Building the welcoming and affirming communities urgently needed for Maine’s LGBTQ+ youth.
Approximately 30% of Maine teens identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ+). That percentage is even higher—40%—among teens in foster care. LGBTQ+ youth face numerous challenges, including homelessness and suicide, which are compounded by economic, racial and other oppressions. Because of Maine’s rural character, these queer youth often lack the social support, positive queer role models and inclusive policies and programs they need to thrive.
At OUT Maine, we have an ambitious goal: to help Maine’s diverse queer youth thrive by demonstrating how much they matter. We do this by creating more welcoming and affirming communities for LGBTQ+ youth in all of their intersectional identities. We seek to strengthen communities by changing the very systems that serve youth—schools, health care, foster care, community organizations, and more. No other organization in Maine focuses exclusively on listening and responding to the needs of LGBTQ+ youth. No other organization here supports rural adolescents throughout this crucial period in their identity formation, mental wellness and overall development. OUT Maine helps Maine’s queer youth avoid harmful behaviors and instead build connection, skills and hope for the future.
OUT Maine is a national leader in designing rural, community-based, prevention-focused programming and training that lifts up queer youth in Maine’s isolated and under-resourced regions.
Our statewide approach is an expanding circle of support and connection. We serve:
- LGBTQ+ youth, through programs and events—such as weekly groups, leadership retreats, Rainbow Ball weekend and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Studio Immersion Weekend—where our youth can be their most authentic selves;
- Families and allies, through support groups, workshops and resources that offer suggestions for how to help queer youth know they matter and keep them safe and housed;
- Schools, through Gay-Straight-Trans Alliance (GSTA), policy development, education, curriculum and other resources, serve as vital communities;
- Professionals, including mental and physical health care providers, educators, law enforcement, clergy and others, for whom we offer trainings so that they can change these young people’s lives for the better.
OUT Maine’s work gives everyone a role in building confidence and life skills that help Maine’s queer youth thrive. Studies show that having just one understanding, adult help LGBTQ+ youth feel that they matter can make a huge difference. A strong safety net of supportive adults lifts up all of Maine’s queer young people.
OUT Maine, Building welcoming and affirming communities where Maine’s LGBTQ+ youth thrive.
Our statewide, three-pronged approach:
support LGBTQ+ youth and their families and allies with specialized programs;
empower queer youth to be their most authentic, resilient selves through events such as leadership weekend retreats, the Rainbow Ball Weekend and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Studio Immersion Weekend; and to be school climate change agents through Gay-Straight-Trans Alliance (GSTA) clubs we support;
educate behavioral and physical health care providers, educators, clergy and other professionals who, through their affirmation and support, can change these young people’s lives.