Equity and Excellence in Maine Schools

Supporting GLBTQA Youth

Supporting a Diversity of Identities

This page includes:

Supporting LGBTQA+ Youth
Supporting Ethnic and Racial Minority Students
Supporting Gender Equity

Supporting LGBTQA+ Youth

Gender identity and sexual orientation issues are particularly relevant to schools as they serve children transitioning through adolescence to adulthood. Ensuring a safe and supportive community for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities is essential, although complicated at times.

Below are local resources:

The Bridge Alliance
The Bridge Alliance strives to support, educate and promote advocacy of you LGBTA community in Northern and Eastern Maine by hosting social activities.

Downeast Outright
Downeast Outright is a program of the Downeast AIDS Network and a safe social space for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Allied Youth.

Equality Maine
EqualityMaine works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Maine through political action, community organizing, education, and collaboration.

Frannie Peabody Center
Frannie Peabody Center is the largest community-based HIV / AIDS service organization in Maine, providing prevention services for at-risk groups and direct services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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.

GLSEN Southern Maine
At GLSEN, we want every student, in every school, to be valued and treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We believe that all students deserve a safe and affirming school environment where they can learn and grow. We accomplish our goals by working in hallways across the country -- from Congress and the Department of Education to schools and district offices in your community -- to improve school climate and champion LGBT issues in K-12 education.

GLSEN - National School Climate Survey

Lewiston Auburn Outright
Outright Lewiston/Auburn creates safe and affirming environments for youth ages 14-21 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or questioning.

LBGTQ+ Collection at USM's Sampson Center
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ Collection at the University of Southern Maine collects and preserves the history of Maine’s LGBTQ+ communities. We collect the papers of individuals and the records of organizations active in these communities. The collection includes all forms of material culture from printed books, pamphlets, posters, to manuscripts, diaries, to objects, buttons, T-shirts, banners, games, a wide variety of ephemera, to photographs and audiovisual material.

MaineTransNet is a community-based organization led by transgender people for transgender people, whose mission it is to support and empower transgender people to create a world where they can thrive. The organization provides peer-to-peer support groups, social and community events, advocacy for the transgender community across Maine, and transgender cultural competency training for medical, mental health, and social service providers. 

Mindfully Queer Collective
We work together to advocate for our rights and for intersectional social justice. We organize transgender, queer, and marginalized people of all ages into closer communities. We host gatherings to build community, network for advocacy, and support each other. We help each other meet basic needs, resist toxic norms, and practice physical and psychological survival skills.

OUT Maine
OUT Maine supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning young people, under the age of 22, and their allies in rural Maine.

PFLAG Portland, Maine
PFLAG Portland, Maine offers compassionate peer support to the parents, families and friends of, and including, LGBTQ individuals through group discussion, education, advocacy and creating connections to community resources.

Portland Lesbian Coffeehouse
PLCH is a social group in Maine for lesbians from all walks of life to share in activities, make new friends, laugh and have a whole lot of fun.

Portland Outright
Outright supports underserved members of the LGBTQ+ youth population through weekly drop-in hours, ongoing mentorship, social events, and trainings, as well as intentional support to youth navigating systems -- such as the juvenile justice system, foster care, homelessness and mental health services. We are a community of people who are invested in each other, building deep connections, sharing both our struggle and joy, while fighting for each other's dignity and survival.

Trans Youth Equality Foundation
The Trans Youth Equality Foundation provides education, advocacy, and support for transgender children, youth, and their families. Our mission is to share information about the unique needs of this community, partnering with families, educators, and service providers to help foster a healthy, caring, and safe environment for all transgender children.


 Supporting Ethnic and Racial Minority Students

Research studies demonstrate that racial diversity of students in schools leads to significant educational benefits including:

  • improvements in cognitive abilities, critical thinking, and self-confidence,
  • promoting cross-racial understanding and reduction of prejudice,
  • civic engagement and skills needed for leadership,
  • improved classroom environments.[1]

Maine now has the ability to capitalize on these possibilities with the growth of racial diversity in our schools. Below are local resources:

Multiethnic Collections and Resources

Holocaust and Human Rights Center 
The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine promotes universal respect for human rights through outreach and education. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other events past and present we encourage individuals and communities to reflect and act upon their moral responsibilities to confront prejudice, intolerance and discrimination.

USM Sampson Center for Diversity
The University of Southern Maine’s Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine collects and makes accessible material documenting the ongoing histories of diverse communities. Current collections represent the African American, Jewish,  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ communities, and social justice for all. The Center promotes diversity and civil rights through research, education, and outreach.

Anti-Racism Educational Resources
The USM Intercultural Diversity Advisory Council (IDAC) has collaborated with the USM Libraries to collect educational resources on the subjects of anti-racism and identity from departments and programs at the University of Southern Maine. These materials are intended for use by anyone seeking to further their knowledge in these areas.

Race, Power, and Difference Symposium Notes (March 2018)
The inaugural symposium, Race, Power, and Difference, was an opportunity for Maine educators to engage in conversations about our shared democratic values and the power of education to create pathways of opportunies for everyone. We used the lenses of race, power, and difference to incorporate different lived experiences and multiple perspectives that show how gender, location (rural/urban), socioeconomic status, race, and other factors impact diverse communities.


