While Watauga County, North Carolina, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, remains rural and retains many conservative mores, its university, Appalachian State University, acts as a liberalizing factor in the area. ASU, as Watauga County’s main employer and the primary draw for in-migration, has similarly acted as a focal point for cultural activities and community development, especially with many students and employees active in civic and political organizations. Within the span of a century, attitudes toward LGBT people have moved from complete silence to one of open tolerance in many segments of the county.