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Oct 29, 2019

RYE Fellows develop incredible resources for rural LGBTQ youth

On Saturday, Oct. 26, members of the Equality NC staff and the North Carolina LGBTQ community gathered in Asheville, North Carolina for a presentation by Rural Youth Empowerment fellows Adrian Parra and Sterling Bentley. The event marked the conclusion of Parra and Bentley’s year in the RYE Fellowship program and their work as emerging LGBTQ leaders in the state of North Carolina.

The Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship is a year-long ENC program in which LGBTQ youth living in rural parts of the state receive mentorship, leadership development and a stipend to develop resources for queer, rural North Carolinians.

Adrian Parra

Parra’s project focused on developing a peer-to-peer LGBTQIA+ sexual health squad that educates young people aged 16-20 about queer sexuality, health and wellness. Their work is directly informed by their role as Executive Director of Youth OUTright, a nonprofit dedicated to the needs of LGBTQ young folks ages 11-20. Their "LGBTQIA+ Youth Resource” guide can be found here and is meant to serve as a resource for educating young, queer folks about general sexual health, as well as safe-sex practices, that are traditionally not taught in sex education classes.

Sterling Bentley

Bentley spent the year working with healthcare providers in the Triangle area to better understand how to compassionately and adequately serve patients of transgender experience. The Executive Director of nonprofit iNSIDEoUT, Bentley wanted to make the oftentimes traumatic experience of navigating healthcare settings less dehumanizing for folks of trans, gender nonconforming or non-binary experience. His resource for healthcare providers is meant to help LGBTQ folks by providing opportunities to self-disclose information about their lives and identity while meeting with healthcare providers.

The 2018-2019 Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship cycle will officially close Thursday, November 7 following RYE Fellow “Karter J” presenting his work on creating space for LGBTQ people living with HIV in the Greenville area.

Interested in learning more about the Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship? Head here.

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