Maine Native Peoples

Maine Native Studies
This material represents a continuing collaborative effort between the four nations of the Wabanaki in Maine, Native and non-Native educators, the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission, the Maine Department of Education, and the University of Maine System.  The document and resources are rooted in the early work of the Wabanaki Studies Commission established by the Maine Legislature in 2001. This website is designed to support K-12 Maine educators in integrating Maine Native Studies into existing curricula.  Resources included here are not comprehensive or definitive but rather represent high-quality materials that are widely available. They have been reviewed by cultural experts designated by Wabanaki Tribal leaders and by practicing Maine educators.

Maine Wabanaki REACH
Maine-Wabanaki REACH advances Wabanaki self-determination by strengthening the cultural, spiritual and physical well-being of Native people in Maine. REACH (Restoration-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing) began as a collaboration of state and tribal child welfare workers who knew from their work together that children, families, and communities need truth, healing and change. 

Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare
This was the first Commission to focus Native issues with child welfare in the US, the first known Commission that was collaboratively formed by “both sides” of the conflict, and this Commission’s focus on healing was distinctive.

Native American Educational Barriers - Presentation by Susan Lewey Hamilton

Penobscot Nation Cultural & Historic Preservation
The Cultural and Historic Preservation Department and the Cultural and Historic Preservation Committee strive to promote and preserve traditional teachings, cultural awareness, and historical accuracy of the Penobscot people. The department and committee work to address the cultural needs of the Penobscot people in the areas of, but not limited to: language, history, education, museum, archaeology, and outreach. 

Land Acknowledgement Resources from Maine-Wabanaki REACH

This document from Maine-Wabanaki REACH provides a number of resources for teaching and learning about land acknowledgement. 



Franco-American Studies
This page serves as a resource guide for Franco-American Studies and was created by Franco-American specialists in Maine in partnership with the Maine Department of Education. The guide's purpose is to assist K-12 teachers and students in locating available Franco-American resources about Maine and New England.

Black and African-American

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

King Fellows
The Martin Luther King Jr. Fellows (Fellows) is a Youth-Led group with the mission to advance racial equity and social justice in the Greater Portland area. Based on the philosophy and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Fellows are dedicated to the elimination of all forms of oppression and structural racism that is historically rooted in our social, political, educational and economic systems. Believing that equity and justice offer both the pathway forward and the goal, the Fellows seek to foster dialogue-to-action efforts in their schools and communities with diverse stakeholders as well as create opportunities for students of color to participate in positive racial/ethnic development activities and personal well-being.

African-American Collection at USM's Sampson Center
The mission of the African American Collection is as follows: to provide a repository for the collection and preservation of a variety of records documenting Maine’s African Americans; to emphasize the importance of such material; organize and catalog this material making it available to scholars, teachers, students of all ages, and the general public; to sponsor educational programs and exhibitions within and beyond the University of Southern Maine about Maine’s African American community and history; to generate scholarship; and, to work with other institutions in reaching the above goals.

Malaga Island
Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) conserves and stewards Maine’s coastal lands and islands for their renowned scenic beauty, ecological value, outdoor recreational opportunities, and contribution to community well-being. MCHT provides statewide conservation leadership through its work with land trusts, coastal communities and other partners.

Gerald Talbot Collection at USM
Gerald E. Talbot was the first African American to be elected to the Maine State Legislature. He served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1972 to 1978, and worked with the Maine chapter of the NAACP and the State Board of Education. He also took part in the struggle for civil rights in other parts of the country, as well as in Maine. The Collection includes Talbot’s personal papers, records of his term in the Maine House of Representatives, of his work with the NAACP in Maine and with the State Board of Education. The Collection contains books, serials, posters, artifacts, and photographs documenting African Americans in the United States, with an emphasis on Maine.

Portland Freedom Trail

This resource from MaineHistory.org outlines a self-guided walking tour of various sites in the state of Maine that were linked to resistance to slavery and the abolitionist movements. 

Black Student Caucus (Maine Youth Action Network)

This April, MYAN is hosting a multi-day virtual caucus for Black Student Unions and Black students from across Maine. Each Saturday of the month (four events in total), Black youth in Maine will have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another and four incredible keynote speakers. 

Racial Equity and Justice

Racial Equity and Justice supports Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Communities of Color for surviving and thriving with more, equality, justice, liberation, resources, safety, cultural wellness, healing, empowerment, and opportunities. In addition, Racial Equity and Justice offers consultatory advocacy services, and encourages parties to reach out directly about incidents of discrimination.


[1] Brief for American Educational Research Association, et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Respondents, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, No. 11-345 (argued October 10, 2012). 

 Supporting Gender Equity


Supporting Gender EquityAchievement differences between boys and girls in math and reading are more culturally based than they are biologically based as we see a decrease in achievement gaps in nations with greater gender equity.   Therefore, a step toward improvement of math scores for girls and reading scores for boys is to create a school and community culture of high achievement for all students.

Below are local resources:

  • Boys to Men - Mission is to reduce interpersonal violence, specifically male violence against women and girls, and support the development of emotionally fluent, civically engaged boys.
  • Hardy Girls Healthy Women - mission is to create opportunities, develop programs, and provide services that empower girls and women to experience equality, independence and safety in their everyday lives. 
  • AAUW of Maine - American Association of University Women advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.  Links to scholarships included.


Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences Jan 2014 identify that gender bias continues to exist and limits women's access to careers in STEM fields.