2022 was my first year at OutFront Minnesota as executive director, and as I reflected for those who joined me at the Gala, it’s been a year of both joy and sorrow for our community. But it has also been an important year of coming together. I am grateful to the many folks who joined us throughout this year at events, from drag brunches, queer prom, and the 25 statewide Pride celebrations to election doorknocking, rallies, and memorials for those we lost, including trans day of remembrance and the vigils honoring the victims at Club Q.
This has also been a year of change for OutFront. As we celebrate our 35th year as an organization, we moved our offices from Minneapolis to St. Paul, welcomed me into this role as the new executive director, and began the process of developing a strategic vision for this organization that will carry our work forward into the future.
Our policy and organizing team helped to engage voters throughout 2022, registering and pledging voters across the state, door knocking, and educating voters. We worked at both state and municipal levels to build critical relationships and advance policy conversations; and reasserted OutFront’s voice in addressing state and national LGBTQ+ policy concerns, such as monkeypox (MPX).
As we enter 2023, we continue to celebrate the wins of 12(!) openly LGBTQ+ state legislators who can help advance important policy priorities for our community, including completing our years-long effort to ban conversion therapy in Minnesota. And we’ll continue to support organizing work throughout the state to ensure that LGBTQ+ folks can find community and thrive in every part of our state.
We also partnered with schools around the state to provide training to hundreds of educators and administrators, worked to prevent the implementation of harmful policies in a number of districts, and helped to support passage of affirming policies to queer and trans youth. Our team worked directly with LGBTQ+ youth to lead a successful virtual Youth Summit and engaged students in GSAs across the state.
We continue to provide direct services to our LGBTQ+ community, addressing critical community needs. OutFront’s helpline has been a consistent service to community members seeking support and resources - and saw an increase in individuals reaching out for help. Thanks to additional grant support, we were able to increase the direct aid including emergency housing given to community members.
OutFront has done some amazing work over this past year - work that has reshaped individual lives and our community’s narrative around queer and trans equity - and I am honored to be a part of this organization as we continue forward in this new chapter.
We have much to celebrate, and as we wrap up 2022 I am so excited for the opportunities we have in the year ahead. Thank you to the donors, sponsors, and community supporters who helped make this critical work possible. Thanks to OutFront’s board and staff for hard work throughout this transitional year for our organization. And thank you -- for following along with our critical work as we continue to advance LGBTQ+ equity in the state of Minnesota.