Ashlee Davis wants members of the LGBT community to know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will not discriminate against them.
Davis, who runs the National LGBT Rural Summit Series, is trying to help get the word out that “gender identity” and “gender expression” are now part of all the department’s anti-discriminatory policies. The USDA’s programs are typically marketed to farmers or agricultural workers in rural America but are available to everyone.
“We are trying very hard to change people’s mindsets,” Davis said.
“When (people) hear ‘rural America,’ I don’t want them to think that means one type of person: a white, rich male.”
To communicate the change, Davis coordinated the LGBT Rural Summit event Friday at Millsaps College to facilitate conversations for the LGBT community in Mississippi and to provide awareness of grants available to supportive organizations and community members. The funds can help with a variety of needs, from affordable housing to business grants that can be used to fund facilities and programs simply because they are in a rural or underdeveloped part of the country.