The West Suburban Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Youth, WAGLY, was founded in March 2011 to provide a safe haven for high school Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (GLBTQ) youth. Thanks to WAGLY these youth have a place to meet, share common experiences, and support each other. The group meets weekly on non-holiday Mondays at 7 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills (UUSWH) located at 309 Washington Street in Wellesley Hills, MA.
“Students who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual…are over four times more likely to have attempted suicide” than their heterosexual peers according to the Massachusetts 2009 Youth Risk Survey. Statistics show that unresolved issues of gender identity and sexual orientation for teens can result in emotional and psychological challenges including poor school performance, depression, and difficulty developing strong interpersonal relationships.
“WAGLY addresses a critical need for support among GLBTQ youth,” said Rev. Jack Lewis of UUSWH who serves as WAGLY’s Coordinator. “The fact that over 35 youth from 20 towns attend meetings weekly underscores the value WAGLY provides to MetroWest Boston youth.”
“At WAGLY I can hang out with other GLBTQ kids and know they will understand me,” said one high school junior. “I always feel safe being myself at WAGLY meetings,” said another.
As a program that includes GLBTQ high school youth and their straight allies from all MetroWest communities, WAGLY provides a more diverse base to supplement local high school Gay/Straight Alliances. WAGLY offers social and educational programs that support the emotional and physical well-being of young GLBTQ community members. Peer Youth Leaders conduct most meetings and provide a comfortable conduit through which youth participants can access adult support and guidance. Adult volunteers are available as facilitators and mentors for participating youth.