Outright Vermont a Brief History

Outright Vermont (Outright) was founded in 1989 following the release of a 1988 national youth risk survey showing that gay and lesbian youth in particular had very high rates of depression and suicide. A group of community activists gathered to form Outright, which began as a “once a week” support group. Our Friday Night support group has continued ever since, every Friday over the past 25 years. Today, Outright is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) ‘queer’ youth center and statewide advocacy organization.

Why use “Queer”?

Since the late 1990s, Outright Vermont youth and younger generations of queer youth have used the word queer as a term of empowerment and unification, intending to include within this term the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community.

We recognize and honor that the word queer is still very hurtful for some members of the LGBTQ community. We believe that this term will continue to become less wounding and more empowering through reclaiming it and through further community education.

Outright Vermont encourages people to recognize their personal intent when using identity terms such as “queer” and to dialogue about the power of these terms.  Read a slightly longer version of why we use queer here.

Outright Vermont’s Mission & Vision

The Mission of Outright Vermont is to build safe, healthy, and supportive environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth (ages 13-22).

We envision and practice our work as follows:

  • An organizational model built on youth-adult partnerships which create mutual opportunities for growth, learning, and skill development.
    • By providing queer-identified adult role models as mentors, group facilitators, and organizational leaders.
    • By having queer & allied youth on our board of directors, on our speakers’ bureau, and as our interns.
    • By hiring staff of all ages and investing in their growth as professionals, people, and community leaders.
  • A queer and allied community who invest in our mission through a variety of resources that include, but are not limited to, donations of skills, time, goods, and money.
    • By valuing every investment equally toward the impact of our work.
    • By diversifying our fundraising efforts across the all areas.
    • By looking first to our mission, vision and values as an organization and last to one-time and unsustainable funds.
  • An organization that does not give up or back down from furthering our work as an anti-oppression organization.
    • By committing to anti-racist principles, practice, training, and evaluation at all levels of our work.
    • By exploring and naming the intersections of our complete social identities (race, class, ability, age, religion, sexual identity, gender identity) as queer people and celebrating our complexities as human beings.
    • By sharing our success and struggles with our community and funders, so that we might teach and learn how to create a more just movement together.
  • A state where all queer youth have access to all of the resources they need to live safe, healthy, authentic lives.
    • By modeling self-care, respect, and love for our bodies – as youth and adults.
    • By respecting and celebrating all identities, freeing ourselves from stereotypes that hurt and limit our lives.
    • By providing accessible, age-appropriate, and non-judgmental safer-sex education for young people.
    • By ending the bully-culture in our lifetime.
  • An organization that actively creates intentional, safe, and vibrant queer space wherever we go, in whatever we do, and wherever we live.

Our youth programs, groups, and queer youth space (unless otherwise stated) are for young queer people, ages 22 and under.  Our education & outreach work is for all ages and ranges from work in schools to local non-profit agencies.  Learn more about our programs here and our education work here.