As they prepared for their daughter Shay’s arrival a few years ago, Danielle and Jennifer Hounshell – who married in Connecticut in 2009 – became more conscious than ever of the fact that their family is not fully protected in their home state of Tennessee. Only two cities provide limited local protections, and several laws explicitly disadvantage LGBTQ Tennesseans. Jennifer and Danielle, who work as a therapist and marketing specialist respectively, may not stay in Tennessee forever. But they know that even when they consider their next home, they’ll have to think about these questions again and again.
“We came from a state where we were protected,” Jennifer says, describing their time in Connecticut. Danielle adds: “It felt fantastic to be protected. But when we moved down here, you start to realize that you don’t know for sure whether you’re going to lose your job or whether your kid’s going to get kicked out of daycare or whether your doctor is going to take care of you. Every time you meet someone new, you’re coming out again. And right now in Tennessee, people can do anything they want with that information.”