Church Street Freedom Press
"Nashville is turning into a more tolerant and interesting place to live, and papers like
Freedom Press can help lead the way."
- Nashville Scene
World AIDS Day
Local events include a Quilt Panel display in Dickson and a
Town Hall Meeting, and will push decision makers to deal with the needs of a growing HIV / AIDS population.
Interview with The Lady Chablis
The Star of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is onstage at Play on Friday and in person at the GLBT Life & Business Expo at the Cannery on Saturday
Co-founder of the NGLCC speaks with Freedom Press
With Chance Mitchell, Justin Nelson founded the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in 2002. When CSFP talked with Nelson on Monday of this week, he reflected on that beginning, and all that’s happened since.
The Dynamic Josh Estrin
The author, radio talk show host, success coach and “anti-expert” comes to the GLBT Life & Business Expo this Saturday
Team Nashville Gears Up For Gay Games VII
In 1982, Dr. Tom Waddell beget a vision. A 1968 Olympian, Waddell foresaw a sporting event free of homophobia. Twenty-four years after Waddell’s dream became a reality, Chicago will host Gay Games VII from July 15 – 22.
Artrageous 18 Bound
Photos from one of the largest fundraising events of the year.
|NEWS / BUSINESS
|Frogs serve in the fight against HIV
According to the Vanderbilt School of Medicine’s Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology Tropical Frogs Provide WMD’s—“ Weapons of Membrane Destruction”—in Fight Against AIDS
|State NOW Convention Held Nov. 18 and 19
VP Melody Drnach and the South’s First Openly Gay State Representative, Karla Drenner, to Speak
LOCAL NEWS UPDATES
> East Nashville Murder Investigation Continues
> 7th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance
> Activist for Gays to Speak at Glendale Baptist
> Interrante Named CEO of the Year
>LGBT Youth Organization Forming in Clarksville
> The Source Saga Ends in Bankruptcy
|ENTERTAINMENT / EVENTS
Halloween weekend was crazy. Check out what was happening at the clubs.
Buchanan wins Mr. Esquire title
Atlanta’s Serigo Buchanan was named Mr. Esquire 2005 at last weekend’s annual pageant
|Show Us Your Clydesdale!
Rob Sikorski Named Mr. Bud Light Nashville 2005
|SEEN OUT — Event Photos
The exclusive Host Party for the upcoming event was a wonderful evening of mixing and mingling
The HRC's Wild West Showdown
This past Friday was packed full of foot-stomping fun and excitment. Click on the link above to check out pictures from this exciting event.
Pictures from this year's AIDS Walk
It was a chilly day, but Katey Mattea and Tara Burns came out with they thousands of other walkers for this year's Nashville Cares fundraiser
Photos from Boy George at Play
The energy was high and DJ Boy George rocked a packed house Thursday night at Play.
|I Married my Drug Dealer
Charlotte and Trina met through drug sales and rehab, got clean and then got married, and now work together Mending Hearts for women in recovery.
Small moments that point to big changes
By Joyce Arnold PhD
Come Out, Come Out, Where Ever You Are
By Michael Bassham
SHUT UP, I'M TALKING HERE
Rainy Days and Tuesday’s in November Always Bring Me Down
By Michael Bach
Ignorance is Bliss
By David W. Shelton
That’s What Friends Are For
By Phil Michal Thomas
A Hooker's Dream
By Brian Copeland
Secrets to Mind Blowing Sex
By Lisa Beavers
When Love Hurts
Domestic Violence Still Hidden in Many Same-Sex Relationships
“Dennis” was 22 when he got involved with “Alex.” Fun, caring, and into Cuban cooking, Alex seemed like Mr. Right. But four months into the relationship, Alex’s demons emerged when he showed up hours late to take Dennis to a party. Dennis commented that it was probably too late to go. Alex slapped Dennis and pushed him over a chair only to immediately apologize. He then cooked him dinner. Dennis’ chest still hurt the next morning; Alex had cracked his ribs. Dennis didn’t tell the doctor his partner had caused it. Regardless of Alex’s continued blow-ups, Dennis kept thinking that he could help him.
The two moved in together but things only got worse. Alex pushed Dennis down a flight of stairs, breaking his jaw in two places. He would try to force Dennis to have sex with him and if Dennis refused, he would beat him. In one instance, Alex ruptured Dennis’ spleen and in another, he beat him so badly that his intestines tore open. Dennis was in constant pain and fear. He lost his job because he missed so much work and Alex became the primary breadwinner, further keeping Dennis dependant on him. Finally, Dennis got up the courage to move to another state to live with his parents and get on his feet again. He still needs medication to deal with the pain of his injuries. And even after a total of 82 days in the hospital, no medical personnel ever asked Dennis if he was the victim of domestic violence (DV). Even Dennis never made the leap of logic that he, as a gay man, could be a victim. Consequently, he never thought to ask for help.
