Posts tagged with "Tennessee"

LGBTQ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Ten Anti-LGBTQ Bills Sit on Governors’ Desks

Ten Anti-LGBTQ Bills Sit on Governors’ Desks, Poised to Undermine Rights Across the Country

As a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states continues to intensify, ten anti-LGBTQ bills currently sit on the desks of governors across the country waiting to be signed into law. These bills are only the latest examples of a concerted effort in state legislatures to undermine LGBTQ rights that has already resulted in the passage of several anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation in recent months.

“State legislators across the country were elected to represent all of us, not just some of us and yet they continue to send hateful and discriminatory anti-LGBTQ bills to the desks of governors to sign into law, threatening the well-being, health, and fundamental rights of thousands of LGBTQ Americans in states from coast to coast,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “From anti-transgender sports bans to erasing LGBTQ people from school curriculum, these bills are driven by fear and would have a significant negative impact on the lives of so many LGBTQ people. The governors of these states are responsible for protecting their citizens, and they must refuse to sign these baseless and unconscionable cruel bills into law.  Otherwise, they should and will be held accountable for the consequences.”

These bills include blatant attacks on transgender youth, including prohibiting transgender kids from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity, allow student organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ students under the guise of free speech, erase LGBTQ people from history books, and add substantial hurdles for transgender people who want to change the gender on their birth certificate by first requiring gender-affirming surgery.

Below is a roundup of the ten anti-LGBTQ bills currently sitting on the desks of governors:

  • ALABAMA
    • House Bill 391 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The Alabama Senate and House passed House Bill 391, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender youth from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. The bill now heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for signature or veto.
  • ARIZONA
    • Senate Bill 1456 – SEX ED PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BILL
      • The Arizona State House passed Senate Bill 1456 – discriminatory legislation that affects not only sexual education material, but all learning materials in the classroom and makes it harder for LGBTQ kids to see themselves in school curriculum.
      • The bill, which would make Arizona’s sex education laws some of the strictest in the nation when it comes to teaching about LGBTQ issues, now heads to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk for consideration.
  • ARKANSAS
    • Senate Bill 389 – SEX ED PARENTAL NOTIFICATON BILL
      • The Arkansas Senate passed Senate Bill 389, a bill which would require a school district to notify parents before “providing a sexual orientation curriculum or gender identity curriculum” in any kind of instruction, including but not limited to education on sexuality.
      • In addition to making it harder for students kids to access sex education, it could also preclude discussion about sexuality more broadly, including in literature and history classes, for example. A district could be forced to notify parents, provide curriculum materials, and allow parents to opt students out of learning about important modern and historical events, from the A.I.D.S. epidemic to the Stonewall riots to even Supreme Court jurisprudence. This bill disproportionately disadvantages LGBTQ youth who may not have supportive families and put children at greater risk of health consequences.
  • KANSAS
    • Kansas Senate Bill 55 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The Kansas Senate passed Senate Bill 55, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.
  • MONTANA
    • Senate Bill 280    – BIRTH CERTIFICATE BILL
      • The Montana Senate passed SB 280, a bill that adds substantial hurdles for transgender people who want to change the gender on their birth certificate by first requiring gender-affirming surgery.
    • Senate Bill 215 – RELIGIOUS REFUSAL BILL
      • The Montana House passed SB 215, an expansive religious refusal bill that could grant a license to discriminate against Montanans and visitors, including LGBTQ people, people of faith, and women, across a wide range of goods and services in the state.
  • NORTH DAKOTA
    • House Bill 1503 – ANTI-ALL COMERS BILL
      • Many public colleges and universities have long had “all-comers” policies that require student organizations receiving financial and other support from the institution not to discriminate against students based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
      • These policies allow all members of the student body to participate in student organizations and prevent such organizations from discriminating against students with state funding. The Supreme Court upheld these all-comers policies as constitutional in the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez decision in 2010.
      • North Dakota HB 1503, in part, undermines inclusive “all-comers” policies at North Dakota public colleges and universities, by allowing student organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ students under the guise of free speech.
    • House Bill 1298 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The North Dakota Senate passed House Bill 1298, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.
  • TENNESSEE
    • Senate Bill 1229 – SEX ED PARENTAL NOTIFICATION
      • The Tennessee Senate passed Senate Bill 1229, a bill which would require a school district to notify parents before “providing a sexual orientation curriculum or gender identity curriculum” in any kind of instruction, including but not limited to education on sexuality.
      • In addition to making it harder for students kids to access sex education, it could also preclude discussion about sexuality more broadly, including in literature and history classes, for example. A district could be forced to notify parents, provide curriculum materials, and allow parents to opt students out of learning about important modern and historical events, from the A.I.D.S. epidemic to the Stonewall riots to even Supreme Court jurisprudence.
      • SB 389 also disproportionately disadvantages LGBTQ youth who may not have supportive families and puts children at greater risk of health consequences.
  • WEST VIRGINIA
    • House Bill 3293 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The West Virginia Senate passed House Bill 3293, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

Wide range of businesses and advocacy groups oppose anti-trans legislation

  • More than 65 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoken out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

The NCAA opposes efforts to limit participation of transgender students

The NCAA Board of Governors released a public letter making clear that it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.” Moreover, “When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.” This puts the 30 states with discriminatory anti-transgender legislation under consideration on notice that their actions will have repercussions for their states.

A fight driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or public concern

These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — dangerous anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.

  • For example, Montana’s HB 112, the first anti-transgender sports bill to be passed through a legislative chamber in any state, was worked on by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters

A new PBS/NPR/Marist poll states that 67% of Americans, including 66% of Republicans, oppose the anti-transgender sports ban legislation proliferating across 30 states.

In a 10-swing-state poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:

  • At least 60% of Trump voters across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly.
  • At least 87% of respondents across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should have equal access to medical care, with many states breaking 90% support
  • When respondents were asked about how they prioritized the importance of banning transgender people from participating in sports as compared to other policy issues, the issue came in dead last, with between 1% and 3% prioritizing the issue.

Another more recent poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group revealed that, with respect to transgender youth participation in sports, the public’s strong inclination is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sports are important in young people’s lives. Young transgender people should be allowed opportunities to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.”

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • The Idaho anti-transgender sports bill that passed was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Traveling illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Sustainable Travel in Tennessee

Be Clean, Go Green and Travel Sustainably in Tennessee

Celebrate Earth Day by Going Green with these Sustainable Attractions, Restaurants and Accommodations

Known for its natural beauty, unique culture and southern hospitality, Tennessee strives to be at the forefront of sustainability efforts to preserve its wonder and charm for future generations to come. This Earth Day, be clean and go green with Tennessee Department of Tourist Development by sustainably eating, exploring and lodging across the state.

Where to Stay

Eco-friendly lodging options help play a significant part in reducing water, plastic and energy waste every day. Below are a few lodging options that will have guests snoozing smart and more carefree all night long:

The Crash Pad – Chattanooga 

Located in Chattanooga, this eco-friendly, LEED-certified glamping spot is unlike any other. Offering 24 bunk beds or five private rooms, complimentary DIY breakfast and walking distance to some of the area’s restaurants and bars, this classic, yet charming hostel provides visitors with a blend of reclaimed and renewable resources to ensure the best of energy efficiency while supporting local sustainable businesses.

Hutton Hotel – Nashville

Known for its four-star, four-diamond service, the Hutton Hotel goes above and beyond to provide its guests with an eco-friendly stay. From the time guests arrive, they are greeted by bamboo floors and furniture made from reclaimed wood. The rooms are equipped with automatic, motion detection lights, and to cut back on the use of plastic guests can find soap, shampoo and conditioner all in dispensers. To reduce the use of carbon-emissions and air pollution, the hotel is within walking distance to several popular attractions, restaurants and bars.

David Crockett State Park Cabins – Lawrenceburg

The David Crockett State Park Cabins are the perfect, family weekend getaway. Equipped with geothermal-powered HVAC units and gas fireplaces, these LEED-certified vacation homes are ahead of the curve on energy conservation. The state park also has the Tennessee Naturalist Program which serves as an educational training program to provide service and outreach efforts to help preserve Tennessee’s natural beauty and resources.

For other eco-friendly lodging options, look for the Tennessee Green Hospitality certification on business’ websites.

Where to Eat & Drink

People come to Tennessee from all over to try its award-wining restaurants and signature dishes whether it’s a southern comfort dish or a night out at one of the many farm-to-table establishments across the state. Dive into these local, sustainable-friendly restaurants, bars and wineries that play a part in reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Husk – Nashville

Known for their ever-changing menu of fresh ingredients all from the south, Husk takes Southern cuisine to the next level. This farm-to-table approach provides a menu full of seasonal food and drinks all while saving the environment and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Local Goat – Pigeon Forge

Located in Pigeon Forge, the Local Goat specializes in locally sourced and sustainable foods. Customers can enjoy a selection of craft food and drinks such as “bhaahhbu” back ribs, ahi tuna steak, a buckberry old fashioned and much more.

