Options Magazine June 2022

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JUNE 2022



1 Rhode Island and Southern New England's LGBTQ Community Magazine Since 1982

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From the Editor HERE’S TO A LOVING FUTURE Dear Reader, Cheers to Options Magazine for 40 years of telling the stories of Rhode Island’s Queer and Trans communities. What started off in 1982 as a six-page news brief stapled together by the Rhode Island Lesbian and Gay Alliance is now one of the oldest and longest-running LGBTQ local media outlets in the country. Taking the reins of Options last October and getting out our first print edition in over a year – and it being one of the longest editions at 40 pages – has had its ups, downs, and near-complete panic attacks. Yet, through it all, getting to be a part of Options these last few months has been a joy. In these pages, from stories about the history of our movement in Rhode Island, the history of our Gay bars, the history of Options itself, to the stories of the giants of the LGBTQ movement, you will find the stories of where our community has been. In these pages, from the latest events to meeting the newest faces of Rhode Island community organizations, you will see where our community is today. In these pages, from meeting today’s rising stars, seeing how we must expand Pride to see ALL the colors, to confronting the coming dangers we face, you will find out where our community is going. As the editor of this magazine’s 40th anniversary Pride edition, I have tried to bring together our community’s past and our present, while providing a look toward our future. With the help of two former editors-in-chief, a dedicated board of directors and staff, a group of talented writers, a fun poet, a community willing to take my calls and speak on the record, and my loving supportive significant other, Gil Pontes, the culmination of past, present, and future has been made a reality in this edition. Thank you all. Together, we present Options Magazine’s 40th-anniversary edition. Too often, we only see a very narrow window of the LGBTQ experience. Yet, Options has worked to provide the full story of our experiences. Providence and Rhode Island have a rich Queer story to tell. It is a multi-racial story. It is a working-class story. It is a story filled with colorful characters, passionate activists, and troublemakers. Our story matters. As editor-in-chief, it is my pleasure to present Options Magazine’s 40th Anniversary Pride Edition. Cheers, Alex Morash



June 2022

options Rhode Island’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community news source since 1982. June 2022 Volume XL, Issue 1

Editor-in-Chief Alex Morash editor@optionsri.org Resources Editor Bradford Greer resources@optionsri.org Copy Editors Bradford Greer, Gil Pontes, Jen Stevens, Ryan Vigneau Graphic & Layout Design Harini Rajagopalan Social Media Coordinator Derek Sherlock Calendar Editor Derek Sherlock Advertising and Development Manager Gil Pontes advertising@optionsri.org Contributors Bradford Greer, Felicia Nimue Ackerman, Gil Pontes, Greg Wright, Jen Stevens, Kim Stowell, Kwana Adams, Mike Marrapodi Directors Bradford Greener, Daniel Byrnes, Jen Stevens, Dr. Mike Marrapodi, Ryan Vigneau Cover Collage by Alex Morash and Harini Rajagopalan

Contact Us info@optionsri.org PO Box 6406 Providence, RI 02940 401-217-3939 www.optionsri.org

IN THIS ISSUE: 4 6 6 10 12 17 18 20 24 25 26 27 28 32 32 33

From the Editor From the Board Thank You To Our Advertisers News Briefs The Rise of Neo-Homophobia Pride Calendar Options: A Mainly Accurate and Very Loving History A Very Disorienting Conversation with Graham Stokes Seeing All the Colors of Pride RIHousing Wants You To Know * The Long Queer History of Rhode Island’s Nightlife How Rhode Island is Making HIV & STI Testing As Easy as 1-2-3 * On the Shoulders of Giants: An Interview With Myra Shays What It Means To Be a Blue Cross & Blue Shield Safe Zone Provider * Felicitations Resources

* Sponsored Content



For our free online edition, visit optionsri.org; email subscriptions@optionsri.org; or write to: Options Magazine, PO Box 6406, Providence, RI 02940. © OPTIONS 2022 The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the volunteers or staff. Listings are provided as a resource and do not imply endorsement. Submissions to Options must include a phone number or email address. Names may be withheld on request.



From The Options Board of Directors Greetings Faithful Reader, When an organization reaches a significant milestone, it is appropriate to look back and remember the people who contributed to the birth and growth of that organization. It would be impossible, however, to “name the names” of those who have contributed to Options’ success without omitting someone, as many of the people who nurtured Options over the years were volunteers who sought no recognition and whose identities have been lost in the passage of time. What has not been lost is the debt of gratitude we owe these entrepreneurs and builders who laid a foundation 40 years ago, and then built on that foundation in the ensuing decades to bring Options to the place we are today. From that first edition, run off on a mimeograph machine and stapled together, to the black and white magazine format, to the introduction of color, to the four-color, glossy magazine you are reading now, Options has evolved into the publication of record for the LGBTQIA+ community in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Those of us who have followed in the footsteps of those early pioneers have tried to live up to Options’ mission “to provide advocacy and education for the LGBTQ+ community of New England by organizing inclusive events; publishing lifeaffirming resources; and promoting diversity, health, safety, and equality.” Options continues to be the media heart of our community, even as we have moved from an exclusive print presence to a digital format designed to reach a wider, younger, and more diverse audience. As stewards of the Options’ legacy and resources, we hope to live up to all that Options has been for our community, and promise to keep the flame burning until it is time for us to pass the torch to those who will take Options through the next 40 years. To those who have gone before, we say thank you. To those who continue to support Options today through contributions of time, talent, and treasure, we say thank you.To our readers, advertisers, and sponsors, we say thank you. May we continue together in the beauty of our diversity to be that voice of hope and inspiration to our community and beyond. Gratefully yours, Mike Dr. Michael E. Marrapodi, Chair Options Board of Directors



June 2022

A SPECIAL THANK YOU to our great advertisers. This special 40th Anniversary Edition wouldn’t have happened without you! Sponsors Rhode Island Department of Health Platinum Sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island Gold Sponsor Rhode Island Housing - Silver Sponsor Newport Out - Bronze Sponsor Thundermist Health Center - Bronze Sponsor Options Board of Directors and Staff Bronze Sponsor Options VIP Brett Smiley for Mayor of Providence Jackie Goldman for Providence City Council Neighborhood Health Care of Rhode Island Providence Performing Arts Center Rhode Island Queer PAC Options Hall of Fame Old Lesbians Organizing for Change of Rhode Island Peace of Mind Nannies Providence PFLAG The Chapel of St. Therese of Lisieux

Photo (from left to right): Gil Pontes, Advertising Manager; Dr. Mike Marrapodi, Board Chair; Bradford Greer, Board Member; Jen Stevens, Board Member; Daniel Byrnes, Board Member; and Derek Sherlock, Social Media Coordinator. Credit: Grayson Rose Blaire

Options Celebrates 40 Years of Service The board and staff of Options is grateful for the support of Options and its mission by the LGBTQIA+ community for these past 40 years. It’s great to have Options! optionsri.org


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Thank You, Donors! Options VIP

Patty Hayes Options Donor Hall of Fame Guy Abelson Felicia Nimue Ackerman David Bouchard & Emile Belisle Lizabeth Bourret Eric Bronner Paula Carmichael Louise Chapman ICON Corporation

Debbie DeCarlo David Desanto Ara Dostourian Edward Emmott William Eyman Susan M. Gale Peter Giroux Bradford Greer Laurel Hanesian Lise Iwon

Amanda Johnston Philip Kane Kathy Kushnir Raffaello La Mantia Andrew Lewandowski Joanne MacDonald Christopher J. Maxwell Inez M. Mello

Kathy Moore Living Trust Marjorie Moskol Nostalgia Antiques Sean Peter O’Connor Stephen Perreault Federico Santi & John Gacher James Silverthorn

Don Smith & Andrew Winters Linda Snelling Anne Fausto Sterling & Paula A. Vogel Susan Taylor Bruce Thompson Christine Thompson

Maria Tocco Deborah Valletta Ernest Vetelino Caitlin Walsh Ed Webb

A. Nunez & A. Bentley Nitsa Amanda Oz Steven Pennell Deborah PerryTacovelli Dana Peterson Jeff Prystowsky Peter T. Quesnel Ann-Marie Reddy Clifford M. Renshaw Architects Carol Rhodes Claudette Rinfret Rhonda Rivera Cynthia Rosengard Richard Rousseau Deborah Ruggiero Joseph Salvatore Mari SanGiovanni

Lionel Savaria Myra Shays Linda Skibski Arthur Snow Jennifer L. Stevens Frank Susa Susan Taylor Neila & Betty Teixeira J. T. Terrao Arthur Valley William Varden Ernest Vetelino William Paul Zelazny

Options Donors John Ahearn Michael Alper Donnie Anderson Carole Angolano Art Work by Mari Dorcas A. Baker Trauti Benjamin John Blakeslee Stephen D. Bodwell Suzanne S. Borstein, Ph.D. Crystal C. Bradshaw Shannon Brennan Jeannie Burkhard SOHO Business Enterprises, LLC Cheryl Chianese Beneficent Congregational Church

