Clarksville could become the next city to add sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination policy. When the City Council meets on Thursday, Dec. 13, business owner David Shelton plans to speak in support of this issue.

“I will meet with all of the council members and the mayor, and work with other organizations to drive up support,” Shelton said. “I will also be contacting civic groups and organizations in the community to build support.”

Currently Knoxville and Memphis are the only cities in Tennessee that have passed these additions. Nashville approved it in 2011, but Gov. Bill Haslam signed a state law the following month blocking it.

“As a rule, Clarksville tends to be a live-and-let-live community. Unless people feel as if they are threatened, most of the people in the city would be either apathetic on the issue or somewhat supportive,” Shelton said. “I believe it's only a small minority of people who oppose any form of LGBT equality.”

Shelton said, “So far we've got a few that are strong potentials, and a few that I'm sure we won't be able to sway. Time will tell.”

This is still in the early stages though. Shelton has written to the City Council about this issue and plans on meeting with them one-on-one and with Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan in the coming weeks.

McMillian previously was elected by her collogues as the first female in Tennessee history to serves as House Majority Leader. She also worked briefly for Austin Peay State University as executive director of Community, Business Relations. APSU also has a non-discrimination that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

Shelton encourages Clarksvillians to contact their City Council representatives to support this change. If interested in helping with the effort, visit his website

“All politics is local — and that's where we can have the most impact. Person to person, face to face, and neighbor to neighbor.”


This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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