The event will be held at NC A&T on Friday, June 6 and will mark the start of the summit series for the #RuralPride campaign. The campaign is an outreach program of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture. The LGBTQ Law Center and the True Colors Fund are co-hosts for the event on Friday in Greensboro.
#RuralPride is meant to address stereotypes that portray LGBT communities as being exclusive to cities and urban areas. According to a press release about the event from the NCLR, the summits are meant to “raise awareness of the particular issues faced by LGBT rural communities, including increased rates of economic insecurity, lack of family protections, lack of nondiscrimination protections, and the heightened challenges facing rural LGBT youth and rural LGBT people of color.”
NC A&T was chosen to host the kick-off summit based on a long-standing relationship with the USDA, but NCLR Policy Director Maya Rupert explained that she had already been considering the Triad as a potential candidate. “We were looking at the area generally because we think it’s an area where the issues of this campaign are brought into sharp focus,” said Rupert.
Poverty disproportionately affects both LGBT individuals and rural families, so rural LGBT people are especially at risk of struggling with low-income wages or of falling below the poverty line. LGBT families are also less likely to be recognized in the South. According to Rupert, these factors contribute to the narrative that LGBT families must leave the rural South in order to achieve a higher quality to life.
The summits will propose legislation and federal policy changes specifically aimed at rural LGBT individuals and their families. “As a legal organization dedicated to serving LGBT people throughout North Carolina, we are familiar with the unique needs of LGBT people and families living in rural communities. We are proud to work with this community every day and are excited for this opportunity to centralize the experiences of the rural LGBT community,” said LGBTQ Law Center Lead Attorney Kelly Durden.
Rupert said that she hopes the summit kick-off in Greensboro will engage a wide range of communities that are often underserved. “You have to come together to maximize clout,” said Rupert.
The event on June 6 will start at 8:30 a.m. lasting until 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and you may register ahead of time online.