Cheryl Cimini Roberta J. Cunha Thom Cunningham Clifford Cyr Elda Dawber James L. Dawson Rosa De Olivera Sarah DeCataldo Jesus A. Diaz Paula Donovan Cheryl Duarte Linda Dugas Michael B. Dupre Ted Emmott Susan Falcone John Fazzino Stephen Ferris Kevin Fletcher Mary Forgue Peter M. Fournier

Living Trust Kenneth Freestone Suzana Gertrudes Catherine Gorman Wayne Goulart Mark O. Hamel Annette Hassel Corinne Hill Barbara Humma & Loretta Petrarca Cheryl A. Kiras & Deborah Marshall Alexia M. Kosmider William Lacivita Charlene Lataille Paul Lavin George Lewis

David Lima Kathy Lynch Henri Mackor Laura C. Mandanas Selena Maranjian Ronald Marsh Jack McCullough Thomas McDonnell & David Dihullo Mary Alice McGee Astrid Meijer Al Menard Judith Mendelsohn Colleen Vincent Micheletti Beth Milham Scott Mirani & Tim Engels Carolyn Mongeon Donna Morin



NEWS BRIEFS Curated by Gil Pontes

Survey: 1 in 8 LGBTQ+ Americans Discriminated Against by Health Insurers

Greater Providence Chapter Parents, Allies & Members of the LGBTQ+ Community

In a recent survey from Happy Pride Fest! HealthCare.com, it was discovered that one in eight LGBTQ+ Americans are Giving Caring, Confifiddential Support When You Need It Most facing discrimination by health HELPLINE: (401) 307-1802 insurers. In the same survey, it Pride Update: Monthly support meetings held on the 1st was shown, based on a sample Wednesday of the month via Zoom. Free PrideFest is Back registration required on our website below. size of 520 LGBTQ+ Americans, Once registered, the Zoom login will be that one in three believe that sent by noon on day of the meeting. Rhode Island Pride has announced health coverage for Queer and www.PFLAGprovidence.org Email: PFLAGprovidence@gmail.com that the return of PrideFest and the Trans people is improving, 6 in Illuminated Night Parade will take 10 are unsure if their health place June 18.After a pandemic-caused insurance plan covers gender pause, Rhode Island Pride is back to reaffirming medications, gender Queer Achievers bring its traditional programming, reaffirming procedures, PrEP, or such as vendor exhibition area, fertility treatments, and three Both on the national and state community resource hub, mainstage in ten carry more than $1,000 level, a new generation of Queer entertainment, and so much more. solely in medical debts. leadership is rising through the ranks. Rhode Island Pride President Rodney Davis said in a statement, “All of us are looking forward to gathering together in celebration of our diverse communities. That being said, many things have undergone change over The Chapel of St. Therese of Lisieux the last two years. Pride has to be 1500 Main Street, West Warwick, RI 02893 mindful and deliberate as we organize We provide same-sex wedding services in the Catholic tradition in and plan for this year’s event. It’s our historic church or at other venues of your choice. going to be a lot of work and a lot of reconnecting. There is not an ‘add All Are Welcome! water, instant solution’ in producing these events. However, we are stocc1500@gmail.com www.saintthereseocc.org (401) 680-9076 determined to work hard to create them with your help.”

We want to marry you!

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event with live music at Newport Craft Brewery and Distillery.

Little Compton Shows Its True Color

Here in Rhode Island, Anthony Faccenda has become the new Director at AIDS Project Rhode Island. Rush Frazier is the new Executive Director of Youth Pride RI. Rodney Davis is now President of Rhode Island Pride. Jen Stevens and Bradford Greer have joined the board of Options. Ken Barber has been named Executive Director of RI Queer PAC, along with CJ Miller as Communications Director and Ashley Cabrita as Volunteer Director. Stephen Hogan, Jr. became the Director of Development, Marketing and Communications for Aids Care Ocean State. On the national stage, Karine JeanPierre has been named White House Press Secretary, making her the first Queer BIPOC to hold that position. Ariana DeBose became the first Queer BIPOC to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for her performance in West Side Story.

AIDS Run/Walk for Life Scheduled for June 25th “It Takes a Team of Heroes to get

On May 19, the Town Council of Little Compton voted 3 to 2 2 and reversed its prior approval to raise the Pride flag over town hall on June 1. RI Queer Political Action Committee stated “The three conservative members of the to Zero” is the theme of this year’s Little Compton Town Council have AIDS Run/Walk for Life. Participants exposed their bigotry and hate. are encouraged to dress as their They have used antiquated concepts favorite superhero, or to make up of community and their own their own. Participate in support of personal bias in a failed attempt to the more than 2,700 people living silence the Queer Community of with HIV/AIDS in Rhode Island. Little Compton. But the LGBTQ+ Anthony Faccenda, Director of community is strong, loud, and we APRI urges people to join together, are many. We refuse to sit idly by runners and walkers, to be part while political leaders abuse and of a “heroic team pushing for an misuse the power of their office to end to AIDS and bringing new HIV suppress our voice and erase our infections down to zero in Rhode PRIDE.” RI Queer PAC and Little Island.” Registration opens at 8 am, Compton residents will still go and the activities begin at 9 am on on with Little Compton Pride on June 25th at Pierce Memorial Field June 4 at the Little Compton Town Commons starting at 1 pm. in East Providence.

Newport Out Hosts Newport Pride June 24-26 Newly formed nonprofit Newport Out hosts Newport Pride weekend June 24-26. Newport Pride begins with a social event at The Newport Harbor Hotel on the 24th. Saturday brings Pride on Bikes beginning at noon, the Pride Market and Festival between 11am and 4pm, and the Nighttime Revelry with NPT HAUS at Parlor between 9pm and 1am. Sunday brings a family-friendly closing optionsri.org




nti-LGBTQ hate groups have been planning a comeback for years –– they succeeded. From their new “groomer” language, COVID conspiracies, to death threats, they are back in full force across the country and here in Rhode Island. Jeffrey Marsh makes TikTok videos about Queer and Trans love and acceptance for young people. Their videos are kind and sweet, yet scrolling one morning, this writer came upon a video where Marsh discussed the reactions to their work. In one reaction video, a woman quietly watches Marsh while she loads a gun. Her video’s caption read “no mercy for child groomers and pedos.” The hate and death threats Marsh has faced are not new for LGBTQ people, but what is new is how sophisticated targeting Queer and Trans people has become. One of the newest and loudest bullhorns of the far-right is a Twitter account called Libs of TikTok. This account specializes in reposting videos and social media made by Queer and Trans people – especially out teachers – and claiming the content creators are grooming and molesting children. It is common for these creators to be doxxed, get death threats, and some have even

been fired from their teaching jobs. Libs of TikTok is part of a rightwing pipeline to target Queer and Trans people. The account picks victims as a signal to their base

peoples in education –– the first time a Don’t Say Gay bill was signed into law in the United States in over 20 years. Alabama quickly followed in passing similar legislation. There are now similar bills in at least 20 states, including Rhode Island, along with bills to curb the rights of transgender students. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s spokesperson claimed opponents of Don’t Say Gay bills are “groomers” or the supporters of “groomers.” Claims of the sexualization of school curriculum has become a common antiLGBTQ dogwhistle. Yet, the term groomer is a recent phenomenon and its use comes after the conspiracy movement Q-Anon gained popularity with claims that 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton led a child molestation ring out of the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor, also known as PizzaGate. The conspiracy galvanized extremists, leading to a gunman invading the establishment. This writer spoke to the waitstaff of the pizza parlor in question in December of 2016. The staff explained how the conspiracy theorists used pictures of the staff’s young children they found on social media and distributed them claiming

“The hate and death threats Marsh has faced are not new for LGBTQ people, but what is new is how sophisticated targeting Queer and Trans people has become.”

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to attack assigned targets. What happened to Marsh is an example of this. Libs of TikTok targeted Marsh multiple times. After Libs of TikTok targeted Marsh, Tucker Carlson went after Marsh on Fox News. Marsh responded to everything faced by them with a simple request: “Please humanize us.” This spring, Florida passed legislation to ban discussion of LGBTQ

the children were enslaved. Q-Anon conspiracy theorists are also involved in anti-vaccine and anti-mask harassment. Since openly bisexual Rhode Island Senator Sam Bell and his wife welcomed a son this spring, they’ve had to take extra COVID precautions because he was born with lung issues and has been on oxygen. Bell told Options that any respiratory illness could be life-threatening to their infant. This has led to anti-vaxxers and Q-Anon extremists harassing him, with almost all of their calls and texts including homophobic slurs. Bell explained that both he and his wife are bisexual, and while “there was a time when bisexuals faced all sorts of biphobia,” over time that had subsided until recently. “That has changed in the last year or so.” It has been concerning to me to see the rise of homophobia coming back, and that scares the sh-t out of us. What we get is pretty disgusting, but other members get it much worse. We are a straight-presenting white cis couple, and my colleague Senator Tiara Mack gets way worse hate messages.” A leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would end the constitutional protection of privacy for abortion rights does so in a way that would almost certainly lead to the invalidation of marriage rights, and even allow states to once again criminalize same-sex relationships. Anti-LGBTQ crusaders are also actively working to get the courts to ban LGBTQ content on television, and a Virginia lawmaker is attempting to put a restraining order on Barnes & Noble to stop it from selling LGBTQ books to minors. In May, the Rhode Island town of Little Compton’s council voted to no longer raise the rainbow flag for Pride month.

