April 26, 2018
Lauren Gray, NCLR lgray@nclrights.org / (215) 983-3099


NCLR’s Vermont Rural Pride Convening to Focus on Issues Faced by LGBTQ People Living in Rural Communities
NCLR says, “We’ve learned that a common assumption—that LGBTQ folks living in rural communities would move out if they could—is flat-out wrong” and “our role as a national group is not to dictate agendas to rural communities, but to listen and identify ways to assist work that is being done”

PLAINFIELD, VT—Tomorrow, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Green Mountain Crossroads will host a day-long convening addressing the challenges and needs of LGBTQ people in rural areas. This free event will bring together local, state, and national leaders in the LGBTQ movement and members of the community to share information and devise strategies to ensure that LGBTQ equality continues to advance during challenging political times.

NCLR launched its Rural Pride campaign in 2014 to elevate and address the needs of LGBTQ people living in rural communities across the country, challenge the stereotype that LGBTQ people live only in metropolitan areas, and raise awareness of the particular issues faced by LGBTQ rural communities including increased rates of economic insecurity, lack of family protections, lack of nondiscrimination protections, and the heightened challenges facing rural LGBTQ youth and rural LGBTQ people of color.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a series of covenings in which we partner with local organizations to put together an agenda of topics and speakers that are most salient to that community. Tomorrow’s convening will be the 14th in NCLR’s Rural Pride series. Prior locations have included Des Moines, IA; Asheville, NC; Huntsville, AL; Jackson, MS; and Lexington, KY.

Program highlights to include:

  • Openly gay members of the Vermont legislature join national legal advocates to explore the state of LGBTQ rights in the state and nationally in 2018,
  • A focus on the challenges still facing LGBTQ families in a post-marriage equality world,
  • Panel discussions on the unique needs of LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ seniors,
  • A plenary on health care access and discrimination, and
  • What it’s like to be an LGBTQ farmer.


NCLR Policy Director Julie Gonen said:

“NCLR has always sought to help lift up the voices and experiences of those members of our community who are not always centered, including people of color, immigrants, transgender youth, and people living in rural areas. As a national organization that seeks to advance the equal rights of all LGBTQ people, it is essential that we go to communities around the country to see firsthand the challenges that LGBTQ people are facing so that we can advocate for meaningful change in our legal and policy work. Our role as a national group is not to dictate agendas to rural communities, but to listen and identify ways to assist work that is being done.

We’ve learned that a common assumption – that LGBTQ folks living in rural communities would move out if they could – is flat-out wrong. Through the more than a dozen prior convenings in our Rural Pride campaign, we have sought to dispel the myth that the LGBTQ community is largely living in metropolitan areas and show that LGBTQ people and families are fundamental to the success of their rural communities.

We are excited to be working with Green Mountain Crossroads to bring national and local perspectives together as we explore issues that affect LGBTQ youth, seniors, and families, including discrimination, access to health care, poverty, and the criminal justice system. In these challenging political times, Rural Pride represents an opportunity to come together to lift up and celebrate the diversity in the LGBTQ community everywhere we live.”

Green Mountain Crossroads Executive Director HB Lozito said:

“We at Green Mountain Crossroads are thrilled to be collaborating with The National Center for Lesbian Rights on this Vermont edition of Rural Pride. For us, this is such a natural partnership and outgrowth of our daily work building power of rural LGBTQ people throughout the Northeast,” said HB Lozito, Green Mountain Crossroads Executive Director. “We continue to push back against the prevailing notion that LGBTQ people can and do only live in urban areas. LGBTQ people have been living in rural places and small towns forever! Through gatherings like Rural Pride and our annual Out in the Open Summit, we’re excited to continue bringing rural LGBTQ people together to have both our LGBTQ identities and our love of rural communities seen, heard, and recognized at the same time.

Many of the same issues facing our urban LGBTQ siblings are present in our rural spaces: incarceration, access to healthcare, food justice, economic justice, and more. But those challenges manifest in our small communities differently. Now is the time to come together as rural LGBTQ people to learn, discuss, and strategize about how are we working on and overcoming these challenges together.”


The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org