About Billings Rainbow Coffeehouse

The mission of the Rainbow Coffee House is to build resilience in LGBTQ+ youth through healthy peer relationships, empowerment, leadership development, education, community outreach, and advocacy.

We meet every Thursday during the calendar school year at Grace United Methodist Church from 5:30pm-7:30pm. High-school aged youth are invited.

FAQs

When is the Coffeehouse launching?
Officially we launched in January 2016 but we had a few trial gatherings in early December 2015.

Where and when does Rainbow Coffee House happen?
Rainbow Coffeehouse meets every Thursday (when school district 2 is in session) in the lobby of Grace United Methodist Church, located at 1935 Avenue B, Billings, MT 59102. The coffeehouse meeting hours are 5:30-7:30pm.

What is the Rainbow Coffeehouse?
The Rainbow Coffeehouse is a weekly drop-in group for youth who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, or are questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation as well as supportive youth allies. We hangout, drink coffee (or tea), eat snacks, and connect with community and resources.

On occasions we may have interactive discussions, peer-to-peer mentoring, leadership development, guest speakers, and community engagement.  The coffeehouse is a confidential and safe space to ask questions, find mutual support, and access positive role modeling.

Why do we need the Rainbow Coffeehouse?
Teen years are tough for most youth, and being bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, or questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity poses additional challenges. GLSEN's 2012 report on Rural LGBTQ youth found:

1/3 miss school because they don't feel safe
97% hear "that's so gay" at their school
9 out of 10 have been physically or verbally threatened at school.
Many LGBTQ youth are often overlooked when it comes to leadership opportunities.

While these issues are addressed in some area high school Gay Straight Alliances (GSA), some schools don't have an LGBTQ students group and some students cannot attend for a variety of reasons. This is a chance for the broader Billings youth LGBTQIA community to gather.

Who can attend?
The Rainbow Coffeehouse is for high-school aged 13-18 year-old youth in Billings and the surrounding areas.

This is at a Church. Do I have to be a Christian or will I be evangelized?
Absolutely not. This gathering is for everyone and we have a strict policy against proselytizing (persuading people to join a religion). Some of our partner organizations and volunteers are faith related but they join in our purpose statement and must abide by our policies.

Who is in charge?
The Rainbow Coffee House is guided by a Leadership Team composed of representatives from a number of area organizations and individual volunteers. For legal and insurance purposes, the Rainbow Coffee house is a program of Grace United Methodist Church of Billings.

Will adults be on hand?
Yes, four approved adults who are at least 23 years old will be present at all times (including two leadership team members). All of our volunteers have completed state background checks and have had training on in a multitude of areas. They have all demonstrated a commitment to empowering youth and providing positive role modeling to LGBTQ+ youth.

Will the Rainbow Coffeehouse offer counseling or referral services?
No. The coffeehouse does not provide counseling or psychiatric services.  However, adult volunteers are more than happy to help a young person and/or their family in finding additional services in Billings area specific to their needs.

What are the youth going to do at the meetings?
Youth meet each week to gather, drink coffee, eat snacks, and connect with community. Please see our tab on "What to Expect."

Will they ask me about my sexual identity?
No, you will not be asked about your sexual identity, orientation or gender expression. You may be asked what gender pronouns that you prefer us to use when addressing you (he/him, she/her, they/them etc.). It's really not appropriate to ask a person their sexual orientation, but many students freely express this. It should be up to the individual to decide how "out" they want to be.

Are parents allowed to come?
In an effort to maintain a safe environment for all youth, all adults attending Rainbow Coffee House must be trained and background checked. Parents are certainly welcome to stick their head in, but will be invited to hangout in our parent room during the actual coffeehouse hours. Our volunteers and leadership team will gladly address any questions or concerns that you may have.

What do youth say about the Rainbow Coffee House?
"Great food and atmosphere.”
“People are fantastic and unbelievably kind."
“Bonus- air conditioning, great food, and wonderful music and people.”
“I love Rainbow Coffee House because I feel like I don’t have to think about the negative things happening and just let loose and just have fund and be myself.”
“I love getting to take a break and just chill.” “I love Rainbow Coffee House because I finally have friends who care and are my age.”
"It’s nice to make friends I can relate to and when I’m having a down week, I always have fun. LONG LIVE RCH!”
“Rainbow Coffee House gives me somewhere I can really be myself without feeling an ounce of shame."
“It is a safe environment that I don’t feel judged at. I greatly appreciate it.”

I have other questions. Who can I ask?
Send any additional question to our Leadership Team at rainbowcoffeehouse@gmail.com

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