Out & About Nashville contributors, as well as a number of community leaders, offer their Top 10 best things (and one list of worst things) about 2014. Read here the opinions of the writers and community members who make O&AN, and all of gay Nashville, tick.
Lisa Howe, Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce
TOP 5 LGBT CHAMBER MOMENTS OF 2014
5. Reached highest membership – over 210
4. Seven members score 100 on HRC Corporate Equality Index – Dell, Deloitte, MassMutual, MItchell Gold + Bob Williams, Nationwide, Nissan, & UBS
3. (tie) Referrals within the LGBT Chamber lead to job creation, office space expansion, and economic growth.
3. (tie) Excellence in Business Awards – an inspirational gathering of the LGBT and allied business community at a professional lunch
2. LGBT business owners invited to Cracker Barrel's 2nd annual Meet the Buyer for their supplier diversity initiative for their retail stores.
1. TASTE – Over 300 guests enjoyed delicious food, a variety of musical entertainment, creative cocktails, and the museum at the Musicians Hall of Fame at the LGBT Chamber's most successful fundraising event.
TOP 10 ATHLETES TO COME OUT IN 2014
One hundred nine people came out publicly in sports in 2014. Here are my Top 10 who I think could have the most impact.
10. Dale Scott – umpire, Major League Baseball
9. Haley Videckis & Layana White – women's basketball, Pepperdine University
8. Thomas Hitzlsperger – soccer, Germany
7. Matt Dooley – tennis, University of Notre Dame
6. Glory Johnson – basketball, WNBA (former UT Lady Vol)
5. Eric Lueschen – football, University of Nebraska
4. Drew Martin – Assistant Athletic Director, Texas Christian University
3. Derrick Gordon – basketball, UMass
2. Ian Thorpe – Olympic swimmer, Australia
1. Michael Sam – football, University of Missouri (unsigned in NFL)
Marisa Richmond, Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
TOP 10 TRANSGENDER MOMENTS OF 2014
10. Laverne Cox Becomes the First Openly Trans Nominee for an Emmy Award
9. Smithsonian Institution accepts several artifacts from transgender history. They include Renee Richards' Tennis Racquet, a Transgender Flag, and a full set of Democratic National Convention Transgender Delegate buttons.
8. Dr. Marissa Levine became the first openly trans person to become a State Cabinet member when she was appointed to be Virginia Commissioner of Health
6. USA Today published an interview with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James about the current ban on transgender troops in the military.
5. Maryland adopted the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014. This made Maryland only the 18th state to ban employment discrimination against all people, and the only state to do so in 2014.
4. The transgender rights movement is the cover story in Time Magazine
3. The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released new guidance describing the responsibilities of colleges, universities and public schools to address sexual violence and other forms of sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The guidelines, “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence”, further clarifies and expands the requirements of Title IX. The guidance can also be found at NotAlone.gov.
A related “Know Your Rights” document is available in English here.
2. President Obama issued an Executive Order banning discrimination in hiring and promotion of all LGBT workers among Federal Contractors.
1. In May, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Departmental Appeals Board issued a ruling that ended a ban on transgender care in Medicare.
Two weeks later, in early June, the Office of Personnel Management lifted a similar ban on Federal Employee Insurance Coverage Of Sex-Reassignment Surgery
Amy E. Hall
TOP 10 SONGS OF 2014 (in alphabetical order, by artist)
1. Magic — Coldplay
2. Strut — Lenny Kravitz
3. Body Love Part 2 — Mary Lambert
4. New Year's Song — Over the Rhine
5. Uptown Funk — Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
6. Lay Me Down — Sam Smith
7. Shake It Off — Taylor Swift
8. All About That Bass — Meghan Trainor
9. Happy — Pharrell Williams
10. No Ordinary Love — You + Me
Gary Bradshaw, Rise&Grindr
TOP 10 DATING APPS FOR GAY MEN
10. Mister: I understand this is a specific kind of app for men seeking a very specific type of guy, but being too focused on guys looking to be submissive or vice versa in a small gay market like Nashville leaves very little to choose from. Trust me, you'll waste your time with this one.
9. Distinc.tt: It’s states that it’s the only gay dating app on iTunes approved for those 12 and up. Which clearly differentiates it from the other best gay dating apps and focuses more on socializing. Considering most of the gay men's one-track minds in this city, I'd caution men to proceed with this one.
8. Jack'd: Advertised as "the fastest growing gay app in the world", this one tends to have crash problems and, while it's filter options allow you to find "Mr. Right," it lacks in localized options. Call me crazy, but I'm not interested in carrying on broken conversation or dating you if your primary residence is Thailand.
