July 22, 2012
Contact: Chris Sanders
Tennessee Equality Project to honor Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Metro Nashville, and Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center at September Olympus event
Nashville, TN—The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), a statewide organization advocating equal rights for Tennessee’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, will honor Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, and the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center as Champions of Equality at Olympus, a benefit for TEP to be held at the Parthenon in Nashville on September 22 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Metro Nashville Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors will serve as honorary co-chair of TEP’s first gala event that celebrates the people and organizations helping to advance equality in Tennessee. “The 107th General Assembly presented significant challenges for our community, but we are still seeing important advances for equality in West, Middle, and East Tennessee. So we are bringing together all three grand divisions of our state to celebrate these champions of equality,” notes TEP president Chris Sanders.
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, who was elected in 2011, led the effort to pass a non-discrimination ordinance in April 2012 that protects Knoxville city government employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and ethnicity. Her efforts resulted in the first non-discrimination ordinance in Tennessee to pass unanimously. She was also the first Mayor of Knoxville to speak at Knoxville Pridefest in June.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County has adopted two inclusive non-discrimination ordinances—one in 2009 protecting Metro government employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and another in 2011 protecting employees of Metro contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Metropolitan Council additionally passed resolutions honoring high school students protesting the Don’t Say Gay bill and a resolution urging the Metro Law Department to file an amicus brief in the court challenge to HB600, which overturned Metro’s 2011 contractor non-discrimination ordinance. The administration of Mayor Karl Dean lobbied against HB600 and Mayor Dean urged the Senate State & Local Government Committee to repeal HB600 in March.
The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center was chartered in 1989 and provides vital programs and services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the Mid-South. The organization partners with local agencies to provide free HIV testing and offers several support groups for the community, particularly for youth. Among its most visible programs is the annual Outflix Film Festival that celebrates films presenting the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community in all its diversity. The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center consistently helps “build safer spaces within ourselves and in our community,” as their mission states.
Tickets for the event are $50 and tables are $500. Sponsorships are also available. Sponsors so far include Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Out & About Newspaper, and Inside Out Nashville. For more information about ticket sales, sponsorships, and other event details go to http://www.OlympusTEP.org .