5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know: LGBTQ+ in West Tennessee

JACKSON, Tennessee – The LGTBQ+ community has been around in West Tennessee since people first arrived in the area. Just like the businesses, cities and more in our region, they exist 5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know: LGBTQ+ in West Tennessee!

Remarkable people

As everywhere, West Tennessee has produced some LGBTQ+ people worth noting.

The list includes, but is certainly not limited to:

  • Richard HalliburtonThe Brownsville-born author was a travel writer in the early 20th century. He was lost at sea in 1939.
  • Cherry Jonesfrom Paris, who has starred in more than we can fit. But her work includes “The horse Whisperer,” and “The story of the maid.” She also won a Tony Award for her work in “doubtAfterward, she kissed and thanked her then-partner, Sarah Paulson. So pretty!
  • Joshua Robbinsby Jackson, who has been a sexual health and HIV activist.
  • Eli McCaig, the host of McCaig’s Movie Mayhem. He’s only been in his new role for a few months, but he’s already reviewed over 10 films!
  • and Meredith Russowho is actually from East Tennessee but makes sure the town of Jackson was mentioned in her book “If I were your girl.” The book follows the late high school years of a transgender Tennessee girl. The main character’s parents had moved away from Jackson in the storyline of the book.

Many are also from Memphis, including WNBA player Latasha Byears, singer/songwriter Julien Baker, and many more.


Jackson is home to some LGBTQ+ friendly places worth visiting!

The list includes but is not limited to:

The Jackson-Madison County Library Button Maker at Jackson Pride Fest 2021!


From local to statewide, many groups are doing their best to share as many resources as possible with those who need them.

This contains Par Jackson‘s list of affirmative and youth services, and the Tennessee Equality Project‘s efforts to keep residents informed about LGBTQ+ equality issues in the state.

But the list goes on, with The Trevor Project it works nationwide West Tennessee LGBTQ+ supportand Jackson pridewho works hard all year round to put together our Jackson Pride.

Speaking of pride…

Jackson’s Pride Fest

When you think of a Pride Festival, you might picture big cities and you might think of June, Pride Month.

But Jackson Pride is a little different. Our Pride Festival takes place in October, which never ceases to amaze people.

One is: “Why in October?”

Darren Lykes of the Jackson Pride Fund Advisory Board shared:

“Originally we just didn’t want to compete with Memphis and Nashville’s Pride in June. June is also very hot! October is National LGBTQ History Month and also serves as National Coming Out Month. October seemed just right for us and cooler weather.”

Lykes says they faced many moving parts as they brought together the first Pride Fest in 2019. He says there was a lot of awareness raising and fundraising to be done. But just a few years later, the city’s family-friendly festival is booming.

He says they are already planning for the next Pride in 2023! He adds that they are also working on the specifics of a grant program and hope to release that in the spring.

top tier city

Felix Homes mentions Equality Jackson, Out Jackson, and a campaign called “I love Jackson and I support LGBTQ Equality” in their list of cities in Tennessee that are LGBTQ+ friendly.

The campaign they mention was launched in 2017, they say FocusLGBT.com.

The only other West Tennessee city that made the list was Memphis.

Find more local news here.