“Seeing queer people being happy for the first time, in a space that was made for queer people…I was like, ‘Oh, this is really worth it.” —Fin (he/they), 16, high school participant
Joy. Resiliency. Growth. Pride.
These are the themes that stand out as I reflect on OUT MetroWest’s 12th year of building communities where LGBTQ+ youth thrive.
This past fiscal year – July 2022 through June 2023 – was our first year fully back in person,
in our beautiful new space in downtown Framingham, where we continue to deepen roots and build relationships within the community. It was our first full year of several new programs: piloting Satellites in four surrounding towns, engaging young adults ages 19 – 29 at Nova, and expanding our support of elementary ages to include all LGBTQ+ identifying youth in Glow.
Despite internal and external challenges – including staff transitions and the harmful rise of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and activity across the nation and right here in MA – OUT MetroWest showed resiliency and unity as we addressed these obstacles to better serve our community. Together, we showed up loudly and proudly for and with our queer and trans youth.
Over the past year, we welcomed over 175 new faces, tripled middle school Nexus participation, and, after 2 years of program growth, offered a record number of program hours (30+ hours per month: double that of our pre-pandemic schedule!) to reach even more young people in need of our support. We added two new part-time positions to build capacity for our still relatively young, growing organization. Demand for our popular Community Education Sessions ballooned to meet the critical need for organizations to build more inclusive cultures; our team trained an amazing 1,200+ individuals in the region!
After two years of virtual Come OUT & Celebrate events, we came back in person stronger than ever. Our SOLD OUT, re-imagined October Gay-la brought together over 300 attendees celebrating with us in a new format, raising more funds than ever before, and honoring the life-saving work of local gender-affirming healthcare professionals.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the help of our wonderful community of supporters, including YOU. We are so grateful to our hardworking, creative staff; our committed trustees; our generous donors and corporate sponsors; our myriad community partners; and, most importantly, the incredible LGBTQ+ young people and their families – who continue to show up for themselves, every day, all year long.
Thank you for making this past year one where so many youth had the opportunity to feel joy, connection, and pride – in discovering and being their full, beautiful, authentic selves.
We couldn’t do it without you.
Octavio González (he/him)
Chair, Board of Directors
CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC BELOW TO VIEW THE ’22-’23 YEAR IN REVIEW IN ITS ENTIRETY