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Massachusetts has a long history of progressive ideas, and its capital is often considered one of the most LGBTQ-welcoming places in the United States.
A trailblazer for equality, Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage and also the first to issue a statewide referendum on protecting transgender rights – on which the majority of the population voted yes. Boston also elected the first openly gay state representative in the country, Elaine Noble, in 1974. With all of this and more, Boston has become a fantastic place to be queer, with exciting events year-round. Here are seven of the best LGBTQ community events in the city.
The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, otherwise known as BAGLY, provides resources and community-building opportunities for LGBTQ youth. Its packed calendar of weekly programs includes activities such as open-mic nights, family dinners, arts and crafts, health education workshops, as well as social support meetings for women, people of color, and transgender and nonbinary folks. Not only is BAGLY centered on supporting youth, it is also led by youth (with adult support). It was one of the first youth-led organizations in the United States, and it remains one of the longest in existence.
Wicked Queer is an annual LGBTQ film festival hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The 2019 festival that took place from March 28 to April 7 was Wicked Queer’s 35th. During that time, locations around the city screened dozens of queer films, including The Daughters of Fire, which is about a polyamorous relationship between three women, and Sorry Angel, which tells the story of a relationship between two French men.
This unique organization focuses on fighting homophobia, biphobia and transphobia through storytelling. Schools, religious institutions, businesses and the like hire SpeakOUT’s LGBTQ volunteers to tell their stories and answer questions about their experiences. Those interested in getting involved can either schedule a pair of speakers or can become a speaker themselves by attending one of SpeakOUT’s training programs, which are open to both youth and adults. Although there is a fee to participate in a training session, the organization offers group discounts and a sliding scale.
This annual festival in Cambridge places queerness at the center of the dance floor. Through workshops, conversations and professional, queer-centric dance performances, Dancing Queerly celebrates LGBTQ-centered dance as well as LGBTQ audiences. The 2019 festival, which took place at the end of June, included workshops such as Ballet is for Everyone, which encouraged people of every body type, gender and fitness level to attend. It also offered Dance Curious, which involved four mini-workshops on different types of dance and concluded with a social.
Gay for Good is a national organization that invites LGBTQ people to volunteer in their communities. It’s a great way to both socialize with other queer folk and do good at the same time. Gay for Good’s Boston Chapter has worked with the Greater Boston Food Bank, the National Braille Press, the Walk to End Elder Isolation, the AIDS Walk & Run, and many others. Volunteering is completely free, and it’s easy to sign up on the Gay for Good website. It regularly hosts a Canoeing for Clean Water event, in which volunteers canoe through the Charles River and help remove invasive water chestnuts.
The Trans Club of New England (TCNE and formally the Tiffany Club) offers social and support opportunities for the Boston area’s transgender community. In addition to biweekly open houses where members can come to socialize, TCNE provides volunteer opportunities for its members and also holds its annual First Event Conference, one of the longest-running transgender- and gender-expansive-focused conferences in the country. The 2020 conference is the organization’s 40th and will take place at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.
June in Boston offers an endless stream of rainbow-filled fun. With Pride Arts events that showcase LGBTQ creatives, Pride Night at Fenway Park, block parties, movie nights and the High Heel Dash for Charity, there is certainly something for everyone. There are also Black Pride, Latinx Pride and Youth Pride events. And, of course, it all culminates in the annual parade. Next June, be sure to check out the Boston Pride website to stay up to date on all the happenings.