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This year is shaping up to be a tumultuous year in American politics, but when the O&AN editors, publisher, and staff got down to it, the decisions weren’t that hard. At the end of the day, this year Tennessee voters in the LGBT community aren’t left with many choices.
With the (hopefully temporary) extinction of the moderate, or socially liberal, Republican in the Tennessee political landscape, only Democrats made the grade when it came down to support for the LGBT community, as well as other social issues with which we and our allies are most concerned: social justice, racism, women’s rights, immigration, health care, education, etc.
With so many candidates around state to consider this year, for statewide and national office, we have restricted ourselves to commenting on candidates facing opposition, except in a couple of cases where candidates have warranted mention, despite being unopposed.
President of the United States – Hillary Clinton
Post convention, Hillary Clinton is the candidate worth considering, for voters who are concerned about the future of civil rights and social justice in America. Her opponent has promised—and we are well aware that he has promised nearly everything to nearly anyone who will listen, with price tags attached right up front—to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn marriage equality and other, similar rulings.
While that may be just another empty promise from the man who once sold “degrees” through a “university” or “program,” a scheme currently under investigation for, or confirmed to have committed, fraud in a number of states, take the threat seriously. Yes, the Supreme Court can act against precedent. And the next president might get to replace four of the Supremes.
People argue over how the feel about Clinton, whether they trust her, whether she should have… At the end of the day, if you can ask those questions and not look over your shoulder at Donald Trump and recognize the very real danger he poses not only to America, but to every minority citizen, every LGBTQ person, individually, then there is nothing to be said that will change your mind.
Through the scandals, most of which have shown themselves to be nothing more than Republican- or media-created smear jobs against a woman too many Americans have loved to hate since 1992, Clinton has borne herself with stubborn dignity, grit, determination, and intelligence.
She has learned politics in the fire of a long public life, so don’t be shocked when she acts like a studied politician. She is one. Only she’s smarter, more thoughtful, and more graceful than most of the men we admire for their political acumen. And sometimes being a politician means not racing headlong into a revolution for which there is no clear vision: it means compromising to get the most you can realistically expect for those who need it most, at the least political expense to the same.
So, has she always been the most strident ally to the LGBT community? No, when being an LGBT ally was quicksand for Southern Democrats, both Clintons played it safe. But she’s always worked to get what she could for us when she thought she could get it for us. And when the political tide began to shift in our favor she was ahead of the curve in fighting our fights, compared to many others who had a lot to lose.
To some this will sound cynical. In reality it’s the practice of a kind of politics that has been largely forgotten—not the politics of revolution, full of promises but no room for give and take, and not the politics of rage, which has only agreement and enemies, but the practical politics it takes to make things happen bit by bit. It’s been missing for too long and Washington, and Clinton can herald its return. And with it the return to a saner political climate.
U.S. House of Representatives
5th Congressional District – Jim Cooper
This is hardly a race at all, as Stacy Ries Snyder (R) attempts to unseat incumbent Jim Cooper (D). Cooper has diligently served the people of his district during his life in public office, and a vote for his opponent is a vote against all good sense. When it comes to listening to and serving his constituents, Cooper is one of the most attentive legislators in Washington.
Our print editor, James Grady, personally knew one person who, because of an emergency, needed to leave the country almost overnight. She had no passport and the visa to visit the country where her teenage son was hospitalized required consular approval. Due to the intervention of Cooper’s office—on a weekend—she was on a plane the following day. Such effort reflects the kind of man Cooper has shown himself to be—a true representative, and servant, of the people.
It’s important to note that Cooper hasn’t always voted favorably on LGBT issues: in fact, he voted to define marriage as one-man-one-woman in 2006 and for an amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2004. However, in 2009 he co-sponsored hate crime legislation, and in 2010 voted to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” And while he didn’t sign the amicus brief against the Defense of Marriage Act in 2012 when that went to the Supreme Court, he did state around that time quite publicly that he did believe that civil marriage should be available to same-sex couples.
In short, Cooper’s public conversion to ally status began, and was completed, long before even Barack Obama announced the completion of his “evolution” on the issue. And since then Cooper hasn’t given us real reason to doubt his commitment.
