Arlington Rainbow Commission

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Welcome to the website of the Arlington, Massachusetts, LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission (or just Rainbow Commission for short). Town Meeting established the Commission in 2017, and Commission meetings began in March 2018.

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Queeraoke at the Porchfest PRIDE Stage, Saturday, June 8, 12-2 pm
Celebrate LGBTQIA+ music with queer karaoke at the Rainbow Commission’s Pride Stage for Arlington Porchfest, emceed by Jaclyn Friedman. Find us on the steps of the Academy St. entrance to the Senior Center, 27 Maple St.. Also check out the visual arts exhibit by Sarah Wright: “Irresistible Drawings to See from a Distance.” This event is supported by a grant from the Boston Pride Community Fund.

Arlington’s Second Annual Pride Picnic, Sunday, June 9, 1-4 pm
Please join us for a picnic, at the Senior Center, 27 Maple St. Bring a blanket and eat in the fresh air, or head inside for tables and chairs away from of the sun. Be sure to pack a lunch (and bring your reusable water bottles). We’ll have plenty of frozen treats, water, and rainbow swag waiting for you. Be sure to check out our Pride buttons and rainbow bracelets, stickers, and temporary tattoos. For the young at heart, a balloon twister will be there 2-3 pm to make you a balloon rainbow or other creation. The crafts room will have coloring books, yarn and crochet hooks, needlepoint kits, and more. Or hang out outside and play unicorn ring toss or blow bubbles. Most important, we hope you will join us in celebrating our wonderful LGBTQIA+ community and honoring the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising that inspired Pride (see Stonewall info below). This event is supported by a grant from the Boston Pride Community Fund. Cosponsored by the Arlington Human Rights Commission, the Council on Aging, and the Robbins Library.

50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising

This year’s Pride celebrations mark the 50th anniversary of the uprising at the Stonewall Inn resulting from a discriminatory police raid on the bar, which was a popular hangout for the LGB+ and trans community. You can read President Obama’s proclamation at the establishment of the Stonewall National Monument for a great history lesson. Also, the Robbins Library’s Reel Queer film series is screening Stonewall Uprising on June 13. Details are in the events list below.

Apply to Join the Rainbow Commission

The Town of Arlington seeks to appoint 2 members to the LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission, which was created by Town Meeting in 2017 and began in March 2018. 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.

The Town works to have Commission membership be equitable and inclusive. All are welcome to apply. If you reside in the Town of Arlington, are 18 years or older, and are interested in becoming a member of the LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission, please send your resume and letter of interest to: Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, 730 Mass Ave., Arlington, MA 02476 or townmanager@town.arlington.ma.us.

Local LGBTQIA+ Events

All meetings and events hosted by the Rainbow Commission (not cosponsorships) are open to the public and accessible. Please contact rainbow@town.arlington.ma.us 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 line up an ASL interpreter.

Check out the full list of Boston Pride events.

Mar. 21-Aug. 25: Exhibit on “Gender Bending Fashion at the MFA.

Jun. 3: Queer Teen Drop-In, 4-6:00 pm, Robbins Library, 700 Mass Ave.

Jun. 6: Rainbow Commission monthly meeting, 6:30 pm, Robbins Library fourth floor conference room, 700 Mass Ave.

Jun. 6: Alphabet Soup: Deciphering the LGBTQIA+, 7-9 pm, Winchester Public Library Large Meeting Room, 80 Washington St. Winchester Multicultural Center and Parent to Parent welcome a panel from SpeakOUT Boston to share personal stories. This event is free and all are welcome.

Jun. 7: LGBTQIA+ Teen Drop-In Space, 5-6:00 pm, First Parish of Lexington, 7 Harrington Rd.

Jun. 8: Queeraoke at the Porchfest PRIDE Stage, 12-2 pm, Academy Street entrance to the Senior Center (27 Maple St.). See details above. [VOLUNTEER WITH US.]

Jun. 8: Cambridge Pride Brunch, 9-11 am, Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave.

Jun. 9: Arlington PRIDE Picnic, 1-4 pm, Senior Center, 27 Maple St. See details above. [VOLUNTEER WITH US.]

Jun. 9: Lexington Pride, 11 am – 2 pm, Visitor Center Lawn, Lexington, MA.

Jun. 12: Drag Storytime, 6:30 pm, Cambridge Public Library, O’Neill Branch, 70 Rindge Ave. Stories and songs at the very special Drag Storytime with Drag Kings, Queens, and Friends. All ages. No registration is required.

Jun. 13: Reel Queer Watches Stonewall Uprising, 6:30-8:30 pm, Robbins Library, 700 Mass Ave. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, we’re screening the PBS documentary Stonewall Uprising. “In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. Such raids were not unusual in the late 1960s, an era when homosexual sex was illegal in every state but Illinois. That night, however, the street erupted into violent protests and demonstrations that lasted for the next six days.The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.” This film is unrated and has a runtime of 1 hour and 23 minutes. Cosponsored by the Council on Aging and the Rainbow Commission.

Jun. 13: Parent/Caregiver Group7-8:30 pm, First Parish in Lexington. Talk with others about the questions, struggles, practicalities, and joys of supporting someone with an LGBTQIA+ identity. (Every second Thursday of month.)

Jun. 14: LexPride screening of Brother Outsider, 6:30-8:30 pm, Lexington Community Center. The film chronicles the life of Bayard Rustin, unsung hero of the Black and gay civil rights movements.

Jun. 20: 50 Years Since Stonewall, 7-8:30 pm, The Depot in Lexington Center. LexPride, the Lexington Historical Society, and Greater Boston PFLAG host Professor Gary Bailey in a lively discussion of our modern history in the 50 Years Since Stonewall. A panel of LGBTQ+ folks representing several generations of history will also speak.

Jun. 26: Queer Book Group discusses the graphic novel The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, 7 pm, Robbins Library fourth floor conference room, 700 Mass Ave. Cosponsored by the Rainbow Commission.

Many of these events were copied from LexPride’s weekly newsletter. Go to lexpridema.org/contact to sign up. 

Photo: Night view of Arlington, MA Town Hall decorated for Pride 2019. Rainbow and trans flags hang from the building and the crosswalk is painted with rainbow and trans flag colors (blue, pink, white, pink, blue). People and spray paint cans are in the background.