Annual Report 2021-2022

Your 2021-2022 OutNebraska Impact Report

Here is a snapshot of what we’ve been up to during our last fiscal year. Read about some of our activities, and join us in looking toward the work we’ll do together in the future! We couldn’t accomplish anything without you and other advocates and supporters, so thank you! Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or thoughts about this report. Thank you for all your support and hard work this last year.

A Message from Our Board President

I would like to extend our gratitude to all of the amazing volunteers and advocates who help make OutNebraska’s work possible. Without you, the community we are building together could not exist, and the continual conversations being had in our neighborhoods may not reach the ears of those who need to be educated. Our volunteers and advocates are the magic that give us life and fill our hearts with the love, passion, and support needed to push the work forward to build a better Nebraska for all. Please read through this impact report on all that you helped accomplish in FY 21/22. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I look forward to the adventures we take together in the future! – Kinzie Mabon, OutNebraska Board President

Advocate

Federal level – We’ve been hard at work over the last year advocating for the passage of the Equality Act, a piece of federal nondiscrimination legislation. You may have noticed the postcards we’ve been collecting in support of the Equality Act at pride events, information sessions, and other in-person events. To date, we have collected 553 postcards from 37 different communities across Nebraska to send to Senator Fischer urging her to vote in favor of the bill. If you haven’t signed a postcard yet, sign this virtual postcard to add your name to the call for passing this important legislation

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State Level – In the 2022 Nebraska Legislative session, we identified eight bills as anti-LGBTQ. These bills ranged from anti-CRT to voter ID bills. Together with the help of our community of partners and supporters, we were able to defeat all eight of these anti-LGBTQ bills! We expect some of these and others to be back again next year. Your ongoing support will help us continue working against legislation that is bad for our community.

We identified 12 pro-LGBTQ bills as priorities. Of these bills, two were passed into law! LB867 dedicates funds to HIV prevention and education as well as covers the cost of PreP (HIV prevention medication). LB881 requires all Nebraska prisons and jails to make menstrual hygiene products free to people who are incarcerated (currently, incarcerated people have to pay for things like pads and tampons). Thank you so much for voicing your support for these important bills. Your voice helped pass them into law! We expect many of these positive bills to return next session so stay tuned on how to get involved.

See here for more information about all the bills we tracked in Nebraska in 2022.

Nebraska Competes – Nebraska Competes is a non-partisan coalition of businesses committed to achieving nondiscrimination policies at the community and state levels in order to attract the best talent, to increase business-to-business & business-to-consumer relationships, and to grow Nebraska’s economy. The coalition ranges from local independent bookstores, to healthcare nonprofits, to local chapters of national organizations. Nebraska Competes 78 members are growing, thriving, and supporting their communities. We look forward to the future of this growing coalition and the great work they will continue to do for Nebraska. Welcome to our new members who joined July 2021-June 2022!

Medicap Pharmacy, Kearney

Boys Town, Boys Town

Pacha Soap, Hastings

Lincoln Commission on Human Rights, Lincoln

Koenig|Dunne, PC, LLO, Omaha

Mary Kay Hansen Law & Mediation, Lincoln

A Novel Idea Bookstore, Lincoln

BLIXT, Lincoln

Family Health Services, Inc., Tecumseh

Solstice & The Veil, La Vista

Tamayta, Lincoln

Open Harvest Co-op Grocery, Lincoln

Lincoln Community Foundation, Lincoln

Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, Lincoln

History Nebraska (Nebraska History Museum), Lincoln

Madonna’s Wedding Belle, Norfolk

Ricardo’s Mexican Restaurant, Norfolk

Elevate Omaha, Omaha

Immigrant Legal Center, Omaha

Ten Thousand Villages Lincoln, Lincoln

Francie & Finch Bookshop, Lincoln

Volunteers of America Western Nebraska, Lewellen

Launch Leadership, Lincoln

The HUB Central Access Point for Young Adults, Lincoln

Back Alley Bakery, Hastings

Virginia Uribe Memorial Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights – The past couple years have been tough for Nebraska’s young people, particularly those who are LGBTQ+ and trans. So, in the last year, OutNebraska put a spotlight on youth-centered work. From continuing Drag Queen Story Hour Nebraska to fiercely advocating for inclusive and complete health education standards, OutNebraska works to make Nebraska a place where young people want to grow up.

Through this work, OutNebraska was recognized with the Virginia Uribe Memorial Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights from the National Education Association. A huge thank you to our Nebraska nominators. Check out this video recognizing our advocacy work for young people. 

