Developing Voices of Leadership in Rural America

Tory Smith

Tory Smith
Tory is a counselor and advocate at the Clinton County Women’s Center in Lock Haven, PA. Tory started working at the Clinton County Women’s Center as the medical counselor advocate in September 2015. Tory is a member of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence Gender and Sexual Justice caucus. Tory is also completing a Bachelor of Social Work degree at Lock Haven University, with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Tory has been involved in activism since high school, focusing on a variety of social justice issues. During Tory’s time at Lock Haven University, they have been very involved in activism surrounding gender and sexual justice. Tory has served as the secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president of the Lock Haven University Gender Equality & Liberation student club, at various times throughout their career at Lock Haven University. Tory is the recipient of the Virginia A. Martin Memorial Scholarship through the Lock Haven University Women and Gender Studies program. The scholarship is awarded to one male and one female student who are recognized for their work in the advancement of gender justice. Tory also has a strong interest in activism surrounding the issues faced by the LGBTQ community. During their time at Lock Haven University, Tory has served on the LHU President’s Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. Tory is involved in the LGBTQ prisoner pen pal program through the group Black and Pink and is a monthly sustainer of the organization. After finishing undergraduate studies, Tory plans to work towards earning a Master of Social Work degree. Tory plans to continue to work in the field of family violence. Tory hopes to contribute to the efforts that focus on highlighting the intersections between the oppression of women and the oppression of the LGBTQ community.

Tell us a little about the rural community you live/work in:

I was born and raised in the town of Sayre, located in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. My high school is often referred to as the “small school, with the big heart.” My graduating class consisted of less than 80 students. The town is a great representation of what it means to be rural; low population, open nature, and never-ending agriculture. Unfortunately, the area is no stranger to the difficulties faced by rural communities; lacking many important resources. Resources focusing on stigmatized issues, such as mental health and reproductive health are scarce and overworked.

What are the pressing reproductive health issues you want to raise?

I look forward to using the fellowship to discuss reproductive justice as more than just a women’s issue. I recognizes that people of all genders benefit from having access to safe reproductive health services, including abortion. I wants to discuss the ways in which transgender and non-binary individuals have their access to reproductive health services limited even further. Overall, I hope to reframe the narrative of the reproductive justice movement in a way that brings inclusion to neglected gender identities. I also hope to use this fellowship to discuss issues of violence surrounding reproductive health, from individual violence to violence perpetrated against service providers. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to discuss reproductive justice without mentioning violence, sexism, and misogyny. I hope to discuss the ways in which sexism and misogyny has led to reproductive violence on both individual and societal levels.

What’s your favorite book?

“Red Emma Speaks: Selected Writings and Speeches” edited by Alix Kates Shulman

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

Barcelona, Spain

What does your perfect day look like?

My perfect day would consist of riding my bike to a scenic location. Once I arrive, I would enjoy reading a book outdoors for several hours. I would then return home and enjoy a vegan dinner with close friends and family.

Interested in Tory’s blog?