For Valentine’s Day, the Rural Youth Catalyst Project, in collaboration with the Rural Assembly, will be sharing love notes to rural LGBTQ young people. Over the last couple of years of COVID, we’ve had the honor of getting to know and work with LGBTQ+ young people living in rural communities across the country. And they are amazing!
They are all emerging leaders, passionate about rural issues. They want to build a life in rural America but all too often they have shared that they don’t see anyone else in their community that looks like them.
Collectively, they’re up against a heap of hate as local school boards and state legislatures work on enacting a range of annihilating policies. But these politicians don’t speak for all of rural America. The “leave and come to [insert large city] where you are loved” message to our queer youth is still the dominant urban refrain.
We are long overdue to break the narrative that rural America doesn’t love our own.
We want every LGBTQ+ young person know that they are beautiful, loved, and perfect. They are wanted, needed, and valued in all our rural communities. We hope they seek adventure of the best kind, but they should know they always have a hometown to return to.
We’ll be spreading love throughout the month of February and beyond. We hope you’ll join us.
What do you mean by love note?
It’s a public Valentine, a brief, love-filled, affirming message that you are writing to rural LGBTQ youth. However, we ask that you not reference a specific young person by name. It can be a sentence or a paragraph. If it’s easier to record a very quick video message feel free to do so. Read some of the notes below and join us by sharing your own.
“May love find you today,” write Maureen Truax Holland, Esq (an Obergefell attorney) and Dr. S. Taylor Williams (physician) in their love note to rural LGBTQ+ youth.
Read more notes in the Love Notes to Rural LGBTQ+ Youth Project and learn how to send your own below.
“We see you for who you are and celebrate all the joy and love you bring to the rural communities you call home,” says The NC Rural Center in its note of support and love for LGBTQ+ youth in rural North Carolina.
Writer Skylar Baker-Jordan shares an important piece of advice in this note of support for rural LGBTQ+ youth: Enjoy your youth. Do not let anyone tell you the rituals and traditions of your hometown do not belong to you.
We’re thankful you’re here and unapologetically you, says Delaine Anderson in this note to rural LGBTQ+ youth as part of the Rural Youth Catalyst Project Love Notes for LGBTQ+ Youth project.
You’re exactly what we need, say Norris, Tennessee couple Tim Marema and Liz McGeachy in this love note to rural LGBTQ+ young people. This video was submitted as part of The Rural Youth Catalyst and Rural Assembly’s Love Notes to Rural LGBTQ+ Youth project. We invite you to write your own – a few sentences, a paragraph, or even a short video. Learn how and read more in this series below.