HATE HID IN PLAIN SIGHT This writer has studied and researched anti-LGBTQ hate groups for the last six years, both as a researcher at Media Matters for America and while the media director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. While Q-Anon extremists and rightwing social media attacks on LGBTQ people appear to have sprouted on their own, they are the product of years of quiet work from wellfunded extremist groups that have been documented by researchers and writers at Right Wing Watch, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Media Matters. Anti-LGBTQ hate groups have been slowly regrouping for years and did so carefully to avoid a coordinated response by national advocacy groups for Queer and Trans communities.The Southern Poverty Law Center labels organizations that peddle falsehoods that equate LGBTQ people with child sexual abuse, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), as

anti-LGBTQ hate groups. Before the term groomer, ADF had long been involved in pushing the myth that LGBTQ people were molesting children. ADF, the Family Research Council, and other extremist anti-LGBTQ organizations have intentionally avoided attention so they could get to where we are today. A main source of their funding comes from the shadowy Christian Foundation –– they don’t need to court public attention to raise funds. These groups carefully pick their battles, finding fights that are hard to see coming, and claim they have nothing to do with LGBTQ rights. When they do occasionally decide to pick a public fight, they select talking points designed to make LGBTQ advocates uncomfortable with confronting them –– allowing these groups to spread their lies unchecked. The potential repeal of Roe v. Wade and its ramifications for LGBTQ people is the

“When anti-LGBTQ hate groups go unchallenged they are able to build their case and quietly attract more supporters.”



Image of masked figure by Ben Collins via Unsplash and edited by Options Magazine.

culmination of years of cases launched by ADF, as well as the right’s work in packing the courts. For many years ADF has used cases around minor issues such as wedding cakes to slowly move legal precedents on marriage rights and abortion. Opponents of ADF face an uphill battle because the hate group will claim it is discussing the particular details of a minor issue, such as how wedding cakes are a form of art, and it has nothing to do with LGBTQ rights. In reality, they are trying to use that, along with the culmination of many other minor cases, to say everyone has a right to discriminate against Queer and Trans people.

They also laid this foundation by taking roles in the Trump administration. This gave ADF access to the federal rule-making process, including an attempt to allow doctors to seek a moral exemption from treating LGBTQ patients, and the ability to make additional legal challenges representing the U.S. government. When anti-LGBTQ hate groups go unchallenged they are able to build their case and quietly attract more supporters. In 2018, when Massachusetts had a ballot initiative about transgender rights, the local ADF lawyer would debate LGBTQ advocates and frequently referenced a

case in which a transgender woman in Canada didn’t want a man to give her a bikini wax. LGBTQ rights advocates wouldn’t respond to the issue or defend the woman’s decision. ADF has used similar tactics when discussing transgender students across the country. Anti-LGBTQ hate groups hid in plain sight for years. Their hard work has paid off in what seems to be a new anti-LGBTQ hate movement. This neo-homophobia is well organized, well funded, and ready to end LGBTQ rights if left unchecked.

“Neo-homophobia is well organized, well funded, and ready to end LGBTQ rights if left unchecked.”

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Sunday, June 12:



Saturday, June 4:

Saturday, June 18:



Options Pride Launch Party - 7 pm to 9 pm Blaze Smith Hill in Providence.

Little Compton Pride - 1 pm to 4 pm - Town Commons

BLM RI PAC & RI Queer PAC Unity Parade - 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm - Federal Hill to the State House


RI PrideFest 12:00 pm - 7 pm - Innovation District Park Illuminated Night Parade - 12:00 pm to 9:00pm

Sunday, June 5:

Sunday, June 19:



Saturday, June 11:

Saturday, June 25:



Pride Goddess Show - 1 pm to 5 pm - Alchemy in Providence

Woonsocket Pride - 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm World War II Veterans Memorial State Park

Juneteenth Celebration - 12:00pm to 7:30pm Roger Williams Park to Temple to Music- PVD

Newport Pride - 11:00am to 4:00pm - Great Friends Meeting House

New Route for Illuminated Night Parade Instead of the parade starting on Dorrance Street, the Illuminated Night Parade will start at the intersection of Washington and Empire Streets. It will then go down Washington Street, and in front of City Hall, the parade will turn right onto Dorrance. The parade will then turn right onto Weybosset Street. The reviewing stand will still be at the Providence Performing Arts Center.





ptions was first printed in 1982 by the Rhode Island Lesbian and Gay Alliance, which was run, in part, by Kate Monteiro and Tina Wood. It was officially called Gay and Lesbian Options of Rhode Island (GLORI). It was organized as a nonprofit and was all of six pages, printed on a copy machine and stapled together, with hand-drawn images, mostly of men. Those original issues, and every issue since, are housed at the John Hay Library at Brown University. The first names associated specifically with the publishing of Options are Michael Guy, Sally Hay, and Jim Seavor. Michael worked at Trinity Repertory Company as a graphic designer, so it was easy enough for him to contribute to the production of the magazine. (He claims never to have wanted the job, having been signed up by his partner Padric Meager, although he stayed for 18 years of running the show as a volunteer.) Sally was a psychotherapist, working primarily with the Gay community, and Jim was the Image of an Options copy editors meeting.

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theatre critic for The Providence Journal. Jim stayed with Options as a writer and editor until he died in 2016, probably the longest volunteer stint of all. At that time, Options was a lone voice for a community that was disconnected and often afraid to be out as LGBTQ. There were no legal protections for them, no Ellen DeGeneres on TV, and certainly no marriage equality. In addition, AIDS was on the rampage, killing gay men and trans women with frightening disregard. Options was a lifeline. Over the years, Options became a multi-page publication with advertisers – mainly the bars, a hair salon, and a therapist or two, and a cafe called The Castro. The word “Newsmagazine” was added to its name. Articles were written by staffers at the non-profit organizations and other civic-minded LGBTQ Rhode Islanders. With minimal advertising dollars, the publication was run on a shoestring, and all by volunteers. Legendary were the mailing nights, when volunteers came to the office to

help with inserting copies into plain, discrete brown envelopes to send to the growing number of subscribers. Still hundreds more were bundled for distribution, by those same volunteers, to bars, bookstores, coffee shops, and other establishments willing to give space to a bundle. Each December, an appeal letter was routinely inserted into the magazine, asking readers to send $20 to offset costs. This was a successful fundraiser for many years. As the years went on, the Pride March became a parade and spawned a festival with booths representing mainly LGBTQ nonprofit organizations, a few churches, and a booth selling everything rainbow. There were no food tents, certainly no beer tent, and the music was provided by local musicians setting up on the grass. Once the PrideFest took hold, Options made the decision to skip publishing a July issue, so that the volunteers could be part of the festivities. Mailing night often fell on or about the festival weekend, and writers were

often busy with setting up booths. They skipped the January issue for a similar reason: production competed with the Christmas season. Sometimes mailing night would fall on Christmas day. Options was gaining ground, though still a singular source for LGBTQ news. An advertising manager came on board. The mailing nights now required dozens of volunteers, who were fed pizza to keep them happy. A fellow with a pickup truck was given $50 each month to deliver the entire shebang to the post office. Also, the practice of taking a group photo on mailing night began, and it was then published in the next month’s issue. It was always a popular feature, although several volunteers still opted not to appear in the photos, as they were not out. Michael Guy announced his plans to leave in 2000. This was to be a big turning point, and it should be added that Michael continued to actively support the organization for many years. Around this time, a three-year capacity-building grant was received from the Rhode Island Foundation to hire Options’ first paid employee, and second person to ever hold a leadership role. That person was Hugh Minor, who took the reins at a critical time, as the publication was growing rapidly. The job proved to be too much for one person (with a fulltime job on the side), and Hugh had to leave after too short a time. A call was sent out (around 2004), summoning anyone who cared about Options to come to a community meeting to discuss its future. From that meeting, two committees were formed, one to organize a board of directors, and another whose focus was the production of the publication itself. Michael Guy was elected board chair, and the job of publishing Options was split between two people, with Kim Stowell acting as managing director, and Christopher

Options marching in the 1998 RI Pride Parade.

