(Washington D.C., May 30, 2014)—On June 6, 2014, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the first in a series of summits focusing on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people living in rural communities across the country. The event, co-hosted by the LGBTQ Law Center and the True Colors Fund, will take place in Greensboro, NC at North Carolina A&T University.

This event launches the start of the #RuralPride summit series being organized across the country to elevate the voices of LGBTQ people and families in rural communities, explore how these communities are particularly vulnerable, and discuss proposed and enacted federal policy changes that can increase equality and access for rural LGBTQ people and their families.

The #RuralPride campaign, a partnership between NCLR and USDA, will challenge the stereotype that LGBTQ people only live 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.

Said USDA Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Dr. Joe Leonard: “We are excited to host the first in this series of summits aimed at highlighting the experiences of LGBTQ people living in rural America. We look forward to continuing to work closely with this community in the future and ensuring that USDA continues to serve all rural people and families.”

NCLR Policy Director Maya Rupert said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this important effort to highlight the needs of rural and small town LGBTQ people. We are committed to ensuring equality for all LGBTQ people and families–regardless of geography.”

Added LGBTQ Law Center Lead Attorney Kelly Durden: “As a legal organization dedicated to serving LGBTQ people throughout North Carolina, we are familiar with the unique needs of LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ community.”

Learn more at www.NCLRights.org/RuralPride.