The Rainbow Youth Alliance (RYA) is a support network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersex, queer, and questioning teens and their allies—known to us as rainbow teens. RYA is a safe place where you can:
Learn and ask questions
Speak your mind—and have others listen
Find mutual respect and support
What’s a meeting like?
RYA teens meet with at least two adult facilitators in a safe, relaxed, and respectful atmosphere.
Each meeting starts with a quick check-in, and then we launch into a discussion, presentation, or even a movie. Topics include everything from sexual health to coming out to drinking and drugs.
We also have fun social times, like an annual barbeque picnic, Halloween costume party, December holiday party, and a Valentine's dance with a DJ.
Who can attend?
All teens, ages 14 to 18, are welcome regardless of gender orientation or religious affiliation. You can come by yourself, or you can bring a friend. The only requirement is that you bring an open heart and mind.
What about my parents?
You don’t need your parent’s permission to attend RYA. If you’d like, your parents are welcome to drop in before the meeting to meet the facilitators, see the room, and ask questions. Parents are not permitted to attend the meetings.
Who runs RYA?
Our RYA Program Coordinator is Timothy Elliott. He’s a licensed independent clinical social worker who specializes in sexual identity and youth issues, and he’s strived to develop safe, affirming spaces for LGBTQ youth and their allies throughout his career. He is also an avid juggler!
Is this a church thing?
Nope. Although the program is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, there is no religious component to RYA.
I went to the Rainbow Youth Alliance (RYA) for about three years while in high school.
I decided to do some sort of volunteering this summer, and you were my first thought -- even today, I feel I owe you a lot.
I would not be the person I am had I not found RYA."