What topics do the OUT Maine resources cover?
Teachers: Curricula on LGBTQ+ topics for the classroom as well as professional development on the risks and protective factors of LGBTQ+ youth and how to support them in the school environment. Support for building and running GSTA's. Posters and literature for GSTA groups.
Providers: How to provide welcoming and affirming services to LGBTQ+ youth.
Behavioral health providers: In-depth training on how to support LGBTQ+ youth over time.
Families: Literature and resources for parents raising LGBTQ+ children.
How has COVID-19 changed OUT Maine's programming? Has it been positive or negative?
Both. We had to cancel our major annual youth retreat Rainbow Ball Weekend, which hosts up to 200 LGBTQ+ and allied youth from around the state of Maine and provides an LGBTQ+ safe prom and a talent show. We also had to cancel all of our other in-person programming and trainings, including our regional overnights -- another way we reached youth in other parts of the state.
On the upside, we began offering virtual programming, including an online talent show, which opened up a whole new area of programming and statewide youth reach for us on a weekly basis. The virtual programming has given us a chance to connect with more youth and, likewise, connect the youth virtually with friends and allies throughout the state. We’ve also been doing more collaborations with other organizations to design programming, including our local museum (Farnsworth Art Museum).