MISSION AND HISTORY
GLOW OUT! provides education and awareness of and around the LGBTQ+ community; creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment for LGBTQ+ individuals.
GLOW OUT! was created in the spring of 2019 with the sole intention of creating the first Pride Festival in the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties of NY). A handful of caring and dedicated LGBTQ+ residents and allies tirelessly pulled together the resources to launch this first festival in less than one month's time. The overwhelming support and attendance from the community proved to be both an emotional experience for many who had long-awaited this moment and a rallying cry to continue to educate, celebrate, and uplift the lives of LGBTQ+ residents in the area.
Click on this image from our first Pride Festival to view "First Gay Pride Parade" by Cosmic Video.
The organization continued its work after Pride, officially becoming a not-for-profit and adopting the mission, “GLOW OUT! provides education and awareness of and around the LGBTQ+ community; creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment for LGBTQ+ individuals.”
Their second large event was in the fall of 2019 and focused on supporting LGBTQ+ youth with an overnight “lock-in” at GO ART! with 30 students served. They continued their outreach work through the fall and into 2020 by hosting weekly educational sessions open to the public with the help of the Human Rights Campaign and the Out Alliance of Rochester. In the spring of 2020, with the complications of the coronavirus pandemic and fearing a lul in their momentum, the organization created a variety of virtual events entitled “GLOW OUT, BUT STAY IN!” to serve the community, including a group scavenger hunt and a pride parade video shared on social media.
During the spring of 2021, with renewed energy and feeling safer gathering in person, GLOW OUT! held its second Pride Festival, adding additional events to reach more community members. The ambitious 2021 Pride Festival included the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus, 18 drag performances, a band, and disc jockey, drag queen story hour, Bingo, a baseball game, 5k race, yoga session, and open mic night. There was something for everyone in 2021!
2022 promises to be our best year yet! Having successfully applied for the WNY Restart Grant, GLOW OUT! acquired the funding for our Pride Festival which allows our volunteer board and committee members more time to focus on reaching and supporting the community. As we broaden our efforts beyond Pride Festivities, we continue to focus on protecting, supporting, and uplifting LGBTQ+ youth in the GLOW region. This campaign includes the creation and sustained continuance of Youth Drop-In Support Centers in all four counties in the region, youth leadership training, and consistent, accessible programming throughout the year. Supporting our youth also means increasing acceptance and understanding in the region and will therefore include a large-scale educational campaign for the businesses, agencies, schools, churches, and people working with them (and all of us!). We are on quite a mission and hope you join us!