Even in a deadly pandemic, the Tennessee legislature is already back to discriminating against anti-LGBTQ people.

Well, it turns out hate doesn’t come without cost.


It has come to our attention that because of the anti-LGBTQ policies adopted by Tennessee, which you can read about HERE, certain states have BANNED state-sponsored travel to Tennessee.

Here’s what California’s policy says:

In AB 1887, the California Legislature determined that “California must take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.” (Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (a)(5).) To that end, AB 1887 prohibits a state agency, department, board, or commission from requiring any state employees, officers, or members to travel to a state that, after June 26, 2015, has enacted a law that (1) has the effect of voiding or repealing existing state or local protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; (2) authorizes or requires discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; or (3) creates an exemption to antidiscrimination laws in order to permit discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. (Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subds. (b)(1), (2).) In addition, the law prohibits California from approving a request for state-funded or state-sponsored travel to such a state. (Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (b)(2).)

The travel prohibition applies to state agencies, departments, boards, authorities, and commissions, including an agency, department, board, authority, or commission of the University of California, the Board of Regents of the University of California, and the California State University. (Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (b).)

The law also requires the Attorney General to develop, maintain, and post on his Internet Web site a current list of states that are subject to the travel ban. (Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (e).)

Here are the states on the banned travel list:

Tennessee is not the only state banned. And we’re not sure how many other states have TN on the list.

We learned about this because the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) Biennial Conference was supposed to be hosted by the community programs at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, but California members altered the hosts that they would not be able to attend.

We’re also told it was the policy to allow discrimination by anti-LGBT psychiatrists which triggered the legislation.

We can’t help but wonder how many other events and how much other revenue our state has lost because of its unwillingness to leave intolerance behind.

As a reminder, Governor Bill Lee, who recently signed the anti-LGBT adoption bill, has a sister who is married to a woman.

The Case Against Rep. John Deberry Jr.

For a long time Tennessee Democrats have been calling for Rep. John Deberry Jr. to have the “D” next to his name removed for consistently siding with Republicans against them on many key issues. This week the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee finally took that action and voted 41-18 with 2 abstentions to do just that.

Many have expressed relief, saying Deberry’s longtime support for the Tennessee Republican agenda has warranted removal for some time. Some have expressed skepticism, saying it should be up to the voters to decide.

Republicans such as Speaker Cameron Sexton have seized on the opportunity to attack Democrats, saying this shows they’re inflexible in their beliefs and calling out TNDP chair Mary Mancini on Twitter.

It’s no surprise Republicans would rush to Deberry’s defense. They’ve regularly expressed gratitude to Deberry for standing with them on their anti-LGBT legislation, their anti-Reproductive rights bills, Governor Bill Lee’s public school-harming vouchers, and Secretary Tre Hargett’s voter registration criminalization bill to name a few.

They’ve even run ads in support of him. (“You tha man”, guys? Really?)

There are so many instances of Deberry standing with Republicans against progressive ideals that it’s hard to keep track – but that’s what we’re here for. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

On Lee’s public school-harming vouchers, Deberry was the lone Democrat to vote for the bill, which passed 50-48 after a 49-49 tie was held open for 35 minutes while disgraced former speaker Glen Casada (and likely Governor Lee) handed out goodies to convince people to switch, including MILITARY PROMOTIONS.

Eventually, Rep. Jason Zachary flipped, the public school-harming vouchers passed, and the rollout has already been a lie and bribe-filled nightmare, causing even those who voted for it to regret it.

(Of course, that hasn’t stopped Lee from including $41 million for it in the “emergency budget”.)

On Reproductive freedom, Deberry has stood with Republicans repeatedly – even when their bills were unconstitutional, and even when they would force raped teenagers to carry their rapist’s baby to term. Deberry even went so far as to call abortion “BLACK GENOCIDE”, a phrase that will be hard to forget anytime soon.

Even on something as obviously oppressive as Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s voter registration criminalization bill, Deberry couldn’t bring himself to stand on the right side of history. He abstained, a decision which was promptly shown to be cowardly and wrongheaded when a federal judge blocked the law and ripped it apart in a scathing decision.

We spoke with Deberry at length after the fact, and he didn’t seem to understand what the law even did. Which is no excuse.