Belly Acres – Memphis

With two locations at Overton Square and Regalia, Belly Acres prides itself on bringing their customers the best food “from our acres to your belly.” They have a wide selection of signature burgers, salads and beef-less burgers. They are so passionate about inspiring others and future generations to eat clean that on Wednesdays kids eat free.

2021 New Harvest Farmers’ Market – Knoxville

Opening April 22, the 2021 New Harvest Farmers’ Market offers a wide range of seasonal products including fruits, vegetables, plants, meats and much more. Open every Thursday until Sept. 30, guests cannot only shop for fresh produce but also enjoy the park’s children’s play area, covered pavilion and walking trails.

Winery at Seven Springs Farm – Maynardville

Wander down the historic “Thunder Road” to the charming Winery at Seven Springs Farm. This winery like many others across the state makes its wine on-site which helps to cut back on long-haul delivery and greenhouse gas emissions. They offer tours across the vineyard for their visitors to learn about how they make their wine and take in the picturesque views.

East Nashville Beer Works – Nashville

Make a toast to Earth Day with friends and family at East Nashville Beer Works by sipping away on its locally brewed beer. A member of the Tennessee Sustainable Spirits program, the brewery aims to reduce their environmental impact and energy footprint through practices such as using tankless water heaters and implementing temperature controls.

To read more about Tennessee’s Sustainable Spirits program and its members, click here.

Where to Explore

Whether you are looking to explore Tennessee’s great outdoors or wander down the cities charming neighborhoods, these unique attractions offer environmentally friendly fun all while stressing the importance of being sustainably responsible.

Mirimichi Lakes Golf – Millington

Bring your “A-game” this Earth Day at Mirimichi Lakes Golf. This award-winning course of more than 7,400 yards provides its visitors with an eco-friendly experience. From integrated pest management and water conservation, Mirimichi offers championship-worthy views and environmentally friendly practices for both amateur and professional level players.

Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga 

Make a splash by visiting the Tennessee Aquarium to learn more about the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, their scientific studies and what they are doing to restore and conserve the earth’s ecosystems. Through their Global Passport Program, guests can learn more about different species from around the world and the role they play in their environment.

Able – Nashville

While in Nashville, stop by Able, an ethical fashion brand dedicated to sustainability. The company strives to make a positive impact on the environment by using recycled packaging and mailers, repurposing discarded hides for their leather products, creating all their jewelry by hand without the harsh chemicals needed from a manufacturer and picking clothes that are made from all-natural fibers.

Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park – Johnson City

Guests can cycle their way through Earth Day at the Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park. With over 40 acres of terrain and trails, bicyclists and hikers of all ages can spend the day in the great outdoors enjoying the beauty of Johnson City.

Hike MoCo – Wartburg

Established in 2017, Hike Morgan County is a network designed to encourage hikes on Morgan County trails and promote a healthy lifestyle. Throughout the network’s organized hikes, hikers are encouraged to pick up trash along the way to help preserve the beauty of Morgan County’s trails and surrounding areas,

Check out these Earth Day celebrations happening across the state:

April 17-18, 24-25

EarthDayz at Rock City Gardens – Lookout Mountain

Celebrate all weekend long with Rock City’s 12th annual EarthDayz. The event will host four animal shows in partnership with the Chattanooga Zoo, live music, living ground walker character and much more.

April 22:

Earth Day Hike at Sycamore Shoals State Park – Elizabethton

Kick-off Earth Day 2021 with a guided hike around Sycamore Shoals. Throughout the guided tour, learn about the different trees in the area, how our ancestors used them and the best tips and tricks for a hiking trip.

April 23:

Family Nights at the Museum: Exploring the Arboretum! – Smyrna

Join the historic Sam Davis Home as they commemorate Earth Day with the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council to learn about the site’s arboretum and its many collections of trees.

April 24:

Nashville Earth Day at Centennial Park – Nashville

Connect with the Nashville community and discover ways to make a positive impact on our environment with local sustainable small businesses, government agencies and nonprofits. The event will take place in Centennial Park where attendees can learn and engage with a wide range of activities and exhibits.

Spread the Mulch Volunteer Work Day at Shelby Farms Park – Memphis

Shelby Farms Park will host multiple volunteer workdays to spread the love this Earth Day. During this socially distanced event, volunteers will help lay mulch throughout the park to help trees retain water, prevent future erosion and provide the proper nutrients needed for them to continue to grow.

ABOUT TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TOURIST DEVELOPMENT

Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.”   Explore more at tnvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and “Tennessee” on Snapchat.

LGBTQ+ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Corporate Leaders × Anti-Lgbtq Bills

Corporate leaders: Companies should work against anti-LGBTQ bills in Texas, other states 

Chris Adamo, vice president of Federal and Industry Affairs at Danone North America; Brad Figel, vice president of Public Affairs North America at Mars, Inc.; Molly Fogarty senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs at Nestlé USA; and Tom Langan, North America director of Sustainable Business & External Affairs for Unilever:

  • “As four of the largest food companies and major employers in the United States, we view the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures, including those that target transgender people and particularly children, with increasing alarm.
  • “These bills are bad for families, for communities, for businesses and for the U.S. economy, all still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic…This motivates us to continue using our influence to advocate for policies that establish full equality at the federal and state levels, including swift Senate passage of the Equality Act.
  • “Discriminatory legislation — in threat and in practice — directly and negatively impacts the ability of our businesses to compete. It undermines our ability to recruit our future workforces and retain existing talent in states like Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and others enacting and considering draconian legislation.”
  • “Such policies are out of step with the views of most Americans. The overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people, according to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign.”
  • Companies have a responsibility to actively work with federal and state legislators to advocate against bills that harm our employees and our customers, and to advance fairness and equality for all Americans”

We condemn dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and non-binary people.

As four of the largest food companies and major employers in the United States, we view the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures, including those that target transgender people and particularly children, with increasing alarm.

These bills are bad for families, for communities, for businesses and for the U.S. economy, all still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We condemn dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people. Such laws not only threaten hard-won progress to bring greater awareness, support and equality to transgender Americans, they also threaten the livelihoods and safety of their communities and their families.

This motivates us to continue using our influence to advocate for policies that establish full equality at the federal and state levels, including swift Senate passage of the Equality Act.

Member companies of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, including Danone North America, Mars, Inc., Nestlé USA and Unilever United States, urge the entire U.S. business community to do the same.

This issue is not political. Providing the same basic protections to LGBTQ+ people as are provided to protected groups under federal law is the right thing to do for businesses and for society.

We employ tens of thousands of people in communities across the country. We embrace diversity in our workforces. Inclusive principles already guide the way we work, run our successful businesses, and engage with our employees and communities.

Discriminatory legislation — in threat and in practice — directly and negatively impacts the ability of our businesses to compete. It undermines our ability to recruit our future workforces and retain existing talent in states like Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and others enacting and considering draconian legislation.

In Kentucky, for example, proposed legislation would allow health care providers to turn away LGBTQ+ and other patients, and bar trans youth from K-12 public school and university sports. Similarly, in Texas, legislators have proposed bills that would ban transgender girls from youth sports.

When states legislate this way, not only do they create an environment where not everyone feels safe and welcomed, they endorse it. Such environments deny transgender and nonbinary people the opportunity to fully contribute to the economies in places where they work and live. This harms them and their families and hinders businesses and local communities.

We applaud Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s decision this week to veto legislation that would have banned gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. Unfortunately, the Arkansas legislature overrode the governor’s veto Tuesday.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signs a bill in March 2021 to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams.

Such policies are out of step with the views of most Americans. The overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people, according to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign.

Legislation hurts states’ economies

The ramifications of these discriminatory bills on states’ economic and financial health are also well-documented. A UCLA study found that the social, economic and health effects of stigma and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people negatively impact Texas’ economy by tens of millions of dollars each year. Another study by the Texas Association of Business estimated that discriminatory legislation could result in an estimated economic loss to Texas’ gross domestic product ranging from $964 million to $8.5 billion.

The impacts of such bills are not limited to the states where they are passed. Researchers that studied 39 countries found a clear link between LGBTQ+ discriminatory practices and legislation and the corresponding loss of potential economic output. For LGBTQ+ youth, the study found that discrimination harms their learning, resulting in increased dropout rates and, consequently, reduced participation in the workforce.

We acknowledge that words are powerful. But for companies to engage new generations of workers and consumers, while fostering an environment good for people and for business, we must move beyond only public statements of support for LGBTQ+ issues.

Companies should protect employees

Companies have a responsibility to actively work with federal and state legislators to advocate against bills that harm our employees and our customers, and to advance fairness and equality for all Americans.

