5 Notable LGBTQ+ Figures Who Made History in Memphis

The Bluff City is a point of pride for many people, with its history and inclusivity. And that pride extends to the LGBTQ+ community, which has many Memphians to thank for festivals, organizations, and trailblazing moments that have made this city what it is today. Here are some local LGBTQ+ figures who have shaped the 901 and made history for our community.

Photo Credit: Mid-South Pride

Vincent Astor

Chances are, if you’ve read any LGBTQ+ history about Memphis, Vincent Astor is the reason why. His efforts to preserve this city’s pride and history surrounding the gay community have shed light on various figures and organizations that have made this city more inclusive. You can read some of his work here.

Terrell Buckner 

As the organizer of the first Memphis Black Gay Pride, Terrell Buckner created an event in the mid-90s meant to bring people together and give them somewhere they feel at home. This festival has grown exponentially through the years and is now known as Tri-State Black Pride.

Photo Credit: Mid-South Pride

Kayla Rena Gore and Illyahna C. Wattshall

These founders of My Sistah’s House aim to “bridge a gap in services for trans and queer people of color (TQPOC) in Memphis, TN” by providing safe, emergency housing, advocacy, and resource assistance through the building of tiny homes around the 901. You can visit their website to donate if you’d like to support their efforts.

Gwendolyn Clemons

Gwendolyn is a proud queer woman dedicated to empowering others in the LGBTQ+ community through the nonprofit efforts at Relationships Unleashed. This organization aims to focus on issues related to HIV/AIDS and transgender people, and she co-founded this nonprofit with her son, Davin Clemons, in 2014. You can visit their website and support them here.

Photo Credit: Mid-South Pride

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