Celebrate

Pride Season – What a year for Pride in Nebraska! Several communities had first-time Pride events, and others continued their yearly tradition of having a Pride celebration. OutNebraska sponsored and participated in Pride in Alliance, Scottsbluff, Hastings, Aurora, Lincoln, Omaha, and Sioux City this summer. We had 30 volunteers join us at Pride events across the state! We also attended Disability Pride in Lincoln during July 2021. It’s because of you, our volunteers, that we can make it to so many events. Thanks for helping us celebrate Pride – we’ll be celebrating alongside you at Grand Island Pride and Norfolk Pride coming up in September 2022.

11th Annual Prairie Pride Film Festival – The 11th Annual Prairie Pride Film Festival took place virtually from July 15-18, 2021. For the first time, we opened up submissions for this festival to the public. We received over 400 submissions and selected 46 LGBTQ+ films, including many films from local Nebraska filmmakers. We had people from all over the state join this virtual film festival and share their thoughts about the films on Facebook. It was an event that brought many in our community together, and one that we look forward to celebrating for years to come. 

Undersea Soirée at The Bay – This year, we hosted a queer prom at The Bay for the first time! We had nearly 70 people dancing, singing, and celebrating our collective queerness. 

With a theme of Under the Sea, folks enjoyed an evening of drinks, snacks, and music presented by DJ Lady Ice under a sea of streamers reminiscent of the ocean and surrounded by sea creatures and sea crystals. The outfits were stunning, as is the case at any queer prom, and attendees could move from the dance floor, to the photo booth, to astrology readings, to getting information about the Equality Act from Aryn and information about STI/HIV testing from Nebraska Aids Project. 

 

Though this was a community celebration event and not explicitly a fundraiser, we raised a small amount to support our mission and brought in donations to The Bay’s Skate for Change initiative. All in all, it was a fun-filled celebration of our community. Huge shout out to our event committee, Kam, Kandra, and Lindsey (all OutNebraska Board members) who worked tirelessly to pull this event together.

Educate

Community Education – Abbi and Aryn each spent many hours this year giving presentations to various community groups including businesses, nonprofits, and youth-serving organizations. Through presentations at 44 organizations, OutNebraska provided vital information about creating affirming space for the LGBTQ+ community to more than 1,300 people.

Queer Table Talk – Queer Table Talk is offered in partnership with Inclusive Communities. Queer Table Talk centers discussion that seek to build greater understanding for issues and experiences in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. During 2021-2022, our organizations presented three talks on mental health, health disparities and healthcare, and growing up queer in Nebraska which reached nearly 150 people. 

These talks are available on Inclusive Communities’ YouTube Channel. Each of these sessions is packed with good information, resources, and knowledge of the queer community in Nebraska. You can view them below.

Confronting Racism in the Queer Community

Health Disparities and Healthcare in the Queer Community

Youth Voices: Growing Up Queer in Nebraska

Intern Foundry Program – In Spring 2022, OutNebraska along with several other organizations at the Foundry participated in the pilot Intern Foundry Program in partnership with the Honors Program at UNL. OutNebraska hosted two e hainterns – a Legislative Intern and a Social Media/Communications Intern.

Our Legislative Intern, Zuha, worked with Aryn on educating the community about the Unicameral process, Legislative bills, and Speak OutNebraska events which updated the community on our Legislative efforts. Our Social Media/Comms Intern, Anne, created our social media posts and launched our Chosen Family Campaign which highlighted independent bookstores across Nebraska along with their recommendations for LGBTQ+ books.

These were paid internships through the joint partnership between the Foundry and UNL Honors Program. We look forward to hosting more interns in the coming semesters!

THANK YOU – yes, YOU! You’re reading this impact report because you in some way supported the work of OutNebraska in our state and advocated, celebrated, and educated for our collective LGBTQ+ community. Your support made all of these great things happen this year – and more. We have big plans for this next year, from adding another team member to coming in fast and ready for the 2023 Legislative Session. We couldn’t be able to do any of this without the support of you, our partners, and our community. Together, we can continue to make Nebraska a better place for us all to live, work and thrive.

Financial reports

We had a tremendous year of fundraising! Of the funds we raised during 2021-2022, $45,000 was earmarked for a project and $35,000 was earmarked for hiring a new position in fiscal year 2022-2023. At the start of 2022-2023 fiscal year, both of these efforts are fully underway thanks to the generosity of you and our foundation partners.