The Tennessee Equality Project and Tennessee Equality Project Foundation (TEP), organizations advocating equal rights for Tennessee's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, have named Chris Sanders as their executive director.

Sanders is stepping down as President of the Tennessee Equality Project to assume daily operations of the organization that include directing TEP's education, advocacy, media relations, community organizing and fund development efforts.

According to TEP Foundation President H.G. Stovall, "It has become clear that LGBT Tennesseans deserve more than an all-volunteer TEP can provide and so this is the step to increase our capacity to bring real change to Tennessee including the potential for full marriage equality."

"It is time for TEP to transition to a full-time executive director," Stovall continued. "The opportunities to advance equality in Tennessee are numerous and we are committed to marshaling all our resources to meet the challenges ahead. Chris and I have worked together in the volunteer leadership of TEP for eight years and I know he is ready to accelerate our efforts in the areas of marriage and relationship recognition, safe schools, and workplace equality."

TEP Vice President Bleu Copas noted, "The recent Supreme Court rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 are historic for our country, but we have to make sure we are not standing still in Tennessee. Having a dedicated professional to direct our efforts will allow us to achieve more in East, West, and Middle Tennessee. The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in our state deserves no less."

Sanders will begin his new responsibilities with a quick outreach tour around the state starting in Nashville on July 19 at a Forward Friday event at Tribe starting at 7:00 p.m., followed by TEP's annual Ice Cream Social on July 21 in Memphis, completed by a gathering in Knoxville for the final vote on the Knox County non-discrimination ordinance on July 22.

"The work of advancing equality seems to grow every week," Sanders said. "I'm excited about this move for TEP.  I'm looking forward to spending more time collaborating with our community and allies around the state.  I hope it marks a new day for Tennessee."

While Sanders assumes operations of TEP, the boards of the Tennessee Equality Project and the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation are beginning the search process for a permanent executive director to be completed this fall. 

For more information on the Tennessee Equality Project and the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation, click here.

Follow TEP's search and other events at

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