Then there are Deberry’s anti-LGBT beliefs, which have caused leading voices from the Tennessee LGBT community to speak out forcefully.

Eric Patton of the Human Rights campaign wrote to the TNDP committee before the vote, saying Deberry “consistently stood against women’s rights and LGBTQ rights”, “sponsored a bill to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and adults in matters of mental health”, and “verbally supported conversion therapy”.

Patton concluded:

“As a LGBTQ community leader, it is a clear decision to deny him the party’s support in his re-election. I strongly urge you to take appropriate action to deny his petition.
You have a say, as a party leader, who is allowed to run as a member. DeBerry has displayed time and time again that he has no regard for the party or its platform, let alone the marginalized people it stands to protect.
He shouldn’t get the help of the party. If he’s going to stand against the marginalized, he shouldn’t be standing with us.”

Republicans have been quick to knock Democrats for taking this action, but before you put any faith in the outcry, it’s important to keep in mind Republicans have done things like this before. Speaker Kent Williams was an incumbent removed by the state party. They’ve also kicked people off of ballots for not having the proper “Republican bona fides”.

(Meanwhile They’ve let admitted child sex abuser Rep. David Byrd stay in office, as well as Speaker Casada – who lied and who covered for his “N word”-using coke-snorting chief of staff, said ugly things about women, and may have framed a civil rights activist, and was removed as speaker for it… but those are stories for a different day).

Reproductive freedoms, voting rights, LGBT rights, public schools… these are not minor issues Deberry was standing with Republicans on. And as Mary Mancini said, the majority of Deberry’s campaign donations come from Republican PACs/groups/ individuals. He has a history of making large donations to Republican candidates.

The parties have the right to do these things for a reason. Deberry’s allegiance to the Republican agenda has been a useful political tool for Republicans for long enough.

PUTNAM CO. LIBRARY: Holt’s Witness’ Drag Queen Story Hour “Genitalia Exposure” Story Didn’t Happen

Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) has a bill being carried by Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) in the Senate that seeks to impose censorship on libraries by forming parental boards which would be able to decide what can and can’t be in them.

The Tennessee Library Association opposes the bill, saying libraries already have local control, and pointing out discrimination would open the libraries up to lawsuits.

Holt & co. say it isn’t about discrimination, it’s about protecting kids – but witnesses that spoke in support of the bill are openly anti-LGBT, tweeting proudly about that designation on multiple occasions.

Both witnesses who supported Holt’s bill were self-described preachers who spoke of an incident at the Putnam County Library where a Drag Queen “exposed their genitalia” to a child.

We’ve seen no reports of any such incident, or anyone being arrested for doing this – which is obviously ALREADY A CRIME – so we called the library to ask about it. Here’s that conversation:

HOLLER: You had Drag Queen Story Hour at the Putnam County Library, and witnesses at a hearing this week say somebody exposed themselves to a child. Did that happen?

PUTNAM LIBRARY: “No. Well – one can never prove a negative, right? I can’t flat-out say it didn’t happen. But ONE: No library staff witnessed that happening. TWO: It was never ever reported to any staff. THREE: We had police on the scene during certain parts of that day. Nobody ever filed a police report. Nobody ever notified the police that this happened. So we assume it didn’t happen.”

HOLLER: They say they have a picture of it. Have they ever brought that to you? Or the police?

PUTNAM LIBRARY: “Not that I’m aware of. They never brought it to me. I’m pretty sure they never brought it to the police. Because I imagine they would’ve had a police report, and they would’ve come investigated that.”

He also went on to tell us they had an LGBT display with books during Pride Week, but they were age appropriate, not pornographic in any way, and they ended up removing it when enough locals asked them to.

We also checked in with a spokesperson from the Drag Queen story hour situation, who told us:

“Rich Penkoski is a street preacher who does online videos. His group, Warriors for Christ, is a hate group per SPLC. He has a photo of a supporter in drag squatted down talking to a child outside Putnam Co Library that he has blurred to look like it’s obscene.

These are the facts: He has never been inside one of our events. Our Facebook page has videos of our readings. We haven’t used a public library since Jan 2019 because the crowds are too big for the library. We’ve been using private venues since March 2019. All of our volunteers have to pass a background check.”

