LGBT Equality in Knoxville


Madeline Rogero
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Rainbow Colors on Henley Bridge

The City of Knoxville is committed to the equal rights and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) residents, workers and visitors. We aim to create a safe, accountable, inclusive and welcoming community so all Knoxville residents feel represented, respected and appreciated.


The Mayor’s LGBT Liaison works closely with LGBT groups and individuals to hear concerns and to share information through outreach and public education. The Liaison advises the Mayor on LGBT policy and other issues on the local, state and national levels. If you have suggestions or concerns about LGBT issues in Knoxville, please contact the Mayor’s LGBT Liaison.

Chip Barry
LGBT Liaison to the Mayor
Operations Project Manager 
City County Building 
400 Main St. - Rm. 681
Knoxville, TN  37902


The purpose of the Knoxville Police Department’s LGBT Liaison is to strengthen the relationship between the LGBT community and the Police Department. By establishing an ongoing dialogue, the Liaison hears directly from community members about concerns, works collaboratively with the community to identify solutions, and educates about recommended safety measures and available resources.  The  LGBT Liaison also serves as an internal resource for KPD on issues of inclusiveness.

Investigator Shelley Clemons
Knoxville Police Department LGBT Liaison 
KPD Safety Building
800 Howard Baker Jr. Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37915
More on KPD LGBT Liaison


• In June 2017, Mayor Rogero turned the lights on the Henley Bridge to rainbow colors for Knoxville PrideFest and to mark the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. View blog post/photo [PDF]

Mayor Rogero with Sophy Jesty and Valeria Tanco
Mayor Rogero with Sophy Jesty and Valeria Tanco - one of the couples in the lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court ruling of same-sex marriage.
• Mayor Rogero was officially added to the list of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination website in February 2017. View website

• Mayor presents No Name-Calling Week proclamation in January 2017. View blog post/photo [PDF]

• The Knoxville Gay Men's Chorus presented the KGMC Crescendo Award for Community Support to Mayor Rogero in August 2016. View KGMC website

• Mayor Rogero sent a letter to President Obama urging his support for the creation of a Stonewall National Monument in NYC to commemorate the birth of the gay rights movement in America. The monument was later established in June of 2016. View monument

• In June 2016, Mayor Rogero turned the lights on the Henley Bridge to rainbow colors for Knoxville PrideFest and to show solidarity with the Orlando massacre victims.

• Mayor Rogero regularly issues proclamations/letters in support and recognition of LGBT equality and pride. View 2016 Knoxville Pridefest welcome letter [PDF]

• In June 2015, Mayor Rogero turned the lights on the Henley Bridge to rainbow colors in honor of Knoxville PrideFest and to celebrate the historic ruling on marriage equality by the U.S. Supreme Court. View blog post/photo [PDF]

PrideFest Welcome Letter
Mayor Rogero regularly issues welcome letters in support of the Knoxville PrideFest. View letter [PDF]

• Mayor Madeline Rogero was the only Mayor in Tennessee to sign the 2015 amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. She also joined the national group Mayors for Freedom to Marry. One of the couples in the lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court ruling was from Knoxville. Mayor Rogero met with the couple -- Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty -- and provided public support for their legal effort. View amicus brief [PDF]

• As of 2014, the City of Knoxville offers equal health, dental, vision and life insurance benefits for LGBT and other municipal employees who are registered in domestic partnerships. View press release

• The Knoxville Police Department's Safety Education Unit launched a community anti-bullying initiative in 2013. View press release

• The Tennessee Equality Project honored Mayor Rogero in 2012 for her work in advocating equal rights for Tennessee’s LGBT community. View TEP website

• In 2012 Mayor Rogero was the first Knoxville Mayor to march in the Knoxville PrideFest Parade and speak at PrideFest. She has been an active PrideFest supporter every year as Mayor, along with many members of City Council. View release/photo [PDF]

• In 2012, her first year in office, Mayor Rogero proposed, and City Council unanimously adopted, a non-discrimination ordinance that protects City of Knoxville employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and ethnicity. View ordinance [PDF]

Mayor Rogero at PrideFest Parade
In 2012, Mayor Rogero was the first Mayor of Knoxville to participate in Knoxville PrideFest. L to R: Councilman Nick Pavlis, Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Policy Officer William Lyons, Mayor Madeline Rogero, former Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Operations Officer Eddie Mannis and Councilman Finbarr Saunders.


• Knoxville Pride Parade Brings Rainbow of Color to Gay Street - June 2017
• Hundreds Attend Vigil in Knoxville on Anniversary of Pulse Nightclub Shooting - June 2017
Knoxville PrideFest Draws Record Numbers in Wake of Orlando Shooting - - June 2016
One Year Later, Same-Sex Marriages an Everyday Occurrence in East Tennessee - - June 2016
• Positively Living Presents 'Julia Tucker Award' to Mayor Rogero - March 2016
• KPD Technical Services Unit Honored For Work on Anti-Bullying Campaign - July 2015
• Knoxville Mayor Defends Decision to Support Marriage Equality with Lighting of Henley Bridge - - July 2015
• Mayor Releases Statement on Supreme Court Marriage Ruling - June 2015
• Knoxvillians Celebrate Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Ruling - - June 2015
• Hundreds Attend Knoxville PrideFest Parade - June 2015
• Knoxville PrideFest 2015 Parade Photo Gallery - June 2015
• Video of Mayor Rogero on Same-Sex Marriage - - April 2015
• KPD Safety Education Unit Awarded Special Citation for Anti-Bullying Campaign - August 2014
• KPD Sponsors Take A Stand Against Bullying Event April 17 - March 2014
• City Expands Employee Benefits to Include Domestic Partners - October 2013
• Fair Housing Workshop Highlights LGBT Rights - September 2012
• Mayor Rogero Tells Knoxville Pride Revelers: 'It's OK to Say Gay' - Huffington Post - June 2012
• Mayor Rogero Becomes First Mayor to Participate in Knoxville PrideFest - June 2012
• City Proposes Expansion of Non-Discrimination Policies - April 2012


•  All Out Knoxville
•  GLSEN Tennessee - East TN Chapter
•  Knoxville Gay Men's Chorus
•  Knoxville PrideFest 
•  Hope Center Covenant Health 
•  PFLAG Maryville
•  PFLAG Oak Ridge
•  Positively Living
•  Tennessee Equality Project
•  Tennessee Open for Business Members
•  Trans-Empowerment Project
•  UTK Pride Center