Event to highlight LGBTQ+ visibility and acceptance in rural communities

The Rural Youth Project, in partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland and AgRespect, is hosting an event on Tuesday 13 July to focus on LGBT+ visibility and acceptance in rural communities with four inspirational speakers joining to share their experiences and advice.

Hosted via Zoom, Rebecca Dawes, Rural Youth Project Director, said that the event will be a safe and inclusive place for young people to come together.

“We spent Pride Month, which is celebrated each June, researching and understanding the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in Scotland. We realised young people in rural areas, who already face greater social and digital isolation. In addition, rural young people may not have the same opportunities to hear and show how far LGBTQ+ rights have come, and how in some places there is still work to be done.

“Whether it’s in-person or virtual, core to any Rural Youth Project event is that young people feel included, welcome and safe. We’re really excited to host this event and I would strongly encourage any young person who would like to attend to register as soon as possible.”

Speakers include Matthew Naylor, Founder of AgRespect; Paula Manners from LGBT Youth Scotland; and, Kieran Sinclair, a Rural Youth Project Digital Champion from Orkney, who recently authored the blog ‘Queering in Rural Scotland’ located on the recently launched Rural Youth Project Smart Village.

“Growing up on the Orkney Isles, I feel I have a hopeful story to tell. My home island has a community of about 350 folks. Everyone is a neighbour, friend, or relative of sorts. The island is small in population, but huge in community.

“My experience as a gay dude, is really rather a happy one. From what I can remember, the island embraced that part of me. There were questions about sexuality, but those who were asking, did so from a point of curiosity to learn, I felt. Because I knew most islanders, there was an established relationship, from which promising conversation evolved,” writes Kieran.

The Rural Youth Project is funded by the LEADER Programme 2014-2020: The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. Through the project’s new Smart Village, leadership programmes and other online activities, it aims to reach out to all areas of Scotland and enable all young people to participate and become the next generation of rural leaders.

The event will be held on Tuesday 13 July from 6:00pm and people interested in attending can secure their spot via the Rural Youth Project’s website – www.ruralyouthproject.com.

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