Cedroni doing the production. Together, they increased the size of the publication and added spot color as advertising revenue grew. Donations were plentiful as well, as the community recognized how central a role Options played. At its height, over 10,000 copies were being printed, which was too much for the mailing night volunteers to handle, and the magazine reluctantly turned over the distribution and mailing responsibilities to their printer.The party, however, was kept alive at distribution parties, where folks would show up to a bar - first at DeVille’s and later atThe Stable - and pick up bound bundles for distribution. There were still lean times however. At one point, the publication was saved by the actions of a dedicated volunteer, Steve Isherwood, a chef who promised to send a bag of his amazing cookies to anyone who gave fifty dollars. Another time, all the advertisers agreed to pay for but not run their ads - just appearing in a list. This way, the magazine could cut costs drastically by printing on substantially fewer pages, with no color. At some point, a volunteer entered Options in a raffle, and won them the grand prize, including a website redesign. It also included several meetings with a business consultant, who convinced the small staff to begin charging for subscriptions. This was a

terrible mistake, taking years to recover from. Subscriptions went back to being free, but the publication never reached the circulation of 10,000 copies again. Chris Cedroni left Options after three or four years, and Kim another few years later.The mantle was turned over to Jen Stevens, as editor, and Kyle McKendall, as publisher, in early 2014. The name was changed from Options Newsmagazine to simply Options Magazine, and the printing stock was changed to glossy paper. Fundraising was stepped up. There were monthly release parties. The publication began to hold “The Gay 5K,” and a few glamorous parties were held at bars and restaurants. Jen stepped aside and Marie Hopkins became editor in January 2017, but that was short lived, as the magazine was losing advertisers rapidly, and went on indefinite hiatus in the summer of 2017. It was revived 10 months later, with a new board led by TC Rogers, and Jen was back as editor-in-chief. As the COVID-19 pandemic set in, volunteers and advertisers were hard to come by. The “last planned regular print issue” of Options was released in February of 2021, and one copy of every issue held in its archive was donated to the Providence Public Library’s fledgling LGBTQ Archive. The small team, now led by current board chair Mike Marrapodi, focused on reconfiguring Options to be a webbased resource, still featuring stories about the local community, with a calendar of events, and a revitalized online Resources section. As Options looked ahead to it’s 40th anniversary, a new editor-in-chief, Alex Morash, came on board in October 2021 to lead Options in the new era. Kim Stowell is a former managing editor of Options and a long-time contributor and volunteer. She currently covers the Rhode Island beat for Boston Spirit Magazine. optionsri.org




ptions Magazine sits down with Rhode Island’s local Queer movie sensation Graham Stokes to talk about his many films, including his latest, Disorienting Dick, which has its world premiere at 7 pm on June 6 at the Route 1 Cinema Pub in Attleboro, MA. The first time this writer sat down and chatted with Graham Stokes, it was late at night in a booth by the window at Downcity, a Queer-owned and operated restaurant. The year was 2011. Stokes wore a shimmery, shortsleeve, white button-down shirt that was almost completely undone and skinny jeans that only a twentysomething can pull off, while I likely wore something even more tragic but just as twinkie. Stokes was working side gigs and dinner theater. I was either working a minimum wage job at the Providence Place Mall or, more likely, I was unemployed. Eleven years later, I sit down to another evening with Stokes in a booth by the window. This time at the new Queer-owned Res in downtown Providence. I now dress in hoodies and jeans but am better at holding a job, while Stokes wears a black shirt that has the majority of its buttons fastened. Instead of dinner shows, he is the star of the latest independent LGBTQ movie, Disorienting Dick,

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about a young man whose mother is a right-wing Cranston politician pushing him into conversion therapy. For the last five years, Stokes has played a part in every LGBTQ independent movie that has come out of Rhode Island. If you have seen a Queer movie recently, chances are you

“Stokes has always had a kind smile on his face and a wild look in his eyes.”

have seen Stokes’ face … along with many other parts of him. Stokes has always had a kind smile on his face and a wild look in his eyes. There is never a dull moment with him. So I can only imagine what he is going to tell me about his latest movie, Disorienting Dick. Is the plot about phallic hypnosis? Or aliens abducting men named Richard? Maybe Stokes will claim he is the secret leader of

the alphabet mafia? Yet, before I can dissect the likely disorienting plot of his current film, I want to know how he got into making independent films in Rhode Island with such Queer plots. Most of the movies he has been in come from Scorpio Film Movies and are written and directed by Richard Griffin, though Griffin’s latest film with Stokes is produced by A Reasonable Moving Picture Company. Griffin’s studio is made up almost completely of Rhode Islanders, many of whom are working-class members of Queer and Trans communities who just love making films for LGBTQ people filled with important messages about the world today, with frequent amounts of fullfrontal male nudity. The first film Stokes appeared in was the 2017 flick, Strapped for Danger, a movie that starts off with a group of gay gogo dancers robbing customers inside The Dark Lady who evade the police by hiding out at an allegedly straight frat house doing some very queer things to their pledges. It is fun, gay, and certainly not for children.While it isn’t for everyone, Strapped for Danger offered a refreshing take on LGBTQ films for its uniquely Providence Queer working-class vibe that is very much the opposite of the perfect upper-middle-class image portrayed



by so many West Hollywood-centered LGBTQ movies. “It was sorta a fluke,” Stokes explained about how it all started. Stokes got a message at 11:30 at night while working the overnight shift at a call center. The casting director for Strapped for Danger explained it was an emergency casting call for the next morning. Stokes was up for it. He explained that she was thrilled and then asked him if he was ok with nudity? “And I said ‘sure if you’re ok with me looking like a zombie?’” Stokes clocked out from the night shift at 8 am and was on set by 9 am. “Just enough time to grab a 5-hour energy shot,” Stokes explained. The first scene they shot had Stokes naked on the floor with three other guys. They thought he did such a great job they wrote in a special scene just for him where an undressed Stokes is a pledge that licks the boots of an

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equally undressed fraternity brother who is pontificating on the sexual allure of the right-wing philosopher Ayn Rand. Stokes showed a knack for embracing the weird and the very Queer. This got him a role in the studio’s 2018 film Code Name: Dynastud, about a right-wing government outlawing homosexuality in 2024 (which feels way too on-point given recent developments in the United States). He also had a bigger part in Strapped for Danger 2, where he played a caricature of a French cinematographer. He also was in the company’s horror movie, Before the Night is Over. That film got Stokes’ genitalia onto the celebrity Reddit forums, though apparently, they attributed his Gingling Johnny to the wrong man. By 2019, the film studio was ready to put Stokes in a starring role in a full-

length film titled Disorienting Dick, yet before filming could begin, the movie was put on hold at the start of the pandemic. This led to Stokes starring in the short film Gay as the Sun, a movie about body acceptance. It was written specifically to be a COVIDsafe filming. It was shot completely outside at the Dyer Woods Nudist Campgrounds in Foster, RI with no crew “and no wardrobe,” as Stokes enjoyed pointing out. Stokes explained, “It was a labor of love for the art. We made it for us.” Now, three years after they started this project, they are finally able to share their work with the world. I am interested in learning about this new film. So before I see a preview screening, I ask Stokes what I should know. With a smirk, he replied “There is a great deal of nudity. There is definitely smut in it — but it’s not porn.”



fter my chat with Stokes, I have homosexual tendencies and is was sent a copy to preview shipped off to a clinic for conversion the film. Before I turned it on, therapy run by Hyde Hippocampus I knew to expect a weird independent (Terry Shea) with the help of Nurse movie, but I didn’t expect it to be such DeFarge (Amy Webster Thompson). an enjoyable viewing that holds an Shea and Thompson are zany, fun, eerie mirror up to Rhode Island and and occasionally horrifying in their America. performances. Disorienting Dick starts off with Many films at this point in the a series of broad stroke imagery to story slow down and become dull, but set the tone. The first is a 1950s-style Disorienting Dick did not suffer this fate. education reel with a naked Dick Whiteman, the movie’s star played by Graham Stokes, where a narrator tells you that by the end Terry Shea as the captivating Hyde Hippocampus of the film, he is going to be great. The movie explains It kept up the fast fun pace throughout that knowing the ending isn’t the point, the entire film. No sooner are Shea it’s the journey that matters, and it is and Thompson prodding Stokes and certainly an upbeat adventure. This preparing to use conversion therapy vignette quickly jumps to a political on him than their characters’ alter commercial for a Cranston Rhode egos come and abduct Stokes to their Island right-wing politician, Maureen affirming LGBTQ center where a Whiteman (Leslie Racine Vazquez), group of attractive nurses assist our and then goes right into her berating confused Dick. her submissive male staffer about it, We see dream fantasies filled while her son, Stokes, shyly watches with tasteful – and occasionally notwith his fiancé, Pat Whiteman, played so-tasteful – nudity, hilarious group by Sarah Reed. therapy sessions, dramatic family From browbeating her staffer to disputes, frequent kidnappings, and creepily flirting with the leaders of daring rescues performed by sock the Rhode Island Republican Party, puppets. Yet, for all the fun, weirdness, Vazquez steals the show at the and male nudity, there are important beginning of the film. This is in stark issues being discussed, from the contrast to Reed and Stokes, whose very real harm conversation therapy characters start off wooden and causes to the disturbingly on point tragic – and they are not really what future Rhode Island and America are matters at this point anyway. Quickly in danger of experiencing – especially into the film, Stokes is believed to noticeable in one scene where a

