LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights

“LGBTQ Institute,” The #TUOR Project, Eric Solomon and Dave Hayward, 2021.

Site Narrative

The live version of the Touching Up Our Roots Story Tour traditionally departs from the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta. The Center houses the LGBTQ Institute, which “connects academics and advocates to advance LGBTQ equity through research and education focused on the American South.” The center is located alongside the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola in Pemberton Place, adjacent to Centennial Park.

In 2018, the LGBTQ Institute released a report of more than six-thousand untraceable, online, anonymous surveys of self-identified LGBTQ+ individuals across 14 southern states entitled “State of the South: A Snapshot on the Conditions and Life Experiences of LGBTQ Southerners.” As the authors of the report note, “In the American South, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) people often face special challenges because of the deeply conservative, social, religious, and political history and culture.” Among the findings, the authors noted that respondents “in the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups report[ed] the highest lifetime rates of discriminatory experiences.” The institute is currently conducting the 2021 survey.

The LGBTQ Institute is open to the public and hosts lectures, book readings, and other community events. For upcoming events, visit their website.


Movement Advancement Project and Campaign for Southern Equality. July 2020. Telling a New Southern Story: LGBTQ Resilience, Resistance, and Leadership.

Roemerman, Ryan. “LGBTQ voters helped tip the 2020 election, and we can do it again in Georgia.” GLADD Online. 4 January 2021.

Wright, Eric R., Joshua Simpkins, Michael Jo Saint, Ana LaBoy, Renee Shelby, Courtni Andrews, Madison Higbee, and Ryan M. Roemerman. 2018.  State of the South: A Snapshot on the Conditions and Life Experiences of LGBTQ Southerners. Atlanta, GA: The LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

The image below was taken during the “We Are Orlando” vigil held on the grounds of the Center in the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL, 2016.

“We Are Orlando” Vigil, The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, June 14, 2016. Photograph by Eric Solomon. Courtesy of Eric Solomon, 2021.

“In addition to… systematically racist, homophobic and transphobic barriers to safety, employment, health, and support, LGBTQ Southerners have had to organize and mobilize against efforts to erode progress and suppress their rights.”

Ryan Roermerman,
LGBTQ Institute
Executive Director