Who attends OUT MetroWest meetings?

Youth come to our meetings from more than 50 different communities in MetroWest Boston and beyond. It’s not unusual to see youth from Ashland, Concord, and Northborough alongside youth from Marlborough, Newton, and Sharon.

Almost all participants are LGBTQ+, but some are questioning and some are allies. Participant identities include asexual, bisexual, gay, intersex, lesbian, non-binary, pansexual, queer, transgender, straight, and many others. Between a quarter and a third of the youth we serve are youth of color.

High school youth attend Prism, Umbrella, and/or Youth of Color Hangout, and middle school youth attend Nexus and/or Youth of Color Hangout. 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?

While most participants are LGBTQ+, you don’t have to be LGBTQ+ to attend Nexus, Prism, or Youth of Color Hangout — we welcome cisgender, straight allies at these meetings that explicitly center LGBTQ+ youth.

Umbrella meetings specifically serve transgender, non-binary, and gender questioning high school youth. While we welcome cisgender allies at Umbrella, the space explicitly centers trans and gender expansive youth.

I’m a non-binary middle school student. Can I attend 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 Umbrella!

Are meetings conducted in multiple languages?

Our meetings are primarily conducted in English. If you would benefit from interpretation, please contact us to discuss available options.

Who leads OUT MetroWest meetings?

All meetings are led by a team of adult facilitators with lived experience as LGBTQ+ people. Many of our meetings also benefit from peer leadership, with youth taking an active role in meeting planning and facilitation. All meeting facilitators receive training on working with youth.

Where do meetings take place?

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! The building is wheelchair accessible, has ample parking, and is located a five-minute walk from the Framingham commuter rail station.

We also host events throughout the MetroWest region to connect with youth in their home communities.

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 middle and high school youth meetings?

It depends on the week, but we like to include activities that are fun and educational. Some examples might include: queer or trans history; karaoke; movies; discussion groups; and arts and crafts. We also have lots of guest presentations on topics ranging from dance to activism to fashion. We always provide snacks, time for everyone to introduce themselves, and ice-breakers.

We welcome new youth at almost every single OUT MetroWest meeting! To be alerted to topics of upcoming meetings, sign up for our weekly newsletter or view our calendar.

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. 

Are there rules for OUT MetroWest youth programs?

Each OUT MetroWest group establishes its own community agreements. Some common agreements include:

• 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: honor our pronouns, our identities, our personal space.
• 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. For additional information about these and other family resources, please contact Greater Boston PFLAG.

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.

How can I help OUT MetroWest?

Make a donation to support 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 snacks for our meetings — gift cards to supermarkets are easy for us to use!

While our work with youth is typically done by paid employees, we do have occasional volunteer projects that support the organization. To be alerted to those projects, sign up to receive our newsletter.

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