Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Sexual orientation and gender identity are broad identity terms that are often confused and used in reference to a community of individuals with diverse identities.  Individuals who belong to a minority sexual orientation or gender identity groups are often lumped together despite the fact that these are very different identities. Sometimes, this community is referred to as the LGBTQ community, although this acronym excludes many identities and is thus controversial for some. For the purposes of this article, the term queer community will be used to refer to this broad group of people. Below are listed some foundational terms to be familiar with:

Sexual orientation: An individual’s identity in relation to the gender to which they are sexually or romantically attracted. Most contemporary theorists view sexual orientation as occurring on a continuum (not categorical, but rather an issue of degree) and as fluid (it may or may not change over time).

Biological Sex: A person’s biological sex refers to an individual’s anatomy as male, female or intersex. Characteristics of biological sex include sex organs (such as the penis, ovaries, vagina), chromosomes and hormones. Most individuals are assigned to one of the biological sex categories at birth based on their external sex organs.

Gender Identity: A person’s inner concept as male, female, both or neither. It refers to individuals’ internal experience of their own gender. Gender identity can be the same or different than biological sex and is also thought of as occurring on a continuum and fluid by most contemporary theorists.

Resource Organizations » Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity » Concord-Carlisle

In Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition

Crisis Hotline: (800) 252-0227, LGBTQ Adult Hotline: (888) 340-4528, LGBTQ Youth Helpline: (800) 850-8078

Main Line: 413-822-7268

Email: info@berkshirestonewall.org

The aim of the Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition is to promote the well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people from the Berkshire County area through communication, networking, support, education, political action, and fun. BSCC activities include discussion panels, speakers, infosocials, support groups, community action, social events and the publication of a bi-monthly calendar.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) of Greater Boston

Helpline: 866-427-3524

Greater Boston Office: 781-891-5966

National: 202-467-8180

Email: info@gbpflag.org

Greater Boston PFLAG works to create environments of understanding so that all people can live with dignity and respect through:

  • Support: to cope with an adverse society
  • Education: to enlighten the public
  • Advocacy: to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights

Greater Boston PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.  Find a Chapter

The Network / La Red

Hotline: 617-742-4911, 800-832-1901 (Toll-Free)

Office: 617-695-0877

TTY: 617-227-4911

The Network/La Red is a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, BDSM, polyamorous, and queer communities. Rooted in anti-oppression principles, their work aims to create a world where all people are free from oppression. They strengthen communities through organizing, education, and the provision of support services.  Survivors, their friends and family can call the Hotline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to receive emotional support, information,  referrals to resources and assistance in making safety plans.  The Network/La Red provides emergency safehome for survivors of partner abuse for up to 4 weeks stay as well as support group offerings.

Organizations without hotlines

Bisexual Resource Center

617-424-9595

Email: brc@biresource.net

The Bisexual Resource Center envisions a world where love is celebrated, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression. Because bisexuals today are still misunderstood, marginalized and discriminated against, the BRC is committed to providing support to the bisexual community and raising public awareness about bisexuality and bisexual people.

Boston Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Youth (BAGLY)

617-227-4313

Email: info@bagly.org

The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, is a youth led, adult supported social support organization, committed to social justice, and creating, sustaining and advocating for programs, policies and services for the LGBTQ youth community. 

Boston Gay, Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (BOSTONGLASS)

857-399-1920

Email: mtamanaha@jri.org

Boston GLASS (Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Social Services) provides a continuum of services to LGBTQQ+ youth of color and their allies in the Greater Boston area. As a leader in LGBTQ+ youth services, they also provide education and consultation to other providers and community organizations. An average of 25-30 youth go to GLASS each night to meet friends, talk to staff, or participate in formal programming. Boston GLASS provides counseling, advocacy and referrals for health care services and housing to LGBTQQ+ teens and young adults.