We four SFPA companies are committed to stepping up and taking action, including through our advocacy on this important issue. Doing so will support an environment in which all people can grow, thrive, compete and succeed as their true, authentic selves.

Chris Adamo is vice president of Federal and Industry Affairs at Danone North America. Brad Figel is vice president of Public Affairs North America at Mars, Inc. Molly Fogarty is senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs at Nestlé USA. Tom Langan is North America director of Sustainable Business & External Affairs for Unilever.

Corporate leaders: Companies should work against anti-LGBTQ bills in Texas, other states

Transgender Sports illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam

NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam facilitators publish open letter condemning anti-transgender legislation

The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam, a group of NCAA- trained facilitators at colleges across the country published an open letter condemning the actions taken by 28 states across the country to introduce, pass, and sign anti-transgender legislation. 2021 has been a record year for anti-transgender legislation, with 93 anti-transgender bills introduced across the country, the vast majority of which attempt to ban transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports or ban transgender youth from accessing medically necessary, gender-affirming health care.

Laws have been signed banning transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, with Executive Orders being signed to the same effect in South Dakota.  Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact.  Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason any state would need a ban on transgender participation in sports.

The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam open letter reads as follows:

An Open Letter in Support of Transgender Student-Athletes

We, the undersigned, are facilitators of the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA)Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Program, which is a national training program that fosters LGBTQ+ inclusion in NCAA Division III athletics, and members of the NCAA’s Division III LGBTQ Working Group. Given the recent rise in legislation that is focused on excluding transgender people from athletics across the country, we have decided to use our collective voice to condemn such actions. We call on elected officials across the country to immediately halt legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport.

In our role with the NCAA’s LGBTQ OneTeam Program, we train coaches, athletics administrators, and student-athletes across the whole of Division III athletics. This program is aimed at helping to understand the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in college athletics, while also identifying strategies and best practices for institutions and conferences to better ensure that all student-athletes–regardless of their sexuality, gender identity, and/or gender expression–can participate in an inclusive and safe athletic climate. We cannot, in good conscience, fail to speak out at this critical moment.

In the past several weeks, actions–which are aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport–have been taken by elected officials inseveral states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. At the time of this writing, the Governors ofArkansas,Idaho,Mississippi, andTennessee have already signed such dangerous legislation into law. 

Legislation aimed at categorically banning transgender people–and particularly transgender girls and women–from sport is inherently discriminatory. Such legislation is often “informed” by hate and misinformation rather than science, and it is most certainly “informed” byfear instead of fact. Conversely, trans-inclusive policies, such as those established by theNCAA and theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC), are better informed by the current scientific evidence, and this evidence shows that transgender women do not have an inherent competitive advantage over cisgender women.

Furthermore, discriminatory legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender people from sport has a number ofserious consequences for transgender students. Such legislation dehumanizes transgender students, refuses them the opportunity to participate equally and equitably in athletics, undermines their support in educational settings, damages their mental health, and ultimately harms these students, while also contributing to an exclusionary athletic environment and a more hostile school climate for all students.

We immediately call for 1) an end to such legislation in all states and 2) a repeal of such laws in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennessee. And finally, we also encourage our legislators to better consider theNCAA best practices and importance of an inclusive athletic environment for all student-athletes.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Timothy R. Bussey, Ph.D.

Pronouns: they/them

Associate Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Kenyon College

Kayla Hayes, M.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Denison University

Kyrstin Krist, Ph.D.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Faculty Athletic Representative | Methodist University

Melynda Link, M.B.A.

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletic Facilities & Game Day Operations, Dept. of Athletics | Haverford College

Kathleen M. Murray

Pronouns: she/her

President, Office of the President | Whitman College

Jess Duff

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Services & Internal Operations Dept. of Athletics | Bates College

Jessica Weiss

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Randolph-Macon College

Jennifer Dubow

Pronouns: she/her

Executive Director | Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC)

Maura Johnston

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Fairleigh Dickinson University

Scott McGuiness

Pronouns: no pronouns

Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | Washington & Jefferson College

Danielle Lynch, M.S.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach Athletic Department | Penn State University – Harrisburg

Melissa Walton

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Associate Athletic Director Athletic Department | Albion College

Amy Reed

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Rochester Institute of Technology

Donna M. Ledwin

Pronouns: she/her

Commissioner | Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC)

Donnesha Blake, Ph.D.

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Diversity and Inclusion Dept. of Student Affairs | Alma College

Tim Wilson

Pronouns: he/him

Assistant Track and Field Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Stevens Institute of Technology

Anne Kietzman

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Washington College

Ashley Crossway, D.A.T., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Education Dept. of Kinesiology | SUNY Cortland

Melissa Brooks

Pronouns: she/her

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Athletic Department | Fairleigh Dickinson University – Florham 

Tiffany Thompson

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Director of Gender and Sexuality Initiatives, Intercultural Center | Swarthmore College

Kirsten Clark

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Athletic Director, Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | Clark University

Kate Levin

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Sports Information Director Dept. of Athletics | Ramapo College

Cori Collinsworth

Pronouns: she/her

Head Softball Coach, Athletic Department | Hanover College

Bethany Dannelly

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Director of Athletics, Dept. of Physical Education and Athletics | Washington and Lee University

Jennifer Childress-White, M.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director and University Title IX Coordinator Dept. of Athletics | Pacific Lutheran University

Elise Fitzsimmons, M.S., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Trainer, Dept. of Athletics| SUNY Oswego 

Amanda Walker

Pronouns: she/her

Athletic Program Coordinator Athletics Department | Lake Forest College

Danielle O’Leary

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Athletics Department | Mount Aloysius College

Crystal Lanning

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | University of Wisconsin – River Falls

Neil Virtue

Pronouns: he/him

Assistant Director of Athletics and Head Swimming Coach | Dept. of Athletics, P.E., and Recreation Mills College

Jose’ Rodriguez, M.Ed.

Pronouns: he/him

Chief Diversity Officer, Office of University Diversity Initiatives | Cabrini University

Karen Moberg, M.Ed., L.A.T., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Athletic Trainer, Athletic Department | Macalester College

Yishka Chin

Pronouns: she/her

Coordinator for Tutoring Services and Trailblazer Program Director, Dept. of Student Success | Notre Dame of Maryland University

Renee Bostic

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletics & Wellness Dept. of Athletics & Wellness | Notre Dame of Maryland University

Megan Cullinane

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | University of Massachusetts – Boston

Maureen Harty

Pronouns: she/her

Executive Director | College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW)

Stephanie Dutton

Pronouns: she/her

Commissioner | North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC)

Sharia Marcus-Carter

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Director of Compliance, Athletics Department | Brooklyn College

Kayaking illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

What’s Trending in Tennessee

What’s New, Trending and Blooming this Spring in Tennessee

  • Memphis – Memphis Zoo’s all-new Kangazoo Experience lets you get face-to-face with kangaroos roaming free in the walk-through exhibit. Visitor favorites also include giraffe-feeding, the panda exhibit and Sting Ray Cove.
  • Jackson – Discover what makes Jackson a unique place for music lovers of all backgrounds whether you’re looking for new eclectic sounds, blues and gospel, country music or more with live performances of Jackson’s Hidden Tracks.
  • Nashville – Enjoy premiere shopping, world-class dining, live music and views of downtown at Fifth + Broadway. This 300,000 square foot multi-level mecca is a must-see and home to the National Museum of African American Musicand Assembly Food Hall featuring two dozen restaurants on multiple levels.
  • Columbia – The Mulehouse is a 55,000 square feet new music and event venue located a few blocks from the downtown square, established by country radio personality and broadcaster, Blair Garner.
  • Manchester – A brand new concert series features live, in-person performances in a socially-distanced setting at the Bonnaroo Farm. Concerts on the Farm includes performances by Billy Strings, Jon Pardy, Jameson Rodgers, The Avett Brothers and more.
  • Chattanooga – Grab your thinking caps, maps and don’t forget your mask. Take adventure to the next level. Learn more about Chattanooga’s top attractions and neighborhoods during the Spring Break Safari Scavenger Hunt.
  • Knoxville – Three levels of magical crystal barrooms wait to be discovered in downtown Knoxville. Bernadette’sbarrooms include the Knox County Quartz House, the Amethyst Lounge, and a stunning rooftop of Crystal Gardens.
  • Gatlinburg – Anakeesta will be in full bloom with the launch of Blooms and Tunes featuring colorful nature-themed art installations, live music and a new spring-themed menu at four restaurants in the park.
  • Townsend – The Smoky Mountain Bigfoot Festival Noon-10 p.m. May 22 includes live music, vendors, food trucks, bigfoot competitions, oral histories, 1-mile fun run and more at the Townsend Visitor’s Center.
  • Johnson City – Grab a scavenger hunt clue card online or from a downtown business to search for 15 bronze animal sculptures as part of Wildabout Walkabout Scavenger Hunt from the public library and King Commons Park to Main and Market Streets.