newspaper headline flashes on the screen that reads “Roe v. Wade Overturned!” This fun yet thoughtful journey is meant to move us, and so too, it moves the characters. Shea fabulously holds viewers’ attention as the mad doctor. Vazquez channels the power of all the Karens into her animated performance of a right-wing politician that could be easily mistaken for a much younger Rep. Pat Morgan. While the constant movement of the story keeps us going and drives the development and growth of our protagonists. By the end, Stokes and Reed’s characters have changed, and we see their wonderful acting talent, as their characters transform from wooden caricatures of people into fully formed identities that speak with a realism rarely seen in independent LGBTQ films. Disorienting Dick delivers on entertainment, is visually enjoyable to many a gay viewer, while providing representation for much of the LGBTQ community, and hands Rhode Island and America the warning we need. While the film is certainly not for children, this writer believes it is a must-watch for Queer and Trans communities. Disorienting Dick world premiere is on Monday, June 6 at 7 pm at the Route One Cinema Pub,652 East Washington Street in North Attleboro, MA. The movie will be coming to streaming services. Go give it a watch.You won’t regret it. optionsri.org




very year Pride is the perfect celebration from city to city. It’s a party where everyone can come out, be themselves, eat, mingle, and be merry.When we think of Pride and what it is now, we think of one big party and parade. However, it didn’t start out this way. A lot of people had to fight for our right to party. Fun fact: Providence is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in the US, so it’s no surprise that Providence Pride is one of the biggest and oldest parades on the east coast. It’s friendly, open, diverse, and colorful and I’ve loved every second of it the past five or six years I’ve attended. Despite all of the many wonderful things about Pride, we tend to see it through only one lens: cis white gay men. Historically, Pride has centered on white gay men as the face of Pride, excluding many others and neglecting to recognize that the rest of us are here too. Pride spawned from the Stonewall Riots, a protest against New York City police who raided a gay bar and treated the patrons roughly and with a total disregard for their safety. This incident led to six days of protesting and clashes with the police. A year after the riots, thousands of people marched on the streets of New York and thus created, “America’s First Gay Parade.” Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two transgender women of color, played a pivotal role in what Pride has evolved into today. We may not know for sure who threw that first historical brick, but we do know that it was a trans woman of

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color who started it all. That begs the question, why are Queer People of Color (POC) not included more in Pride conversations? So often, we see only white people of all identities representing Pride but that’s not what Pride is about. Pride has a Black Queer perspective that has been overshadowed for far too long. It’s time we bring it into the light. Providence-based Rhode Island Pride has a diverse staff filled with POC leaders and has been a successful parade for over 40 years and each year, thousands of people show up and show out. Due to COVID, we lost a few celebrations, so I expect this year’s will be the biggest we’ve seen. Since Boston Pride will not be returning this year, we may see some of that crowd showing up here too. After protests and boycotts over issues of race and transgender inclusion, Boston Pride leaders made the decision to dissolve the parade altogether. Boston, in general, is a city that has faced criticism from POC who’ve stated they don’t feel safe due to the racism they experience, making it no more surprising but all the more galling that they would decide to dissolve a whole parade instead of addressing the very valid concerns about race and transgender inclusion. But it is disappointing. This could have been the perfect time to make some changes and uplift Black and POC Queer voices. There is a silver lining, though: Many small and grassroots organizations will be putting together their own Pride events and parades, so the city will still celebrate.

Boston is not the only city to see protests and boycotts due to the lack of minority inclusion. In 2017, D.C. Capital Pride was disrupted by protesters who said the event was too corporate and marginalizes minorities – the very community the tradition was created to celebrate. No Justice No Pride, a collective of organizers and activists across the District of Columbia, linked arms to block the parade and shouted, “What side are my people? What side are you on?” “No justice, no pride.” Luckily, no arrests were made and police formed two lines to allow the protesters to continue. Although the protesters believed that DC Pride organizers worked too closely with police and corporations. Pride all across the US has become so commercialized that there’s even a word for all of the pandering organizations and companies do during Pride month: “Rainbow Capitalism.” Rainbow capitalism –– which has many other names –– is a form of capitalism where organizations change their logos to rainbows and pretend they’re allies of the LGBTQ+ community to make money until July 1 when all of their logos go back to normal. We see this from banks, defense contractors, churches, retail chains, and corporations, who set up their booths at Pride and give out rainbow-colored pens, pins, and other goodies. Yet, where are they the rest of the year? They show up to the parties, but don’t actually show up for the LGBTQ+ community. We’ve strayed far from what Pride used to be that we forget sometimes

why we’re even celebrating. Pride started out as a protest and we’re still protesting today. There’s simply not enough POC inclusion or Pride from a Black Queer perspective. It’s not only the super-religious who are protesting at Pride anymore. It’s the people who are being overlooked and pushed to the side. The mistreatment of black and POC queer folks flows from city to city, country to country. DC and Boston are not the only places with these concerns. In the same year DC Capital Pride was protested, four people were arrested in Columbus, Ohio who were part of a group that set out to protest violence against minority LGBTQ people. New York City and San Francisco were also cities

where protests erupted. Complaints were made about Philadelphia’s Gayborhood about Black Queer people being treated poorly, such as not being allowed to wear sweatpants or Timberland boots, not being served at bars in a timely manner, being stopped and asked for ID where white customers were allowed to walk right in –– among other indignities. Philadelphia officials vowed to penalize businesses who were guilty of this and issued a report confirming the racism that occurs in the Gayborhood. The city also unveiled a Pride flag with a black and brown stripe included to attempt to be more inclusive to Black and POC queer folks.This flag was met with anger from those who felt that it was including race unnecessarily.

We should begin to unpack why interjecting race into LGBTQ-related issues is met with anger and protest. The contributions of Black and POC Queer folk have long been forgotten and overshadowed to the point that all over the world, people are protesting. These are not isolated incidents and we should all be allowed to celebrate Pride comfortably and safely. We need to see Pride from the Black Queer perspective instead of the lens we are so used to. Uncomfortable conversations need to be had where marginalized voices are uplifted and not spoken over by white Queer voices. Only then can we begin to celebrate a Pride that Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and others of color fought for.

RIHOUSING WANTS YOU TO KNOW INVEST. BUILD. BELIEVE. This piece was sponsored by RIHousing.


nvest. Build. Believe. Powerful words. A bold statement. Yup…that’s the point. There’s not a city or town in Rhode Island that RIHousing hasn’t touched in some way. From building homes, helping buyers put down roots, to assisting homeowners stay in their homes, we’ve been here for Rhode Island families for almost 50 years. We’ve played a part and will continue our efforts to define the housing landscape in the state. Since 1973, RIHousing has been helping Rhode Islanders with their housing needs. Every day, we help Rhode Islanders – especially those who have historically not had access to equitable housing opportunities – find, rent, buy, keep, and build homes.