 

 

Boston LBGT ELDER Info

617-292-6211

Boston ElderINFO assists elders, disabled individuals and their families in accessing a comprehensive range of services that address health care needs. Boston ElderINFO is a program of the Elder Care Alliance. The Elder Care Alliance is a not for profit collaboration of three Boston home care agencies, also known as Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs): Boston Senior Home Care, Central Boston Elder Services and Ethos. For more than 25 years, we have provided the information, guidance and support necessary to identify, plan and secure alternatives that help make living independently possible for elder individuals with disabilities.

Fenway Community Health Center, Help Line and Peer Listening Line

LGBT Peer Listening (25 & under): 800-399-7337

LGBT Helpline (25+): 888-340-4528

Email: jwisch@fenwayhealth.org

Fenway's helplines are anonymous and confidential phone lines that offer lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning adults and young people a “safe place” to call for information, referrals, and support. Their trained volunteers are available six days a week to talk about safer sex, coming out, where to find gay-friendly establishments, HIV and AIDS, depression, suicide, and anti-gay/lesbian harassment and violence. No matter what is on your mind, they are there to encourage and ensure you that you are not alone.

 

Fenway Community Health Center, Violence Recovery Program

617-927-6250

Toll Free: 800-834-3242

Email: information@fenwayhealth.org

The Violence Recovery Program (VRP) at Fenway Community Health was founded in 1986. The VRP provides counseling, support groups, advocacy, and referral services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) victims of bias crime, domestic violence, sexual assault and police misconduct. Other services include a support group for LGBT domestic violence survivors, the region's only support group for male survivors of rape and sexual assault, advocacy with the courts and police, and assistance with victim compensation. We offer counseling and advocacy in both English and Spanish.

Fenway Health: LGBT Aging Project

857-313-6590

Email: information@fenwayhealth.org

The LGBT Aging Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults have equal access to the life-prolonging benefits, protections, services and institutions that their heterosexual neighbors take for granted. 

Fenway Health: LGBT Family & Parenting Services

617-927-6243

Fenway was one of the first in the nation to offer alternative insemination services to lesbians and today they continue to provide medical alternatives for achieving conception, as well as a support network, education, and advocacy. Fenway also provides resources, information, and educational services to LGBT-headed families. They hold educational presentations where parents can network.  They offer adoption resources, legal referrals, surrogacy resources and other information for prospective LGBT parents. 

Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

(617) 684-5736

Email: massachusetts@chapters.glsen.org

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is a national organization making schools safer for ALL students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. They believe that such an atmosphere engenders a positive sense of self, which is the basis of educational achievement and personal growth. Since homophobia and heterosexism undermine a healthy school climate, they work to educate teachers, students, and the public at large about the damaging effects these forces have on youth and adults alike. GLESEN recognizes that forces such as racism and sexism have similarly adverse impacts on communities, and they support schools in seeking to redress all such inequities. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes in creating a more vibrant and diverse community.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defender (GLAD)

617-426-1350

800-455-4523

Email: gladlaw@glad.org

Founded in 1978, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is New England's leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression. GLAD has a full-time legal staff who focus on providing litigation, advocacy, and educational work in all areas of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights and the rights of people living with HIV. Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

HBGC (Hispanic Black Gay Coalition)

617-487-4242

Email: jsurlavargas@hbgc-boston.org

HBGC (Hispanic Black Gay Coalition) is one of few non-profit organizations in Boston dedicated to the unique and complex needs of the Black, Hispanic and Latino LGBT community. Founded in 2009 to unite and give a voice to LGBT individuals of color, HBGC works to inspire and empower Hispanic, Latino and Black LGBT individuals to improve their livelihood through activism, education, community outreach, and counseling.

Keshet Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender (GLBT)

617-524-9227

Email: info@boston-keshet.org

Keshet seeks to create a fully welcoming and inclusive Jewish community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Jews in Greater Boston. Keshet develops leadership for change among GLBT Jews and allies to affect concrete changes in Jewish institutions' policies and cultures. Keshet also creates opportunities for GLBT Jews to come together, celebrate, and explore their Jewish identities in an affirming environment.