7. Manhunt: This app lets you to browse through Manhunt’s over 4 million gay, bi or curious men and allows you to easily transition from their website to app and back, but for something more localized there are better options below.
6. Growlr: There's something for everyone in the online dating world. And if your thing is bears, cubs or otters (not the actual animals), than this app is for you. It's not exactly my thing, but I promise no bears were harmed in the compiling of this list.
5. Hornet: The sophisticated filter features of this app are a gay man's dream, unfortunately Nashville men have yet to get acquainted with this download and the options for your late-night hook up or happy hour date are scarce.
4. Tinder: Tinder is more of a fun experiment than a legitimate dating option. Profiles are rarely looked at and users are judged – and matched – purely on appearance. While it's not necessarily the best option to find a date, it can be quite exhilarating when you're matched with a local hottie.
3. Grindr: Although it lacks in many features in both the free and premium versions, Grindr is still the most used among the gay community, making it the easiest place to find quantity, although not necessarily quality.
2. Scruff: Although the app tends to skew more sexual, Scruff allows users to post public and private photos and a more detailed profile. Something where the more widely used, Grindr, falls short.
1. OkCupid: Finally an app for everyone where gays are welcomed with open arms (can you say equality?). OkCupid offers users to upload multiple photos and lengthy profiles, so browsers have a better chance to get beyond the appearance and into a real, dare I say, conversation that could lead to drinks rather than the bedroom.
TOP 10 TV SHOWS THAT KEPT ME WATCHING IN 2014
10. Nashville (ABC) – As a Nashville resident, I must keep tuned in simply to hope Luke or Jeff eventually get hit by the first Amp bus to hit the streets. Bonus if Layla or Rayna are on the bus.
9. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – Now, before you all start rolling your eyes, I will admit they have been reaching for plotlines this season. But Miayim Bialik as “Amy Farrah Fowler” is one of the funniest characters on TV and watching her is worth the writers scrambling to keep the show afloat.
8. Reign (WB)- Reign is truly a guilty pleasure simply because it is based VERY LOOSELY on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. In the WB’s world, a show about this Queen Mary has obviously inaccurate costumes, characters and storylines, but staring at Torrance Coombs (as Bash) and Toby Regbo (as King Francis) for an hour is so worth it all.
7. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (FOX) – Just watching this show makes me feel smart. It is exceedingly interesting and is like a more enjoyable, thought-provoking and innovative high school science lesson.
6. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central) – Jon Stewart is one of the most brilliant minds on television and his show continues to prove that they can be insanely funny while factually reporting the news.
5. Almost Royal (BBC America)- This show debuted in 2014 and is one of the funniest new programs on television. Two fish out of water wealthy Brits are making their way across the United States running into more social and economic awkwardness than ever thought possible. Even better- they shot an episode in Nashville and made a music video. Search for it online. You can thank me later.
4. Orphan Black (BBC America)- I sometimes feel this show is still one of the best kept secrets on television, despite the fact that lead actress Tatiana Maslany keeps racking up Golden Globe and Emmy nominations every year. It certainly dabbles in the science fiction, but that is secondary compared to the fast-paced plot and quick-changing storyline.
3. Downton Abbey (PBS) – I will admit I had my doubts about this show after the loss of Matthew, but they have managed to keep it interesting and keeping us unapologetic Anglophiles satisfied. And you can’t ever go wrong with giving proper English smart-ass lines to Dame Maggie Smith.
2. Game of Thrones (HBO) – Who isn’t watching this show is the real question. And it is true what they say about getting attached to a character. Just when you begin to love them, they will be killed off in a more brutal manner than your previous favorite.
1. Homeland (Showtime) – This show, despite the loss of that yummy Damien Lewis, continues to keep me on the edge of my seat. No wonder its President Obama’s favorite show and Prince William has admitted he and the Duchess of Cambridge love to keep up with it, as well.
TOP 10 THINGS THAT SHOULD HAPPEN TO NASHVILLE’S “SCARLETT” TO MAKE HER CHARACTER MORE INTERESTING
10. After three years of solid working out and weight gain, Scarlett tries out for the Predators and becomes one of the first women to play professional hockey on the NHL level. She obviously will play goalie.
9. Scarlett decides to gain back the success she once had and teams up with Zoey to become the biggest duo since The Judds, calling themselves “Scarey.”
8. She becomes a popular moustache and beard stylist at a high end salon in the Gulch.
7. She begins a search, travelling the world to find her childhood Brady Bunch lunchbox.
6. She rushes to Luke’s side to comfort him after his split with Rayna. She immediately dies her hair red, starts dressing like Reba McEntire and changes her name to Scayna.
5. Trying to shake up her life, Scarlett decides to become a Titans cheerleader and begins dating whichever Titans quarterback isn’t on the injured list.
