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About Us

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 20 years. Today, Outright is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) ‘queer’ youth center and statewide advocacy organization.

The Mission of Outright is to build safe, healthy, and supportive environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth (ages 13-22). Our goal is to make Vermont the safest, most supportive and empowering state for queer youth in the United States of America.

Outright’s organizing strategy is based on a youth empowerment, social change model that tells us that youth power is an essential element in the fight for equal rights. We describe youth empowerment in two parts – providing the safe space and resources so that youth can do the heavy lifting themselves and adjusting the fundamental power dynamics so that their hard work can achieves results.

Vision

We envision a world of compassion, love, and understanding where:

  • all young people’s lives are celebrated
  • young queer people are given the information and tools to make healthy life decisions, especially concerning intimacy and sexual relationships;
  • bullying, taunting, harassment, and other forms of oppression are not tolerated; and
  • nonconforming gender roles and sexuality are no longer targeted as justifications to be cruel, dominate, or control others.

Our programs, groups, and services (unless otherwise stated) are for young LGBTQ (or queer) people, ages 22 and under. During business hours this space is a working office. (While staff are always accessible, they may not always be available. Please ask for time, instead of assuming time.)

While in our space we ask that all youth, staff, and volunteers follow these guidelines:

  • This is a place to feel comfortable, relax, and have fun! Please treat it with respect.
  • Respect other people and their belongings.
  • Assume good intentions.
  • Confidentiality covers everyone.
  • Own your actions: What you do, how you behave, and what you say can and will impact others.
  • Keep it safe: No drug or alcohol use before or during your time here; no touching or talking with the intent to arouse; and no physical or emotional violence in the space.

Those who individually or collectively jeopardize the safety of our space or those who are inappropriately using our space will be asked to leave until they can honor those guidelines.

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.