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)

617-778-0519

Email: info@masstpc.org

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. They envision a world where persons of all genders are treated with respect and fully participate in all areas of society, free from fear of prohibition, harassment or violence based on their gender identity and/or expression. To that end they educate the public, advocate with state, local, and federal government, engage in political activism, and encourage empowerment of community members through collective action.

Queer Asian Pacific Alliance

Email: qapa@qapa.org

Founded in 1979, QAPA, formerly AMALGM, is the oldest Asian queer organization in the United States. QAPA is committed to providing a supportive social, political, and educational environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage (this is inclusive of A/PIs, A/PI Americans and those who are of mixed A/PI heritage) in the Boston and New England area. We currently have over 200 active members in the New England area, plus many more ex-members spread around the world.

SpeakOUT Boston

877-223-9390

Email: info@speakoutboston.org

SpeakOUT is a community of speakers working to create a world free of homo-bi-trans-phobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of our lives. They do so by conducting educational programs about LGBTQIA* lives and issues, training individuals and organizations to use public speaking as a means of creating positive cultural change, and sharing their lives and experiences publicly in order to support those struggling with sexuality and gender identity. They engage audiences in honest dialogue, and in keeping with their motto "Ask Us Anything," invite any questions that may challenge harmful stereotypes and misconceptions.

 

 

TransCEND (Transgender Care and Education Needs Diversity)

617-450-1102

617-450-1060

TransCEND (Transgender Care and Education Needs Diversity) is a program of AIDS Action Committee and is affiliated with Fenway Health. Founded in 2005, TransCEND is Boston’s first program by and for Transgender Women.

TransCEND’s staff, Charel and Sara, work in Boston supporting disadvantaged Transgender people. In addition to connecting Trans clients to culturally competent health care, they do HIV, HCV, and STI counseling and testing, prevention counseling services, needle exchange for hormones, housing search, homelessness support, legal and mental health referrals, and transition advice, including navigating the fast-changing trans-inclusive health insurance coverage options in Massachusetts. They also help clients learn to negotiate social settings and safer sex.

TransCEND offers one-on-one support, group support, and appointment accompaniment for medical care and legal name change.

TransCEND primarily serves Trans Women and their partners, but always welcome all people regardless of how you identify on the gender spectrum.

TransCEND also offers information and support for medical and mental health professionals, educators, and allies interested in supporting transgender clients. Drop-ins welcomed, appointments recommended.

Outside Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

LGBT National Help Center

All Ages National Hotline: 888-843-4564, SAGE Elder Hotline: 888-234-7243

LGBT National Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-7743

Email: help@LGBThotline.org

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) National Help Center, founded in 1996, is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of LGBT volunteers, they operate three national hotlines, the LGBT National Hotline, the LGBT National Youth Talkline, and the SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that helps both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more. The National Help Center also maintains the largest collection of resources for the LGBT community in the United States, with 15,000 local resources for cities and towns across the country.

SAGE

SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline - 1-888-234-SAGE (7243)

212-741-2247

Email: info@sageusa.org

Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources for LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations, largely through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. With offices in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 28 local SAGE affiliates in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

SAGE operates a hotline where older adults can call and talk to supportive, non-judgmental peer. Hours are: Monday to Friday: 4pm-midnight ET and Saturday: Noon-5pm ET.

The Trevor Project

866-488-7386

310-271-8845

212-695-8650

1-202-304-1200 (Text Line)

Email: info@thetrevorproject.org

Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.  In addition to providing a 24/7 national crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ youth, the organization also provides TrevorChat, a free confidential, secure instant messaging service available from 3-9pm ET, and TrevorText, where youth can text a trained Trevor counselor for support and crisis intervention on Fridays from 4-8pm at 202-304-1200.

Organizations without hotlines

Campus Pride

704-277-6710

Email: info@campuspride.org

Campus Pride represents the leading national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students. The organization is a volunteer-driven network “for” and “by” student leaders. The primary objective of Campus Pride is to develop necessary resources, programs and services to support LGBTQ and ally students on college campuses across the United States.