4. She gets a DNA test and learns she isn’t actually human. She is the product of a sunflower and pot of cookie dough that mated.
3. She gets selective mutism where she isn’t able to talk, but always able to sing.
2. Scarlett wakes up one day to discover she is hungry. She heads to pancake pantry every morning for the next year and finally puts the weight back on that she had in season one and begins to look like a healthy, young lady again.
1. She moves to Australia as a special music ambassador for 10 straight years. While she is there, she adopts an Australian accent, so actress Clare Bowen, who is a native Aussie, can use her real accent instead of using that pitiful southern accent she has failed to perfect.
TOP 5 THINGS I’D LIKE TO HAPPEN IN NASHVILLE IN 2015
5. Mayor Karl Dean begins to prepare his for Tennessee governor run in 2018.
4. The Titans and Commodores both have winning seasons.
3. As the job market and economy continue to rebound, we hope the music business will follow suit and fill up some of the numerous empty buildings on Music Row.
2. The businesses on Church Street continue to grow and thrive and the crime in the area decreases.
1. A New Years miracle occurs and every driver in the greater Nashville area learns to use their turn signal.
Chris Sanders, Tennessee Equality Project
TOP 10 MOMENTS OF 2014 (in no particular order)
1. Passage of the Metro Nashville partner benefits bill.
2. Defeat of the Turn the Gay Away bill in the Legislature and the defeat of the bill designed to punish Vanderbilt for its all-comers non-discrimination policy for clubs and activities.
3. President Obama's executive order on non-discrimination protections for employees of federal contractors.
4. Tennessee elected officials coming out for marriage equality.
5. The defeat of Senator Campfield in his primary race.
6. More gay country performers coming out.
7. Nashville Pride holding the festival at Public Square…a very good move
8. The failure of social conservatives to recall openly gay Chattanooga Councilman Chris Anderson.
9. The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center turning 25, a symbol and a reality of our community's endurance.
10. The turnaround at Mint Springs Farm.
TOP 10 WORST MOMENTS OF 2014 (again in no particular order)
1. The murders of transgender women in Tennessee
2. Hate crimes like the one in Chattanooga and the one in Knoxville
3. The voter repeal of Chattanooga's partner benefits and non-discrimination ordinance.
4. The 6th Circuit's marriage ruling
5. The continued failure of the Rutherford County Board of Education to advance an inclusive anti-bullying policy.
6. The failure of the Legislature to advance the Dignity for All Students Act\
7. The failure of the Congress to pass ENDA.
8. The anti-gay billboard in Portland, TN.
9. The ongoing bullying of thousands of LGBT students in Tennessee schools
10. The domestic violence rates for our community in Tennessee remain high despite a drop in domestic violence in the general population, according to the latest TBI report.
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2014
10. Platinum – Miranda Lambert
9. Standing in the Breach – Jackson Browne
8. The Outsiders – Eric Church
7. Holiday Wishes – Idina Menzel. I don't normally like holiday albums but I love this one.
6. 36cents – The Bacon Brothers
5. High Hopes – High Hopes. It's Bruce Springsteen…enough said.
4. Set Me Free – Jennifer Knapp
3. Going to Hell – The Pretty Reckless. This album reminds me of an old school Joan Jett.
2. That Girl – Jennifer Nettles. She broke away from Sugarland to record this album and it is a great solo album.
1. Trouble and Love – Mary Gauthier. This is my favorite album for this year. This album grabs you with the opening song and keeps you listening until the last note. It's a true work of art.
TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2014
10. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee. This is my favorite book of all time so it's on the list no matter how old it is.
9. The Hour of Peril – Daniel Stashower.
8. The First Phone Call From Heaven – Mitch Albom. This book came out in paperback this year. I loved this book. It made me think and I ran the gamut of emotions in doing so.
7. So, Anyway – John Cleese
6. Food: A Love Story – Jim Gaffigan
5. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand. I can't wait to see the movie. The book is fantastic. It's an unbelievable story.
4. Haunted – Kay Hooper
3. The 9th Girl – Tami Hoag
2. Yes Please – Amy Poehler
1. Flesh and Blood – Patricia Cornwell. She has not failed to entertain since book one.
TOP 10 TV SHOWS OF 2014
10. Once Upon a Time
8. Somebody's Gotta Do It
6. American Horror Story – Freak Show
4. Orange is the New Black
3. The Walking Dead
1. The Big Bang Theory
TOP 10 BEST THINGS ABOUT NASHVILLE IN 2014
Mayor Karl Dean
Main Branch of the Nashville Public Library
Music City Central (for all of us bus riders.)
The Ryman Auditorium
The Farmers' Market