A weekend of fun and educational activities for LGBTTTQQIAA HS youth hosted by students at a small university in Maine

Woohoo folks we are having a year of amazing LGBTQ+ events in Washington County, ME, see the timeline below ‘BLAZE’!! The Machias Rainbow Con has some wicked good events including a midnight movie showing of the original Rocky Horror Picture Show with help from talented Emcees from the Barn Arts Collective guaranteeing plenty of audience partici…..pation. Once we cover our costs, any additional ticket sales are donations for the Rainbow Ball Weekend, feel free to support us!

Our Celebrity guest on Saturday is none other than the Magdalena Visaggio, author of Kim & Kim comic books, one of the Kims is trans and the other is bi! She’ll be presenting on her work as a trans comic book author, selling her books, and giving autographs. We are also hosting the first gallery show of Kevin Dutil’s beautiful drawings of his  GLBTQ Super Heroes also opening the same weekend!

There is much much more: LARPing, Tourneys, Shakespeare’s Star Wars Readers Theater, Cosplay Contest, live music, and a Zombie Fun Run! It’s a beautiful time to visit our coastal area. We’re rustic, gritty, and small but we have really big hearts. Come on out you awesome nerds!




  • Tuesday October 11 Training to Support LGBT Youth, Harvest of Ideas at the University of Maine at Machias, Presenters include the Health Equity Alliance, Zack Paakkonen, Portland Legal, local educators and students, CEUs available, contact Sharon Dean at 263-8370 or Sharon.dean@gmail.com.
  • Fri-Sun October 14-16 Machias Rainbow Con University of Maine at Machias
  • Sunday October 16 Zombie Fun Run Fundraiser for Health Equity Alliance at the University of Maine at Machias
  • March 17th , 2017 Community of Hope full day Training to Support LGBT Youth follow up, presenters include Wayne Maines
  • April 7-9th, 2017 10th Annual Rainbow Ball Weekend “OUT in Space” University of Maine at Machias, Indigenous Queen Lyzz Bien confirmed keynote speaker! Get your cushy camp mattresses now & this year everyone has to pay $5, so start those bottle drives!

Oh Mylanta! What a BEAUTIFUL AMAZING CRAZY weekend! 🙂  It takes a Campus and so many other volunteers and donors to raise a Rainbow Village!  Huge thanks all around and also Happy Pride month!

Representative comments on what the HS youth had to say:
Prompt: What does Rainbow Ball Weekend mean to you:
“A weekend to be me where I don’t have to hide or be afraid of who I am. Rainbow Ball is the entire reason I came out.”
“It’s a place I can be myself and I don’t have to hide. I feel so free I could cry. I’m very sad that it’s my last year.”
“Rainbow Ball this year was something new to me. This year I have come out as gender queer, and I have to be closeted at home. I felt safe and being called THEY made my heart flutter. I feel empowered and amazing. Thank you!”
“The Rainbow ball means freedom to me. At home I can’t be myself, I can’t wear my suit, I can’t see my girlfriend…here I can.”
“The Rainbow Ball is my sanctuary, I feel so at peace and at home here with everyone.”

For fun – by the Numbers: 246 T-Shirts (3 designs: youth, counselors, staff), 234 prom attendees, 231 Total non UMM Guests for the Weekend, 201 Youth Guests (& school staff, some parents, and counselors -153 attended in 2015); a couple hundred of preferred pronoun and other LGBTQ+ pins made by two high school groups; 55 straight hours this weekend with students for some teachers; 44 (12 brand new) Unique Workshops/ Presentations/ Support Groups/ Activities; 25 donated copies of Transformation of an American Family autographed by Nicole & Wayne Maines; 24 performances at the Talent Showcase,19 Schools and youth organizations, 16 UMM Alumni/former student volunteers, 15 table representatives from various organizations; 12 trips to Hannaford’s, 8 counselors who were previous attendees, 5 meals, 5 cakes, 4 games at Prom, 3 buses, 2 fabulous drag queens, 2 UMPI Alumni, 1 UMPI Faculty, 1 EMCC Faculty, 1 Feedback Session,  and 1 herd of dinosaurs: bisexual brontosaurus, lesbian leopluridon, flaming homosaurus, asexual archeopteryx, gay gallimimus, pansexual pantydraco, questioning quasetosaurus, transgender pterodactyl, and ally allosaurus.

Mark your calendars! We are busy planning the unconventional  Machias Rainbow Con this October 14 & 15 as a partial fundraiser – after expenses.

Rainbow Ball Weekend Photo Backdrop

Rainbow Ball Weekend Photo Backdrop

Spring Gayly Forward

Rainbow ball is important because it teaches a lot especially that you’re not alone, you’re not the only one. You make long lasting friendships.” 2015 student attendee

As we approach this year’s Rainbow Ball Weekend, April 8-10, 2016 at the University of Maine at Machias there have been some highlights since last April. We were thrilled that our tiny campus made the Campus Pride top 25 LGBT-friendly college index, 100% Faculty Advisor, Lois-Ann Kuntz was honored to receive the Equality Maine Community Courage Award, and we received a Maine Community Foundation Equity grant award for the Rainbow Ball Weekend. No matter that we’re small, we are mighty. You too are mighty, even one person can make profound changes.  We have been deeply saddened by the passing of Kevin Dutil of Coney High School and Peter Rees of Downeast GLSEN both stalwart supporters of LGBT+ youth and Rainbow Ball Weekend. They were mighty.  It’s up to us to continue their work.

