On Saturday, October 7, representatives from Spencer Pride presented “How to Have Pride & Make Change in Rural America” to participants of the InterPride 2017 World Conference. InterPride is the organization of LGBTQ pride organizers. Nearly 300 individuals attended the conference, representing all populated continents & approximately 70 pride organizations worldwide.
The workshop was delivered by Spencer Pride president Jonathan Balash, with assistance from treasurer Judi Epp & secretary Katie Zuber. The workshop began with an overview of Spencer, Indiana, & the unique challenges of organizing a rural LGBTQ+ pride organization. Next, attendees were introduced to the scope of Spencer Pride’s work in the community. The remainder of the informative session was focused on Spencer Pride’s approach/strategy & how they’ve managed to be successful within their community & beyond.
“It was an honor to be selected by InterPride to present this material,” said Balash. “There are so many rural pride organizations popping up all over the world & they need all the help they can get to establish themselves. We want to do all that we can so that they can learn from our experiences.”
The workshop focused on providing plenty of real-life examples of how Spencer Pride’s approach has worked (or not) when put into action. It was a candid presentation meant to give rural LGBTQ+ organizers ways to start & improve their own organizations. It was also intended to help educate non-rural LGBTQ+ organizations about how to be more supportive of their rural neighbors.
Spencer Pride volunteers have been working for weeks to prepare for the workshop. Besides the informative presentation, each person attending the session also received a packet full of information to help further their work in support of rural LGBTQ+ pride organizations.
Participants were very engaged by the workshop & highly complimentary of what was presented. Many of them spoke to the Spencer Pride representatives later in the conference to explain how they would take the learnings from the workshop back into their own communities.
“We were so pleased with the reception we received about what we shared,” said Judi Epp. “It’s exciting to know that we were able to help other organizations in their journey towards LGBTQ+ equality.”
Organizations & individuals interested in receiving this training should contact Jonathan at Jonathan@SpencerPride.org.