In Spring 2022, the Pride in Our Workplace team introduced its newest program to engage LGBTQ+ professionals and support organizations empowering LGBTQ+ and allied communities across New England. Our efforts culminated in the launch of the PIOW Community Grant Program in April and the recognition of its inaugural grantee cohort during Pride Month.
We are proud to share this space with organizations whose values reflect our own. Through direct funding, access to mentorship, and increased visibility, PIOW will continue to amplify the missions of program participants. Learn more about these community-driven organizations below and join us in supporting their impactful work.
(B)MEN is an inclusive group of Black men working to mobilize all Black men regardless of class, national origin, immigration status, age, sexual orientation, sexual identity, and gender expression.
Our network provides support groups, conferences, and community action for Black men, allowing them space to respond to their own experiences, as well as those in their community.
In 2017, the #MeToo Movement surfaced into public discourse after a viral tweet engaged mainstream media. Although Tarana Burke started the #MeToo Movement years before to help victims of sexual assault, #MeToo became a revolving headline as women joined in solidarity as victims and survivors. BMEN was founded in 2018 as a response to #metoo by a group of mostly queer Black men. Through exploring how Black men experienced and navigated harm, it became clear that there were so many layers to the experience of Black men that were not being addressed.
BMEN started with the idea of exploring healthy ways to respond to sexual harm, and expanded to encompass the full unique and underserved Black Male experience. Our exploration was the foundation of the Black Men’s Engagement Network. Since then, the goal of mobilizing and organizing Black men towards their own support has been central for BMEN.
Since BMEN’s launch at the Old Oak Dojo in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston, BMEN’s support groups have met on over forty occasions supporting over 336 group members. With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, BMEN answered the needs of its members by shifting to a virtual format. BMEN brings Black men together monthly for two hours in a supportive network where they can share mental health support and connect on various topics in the community.
In partnership with the Transgender Emergency Fund, BMEN has produced three successful Bridging the Gap Events. This one-of-a-kind series of events brings straight Black men and Trans women together to have meaningful dialogue around the stigmas and barriers that exist and inhibit their mutual understanding and impact their lives. The first event brought together twenty Black Trans women and Black men, giving space for the transwomen to share navigating life and the dangers of being a transwoman, taboos about their sexuality, and the need to live regular lives. https://youtu.be/PTuDB9w7KuA
During 2020-2022, BMEN has supported Black and marginalized communities through providing funding for protective equipment and essential support items related to COVID-19 support. BMEN has also provided gas cards/gift cards for volunteers picking up and dropping off donations to Black and marginalized communities.
In collaboration with community partners, BMEN produced two workshops focused on addressing sexual harm. BMEN ran a six-session workshop series for all men and a space specifically for Black men. Men use this space to process experiences of causing sexual harm and explore harm intervention strategies. Participants in the workshop also shared stories and were introduced to circle practice and transformative justice frameworks. In addition, they engaged in community accountability work related to sexual violence.
Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition
The Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition believes in a diverse and inclusive community with equality, dignity, and justice for all.
The Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition serves as the vehicle for raising the Pride Flag in the city of Chelsea. We also work to reach out to the community at large to create open environments that are LGBTQ friendly and offer resources to other community organizations and members who are looking to be more inclusive.
The Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition started in 2016 as a vehicle to raise a Pride flag over the City of Chelsea for the first time ever. Since then, our team of volunteers has organized a flag raising every year, even during the height of the pandemic when we went virtual. We are growing as an organization and are available as a resource to our local LGBTQ+ community, tackling issues that affect LGBTQ+ individuals.
LexPride’s mission is to develop community and advance full equality for LGBTQIA+ people and their families and allies in Lexington, Massachusetts.
LexPride is an intentionally inclusive organization that works to foster safety and belonging for the full diversity of our LGBTQIA+ community. Because nobody is free until we are all free, we uplift all people across all dimensions of identity. LexPride works toward our mission through a diverse array of programming – including community building, support, advocacy, outreach, education and training, collaboration, and more.