New Restaurants, Breweries and Distilleries

  • Memphis – Renowned chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman are at it again, this time with their Little Bettie pizza joint inside Wiseacre’s newly opened downtown taproom.
  • Clarksville – The Thirsty Goat is a newer gathering place outside of the city that features a beer garden, artisan coffee shop and oven-fired pizzas.
  • Murfreesboro – Biscuit-based meals made baked fresh daily are at the forefront of Maple Street Biscuit Co. Jams and jellies are also made in-store. Featured on Food Network, The Squawking Goat dish is an all-natural fried chicken breast, fried goat cheese medallion and house-made pepper jelly atop a flaky biscuit.
  • Columbia – Wolf and Scout Coffee Car is located in the Columbia Arts Building serving varieties of coffees and their signature drink, the Wolfhunter.
  • Carthage – Cajun wings, honey BBQ wings, onion rings, fries and delicious sides are on tap at Something 2 Wing About.
  • Farragut – 35 North, located in the heart of Farragut, features the area’s best food trucks, local brews, wine and spirits and features two patios, an outdoor fireplace and a place for gathering.
  • LaFollette – Twin Flame features amazing hot dogs, burgers, wings, catfish, specialty drinks and much more with carry-out and dining room seating available.
  • Wartburg – The MoCo Brewing Project is Morgan County’s latest brewery and coffee shop with signature beers named and influenced by local landmarks. The owners brew beer, coffee and offer flavored coffee and hot chocolate.
  • Sevierville – Tennessee Shine Co.uses family recipes and small-batch distilling, features a tasting bar and Moonshine Tour.
  • Johnson City – Watauga Brewing Company is a three story brewery, restaurant and rooftop bar. Restaurant On 2 combines upscale New American cuisine with Appalachian and southern roots. The chef uses local, seasonal foods in her menu. 

New Attractions and Exhibits

  • Memphis –Visitors can enjoy movie nights and world-renowned musicians in an all-new outdoor setting at The Grove at GPAC.
  • Memphis – Graceland celebrates the 50 anniversary King of Rock ‘n’ Roll meeting then President Richard Nixon with a special pop-up exhibit and artifacts with Dear Mr. President: Elvis and Mr. Nixon.
  • Nashville – Once Upon a Spring at Gaylord Opryland includes a live story time show, art activities, cookie decorating, scavenger hunt, boat rides and other fun programming.
  • Knoxville – Zoo Knoxville’s The ARC (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Campus), open spring 2021, will showcase the zoo’s pioneering conservation work with these species and feature revolutionary STEM education resources.
  • Johnson City – Paradise Acresis a family farm park with an 18-hole mini-golf course, outdoor laser tag, barn-side drive-in theater and U-Pick produce.

New Hotels & Places to Stay

  • Memphis – Walk the line between southern hospitality, offbeat and elevated cuisine to get a genuine taste of Midtown’s unconventional personality, storied art district and Overton Square at The Memphian, set to open April 2021.
  • Memphis – Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis is within walking distance of the city’s famed entertainment district, nestled in a vibrant neighborhood known for lauded music venues, historic landmarks, southern comfort and Memphis-style barbecue.
  • Nashville – W Hotel Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of the Gulch. Opening spring 2021 with 346 rooms, the new hotel will welcome visitors with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces.
  • Pigeon Forge – Pigeon Forge RV Resort along the Little Pigeon River includes 149 RV sites, camping, riverside fishing, illuminated river walk. On-property offerings include on-site concierge services, a pool, and hot tub, playground, picnic pavilion, a dog park, golf cart rentals, a retail store, conference room, gym, and laundry facilities.

New Stores

  • Columbia – Columbia features several new stores including Cope (in the Columbia Arts Building with a variety of trendy plants), family-owned jewelry store Tillis Jewelry on the downtown square and Southern Clutter Boutique with a variety of clothing, accessories, home goods and crafts.
  • Farragut – Euphoric Cheese features cut-to-order cheeses from all around the world, a wide variety of charcuterie items, specialty groceries and a selection of local brews. Items such as chocolate-covered figs, blue cheese stuffed olives, creamed honey and rosemary crackers will make your grazing board memorable.
  • Kingston – That Local Cheeseboard Co.features handcrafted charcuterie boards & boxes, grazing tables, customizable boxes, corporate catering, and gifts and items for special occasions.

Hot/Trending Places for Spring

  • Hornbeak – Vacation while you dine at Blue Bank Fishhouse & Grill at Blue Bank Resort with delicious weekend specials, local craft beer, live music, fire pits, butterfly garden & front row seating to a beautiful sunset on Reelfoot Lake.
  • Alamo – Drive through the 5.5 miles of safari roads in your own car, interact and feed animals at Tennessee Safari Park. After the journey, experience the walk-through zoo, enjoy refreshments at the concessions, the playground area, and the petting zoo.
  • Clarksville – Downtown at Sundown Concerts at Downtown Commons includes free live music the first and third Friday nights May through October. The large urban outdoor park allows space to socially distance with your chairs or blanket.
  • Linden – Experience serenity on the water. Commodore River Adventures offers an uncrowded, individual or small-group, artisan kayaking experience.
  • Nashville – Celebrate spring, warmer weather and longer days with more than 150,000 blooming bulbs and fun seasonal activities during Cheekwood in Bloom.
  • Nashville – Board the General Jackson Showboat, one of Gaylord Opryland’s most popular attractions, for cruises featuring first-class live entertainment, delicious meals and gorgeous views of Nashville.
  • LaFollette – Chapman Hill Winery is a quaint winery with an elegant tasting room nestled in the hills of East Tennessee on the edge of Norris Lake. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the Vineyard Vibrations live music series.
  • Farragut – Enjoy a stroll through town, a heritage trail, cemetery and educational sites to learn history of the area, pioneer settlements and more through artifacts, photos and stories during the Farragut History Walk.
  • Harriman – Lakeshore Park offers recreation fun for the family and is home to the Gupton Wetlands area, where at least 114 species of birds can be found. Bring bikes, kayaks, fishing poles and enjoy scenery and trails.
  • Lancing – Lilly Hopyard Brewery is tucked away in the woods near the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Warm up around the campfire, watch the game, play corn hole, listen to live music and enjoy the Sauced Frog eatery.
  • Winchester – Stroll with family and friends during Food Truck Fridays at the downtown Farmers Market Pavilion on the Boulevard. Downtown merchants will stay open late on the first Friday of every month.
  • Johnson City – At the 40-acre Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park, riders can experience the thrill of off-road riding from the gnarly, rocky downhill of the Black Diamond to smooth dirt paths on the green trails.
  • Pigeon Forge – Explore larger-than-life plant sculptures adorned in half-a-million colorful flower blooms, dance under an Umbrella Sky and indulge in garden-fresh flavors from chefs during Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival.

