Founded in 1973, PFLAG is the first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families. PFLAG’s network of hundreds of chapters and more than 250,000 members and supporters works to create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.
Where We Call Home: Advocating for LGBTQ People in Rural Communities
Track: Raise Your Voice
Workshop Block 3 – Saturday, October 26 – 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Room: Bennie Moten AB
Rural communities, and especially rural LGBTQ people, are often overlooked in national conversations. Rural communities are also falsely assumed to be places where LGBTQ people don’t live. This workshop discusses how rural life shapes LGBTQ people’s experiences, and the unique role that PFLAG chapters play in rural communities. Participants will hear from and interact with PFLAG leaders and other LGBTQ organizers working in rural communities about the unique strengths and challenges of rural communities and best practices for working in rural areas. Participants will gain a better understanding of the unique experiences and needs of rural LGBTQ people; ideas for how they can support rural LGBTQ advocacy and PFLAG chapters in their home state/town; and connections to other PFLAG members to sustain the ideas formed here.
Karis Agnew, PROMO
Karis is the Field Director for PROMO, Missouri’s statewide organization advocating for LGBTQ equality. Karis is based in Springfield, MO, and is originally from a small town in Iowa. They moved to Springfield in 2010 and proudly called Missouri home before joining the PROMO team in 2017. Karis graduated from Drury University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology focusing on power and poverty.
Logan S. Casey, Movement Advancement Project
Logan Casey, Ph.D. is a Policy Researcher for the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), where he creates accessible and persuasive policy research, manages the LGBT Equality Maps tracking state and local laws, and conducts analyses of LGBT movement capacity. He was the lead author on MAP’s 2019 report Where We Call Home: LGBT People in Rural America. Prior to joining MAP, Logan was a Research Associate for the Harvard Opinion Research Program and served as the deputy director on a polling series about discrimination in America, among other projects. He is a Missouri native and earned his Ph.D. in political science in 2016 from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Brian Kirk, PFLAG St. Joseph
Brian is the pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in St. Joseph, MO, a Christian faith community which welcomes and affirms of all persons in the LGBTQ+ community. Brian is one of the co-founders and board officers of PFLAG St. Joseph and resides in the community with his husband of 20 years, Johnathan.
Carla Willis, PFLAG St. Joseph
Carla Willis was born and raised in Kansas City, MO where she spent the first 54 years of her life living, working, and raising her three children. She graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with a BS in Elementary and Special Education, with a concentration in Behavior Disorders. After teaching for one year, Carla chose to stay home with her children and start a family business. She is a very proud mom to a 19 year old lesbian daughter, and they attended their first PFLAG meeting in Kansas City in the Fall of 2016. After moving to Stewartsville, MO, Carla was asked by a very good friend to help form a PFLAG chapter in St. Joseph, MO about an hour north of Kansas City. She currently serves as the president of PFLAG St Joseph which hosted its first meeting in November 2018.