“Laura” was 28 when she got involved with “Nancy.” Because Laura was in graduate school and her lease was up, she agreed to live through the spring and summer with Nancy. Within three months, Nancy was belittling Laura’s family and friends, which made Laura uncomfortable. She made phone calls from work, to avoid Nancy’s questions. She stopped going out with her friends, even stopped going to movies unless Nancy came with her, and avoided talking about Nancy with her family, which caused her further stress.
Five months into the relationship, Laura helped a friend move something from her office to her house while Nancy was at work. When she returned home, Nancy was furious and accused Laura of having an affair. Screaming obscenities and throwing objects around the house, Nancy then spit in Laura’s face. Laura threatened to leave and Nancy began crying and told her “she didn’t want to lose her.” After another four months of “walking on eggshells,” Laura voiced relief when Nancy started having an affair. “Sad, huh? That you’re glad your girlfriend is having an affair. It distracted her and I moved in with friends.” Still, she was plagued with hang-up calls for another three months. “It was hell,” Laura said. “Here I was, an educated, middle-class woman from a family with no history of abuse or violence and I ended up in a relationship that was clearly abusive. On some level I thought I could help her. What I realized was that my safety was the most important thing in that instance. I also realized that anyone can become trapped in an abusive relationship.”
According to a 2000 study conducted by community-based anti-violence organizations in nine regions throughout the U.S., rates of violence in GLBT partnerships mirror rates in heterosexual relationships. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) discovered that of reported incidents, roughly 15-20 percent of gay male relationships become embroiled in domestic violence. Studies since 1980 suggest that almost half of women surveyed who identify as lesbian have been abused by a female partner. And the Portland, Oregon-based Survivor Project’s 1998 Gender, Violence, and Resource Access survey of intersex and transgender individuals found that roughly half had been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner. The NCAVP calls domestic violence the third-most severe health problem facing gay men today.
Elizabeth Slagle-Todaro is the Director of Outreach Services at the YWCA in Nashville. In a long interview with Freedom Press, she explained that 1 in 3 women will report being abused at the hands of a partner during their lifetimes. She is quick to point out that this number tends to skew toward heterosexual women, but notes that studies suggest numbers are concurrent in GLBT relationships.
Since 1979, the YW has helped thousands of women and children find healing and safety through its domestic violence services. Women who leave an abusive relationship have access to an emergency shelter where they can get counseling, life skills support, healthcare, legal advocacy, job search help, and case management. Children have access to their own program that helps with coping and communication skills. “One of the things that many people don’t understand,” Slagle-Todaro says, “is that domestic violence is not just about physical abuse. It can include emotional and psychological elements that are just as damaging as physical violence.” For these reasons, she notes, “some people may not realize that they are, in fact, in an abusive relationship with someone because their partner doesn’t physically harm them.” Also, she says, “there are times in the relationship that are very good. And the victim may genuinely love her partner and vice versa. The partner may be very caring and loving at other times. But a healthy relationship does not have the constant threat of a ‘blow-up’ hanging over it.”
She lists abusive and controlling patterns of behavior in which your partner might engage that are part of a cycle of domestic violence: embarrassing you with bad names or put-downs; controls what you do, who you see or talk to, and where you go (“checking in” all the time); makes all the decisions; tries to control money in the relationship; always seems to know what’s best for you; withholds affection or punishes you with a “silent treatment”; withholds your medications or puts you in situations that endanger your health; breaks or steals your things; becomes jealous, sick, or needy when you try to spend time away or with family and friends; tells you you’re a bad parent or threatens to hurt your children; wakes you up in the middle of the night to argue with you; intimidates you with weapons; threatens to kill him/herself; threatens to kill you; hurts or threatens to hurt your pets.
She points out that GLBT relationships caught up in a cycle of DV share many of these characteristics with heterosexual partnerships, including forced sex, but there are some unique concerns. For example, your partner may threaten to out you to your family or at work or may threaten to disclose your HIV status. “Because of homophobia in larger segments of society -- especially in some regions of the country – and a lack of social services and resources,” Slagle-Todaro says, “threats like these are frightening to GLBT victims of DV.”
Indeed, DV in GLBT relationships has not been examined with anything near the thoroughness that heterosexual partnerships have. The NCAVP acknowledges the unique role of gender inequality in DV, but does not believe that the former is intrinsic to the latter. In other words, power differentials can be expressed through economic sufficiency, class, race/ethnicity, education, social background, and health status. It’s important to realize that DV always stems from a power differential. Other reasons that DV in GLBT relationships remains a problem include a widespread belief that DV simply doesn’t occur in these partnerships. Other problems include poor or inconsistent law enforcement response and homophobia among officers. GLBT people have no access to family courts so most DV cases for them are adjudicated in criminal courts, which are not set up like family courts are. There’s a decided lack of accessible and sensitive services, especially for gay men and transgendered individuals, since most facilities deal with heterosexual violence and are thus geared toward women.