Spring Festivals & Events

  • Gatlinburg (March 18-20) – Explore the new Gatlinburg St. Patrick’s Day Celebration complete with traditional Irish music, food, fireworks, and more. The city will be decorated with Shamrock green and feature fireworks show at 10 p.m. Friday at the Space Needle.
  • Bell Buckle (March 20) – The historic town adapts Daffodil Days to include a tree seedling give away, spring bulbs vendors on the square, spring items in stores, and a book signing by beloved former Tennessee Poet Laureate Maggi Vaugn.
  • Chattanooga (March 20-21) – Come see the High Falls flow green during Shamrock City at Rock City featuring Irish food, specialty beer from Chattanooga Brewing Co., bagpipers, pop-up Irish dance performers, and virtual scavenger hunt.
  • Linden (March 26-27) – The Blooming Arts Festival mixes fine arts, local craftsmanship, performances and fantastic local eats. Masks and social distancing recommended. Sanitization stations will be up on Main Street.
  • Pigeon Forge (March 26-28) – Cowboy cooks circle the wagons for the one-of-a-kind outdoor Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff that features chuck wagons–the original food trucks. Attendees can sample the offerings at lunch.
  • Murfreesboro (March 29-April 2) – Looking for a fun and safe way to kick off spring? Stop by the Discovery Center for Mess Fest. Get creative and messy with free outdoor activities such as making oobleck, elephant toothpaste and more.
  • Spring Hill (April 2) – Grammy Award Winner Casting Crowns performs a socially distancing family-friendly drive-in concert 7 p.m. at RippavillaTickets benefit the Well Outreach Food Pantry.
  • Crossville (April 2-June 24) – Cumberland County Playhouse kicks off its 2021 spring season with productions like Clue on Stage, The Savannah Sipping Society, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now and Duck Hunter Shoots Angel.
  • Savannah (April 3) – The 9th Annual Generals Breakfast kicks off at 9 a.m. at Cherry Mansion with an outdoor breakfast, storytelling program and a Q&A by the homeowners. Tickets are $15. Masks and social distancing are encouraged.
  • Murfreesboro (April 23) – Travis Tritt with special guest Frank Foster takes the stage at 7 p.m. at Hop Springs Beer Park. There’s live music every weekend at the family & dog-friendly park with food and a huge selection of craft beers on tap.
  • Harriman (May 1) – The May Day Craft and Antique Fair will have vendors that display handmade crafts, vintage items and antiques, food vendors, live entertainment and classic car show.
  • Granville (May 1) – The Cornbread & Moonshine Festival features whiskey tastings, cornbread tasting, food, music, and craftsmen. Admission is $5. The new Whiskey Decanter Museum also opens with over 3,000 whiskey decanters.
  • Cookeville (May 1) – Cookeville Storyfest 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the big tent in Dogwood Park includes headliners Andy Offutt Irwin and Minton Sparks, and an amateur storytelling competition.
  • Tellico Plains (May 1) – The Tellico Trout Festival 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. downtown gathers fishermen, river sports enthusiasts and families for fun, education, food, entertainment and outfitter services.
  • Gatlinburg (May 1-3) – Guests can begin a creative journey in crafts, woodworking, basket weaving, jewelry making and more during Hands on Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Register in advance before workshops sell out.
  • Pigeon Forge (May 5-8) – Textile art and techniques to stitch quilts are on display at Pigeon Forge’s A Mountain Quiltfest. Guests can register for instructional classes. The free quilt exhibit and vendor hall are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the LeConte Center.
  • Sweetwater (May 7-8) – Head to Historic Downtown Sweetwater for the Blooms, Bluegrass and BBQ Festival with live music, barbecue competition, vendors, picker’s corner, kids’ zone and fun activities.
  • Smithville (May 8) – Center Hill Lake Fest 4-10 p.m. at The Burlap Room Beer Garden and Dispensary features plenty of space to socially-distance while enjoying food from local food trucks, craft beer and local vendors. Please wear a mask in vendor and restroom lines. Tickets for the kid and pet-friendly event start at $20.
  • Rugby (May 8) – Raise a cup to Queen Victoria during the Queen’s Tea at Historic Rugby. The festive tea will include sandwiches, scones and dessert. Tickets are $22.
  • Wartburg (May 15) – The Tennessee Mountain Laurel Festival is filled with music, food, exhibits, creative arts, crafts, a car show and 24 designated scenic trails 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. around courthouse square.
  • Harriman (May 22-23, May 29-31) – Join a weekend of fun with costume contests, pirate Olympics, treasure hunts, get a picture with a mermaid or scallywag or shop the merchant village for unique treasures at the 5th Annual Tennessee Pirate Fest.
  • Bell Buckle (May 29) – Load up the car and go on an adventure in Historic Bell Buckle geocaching for prizes 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the Bell Buckle Car Cache and Pig Bash. Registration information can be found here.
  • Donelson (May-October) – Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, shop from local vendors, listen to live music and stroll through the historic grounds of Two Rivers Mansion Fridays 4-7 p.m. during the outdoor Hip Donelson Farmers Market.

For a complete list of what’s happening in Tennessee, visit the calendar on the website.  

Swimming article illustration by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE

MADELINE BANIC × X1-PRO

American Record Holder, International Swim League (ISL) breakout athlete Madeline “Maddy” Banic sets sights on Tokyo Olympics by training less, using X1-PRO

Madeline “Maddy” Banic, the 18-time all-American NCAA swimmer who earned a neck-load of gold medals while swimming for the University of Tennessee and broke out on the scene for the ISL in 2020, has signed with GMX7 as an ambassador, joining GMX7 ambassador and 4-time Olympian Ryan Lochte with sights on ever bigger aspirations for 2021.

According to Banic, while she’ll continue swimming with the ISL, her next goal is to hopefully make the U.S. Olympic Team to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

“It’s definitely my dream, and I’m pretty sure, it’s every competitive swimmer’s dream, to go to the Olympics,” said Banic, who broke the American record for the 50-meter fly at the ISL and was one of the top three breakout swimmers over the 8-week pro league. “I dream about it every day. It’s on my phone under my goals to have an American Flag Banic cap from the Olympics.”

Banic, who saw major improvements in her performance in 2020, attributes her success to a few key components, which includes practicing less.

That may sound counter intuitive, but it seems to have worked for Banic.

“Before COVID, I was absolutely murdering my body in practices, keeping my heartrate at 170 or above for several hours,” said Banic. “But when COVID hit, we weren’t able to train indoors, so I started boxing, cycling, running and kayaking and basically exercising outdoors. When I started swimming again, I was putting up decent times and that’s when I realized I had really been over doing it before.”

Then, at the end of May, Banic met David McCagg, the former 7-time gold medalist who started GMX7 and developed the X1-PRO resistance trainer, which Olympians Ryan Lochte and Caeleb Dressel also use. McCagg met Banic’s training group in Naples where she was able to try the X1-PRO.

“At first, I was skeptical. I mean, racks and towers were the standard for resistance training, but the X1-PRO changes that. It really helped me with my underwater,” said Banic, who used the X1-PRO twice a week to prepare for ISL Budapest. “Now, I use it all the time and love the X1-PRO because it’s not jerky and it travels with you the whole 25 back and forth for continuous training.”

According to Banic, her routine typically goes like this. She wakes up at 7:45 a.m., has a banana and gets ready for practice. Then, she’s in the pool from 8:45 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., breakfast includes eggs, avocado, yogurt, some fruit and lots of coffee.

Then, it’s time to hang out with her 5-year-old Border Collie-Australian Shepherd mix, named Remi. At 3 p.m. lunch is served which can vary, but often includes a sandwich, crackers, guacamole, salsa and dip. From 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. she’s back in the pool. After the evening swim, dinner almost always includes a meat, carb and veggie.

“That’s my typical doubles routine, but when I have singles, I’ll add in cycling with either a road bike or stationary bike, or I’ll do some yoga,” said Banic.

In addition to the workouts, and training with the X1-PRO, according to Banic, her other secret to success is her weekly massage.

“It’s an absolute must,” Banic said.

 

While 2020 was a tough year for many, Banic, who has publicly discussed her past struggles with depression and has helped others through her transparency, seems to have flourished and discovered more about herself. It has led to the realistic possibility of her perhaps earning a spot to compete in Tokyo at the Olympics for team USA.

“I’m definitely going to try my absolute best to make the Olympics,” said Banic. “I think that the ISL season proved that I’m kind of an underdog, but no matter how it goes, look out for the next ISL season.”

About GMX7

Founded in 2018, GMX7 is based in St. Petersburg, Florida and is dedicated to changing the world of swimming by empowering competitive swimmers with the best aquatic resistance training devices ever created. GMX7 was founded by David McCagg, a 7-time gold medalist, former world record holder and winner of multiple national championships. The first device on the market by GMX7 is the X1-PRO. Designed by ROBRADY Engineering, it has already been the recipient of several international awards including the 2020 International Design Excellence Award and the 2020 Red Dot Award for product design.  

Transgender illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Anti-Trans Bill Passages

First Anti-Trans Bill of 2021 Heads to Mississippi Governor’s Desk

Bill is the first specifically anti-transgender piece of legislation to pass a legislature this session, and the second anti-LGBTQ piece of legislation to do so

Mississippi passed SB 2536, an anti-transgender sports bill. This bill marks the first piece of specifically anti-transgender legislation this year to be sent to a governor’s desk and comes on the same day the first piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation, SB 124 — a broad sweeping religious refusal bill — passed the second chamber in South Dakota. The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has been fast and furious, led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are so far 131 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of those, 71 directly target transgender people and about half of those would, like SB 2536, ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement in response to the passage of SB 2536 in Mississippi:

“As thousands die each day of COVID-19 and millions of Americans are out of work, some state legislatures have chosen to attack, demean and dehumanize their constituents rather than focus on delivering relief and assistance. These dangerous bills are designed to make the lives of transgender kids more difficult while they try to navigate their adolescence. Anti-transgender legislation being heard and voted on across the country are legislating against problems that simply do not exist – as even their proponents admit. This is just the latest iteration of their losing fight against equality and a shameful attempt to throw a wrench in the progress we’re making with a pro-equality President and Congress.

“Today, in sending SB 2536 to Governor Reeves, Mississippi became the first state to take the plunge by passing legislation specifically attacking transgender children. Mississippi is so determined to be on the wrong side of history that it is defying the evidence in favor of discrimination.  There is simply no justification for banning transgender girls and women from participating in athletics other than discrimination. Like all girls, transgender girls just want to play and be part of a team with their friends. History will not look kindly on this moment in Mississippi.”

