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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 7, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 31
USDA cohosts Rural Pride in Mississippi
Section One
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USDA cohosts Rural Pride in Mississippi

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff writer

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will cohost Rural Pride on August 14 in Jackson, Miss.

The USDA will work with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund to produce the event in conjunction with the National LGBT Rural Summit series.

Using the hashtag #RuralPride, the groups are calling for a series of LGBT summits in rural areas around the country to 'elevate the voices of LGBT 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 LGBT people and their families.'

The series of meetings hopes to dispel the stereotype that LGBT people only live in metropolitan areas and to raise awareness of the particular issues faced by LGBT rural communities.

In fact, a Williams Institute study found that 'almost 10% of all same-sex couples in the country live in rural America' and that 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.

Among the topics Rural Pride summits will address are the higher rates of economic insecurity for rural LGBT people, the lack of family and nondiscrimination protections, the relationship between LGBT and faith communities, and the heightened challenges facing rural LGBT youth and rural LGBT people of color.

'From housing [to] education, healthcare, youth empowerment, and more, there will be something for everyone, and we welcome and need your voice and perspective to ensure the success of the day,' the event website says.

The True Colors Fund aims to end homelessness among LGBT youth and is named after Lauper's 1986 hit song and album.

'We applaud the USDA for celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people living in rural communities across the country with this important series of summits,' Cyndi Lauper said in a statement.

'LGBT youth comprise up to 40 percent of our nation's homeless youth population. Those in rural communities face incredibly unique challenges and are such an important and often overlooked part of this conversation. The True Colors Fund is proud to partner with the USDA and NCLR to highlight their stories as a part of the many experiences that LGBT people face in rural America.'

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USDA cohosts Rural Pride in Mississippi
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