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Rural Matters

Apr 14, 2021

Michelle chats with attorneys Ming Wong of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Michelle Garcia from New Mexico Legal Aid about protecting the legal rights of LGBTQ people in rural areas. There are more than 3 million rural LGBTQ residents, according to Wong. Garcia says that many LGBTQ individuals in rural communities face isolation, which can lead to self-harm or suicide. Wong discusses the efforts in states, such as Arkansas, to use religious exemptions to weaken anti-discrimination laws, both for LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups. Garcia describes the impact of federal protections for LGBTQ communities in rural areas, many of whom do not have legal protections on either the state or local level. Wong encourages interested listeners to contact their federal representatives about the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Garcia asserts that it is important to implement equitable policies to ensure all rural residents, including LGBTQ individuals, can live fulfilling lives. This episode is sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights,