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Nashville's LGBT Chamber, Metro Human Relations Commission put their heads together and came up with a poor idea
Let me begin with a disclaimer.
Pretty much upon leaving college and obtaining my first real job, I could pass for straight. I was never in danger of being clocked for playing for the other team. I have looked and dressed like the stereotypical wasp-ish male that Ms. Sulam wrote about a couple months ago until quite recently. Soulmate and I met while attending a college known for emphasizing academic prowess and the more pleasant aspects of Anglo-centric cultural conformity. I still take my tea at 4pm, relax to the works of P.G. Wodehouse and stay up very late to listen to test cricket from Australia on many a winter night.
No one knew I was really “Julie” on the inside, save for Soulmate and very close college friends. We were both brought up in an environment that emphasized keeping private matters private and not unnecessarily rocking a boat. We both supported the tribe from behind a curtain and, if asked, we told the truth about ourselves...but getting asked was a rare event. I thought the methods of many activists of the late 80’s and early 90’s were way too radical to win the fight.
I was wrong. They knew what they were doing, and I had a lot to learn about openly accepting my unrequested blessing. I am now a very open trans lesbian who has yet to understand the appeal of softball.
I freely admit to obtaining my first gig through the local “lesbigay mafia” back in early 90’s. I didn't look the part, but my fixer knew that Soulmate and I were family in need, and I repaid a brother in kind later on. It pains me to criticize anything or anyone advocating full and equal recognition of LGBTQ people in the workplace, but occasionally an idea comes around that just does not seem right.
The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Human Relations Commission jointly published a policy paper over the summer recommending a process to allow local government employees “to self-identify by sexual orientation and gender identity through an employee satisfaction survey,” according to the report.
The paper suggests the proposed survey will be conducted by a non-partial third party and would measure “subjective employee experiences” while allowing “other socio-demographic groups” an opportunity to also self-identify themselves. Citing input from the Centre for American Progress institute and the AFSCME public services union, the report advocates the need for a “voluntary” survey to address reported inequities in pay for LGBT employees compared to their peers and an allegation of “widespread discrimination” in the public-sector workplace.
“Allowing LGBT employees to self-identify will provide the information necessary to guide local government toward effective inclusionary policies,” the report says. “As the ‘It’ city, Nashville should strive for more than protection for its LGBT constituents and employees - it should aspire to equal recognition.”
Ok, that is all well and good at face value. But I remember being forced to read George Orwell’s “1984”...back in 1984...and a study of this policy paper brought to mind some disconcerting recollections of that cruelly imposed endeavour.
“Why measure? Quite simply, what gets measured gets done...The ability to quantify the number of LGBT employees allow organizations to track their progress over time, particularly as it concerns diversity benchmarks and ongoing self-assessments...It makes good sense to innovate existing data collection methods (or add new ones) to also track and gain a more complete picture of LGBT employees to significantly enhance diversity/inclusion initiatives.”
Ok, so is there some sort of plan to hire more LGBTQ people for local government jobs? If so, would that be the right move for the city to make?
“Moreover, the inclusion of an LGBT option for self-identification improves workplace climate and fosters a sense of inclusion.”
Umm...No. I believe that overplaying our hand tends to cheese folks off. I do not care much for boiler-plate bigotry in the workplace either and do subscribe to the “safety in numbers” philosophy, but too much LGBTQ flag-waving inside the workplace environment often leads to resentment and unnecessary accusations of special treatment.
Under the “Strategies for Measurement” section, the report suggests the use of “anonymous engagement surveys” and optional amendments to “confidential employee records” as a way to “identify and quantify the experiences of LGBT employees” such as the Federal government and a nationally recognized bank are currently doing.
That sounds a wee bit creepy at the very least...
“Access to this data must be restricted to specified personnel for defined workforce management and development purposes.”
Right. Good luck with that…
"These strategies for collecting LGBT self-identification also allow employers to solicit other sorts of employee information - for example, that related to physical and mental disability, veteran status or religious affiliation. In fact, companies that allow LGBT self-identification often include these other demographic options...capitalizing on the opportunities to learn more about their employees.”
Paging Mr. Orwell…
“A commitment to deep inclusion requires widening the definition of workforce diversity beyond the usual metrics...and necessitates the option for employees to self-define in a variety of ways…”
Deep inclusion? Necessitates the option? Danger, Will Robinson! DANGER!!!
“Veterans make up an estimated 7.3% of the adult population in Nashville...Additionally, the 2014 Religious Landscape Survey found that 71% of Tennesseans say that religion is ‘very important’ in their lives...For these reasons, both veteran status and religious affiliation should be included as other identification options for Metro employees.”
Veterans to the front of the government jobs and promotion queues? Agreed. But you do not need a special programme for that. Self-identifying religious people? Please…
“Allowing LGBT employees to self-identify will provide the information to guide local government toward effective inclusionary policies.”
“Moreover, it would prove a useful tool for Nashville’s own LGBT Chamber of Commerce…”
Yes, I'm sure it would. Points for honesty here...
Legal protections and court decisions are sad necessities for us that should not be flaunted. We should recognize the need for such mechanisms in the same manner as recognizing the need for this country to retain a strategic nuclear deterrent to keep hostile forces at bay. We recognize the need, but would rather do without...thank you.
All persons should be able to gain and retain employment in the American workplace without compromising who they are, but is the proposed idea the way to go? It feels intrusive and does not pass the smell test at the very least. We do not have to potentially alienate the non-LGBTQ crowd by recognizing our community’s needs. We need a better idea from the Chamber and Commission. An idea that does not reek of techniques used by the former East German government.
The intention of both parties is correct, but the idea is quite poor. Please go back to the spiffy super-hetrodyne white board and try again.
Julie Chase is the pen name for a local 40-something trans woman. A graduate of The University of the South at Sewanee, she loves butterflies, strong women and the Austrian School of Economics. The views expressed by O&AN columnists are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of the editors or the publisher. Graphic via TNW.
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.