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Image with the rainbow Pride flag including black and brown stripes on the left and the trans-pride flag on the right

The year ahead

Happy New Year! In 2019, the Rainbow Commission will continue our strategic planning work to refine our mission and select short-term and long-term goals.

In the meantime, we will continue to offer opportunities for LGBTQIA+ folx to gather in community, such as with the Cookies & Community event Feb. 16 and the Crafts & Community event Mar. 16 (see calendar below). And, of course, we're looking forward to celebrating Pride with you in June!

We're also thrilled that the Special Town Meeting in December approved the appointment of 2 additional Commissioners. Information on applying to join the Rainbow Commission should be available on the Town's website soon. 

We're always looking for volunteers, especially as we begin Pride-season planning. And it would be very helpful to have a volunteer to take minutes at our monthly meetings. If you'd like to volunteer to help in these or other ways, please email us at

2019 Rainbow Commission meetings

The Commission's first meeting of the year was January 17 in the Town Hall 1st Floor Annex conference room. The rest of the 2019 meetings will be in the Robbins Library 4th floor conference room, 700 Mass Ave. The monthly meetings will be on Feb. 21, Mar. 14, Apr. 11, May 16, Jun. 6, Jul. 18, Aug. 15, Sep. 19, Oct. 17, Nov. 21, and Dec. 19. Meeting agendas and minutes are available on the Town's website.

Local LGBTQIA+ events

Jan. 25: LGBTQIA+ Teen Drop-In Space (every Friday when school is in session), 5-6 pm, LYFS at First Parish in Lexington, 7 Harrington Rd. Free dinner, fun, and friends. 

Jan. 30: Queer Book Group/Social Game Night, 7:30-8:30 pm, Robbins Library Community Room, 700 Mass. Ave. Join us for a night of fun & games. Bring your own games or play some of ours. New members are welcome. Come make some new friends and expand your community. Email or call Rob at or 781-316-3226 with any questions. (See Facebook event.)

Jan. 30-Feb. 3: First Event, Best Western Plaza Hotel, Marlboro. First Event is one of the longest-running conferences in the U.S. for transgender and gender expansive people and those who love and support them. Youth and Family Day is Sunday, Feb. 3. 

Feb. 4: Queer Teen Drop-in, 4-6 pm, Robbins Library Community Room, 700 Mass. Ave. Join other LGBTQIA+ teens and teen allies to hang out and relax. Meet like-minded teens from the community and enjoy an evening of fun. Snack provided!

Feb. 9: Trans Youth Summit, 9:30 am - 4 pm, Simmons University, Linda Paresky Conference Center, 3rd floor. Workshops, resources, and community-building for transgender and nonbinary youth ages 24 and under. Separate tracks available for parents/caregivers. Free.

Feb. 11: Reel Queer watches The Miseducation of Cameron Post, 6:30 pm, Robbins Library Community Room, 700 Mass. Ave. This film has a runtime of 1h 31m and is not rated. Common Sense Media suggests 16+. (See Facebook event.)

Feb. 11: Overcoming Unconscious Bias workshop, 6:30-8:30 pm, Cary Library, 1874 Mass. Ave., Lexington. Sponsored by LexPride and Cary Memorial Library. Free, but space is limited. Sign up here.

Feb. 12 & 13: Make One/Leave One Valentines, 2-4 pm, (Feb. 12 @ Robbins Library Children's Area / Feb. 13 @ Fox Branch Library Children’s Area). Use library supplies to make a Valentine for you (or the one you love) and create another for the seniors at the Arlington Senior Center. Drop in, for all ages. (This event is not specifically LGBTQIA+, but maybe you want to make some rainbow Valentines!!

Feb. 14: Parent/Caregiver Group, 7-8:30 pm, First Parish in Lexington, 7 Harrington Rd. Talk with others about the questions, struggles, practicalities, and joys of supporting someone with an LGBTQIA+ identity. Every second Thursday of the month.

Feb. 16: Cookies & Community, 3-4:30, Robbins Library 4th Floor Conference Room, 700 Mass. Ave. The LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission invites you join us at this after-Valentine’s-Day event to gather in community and share the love. What could be better than enjoying the company of your LGBTQIA+ neighbors and eating cookies?! If you are able to and feel so moved, you are invited to bring a donation for the Arlington Food Pantry of unexpired, unopened, nonperishable food and personal care items. Check out the list of needed items. This event is child-friendly and open to all.

Feb. 21: Rainbow Commission monthly meeting, 6:30 pm, Robbins Library 4th Floor Conference Room, 700 Mass. Ave. 

Feb. 22: Training Active Bystanders, 10 am - noon for children grades 4-6 and 2-4 pm for grades 7-10, Cary Library, 1874 Mass. Ave., Lexington. This program helps people recognize when they are a bystander, how they can interrupt harm, and how they can encourage others to help as well. Free, but space is limited. Sign up here

Feb. 27: Queer Book Group/Social reads Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg, 7-8:30 pm, Robbins Library Community Room, 700 Mass. Ave. New members are welcome . Copies of the book are available at the Reference desk.  Email or call Rob at or 781-316-3226 with any questions.

Feb. 28: National “I Am Jazz” Reading Day , 4-5 pm, Cary Library, 1874 Mass. Ave., Lexington. Transgender teens and young adults (of varying identities) will read and tell stories and help participants with a “gender wheel” craft. For children ages 3+ and families.

