In the spring and summer of 2009 I took on a related issue of discrimination, for a class which is often discriminated against but which had absolutely no legal protection anywhere in Tennessee. I worked with the Tennessee Equality Project, a local gay rights group, to pass an ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status. The topic was a controversial one, but one which I strongly believed in, so I held my ground. While some criticized the measure, even more people, gay and straight, black and white, clergy of both races, turned out in support.
Ultimately, a compromise Resolution passed which banned all forms of discrimination, and Commissioners made comments on the record to ensure that it was clear that it would protect the GLBT community.While I was disappointed that we had to settle for “watered-down” language, I was also pleased that, for the first time ever in Tennessee, a government body made clear that it would not allow discrimination against the GLBT community. This addresses a real problem in Shelby County.