Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nashville Pride Coverage: More acceptance but few protections

Claudio Pinto writes up Nashville Pride for the Tennessean this morning. The piece focuses on GLBT people--young and old--and their perceptions of how Nashville has changed.

But times have changed enough that Joshua Hargrove, 29, thinks being gay in Nashville today is no big deal."A couple of times, I've had people I work with tell me a story about a gay couple they know. And that's their way of saying, 'Hey, we know you're gay and we're OK with that,' " said Hargrove, who works in the Nashville public schools' IT department.

And I think that's largely true. I was glad, however, that the piece pointed out the state legislative framework in which even progressive Nashville exists:

Tennessee is still no bastion for gays and lesbians. They don't have the right to marry here, and there's no legal recourse for those who are fired because of their sexuality.

Exactly right. There are no employment protections in Tennessee based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Unless you work for the UT system, Metro Nashville Public Schools, a Tennessee Board of Regents school, a private employer who offers protections, or Shelby County government now, there are no protections. This is exactly why the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act is important and it's exactly why TEP is advocating an inclusive non-discrimination policy for Metro Nashville government employees. Getting employers to protect GLBT employees is basic to our economic security.

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