Out+About: Plenty for LGBTQ to celebrate in Worcester

John Trobaugh

We know that LGBTQ folks are still more likely to have job, housing and health care discrimination and our youth are most vulnerable. That makes us even more grateful for Worcester in this holiday season.

December is a month of celebration for many cultures. Worcester has had a very successful year. We again earned a 100 percent rating on the Municipal Equality Index that the Human Rights Campaign (@humanrightscampaign) uses to rank cities based on LGBTQ-inclusive legislation and rules each city puts into place. Of the 506 cities evaluated, only 68 scored 100!

Worcester Pride (@WorcesterMApride) is our Central Massachusetts Pride organization, and every year, it gets better and better. By all accounts, this year was the largest parade ever! Save the date for next year: Sept. 5-9, 2018, with the festival Sept. 8. For our youth, there are several organizations of interest, including Worcester Youth Pride (@WorcesterYouthPride), SafeHomes (@safehomesma) and SWAGLY (Supporters of Worcester Area Gay and Lesbian Youth).

If you are an avid reader, there is the Rainbow Readers Club, too (@rainbowreadersmass)! For our seniors in the community, there is a Rainbow Lunch Club, as well as a dinner club for LGBTQ seniors who wish to socialize (@worcestercountyLGBTelders). If you are a veteran, every year the folks at Project New Hope (@ProjectNewHopeInc) put on an LGBTQ retreat with respected featured speakers at no cost to our veterans!

For the professionals in the area, we have the Worcester Gay Professionals Networking Group (@WorcesterGayPro) ‑ inclusive of the LGBTQ community ‑ which has been meeting for two years on the second Wednesday of every month. If you are on one of the many college campuses in the area, there is an LGBTQ-affiliated group on your campus. Some are harder to find than others and, due to the nature of student groups, the contact information changes, but you can contact your campus diversity office to find the latest information. Most of the high schools and even a fair number of the middle schools have some form of an LGBTQ student group (@worcesterschools; your school’s administration or adjustment counselor will help you find out more).

If you are interested in film, there is a New England LGBTQ film festival! Worcester held its first LGBTQ film festival, qFLIX Worcester (@qFLIXWorcester), this year. It was such a success that Discover Central Massachusetts (FB: @DiscoverCentralMA) has signed on as a presenting sponsor for next year. Save the dates for qFLIX: Oct.11-14, 2018.

We even still have one gay bar ‑ the MB Lounge (@MBLWoo)! Although there is only one gay bar, you can find LGBTQ socials, drag performances and dance gatherings at many local establishments, including Electric Haze, Asa Waters Mansion, Bull Mansion and even churches! Even asylum-seekers find refuge here in Worcester through Hadwen Park Church’s LGBT Asylum Task Force (@LGBTAsylumTF).

Worcester is even the hub for an award-winning LGBTQ media channel, New England Pride TV, now in its second year and, by all accounts, wildly successful! Check your local cable outlet or follow it online (@NEPrideTV). This humble column Out and About has been in place for more than two years as well!

What did we miss about Worcester that we should be grateful for? Write in and let me know! John@johnArt.com.