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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Mid-South Pride has evolved over the years

“It’s important that we are engaged, that we are informed, and that we are moving. We can’t sit. We can’t sit,” said Vanessa Rodley, Mid-South Pride President.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — We’re well over a half year into this pandemic. And we’ve all had to make adjustments even when it comes to some of the big traditions such as Mid-South Pride.  

It’s seen its changes over the years already, so going virtual was something organizers embraced from the beginning. 

Celebrations have already begun. But as we move forward into festivities, we’re also taking a look back at how the event has changed. It is one thing to be comfortable with who you are and another for your truth to be accepted and respected. 

Mid-South Pride as been an advocate for the LGBTQ-Plus community. 

Vanessa Rodley serves as President.

“One of our missions is to provide a safe place and to provide a place that people can gather and feel like they’re just normal,” said Rodley.

It is a feeling of belonging that has not always been present.  

“The culture here in the south, one, there’s proven to be more LGB here in the south than anywhere else. This is the bible belt, so there a lot more….there’s a lot more rejection I feel here,” said Rodley.

Mid-South Pride organizers are seeing some change and this year, they're digging deeper.  

“We’re doing a multi-faith service. You’ll get to see all the different churches and temples who you are comfortable with and they are comfortable with you and find acceptance in,” said Rodley. 

They have also begun to see more kids and families participate. 

 “A quarter of the people that come are straight families. They never was something,” said Rodley. “The families that are young are bringing their kids out, so that just in case later in life they feel they’re gay or questioning or non-binary or don’t know what or who they are, can feel love and safety and know that there are other people out there who feel that way.”  

That is why Pride had to continue even if that meant it was virtual. 

“We’ve evolved. It’s nice to see our community evolving in the right direction,” said Rodley. “It’s important that we are engaged, that we are informed, and that we are moving. We can’t sit. We can’t sit.”  

 We, at Local 24 News, would like to wish everyone a happy pride.