About two years ago, Tina Bucher tried to found a PFLAG chapter in Rome, a city of some 40,000 people located in northwestern Georgia. The process was a bit more complicated than she imagined, so instead Bucher acts as a representative for the organization in the town where she’s lived for some 15 years.
| AIDS Recource Council
108-B East 5th Ave., Rome, GA 30161
“I think clearly there is a need because there really is not an organized gay community here,” says Bucher, an open lesbian. Bucher says she occasionally receives emails from LGBT people seeking resources and she refers them to Marietta and Gainesville, the closest cities with gay groups.
But she also gets email from young people coming out in the small, religious and conservative city. Atlanta is about an hour away, so she can inform young people about YouthPride as well as give them online resources. Rome’s AIDS Resource Council, formed in 1994 by community activists and led by Executive Director Jeanne Cahill, is not a gay organization but provides HIV/AIDS resources to those living in the rural community, including many gay people.
A member of the ARC team is gay Rome resident Frank Tant, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1988.
He lost his partner, Bill Rennie, to HIV in 1990. Tant became an active member of the ARC in 2002, and began his work as an educator.