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For GLBT youth whose sexuality has resulted in shunning within their home communities, a Middle Tennessee organization is especially crucial in helping them overcome these challenges and move forward into a happy, healthy adulthood.
Since 1969, the Oasis Center has served Middle Tennessee by offering a safe haven for youth in crisis. With a variety of educational resources and programs, Oasis has enhanced the lives of countless young people in the area over the last four decades, including numerous GLBT youth who have experienced ridicule from their families regarding their sexuality.
According to their website, Oasis Center provides service to more than 1,900 youth and their families each year. The majority of those assisted by Oasis Center come from Metropolitan Nashville and surrounding counties, but services are not limited to these areas. Ben Griffith, street outreach coordinator for Oasis Center, stresses the fact that many youth who seek out services are severely damaged by their unstable living situations.
“We take a very trauma-informed approach. Nearly every young person here has experienced some trauma,” Griffith said. “Until a young person feels safe, they're not ready to take on life's challenges. They're in survival mode.”
Griffith believes that achieving the right balance for these at-risk youth is primarily about encouragement and acceptance, and that the center provides a therapeutic and healing environment that can help them to reach their goals. Change is gradual, but the results are often rewarding.
“We try to be aware that young people have to be empowered to make changes and that relapse is part of the process,” Griffith said. “We try not to see that as a failure but as part of a successful process.”
Michelle Hall, director of transitional living for Oasis Center, explains that services are a multi-step program designed to maximize a young person's potential.
“We have our street outreach where staff and volunteers seek out young people who have run away and are homeless,” Hall said. “If they're needing other resources, we have an outreach center where young people can come who don't have a safe place to live.”
Hal Cato, President and CEO of Oasis Center, has been a crucial element in this development, taking a well-rounded approach to assisting youth in need.
“We're trying to offer access to emotional, physical and social safety for these kids,” Cato said. “We give them opportunities to build positive connections with caring adults and peers and help them learn how to take direct action to improve their lives."
“We're trying to offer access to emotional, physical and social safety for these kids. We give them opportunities to build positive connections with caring adults and peers and help them learn how to take direct action to improve their lives."
- Hal Cato, president and CEO, Oasis Center
The Oasis Center also hosts Nashville's only long-term transitional living center for homeless youth between the ages of 17 and 21. Hall says that the best tool is to develop a consistent relationship with the individual. These bonds can be important in guiding young people in the right direction.
“They have probably experienced many hurtful situations in their lives from adults that have abandoned them,” Hall said. “They might be afraid to get into relationships.”
A powerful force in their positive growth is the wealth of friendships that are formed at the Oasis Center. Due to their shared experiences, these young people tend to develop intense relationships that often last long after their stay. In addition to these crucial connections, a supportive family unit is often a key in steering young people towards future success personally and professionally.
“I love it when we're able to have a relationship with parents and guardians,” Hall said. “We try to do the same thing with families as we do with youth. We give them a lot of encouragement and support.
“What's normal in adolescence is a conflict between parents and youth,” she continued. “It's a way for youth to create autonomy and that's a natural thing. A lot of youth will return to living with family and extended family and we think that's a big success.”
At particular risk are GLBTQ runaways who have experienced difficulties in their home lives. Staff members at Oasis Center do not introduce the subject of sexuality in their preliminary meetings, but simply foster a welcoming environment for GLBTQ individuals. Griffith believes that Oasis Center is in a unique position to assist young people who are struggling with their sexual identity.
“Very rarely in the first time is it brought up directly,” Griffith said. “The youth often drop some hints rather quickly. I would expect them to keep things a secret, but they've reached that point where that's a safe place to talk about.”
To ensure that Oasis Center remains a constant source of comfort, the staff insists that all youth treat each other with respect regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender or religion.
“We're not just accepting of GLBT youth, we believe in celebrating them. The staff here have received specific training in how to make sure they are accepting and embracing of all youth,” Hall said.
Though it's often a challenge to service youth from various backgrounds, Oasis Center is a prime place for character development. Young people often use insensitive speech, but those outbursts can serve as teaching moments.
“Our job as a staff to really be aware of the temperature of the group and be very careful with language,” Hall said. “If we hear things that are bullying or shaming, we step in and explain why that's not OK.”
Griffith agrees that stopping stereotyping involves addressing the problem instead of issuing a simple reprimand.
“We must commit to keeping it a safe environment," he said, “Conflicts are quite rare. We require everyone to show a lot of compassion.”
Oasis Center provides individual bedrooms for its occupants, eliminating any discomfort for transgendered youth who may flounder in other environments.
“We allow young people to self-identify,” Griffith said. “Shelters really do their best, but they can be unsafe at times and often they separate by gender.”
Oasis has built specific leadership programs designed to enhance the experience and ease the discomfort felt by these youth. Activities range from organized efforts against youth violence to discussion of potential Metro school board policies, with the sole focus on driving youth to take action in their communities. There’s also the nationally recognized Building Bridges program, created to raise awareness about prejudice among youth. There are currently 580 active participants in the program.
“Oasis Center is a place that values what bring young people to the door,” Cato said. “We try to find where their passion lies and channel that energy.”
In the end, Oasis Center is available to give young people opportunities they may not have had otherwise.
“I think it's impossible to really make a young person do anything,” Griffith said. “I can continue to give them safe options. My hope is as they start to heal and their confidence and their self-worth starts to grow, they'll make healthier choices
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.