We have some exciting developments for this year’s 9th Annual Rainbow Ball Weekend! We’re including a Youth Career Expo on Friday April 8th during the day and our local career center will be offering workshops on Hot Jobs in Maine. Also on Friday, UMM’s Maine Writer Series has invited the Rainbow Ballers to attend a reading by author Arielle Greenberg who’s writing includes LGBT topics. We will have other career related activities like musical improv and archaeology digs.  As always we’re looking forward to what the kids present at the talent show on Friday night – make sure they bring their props!

On Saturday our keynote speaker will be Zack Paakkonen, with Portland Maine Legal, and he will be addressing legal issues of transgender youth in Maine schools. And… speaking of legal issues for Maine trans youth, Random House Publishing has donated 25 copies of the wonderful book,  Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Nutt for attending schools to take to their libraries. Interested attendees will also get to work with faculty on writing and prints for an LGBTQ Youth chapbook. Finally, the Jurassic Jamboree themed Rainbow Ball dance Saturday night should be a leviathan of a good time. 😉

We’re excited that UMPI’s 100% student organization as well as the Health Equity Alliance  are pitching in again to offer workshop/counseling/testing and more support! As always we’re looking forward to a great weekend with Maine’s LGBT youth. The schedule… is still under construction but other than all these new developments… will be similar to last year. 🙂

FMI, registration,and or counselor applications please go to our website: 100% Society or e-mail downeastme@chapters.glsen.org.  If you would like to donate or want to showcase your business/ group/ nonprofit at the Queer Career Youth Expo, please see this same site and the vendor materials, we had >170 guests last year.  For those of you who have questions/ offered help/ registered/ applied to be counselors – thank you & thanks for your patience!

As for future plans, in addition to our annual Rainbow Ball Weekend, the 100% Society is helping to host the first Machias RainbowCon October 14-15 in partnership with the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce for fun and to raise funds for the Rainbow Ball Weekend. And if you’re in Washington County, ME, stay tuned for a free fall workshop for educators and mental health providers (CEU’s available), One Lonely Kid at a Time hosted by the LBGTQ Community Circle.

We’re all on journeys and best wishes to all of us on our shared journey towards 100% equality. “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” — U.S. President Barack Obama

As always please share, especially if you know youth who might benefit. Thanks!


June Prides n’ Brides

N’ Graduations! All the Beauty and Love warding off pain, loneliness, rejection, depression and fear. We hope it lasts forever with the truth and self-confidence that lifts us outside of us, above us into a rainbow community wrapped in summer sunshine.  Two young women, one who has attended Rainbow Ball four years, are getting married this week. Rainbow tassel graduates everywhere. Congratulations and Best Wishes to all.  Mount Desert Island High School served up a warm fuzzy of a Rainbow Festival including Bar Harbor’s fabulous ImprovAcadia. Maine has two Pride events left and we’re going to celebrate – Pride Portland! and Bangor Pride.  June.

We had an epic Rainbow Ball and are going ahead and planning our next one though it will require serious fundraising.  How can we not continue when there are so many written comments similar to these? Go ahead and wrap yourself up in this sunshine.

“For the first time in my life I felt accepted and like it was okay that I love who I love, and made me feel the happiest I have in years because I’m not stuck living in a ‘closet’ like I am at home.”

“Because you get to meet so many nice, sweet, and welcoming people and it often helps people gain confidence, I know I have. It’s only my second year coming and I’ve been fully willing to meet and talk with people.”

 “Rainbow ball is important because it teaches a lot especially that you’re not alone you’re not the only one. You make long lasting friendships.”

 “I think I would share the fact that a person can learn a lot about themselves at this event. You might learn about your identity, sexuality, other people’s experiences, and maybe even new interest like book making.”

 “I would tell people that Rainbow Ball is a place to learn and have fun, like how schools should be.”

 “It honestly saves lives. And not everyone knows that.”

 “Education is power, and with all of the education you can get about LGBTQ, you can have so much power and voice.”

 “I would tell them that everyone is very nice and respectful with names and pronouns.”

 “That it is a great place to make lots of amazing friends and that the people and stories here are relatable and eye opening.”

 “I had a great time. I would tell them that there are great people and that there is so many opportunities to learn and have fun and that you won’t want to leave.”

“I would just tell people that this is an awesome program for people in general. Whether you’re questioning, coming out, need info or need reassurance that you are not alone!”

“Its good to be surrounded by people that won’t judge you no matter who you are.”

“It’s so empowering to meet people who have been through the same things as you and are just like you.”

“Rainbow ball is important because it teaches a lot especially that you’re not alone you’re not the only one. You make long lasting friendships.”


