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Hello again to everyone who stopped by our booth at Town Day. We hope to see you again soon at one of our events this fall!

Transgender 101 Oct. 9

The Rainbow Commission offers “Transgender 101,” a free workshop on October 9, 6 pm in the Robbins Library Community Room. Mason Dunn of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition will present information covering sexual orientation vs. gender identity, trans terminology and cultural aspects, ways to be an ally and build trust, and examples of welcoming and inclusive policies and practices. Free and open to all. RSVP to the Facebook event or just show up!

Seeking submissions for “Gender in Public” storytelling event Oct. 11 (Coming Out Day)

The Rainbow Commission, Mystic LGBTQ+ Youth Support Network (Queer Mystic), Arlington Council on Aging, and True Story Theater host “Gender in Public,” 7 pm at the Arlington Senior Center. Free and open to all. (See the Facebook event.)

Join us for an exploration of experiences around gender in public spaces through interactive story-telling theater. True Story Theater will do a playback performance in which volunteers in the audience share stories about what is important in their lives surrounding their experience of their own gender in public places and have those experiences and perspectives reflected back with respect. On the spot, actors portray the heart of what they heard using music, movement, and dialog.

The program will begin at 7, with the story-sharing and performance by True Story Theater at 7:30. Come with a brief story to share about an experience regarding your own gender that happened in a public place, or just show up to witness and learn. If you would like to discuss your story in private beforehand, or if you just want to mingle and meet the Rainbow Commission, feel free to show up at 6:30.

We want to ensure that LGBTQIA+ folx who want to participate in the storytelling event but who are not comfortable telling their story in person can still participate. If you have a story about an experience you've had related to your own gender (or people’s perception of your gender) that you would like to have considered for inclusion in the performance but do not want to tell it in person or that you want to remain entirely anonymous, please submit your story online. (Please only share a story about your own gender, not your perception of someone else's gender.)

After the performance Grace Anne Stevens of LexPride, who writes the Huffington Post column “My Transgender Life,” will provide information about Question 3 on the November ballot. She will discuss the practical impacts of equal access for our trans neighbors, family, and friends regarding public accommodations -- any places we go between home and work or school, including stores, restaurants, hotels, medical offices, public transportation, public parks, movie theaters, and more.

Potluck and crafts Oct. 27

Join us for potluck and crafts on October 27, 2-5 pm in the Robbins Library Community Room. Come hang out with other LGBTQIA+ folx of all ages! The Rainbow Commission will provide desserts and drinks, coloring books, nail polish, and a crochet lesson for anyone interested by crochet professional Willow Hersh. If you want, bring a dish and your own crafts project or materials to share. Child-friendly and open to all. See the Facebook event.

Other upcoming local LGBTQIA+ events

Oct. 10: “Gender Revolution,” 7 pm, First Church in Belmont. Free screening of this documentary in which Katie Couric meets with transgender people and experts around the country to explore an evolving understanding of gender identity. The film examines the roles of science, politics, and culture on gender, shedding light on the untold stories of struggle, understanding, ignorance, and love. There will be a panel discussion after the screening.

Oct. 13: The Arlington High School Drama Guild presents a one-night-only reading of Tectonic Theater Company’s The Laramie Project, 7:30 pm, Lowe Auditorium at Arlington High School. In 1998, the murder of Matthew Shepard focused the country’s attention on on Laramie, Wyoming and on hate crimes. Shortly after, Tectonic Theater Company members traveled to Laramie to conduct interviews with the people of the town. These interviews are the basis of The Laramie Project, one of the most performed plays in the word. The Arlington High School production features alumni, faculty and staff and current students. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Oct. 16: Reel Queer intergenerational queer movie series screening of Love, Simon, 6:30 pm, Robbins Library downstairs community room. Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon, it’s a little more complicated. He hasn’t told his family that he’s gay, and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. This teen romantic comedy-drama is based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Cosponsored by the Robbins Library, Arlington Council on Aging, and the Rainbow Commission. Free.

Oct. 17, 8 pm: Deadline to register for the November election.

Oct. 24: Queer Book Group, 7 pm, Robbins Library 4th floor conference room. Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Stories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex CouplesCosponsored by the Robbins Library and the Rainbow Commission.

