June 24, 2016
OutFront Minnesota works to create a safe, equitable and afﬁrming climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in Minnesota. It is a catalyst for an expansive network of leaders throughout the state who speak out for equity and organize to create progressive change in Minnesota. It aims to create a state where LGBTQ people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination. Thanks to support from Voqal, OutFront Minnesota was able to expand its efforts by more effectively engaging young people in its work to address racial and transgender inequity.
OutFront Minnesota was able to better engage youth in promoting LGTBQ equity in several ways. It increased youth leadership development work through its program, Minnesota School Pride. In addition, it employed a Youth Leadership Council comprised of 20 youth from 17 schools around the state which meets bi-weekly to lead youth outreach. It also hosted a Youth Summit this past March that was attended by over 550 youth and led to the training of 75 school professionals in LGBTQ inclusion strategies. Lastly, OutFront was able to recruit over 90 Gender and Sexuality Alliances/Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) for its network and provided leadership training for 50 of them.
Thanks to this increased youth involvement, OutFront Minnesota was able to further expand its efforts this past year in the areas of transgender and racial equity. Over 500 people attended a transgender ally training to learn how to advance transgender equity. Furthermore, its work led to the passage of a comprehensive transgender inclusion policy for the St Paul Public Schools. OutFront Minnesota also partnered with Minneapolis Black Lives Matter to organize a direct action against the Minnesota Speaker of the House to advocate for legislation expanding health care access for low-income transgender Minnesotans and voting rights for ex-felons. It also wrote a statement of solidarity that was signed by 44 LGBTQ organizations for Black Lives Matter after a young African-American, Jamar Clark, was killed by Minneapolis Police.
Voqal is strong proponent of social equity and applauds OutFront Minnesota’s efforts to not only promote greater inclusivity for the LGBTQ community, but also to engage youth and others in promoting greater racial equity as well.