These bills are not addressing any real problem, and they’re not being requested by constituents.  Rather, this effort is being driven by national far-right organizations attempting to score political points by sowing fear and hate. What they don’t understand is opposing equality is highly unpopular — even among Trump voters — and states that pass legislation that attacks our community will face severe economic, legal, and reputational harm. In many cases, these legislative pushes are being prioritized above COVID-19 response and relief. This push comes as equality measures gain not only popular support but legislative momentum on the federal level, with the Biden Administration championing equality in early Executive Actions and Congress considering the Equality Act within the first 100 days of the new Administration. 

A fight driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or public concern

These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — hateful anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.

  • For example, Montana’s HB 112, the first anti-transgender sports bill to be passed through a legislative chamber in any state, was worked on by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters

In a 10-swing-state poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:

  • At least 60% of Trump voters across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly.
  • At least 87% of respondents across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should have equal access to medical care, with many states breaking 90% support
  • When respondents were asked about how they prioritized the importance of banning transgender people from participating in sports as compared to other policy issues, the issue came in dead last, with between 1% and 3% prioritizing the issue.

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • Idaho is the only state to have passed an anti-trans sports ban to date, and that law was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

TOMORROW: HRC To Hold Emergency Press Conference To Discuss Passage Of First Anti-Transgender & Anti-LGBTQ Bills of 2021

Thursday, March 4th, the Human Rights Campaign will be hosting an emergency virtual press conference to discuss the passage of SB 2536, an anti-transgender sports ban bill in Mississippi, marking the first time in 2021 that a specifically anti-transgender bill will be sent to a governor’s desk, and SB 124, a religious refusal bill in South Dakota that marked the first anti-LGBTQ bill sent to a governor’s desk. Today’s press call will include reaction from Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David, expert analysis from State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel, affected voices from the states and perspective from in-state advocates who will detail the bills and offer context for other anti-transgender bills making its way through state legislatures across the country.

PLEASE RSVP BY EMAILING WYATT.RONAN@HRC.ORG

WHAT:

Press call discussing the passage of SB 2536, the first anti-transgender bill of 2021

WHO:

Alphonso David, President, Human Rights Campaign

Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel, Human Rights Campaign

Janna Farley, ACLU of South Dakota

Jarvis Dorth, ACLU of Mississippi

Katy Binstead, parent of a transgender young person in Mississippi

WHERE:

Zoom Virtual Press Link here. (passcode: 880430) (Please RSVP to wyatt.ronan@hrc.org)

WHEN:

Thursday, March 4th, 2021 – 9:45 am ET

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Legislative Update: Anti-LGBTQ Bills Moving In 6 States

HRC Tracking 147 Anti-LGBTQ Bills, 73 Explicitly Anti-Transgender Bills

The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has been fast and furious, led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. The Human Rights Campaign is currently tracking 147 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country, including 73 explicitly anti-transgender bills. Three of these bills have already been passed and could soon be signed into law, and more are coming. We are tracking 37 bills aimed at banning transgender kids from playing sports, 25 bills aimed at limiting medical care for transgender people, and 22 bills to allow discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.

In Mississippi and South Dakota, state legislators have already passed bills targeting LGBTQ people, sending three pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation to the governor for signature or veto. Both states passed bills to ban transgender girls from playing sports. South Dakota legislators also passed a religious refusal bill granting a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

Yesterday, an anti-transgender sports bill in Arkansas, SB 354, was also considered by a Senate committee and recommended for passage. Today, three more anti-LGBTQ bills will be heard in committees in state legislatures across the country.

Arkansas’ HB 1570, an anti-transgender medical bill, is expected to have a hearing in House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee.

New Hampshire’s HB 198, an anti-transgender sports bill, will be heard in the House Education Committee.

Tennessee’s HB 1233 is scheduled for a hearing in the K-12 Subcommittee. It is known locally as the “student bathroom bill 2.0” because it would deny transgender Tennesseans access to the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

Tomorrow, seven anti-equality bills will be heard, five of which explicitly target the transgender community.

Alabama’s HB 1/SB 10, which would make it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to transgender kids, will be heard in the state’s House Health Committee.

In Arkansas, a hearing is expected in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for the anti-transgender sports bill SB 450.

In Missouri, a hearing is expected on HB 33, which would ban gender affirming care for transgender kids.

In Montana, a hearing is expected at 3 PM MST on SB 99, which would require school districts to obtain written consent from a parent in order to teach their child sex ed and ban organizations like Planned Parenthood from offering any instructional materials.

In New Hampshire, HB 440 would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people under the guise of religious liberty. A hearing is scheduled for 9 AM on Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee’s executive session.

In Tennessee, two more anti-LGBTQ bills are slated for hearings on Wednesday. HB 578 is an anti-transgender healthcare bill, and SB 1224 is an anti-transgender bathroom bill.

 

The Caverns Above Ground Amp by Jeff Meltesen (The Caverns) for 360 Magazine

The Caverns Outdoor Events

The Caverns Adds More Outdoor and Socially Distanced Events with Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, Robert Earl Keen, and Last Podcast On The Left

2-person, 4-person and 6-person pods for all 3 shows go on sale Friday, February 26 at 10a CT on their website.

Live entertainment returns to Grundy County, Tennessee at The Caverns Above Ground Amphitheater with beloved Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen (April 9), Americana stalwarts Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors (May 2), and a unique night of dark comedy with Last Podcast on The Left (May 15). The events will take place outdoors and in pods on a hillside above The Caverns cave music venue, overlooking the beautiful Payne’s Cove.

Friday, April 9 : Robert Earl Keen – A bonafide hero of the Americana music scene, Keen is ready to get back to the stage, “I’m excited to be bringing the STARLIGHT TOUR to The Caverns Above Ground Amphitheater and to return to live music safely for our fans. It’s going to be a lively night under the stars!”

Sunday, May 2: Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors – With his new album, Dragons, Drew’s songwriting exhibits a careful sense of craft with his ability to take the joys, struggles, and specific moments of his own life to create vivid portraits stretched across a wide sonic canvas

Saturday, May 15: Last Podcast On The Left – This show will be The Caverns first ever live podcast event. This epic evening is a live show of the popular Last Podcast On The Left heard nationwide on Spotify. Hosts Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski cover dark subjects like cults, killers, or cryptid encounters while inviting you to laugh into the abyss that is the dark side of humanity.

For all shows, guests will arrive at staggered times, be asked COVID-19 screening questions, receive a temperature check, and enjoy the show from 2-person, 4-person and 6-person socially-distanced pods. Pods are spaced with a minimum of 6’ distance between each other to maintain social distancing. The events are “bring your own chair.”

Masks will be mandatory, except when guests are in their pods. All concessions and merchandise will be ordered through an app and delivered contactless to pods eliminating lines and limiting the need for guests to leave pods and miss the show.

While the entertainment is above ground, restrooms will be used inside The Caverns to give guests an opportunity to duck below the surface to see the world-famous, subterranean music venue.

The highest priority of The Caverns is the safety of guests, crew and artists. As such, the venue is following guidance provided by the CDC and the State of Tennessee’s Tennessee Pledge for reopening.

Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 26 at 10a CT. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

About The Caverns

Located in Grundy County, Tennessee, The Caverns is a world-renowned destination for live music in beautiful natural settings, home of the Emmy-winning PBS television series Bluegrass Underground, and a magical cave system for different skill levels of exploration. Inside The Caverns subterranean venue, guests to “The Greatest Show Under Earth” revel in the prehistoric venue’s natural acoustics and otherworldly beauty. The outdoor amphitheater sits at the foot of the Cumberland Plateau with the rolling Tennessee hills as a backdrop. Whether underground or above ground, live music at The Caverns is a bucket list experience that keeps fans coming back time and again. Daily guided walking tours and adventure cave tours of The Caverns cave system are offered 7 days a week.

The Cavern Pods by Jeff Meltesen (The Caverns) for 360

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors by Jeff Meltesen (The Caverns) for 360

RobertEarlKeen-REKbyNickDoll, uploaded by Jeff Meltesen (The Caverns) for 360

Slatt Zy - East Lake Projects

Slatt Zy – East Lake Projects

Rising Chattanooga, Tennessee, rapper Slatt Zy introduces the world to the neighborhood that shaped him to be the 18-year-old man he is today through his new project, East Lake Projects, out today on 100k Management. The release is named after the housing development he was raised in alongside his musically inclined family of 11 brothers and sisters. Fans of Slatt Zy will quickly recognize his effortless flow, which moves from melodic, growled bars to more mournful, introspective lines. Listen HERE. Watch the new video directed by Jordan Spencer for  “First Year (feat. Pooh Shiesty) HERE.

