October is LGBTQ+ History Month, but we celebrate queer and trans history year-round at OUT MetroWest. Connecting LGBTQ+ youth to their heritage and traditions helps to impart a sense of identity, pride, and community.
At last month’s Come Out and Celebrate gala, youth participant Jasmin shared, “One of the most powerful things I’ve been taught at WAGLY is history…WAGLY empowered me to seek out my own history that was never taught to me…it taught me what it meant to reclaim Queer; it taught me pride in the most profound ways; it gave me a whole new culture.”
We aim to provide all youth participants with an experience like Jasmin’s. At our Umbrella program for transgender and gender non-conforming youth, we begin each meeting with a five-minute trans biography. Recent biographies have included those of Tracey Norman, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Marsha P. Johnson, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, and Dylan Orr.
We also offer an LGBTQ+ history lesson at the start of each WAGLY meeting. Recent topics have included queer Olympic history and the lives of Chelsea Manning and Angela Davis.
We believe that a strong, vibrant LGBTQ+ community is multi-generational, which is why we work to connect youth with their elders. In April, a panel of local LGBTQ+ seniors was a WAGLY highlight. Youth enjoyed the chance to hear from their neighbors, and they were surprised by the ways in which their stories felt familiar.
These are just some of the ways that we celebrate LGBTQ+ history at OUT MetroWest. Are you interested in learning more about local queer history? If so, we encourage you to check out the amazing work done by Boston’s The History Project.
Happy LGBTQ+ History Month!