Meet Anne Gullick

Memphis is alive with more than the taste of BBQ and sound of music. Memphis boasts a large base for equality and Anne Gullick has been named by TEP to lead the charge as the Principal Officer for West Tennessee.

Gullick has always been passionate for civil rights and brings that passion to the fight for equality not just in West Tennessee but Tennessee as a whole. We had the chance to chat with Gullick about some upcoming events in West Tennessee, why education is truly the key and what Memphis different.

Can you share a bit of the background about how you became involved with TEP and how long you've been involved?

I came to a time in my life where I needed to expand what I was doing. I had worked outside the home and helped raise a spectacular young man but I had made all the mistakes I could make with him by the time he was 14. My interests have always been in civil rights and I specifically looked around as to what to become involved in and GLBT issues really spoke to me because there was a group of people being denied full rights and privileges of being taxpayers.

So I went to the National Equality March in 2009 in D.C. just to put my toe in the water and through the connections I made there, I met Jonathon Cole. I was already introduced to the Mid-South Gay and Lesbian Community Center but the political side spoke to me more. Jonathon became a mentor and a leader and the more I got involved in the monthly meetings at TEP, the more value I knew I saw I could add to the work- it kinda sucked me in. I came for the cause and have stayed for the people because I love the people I've met. I do not know many people who has age 49 have completely changed their social circle. I did and I am so much richer for it.

So over the last four years, is there one memory or victory that really sticks out in your mind?

The most exciting time I've had with TEP happened last October when Memphis passed their non-discrimination ordinance for their city employees. Jonathon had been working on that for five years and it had been denied and voted down twice.

There were two spectacular moments that day. First, we had the first Republican vote pro-gay on that ordinance and the second was we had a Democrat who had voted anti-gay all along and the day the ordinance passed he said he had consulted with his religious leaders and found he could not legislate his religious faith and he voted yes as well. So that day in Memphis was a huge tide-turning moment for Memphis city and I was proud to be involved in the work that got it there and I was proud to see hearts and minds change during that negotiation process. 

Your appointment as Principal Officer for West Tennessee kicked off on July 1, but you've worked really closely with Jonathon Cole, your predecessor? Can you talk a bit about that?

Jonathon has become a member of the board with the TEP foundation; he's working on our education outreach. He really has been all things TEP. At one time, when he was President and Chair of the Board, I called him 'Tennessee's Top Gay' (laughs).

He's my mentor and the mentor of most of the political movement in Memphis. He has left us with awfully big shoes to fill but also with a foundation because people are on board and they're doing the right things. 

Anne, there are several events coming up with the West Tennessee are including an Ice Cream Social, why is this an important event?

One of the falsehoods that anti-gay groups perpetuate is that the GLBT community is not about family. These groups believe they have the market cornered on family. But that's not true, our GLBT community is all about family. Your birth family, your chosen family, your adopted family- we are all about family and our Ice Cream Sundae Social on July 21 is our celebration of family in the GLBT community in Memphis. It's become a very popular event.

And you have your own events planned for the TEP Marriage Equality Day coming up on August 31, isn't that correct?

Yes. Every day is traditional marriage day in Tennessee because of the state constitutional amendment guaranteeing that. It was truly a slap in the face [from the legislature] so TEP will be celebrating Marriage Equality Day across the state August 31. In Madison County, they will hold a Family Festival that day. It will be a family-friendly event to celebrate marriage equality there. We are planning an event that will hopefully be a wedding reception type event. We are still working out the details but it will be on August 31.

Anne, you were recently Shelby County Chair and you're also the Vice-President of the TEP Foundation, how do you do it all?

Well, I only do this. I am one to believe that no one is good if you over commit yourself because everything gets cheated. So when I made the commitment to be involved with TEP, I have not been involved in anything else. I don't do the band booster; I have a 17-year-old in school in the band and I write checks. I haven't been involved with women's rights groups although I have a passion for it. 

Last week's SCOTUS decisions gave us all a reason to celebrate small steps toward marriage equality, what has the reaction been in Memphis?

Last year in November we had a terrible thing happen after our non-discrimination ordinance went through. [A group] bought a ad space in the Commercial Appeal condemning homosexuality. It was hateful and unnecessary ... what I see today is I haven't seen that outreach of hate after the DOMA rulings.

I really think the tide has turned and what we hear is that people are just tired of it. It just feels different--almost everybody knows someone that they love that's GLBT. People cannot look people in the eye and say 'you cannot have what I have.' So many more people are not becoming tolerant, they are becoming accepting and educated.

Education seems to be the key.

One of the big things for me is education. Sometimes it strikes me how little straight people know about gay government issues. Some are surprised to know that gay people can be fired. 

The second big area that has a lack of education is trans-issues. That's even in the GLB community. There is a lot of tension that I've seen especially between gay men and trans because they are not educated on trans-issues. 

I became involved with trans-issues after meeting two women, two male-to-female transitioning  women, who taught me about their lives and put it into perspective for me. I will never be trans and so I cannot argue from that but nothing stops me from learning and studying what I can and practicing in my life what I have learned. That's the call I am sending out to the GLB community so that when you know better, you do better by our trans brothers and sisters. 

We are also planning our second annual Trans-awareness Week during Transgender Day of Remembrance in November and we will have events that will focus on education our population on trans-issues but also empowering trans people in our community through education, activism and identity. 

There really seems to be some amazing work happening in Memphis. Is there anything in Memphis you think is different?

I think we have a different model than a lot of cities have. In bigger cities, their GLBT organizations tend to compete but our local organization we may each have a different mission but we support their mission. The Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, TEP and Mid-South Pride, we all work together. We will not schedule events while the other has an event so that we can support each other. 




by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less
Photo by Pexels

Abortion Rights

Sponsored by Planned Parenthood

Abortion is not just a women's issue. Reproductive rights, including abortion, affects everyone, including queer people. Our involvement in the fight for abortion rights is both crucial and interconnected to the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Here are five reasons why LGBTQ+ communities are involved in abortion rights.

Keep readingShow less