Building the welcoming and affirming communities urgently needed for Maine’s LGBTQ+ youth.
Nearly 20% of all 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 risks of homelessness and suicide, 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 succeed.
At OUT Maine, we have an ambitious goal: to create more welcoming and affirming communities for Maine’s diverse queer youth in all of their intersectional identities. We seek to change the very systems that serve them: 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. By doing so, OUT Maine helps Maine’s queer youth build connection, skills and hope for the future.
OUT Maine is a national leader in designing rural, community-based, targeted programming and training that lifts up queer youth in Maine’s isolated and under-resourced regions.
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.
OUT Maine’s work gives everyone a role in building resilience and life skills to help our queer youth thrive.
Studies show that having just one understanding adult in the life of an LGBTQ+ youth can make a big difference. Building a strong safety net of supportive adults lifts up all of Maine’s queer young people.