Rural Communities: Overview

LGBT people live in all communities—not just in urban areas. There are many LGBT people living in rural communities who face unique challenges and have unique legal needs.

Even in states that have legal protections for LGBT people, LBGT people in rural communities may have difficulty taking advantage of these protections because the court in their community has no experience with the laws affecting LGBT people. There are fewer services of any kind in rural communities, but there are especially few services focused on the needs of LGBT people in these areas.

LGBT people in rural areas need to be able to access legal protections in their home communities. They may live in rural areas out of choice or necessity—for example, because their families have lived in their community for generations, or because they are migrant farm workers.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights provides support to service providers in rural areas, such as rural legal aid offices, and partners with California Rural Legal Assistance on Proyecto Poderoso, a project focused on the legal needs of low-income LGBT people living in rural communities.