BOTTOM LINE: Penkoski and Pastor James Fortunato are claiming someone exposed themselves to a child – which is already a crime – but did nothing about it? And they’re question the morality of others?

This bill is quite obviously about censorship and discrimination. Call your reps.


UPDATE — Penkoski reached out to us about the incident, and maintains it did happen, saying:

The library staff is lying. We absolutely did tell them about the man exposing himself. I have an email that I sent to them and the board with the photos. You also never mentioned the librarian who called for violence against me and solicited help from a group in Louisiana who made local news for issuing death threats against me.

UPDATE 2 — Penkoski has sent us the pictures in question. There does not appear to be any genitalia, only exposed underwear – and would seem to make sense that the library took no action.

The parents were right there. They claim the bill is about parental control, yet are making a big deal about something the parents don’t seem to have pursued.

Also, here they are wondering why the police and the news are being unresponsive.


Backed by hostile anti-LGBT witnesses, Rep. Andy Holt openly advocates library “CENSORSHIP” as he pushes a bill targeting LGBT events at libraries — a bill the Tennessee Library Association says would inevitably lead to lawsuits.

Here’s a little of what one of the witnesses tweeted recently… proudly anti-LGBT:


LIPSCOMB Student Speaks Out After Anti-LGBT Speaker

“We‘ll continue to move forward. In the future my community won’t be ostracized anymore. We may as well start working on that. It’s inevitable.”

After an anti-?️‍? speaker at Lipscomb U’s chapel this week, student Konnor Davis strikes a chord of UNITY, HOPE & STRENGTH.???


We asked Rep. John ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Ragan why he asked about the American Psychology Association’s stance on Conversion Therapy in committee. He says he’s “gathering info”.

The APA is against conversion therapy. It’s banned in 19 states.


WATCH Senator Paul Rose’s bill to permit taxpayer-funded discrimination pass the Senate, making TN a less welcoming place that doesn’t put the best interests of kids first.

Governor Lee will sign it despite having an LGBT sibling. ?️‍?

Governor Lee To Sign Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill That Targets His Own Sister

You’ve probably heard that yesterday the TN Senate started off the legislative session by passing a bill which targets LGBT people and allows state-supported adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT people.

The bill will now head to Governor Lee’s desk, and Lee has said he will sign it.

What you may not know is Governor Lee’s own sister is married to a woman, and therefore is a part of the LGBT community targeted by his party’s bill.

Here’s @ScoopNashville’s tweet about Cynthia Lee’s wedding:

And here’s Cynthia Lee with Bill’s wife Maria outside his campaign headquarters in Franklin:

Tennessee is #1 in medical bankruptcies, #2 in rural hospital closures, gets an “F” in education funding, and has the maternal mortality rate of a third world country… yet this is what the TN GOP and Bill Lee are focused on?

Here’s how they voted — GREEN means they voted for the bill. Red against.

Cynthia and her wife deserve to be treated just like everyone else in America, and should not be targeted and made to feel less than by our laws.

This adoption bill is especially ugly because it would have the effect of robbing loving homes from children who might otherwise not be able to find one.

If you agree Governor Lee should VETO THIS BILL, Holler at him HERE.


VIDEO: “Y’all Means All!” — Sevierville Fights Back Against Homophobic Hate

After a homophobic outburst from county commissioner Warren Hurst, Sevier County showed up this week to say he doesn’t speak for them.

Most of the protestors couldn’t get in, but they made their voices heard, chanting outside the window of the meeting. There were a few actual Nazis who showed up to support commissioner Hurst and do “Seig Heils” in the parking lot, but they were vastly outnumbered.

Love outshined hate yet again. Watch the VIDEO:

Meanwhile inside, witnesses were speaking FOR and AGAINST Hurst. Watch the highlights/lowlights, courtesy of WBIR:

PODCAST: ? Tennis Great Martina Navratilova Hollers with us! ‬

Tennis great Martina Navratilova talks to Holler founder Justin Kanew about her childhood in communist Czechoslovakia, defecting to ??, coming out ?️‍? In the 80’s, and finding her ? on Twitter.‬


Follow Her: @Martina