Nov. 4: LexPride screening of Gen Silent, 1 pm, Cary Hall, Lexington. Six LGBTQ+ seniors must choose whether to hide their identities to survive in the long-term health care system. Followed by panel discussion with Gary Bailey and Rainbow Commissioner Lisa Krinsky.

Nov. 8: SAGE Table, an LGBTQIA+ intergenerational meal, Arlington Senior Center. Hosted by the Council on AgingQueer Mystic and the Rainbow Commission.

Dec. 6: Save the date for an AIDS History event.

Understanding Restorative Justice Oct. 13

Join the Arlington Human Rights Commission, in collaboration with Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ), the Rainbow Commission, and the Queer Mystic to learn about restorative justice, a victim-driven alternative to the traditional criminal justice system that has been adopted by several states and municipalities, including Massachusetts and the Town of Arlington. The goal is to get offenders to take responsibility for their actions, to understand the harm they have caused, and to negotiate a resolution to the satisfaction of all participants.. Speakers will include experts from a variety of perspectives. See the event on Facebook. Reserve your free ticket here.

The Arlington Human Rights Commission in collaboration with Communities for Restorative Justice invites you to an educational event: Understanding Restorative Justice, October 13, 6:30-8:30pm, Arlington Senior Center, 27 Maple Street, Arlington, MA 02476. Restorative Justice is a victim-driven alternative to the traditional criminal justice system. It has been adopted by several states and municipalities, including both Massachusetts and Arlington. The goal is to get offenders to take responsibility for their actions, to understand the harm they have caused, and to negotiate a resolution to the satisfaction of all participants.

Parent Forum held on talking with elementary-age children about LGBTQIA+ topics

The annual Parent Forum was held September 25 at the Ottoson cafeteria. Addie Wyman Battalen, PhD, LICSW, and Arlington mom moderated a discussion about “Encouraging Honest Conversation with Elementary-Age Children about LGBTQIA+ Topics.” Dr. Wyman Battalen discussed best practices for speaking with elementary-age children about gender diversity and sexual orientation. Then a panel of youth, parents, and school educators offered first-hand perspectives. Topics included how to support families with LGBTQIA-identified youth, model being an ally, build a school community that is supportive of gender and sexual diversity, and protect against risk factors for LGBTQIA-identified youth. Cosponsored by the Arlington Public SchoolsQueer Mystic, and the Rainbow Commission.

Queer Book Group/Social made queerigami

Check out the origami unicorn bookmarks, stars, hearts, and other shapes the Queer Book Group/Social made at its Queerigami (aka queer origami) event. Cosponsored by the Robbins Library and the Rainbow Commission.

Defending trans rights in Massachusetts

A question will be brought to the voters of Massachusetts on the November ballot asking whether the state should maintain the current law that protects transgender people from discrimination. These important protections have been in place since 2016 without problem and is vital for providing equal access and safety for all in Massachusetts.

A yes vote preserves this state law protecting transgender and gender-nonconforming people from discrimination in public places, including stores, restaurants, hotels, public transportation, parks, museums, dentists’ offices, and hospitals. Voting no would repeal the law and leave trans people without nondiscrimination protections. We encourage everyone to attend an upcoming event, join us at our monthly meeting Oct. 18, or contact us at to learn more about Question 3.

Image saying that the Arlington Select Board voted to endorse the Freedom for All Massachusetts campaign to uphold transgender equality in Massachusetts - see for more info

The Rainbow Commission and the Town's Select Board have joined the Freedom for All Massachusetts coalition in expressing support for keeping this important state law, which provides the same protections that Town Meeting added to the Arlington Bylaw a few years ago. But Arlingtonians do not stay within the town’s borders, so it's important that these protections be in place for trans folx wherever they travel throughout the state.

Meeting info

Rainbow Commission meetings are generally the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm in the Jefferson Cutter Gallery, 611 Mass Ave. All Rainbow Commission meetings are open to the public. Upcoming meetings: October 18, November 15, and December 20. Check the Town calendar to confirm meeting dates and locations.

All Rainbow Commission meetings and events are open to the public. Please contact if you need accommodations. We regret that we generally do not provide ASL interpretation or assistive listening devices. We need at least 2 weeks notice to hire an ASL interpreter.

Copyright © 2018 Arlington MA Rainbow Commission, All rights reserved.

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