“East Lake Projects is where I became a man. It was tough to value life there, and getting over that made me a man. To me it ‘s more than projects – it ‘s my family, and we got through together. 17 people in 2 rooms, 12 people sleeping on one floor ߝ granny, 11 siblings, auntie. We been through struggles together.” Says Slatt Zy.  “We been through everything -shoot outs, hungriness, shoeless, people dying. East Lake Projects is where all my problems came from and made me grown early, but my happy times came from there too. I couldn ‘t imagine any other way to be. The projects may have given me scars and bruises, but also motivated me to be the nigga I am today. “

While Zy ‘s April debut, Zy Story, introduced audiences to his unique vocal approach and innate ear for melody, East Lake Projects showcases a more vulnerable, personal side of the rapper. On the first track,  “Straight Out Them Projects, “Zy immediately establishes the tone of the record. Over melancholic piano chords, he sings,  “We come from poverty / We had to find a way / Straight out them projects, ain ‘t had shit, I had to find a way. “East Lake Projects is deeply indebted to Zy ‘s childhood, and on the project, he aims to shine a light on the community he grew up in and the violence that still plagues it.

Zy offered a preview of East Lake Projects back in October when he released the video for  “How It Go (feat. Hotboii),” which is at nearly a million views. On the track, Zy takes on the vivacious hook while Hotboii delivers smooth melodic verses. The song is one of the more playful, freewheeling cuts on the project, showing that even when Slatt Zy is excavating his emotions, he ‘s able to turn up too.

Zy prides himself on his incredible work ethic and desire to provide his family a better life. In less than a year, he has released over 10 music videos, in addition to Zy Story. With early support from HotNewHipHop, WorldStarHipHop, SAY CHEESE!, Lyrical Lemonade, and ELEVATOR MAGAZINE, it ‘s clear Slatt Zy is on the way up. Zy has come a long way from sleeping on the living room floor with 11 other people and having to attend school with no shoes to now trading in his braces for his first set of diamond grillz. 

EAST LAKE PROJECTS TRACKLIST: 

  1. Straight Out Them Projects
  2. 3 K’s (We on That Same Shit)
  3. Heart Right
  4. Last Dance
  5. How It Go (feat. Hotboii)
  6. Loved in Awhile
  7. No Hoe
  8. First Year (feat. Pooh Shiesty)
  9. How I Get Here
  10. Salute Me
  11. Hard Times
  12. Sleepless Nights
  13. Left Out

Follow Slatt Zy 

Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | SoundCloud

About Slatt Zy:

At only 18-years-old and having only recorded for less than a year now, the Chattanooga, TN native delivers raw-unfiltered melodic street verses with southern swag. Despite his young age, Slatt Zy has experienced more than most evident in his street anthem  “Drama. “The 100K management affiliate has already amassed over 10 million streams on his own. His self-released debut mixtape Zy Storycharted on Apple Music too. Slatt Zy was touring with Rod Wave right before the pandemic hit and cites most of his musical influences stem from country and R&B.

Gaylord Opryland Country Christmas Nashville

Winter Happenings in Tennessee

Although traveling may look different this year, Tennessee has great activities to offer for the upcoming winter. This list is new, trendy and sure to please everyone.

Nolensville – Artist Kim Radford painted the “This Girl Can” mural on the side of Mama Java’s Café as part of the statewide Walls for Women project to celebrate Tennessee’s role in the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Clarksville – Start a new holiday tradition with a mini-glass blowing workshop like designing your own ornament at Erin’s Farm. Afterward, stop by the gift gallery for goods, crafts and artworks produced by local artisans.

LafayetteThe Barn on Church Street is a magical place for a wedding or event. Steeped in history, the 100-year-old barn has been lovingly renovated to maintain the charm of a barn while providing modern conveniences.

Knoxville –Stroll the Downtown Peppermint Trail among more than 100,000 lights and garlands which create a winter wonderland and restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, bars and boutiques feature peppermint specials.

Chattanooga – Delight in a million sparkling lights, decorate a gingerbread cookie, experience the icy borealis lights, visit Santa in his North Pole Workshop and indulge in holiday treats during Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights.

Southeast Tennessee – The new Tennessee Gravel website showcases ways to enjoy beautiful backroads around the Blue Ridge Mountains and Cherokee National Forest, including day trips, overnight backpacking adventures, bike races and events.

Johnson City – The Windsor Speakeasy is known for its unique craft cocktails, seasonal cocktail menus, inconspicuous exterior, low lighting, leather and velvet pieces. The speakeasy is in downtown Johnson City, but you may have to hunt to find it.

Dover – Learn a new hobby and handwork skills with the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm Old Time Skills Workshops, including traditional Christmas decorations. Safety protocols will be observed. Masks and social distancing will be required.

New Restaurant, Attraction & Shop Openings

Nashville49 new restaurants, bars and cafés have opened this year, including Yolan (directed by James Beard Award winner and Michelin-starred chef, Tony Mantuano), and three new concepts by James Beard Award-winning chef, Sean Brock: The Continental at the Grand Hyatt, Joyland and Audrey.

Nashville – The National Museum of African American Music will showcase the roles African Americans have played in shaping and creating all genres of music. The museum will integrate history and interactive technology to share the story of more than 50 music genres and subgenres. Stay tuned here for information on the grand opening.

Pelham – Explore an underground room three football fields long. Hear about geology, lore and Grundy County’s unique history. Take a daily tour behind-the-scenes of The Caverns’ world-famous music venue and end with a photo op on the iconic stage.

Knoxville Live from the Bijou is a reduced capacity, in-venue experience and live streaming series of concerts every Friday night. Safety measures are in place inside the venue. Proceeds support the artist and sustain the venue.

Pigeon Forge – The new REI Co-op store offers top-quality outdoor gear, rentals, expertise and experiences in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Johnson City – The Women’s Suffrage Mural by Artist Ellen Elmes is depicted in three stages. The design honors the history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement with a focus on Tennessee stories, including a historic 1916 march in Johnson City.

New Breweries and Distilleries 

Clarksville – The locally-owned Strawberry Alley Ale Works in historic downtown combines chef-inspired food and expertly made craft beer.

Franklin – Curio Brewing Company on the Franklin’s Masters & Makers Trail brews coffee and beer. The kid-friendly atmosphere offers the family a spot to gather safely while still enjoying experimental brews. 

Johnson City Watauga Brewing Company is a three-story brewery, rooftop bar and restaurant featuring upscale New American cuisine with Appalachian southern roots. Little Animals Brewery on Main Street offers barrel-aged sours, Saison beers, IPAS, lagers and vintage British beers.

Kingsport – Gypsy Circus Cider, Tennessee’s first cidery, takes pride in using locally-sourced, fresh-pressed apples. With a newly renovated outdoor cider-garden, there’s room to socially distance while enjoying a drink. 

New & Reimagined Hotels

Memphis Canopy by Hilton pays homage to the soulful spirit of downtown while infusing a hip, modern feel. Chef Fabio Viviani showcases American cuisine with Spanish and Italian fare at the hotel’s restaurant, Curfew.

Nashville – New hotels dot Nashville’s skyline including the 262-room Virgin Hotel, 591-room Grand Hyatt, 297-room The Joseph Luxury Collection, and the 346-room W Hotel.

Knoxville – The new Graduate Knoxville is just steps Neyland Stadium with Rocky Top lore and bursting with Big Orange pride, including Saloon 16, a high-end watering hole opening in partnership with Peyton Manning. The new Cumberland House Knoxville, Tapestry Hotel by Hilton is ideal for families, leisure and business travelers alike. 

Sevierville – The new boutique Historic Central Hotel downtown features two-and-three bedroom suites, located in an old, renovated bank building.

Winter In-Person & Virtual Events Across Tennessee

Memphis – (Nov. 19-Dec. 12) Nearly 50 artists offer online booths for holiday shopping at the Pink Palace Virtual Crafts Fair.

Obion Co. – (Nov. 19-Dec. 18) Collect stamps with the Happy & Healthy Holiday Passport for a chance to win a Northwest Tennessee getaway. Visit stops like Discovery Park of America, Blue Bank Resort and Higher Ground Coffee Company.

Nashville – (Nov. 19-Dec. 23) Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Store and Hatch Show Print online this holiday season to find clothing, accessories, home décor and historic prints from one of America’s oldest letterpress print shops.

Union City – (Nov. 19-Dec. 30) Put on your cheeriest holiday pajamas and explore one million twinkling lights without ever leaving your car during Discovery Park of America’s Let It Go Light Show. The cost is $10 per car. Be sure to ask about the North Pole Milk, Cookie Kit and 3D glasses.

Nashville – (Nov. 19-Jan. 3) Twinkling lights, Christmas trees, shimmering ornaments, holiday movies, selfie spots, letters to Santa, gingerbread decorating, carolers, carriage rides and more abound during Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas.

Pigeon Forge – (Nov. 19-Jan. 3) Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas features 5-million glistening lights, award-winning shows, culinary delights, seasonal shopping and holiday do-it-yourself kits to take home, including gingerbread houses.

Sevierville – (Nov. 19-Jan. 3) Immerse yourself in custom-built light displays synchronized with festive music, Santa’s Beach Party display and Santa’s Village during Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland. Tickets start at $25.

