Memphis is a city defined by visionaries and artists. It was home to the first Black newspaper and Elvis Presley, and it’s the birthplace of rock and roll. So it makes a certain sense that Memphis is also one of the most inclusive cities in America, celebrating a diversity of communities by offering a wide range of events and programming designed to uplift and inspire pride, no matter who you are
Memphis takes pride in being an inclusive city. In recent years, the LGBTQ+ community has thrived here, with Cooper-Young, Midtown, Cordova, and Germantown being the most LGBTQ+-friendly neighborhoods. Memphis offers a range of events, support groups, and free programming that make this not only a fun place to live, but a place where a person from any walk of life can find belonging.
OUTMemphis has served the LGBTQ+ Community of the Mid-South for over 30 years. This institution now operates from a multi-purpose facility that plays host to a variety of services and programs, including free HIV testing, access to a trans support group, as well as queer happy hours.
Of the many LGBTQ+ organizations in Memphis, Mid-South Pride is perhaps its best known. It’s home of the famous Memphis Pride Festival and has a storied history that dates back to 1976, when Pride was first celebrated with a picnic in Audubon Park dubbed “Gay Day.” Today, Memphis Pride Fest is the single largest gathering for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies in the Mid-South, with more than 50,000 attendees every year. The festival spans four days beginning with Drag N Drive, a dance party on Friday Night, followed by the signature festival and parade on Saturday, and ending with a Drag Brunch on Sunday. The festival includes live entertainment on two stages, over 150 vendors, a food truck park, a car show, kids area, adult area, VIP lounge, and free and discreet HIV screenings.
Tristate Black Pride of Memphis is an initiative to promote equality/inclusion, human rights, education, outreach, arts, and culture of the Memphis and Mid-South LGBTQ+ community and allies. The initiative hosts a series of events, including an educational summit, “Better Together,” that features a panel of influential African-American community leaders and business owners.
Additional events include King Day, FedEx-St. Jude Championship, Latin Fest, and Juneteenth. Hosted by the National Civil Rights Museum, King Day is an all-day celebration that includes live music and entertainment for the whole family and free admission to the museum. For golf lovers, purchase a ticket to the FedEx-St. Jude Championship, where you can taste local food from notable Memphis favorites and stand alongside the rope line to watch the best players from the PGA Tour season in action. Hosted by the Cazateatro Bilingual Theater Group, the Latin Fest is a celebration of Hispanic and Latino arts and culture that features family fun, food, live music and entertainment, vendors, and activities for kids. Juneteenth invites revelers and celebrants to come together in a park setting to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States with food and live music.
Memphis is one of the most charitable cities in the United States. And this spirit of generosity and inclusion can be seen in recent refurbishments of community spaces, including the Green Line bike trail extension, the renovation of Shelby Farms Park, the completion of the Big River Crossing project, as well as the improvements made to Overton Square.
Inclusion and a sense of belonging are important values to Memphians. These values have seen this city through some of its most challenging times, and they have helped to create a vibrant community who celebrate one another.