On a recent visit to the local shelter, I asked Outreach Director Slagle-Todaro whether she saw many lesbians utilizing the YW’s services. She said that the YW makes it a point to use GLBT-inclusive language in its publications, information packets, and presentations, regardless of whether the audience might find that offensive. She also said that yes, lesbians do use the services and shelter; there’s a wing for women without children and a wing for women with children. With regard to gay men or abused heterosexual men (roughly 4-5 percent of heterosexual DV cases), Slagle-Todaro expresses some frustration because there aren’t as many resources for them and that’s part of why GLBT DV is such a well-kept secret. Most of the services are geared toward heterosexual women. She sees this changing, however, as organizations like the YW seek to educate the public about the full range of DV in our society.
I then ask her about resources for people who realize that they are abusing their partners. She said that batterers are welcome to call the crisis line and the YW will refer them to a certified batterers’ intervention program. She notes that “anger management” classes are inappropriate for men and women who batter because DV is not about anger. DV is about power and control and batterers, like victims, need to understand that and take responsibility for their actions so that they, too, can heal. “We don’t judge,” she said. “Anyone who recognizes their role in a cycle of violence at home can get help and we’re here to provide that help or refer them to someone who can.”
The program at the shelter is 90 days, with the goal to get women on their feet and into transitional housing or other safe, sustainable living options. The shelter itself is clean, quiet, and includes play facilities for children and lounge/work areas for the women. It’s bright and feels safe. I heard children laughing and playing and the women I spoke with seemed happy to be there. Slagle-Todaro says that sometimes the shelter is fuller than at other times and that there really is no particular “season of violence.” If the facility is full and someone calls needing assistance, “we are on the phone immediately to find them a safe space. When someone finally decides to leave an abusive relationship, that can be a very dangerous time for them, which is why it is so important that we have a network of other resources in place to help.” I ask her if she ever feels burned out. She leans back and sighs, then smiles. “I have good days and bad days, like anyone else. But I love what I do. It’s important that people know that we’re here and we can help and that GLBT people are welcome here as well.”
Freedom Press Publishing is making some changes. While those changes include several new publications for the Nashville LGBT community, it will bring to a close the publishing of the newsweekly Church Street Freedom Press. While we feel CSFP is important to the Nashville LGBT community, it has become increasingly more difficult, with such a small staff, to keep up with the demands of a professional current events, entertainment and news publication on a weekly basis. Freedom Press Publishing has always prided itself on the quality of its publications, and is making certain changes in order to meet the needs of the Nashville LGBT community, and keep the quality of the publications that we do at a top notch, professional degree.
That being said, on January 18, 2007 (next week) Freedom Press Publishing will publish the final issue of Church Street Freedom Press until such time that funding comes available, or investment capitol is found, to support a full time staff for the weekly endeavor. Our website, www.churchstreetfreedompress.com, will still include local news stories, updates, events and our regular op/ed pieces.
While this is sad news on some levels, we are looking at the changes we will make in the upcoming year as a positive move for Freedom Press Publishing as a whole. Taking a look at 2007, Freedom Press has some familiar and some new publications scheduled.
First up will be the 2007 Diversity Resource Guidewhich has been rescheduled from it’s original date of January 2007 to February 2007. The change in date of the publication is due simply to the fact it was not possible to contact everyone who had expressed interest in the guide before the holidays, and we missed our print date. We did not want to have a guide that was incomplete, so we have rescheduled. It was a staffing problem on our part. We, unfortunately, did not have proper sales staff in line to handle the demand the guide created and things bottlenecked at the holidays. While, as a publisher, I hate to miss a deadline, the guide itself this year will be better for it.
Additions to the 2007 roster will include an annual GLBT entertainment guide which will be distributed statewide, and a Nashville GLBT Visitors Guide which will be distributed nationally via mail, and marketed via print and internet. Debuting in Summer of 2007 will be 37203, a Quarterly Gay Lifestyles magazine. This high end glossy publication will feature food, wine, dining, travel, fashion, art, interviews, home design, real estate and more. Freedom Press Publishing is also talking with local LGBT authors and artists, and currently has two books planned for late 2007 through early 2008. We are also planning two CD projects in 2007 featuring local LGBT entertainers, the proceed of which will benefit the local community.
Freedom Press Publishing will also continue forward with our Annual Food Drives including our National Coming Out Day Celebration for Second Harvest. We will also continue our involvement with the Out on the Deck concert series, as well as working with the Nashville Pride Board and Me2Productions, on the organization of entertainment for the 2007 Pride Festival for both the Freedom Press stage and the main stage.
So while Freedom Press Publishing is having to pull back from the publication that launched our company, 2007 will hopefully be a year of growth for us. We also look forward to having more time to get involved with all the organizations we have supported in the past on an even more intimate level than before.