We’ve created thousands of jobs, pumped billions into the economy and supported Rhode Islanders on their path to homeownership. We are proud of the positive impact we’ve made on our state and look forward to the next 50 years. As we look toward our 50th anniversary in 2023, we are laserfocused on remaining true to our mission of ensuring all Rhode Islanders have access to a safe and affordable home. In the months ahead, we will continue our work to meet the immediate housing needs while also making the kinds of strategic and longterm investments needed to ensure Rhode Island maintains its strong economic momentum as we emerge

from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue our work to address inequities and barriers to homeownership by opening doors to first-time buyers who have traditionally been left out of the housing market and the wealth that comes with owning a home. With the recent launch of our FirstGenHomeRI pilot program, which provides $25,000 in down payment assistance to first-generation homebuyers, we are committed to addressing the inequities and barriers that exist for low income and minority communities. Learn more about how we are building on our legacy of leadership to meet current and future housing needs on our website: www.RIHousing.com. optionsri.org




s Options celebrates its 40th anniversary as a mainstay in the RI LGBTQ community, we thought we’d revisit another mainstay… the club scene. Back in 2014, we took a walk down memory lane to explore how the bar scene had changed over 40 years and it only seems logical that we look at how the “scene” has changed in the past eight years. If you’re a socializing member of the community, chances are, at some point, you’ve opened one of these doors and bellied up to the bar to order your favorite beverage of the night and greeted your friends, or surveyed the crowd with a cruising eye. Even more so than eight years ago, there are many other means of making a new friend or maybe even a spouse. Grindr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even eHarmony has welcomed the community now. After a worldwide pandemic that crippled bars and restaurants throughout the state, the community still came back to our homes away from home. The original Mirabar: one of the first gay bars in Rhode Island, opened 75 years ago in Woonsocket in 1947. Yes, 75 years ago. We were Queers back then too, but we were lower case queers as the word had an entirely different connotation back then. OMG! There were gays back then? Yes, there had been homosexuals congregating secretly decades before, but discretion was the password of the day. Only those in the know knew where to go, lest you risk arrest. The Mirabar has moved several times over

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the past seven decades and currently rests at its home on Elbow Street.The Dark Lady/Alley Cat, The Stable, and The Providence Eagle have all made it through the dark days of the pandemic, and even Club Ego is around trying to reinvent themselves. The Trans community has been brought more into the mainstream as well. For many decades, the nightclubs and bars were our refuge where we met secretly behind closed doors and blacked-out windows. Today, the bars are so much more visible and certainly much more mainstream. Throughout the years we’ve had to say goodbye to many bars: Kings and Queens, The Fife and Drum, The Fan Club, The Cabana, Wheels, Gerado’s, Images, Generation X, Kamp, Tramps, Kings and Queens,Yukon Trading Post, The Gallery, GirlSpot, Mix, Union Street, Pulse, Deville’s, and The Village. This brings to mind that there has not been a Lesbian bar in RI since June 2014. There are still dozens more that came and are now gone. Even in this age of advanced technology, the bar scene still is where people flock to meet and greet, but now a lot of the patrons like to pregame first on Grindr, Scruff, and other social media. But has technology enhanced how we meet, or has it hindered it? In years past, our first encounter with a potential mate was meeting at the bar. Now we get to review a photo (if it’s real…lol) and conduct an evaluation before actually meeting the person. But you can’t always judge a book by its cover…can you? The younger

Options visited the history of Gay bars in the August 2014 edition.

generation has phone apps now and doesn’t have to rely on the clubs to “make a new friend.” They are most likely to hang with friends at the bar and less likely to go for a hookup. It still doesn’t necessarily mean the apps are safer, that’s for sure. It appears to be a testament to the RI LGBTQ community that we actually have more gay bars, per capita, than our neighbor to the north.The Boston gay bar scene has dissolved over the years and has yet to recover, and many Bostonians cross state lines to enjoy the social hospitality of Rhode Island. Will continuing advancement in technology be the demise of our local LGBTQ watering holes in the next forty years? Of course, time will tell, but if they were able to survive through the last forty years which included an AIDS epidemic and a pandemic, you can believe it’s a safe bet. Tip often and tip well.

HOW RHODE ISLAND IS MAKING HIV & STI TESTING AS EASY AS 1-2-3 By Philip A. Chan, MD This piece was sponsored by the Rhode Island Department of Health.


he Rhode Island Department of Health’s TESTING 1-2-3 service was created because many of my patients and other people have told me that they wish there was a simpler and easier way to get an HIV/STI test in Rhode Island – and I agree with them! I remind all my patients that getting tested is important because the rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Rhode Island has been growing in recent years. This includes syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Rates of syphilis having been growing the fastest. It is a serious disease that can affect your health, please get tested. Many people think they may not be at risk, but actually are. In addition, because many people have no symptoms they may unknowingly spread HIV and STIs to their partners. Anyone (straight, trans, or LGBTQ+) who has oral, vaginal, or anal sex with or without a condom should get tested at least once a year. If you are a bisexual or Gay man who has multiple sex partners, you should get tested every three months. Anyone who shares injecting drug equipment should get tested at least once a year. If you have been told by a sexual partner that they have tested positive for an STI, you should get tested. Please see more information on who should get tested at https://

www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/ screeningreccs.htm. Before getting started, here are THREE important things I want you to know: This service is just for people who DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS of an STI, such as burning when you urinate or a sore/rash on your genitals (i.e., penis or vagina). If you do have any symptoms, you should see your doctor or visit a participating community clinic. Participating clinics include:The Miriam Hospital STI Clinic, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Providence Community Health Centers, Blackstone Valley Community Health Center, Open Door Health, and Thundermist Health Center. This service is NOT FREE, but your health insurance should cover it, or if you want, you can pay out of pocket. If you don’t have health insurance or can’t afford it, you can go to one of our participating clinics which all have financial assistance programs to help cover the cost. If you do use this service, you will need to GO TO A WALK-IN CLINICAL LABORATORY SITE, that you choose from a list, where you will get blood drawn and provide a urine sample. There should be a laboratory site close to where you live or work. These samples will be tested for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. We will let you know if anything

comes back positive and refer you to a participating clinic or your primary care provider. Make sure that you READ THE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS at testing123ri. com/#faq. If you have any questions, please reach out to Alexi Almonte, aalmonte@lifespan.org. If you are ready to get started, you can visit testing123ri.com or fill out the questionnaire at https:// redcap.link/testing123. Finally, I want to thank everyone for checking out this service and getting tested for STIs. For more information about HIV and STIs, to get free condoms, and to find other prevention, testing, and treatment resources, please download RIDOH’s RIghtTime app (visit righttimeapp. com), or visit health.ri.gov/sti and health.ri.gov/hiv. Philip A. Chan, MDIs a consultant med ical director for the Rhode Island Department of Health.





yra Shays is best known in our local LGBTQ+ community as the woman who brought PFLAG to Rhode Island. PFLAG (formerly Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) is a support group helping people, often parents, cope with a loved one’s sexual or gender identity. You’d be challenged to find a more staunch ally than this nonagenarian mother of three, who found herself in need of PFLAG’s services when one of her daughters came out to her at 22 years of age. A born and raised New Yorker, Shays left for Providence in 1994, and four years later founded the PFLAG Providence chapter, serving as its president for 15 years. Shays also happens to be Options’ longest-running volunteer, serving as a copy editor for the last 20 or so years, editing the Resources section, and writing several stories and many news briefs in that time. Former Options editor Kim Stowell said of Myra, “She did not hesitate to jump into the editing of articles about, for example, safe sex, asking lots of questions, which often charmed the other editors. She is remarkably open, curious, and perfectly comfortable being the only straight person in rooms full of crazy queers. She is a marvelous singer with a vast repertoire that includes lots of show tunes, so she’d often have everybody around the table singing. She is also good at telling a joke.” Myra’s skills, wit, and curiosity have always been an asset around the Options table, though the pandemic has wedged some distance between her and the team. We corresponded over email to bring you this interview. Options:You and your twin brother turned 90 years old this past autumn.What was your early childhood in New York City like? Myra: We were raised in a working-class neighborhood [in Brooklyn] during the Great Depression – had to watch every penny. That’s why I’m so frugal now, I guess. My mother worked to support the family when that was rare. I went to public schools and then Tufts.

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Options: Did you have any connection to (what was then known as) the Gay community before your daughter came out? Myra: No. I thought if a gay man suffered discrimination he could just stop being gay. Options: Do you know how it felt for your daughter to come out to you as a lesbian, and how did you and her father react when she did? Myra: I don’t know how she felt, but I felt socked in the gut, though I shouldn’t have been surprised because she had so many gay friends. It didn’t occur to me to reject her, but I wanted to learn about homosexuality and luckily had heard of PFLAG. [My children’s father and I] were separated by the time she came out to us individually. He thought it was just a whim, that I shouldn’t “encourage” her. Options: You were a member of a New York City PFLAG chapter alongside the mother of LGBTQ+ rights pioneer Frank Kameny. What influence did she have on you and the

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chapter? Myra: We admired [Rae], mostly because she endured a long trip on the subway and back to attend. Also, she asked why she should resent Frank for not providing her with grandchildren when her other child, a married woman, chose not to have children. Options: What brought you to Providence in 1994? Myra: I had a 4-year-old grandson I wanted to watch grow up. Options: Why did you create the PFLAG Greater Providence chapter, and what support did you have in its early days? Myra: I couldn’t imagine life without PFLAG, so I established one. It was a job and-a-half. I was working fulltime as a paralegal and had an active social life. But I was inspired by Jean Manford, who established the first chapter (in Queens) without an answering machine, a computer, a Xerox machine, a cell phone, email, or much else to make life easier.

