Punk Out is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to:
1. Connecting and supporting LGBT+ musicians and fans,
2. Fostering a more inclusive music community for all, regardless of self-identified sexual and/or gender identity,
3. Encouraging closeted musicians and fans to come out, when practical and safe, and to providing the resources and support necessary to do so,
4. Leveraging the influence and power of the alternative music scene to raise awareness of, and put an end to, LGBT+ youth homelessness.
We believe that musicians harbor the power to impact large-scale social change. Our vision is to leverage that power to create a support network for teenagers and adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, and/or panssexual. Musicians are often cast as idols and role models and if they feel comfortable and confident in being who they are, that comfort and confidence can be life-changing, life-affirming, and life-saving for LGBT+ teenagers and adults who are struggling to find themselves.
In the United States, LGBT+ youth are twice as likely to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked, or shoved at school, and are more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide than our heterosexual peers. LGBT+ youth homelessness has exploded in recent years. Some studies suggest that roughly 40% of all homeless youth identify somewhere under the queer umbrella, despite LGBT+ people accounting for 8-10% of the general population. All too often, silence seems the only possible mode of survival. This is not a queer issue; this is a societal issue.
We believe music can impact large-scale social change. But to create that change, musicians need to feel comfortable to declare their gender and/or sexual identity. Our vision is to have a musical community that encourages individuals to be who they are without feeling distress or fear. We encourage closeted musicians to come out and to be visible, but only when it is practical and safe to do so. Although there are amazing organizations that aid alternative musicians and their fans, there has not yet been a focused effort to directly address the needs of musicians and fans who identify as LGBT+. Punk Out is here to make that effort, to be louder than those who throw negative messages at 92% of LGBT+ teens and young adults.
However, just like many LGBT+ youth and adults, many musicians lack the support network needed to endure the “coming-out” process themselves. In the United States, 4 in 10 LGBT+ youth say the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBT+ people. We believe access to LGBT+ resources is important, but building relationships with fellow individuals who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or queer, along with our straight allies, is even more vital. We want LGBT+ musicians and fans to make noise. We encourage those who are silent to use their voices and to feel comfortable screaming and singing about what is at their core. We aim to provide networking opportunities and resources to those who have no support network available to them. Punk Out serves as the map to support and resources. We want to be the hand that helps.
We want to create a movement of acceptance in the alternative music scene. We work to start conversations, make LGBT+ community members and their issues more visible, remove the taboo within the alternative music community, and increase overall acceptance of everyone. We want to make a positive difference in the lives of gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or queer youths and adults, and our straight allies, through the music that drives us. We are Punk Out.
- Michael McCarron
Punk Out Founder and Creative Director