I noted in the previous post that TEP is going to make a more intensive focus on Wilson, Madison, and Blount Counties in 2016. Last time, we took a look at Wilson County. Today we're talking about Madison County.
With a population of just over 98,000 people, according to the 2010 Census, Madison County(the City of Jackson particularly) is a regional center for West Tennessee. Because it is located between Nashville and Memphis on I-40 and because seven West Tennessee counties share its border, Madison County could be an important refuge for LGBT people in the area.
The area is heavily contested politically and culturally--with Democrats struggling to hold on in the face of a rising Republican tide. Talk radio in the area is laced with negative references to abortion and LGBT people. Over 32% of the population is African-American. A significant higher education presence in the area creates opportunities and challenges. Groups like Jackson State Community College's strong GSA are a source of strength and yet institutions like Union University have made more socially conservative pronouncements on marriage in recent months.
Measuring existing attitudes about LGBT people and attempting to improve them will be an important task if we want to help West Tennessee LGBT people make a better life for themselves.