Make out your checks to “Rainbow Ball Fundraising” and mail to:

100% Society, University of Maine at Machias, 116 O’Brien Avenue, Machias, ME 04654

Image from the 2014 Grammy Awards

The 8th Annual Rainbow Ball Weekend is right around the corner – April 10-12, 2015. We have amazing speakers, presenters, and activities! Our keynote is being given by Jenn Burleton founder of Oregon’s TransActive Gender Center. We’re so lucky to have her!  She’s going to be in Bar Harbor during the week giving a series of workshops on Transgender Health and Well-Being: A Community Conversation. Jenn is also joined in a powerful line up with Wayne Maines and Peter Rees & Lin Gould for Rainbow Ball Community Workshops (not too late to sign up!) on Friday April 10th and CEU’s are available for educators and human service providers which is sponsored by UMM’s Psychology & Community Studies Program.

The dance is going to be truly epic including some homemade carnival games with a series of beautiful carousel unicorns one of the 100% Society members has created for the photo backdrops. What an amazing opportunity for community engagement, developing leadership and communication skills, as well as event planning for the students running the weekend. We’re seeing old friends and new ones traveling to campus. The number of high school youth involved in planning activities is way up! In fact, attendance is up too with folks representing 25 different educational institutions around Maine, from Kennebunk to Caribou -that is a distance of 327 miles!

And of course! The most important reason for the weekend.  100% Society members in 2002 desired a way to support local, isolated, rural, poor LGBT high school students.  While there are lots of resources and networking opportunities available for those living near cities, our rural LGBTQ youth and their allies don’t have that kind of support.  Many of our members over the years did not have that support, one recently described the weekend as “magic”.  Attending this supportive event and not being in the minority is indeed powerful. One of our counselors who brought LGBTQA youth for six years described a number of these youth confiding after the fact that attending the Rainbow Ball had saved their lives.

Josh Becker, aka, Chanel Honeywell who has been hosting the Friday night talent show since 2009 has started a gofundme for Rainbow Ball Weekend. The cost of bringing youth to UMM for the weekend is $5000 and food costs for 140 for 6 meals is over $3000. We have had a generous donation of the $5000. We’ve kept everything free for the weekend to make sure as many LGBTQA youth who want to come can.  Any amount will help us – $20 sends two youth to the dance, $60 sponsors a youth for the whole weekend. Thanks in advance for any support you can give.

For several years high school youth attending the Rainbow Ball Weekend have been able to participate in a juried talent competition. This year we are expanding to include a juried art contest from youth that explores gender identity and sexual orientation. Our excellent judges, Linda Eastman, Bernie Vinzani, and Libra Gately are artists who have been involved with and supported previous Rainbow Ball Weekends.
The winning pieces will be included in a professional photography exhibit by Linda Eastman at the University of Maine at Machias. The exhibition is supporting the 8th Annual Rainbow Ball Weekend, April 10-12, 2015. The Gallery Opening/Reception is Friday evening April 10th and it is hoped the winners will be able to attend. Food, housing, and transportation support provided.
Submissions are now being accepted on a ‘closed’ facebook page (not available for viewing by the public). The last day to submit is Friday February 27th with winners being announced on Monday March 16th. First, second, third, and honorable mention winners will be contacted about preparing their work to be ready to hang and the address where they need to mail their artwork by March 30th to give time for the Gallery installation in advance of the Rainbow Ball Weekend.

Please read and understand thoroughly the contest procedures below in order to apply and participate in this art competition:
1. Entries must follow the competition theme of being a member or having friends/family members in the LGBTQA community and how this may be a reason for “Growing Up Differently”.
2. Artists 13-18 years of age attending a Maine High School may apply.
3. There is a three-image limit that an artist can submit.
4. The image files of the original artwork must be in JPG format.
5. The image file name needs to include school abbreviation, student last name, and if more than one entry a number to indicate this.
For example: MMHS_Doe_1.jpg
6. Files may not exceed 1MG.
7. Entries may be two- or three- dimensional artwork created in any medium such as painting, drawing, digital, collage, photography, sculpture, textile, an artist’s book, etc. The work can be expressed from realism to abstraction. Video is excluded at this time.
8. Experimental and mixed techniques are welcome.
9. 2D pieces are limited to 24”x 36” and under. 3D should not exceed 36″.

10. A faculty member or club advisor verifies the authenticity of the work and must upload the image entries to the closed facebook page they must ask to join: “Growing Up Differently – Art Contest for LGBTQA HS Youth”
11. The following information is required with the image submission by the school representative: a) their own professional contact information for notification, b) the preferred name of the student, c) name of the school, d) grade in school, e) actual dimensions of the entry which winners will have to mail, f) title if there is one and g) a brief statement by the student of how their art expresses “Growing Up Differently”.
12. Winners are responsible for mailing their entries the week after notification to prepare for installation. Winners are also expected to attend the Gallery Reception at UMM on April 10th. The 100% Society will provide support for attending the weekend of events.

If you have questions or to possibly schedule a school visit regarding the competition theme or rules, please contact Linda Eastman at: aestudio@myfairpoint.net
Please share this info with any applicable high school students!
Creative Commons Licensed Image by Matt DeTurck

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Viewers in Canada & Russia – who knew? 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

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