Nine out of 10 people in the LGBT community have experienced some sort of bullying in their lifetimes, according to the Bullying Statistics website.
A new organization is forming in Clarksville, and it seeks to help those within the LGBT community who feel marginalized: Equality Clarksville.
Though she has now stepped down from the organization, Susan Larson is one of the founding members, and is also the founder of Susan’s Place Transgender Resources.
Susan’s Place has been a space where transgendered people can reach out for peer support that has been operating since 1995.
“We formed Equality Clarksville because we felt there was a need to raise awareness of LGBTI rights, and that is one area we were lacking in as a community,” Larson said.
One controversial legislation is North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” which caused an uproar when the government passed it. Recently, the North Carolina government has made steps to repeal that bill after all the public outcry.
“With the increase of anti-LGBT inspired legislation myself and others felt that the time was right to form a new organization that will help prevent those types of bills from marginalizing LGBTI peoples,” Larson said.
Equality Clarksville has had two meetings so far with the first being held at the beginning of March. The purpose of these meetings was to set the goals and leadership structure of the organization.
The group held a third meeting at the Tree of Life Center on Sunday, April 2.
“At the next meeting we will be finalizing the leadership structure and ratifying the organization’s bylaws,” Larson said. “Once that happens Equality Clarksville will be an official group that will strive to help protect those in the LGBT community.”
This meeting will help guide what methods Equality Clarksville will use to accomplish its goal.
“We are discussing the possibility of holding a pride march sometime later in the year, but that is still in the planning phase so nothing is set in stone at this moment,” Larson said.
Equality Clarksville has an active Facebook page that serves as a way for interested people to interact with the group and stay informed on what the organization is working on.
“Equality Clarksville will have open membership to any who are interested in the cause of LGBT rights, but there will be dues that a member will be obligated to pay,” Larson said.
After Sunday’s meeting Equality Clarksville will have chosen its direction in the future as an organization.
“I do not want this organization to stop at just LGBT rights as I want to see it grow to be about protecting all of the citizens of Montgomery County’s equal rights,” Larson said.