Concerned Citizens of Tennessee raise funds for LGBTQ+ nonprofit selling shirts of Governor Bill Lee

More than $20,000 raised
Governor Lee in drag from high school
Posted at 7:29 AM, Mar 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-19 11:48:12-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Some concerned citizens are trying to fight back against recently passed legislation impacting the LGBTQ+ community by raising funds for the nonprofit, "Nashville Launch Pad".

Members of the LGBTQ+ community say they feel very attacked right now. This year, Tennessee became the first state to ban drag in public.

Governor Bill Lee also signed a ban on gender-affirming health care for youth in the Volunteer state.

Nashville Launch Pad’s Executive Director H.G. Stovall sees the fear on the community’s face daily.

"To be afraid to go out in public if you are a young trans person. To be seen as trying to be a drag performer when you’re just living as your authentic self is very scary," H.G. Stovall said.

Not long after the bills passed, a photo of Governor Lee dressed in drag in high school began circulating online.

A group called “Concerned Citizens of Tennessee” had the idea to take the image and print it on a T-Shirt, with the caption “Bill Lee is a Drag.”

The group describes themselves as: Queer Folks and Allies; Parents; Business Owners; Artists; People of Faith, and Atheists.

Governor Bill Lee in drag

A portion of the proceeds going to benefit “Nashville Launch Pad”

"When the concerned citizens of Tennessee approached us, we agreed it would be a wonderful place for them to make a sponsorship to divert the profits for a positive change in light of a lot of hate we’re seeing in Tennessee right now," Stovall said.

For 9 years the group has served young people 18-24 apart of the LGBTQ+ community, providing a safe shelter for them during the Winter.

They utilize multiple churches, like Connection United Methodist Church to house them.

"We train our staff in trauma and care and de-escalation techniques," Stovall said.

Stovall is grateful for all the support and love around the globe. He hopes it sends a message to lawmakers.

"They are showing that this is not the will of the people to attack those who have had a hard enough time in this life," Stovall said.

So far, more than $20,000 has been raised for the nonprofit through T-shirt sales.

If you identify as L-G-B-T and you’re looking for shelter options, the nonprofit works with Oasis to house people. For more information, click here.

The printing company now offers "Bill Lee is a Drag" on a T-shirt, sticker, and bag. Learn more and donate, here.