State Senate 20th Senatorial District
Erin Coleman (D) has shown herself to be a consistent ally to the LGBT community, as well as a leader with a solid set of policy positions. She is also the strongest opportunity to pick up a State Senate seat for Democrats. Incumbent Steve Dickerson (R) has a mixed record on LGBT issues, but Coleman’s challenge would establish a more liberal candidate to represent Davidson County’s voter base. Further, the scandal surrounding Republican misappropriation of public funds to assist their colleagues’ (specifically Dickerson’s) reelection attempts shines a harsh light on how the system remains rigged in favor of the supermajority party.
State House 50th Representative District
We endorse Bo Mitchell (D) for this seat.
State House 53rd Representative District
Jason Powell (D) should continue to serve his district in the state legislature. Challenger Davette Blalock (R), a Metro councilperson, would shift the House even further to the right, which must be avoided at all costs.
State House 54th Representative District
We endorse Brenda Gilmore (D), who faces an independent challenger.
State House 55th Representative District
Though running unopposed, John Ray Clemmons (D) was recently recognized as a key ally by the Nashville Pride committee. Thank him by checking the box next to his name on election day!
State House 56th Representative District
We recommend voting for Chris Moth (D) to send incumbent Beth Harwell (R) a hard message. She has fought tooth and claw against LGBT rights, has been an outspoken opponent of immigrant rights, and has done her best as speaker to push the State House further to the right.
State House 60th Representative District
Darren Jernigan (D) has shown his metal fighting on the side of LGBT issues, and we believe he will continue to serve all his constituents fairly and with care in his next term.
Notable Tennessee Races for State Office:
State House 13th Representative District
Gloria Johnson (D) is again running against Knoxville incumbent Eddie Smith (R), who has voted for anti-LGBT measures in committee and on the floor. We encourage voters to oust Smith by voting for Johnson!
State House 34th Representative District
We endorse Laura Bohling (D) in her race against Tim Rudd (R), who narrowly won a four-way Republican primary that drew only a sixth as many voters as the 2012 race.
State House 49th Representative District
Brandon Thomas (D) has run a strong campaign on issues from diversity to healthcare reform, while the Republicans viciously bloodied each other in their primaries. Thomas is not only an outspoken advocate for these issues and many more, including trans rights, which he fought to expand while in student government at MTSU. Thomas is an openly LGBT candidate for office in Rutherford County, Tennessee, and has been an active leader in the local TEP chapter. We heartily endorse Thomas against incumbent Mike Sparks.
State House 57th Representative District
Trisha Farmer (D) has openly courted LGBT support in her bid to oust incumbent Susan ‘I-Hate-The-LGBTs-More-Than-Thou’ Lynn in this Wilson County battle royale. Lynn as you may recall is behind some of the most vicious anti-LGBT legislation to hit the floor in Tennessee since the anti-marriage amendment. Susan Lynn has been unrepentant in her war against the LGBT community and we’d do well to rally behind Trisha Farmer to send Lynn back to the private sector for good.
State House 63rd Representative District
Before there was a train of acolytes parroting Donald Trump calling for the expulsion of Syrian refugees and the use of a religious test to admit Muslims to this country, there was Glen Casada. Casada’s virulent anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-liberal, anti-women antics know almost no bounds. He’s even suggested putting immigrants in trains and ship them off to camps. ICE camps, but surely Herr Casada can’t be so tone deaf or ignorant as to be unaware of how problematic that call would be.
Luckily this year Casada has a serious Democratic challenger in Courtenay Rogers, a mother, a veteran, a business owner and a community advocate. Most of that should sound good even in conservative ears. And even if Rogers wasn’t courting LGBT support, she’d do more for LGBT citizens and other minorities than almost anyone in the House just by NOT BEING Glen Casada. Vote Rogers!
State House 65th Representative District
We endorse Holly McCall (D). This Williamson County race represents a notable opportunity, as incumbent Representative Jeremy Durham, who was embroiled in a nasty controversy involving accusations of sexual assault and who was investigated and denounced by the Republican legislature for his actions, was unseated in a primary challenge.
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.