Rural, small-town LGBTQ community to assemble for annual summit

DUMMERSTON — Some 65 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people living in small towns and rural communities from around the Northeast are expected to gather for the fifth annual Out in the Open Summit.

The event is convened by Out in the Open (OO), a Brattleboro-based organization connecting rural LGBTQ people to build community, visibility, knowledge, and power.

The summit is open to any LGBTQ-identified person of rural and/or small town experience.

“This year's theme, 'Rest and Resilience,' will balance hands-on opportunities, connecting with the land, and connecting with our bodies, alongside discussion and movement building,” said planning team member Grace Johnston, of Ithaca, N.Y. in a news release.

“Relaxing in a space dedicated for folks with rural and small-town LGBTQ experiences is a rare and powerful opportunity, often absent from conversations which focus on the urban queer experience,” Johnston added. “The summit experience contributes to participants' sense of belonging and resilience, which they take with them after the closing circle.”

This year's summit will take place in a camp setting, which, Johnston said encourages “retreat and collaboration.”

Small-group field trips will also “delve deeply into various experiences across the region,” Johnston added.

OO Executive Director HB Lozito describes the event as a “participatory weekend,” with no self-described experts or presenters per se.

“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,” Lozito said.

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

For the first time, travel stipends are available for BIPOC and low- or no-income individuals, through sponsor funding.

A full schedule of events, much more info, and registration (required) is available at

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates