Hello, OutSupport friends!

I’m writing a special email today to let you know that, starting in October, OutSupport will resume meeting in person indoors!

Since October of 2013, until Covid hit us all, OutSupport provided monthly support group meetings for NEOhio’s LGBTQ+ individuals and families. To address the need for social opportunities to get together for LGBTQ+youth, we have implemented OutDoor get togethers for the past 2 years.

We will be returning to our former model of support group meetings for both adults and youth.

How it worked in the past was a starting circle, with mission statement and announcements and introducing ourselves. When there are youth attending, we will split up adults and youths, and I will hang out with the youth in a separate room. We found that splitting up adults and youth gave both groups more freedom to express the issues each was most concerning, with a bit more freedom.

As a licensed social worker, I am bound by ethical standards, and will do my best to make sure that youth feel safe to express their concerns.

The adult circle will have someone designated to make sure that everyone, especially new attendees, have opportunities to share their concerns.

In both groups, we will celebrate milestones, such as legal name change, hormone start, and other reasons to celebrate their life as a LGBTQ+ person or family member.

As always, anyone who is an ally is welcome to come to meetings. If you are a counselor, teacher, pastor, or anyone who works with LGBTQ+ persons, and want to better understand the issues that LGBTQ+ people face better, we welcome you to come and listen to our stories.

Along with starting up in person indoors, we will be meeting in a new location. Due to a number of reasons, our former meeting location of Unity of Medina has moved to a much smaller location. We continue to be grateful for their willingness to host OutSupport for 7 years.

Our new location will be at the UCC Church on the Square in Medina. The Pastor there, Rev. Luke Lindon, advised that the church community there is working towards a designation regarding diversity and inclusion, and allowing OutSupport to meet there is a good fit for that and other purposes. We are grateful for their willingness to provide space for our group.

On the advice of those responding to a good night to meet, and with consideration of other NEOhio groups calendars, we decided that the 3rd Friday of each month would be best. We may have the option to change meeting evenings if people feel it necessary to change.

So mark your calendar for the upcoming OutSupport meetings:

Friday, October 21

Friday, November 18

Friday, December 16

Each meeting will start at 7:00pm and end at 9:00pm.

In the meantime, we have our last 2 OutSupport OutDoor meetings Sept. 13 for youth and parents at River Styx Park from 6-8, and Hiking for all ages Sept. 20 at 6:00 at Allardale County Park. All are welcome!

Sorry it’s so lengthy, but this is a pretty big new change for OutSupport (again!!).

Our mission with OutSupport has always been to provide support, information and advocacy for LGBTQ+ persons in Medina and NEOhio, and we hope to continue providing them for a long time to come. Our October meeting will mark 9 years of doing what we can to make our area a safer, kinder, more welcoming place to live, work, play and pray. Happy Anniversary to us!!!

Warm regards,