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Nashville Mayor: Visit Our City Despite State's Anti-LGBT Law

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry

Nashville still welcomes everyone, said Mayor Megan Barry, who expressed concern about the convention revenue lost because of Tennessee's anti-LGBT counseling legislation.

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The mayor of Nashville is speaking out about her city's loss of conventions due to Tennessee's adoption of an anti-LGBT law -- and telling potential visitors that despite what the state may do, Nashville is a welcoming city.

"I am deeply concerned about the loss of revenue to our city because of action taken by the state legislature," Mayor Megan Barry told Nashville TV station WKRN in an interview that aired Sunday. Since the state passed a law allowing licensed therapists to turn away clients who offend their religious beliefs, the American Counseling Association, the Human Rights Campaign, and Centers for Spiritual Living have moved conferences out of Nashville.

Barry still touted Nashville as an inclusive city. "My message to the community of folks who want to visit Nashville is, 'Come to Nashville.' We are a warm and welcoming place, and we really don't want to the city to be punished for things the state may do," she told the station. "So we encourage people to still consider [coming] to Nashville."

One LGBT event, the Bingham Cup rugby tournament, was held in Nashville over the weekend. "We've been planning this for two years, so the ship had pretty much sailed on trying to move it," Jon Glassmeyer of the Nashville Grizzlies rugby team told WKRN. Nashvillians were warmly accepting of the tournament, with city leaders attending the opening ceremonies, he said.

The tournament is named for Mark Bingham, a gay businessman and rugby player who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He is believed to have been among the passengers who brought a hijacked plane down in Pennsylvania that day, diverting it from its target in Washington, D.C.

Barry added that she wants Nashville " to continue to be that revenue generator and that economic engine that keeps Tennessee a great place to be." She had earlier spoken out against another piece of discriminatory legislation, a bill that would bar transgender students in public schools from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other single-sex facilities that match their gender identity. She warned that it could cost the city tens of millions of dollars in visitor spending. The bill was eventually withdrawn by its sponsor.

Watch the WKRN report below.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.