Mar. 12: When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities: A Poetry Reading by Chen Chen, finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. 7-8:30 pm, Lexington Depot, 13 Depot Sq, Lexington. Lexington Community Education, $10.

Mar. 16: Crafts & Community,1-4 pm, Robbins Library Community Room, 700 Mass. Ave. Come hang out with other LGBTQIA+ folx of all ages! Bring your crafts project from home or use the coloring books, crayons, markers, nail polish, and crochet materials the Rainbow Commission will provide. Child-friendly and open to all.

Mar. 16: Forum on Being Asian/Pacific Islander and LGBTQ+, 2-4 pm, Lexington Community Center, 1625 Mass. Ave., Room 237. This forum will explain LGBTQ+ identities, and a panel of speakers who are Asian/Pacific Islander and LGBTQ+ will talk about their identities and experiences, followed by a Q&A.

Save the date: The Annual Drag Prom will be Apr. 27, cosponsored by Mystic LGBTQ+ Youth Support Network (Queer Mystic), Robbins Library, and the Council on Aging (additional cosponsors welcome!). If you're interested in helping plan the Drag Prom, please email Katy at the Robbins Library. 

Many of these events were copied from LexPride's weekly newsletter. Go to to sign up.

AHRC invites the LGBTQIA+ community to participate in Double Take storytelling event

The Arlington Human Rights Commission reached out to the Rainbow Commission to ask us to invite the LGBTQIA+ community to participate in its popular community-building storytelling event, Double Take: Stories That Make You Think Twice From the Arlington Community. They hosted the first event, a Storytelling Workshop and Info Session, last week and now are ready to hear your story submissions.

This year, they're experimenting with accepting stories online instead of having people come in person to record them at ACMi. Everyone has a story to tell; click here to submit yours. (Please note: you will need a Google email address to upload your video with this form. If you don't have a Google email, no problem. Just let them know and they'll contact you to help.)

AHRC provided the following tips from their Storytelling Workshop that may be helpful to you as you think about your story:
  • The story does not have to have a big moral or lesson. It does have to be about you.
  • Think about the content of your story about also the style.
  • Think about the first line and last line of the story, which are sometimes the most memorable to the audience.
  • Use details like what you saw, tasted, smelled, heard, and felt.
  • Think about the challenge you faced, the choice you made and the outcome. 
 Please remember the following things to think about when you are filming your story:
  • Find a quiet place with good light to set up your camera.
  • If a friend is available to record your story for you, have them do that. Just make sure they hold the camera steady.
  • Have your camera set up to record horizontally, not vertically.
  • Try to keep your story to around 5 minutes.
The AHRC Double Take Team will review all story submissions the week of January 28 and notify the selected storytellers who will be sharing their story at the community event at Town Hall on February 9.

If you have any questions, concerns, technical difficulties at all, please let us know; email Commissioner Kristen Bauer at

Invitation to the Lifesongs Project

The Lifesongs Project is a songwriting initiative created by Palaver Strings to record, preserve and celebrate the stories of older adults in the LGBTQ community. Palaver feels that there is a history that deserves to be shared and they believe that music can play a special role in communicating those stories.
This year, the songwriting process occurs over 3 sessions focused on lyrics, music, and recording. The first workshop is January 24. With funding they received from The Boston Foundation, they are able to offer all participants a $200 honorarium for their time and talents. Spots are limited so email if you'd like to participate. You can listen to previous songs on Soundcloud.

Looking back on 2018

2018 was quite a year! In March, the Rainbow Commission met for the first time, and by June we were hosting about 150 people at Arlington's first Pride Picnic.

Below are a few photos from some of our events. Check out a PDF of our report to the Special Town Meeting in December for more information about our activities throughout the year. 


Crafts & Community:
People gathered in the Community Room at the Robbins Library enjoying food, coloring, and learning to crochet

Cake & Community celebration of Yes on 3:

Strategic planning:


Polish up your resume!

Soon, the Town of Arlington will post an advertisement for 2 additional volunteer members to the LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission. The expanded Commission will consist of 8 members appointed by the Town Manager and approved by the Select Board, and 1 member appointed by the School Committee.

The Rainbow Commission was created to promote equality-affirming policies regarding the full spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities, and to bring greater visibility and empowerment to the LGBTQIA+ population through education, advocacy, and collaboration with other Town agencies, schools, and community groups. The Commission also works to foster community and connection among Arlington's LGBTQIA+ population, from youth to families and elders.

Check our website and the Town's online listing for committee openings in February for details on how to apply.

Assistance programs in Arlington

If you are in Arlington and need help making ends meet, please see the Town's website for information regarding the Food Pantry, affordable housing, fuel assistance, sports and activities assistance, and other programs.

Rainbow Commission meeting info

Rainbow Commission meetings are generally the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm in the Robbins Library 4th floor conference room, 700 Mass Ave. All Rainbow Commission meetings are open to the public. 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, but if you let us know at least a day before the meeting, we can bring a laptop to help with communication. Because of a shortage of qualified interpreters, we need at least 2 weeks notice to line up an ASL interpreter.

Copyright © 2019 Arlington MA Rainbow Commission, All rights reserved.

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