Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) proudly states their mission is, in part, to “advance the values of equality and inclusion for LGBT people” in Tennessee. In the past 14 years there’s been nothing to dispute that, until now. Now the non-profit arm of their project, the ‘Tennessee Equality Project Foundation’ is planning an event they’re calling their “First Annual Pink & Purple Pre-Pride Party“, set for June 22. Except this party to celebrate LGBT pride will cost you more than double to attend, if you’re over 30 years old.
That’s right, if you are under 30 then the ticket price is $30, a moderate for this type of event. However, if you are 31 or older, you will pay $65 per ticket to get in the door. Many people are saying this is ageism coming from an organization that prides itself on inclusion and equality for everyone.
Here’s the ticket pricing for this party, that seemingly really wants the under 30 crowd to be in attendance:
We reached out to Chris Sanders, who is the contact person for both TEP & The TEP Foundation, in hopes he could clear up why an organization focused on inclusion and equality, would sell tickets to their events based on the ticket-holder’s age – a very hot topic that already divides the LGBT community. An appeals court even ruled just this year that Tinder age-based pricing (also more expensive for those over 30) did, in fact, violate age discrimination laws by charging users over 30 double the price for it’s services. That was among several thing we wanted to ask Chris Sanders about, however the conversation turned out to be one of the most awkward conversations I’ve ever experienced. He had no answers to gives us. Our entire conversation is posted below.
It’s worth noting that we have had several prior conversations in the past, regarding TEP and the work in Tennessee, , most recently in regards to the Portland City Council and drag shows, and they have been nothing but standard and professional, and seemed out of character for Chris Sanders, yet he stuck by his position.
When it was brought up that that this could be ageism, or even age discrimination, Sanders was quick to say that only applied to employment – despite the fact that he, on a daily basis, fights for right for all, to be in all areas. Whether TEP wants to admit it or not, many are claiming this appears to be ageism, and creates a divide in the community.
We sent a follow up email to Chris, as he represents both organizations, to see if he has any further official comment.
UPDATE: A few hours after this article was published, TEP updated their pricing on the ticket vendor to make the Under 30 pricing appear as a ‘Young Professional Discount’, though their even flyer remains the same, and the conversation with their director above doesn’t deny their intent. TEP has declined further comment on the story.
UPDATE #2: On Monday, TEP changed their pricing once again, in response to the backlash from the community. Their website now quotes ticket pricing as $50, with a “discounted ticket rate of $30 for young professionals under 30 years of age”, and has removed all pricing from their event flyer, and posting this update to their social media:
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