CCC President Paul Morris = Straight Ally

Posted by Bianca Phillips on Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Memphis Loves Gays posted an interview with Center City Commission (CCC) president Paul Morris as part of their "Straight Ally Spotlight Series." In it, Morris talks about making downtown safer, engaging the arts community, and his mission to "show downtown off as gay-friendly." To watch the full video, click here.

Morris, who claimed he once helped hang a rainbow flag over the G.E. Patterson rail trestle for a gay pride-themed South Main Art Trolley Tour, said, "If you want to create a vibrant, diverse, densely-populated area in this city, in this country, in today's times, you have to be open to the gay population."

In the video, Memphis Loves Gays blogger Michael Hildebrand commended Morris for the support he received from the CCC when he organized the March for Gay Rights back in October 2010.

And Morris had this friendly piece of advice for any homophobes: "You can't be intolerant and be successful."

Go Paul Morris!

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On an unrelated note, Morris makes clear in the first few minutes of the video that he's not the same Paul Morris who recently wrote a letter-to-the-editor of the Memphis Flyer in support of strip joints. :-)

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Paul Morris is NOT an ally to gay people.

He is an ally to affluent, white gay people only.

His anti-homeless measures do nothing to benefit the hundreds of homeless LGBTQ youth in this city.

His gentrification of downtown and displacement of former Black residents from downtown does nothing to benefit gays and lesbians of color.

His prostitution sweeps downtown do nothing to benefit trans women, who must rely on sex work, because of transphobic hiring practices.

And his anti-strip club sentiment does nothing but draw on the same fear of sexuality that keeps so many of us in the closet.

He is an enemy to many of us; but clearly only a handful of privileged white gays have voices that matter in this society.

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Posted by Count Dracula on 04/01/2011 at 1:34 PM

Paul Morris is exactly what downtown Memphis needs. As a member of the LGBT Community of Memphis, I'm very happy he's head of the Center City Commission. The annual LGBT Pride Parade is coming downtown in October! Down Beale Street!! That's just another example of how inclusive downtown is becoming. Thanks Paul!

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Posted by southmain on 04/01/2011 at 5:42 PM

Paul has been more supportive of everything and anything that will aid in making Memphis/Downtown an amazing progressive place for city dwellers and suburbanites alike. He has been a friend and an ally to all gay issues. period. I am the person that runs MemphisLovesGays.com and when I sent out many emails requesting interviews that would display city leaders publicly supporting LGBT equality Paul was the first to raise his voice and bravely declare Downtown Memphis a great place for progressive thought and for LGBT people and families to live and thrive. Speaking ill of his positive actions only shows that you might be more of a problem than an aid for solution, Count. I use my real name because I am proud of all I do and say. If you do the same maybe I might suggest others listening to what you have to debate. Paul Morris is a GREAT leader and one of my personal heros. Cheers to him for his brave, selfless actions in defense of LGBT people of Memphis.

If you feel so strongly about LGBT issues please see me at the next TEP meeting next month. (TNEP.org for dates and details).

Strongly & Firmly,

Michael J. Hildebrand

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Posted by michaeljhildebrand on 04/01/2011 at 7:11 PM

The CCC is not an ally of anything without a dollar sign next to it.

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Posted by melanie on 04/01/2011 at 10:46 PM

As society becomes more welcoming of gay men and lesbians, people who based their identity and self-worth on being gay victims are increasing lashing out at supposed racism and class-warfare as a means to “keep the fight alive”.

As the gay and lesbian community becomes more mainstreamed into everyday American society these professional victims are upset that being gay no longer makes them extraordinary or different from their fellow Americans.

This is to be understood. For too long gay and lesbian Americans had to believe that their dreams and desires for love were different or even shameful.

The gay and lesbian struggle was and is a fight for acceptance into the broader American family. This fight is becoming a reality. Yes, it can be depressing if you grew up believing that yours was a love that “dare not speak its name” - while the number one pop song in the country, proclaims that gay people were “born this way”.

Rest assured, this is a generational anger. The vast majority of gays and lesbians want to have a family (or not) serve in the armed forces (or not) and to be judged for their work performance and not their sexual preference. The new generation of gays and lesbians of every color want to succeed in America. This is hard medicine for both republicans (many of whom still detest gay and lesbians) and the professional left who see gays and lesbians as both reliable votes and as an ATM machine.

Gays and lesbians are still bullied, hated and discriminated against. Having straight allies in important places is very important. Until the Memphis city council passes work place anti- discrimination laws protecting the LGBT community we need all the enlightened voices we can muster.

But be aware the LGBT community wants safe streets and livable communities. We will always bring our shared experiences as a group that did and still suffers greatly from discrimination. I hope this makes us more compassionate. But at the end of our struggle the fact remains we just want to be part of America

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Posted by tech on 04/02/2011 at 12:56 AM

@michaeljhildebrand
Speaking positively of a man who has nothing but contempt for this city's homeless population, when 1 in 4 LGBT youth are homeless, show you might be more in touch with the stock market, than your community, michaeljhildebrand.

As for heroes; I prefer heroes who've faced more adversity than a lackluster argument in some downtown board room. Duanna Johnson was a hero. Paul Morris is an investor who has discovered a profitable niche.


@tech
Call me an upset professional victim or "the professional left", or whatever else you wanna call me. But that doesn't make the disparities that exist between middle class white gays and the rest of our community any less real.

If by "being part of America"; you mean, supporting a spiteful, racist, anti-poor organization like the CCC; you can certainly count this gay out. This movement was started by poor gay people at Stonewall; and will end with poor gay people.

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Posted by Count Dracula on 04/11/2011 at 6:31 PM
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