DUMMERSTON, Vt. — Sept. 27-29 an expected 65 lesbian¨ gay¨ bisexua transgender and queer LGBTQ people living in small towns and rural communities from around the Northeast will gather for the 5th annual Out in the Open Summit for rural small town LGBTQ folks.

The Summit is convened by Out in the Open, a Brattleboro, Vermont-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 & Resilience” will balance hands-on opportunities connecting with the

land¨ and connecting with our bodies¨ alongside discussion and movement building. 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. The summit experience contributes to participants’ sense of belonging and resilience which they take with them after the closing circle,” said planning team member Grace Johnston of Ithaca, New York.

“We are excited to fulfill an aspect of the summit vision that has been building over the last five years, to host the event in a camp setting that encourages retreat and collaboration. There will also be small-group field trips that delve deeply into various experiences¨ across the region,” Johnston added.

“This is a participatory weekend with no presenters or ‘experts.’ 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. 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¨” said HB Lozito, executive director of Out in the Open.

For the first time travel stipends are available for BIPOC and low- or no-income individual through funding from the Wild Geese Foundation and Astraea Foundation’s Fertile Ground Fund. This year’s summit is made possible in part with support from the Samara Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, Borealis Philanthropy’s Fund for Trans Generations, Funding Queerly Giving Circle, and many individuals who support our work with their time and dollars throughout the year.

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