Eric Gottlieb signed LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans via Rebecca Terrell 2016-12-17 12:47:36 -0600661 signatures
An open letter from Tennessee's LGBTQ community to our fellow Tennesseans
As members of the LGBTQ community, we write to our fellow Tennesseans a month after the election and a month before the upcoming state legislative session.
In recent weeks members of our community have experienced grave assaults on our safety and dignity. A gay, gender nonconforming man was murdered. A transgender woman’s car was burned. The signs and doors of a church that affirms our community have been vandalized. A gay couple received a package with a knife sticking out and a message attached urging them to leave the state.
These attacks upon individuals and institutions have put our lives and safety at even greater risk than usual. They contravene the welcoming traditions of hospitality for which Tennessee is known.
The time we have entered is critical. Many are calling for healing in the wake of a divisive election. Healing is difficult while fresh wounds are being inflicted such as discriminatory state legislation.
So we are speaking out for our safety, dignity, and equal rights under the law.
Our struggle is not against your values, unless you value discrimination. LGBTQ Tennesseans are your neighbors, your family members, your health care providers, firefighters, grocery clerks, teachers, elected officials, and we fill many other roles vital to the life of small towns and large cities. Many of us grew up and continue to be active in the same faith communities as you.
In the long story of our community’s struggles, we have relied on our own strength to sustain us. We have also experienced the joy of working with countless allies. Now is a time for allies to speak out with us and we invite people of good will throughout the state to build a stronger, inclusive, welcoming Tennessee to meet our state’s common challenges together.
If you share these values and priorities, we invite you to add your name to this letter.
$2,170.00 raisedGOAL: $2,000.00
An anonymous donor has offered us a $2000 challenge. Make your tax deductible investment in any amount to help us meet the challenge for National Coming Out Day. We will run the challenge until October 18.
Regardless of whether you can give, consider posting a National Coming Out Day video and tag us on Facebook or on Twitter. Let's show Tennessee the vibrancy and diversity of our community and allies.
Your contribution helps fund educational programs around the state. For example, in November we are offering training sessions for clergy throughout Tennessee to help them advocate more effectively for the LGBT community.Donate
$5,195.00 raisedGOAL: $4,000.00
Generous anonymous donors have come forward and offered to match all donations to the TEP Foundation between NOW and 11:59 p.m. Central Time on December 31! That means that your gift is doubled and your impact for advancing equality in Tennessee is doubled.
C A N W E M A T C H O U R M O M E N T ?
Matching Our Moment...Marriage equality is on its way to Tennessee, but what happens when a lesbian working at a company with no non-discrimination policy puts a picture of her wife on her desk? We've made progress in our cities, but too often hate violence erupts in the very cities where we've passed non-discrimination ordinances and partner benefits. And while the adults start to get legal protections, LGBT students in Tennessee are left behind--bullied at schools and in some cases driven out of their homes by parents who refuse to accept them because their minds have taken in hateful messages.
Our Moment is one of opposition, one of need, and most of all, one of opportunity. Can we match our moment?
Your tax deductible contribution to the TEP Foundation by December 31 helps us do just that. You can give online or send your dated check in a post-marked envelope to P.O. Box 330895 Nashville, TN 37203.
Matching Our Opposition: We face two kinds of opposition in Tennessee. There is the very well-funded public arm of opposition in the form of far Right lobbying groups that seek to promote a culture of fear and intolerance in congregations, in the media, and in our Legislature. And then there is more diffused kind of opposition--a sermon that seems to come from out of nowhere, an outrageous remark by a county commissioner, or a store that refuses to serve a transgender person. The TEP Foundation's programs through diversity training, media engagement, and Equality Means Business help shape Tennessee's culture with the values of equality and inclusion. When you invest in equality in Tennessee, you give us a fighting chance against the opposition.
Matching Our Need: The data on bullying in our schools tells the story. The Tennessee Department of Education revealed there were over 5400 confirmed cases of bullying in Tennessee schools in 2012. National data consistently shows Southern states are underfunded by significant percentages. LGBT people and our allies need victories, however small, and we need hope so that victories can grow. TEP Foundation programs like SAFE (Schools Are For Everyone) Tennessee assist GSAs, help communities deal with bullying, and help citizens engage their school boards with solutions.
Matching Our Opportunity: Potential allies are all around us. Meaningful victories are within reach. How we handle the first days of marriage equality in Tennessee can set the stage for a safer, more inclusive Tennessee for all of us. When you support TEP Foundation programs like Tennessee Ready for Marriage on DAY ONE and Equality Means Business you give allies concrete ways to show their support and grow the movement. We are grateful for your support.Donate
Learn more about the issue and consider signing the petition to add your voice to this call to action.87 signatures
This week the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is holding a conference in Nashville on marriage, sexuality, and gender. Add your voice to urge them to consider the impact of their teachings on violence against LGBT people and LGBT youth homelessness. According to national estimates, up to 40% of the youth homeless population is LGBT. Many of those youth were turned out of their homes because of certain kinds of religious bias. We believe that rather than holding conferences on how to preserve marriage discrimination, the Southern Baptist Convention's leadership should begin to address the ways in which their teachings contribute to harms to LGBT people.
TEP joined OutCentral and Vanderbilt Divinity School in organizing a protest of the event outside the Opryland Hotel. TTPC and PFLAG also participated. Your voice can help highlight needed changes in the Southern Baptist Convention's approach.