In 2015, a small group of LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies cofounded LexPride. We envisioned providing an affirming group for LGBTQIA+ folks while advocating for improvements in inclusivity practices in schools, municipal government, businesses, and community organizations. We soon grew and engaged several hundred people in a variety of ways. We offered activities for LGBTQIA+ folks and for the broader community to help raise awareness and connection.
Before long, Ballot Question 3 was placed on the statewide 2016 ballot, and LexPride swung into gear with hundreds of phone banks, educational events, and more. We saved our public accommodations civil rights, though one third of Lexington voters against these rights. This led us to redouble our outreach, education, and advocacy efforts.
Over the years, LexPride established itself as the go-to organization for providing LGBTQIA resources locally, ranging from providing emergency shelter to transgender youth to managing questions about inclusive policies and practices.
Love Your Labels
Love Your Labels’ mission is to support LGBTQ+ youth through art, fashion, and design and work with families and communities to create inclusive and loving space everywhere.
We fiercely advocate for LGBTQ+ youth and families. A world without bias, stigma, and shame is our vision.
Love Your Labels was born out of a photo campaign celebrating the labels society has given you and using them as a lens to create conversations around the dangers of stigma and shame. This blossomed into what we are today – a non-profit organization focused on amplifying quieted voices and unapologetically addressing root causes of injustice and systemic barriers. LYL is committed to realizing a world where everyone can live free & express who they are without fear of shame, stigma, or bias influencing their ability to live happy, healthy, fulfilled lives.
School of Arts and Social Justice Boston
School of Arts and Social Justice Boston provides accessible, community-led programming at the intersection of activism and the arts.
We are a co-learning community for working-class LGBTQ people, people of color, and persons with disabilities, and our classes consist of four main categories: basic allyship, safe-space artmaking, arts and social justice combined, and classes for the streets.
Established in Spring 2020, School of Arts and Social Justice (SASJ) Boston was founded as a way to maintain community and offer new artistic and mutual aid initiatives to the supporters of Make Shift Boston, (a community performance and organizing space in Boston’s South End). Programming centers LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants, and people with disabilities. Unlike other adult education programs, SASJ classes are online, professionally captioned, and entirely free. Our classes are one hour in length, with a la carte registration, allowing students to choose only the classes that pique their personal interest. The majority of our faculty and students are LGBTQ and working-class.
SpeakOUT is a community of speakers working to create a world free of homo-bi-transphobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of our lives.
SpeakOUT Boston conducts peer-led training programs to prepare LGBTQIA+ community members to effectively tell their personal stories to create positive social change. They work with clients and individuals to help create safer and more rewarding spaces for LGBTQIA people through education and dialogue.
SpeakOUT’s roots trace back to 1972, when members of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Homophile Union of Boston (some of the earliest gay rights organizations) joined forces to create the Gay Speakers Bureau. Since then, the organization’s name has evolved to emphasize our primary service and to reflect the rich diversity of the LGBTQIA community, including bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual people.
Today, our membership includes more than 100 speakers who represent a broad range of ages, backgrounds, experiences, and sexual and gender identities. We continue to diversify our membership further by reaching out to communities of color and other underrepresented voices.
Every LGBTQIA person is an individual, so no two speakers will say quite the same things. We celebrate the unique perspectives of all of our varied speakers and work to present a cross-section of views, experiences, and identities in each of our community engagements.
Trans Resistance MA
Trans Resistance MA responds to transphobic and cissexist actions, including violence and systemic oppression, through resistance, advocacy, and the celebration of Trans joy.
We are a trans and community led organization that plans and organizes the annual Trans Resistance march and advocates for the safety, joy, and liberation of TQBIPOC.
Trans Resistance was formed in June 2020 by Athena Vaughn, Chastity Bowick, and a collective of trans and queer activists in the Boston area who built upon years of contention with the Boston Pride board for being trans-exclusionary in their process, vision, and work and failing to equitably represent the magical TQBIPOC community in Boston.
Catch the latest program updates and follow along as we highlight these organizations on social media. Find PIOW on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram to learn more.
Once again, congratulations to BMEN Foundation, Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition, LexPride, Love Your Labels, School of Arts and Social Justice Boston, SpeakOUT, and Trans Resistance MA!