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Rural LGBTQ community comes together for two-day summit

This year’s Summit is made possible, in part, with support from the Samara Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, Borealis Philanthropy’s Fund for Trans Generations, Funding Queerly, and many individuals who support our work with their time and dollars throughout the year. A full schedule of events, much more info, and registration (required) is available at greenmountaincrossroads.org/out-in-the-open-2017.

BRATTLEBORO—On Oct. 27-29, an expected 75 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people living in small towns and rural communities around the Northeast will gather for the third annual Out in the Open Summit for rural and small-town LGBTQ folks.

The Summit is convened by Green Mountain Crossroads, a Brattleboro-based organization connecting rural LGBTQ people to build community, visibility, knowledge, and power. Out in the Open is open to any LGBTQ-identified person of rural and/or small-town experience.

“GMC is thrilled to build on the success of last year’s event, in collaboration with our planning committee, on a two-day Summit this year” said HB Lozito, Executive Director of GMC, in a news release.

“All too often, LGBTQ spaces have a focus on urban communities,” Lozito added. “Likewise, during rural gatherings LGBTQ topics are usually noticeably absent. It is a rare and powerful opportunity to gather with this many rural and small town LGBTQ people who can nod in that knowing way when someone talks about their experience of being queer in the country.”

Lozito called Out in the Open “a participatory day with no presenters or ‘experts,’ rather we convene this gathering with the understanding that our daily experiences living, working, and organizing as rural and small town LGBTQ people make each of us an expert.”

This year, the summit will explore three themes through different discussion-based and hands-on sessions at the same time: Living on the Land, Art & Expression, and Organizing for Justice.

“These sessions will be facilitated, but it’s up to the participants in those rooms to discuss and strategize about how each issue comes up in their lives and intersects with their LGBTQ identities,” Lozito said.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #430 (Wednesday, October 18, 2017). This story appeared on page C4.

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