Rutland County Pride: an organization for all

Rutland County Pride Festival drew over 4,000 people last summer and another is planned for June 22.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with the Executive Director of Rutland County Pride, William Fourney-Mills.

The interview was extremely eye-opening as well as remarkably inspiring. Fourney-Mills discussed the organization in great detail, highlighting many aspects that not many are aware of.

Fourney-Mills, an LGBTQ2+ advocate, began by explaining how Rutland County Pride came to be.

“It started as a pipe dream,” he said. “The amount of support we received was absolutely incredible!”

The organization officially opened the office in 2023, where its popularity has only grown. Fourney-Mills offered many details about the organization and what it does for the Rutland community.

“We offer so many different programs at RC Pride. We help people recover from addiction, we provide food and wellness programs and events, such as food drives and festivals.”

But Rutland County Pride goes beyond just a safe space for the LGBTQ2+ community. It helps spread awareness and provides support for the entire Rutland community, bringing people together in the process.

As someone who has struggled with addiction, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the recovery groups, especially. According to Fourney-Mills, in contrast to traditional AA programs, RC Pride offers a non-secular approach to addiction recovery. They believe in recovery without the need for religious intervention, offering, in my opinion, a more modern, open-minded perspective on recovery from addiction.

Meanwhile, if you are ever looking for a productive way to kill some time and support your community, there are so many different opportunities to take advantage of that are organized by RC Pride.

The official website,, offers a list of all the fun and inviting activities and events taking place as part of the organization’s initiative. They welcome any and all supporters to get involved and volunteer.

The list includes, but is not limited to, mocktail classes, monthly queer film series events, and recovery groups. It is well worth a look at the website, as it offers a lot of information about upcoming events and how you can participate.

As one Rutland County community member said on the site, “Rutland County Pride has helped create a feeling of welcoming and acceptance to all.”

Fourney-Mills definitely paints a colorful, inspiring, and informative description of the organization. Throughout the interview, he seemed dedicated and driven to providing a safe, welcoming environment for the LGBTQ2+ community, as well as being seemingly compassionate toward helping the Rutland community as a whole.

“There was such a big margin of LGBTQ2+ people in Rutland. They were so welcoming,” he said about starting the organization in the small city. He then went on to explain how young people, especially, are very accepting and inviting.

“Young people now, ya know, are much more into doing what makes them happy, accepting themselves and self-care,” he said.

Towards the conclusion of the interview, Fourney-Mills also offered statistics and even more information about Rutland County Pride and the LGBTQ2+ community. He explained that the organization is hosting All Recovery meetings for any and all people seeking addiction recovery. They are in partnership with Turning Point Center of Rutland, with certified Peer Recovery Specialists as the facilitators.

He said addiction is a more likely problem among the LGBTQ2+ community. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the Recovery Research Institute, gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals are 18% more likely to have alcohol use disorder and 20% more likely to have substance use disorder.

He also shared information about the local LGBTQ2+ population, like how Vermont has the seventh highest population percentage of LGBTQ2+ folks in the nation. The most recent BRFSS report from the Vermont Department of Health estimates that 6% of Rutland County’s population identifies as LGBTQ+.”

Rutland County Pride is passionate and adamant about spreading the word to as many people as possible, and provides so much important information to help inform and enlighten not only the Rutland community, but every community.

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