A Utah nonprofit that works to secure equal rights and protections for LGBTQ Utahns and their families is expanding their reach in the Wasatch Back.
Equality Utah is the state’s leading LGBTQ political advocacy organization. Based in Salt Lake City, the organizations Executive Director Troy Williams says they are looking to expand their reach.
“We’ve been kind of building a strong community in St. George and now we're looking to expand our work along the Wasatch Back,” Williams continued. “Really want to make sure that we are reaching out particularly to those folks who live in rural communities, who may not know that they have access to some of our resources. So, we are going to be more present in your neck of the woods.”
Williams says they work to make sure the laws in the state on both the state-wide and municipal level include and protect the LGBTQ community.
“We want to become a resource to different municipalities along the Wasatch Back,” Williams said. “So, when issues rise up, we can be a presence there. That we can educate people about LGBTQ lives and that we can help to elevate our community.”
This summer some controversy arose when rainbow banners that read “Pride in the Wasatch Back” appeared on Heber’s Main Street during Pride Month. Williams and Equality Utah were supportive of the banners.
“Visibility is critical to the success of the LGBTQ community,” Williams explained. “The only way that we're going to be able to break down the barriers of prejudice and bias is to be present, to be visible, and to actually share our voices and share our lives. The more that we do that, the more that people begin to realize LGBT folks, they’re our neighbors, they’re our coworkers, they're in our churches, and in our communities and we don't need to fear each other. We can actually reach out in friendship as members of the same community and celebrate each other. It was a huge step in Heber this summer to let people know that LGBT folks we’re everywhere. We’re born into every family, we’re in every community, and we're here to enjoy what it means to be a Utah and of course a United States citizen.”
Equality Utah has already begun additional outreach to the Wasatch Back. In August they held their Women for Equality event in Park City in conjunction with a performance by the Indigo Girls at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater. The organization has also been participating in LGBT youth events in Kamas.
In early November the organization announced they had brought on Daniel Potter as the new Regional Coordinator for the Wasatch Back.
“He's just got this bright energy about him,” Williams continued. “So, we're excited to see what he creates and we're going to be working right alongside of him as he does that. He's got this enthusiasm to be a community builder and so we're going to put him to work to do just that.”
Potter is the son of Heber City Mayor Kelleen Potter. Potter’s work will be to build relationships and lay groundwork for LGBTQ programming and connection in Summit and Wasatch County.