Memphis Proud: The Resilience of a Southern LGBTQ+ Community

On Exhibit Now

June 4 – September 26

Memphis Proud: The Resilience of a Southern LGBTQ+ Community taps into the heart of our region. Memphis Proud examines the history and culture of the city’s LGBTQ+ population and explores how LGBTQ+ Memphians of different backgrounds and experiences have come together to form thriving communities and provide powerful voices for change and acceptance in Memphis. Through a large collection of local artifacts, photographs, and stories, Memphis Proud tells the story of how our LGBTQ+ community responded to national challenges, such as the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and the AIDS crisis, and the community’s own unique successes and challenges.

Memphis is a city that prides itself on community engagement, and this exhibit spotlights the ways in which LGBTQ+ Memphians engaged in local community building, from finding support in open and affirming faith-based institutions, to building formal community centers to creating informal gathering places in bars, bookstores, house parties and restaurants. The creators of the exhibit assembled a committee of 20 local community leaders, LGBTQ+ activists, and allies of the LGBTQ+ movement that met monthly to help create the movement’s authentic stories. It led discussions on housing, education, nightlife, religion and allies of their fight for acceptance and inclusion.

The exhibit draws attention to the accomplishments of local leaders who have led the charge in this city to fight for the dignity and humanity of their community, and introduces a new generation of activists who continue to challenge discrimination and increase the visibility and influence of the LGBTQ+ population of Memphis.

In the spirit of Memphis Proud, the exhibit also highlights joyful celebrations of LGBTQ+ identity, with events like Pride parades and drag shows which emphasize how LGBTQ+ Memphians have long created their own culture in the face of prejudice and exclusion.

Check out MoSH Summer Pride Events & Activities.


Learn more about our national traveling exhibit from the Newseum/Freedom Forum Rise Up: Stonewall & the LGBTQ Rights Movement.

 A Queer Understanding Podcast (featuring Memphis Museum of Science & History)

Once a month from now until September, Angelica and Cassy will release an episode surrounding MoSH and the LGBTQ+ history of Memphis.

July 2022 Episode – Brandon Allen, Founder of LiveOUTLoud

This month, the MoSH episode of A Queer Understanding Podcast highlights Brandon Allen. Brandon Allen was homecoming royalty in 2019 at White Station High School and his homecoming dress is on display in the Memphis Proud exhibit. Click the link below to hear Brandon discuss his difficulties coming out to his family, and the discrimination he’s faced in the community, which led him to found LiveOUTLoud.

You can listen to the July episode here:

June 2022 Episode:  Moth Moth Moth, Program Director for The Focus Center Foundation – A Queer Understanding

June is the second episode in the monthly MoSH series and it’s all about drag! Moth Moth Moth, aka Magical Miss Mothie, tells us how they got into drag, their journey to self-discovery, and their contribution to the Memphis Proud exhibit. You can listen to the June episode here:

May 2022 Episode: Memphis Proud

The May episode featured the director of exhibits and collections Raka Nandi, as well as two of her interns, Olivia Roman and Patrick Grooms, that made the exhibit possible. You can listen to the May episode here:

Raka Nandi - MoSH Director of Exhibits & Collections
Olivia Roman - MoSH Intern
Patrick Grooms - MoSH Intern
The Guild Art Theatre. Courtesy of Vincent Astor and the Memphis Public Library

A Closer Look at the Memphis LGBTQ+ Community Blog

July 28, 2022 – Evergreen Theatre

The Historic Evergreen Theatre, Home to Memphis’s first public drag performance

By Olivia Roman

For LGBTQ+ Memphians, the Evergreen Theatre (then the Guild Art Theatre) has functioned as both a stage and a mirror since the 1960s, gifting the community the rare opportunity to both express itself and witness authentic self-expression in the form of art. This was made possible by Bill Kendall, described as “an unabashedly gay man,” who ran the theatre, fighting the censor board for the right to show “edgier” films depicting gay life.


A Closer Look at the Memphis LGBTQ+ Community Blog

June 17, 2022 – Reflecting on the Memphis Proud Community Advisory Committee

 By Olivia Roman

As an intern, looking behind the museum’s curtain at all of its quirky and complex inner workings is fascinating, if not also overwhelming. The creation of an exhibit requires countless moving parts coming together, which would be impossible without the diligent work of researchers, organizers, and community members. Throughout our time designing Memphis Proud, we held Community Advisory Committee meetings, gathering together all involved for roundtable discussions on the trajectory of the exhibit.


Presented By



Sponsored by


Archer Malmo’s LGBTQIA+ ERG

Focus Magazine

International Paper


Raymond James

Sowell Realtors

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