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. For a number of reasons, many people in the LGBT community choose to live, work, and raise their families in the rural communities.
In fact, 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. They are also twice as likely to live in poverty and are significantly more likely to receive public assistance. The transgender community is especially vulnerable. Transgender people, especially transgender people of color, experience disturbingly high rates of poverty across the country. 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. LGBT youth are also at a heightened disadvantage, and report higher rates of violence and harassment at school. The LGBT community in rural America thus has a number of particular needs and vulnerabilities.
In an effort to elevate the voices of the LGBT community living in rural America, the National Center for Lesbian Rights is proud to spearhead the Rural Pride campaign.
The centerpiece of this campaign is a series of day-long convenings alongside local partners based in rural communities across the country. These gatherings 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.