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Education Policy


Investing in the future leaders of North Carolina is central to how Equality NC dedicates our time, energy and resources. LGBTQ young people face higher rates of bullying, violence and homelessness than their straight, cisgender peers and need our support to navigate the specific challenges of growing up queer in North Carolina.

Equality NC makes a concerted effort to invest in young changemakers through programming like our Rural Youth Empowerment (RYE) Fellowship, in addition to providing education and training to adult educators and caretakers.

  • Implementing LGBTQ-inclusive training and professional development to K-12 educators, school staff, administrators and families to create more welcoming environments in schools.

Our work includes:

  • Training youth to lobby state legislators and policy makers.
  • Focusing our work in rural areas in addition to bigger cities across the state.
  • Addressing the epidemic of LGBTQ homelessness through our work, with 40% of homeless youth identifying as LGBTQ.

Supporting LGBTQ Students Learning During COVID-19

Equality NC is dedicated to connecting educators, families and students with the most up-to-date resources supporting inclusive education in K-12 schools and distance learning. Many North Carolina schools have opened exclusively virtual and others have selected a hybrid model in line with state standards. Distance learning has caused LGBTQ students to be exposed to potentially unsupportive families without access to in-person support groups which can cause decreased mental health outcomes. It is imperative for educators and school staff to apply in-person tools for inclusive school climates to virtual spaces as a way to fully support LGBTQ youth in distance learning.

Professional Development

Bring Equality NC to your campus to facilitate professional development to educators, administrators and school staff to establish safer, more LGBTQ inclusive classroom environments.

Professional Development Modules
Supporting LGBTQ-Inclusive Classrooms
Gender Diversity and Equity
Race, Gender & Bias: A Community Conversation

Student Workshops
Developing GSAs and Building a Vision
Resisting Systems of Oppression
Direct Action Training

Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship

The Rural Youth Empowerment (RYE) Fellowship is a year-long mentorship and training program for LGBTQ young people in rural areas of North Carolina. The program supports RYE Fellows to successfully execute a social justice project serving rural communities while developing leadership skills.

Over the course of a year, a cohort of ten RYE Fellows will attend day-long leadership institutes in three different locations throughout the state, attend major Equality NC community events, participate in monthly video conferences, work one-on-one with community mentors, and receive fellowship stipends to help offset costs associated with their project.

We are currently accepting applications for the 2020-2021 RYE Fellowship! Apply here by 11:59pm on Sunday, November 1, 2020.

Student Voter Hub


This year we have witnessed some of the biggest shifts in everyday life which includes a different approach to voting in this election year. Local DMVs have closed their doors, in-person voter registration drives have ceased, and we are quickly learning the future of vote-by-mail options. It is our commitment to get you the most up-to-date information about this election, how you can support queer voices and get out the vote.

National Voter Day 2020 The biggest National Voter Registration Day -- in history – Is September 22, 2020. This day will be uniquely positioned to address this backlog in voter registrations and ensure more eligible voters are registered to vote in November. Becoming #VoteReady means bridging the gap between being eligible to vote, registering to vote, and then actually doing it. This is an extremely important election and registering to vote well in advance of your state’s deadline can be another way of doing your part to flatten the curve and help our country tackle the COVID-19 crisis. Only voters that are registered in advance may be able to take advantage of options such as mail-in voting and will receive absentee ballot request forms.

You can learn more about the importance of early voting and being #VoteReady here.

Register to Vote

NC Voter Guides (by county)
As we head into the most important election season of our lifetimes, Equality North Carolina wants you to be as informed at the ballot box as possible. For the 2020 Election season, we've endorsed 147 candidates across the six different regions of our state. You can download the voter guides here. Want to plug into our work? Head here for more information about our six regional chapter groups.

Upcoming Events


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