Campus Pride Index

(704) 277-6710

Email: info@campuspride.org

Since 2007, the Campus Pride Index has been the premier LGBTQ national benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to create safer, more inclusive campus communities.  The FREE online tool allows prospective students, families/parents and those interested in higher education to search a database of LGBTQ-friendly campuses who have come out to improve the academic experience and quality of campus life.

The Campus Pride Index sets the bar higher for LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and practices.  The index is owned and operated by Campus Pride, the leading national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create safer, more LGBTQ-friendly learning environments at colleges and universities. The index is supported under the Campus Pride Q Research Institute for Higher Education as well as benefits from strategic partnerships with professional organizations in higher education and related LGBTQ nonprofit organizations.

Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE)

(504) 313-0555

(828) 782-1938 (Kaley-Program & Chapter Inquiries)

Email: colage@colage.org

COLAGE is a national movement of children, youth, and adults with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) parents. This origanization builds community and works toward social justice through youth empowerment, leadership development, education, and advocacy. They envision a world in which youth with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) parents are connected to a broad community of peers and mentors, are recognized as the authorities of their shared experiences, belong to respected and valued family structures, and have the tools and support to create and maintain a just society.

Forge

414-559-2123

Email: AskFORGE@forge-forward.org

FORGE is a national transgender anti-violence organization, founded in 1994. Since 2009, FORGE has been federally funded to provide direct services to transgender, gender non-conforming and gender non-binary survivors of sexual assault. Since 2011, FORGE has served as the only transgender-focused organization federally funded to provide training and technical assistance to providers around the country who work with transgender survivors of sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking.   In addition to providing over 50 hours of recorded webinars on a variety of topics, visitors to their website can find a range of information  including how to receive more education as a professional.  Survivors, family members, friends and other supporters can find a range of information about finding support locally or find information about how to support their loved one.

Gender Spectrum

510-788-4412

Email: info@genderspectrum.org

Gender Spectrum’s mission is to create a gender-inclusive world for all children and youth. To accomplish this, they help families, organizations, and institutions increase understandings of gender and consider the implications that evolving views have for everyone. Gender Spectrum offers resources to empower individuals' relationships, work, and interactions with youth and children. From how-to guides, to respected research, to sample training materials, this wesbite provides the tools necessary to create gender inclusive environments in homes, offices, and communities.

It Gets Better Project

The It Gets Better Project's mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them.

Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can't imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves.

The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.

Lambda Legal

212-809-8585

Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

Lambda Legal’s Help Desk provides information and resources regarding discrimination related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and HIV status.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, they do not charge their clients for legal representation or advocacy, and they receive no government funding. They depend on contributions from supporters around the country.

National Resource Center on LGBT Aging

212-741-2247

Email: info@lgbtagingcenter.org

The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is the country's first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender older adults. Established in 2010 through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides training, technical assistance and educational resources to aging providers, LGBT organizations and LGBT older adults. The center is led by SAGE, in collaboration with 18 leading organizations from around the country.

Point Foundation

866-337-6468

Email: info@thepointfoundation.org

The Point Foundation provides financial support, mentoring and hope to meritorious students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity.

T-VOX

The advice site is the main focus of T-Vox. The primary goal of T-Vox is to create an extensive library of topics that cover every aspect of subjects relating to genderqueerness, intersexuality and transsexuality. We now have over 500 pages of information and resources and we recently launched our advice blog to provide more in-depth advice and information on specific topics of interest to our users’ real lives.

True Colors - Sexual Minority Youth & Family Services

(860) 232-0050

True Colors is a non-profit organization that works with other social service agencies, schools, organizations, and within communities to ensure that the needs of sexual and gender minority youth are both recognized and competently met. The organization trains more than 2400 people annually, organizes the largest LGBT youth conference in the country with more than 3000 attendees and manages the state’s only LGBT mentoring program. True Colors has been spotlighted by both national and local media for their expertise in LGBTI youth issues.