A Letter From Washington



December 7, 2016


Dear Friends,

On Friday, the White House Policy Council hosted a convening on LGBT progress in Rural America. I was extremely honored to be invited to speak and represent CRLA at this important event. My visit to the White House was a testament to CRLA’s deep commitment and record of success in advocating for LGBT equality.

Leaders at the White House and beyond wanted to learn from us.  On a panel I shared CRLA's approach to LGBT advocacy--coupling direct legal advocacy for individuals who have faced discrimination and violence with the creation of rural regional stakeholder groups designed to increase awareness and support for local LGBT communities.

The other panelists were incredible-Chris Wood from LGBT Technology Partnership and Institute in rural Virginia, Chris Hartman from the Fairness Campaign in Kentucky, and Erin Rook from Saving Grace in rural Oregon. We made helpful connections with many other rural LGBT leaders, as well as key staff at the Department of Justice and other federal departments.

We discussed rural LGBTQ youth issues, the challenges facing LGBT people seeking employment in rural communities, the prevalence of anti-transgender violence, and the lack of quality data collection and cultural competency in our law enforcement agencies. It was a very rich series of presentations and discussions with nearly 100 people in attendance. We celebrated the progress we've made in recent years in our rural communities, while also recognizing that our work must continue.

I want to recognize the people who made this invitation possible. I must thank my team, Anna Rick and Gloria Garcia, and all the CRLA staff who have supported our LGBT work in the local offices across the state. I was able to share out a great model for LGBT rural advocacy because CRLA has an excellent, creative, hardworking team that has forged a great model for making a difference.

I also want to thank our partners, like the National Center for Lesbian Rights. NCLR helped put our impactful work on the White House radar. And, I want to thank you all for championing CRLA’s work and our mission: To fight for justice and individual rights alongside the most exploited communities of our society.

It was a great, memorable trip!  Onward!




Lisa Cisneros
CRLA LGBT Program Director



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