Looking for a fun, inclusive city with great food and an endless list of things to do? You need to check out Shreveport.
Southern Pride is our monthly column exploring and celebrating LGBTQ culture in Southern cities. This month we’re heading down to the bayou to check out the scene in Shreveport.
Located in Northwest Louisiana, Shreveport is the cultural, educational and commercial hub of the Ark-La-Tex region, where Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas meet. Overshadowed by its famous neighbor to the south, this mid-size city pulls an impressively high MEI score of 77, only slightly lower than New Orleans. Home to five colleges and universities including Louisiana State University – Shreveport, members of the LGBTQ community seeking a higher education or a home base that provides access to year-round recreation and a thriving cultural scene, should take a closer look at this Southern city.
The following are just some of the things that make Shreveport an awesome option for LGBTQ families looking for a new place to call home.
Finding an inclusive place of worship can be challenging in smaller cities and towns. Members of the LGBTQ community in the Shreveport area enjoy access to faith-based support from a couple of different queer-friendly churches. The Church of the Holy Cross is an Episcopal church located in downtown Shreveport. It describes itself as a diverse, progressive, gay-affirming, inclusive, urban parish grounded in traditional liturgy. All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Shreveport is another church that proudly calls itself inclusive. Its members have even completed a special program that ensures that it is welcoming to all LGBTQ individuals.
People Acting for Change and Equality (PACE) is a non-partisan organization based in Shreveport that works to ensure that every member of the LGBTQ community can live openly and safely. They host regular monthly meetings and events to bring the community together. Some of the organization’s past accomplishments include passing the Shreveport Fairness Ordinance, creating the North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and promoting the executive order protecting LGBT city employees.
PACE also hosts a regular social support group for LGBTQA high school to college age youth with a mission of providing a safe and affirming environment for peer-to-peer social interaction and support.
PFLAG of Shreveport and Bossier City is another local organization that supports the LGBTQ community. They offer a monthly support group meeting for LGBTQ individuals and allies and partner with PACE on community events.
A Rainbow of Festivals
The truth is Shreveport has a bit of a reputation for knowing how to throw a party. Festivals run year-round in this fun-loving city, and some of them focus on celebrating the LGBTQ community.
Pride in the Park, is an annual celebration that PACE puts on. Only in its sixth year, it pulled in an impressive 1500 attendees last year, and a larger crowd is expected in 2019. Another beloved LGBTQ celebration is the North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival which honors filmmakers who dedicate their efforts towards sharing the queer communities’ trials, tribulations, heartbreak and successes with the rest of the world on the big screen.
Shreveport provides locals with a wide array of entertainment options. As the area’s cultural center, art lovers have a variety of galleries and museums they can visit including the Louisiana State Exhibit and the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, which is Shreveport’s largest museum. Considered an outdoor lover’s paradise, plenty of places to fish and enjoy water sports are just minutes away from the city. Locations for mountain biking and camping are easily accessible, and hiking the Red River National Wildlife Refuge is a popular activity for locals.
Additionally, Shreveport has an active nightlife scene which includes two LGBTQ-designated bars. You’ll want to check out The Korner Lounge and Central Station for their regular offerings and the multitude of community events they both host including trivia night, drag shows and more.