by Adelie Salagnac
Any teenager or young adult would agree that music is not just a bunch of lyrics and notes tied together to form a somewhat coherent mess of three minutes. Music is more than that. Music is an escape, a way to run away from responsibilities, to mute the world, even for a moment. It is putting into words how you feel, singing at the top of your lungs in a sweaty and hot venue, and coming back home with a smile on your face, your ears still ringing. It is driving around, windows down, and volume up. It is the soundtrack to your life, through the good and the bad. It is bonding with artists and fans, finding a helpful hand, creating something and being a part of a community, a wonderful community that can quickly become a second family.
Like me, and many music-lover teens, Michael McCarron has always believed the punk/indie music scene is very powerful and can impact lives in many ways. Which is why, one day in spring ’14, he decided to found Punk Out, a now nationally recognized non-profit organization located in Philly, which focus is to cultivate a more LGBT+ safe environment in the scene, and to raise awareness. By supporting, encouraging and connecting LGBT+ musicians and fans, Punk Out is hoping to provide comfort and help kids struggling to find themselves. Indeed, according to the Human Right Campaign’s survey, 42% of the LGBT youth say, “the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBT people” – and Punk Out will be fighting to give Philly’s youth the accepting community they deserve.
Punk Out has hosted various events, including fundraisers, benefiting the Attic Youth Center, the only resource center in Philly completely dedicated to LGBT+ teens and young adults. The Attic Youth Center has been trying to build a community in Philadelphia and reduce isolation, as well as to combat homophobia and raise awareness, since its foundation in 1993.
This Thursday, December 17th, Punk Out will work with the bands Senses Fail, Silverstein, Boysetsfire and Hundredth, to demonstrate, once again, that the community can achieve beautiful things. Before Senses Fail and Silverstein hit the stage of the Electric Factory as part of their co-headlining tour, and Punk Out will be sponsoring a food drive, which profits will benefit the Attic Youth Center. If you are coming out, go support Punk Out, the Attic Youth Center, and the LGBT+ community, by bringing one non-perishable food item. By doing so, you will even be entered into a raffle for a chance to win an exclusive shirt signed by the member of both Senses Fail and Silverstein.
Keep an eye out on Punk Out’s upcoming events, as founder and director McCarron said that 2016 would be focused on developing their footprint in Philadelphia and on expanding their reach. Punk Out is planning on hosting food drives every month, which benefits will go to local LGBT+ shelters. When talking about next year’s plan, McCarron also said, “[they] are also going to continue to develop [their] ‘Punk Out Talks’ series through interactive forums at music festivals, such as Vans Warped Tour, and local LGBT+ centers, schools, and universities.”