Brandon Thomas is a proud gay man and native Tennessean who has spent much of his life working to empower the LGBTQ community in his state. As a member of the state executive committee of the Tennessee Democratic Party, Brandon works to make sure LGBTQ Tennesseans are afforded the same rights under the law as every other citizen. Additionally, Brandon works with the Tennessee Equality Project to educate local lawmakers on how discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces still runs rampant in much of his state. Brandon has targeted his activism at the state’s efforts to undermine local LGBTQ protections, which it has done since passing an anti-LGBTQ law in 2011.
“Every time the state of Tennessee preempts the actions of local governments, it undermines the local democracy and discourages city/town officials from solving problems that are unique to their own communities,” Brandon said. “Being denied a well-paying job or promotion because of one’s perceived sexual orientation or gender identity prevents LGBT people from ascending into economic prosperity, and it prevents them from having the security and stability that could help them to flourish. It also deprives many of access to quality benefits. It’s degrading and isolating.”