Contemporary Expression

Equality Day on the Hill in Tennessee

As a founding member of TEP and a board member of the TEP Foundation I am proud of the great work accomplished by a growing crowd of friends and family to work toward full equality in Tennessee for all its citizens.

The mission of TEP is to promote and sustain the equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons in the state of Tennessee through the establishment of fair and equitable laws protecting these rights and the elimination of laws that would seek to counter this effort. Equality is meant to include the protection of human and civil rights and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination.

Today is Equality Day on the Hill. Hundreds of supporters from across the state will be speaking with their legislators today to let them know that we are not silent, we do vote, and we demand fairness.

Our goals are to promote equality throughout Tennessee and to serve as advocates of change by:

  • fighting any legislation in the State of Tennessee that would endanger the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizens
  • actively pursuing measures that would provide protection for the GLBT community at both the state and local levels
  • educating citizens on the importance of lobbying their elected officials
  • providing the resources and training to assist through statewide initiatives

There are several bills to keep eyes on by this one is gathering the most heat:

SB 3910 and HB 3713
Persons living together prohibited from adopting children.Prohibits any individual who is cohabitating in a sexual relationship outside of a marriage that is valid under the constitution and laws of this state from adopting a minor. Clarifies that this prohibition includes both cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex individuals. (S: Stanley; H: DeBerry J.)

Joan and I can’t think of more mean spirited thing to do. The state of TN now allows single parent adoption and recent nation wide statistics indicate that 33% of lesbian couples and 25% of gay male couples have a child in the home. This bill may have as fiscal note of nearly 4 million dollars in costs to the state of TN.

Let me give you an example that I plan to share with Sen. Haynes today on the hill. My niece has been very ill, her husband is in the Air Force. They are both together and getting well on an air base with my beautiful niece’s 4 year old. If something were to go tragic and this child left for Joan and I to care for, this law would not allow me to adopt my own family. Joan will be together 21 years this spring, she has 25 years in early child care development and because of our loving relationship, this child, my own family, would not be allowed to share our home. I don’t expect the worst. That Air Force family will be fine. However, you have to plan as a responsible adult and prohibiting our right to adopt is something we are not willing to accept.

TEP is planning too – every day. Make a Donation to the Work Here

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Reflections from MILK

7.7.08 watercolor by Nancy VanReece (c) 2008 Contemporary Expression, a div. of Carpe Diem Copyright Management

I have been profoundly moved by a story. It’s not someone else’s story. It’s my own. Reflecting on life has been literally blinding for me lately.

“Am I doing the greatest amount of good?”- This question was raised recently and it rang loudly. Am I, in this new dawn of hope and hard work, where I need to be? Am I using the talent, creative skill and knowledge I have accumulated for what matters most to my family? My objective is to find a new beginning that embraces the truth that the Grand Canyon was not built with a giant tsunami but rather a river, rushing on as rivers do.

Why is any single story story relevant? What can one person do? What is it that must be done? What is it than can be done today? There are so many of us in Nashville, TN that have worked so very hard to make this a city that we want to live in, a place where we can be proud of our unique and diverse backgrounds, cultures and core values. Like any city, we citizens want great schools, clean streets, green spaces, good jobs and fantastic art to motivate us further.

I really believe that we are at the dawn of individuals rising up to understand that their story is part of that rushing river. We need everyone to do what they can do each and everyday to move the water. It’s not just another gay story, or a civil rights struggle or a cry for simple dignity, it’s a human story. It’s our story, our struggle, our cry.

To Do List:
1. Learn more about your local government at this link . Make it your New Year’s Resolution to get to know more of your county or city officials in 2009. Prepare the way for progress in your community.
2. Join one of the TEP our county committees. They are throughout the State. If you would like to get involved with the committee closest to you or start one in your county, contact .

You can not live on HOPE alone, but you can not live without it. And you, and you and you, have got to give them HOPE” – Harvey Milk

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What do we want?