Options: I was in touch with your daughter Barb who said of you: “She wrote and published our synagogue newsletter in the late sixties/early seventies. She used her typewriter, scissors, and tape!” Do you recall what Options’ production process was like when you first began volunteering? Myra:Yes, for about 15 years I did the temple Bulletin when “cut and paste” meant exactly that. Options had a big office on Thurbers Ave. where we sat around and edited typed pages for two days. Then, when they were typeset, we came in once more to edit. About ten days later, bundles of copies of Options were delivered. Dozens of people came in to put labels on big envelopes, stuff, seal them, and stamp the overweight ones. It was a real happening — a very social occasion. Marriages came out of mailing nights. Options: How has PFLAG changed over the years? Myra: Now we meet via zoom because of Covid. Also, most of the

newcomers are dealing with trans issues. Gay and lesbian issues seem to be more acceptable. Options: How long have you been a volunteer copy editor for Options? Do you have any favorite memories of working on Options? Myra: I think it’s about 20 years. It would have been longer but at first, I thought you had to be gay to work for Options. I have many good memories because my co-workers were talented (especially Jim Seavor) and pleasant. And I was gratified that my story about the gay rabbi at Temple Habonim was a cover story. Options: What jobs or experiences helped you to develop a love for language and a passion for editing? Myra: I had a third-grade teacher who was very into vocabulary, and other teachers who drilled everyone in grammar. I worked in PR departments, and in volunteer organizations, I always handled the newsletter and/or publicity.

Options:You graduated from Tufts in 1953. What did you study? Myra: At Tufts, I studied to be a teacher. I never taught except as part of my training. But most people meeting me for the first time think I’m a teacher, which bothers me. Options: I remember you often wearing a “Straight But Not Narrow” button while facilitating PFLAG meetings or attending community events and editing sessions. Did you ever receive any surprise reactions to the button, or did you often find yourself explaining its meaning? Myra: I wear a Straight but not Narrow button on every jacket and coat I own — in other words, every

time I leave my apartment. I’ve lost count of the people who say, “I like your button.” I reply, “Do you like it well enough to want one?” They say, “How much?” I say, “A dollar for the organization.” They say, “What organization?” I say, “PFLAG,” and go on to explain what that is if they don’t know. Once a flight attendant tossed a mini-bottle of Scotch into my lap after remarking on the button. Options: Generally, I find the most staunch allies of the local LGBTQ+ community to have a deep sense of justice and passion for equality. Have you had any important experiences in which you felt your gender, faith, or age were reasons someone may have had limited or biased expectations of you? Myra: No, I haven’t had any experiences of discrimination. But this was a good question. As for my passion for justice — frankly, a lot of the people who modeled this passion were Jewish, so I must have thought of it as a Jewish trait. Think about important names in the civil rights struggle — Jews are represented far out of their percentage in the general population (about 3%). Options: Covid-19 has certainly challenged and limited all of us, and as an older person living solo in your East Side apartment building, I can imagine the isolation to be especially fraught. How have you managed? Myra: I manage during the pandemic because I have a local daughter who is beyond amazing: takes me to doctors, solves every problem. As for her husband — I’m nominating him for sainthood tomorrow. And I live in a full-service building, which helps. Options: I hadn’t realized that you volunteered for the GLBT Helpline

for about eight years before it closed up shop. Do you have any memories of a significant impact the Helpline had? Myra:Yes, I answered the phones one night a month — later more than one night as volunteers became scarce. We also met one night a month to trade advice and experiences and held an occasional fundraiser to pay the answering service that forwarded calls to us. Sometimes people called fallaciously or to have fun, like the man who had me on [a call] for about 20 minutes by saying a judge had given him a sentence for portraying a female attendant in a ladies’ room. Once a woman called and the first thing she said was, “What would you say if I told you I had a loaded gun pointed at my head?” We had a very satisfying 20 or 30-minute conversation. I think [the Helpline] was valuable at the start because LGBT people were more closeted then, so information was more closeted too, even things like a gay-friendly real estate broker or dog groomer. Options: Do you have any particular hopes for the future of Options, or Rhode Island’s LGBTQ+ community? Myra: I hope Options and the LGBT community thrive. To connect with PFLAG Greater Providence for support or information, call (401) 307-1802, write to pflagprovidence@gmail.com, or visit pflagprovidence.org. On the Shoulders of Giants is an interview series in Options started by the author in 2014 to showcase those who have dedicated decades to furthering LGBTQ+ equality in RI, and have made major contributions to our community’s shared history and victories. This is the thirteenth interview in the series. optionsri.org


WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A BLUE CROSS & BLUE SHIELD SAFE ZONE PROVIDER By Scott Gowrie This piece was sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island


0 years! What a fantastic achievement that everyone at Options Magazine should be proud of. We at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) thank you for being an important source of information in the community. We also want to thank the 45+ healthcare providers who have shown their commitment to delivering safe, affirming, and inclusive care by becoming certified BCBSRI Safe Zones. You, too, are a vital community resource. We’re incredibly proud of the expansion of Safe Zones throughout Rhode Island. The program serves a critical need for LGBTQ Rhode Islanders of all ages facing specific care challenges. Over the past five years, the Safe Zone program has grown to include primary care, mental health, dental, hospice and palliative care, behavioral health services, breast health services, senior living facilities, and outpatient rehabilitation services. Safe Zones also include organizations serving those affected by sexual assault and domestic violence across Rhode Island. We’re excited that one of the newest Safe Zone providers is also the first pediatric primary care practice: Coastal Medical Waterman Pediatrics. When we certified Coastal as a Safe Zone, Elizabeth Lange, MD, FAAP, a longstanding Coastal provider, told us,“We want kids and teens to know that when they see the Safe Zone logo on the door at Waterman Pediatrics, they will receive compassionate, affirming care and that we have resources at the ready for both patients and their families.We know that school can be especially challenging for LGBTQ youth as well, so we have developed inclusive communications to schools, providing the patient’s name if it differs from their legal name in letters to the school.” In today’s world, where kids and teens continue to face tremendous and unforeseen challenges, Coastal MedicalWaterman Pediatrics is a beacon. The BCBSRI LGBTQ Safe Zone program welcomes all providers identifying themselves as supporters of the LGBTQ community to apply, with the goal of ensuring that members of the LGBTQ community have safe, equitable access to healthcare without fear of discrimination. Certification requirements for BCBSRI LGBTQ Safe Zones include staff training specific to the care of LGBTQ patients,protection for patients and staff from discrimination based on gender identity or expression, gender neutral bathrooms, inclusive forms and procedures, and a public commitment to connecting with and serving the LGBTQ community. You can find a BCBSRI Safe Zone provider at bcbsri.com/safezones. Scott Gowrie is a Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island corporate social responsibility specialist. June 2022 32 options


By Felicia Nimue Ackerman

Your pronouns used to be


The sort of thing you couldn’t change, And if you struggled to get free, You got dismissed as really strange. It wasn’t very long ago That such attempts were rudely stopped, But now you’ve got some options, so Go right ahead, cut loose, and opt! Ode To Options is part of the poem series Felicitations by Felicia Nimue Ackerman. Ackerman is a professor of philosophy at Brown University and has had over 200 poems published in a wide range of places.We are lucky to get to have a few of them published right here at Options Magazine.


Options originated in 1982 as the offical newsletter of the Rhode Island Gay Task Force. Editor Jos Fayette explained, “The RIGTF wants to make the homosexual community aware of their options as gay men and women in Rhode Island. And it’s only because we live, work, love, and play in this state that there are such a large number of options available to all of us.” Options has always, and will continue to print LGBTQ resources so that

you can, as Fayette went on to say, “Exercise your OPTIONS today to make positive changes in your life tomorrow.” Help us help you! Email info@optionsri.org if you come across a resource listing that needs updating. New, updated, and featured resources are highlighted. Phone numbers are in the 401 area code and addresses are in Rhode Island, unless otherwise indicated.


research, lectures, conferences, patient and community education. 121 South Main Street, Second Floor, Providence. 863-6790. brunap@brown.edu. brown.edu/Departments/BRUNAP. Community Care Alliance: Case management, support, personal care items for people living with HIV/AIDS in northern Rhode Island. 245 Main Street, Woonsocket. 235-6092. lcohen@famresri.org. Community Care Alliance-Agape Providence: Transitional housing, drop-in center, testing, intensive case management, counseling, peer support for people living with HIV/AIDS. 292 Elmwood Ave, Providence. 572-3800. www.communitycareri.org. Comprehensive Community Action Programs: Medical, mental health, dental, social services, LGBT outreach. 311 Doric Avenue, Cranston. Also Coventry, Pawtucket, and Warwick. 4679610. Gabriel Care, LLC: Nursing/social worker case management and financial compensation for assistance and supervision for those living with HIV. MassHealth funded for MA residents. 376 South Main Street, Fall River, MA. Contact Jenn, (508) 678-1002. HIV Antibody Testing: Anonymous. Free or sliding scale. RI Department of Health. Providence, Newport and other locations. 222-2320. Home and Hospice Care of RI: Medical care management for HIV/AIDS. 24hr nursing staff for treatment. 1085 North Main Street, Providence. Referrals: 782-0725. Bereavement groups: Contact John Charette, 727-7079. Main Office: 415-4200 or tollfree 800-338-6555. www.hhcri.org. House of Compassion: HIV/AIDS housing. 2510 Mendon Road, Cumberland. 658-3992. LGBT Caregiver Online Support Group: For LGBTs caring for someone with chronic health problems. www.caregiver.org. Luis E. Martinez House CHS, Inc.: Supportive, permanent housing for 10 adults living with HIV/AIDS and/or substance abuse. New Bedford, MA. Contact Joe Taylor. (508) 984-7514. Miriam Hospital HIV & STD Testing Clinic: For gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV, Hep C, and trichomoniasis. Linking to physicians for PrEP. Wed. -- Fri. 12:30 -- 3:30. 1125 N. Main St., Providence (rear of building). 793-4715. Partners in Learning About AIDS: Outreach to minorities, women of color, and LGBT community at clubs and other locations. North Providence office provides free condoms and information about STIs and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV. 1006 Charles Street, Suite 5, North Providence. 484-7523. info@ plaidsproject.org. www.plaidsproject.org. Planned Parenthood of So. New England: Confidential, low-cost, same-day & walk-in STD and HIV testing. Commonsense approach to health. 75 Broad Street. 800-230-7526. www.ppsne.org.

