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Jun 4, 2014

Equality NC Joins USDA's #RuralPride Campaign

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Equality NC, North Carolina’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, will join the United States Department of Agriculture in Greensboro, on Friday, June 6, to kick-off the agency's LGBT Rural Summit Series and the #RuralPride Campaign. As part of day-long events, Equality NC will participate in a panel discussion from 12:45 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. entitled "Family Policy and LGBT Rural America."

REGISTER NOW for the FREE USDA LGBT Rural Summit - Greensboro, NC, Friday, June 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Through this campaign, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights, in collaboration with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and The True Colors Fund, will engage with LGBT rural communities across the country to host the LGBT Rural Summit Series. Each series will offer a unique opportunity for USDA and other federal agencies to share information relating to policies, programs, and services that exist to protect, promote and strengthen LGBT rural communities. Issues ranging from rural housing loans, community facility grants and bullying will be discussed. Each series will also include a strong presence from local nonprofit organizations, sharing USDA's dedication to serving LGBT rural America.

Series Stop #1:
Friday June 6th - Greensboro, NC
Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering Building North Carolina
A&T State University
2907 East Lee St., Greensboro, NC 27401
Limited Seating - RSVP

Series Stop #2:
Friday, July 11th - Lost River, WV
The Lost River Guest House
288 Settlers Valley Way, Lost River, WV 26810
Limited Seating - RSVP

What is "#RuralPride?"

Contrary to widely held myths that the LGBT community is largely living in affluent metropolitan areas, studies show a very different and more realistic picture of the LGBT community. For a number of reasons, many people in the LGBT community choose to live, work, and raise their families in the rural communities that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proud to serve.

In fact, according to the Williams Institute, "almost 10% of all same-sex couples in the country live in rural America" and these couples are actually more likely to be families of color and raising children. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force also issued a report finding that these couples are more likely to be low-income and are almost twice as likely to receive public assistance. The transgender community is particularly vulnerable.

Transgender people, especially transgender people of color, experience disturbingly high rates of poverty across the country. Additional research conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality shows that they are four times as likely to have a household income under $10,000 and twice as likely to be unemployed as non-transgender people. The LGBT community in rural America has a number of particular needs and vulnerabilities that USDA is excited to target and address.

In an effort to elevate the voices of the LGBT community living in rural America, USDA and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is proud to launch the #RuralPride campaign. The centerpiece of this campaign is a series of day-long summits hosted by USDA, NCLR, and a number of local partners based in rural communities across the country.

These summits will give us a chance to focus on the unique needs of the rural LGBT community, highlight the important federal policy efforts underway to protect this community, and identify next steps to ensure all rural communities have access to the resources they need to thrive.

Are you an LGBT person living in a rural community?

Then show your #RuralPride and share your story with us. We want to hear from YOU! #RuralPride is all about increasing visibility of rural LGBT people and families across the country. Share your story with us and you can be featured in future blogs and materials on the #RuralPride campaign! Email us at LGBTRuralSummit@ascr.usda.gov and tell us about your #RuralPride!

Want to learn more or become a participating organization?

Email us at LGBTRuralSummit@ascr.usda.gov to join our mailing list and receive up-to-date information on upcoming Summits and more! And don't forget to join the #RuralPride Tweet chat on June 2nd at 1pm EST to discuss the issues relevant to LGBT rural America!

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