Published on August 20th, 2012 | by TLV News0
GLBT Resources ‘Round These Parts (by Sarah Reddick)
GLBT Resources ‘Round These Parts
by Sarah Reddick
Kermit sang “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” and sometimes it’s not easy being rainbow in a small town, either—but there are ways to make friends and be active in the LGBT community here in Oxford and in the surrounding area.
I was looking at the Facebook page for the University of Mississippi’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) recently and noticed several posts asking where one could go to meet people in the area. Becoming a member of the GSA seems like a good way to start. According to their website, the GSA is a “student organization that provides advocacy and education for individuals in the University and Oxford communities, as well as works to increase tolerance and respect for individuals of all sexual orientations and identities.” You can also sign up to join a listserv that “sends out messages regarding all of the LGBT happenings in the Lafayette-Oxford-University community.”
Mid-South Pride is held annually in Memphis. This year it will be held on October 6th, at Robert Church Park and in the Beale Street Entertainment District. This event is growing in size every year—last year they reported the largest parade turnout in its history. During the day in the park you can walk tree lined sidewalks and check out booths that offer information on gay friendly churches, the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Center, food, and Pride apparel. They also consistently offer a diverse and fantastic musical line-up.
Ole Miss usually has a few events on campus to celebrate National Coming Out Day which is observed on October 11th. I went one year to hear Candace Gingrich, sister of Newt, speak about equality at the Paris-Yates Chapel. The turnout was impressive and I was happy to meet so many like-minded folks.
For those who consider themselves spiritual and are looking for a church that supports diversity, I suggest you visit the Unitarian Church of Oxford. From their website: “We are a caring intergenerational community that celebrates diversity and fosters spiritual growth through free thought and discussion with respect for personal beliefs. We seek the wisdom of many religious traditions and of ourselves, and we encourage the expression of personal ideals in service to people, other life, and our planet.” The church became official in 1997. Members purchased an old church and some land at 31 County Road 198 in 2001 and began holding services there after renovations were completed in 2003.
Oxford also has its own chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). PFLAG was founded in 1973 by mothers and fathers of gays and lesbians. Their three point mission statement explains that their goal is to offer:
Support: to cope with an adverse society
Education: to enlighten an ill-informed public
Advocacy: to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights.
Oxford chapter meetings are held the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7 pm at the Sarah Isom Center on campus (call 662-801-2820 for more information).
Memphis has a few hot spots if you’re in the mood for some nightlife.
Club Spectrum, located at 616 Marshall Ave., has two dance floors, is known to employ popular DJs, and hosts frequent theme parties designed to bring folks in and get them dancing.
Dru’s Place, located at 1474 Madison Ave., is a neighborhood bar with a relaxed, casual atmosphere. They have a big patio, host karaoke nights weekly, and they offer pool, darts, and live music. They are a beer bar, but you can bring your own liquor and they will provide you with set ups. The service is friendly and they go out of their way to make you comfortable.
For a sophisticated, upscale experience in a lounge complete with a martini menu and jazz piano players, visit Molly Fontaine’s at 679 Adams Ave. Located in a renovated three-story Victorian mansion, Molly Fontaine’s is a fusion of past and present and the décor is extraordinary. The food is also notable; mussels, dumplings, truffle fries, and delicious mac and cheese. The clientele is eclectic and rumor has it there are happy hours geared towards different groups of folks.
There are many ways to get involved in the Oxford area. I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and experiencing what the community here has to offer over the past eight years.
More GLBT Web Resources:
Club Spectrum: www.thespectrummemphis.com
Dru’s Place: www.drusplace.com
Mollie Fontaine Lounge: www.molliefontainelounge.com
Unitarian Church of Oxford: www.uuoxford.com
Mid-South Pride: (October 6, 2012) http://midsouthpride.wordpress.com