Town Hall offers forum for community to voice issues, concerns

Representatives from several organizations joined individuals at OutCentral Community Center on Jan. 21 for the first in a series of “town hall” style meetings to discuss the changing GLBT landscape in Middle Tennessee.

The evening’s goal was to provide a forum to look at everything from media representation to social and sporting opportunities, both those that are here now and those that have gone away. A lengthy roster of bars and nightclubs was quickly assembled, which led some present to comment that it is hard to get the community together in a non-bar setting. But some saw even that as a positive, because it set a goal for creating more networking and other cross-organization opportunities.

A major need identified by those present is the ability to disseminate information between groups and organizations, something that will be taken up at the planned community-leader summit at OutCentral on Feb. 18. Some venues for identifying GLBT activities and businesses, such as the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce’s Web site, and a new activities and calendar site,, an initiative of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

“We know where we’ve been, but where can we be going forward,” asked Suzanne Bradford, who moderated the event and represented the Brooks Fund. “It’s hard to reach out to all parts of our community, and it’s hard for people to get out of their cultural comfort zones. But if we share information, and have a common place like this, then we can all support each other.”

Groups represented at the evening included: The Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Human Relations Commission, Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Nashville in Harmony, Nashville Cares, Vanderbilt University’s vaccine trials program, Metro Nashville Softball Association, Nashville Pride, Prime Timers, Covenant of the Cross, Smoky Mountain Rodeo Association, Tennessee Vals and Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition.

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