Pride in the City With Soul: Jason McCarty
A native of the Jackson suburbs, Jason McCarty never envisioned himself being a professional Jacksonian.
Now, as a founding member and the Executive Director of Capital City Pride, he is planning for this year's LGBTQ+ Pride Month, giving back to his community and encompassing a role he wished he had had at a younger age.
"Capital City Pride started as wanting to create a safe space for queer people in Jackson to be able to come together and host events," McCarty said. "The idea was formed, and then it just slowly grew. And now we can say we're the largest LGBTQ Pride organization in Mississippi."
The meaning behind their work and how it can support youth and adults in the state keeps bringing McCarty back to the table to provide a seat for everyone.
"Mississippi has one of the highest rates for LGBTQ+ suicide rates," McCarty said. "So, if we at Capital City Pride can create a safe space for queer people to come and spend an hour and just be their most authentic selves, then that is exactly why we do this. Yes, it's fun. Yes, we all have a great time. But for the most part, I can say that my board and I always have in our minds creating safe spaces for people where they don't harm themselves."
One of the main projects on the horizon for Capital City Pride is growing its base of support groups and advocacy programming, especially for kids and their parents.
"I get emails from parents saying, 'My kid's come out, I don't know what to do.' Or, 'My kid is talking about transitioning to a different gender, are there resources for us?'" McCarty said. "As a 501(c)(3), we have the intention of not only creating safe spaces but great safe programming for queer kids, their parents, and trans experience individuals to be able to live their most authentic self no matter where they are."
"If we can keep one kid from harming themselves in Mississippi, I know that's why I do this work."