Last October, The Daily Show aired a segment about LGBT acceptance in Mississippi. What was set up as a comedic exhibition of Mississippi’s homophobia actually showed the opposite: respect for same-sex couples even in the unlikeliest of places (Waffle House — just watch it if you haven’t already).

The satirical clip adds to growing evidence that Mississippians are more accepting of different sexualities and identities than often assumed. A Human Rights Campaign poll conducted last summer found that 60 percent of Mississippians under the age of 30 support marriage equality and 64 percent back workplace non-discrimination protections for LGBT employees.

Just this week, Hattiesburg became the second city in Mississippi to pass a resolution recognizing the dignity and worth of its LGBT residents. Starkville adopted a similar resolution last month.

Rethink Mississippi and the Winter Institute strongly support efforts to end discrimination based on difference, including sexual orientation and gender identity. We are proud to promote two initiatives in Mississippi that share our mission and ideals.

OUTLaw’s Symposium at the University of Mississippi School of Law

From Rethink contributor Jennifer Kirby-McLemore:

 In light of the steps yet to be taken to achieve LGBT equality in Mississippi and following on the heels of the momentous codification of equality in Starkville, the University of Mississippi School of Law would like to invite you to the upcoming 4th Annual LGBT Law Symposium hosted by the LGBT Legal Advocacy Student Organization, OUTLaw. This symposium brings together legal scholars and practitioners from across the country to discuss issues that members of the LGBT community face both locally and nationally. This year?s symposium will present panels on the intersections of LGBT issues and religion, the military, sports, HIV/AIDS, tax law following the Supreme Court?s ruling in United States v. Windsor, voting rights in the Trans community, and counters to ?Gay and Trans Panic? legal defenses.

This event is free and open to the public. CLE credits are available for a fee for attending attorneys. Please join OUTLaw on Friday, March 21, 2014 in Room 1078 at the Robert C. Khayat Law Center beginning at 8:15am. Breakfast and lunch will be provided and a reception will follow.

For more information, visit us at our websiteFacebook page, or email Jennifer directly at

LGBT Forward

From friend of the blog Alex Beene:

(Also read his op-ed in today’s Clarion-Ledger)

I?m elated to announce a new initiative called ?LGBT Forward.? This movement will look to promote gay rights not just politically, but socially. Obviously, same-sex marriage is an element of the advocacy, but by no means the primary objective. This initiative is meant to help foster social acceptance of the LGBT community in towns and cities. We envision a South that is unbelievably warm and welcoming to gays and lesbians who want to call the region home.

In this new initiative, we?re partnering with WRAP, Wo/Men?s Resource and Rape Assistance Program. WRAP has long championed equality for the LGBT community. Stationed in dozens of communities with case managers, this organization will be instrumental in helping to move progress forward at a social level.

If you?re dealing with minority stress within your area, experiencing homophobia or simply needing a voice to communicate with on your sexual identity, WRAP is offering its services absolutely free and completely confidential. You can contact me directly at, and we?ll set up a meeting with a WRAP representative in your area on your time under your conditions, no questions asked.

Other organizations will be added as partners in time, and certainly as new issues arise pertaining to gay rights in the South, those immediate challenges will be given the strongest support. However, the utmost hope for LGBT Forward is to ultimately create a South where the gay community not only enjoys full legal rights, but also feels socially accepted, comfortable and ? most important of all ? loved.


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