GLAAD calls on Nashville's music industry to speak out on discriminatory Tennessee legislation

Stokes to Haslam: “You can avoid becoming the next North Carolina”

NASHVILLE – Today, GLAAD joined Tennessee Equality Project and other local LGBTQ groups and civil rights organizations in Nashville to call on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto HB 1111/SB 1085, an anti-LGBTQ bill which would require all words in the Tennessee state code to be defined as their so-called “natural meaning” – ushering in an era that would delegitimize of LGBTQ couples and trans people in the state of Tennessee. If signed into law, HB 1111/SB 1085 could invalidate LGBTQ families in everyday life and deny legal documents that would affirm a transgender person’s true identity.

In addition to being wrong, dangerous, and discriminatory, this “LGBTQ Erasure Bill” could have a negative impact on Tennessee’s economy and Nashville’s music industry. Just yesterday, The Music Business Association spoke out and asked for Governor Haslam to veto what would be a dangerous bill for the LGBTQ community.

Backlash from the music industry could have devastating effects to Tennessee’s’ economy. According to Nielsen, LGBTQ fans spend an average of $248 per year on music. That’s 48% more than non-LGBTQ fans. In addition, LGBTQ fans spend 55% more on concerts, three times as much on digital albums, two times as much on digital tracks, and 88 percent more on paid streaming.

“If Governor Haslam doesn't veto House Bill 1111/Senate Bill 1054, the backlash could be devastating to the state of Tennessee,” said Zeke Stokes, GLAAD Vice President of Programs. “The music and entertainment industry is the heartbeat of Tennessee's economy with the LGBTQ community among the industry’s most influential consumers. The Tennessee Legislature has already attacked this massive fan base that keeps their own state economy alive and thriving when they passed this hateful bill, but Gov. Haslam as the opportunity to change course with his veto. If he does not, Gov. Haslam only needs to look to the hundreds of millions lost by North Carolina in the wake of HB2 to see what is at stake for Tennessee.”

Photo Credit: Lacy Atkins/The Tennessean



SB30/HB33 – Requires words “father,” “mother,” “husband,” and “wife” be “based on the biological distinctions between men and women,” thereby targeting LGBTQ parents and couples.

  • Especially impacting LGBTQ families, a child’s parent, if not the biological parent, might not be recognized as such by law
  • Transgender people’s gender identity may not be recognized by law

SB1085/HB1111 – States any “undefined” words be given their so-called “natural and ordinary meaning,” opening non-traditional/LGBTQ couples and families up to discrimination.

  • Affects every undefined word in the Tennessee code
  • May interfere with the marriages of same-sex couples and LGBTQ families
  • Transgender people’s gender identity may not be recognized by law

SB1153/HB1406 – Claims children conceived through artificial insemination are not “legitimate” children of their parents by repealing statue that protects them.

  • Targets LGBTQ couples, single parents, and their children
  • Allows the government to refuse to recognize LGBTQ families and only list one parent
  • Creates roadblocks for LGBTQ parents trying to adopt their own children