Memphis – (Nov. 19-Jan 8) Christmas at Graceland kicks off the holiday season with a virtual holiday lighting, special Christmas tours, an overnight package at The Guest House at Graceland, Nativity scene, Santa and his sleigh and other fun activities.

Sevierville – (Nov. 19-Jan. 10) Glide across the rink with outdoor ice skating at Wilderness of the Smokies. Skates are available to rent at the rink. Guest admission is $10 for the entire stay and public admission is $17.99.

Gatlinburg – (Nov. 19-Jan. 31) Gatlinburg SkyLift Park transforms North America’s longest pedestrian bridge into a dazzling winter wonderland with a tunnel of 40,000 synchronized lights and dancing trees during “Lights Over Gatlinburg.”

Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville – (Nov. 19-Feb. 15) Many of the region’s entertainment and tourist attractions transform for the holidays with light displays, unique shopping and award-winning shows during Smoky Mountain Winterfest.

Nashville – (Nov. 20-22) Nashville Ballet will open its 2020-21 performance season with a virtual production of Community. Community celebrates the spirit of the city with works by three artists whose careers blossomed at Nashville Ballet.

Clarksville – (Nov. 20-Dec. 18) Enjoy vintage and modern holiday classics at Roxy Regional Theatre in the heart of downtown. Admission is $5, refreshments are available in sealed packaging and the theatre limits seating for social distancing.

Chattanooga – (Nov. 20-Dec. 31) Holiday under the Peaks at Tennessee Aquarium features festive decorations, holiday music, a seasonally-themed scavenger hunt and a trip on The Polar Express in the aquarium’s IMAX 3D Theater.

Nashville – (Nov. 20-Jan. 10) Over a million lights adorn the gardens during Cheekwood’s Holiday Lights. Enjoy seasonal favorites like real reindeer, a Poinsettia tree, trains lit up for the holidays and a unique story of the Nutcracker exhibit. 

Gallatin – (Nov. 21) Bledsoe Creek State Park celebrates Native American Heritage Month with a lunch and learn. Bring a picnic and learn about Native Americans who lived and hunted in the area 11 a.m. at the Visitor’s Center back porch.

Columbia – (Nov. 21) A Very Maury Christmas features over 30 vendors and boutiques 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Memorial Building downtown. A $5 entry fee will be accepted at the door benefiting aMuse’um Children’s Museum.

Gatlinburg – (Nov. 23-Jan. 3) Twinkling lights, visits from Santa, special events, fire pits and a whimsical stroll through the Treetop Skywalk make for an Enchanted Winter at Anakeesta.

Clarksville – (Nov. 24-Jan.1) Stroll and be captivated by light displays with over two million lights and a popular light tunnel during the half-mile Cumberland Riverwalk during Christmas on the Cumberland open nightly, weather permitting.

Clarksville – (Nov. 26-Jan. 2) Stay in the safety of your car to experience the Clarksville Speedway’s Drive-Thru Christmas Lights. Load up the car and cruise the one-mile track to take in the glow and sounds of the season. The cost is $25 per car.

Livingston – (Nov. 27, Dec. 4 & 11) Christmas in the Country 5-8 p.m. on the historic downtown square includes local merchants, carriage rides, performances by local dance students, a live nativity scene and pictures with Santa.

Castalian Springs – (Nov. 28) Journey through Christmas through the Ages: A Victorian Holiday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Historic Wynnewood. Learn about Christmas traditions, tour the home and enjoy hot cider.

Collierville – (Nov. 28-Dec. 19) Take horse-drawn carriage rides around the Town Square, snap pictures along the Holiday Photo Stroll and experience a quarter of a million holiday lights during Christmas in Colliervilleevery Saturday.

Townsend – (Nov. 28, Dec. 4, 12 & 19) The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center’s Christmas in the Village features a pioneer celebration, living history interpreters and an Appalachian Village full of handcrafting demonstrations, lights and décor.

Franklin – (Nov. 28-Dec. 26) Holiday Magic on Main downtown features downtown merchants along Main Street offering special discounts and promotions, pop-up appearances by Dickens characters, period dancers, live music and holiday décor.

Cookeville – (Nov. 30-Dec. 24) Take a night drive to see Cookeville’s decorated homes during the Christmas Tour of Lights. A free map is available at Cookeville City Hall. Find and print it here. New this year with the map is a Christmas scavenger hunt.

Savannah –(Dec. 1-31) Downtown businesses deck out in starry lights during December for Christmas on Main. The Savannah Christmas Parade 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14 is unique with a “reverse” parade with floats stationary and viewers drive through to view. 

Hornbeak – (Dec. 1-31) Soak in the season with more than 400,000 Christmas lights, enjoy s’mores by the fire, visit with Santa, listen to Christmas music and enjoy the enchanted Winter Wonderland at Blue Bank Resort. The resort also teams up with Discovery Park of America each year to offer a “getaway package” through the holidays.

Kingsport – (Dec. 3) Grab Christmas gifts & support small businesses while shopping safely during Jingle & Mingle 5-8 p.m. downtown.

Columbia – (Dec. 4-5) Tour homes festively dressed for the season while benefiting the Athenaeum Rectoryduring the Maury Christmas Historic Home Tour. For ticket information contact The Athenaeum at 931-797-3316.

Bell Buckle – (Dec. 4, 5, 12, 19) The Bell Buckle Night Market 4-8 p.m. Dec. 4 kicks off Bell Buckle’s Olde Fashioned Christmas with local artisans, a fire pit, outdoor games and a scavenger hunt. The fun continues each Saturday with sleigh rides.

Jonesborough – (Dec. 4-26) Gingerbread houses, replicas of historic buildings and more will be on display in store windows during Main Street Jonesborough’s new walkable holiday contest and display, Jonesborough’s Gingerbread Village

Kingsport – (Dec. 5) Kick off the holiday season at 6 p.m. with Kingsport’s Virtual Tree Lighting. Due to COVID-19, the annual Christmas parade has been canceled.

Columbia – (Dec. 5) Get ready for the Christmas in Columbia “Night of Light” Christmas tree lighting and Columbia Main Street Christmas Parade in the Historic Downtown Square. Festivities kick off at 5 p.m.

Columbia – (Dec. 5-6, 12-13) Enjoy a fun-filled day of holiday vendors, food trucks, pancakes with yummy toppings, Christmas cookies, crafts, letters to Santa and more during A Blue Barn Christmas Market and Winter Festival.

Johnson City – (Dec. 6) Scott Miller and special guests perform at a drive-in concert at 4 p.m. at The Mall at Johnson City. Tennessee Hills Distillery craft cocktails will be available for purchase. The suggested donation is $100 per vehicle.

Cookeville – (Dec. 6-Jan. 3) Christmas in the Park kicks off with a live-streamed tree-lighting at 6 p.m. at Dogwood Park. The Christmas Tree Lightshow synchronized to holiday music begins at the top of every hour every night 5-9 p.m. 

Winchester – (Dec. 11-12) Step into a Hallmark movie during Santa Claus is Coming to Town downtown with carriage rides, pancake breakfast, live music, special guests and all merchants will be open late for holiday shopping.

Knoxville – (Dec. 11-Jan. 3) Holidays on Ice moves to the Civic Coliseum for the season on the same ice where the Ice Bears play hockey. Enjoy skating on a 180-foot rink while listening to music. There may even be a “Peppermint Panda” sighting. 

Gallatin – (Dec. 12) Join Grammy Award-winning country star John Berry for his 24th annual Christmas Songs & Stories at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theatre. The show will practice social distancing and follow CDC guidelines for safety.

Shiloh – (Dec. 27) Shiloh National Military Park celebrates its 126th anniversary with a birthday party at 2 p.m. at the visitor’s center with cookies and a time of fellowship. Learn stories with a tour of the battlefield which covers 4,200 acres.

Columbia – (Dec. 31) The Mule Drop benefitting Center of Hope held on Historic Public Square will ring in the New Year. Rubik’s Groove will keep the party going until the Mule Drops. Fireworks and confetti cannons will ring in 2021.

Birchwood (Jan. 11) The 2021 Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival is canceled due to COVID-19, but online events start Jan. 11. The viewing area at the Hiwassee Refuge is still open to guests. Please follow all CDC recommendations.

Knoxville – (Jan. 30) Indulge in amazing treats from area chocolatiers, restaurants & bakeries 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. during Chocolatefest at World’s Fair Park. Tasting tickets are $25 and benefit Knoxville’s Ronald McDonald House.

Gallatin – (Jan. 24) Meet incredible vendors who make any wedding day a dream day, taste yummy samples of sweets and savories from area caterers and make planning a breeze at the Sumner County Bridal Show.

For a complete list of what’s happening in Tennessee, visit tnvacation.com/calendar.