are very affirming, but it was impossible for our committee to highlight one over the others.
District 21—NO ENDORSEMENT
District 22 – NO ENDORSEMENT. The unopposed Sheri Weiner stayed home for both roll call votes on domestic partner benefits.
District 23 – Mina Johnson is committed to building on past victories for the LGBT community in Nashville.
District 24 –Kathleen Murphy has a solid record of support for the LGBT community and has O&AN’s endorsement.
District 25 – NO ENDORSEMENT.
District 26 – Jeremy Elrod is committed to helping advance TEP’s local government advocacy agenda, and has a solid knowledge of issues of concern to the LGBT community, even referencing PREP in his discussions of LGBT healthcare.
District 27 – NO ENDORSEMENT. Davette Blalock abstained on partner benefits but has seemed to reach out to LGBT voters since. Her opponent’s positions are unclear.
District 28 – Melissa Smithson is committed to an agenda favorable to the LGBT community.
District 29— Incumbent Karen Johnson was a supporter of domestic partner benefits and has a history of standing behind the LGBT community.
District 30 – Jason Potts, the unopposed incumbent, supported partner benefits.
District 31 – Fabian Bedne, the unopposed incumbent, supported partner benefits, and says he will make himself available to perform ALL weddings. He also sits on the board of Oasis Center, and has an active interest in the youth homelessness issue.
District 32 – NO ENDORSEMENT. Jacobia Dowell abstained twice on partner benefits, but with no response from her opponents, she MAY still be the best choice. She went on the record to say, “I will work to keep their rights just like any other member of the community. We should not discriminate.”
District 33 – Sam Coleman has a complicated record of LGBT support, given his involvement in 2009's non-discrimination ordinance (he initially supported a version that lacked gender identity, but stood by the bill when it was amended to include it), so he has O&AN’s endorsement. His opponent Jimmy Gafford, however, also pledges that he “would support all citizens to be treated fairly no matter of their sexual orientation.”
Distrct 34 – Steve Butler has been pounding the LGBT pavement, attending TEP forums and reaching out for our community’s support.
District 35 – Dave Rosenberg will be a strong ally, supporting “domestic partner benefits, dialog between the Metro Police and LGBT community, and promotion of state legislation to permit non-discrimination laws like the one the state previously invalidated.”
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.