Goal Statement: To create awareness in small town regarding effects of intentional and unintentional oppression and establish safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Significant Findings: Members of small towns learn from generations that preceded them. While cultural views have evolved and become more inclusive over the decades, small towns lagged in acceptance. These lead to microaggressions against the LGBTQ+ by community members who do not realize actions and comments can lead to internal conflicts because they see these comments as a normalcy within their community. Members of the LGBTQ+ community then repress their identity until the reach a point in their life that they are comfortable with themselves if they reach that point at all. The LGBTQ+ community should feel safe during all aspects of their life and have trusted individuals that they can reach out to.
Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: Religion is a staple of the community with many institutions throughout town. It is important to identify which establishments and allies and help members of the religious LGBTQ+ community find these resources. Youth should also establish a safe space within their educational setting. Offering education to teachers through mentoring programs with fellow teachers who identify as allies, the forgiveness approach to bullying to empower the victims will help members of the community have individuals they can reach out to. Community awareness can be achieved by normalizing varieties of sexual orientations and gender identities by engaging residents in discussions through community events throughout the year.