This week at the TEDWomen Conference in San Francisco, songwriter and producer Tena Clark debuted her new gospel anthem, “My My Mississippi.” The single honors the Magnolia State’s LGBTQ community and its relationship with the place they call home. The song, which is now avaialble on iTunes, was performed by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and the GLIDE Ensemble Memorial Choir.
100% of the song’s proceeds will support organizations advocating for the Mississippi LGBTQ community, including efforts to completely defeat the state's so-called "religious liberty" laws. Clark used the song's debut to announce a march and rally in the Mississippi capital on December 11, organized with the Human Rights Campaign, to call attention to the LGBTQ community’s need for acceptance and equality. GLAAD's #MyMississippi campaign is running between the song's release and the December 11 rally in Jackson as a multifaceted effort to amplify the voices of anyone with marginalized identities who’s ever called the Magnolia State home. This is part of GLAAD’s ongoing Southern Stories initiative to amplify the unique voices of LGBTQ people in the U.S. South.
Tena, the award-winning creator of “My My Mississippi,” heads DMI Music & Media Solutions and has written hits for numerous successful artists and influencers, including Patti Labelle and Aretha Franklin. In the aftermath of the harmful "license to discriminate" bill HB 1523 being signed into Mississippi law by Governor Phil Bryant, Tena was moved to create the song, which is now available for download.
Follow GLAAD for updates on how to take part in #MyMississippi online and in person.
— Pat Mitchell (@patmitchell) October 28, 2016
— Mary Lee Duff (@mlduff) October 28, 2016
Here are just some of the ways you can get involved, take action, and answer the question, "What is #MyMississippi?":
- Post pictures, videos, and messages across social media using #MyMississippi
- Create original artwork for #MyMississippi and share it far and wide
- Write open letters to local politicians explaining why all Mississippians need full equality and acceptance
- Share your story online using #MyMississipi and with the local media
Learn more at glaad.org/mymississippi, where you can check out posts from Mississippians and submit your own message to Mississippi for a chance to have it appear on GLAAD's #MyMississippi Tumlbr site.
Many in the LGBTQ community know Mississippi as home to their families and friends and religious communities, and as the place they learned their values, even if their home hasn't always welcomed them fully. In fact, across the United States, Mississippi has the highest proportion of same-sex parents raising biological, adopted, or step-children, according to a 2013 Williams Institute study. Some stay on the ground working to change their neighbors’ hearts and minds to foster acceptance, while others have found it best to build new communities elsewhere. #MyMississippi provides space for these many diverse voices and complicated experiences and “My My Mississippi” is its new anthem.
In late 2014, GLAAD commissioned Harris Poll to measure attitudes towards LGBTQ Americans. The research found that beneath legal and policy progress lies a layer of uneasiness and discomfort. While the public is increasingly embracing LGBTQ civil rights and equal protection under the law, many are still uncomfortable with having LGBTQ people in their families and the communities where they live. The numbers found that Southerners feel significantly more discomfort about their LGBT family, friends, and neighbors than is found in other regions of the country. To learn more about GLAAD's year-round work to close this gap, check out glaad.org/southernstories.