OUT MetroWest offers several programs for youth.
Nexus is the state’s first program for LGBTQ+ and allied middle school youth.
Prism is a youth-led, adult-supported program for all LGBTQ+ and allied high school youth.
Umbrella is a trans-facilitated program for transgender, non-binary, and gender questioning high school youth. Allies are welcome in this space that explicitly centers the needs of trans and gender expansive youth.
We also offer weekly drop-in hours for LGBTQ+ and allied youth, hangouts for LGBTQ+ and allied youth of color, our Shine program for gender expansive young children, and a peer leadership program for high school youth. You can access a calendar that lists our upcoming meetings and events here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who attends OUT MetroWest meetings?
LGBTQ+ youth and allies come to our meetings from more than 50 different communities in MetroWest Boston and beyond. It’s not unusual to see youth from Acton, Concord, and Maynard alongside youth from Needham, Newton, and Waltham. High school youth attend Prism, Umbrella, Youth of Color Hangouts, and/or drop-in hours, and middle school youth (grades 6 through 8) attend Nexus, Youth of Color Hangouts, and/or drop-in hours. Gender expansive children in pre-K through grade 5 attend our Shine program. Former participants who are older than high school age are welcome at our alum events. If you’d like to chat about which program is right for you or a youth in your life, feel free to contact us.
Do I have to be LGBTQ+ to attend a meeting?
You don’t have to be LGBTQ+ to attend Nexus, Prism, BIPOC hangouts, or drop-in meetings — allies are welcome! Umbrella meetings specifically serve transgender, non-binary, and gender questioning high school youth. While allies are welcome at Umbrella, please note that the space explicitly centers the needs of trans and gender expansive youth.
I’m a non-binary middle school student. Should I attend Nexus or Umbrella?
Nexus meetings are specifically designed for middle school youth, and we welcome your participation! You’ll find you’re in a good company — at least half of Nexus participants typically identify as transgender, non-binary, or gender questioning. Once you’re in high school, you can choose to attend Prism, Umbrella, or both!
What does the acronym LGBTQ+ stand for?
It stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning. In reality, there are so many identities (hence the plus!) that we often use the term queer to include our community’s rich diversity.
Who leads OUT MetroWest meetings?
All meetings are led by a team of experienced adult facilitators with backgrounds in fields like education and social work. Many of our meetings also benefit from peer leadership, with youth taking an active role in meeting planning and management.
Where do meetings take place?
[Please note that our meetings are currently held online due to the pandemic. Check out individual program pages for links! If you need help getting headphones, Internet access, or other tech support, send us a message so we can help!]
We hold most of our meetings at 160 Hollis Street in Framingham. We’re on the upper level of the ātac building. It’s a renovated firehouse with a mural on the garage doors – you can’t miss it! Friendly folks will be there to welcome you. The building is wheelchair accessible, has ample parking, and is located a five-minute walk from the Framingham commuter rail station.
How much does it cost to attend?
Nothing. Our meetings are free!
What if I’m running late?
Come when you can! You’ll get the most out of meetings if you arrive at the start, but you’re welcome to join us at any time.
Do I need to attend every meeting?
No. Come when you can!
What happens at Nexus, Prism, and Umbrella meetings?
It depends on the week, but we like to include activities that are fun and educational. Some examples might include: mindfulness practices; guest presentations; movies; karaoke; discussion groups; and arts and crafts. We always provide snacks, time for everyone to introduce themselves, and ice-breakers.
We welcome new youth at almost every single OUT MetroWest meeting! If you’re in high school and are nervous about attending your first meeting, we invite you to join us from 6 to 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month (except holidays). Those meetings are specifically reserved for new participants!
What about confidentiality?
When you arrive at your first meeting, we’ll ask for your contact information to keep in touch about events, unexpected weather cancellations, etc. You can always tell us if there is a way you prefer that we -not- contact you. (For example, you can ask us not to send you snail mail or call your home phone.) We do ask that all youth participants provide contact information for an adult we can reach in case of an emergency. Which adult you choose is up to you. We do not share your private information with anyone without your permission. Of course, if you are a danger to yourself or others, we will do whatever is necessary for protection and safety.
Are there rules for OUT MetroWest youth programs?
We establish rules to make everyone feel comfortable as possible:
- Meetings are free of alcohol, drugs, weapons, violence, sex, smoking, and negative peer pressure.
- What is said here stays here. Conversations are confidential unless there are health or safety concerns.
- Respect each other’s differences, points of view, pronouns, identity, personal space, and the public space we occupy.
- Everyone makes mistakes; apologies are learning opportunities.
- Use “I” statements.
- Please turn cell phones to vibrate.
How can I find out what is happening at upcoming meetings?
There are lots of ways to keep up-to-date. You can check the calendar on this website, subscribe to our weekly meeting notices, “like” our Facebook page, and follow us on Instagram.
Does OUT MetroWest provide resources for parents and guardians?
Greater Boston PFLAG partners with us to provide family meetings concurrent with many of our youth meetings. These meetings are held nearby so that family members can attend while their children attend Shine, Nexus, or Prism. Recurring meetings are currently held the fourth Monday of the month (during Prism), the second Wednesday of the month (during Nexus Framingham), and the fourth Wednesday of the month (during Nexus Newton). For additional information about these and other family resources, please contact Greater Boston PFLAG.
How can I help OUT MetroWest?
Make a donation to support to our work or to honor someone special in your life. Spread the word about our programs. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram. If you’re part of a faith community, encourage them to become a supporting congregation. We also appreciate contributions of food for our hungry youth participants — gift cards to supermarkets are easy for us to use!