Nashville came out in the cold drizzle to join dozens of other cities around the country for a demonstration.
What were we demonstrating? Support for each other, righteous indignation? Yes. But most off all, we were demonstrating solidarity.
It’s one thing to live in a state such as Tennessee that forbids the equal right of marriage to all of its citizens, that’s a a battle lost in 2006 that still stings. It is a whole other thing to remove rights already in place. That’s what Prop 8 in California did and today, in solidarity the people that it effected were a single voice.

Gay and straight, married, single, black, white and brown, over 250,000 strong according to pledges across the country, today at 12:30pm central time, 1:30 eastern and 10:30am west — We all with one voice said: What do we want? Equality. When do we want it? Now. (click to see video)

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THE ART FILES: Art Sales at KC Potter Opening to Benefit TEP Foundation

I am happy to announce that a dozen works of art compiled as “Recent Memories” will be on display at the KC Potter Center at Vanderbilt University
October 20 -December 19, 2008
Reception and Grand Opening of the center is October 24, 4:30-6 pm.
All Vanderbilt Faculty and Students may receive at 20% discount on the artwork or choose to apply the discount as a donation to the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation.
Winter Walk 20 x20 acrylic on canvas (c) 2008 Contemporary Expression Used by permission. All Rights Reserved
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Guest Blog on Grand Divisions
July 21, 2008, 2:58 pm
Filed under: Coming Out, Equality, Pride, TEP

Read my guest blog from Saturday July 19,2008

June 13, 2007, 4:53 pm
Filed under: community building, Equality, outandabout newspaper, TEP

Okay – I’m the first to say that I’m a lucky girl. Joan does the grocery shopping. In fact, she prepares menus, creates the list and does the shopping. I DO help cook the food but she’s my domestic goddess. Make no mistake, we don’t exactly love Kroger anyway. Most of the stores in our area are simply not clean and very creepy.

As part of the campaign we decide to switch to Publix and, although the bill was higher, the experience was worth it. I may not go into a grocery store very often but when Joanie and I went last week to get things for a dinner party we were very happy about it. The Publix in Goodlettsville was great. When we checked out the store manager came up and said “We sure appreciate you!”..okay, did we look that obvious …

As a columnist for O&A I guess I’m passionate about the campaign but geeze, as a consumer. I don’t think we can ever go back to Kroger.

I wish we could afford Plumgood, turnip Truck and Wild Oats fore everything, but we can’t. So.. it’s Publix for the VanReeece’s.. I may even drop off the latest issue for the manger to look at.

*photo taken by my mom n a vist to a grocery store in China

Save-Your-Receipt Campaign Facts

To show our community’s economic impact and to convince Kroger and Harris Teeter to continue carrying Out & About Newspaper.

What you can do
Save your grocery and gas receipts from any store except Kroger and Harris Teeter now through Sunday, June 17

How you can submit receipts
Fax them to (615) 262-3167
Scan them, turn them into pdf files, and email them to

Drop them off at any of the following locations:
First Unitarian Universalist located at 1808 Woodmont Blvd in Nashville. Call (615) 383-5760 for office hours
OutLoud! located at 1703 Church Street in Nashville Sun-Thu from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Fri-Sat 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Tribe located at 1517 Church Street in Nashville during regular business hours
Lucky’s Garage located at 207 14th Ave. North in Nashville during regular business hours
Blue Gene’s located at 1715 Church Street in Nashville during regular business hours

What groups endorse the campaign?
Tennessee Equality Project, Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Human Rights Campaign steering committee, Nashville Pride

VanReece’s on CNN

Yes – that was us on CNN
A very personal debate
Same-sex marriage issue is close to home for Tennessee couple
By John King CNN
Tuesday, June 6, 2006; Posted: 7:32 a.m. EDT

The CNN crew was fair and kind during their visit. We talked about so many things, including fairness in taxation, but I guess it should be of no surprise that they took the religion angle. If this is the story then why doesn’t the media debate the separation of church and state as it relates to current issues?

The Church Street Freedom Press Story Tells More about How this all happened
and see the story the the
Human Rights Campaign Foundation Site
To read more about why this issue matters please visit