NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Sean Reardon and Newburyport Youth Services are excited to announce the final location for the NAGLY North LGTBQ+-friendly “Over the Rainbow” teen dance on Friday, May 13.
The dance, featuring Ms. Diamond Wigfall, a drag queen DJ, will be hosted at the original location, the Masonic Center at 31 Green St.
On Thursday, May 5, the City received the following statement from the Masonic Temple Association, Board of Directors, and Board of Trustees representing St. John’s Lodge and St. Mark’s Lodge:
“In the interest of replacing speculation with fact, the following information is provided on behalf of the Masonic Temple Association. The event hall on Green Street was booked by Newburyport Youth Services (NYS) for a May 13 dance intended to be a positive social opportunity for the high school LGBTQ+ community. A week ago, the event details became the subject of online and partisan discussion that politicized the NYS activity, leading to withdrawal of permission to hold it at the Masonic Hall.
“The decision to withdraw permission was issued by a high-ranking official at the Grand Lodge in Boston, without local input from St. John’s Lodge, St. Mark’s Lodge, or the Masonic Temple Association. Since then, we have reviewed the event planned for our hall, seeking clarity from NYS, the Mayor’s Office and the North Shore Alliance for GLBTQ+ Youth. Last night, an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees of the Masonic Temple Association was held with representatives of St. John’s and St. Mark’s Lodges. The result was a unanimous vote to reinstate permission to hold the May 13 Youth Services dance at the Masonic Center and to waive all fees for use of the building. In addition, our members are volunteering their services to help ensure the event’s success.
“Freemasons have been active in Newburyport for the past 256 years. We want the students to know they are loved and supported, and we are looking forward to joining the Greater Newburyport Community on May 13 to help foster a positive, inclusive environment for our youth.”
The dance is open to students in grades 9-12, and will promote unity and acceptance for all in the Newburyport community. The dance is free, due to significant fundraising support. No tax dollars are being used.
“This experience has brought out so much love and support,” said Tarah McGregor, NAGLY Coordinator for Newburyport Youth Services. “We want to thank businesses and organizations for their quick response and offers of support. This has meant a great deal to the young people organizing this event.”
Those interested in donating decorations, food, and may contact McGregor at Tmcgregor@cityofnewburyport.com.
The Women in Action Huddle Group is organizing a welcoming wall to show support at the dance. Email email@example.com for information.
Those interested in learning more about Newburyport Youth Services are invited to join Friends of Newburyport Youth Services. Learn more at friendsofnys.org.
“We are committed to being a city that is welcoming to all, and to creating supportive programming, safe spaces, and positive experiences for all young people,” Mayor Reardon said. “Thank you to all who stepped forward to help, and a special thank you to St. John’s Lodge and St. Mark’s Lodge and their membership for their support of this event.”