Election Day 2016 promised a changing world, and since then we’ve had glimpses of the dark future it would bring. On January 20, 2017, the deal was sealed as Donald Trump was sworn into office as President of the United States.

Nationwide minorities, political enemies, and other-minded people, as well as the media and the world of facts itself, have come under pressure or are preparing for coming assaults. Locally, conservative state governments have begun taking steps, emboldened by the current national climate, to attack the constitutional rights of many groups, including the LGBT community.

Sure, in the long run, they may be tilting at windmills. Sure, it’ll be hard to overturn the SCOTUS decision protecting same-sex marriage. Sure, we all know that in the end existing statute protects many of the ideals and institutions under assault. BUT for as long as this attack lasts, it is we who will suffer, it is we who will be cast into legal limbo, and it is we who will be deprived of our equal standing.

January’s post-election Women’s Marches around the world were encouraging signs of resistance. Women and allies came out in far greater numbers than Trump supporters did on Inauguration Day and said we will not stand for this. In Nashville, tens of thousands of people showed up in what was likely the city’s largest march in decades, if not ever.

But a march is a beginning, not a goal. Now that we’ve shown that we will be heard, we must fight. And behind the scenes many groups are planning to do just that. From Planned Parenthood to the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), organizations are gearing up for what in some cases will be literally the fight of our lives.

Throughout January, TEP hosted Lobbying 101 classes around the state, preparing citizens to make themselves heard in the halls of power, gearing up for the months of activism that will be required to stand against a rising tide of anti-LGBT political actions, from the return of bathroom and counseling bills to the table to the addition of an LGBT erasure bill that would define male and female across state statutes in the most pernicious ways.

This is not the year to say, “I can’t be at the Days on the Hill.” This is the year to take off work, to keep your kids home from school, to go to the capital and show the world that this—not Trump’s sick version of reality—is how democracy works.


Schedule of upcoming TEP-sponsored events:

February 2

6 p.m.

TEP Franklin County Exploratory Meeting

duPont Library, Sewanee

February 7

8:30 a.m – end of day

Advancing Equality Days on the Hill Part 1

Legislative Plaza, Nashville

February 14

6 p.m.

A Sweet Date: TEP Valentine's Day Mixer

Sugar Mama’s, Knoxville

February 19

4:30 – 7:00 p.m.

TEP Gumbo Contest

Hilton Memphis

March 7

8:30 a.m – end of day

Advancing Equality Days on the Hill Part 2

Legislative Plaza, Nashville

April 4

8:30 a.m – end of day

Advancing Equality Days on the Hill Part 3

Legislative Plaza, Nashville



Photos by Jenifer Sheridan

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