AA Brothers in Sobriety: Gay men's open meeting -- all welcome. Saturdays 7:30 -- 8:30 pm. 296 Angell St., Providence, basement, 2nd door on side street (Diman Place). 419-0051 AddictionCenter.com: Web information guide for addiction resources nationwide. Or call 1-877-830-2915. Alcohol/Drug Helpline: RI Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence. 24hr. (866) 252-3784. Project BREAK: Outpatient mental health program focussed on substance abuse in gay/bi men. Miriam Hospital. Free. Contact Sabrina Strong, strong@Lifespan.org. RI LGBT AA Group: Tuesdays 7 -- 8 pm Bell Street Chapel, 5 Bell St., Providence, 273-5678. All are welcome. Seven Hills Behavioral Health: Addiction support services and Narcan. 1173 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford, MA, 508-9994159. 310 S. Main Street, Fall River, MA, 508-235-1012. Leonard Amaral, Program Manager. YPTQ (Young People, Queer, Trans) meeting of AA: Wednesdays 7:30 -- 8:30pm, “common room” of Brown University Alumni Hall, 194 Meeting Street, Providence.

AIDS/HEALTH RESOURCES Afia Center for Health & Wholeness: Meals, food pantry, HIV support groups, recreational and social activities. Sponsored by AIDS Project RI. Free to clients. Wed. and Thurs. 12 -- 3pm. 134 Mathewson St., Providence. Info: Kim Clohecy, 831-5522, Ext. 2299. AIDS Action Hotline: MA only. (800) 235-2331. www.aac.org. AIDS Care Ocean State: Confidential HIV & Hep C testing, safersex supplies, case management, emergency funds, clinical services, assisted and supportive housing for people living with HIV/AIDS, street outreach, free needle exchange, HIV+ support groups. Speaker’s Bureau, 18 Parkis Ave., Providence. 521-3603 (call 7810665 to schedule an appointment). www.aidscareos.org. AIDS Project RI: Division of Family Service of RI. Case management, buddies, COBRA and dental services, emergency fund, mental health counseling, nutrition support, assessment and referral, wellness programs, advocacy, strength training, prevention education, HIV testing. 9 Pleasant Street, Providence. 831-5522 www.aidsprojectri.org. AIDS Quilt RI: Displays local AIDS memorial quilt panels, panel-making programs including Anna’s Workshop, HIV/AIDS education for young people. PO Box 2591, Newport, RI 02840. 401-847-7637. bpmilham@cox.net. Brown University AIDS Program: Clinical trials, public policy,



Prima CARE Transgender Clinic: Fall River, MA. Counseling, hormonal reassignment, referrals for surgery. Kishore Lakshman, MD. 508-235-0481. Project Weber/RENEW: Confidential, free HIV, Hep C and syphilis testing. Links to physicians for PrEP. 640 Broad St., Providence. info@weberrenew.org. 383-4888. Seven Hills HIV Prevention & Screening: TWIST program, HIV and STI prevention and testing,partner care.1173AcushnetAvenue, New Bedford, MA, 508-999-4159. 310 S. Main Street, Fall River, MA, 508-235-1012. Contact Leonard Amaral. SSTAR (Stanley Street Treatment & Resources): Counseling, drug treatment, detox, domestic violence programs, free and confidential HIV, HEP C, and STD testing, education, case management and support. MA and RI locations. 386 Stanley Street, Fall River, MA. (508) 679-5222. Project Aware (HIV/HCV); (508) 324-3561. Family Healthcare Center; (508) 675-1054. www.sstar.org. Steppingstone, Inc.: Welcome Home Medical case management program. One-on-one peer support in Somerset to Wareham area. HIV support groups available. Free and open to any HIV+ person 18+. 5 Dover Street, New Bedford, MA. (508) 984-7514. www.steppingstoneinc.org. Thundermist Health Center: Provides HIV/AIDS services including medical care and treatment by an HIV specialist, dental care, behavioral health counseling, nutritional assessment and counseling, pharmacy consultation, free and confidential HIV testing. 450 Clinton Street, Woonsocket. Contact Philip Kane. 767-4100 ext. 3516.

INFORMATION/EDUCATION Fenway Community Center LGBT Helpline: Support, information and referrals. Fenway Community Health Center, Boston. Open daily 6-11pm. (617) 267-9001 or 888-340-452 GLBT National Help Center Hotline: Local resources nationwide provided by social services agency. 888-843-4564. www.glbtnationalhelpcenter.org. LGBTQ Action RI: Advocacy organization to secure equality & justice for LGBT people through legislative and policy work. www.facebook.com/LGBTActionRI. NewportOut: LGBT website for Newport. www.newportout. com. RILGBT-News: Low-volume email distribution list for LGBT & AIDS news from RI. Not a discussion list.To subscribe: tinawood@ cox.net. SHIP: Education, pleasure, health, advocacy. Virtual workshops and more information about therapy available on our website. 1570 Westminster St, Box 6, Providence, RI 02909. 401 489-5513. info@weknowship.org. https://www.weknowship.org/. South Coast LGBTQ Network: Information & advocacy network for individuals of all ages. 774-371-0711. info@ sclgbtqnetwork.org. www.sclgbtqnetwork.org. United Way of RI Referral Line: 2-1-1 on your telephone.

NIGHTLIFE The Alley Cat Providence: Downtown neighborhood bar. Monday-Thursday 3pm-1am, Friday 3pm-2am, Saturday 2pm2am, Sunday 2pm-1am. 19 Snow Street, Providence. 272-6369. Bobby’s Place: Dancing, pool, video lounge, karaoke. SundayWednesday 5pm-1am, Thursday-Saturday 5pm-2am. 62 Weir

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Street, Taunton, MA. (508) 824-9997. www.bobbysplacema.com. Brooklyn Coffee Tea House: 209 Douglas Ave., Providence: public/private venue for music, art, film screenings, weddings, showers, etc. RHODYWOOD@yahoo.com; 359-0192. The Dark Lady: Downtown bar and nightclub.Tuesday-Thursday 9pm-1am, Friday & Saturday 9pm-3am, Sunday 9pm-1am. 17 Snow Street, Providence. 272-6369. EGO: Providence’s newest gay nightlife performance/event space. Sunday and Thursday 9pm-1am, Friday and Saturday 10pm-3am, 73 Richmond St, Providence. 383-1208. www.egopvd.com. Mirabar: Downtown bar and nightclub. Monday-Thursday 3pm1am, Friday and Saturday 3pm-2am, Sunday 3pm-1am. 15 Elbow Street, Providence. 331-6761. www.mirabar.com. Providence Eagle: Leather, Levi, bear cruise bar. MondayThursday 2pm-1am, Friday 2pm-2am, Saturday-Sunday 12pm2am. 124 Snow Street, Providence. 421-1447. The Stable: Downtown video bar. No cover. Monday-Thursday 2pm-1am, Friday 2pm-2am, Saturday 12pm-2am, Sunday 12pm1am. 125 Washington Street, Providence. 272-6950.

POLITICAL & LEGAL GROUPS American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): 128 Dorrance Street, Suite 400, Providence. 831-7171. riaclu.org. Amnesty International OUTfront: Program to campaign globally for LGBTQ human rights. (212)807-8400. Cvohs18904@ yahoo.com. www.amnestyusa.org. Brown University Queer Alliance: Student advocacy and support organization. queer@brown.edu. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD): LGBT/HIV legal info hotline. Weekdays 1:30-4:30pm. 30 Winter Street, Suite 800, Boston, MA. (617) 436-1350 or (800) 455-GLAD. gladlaw@ glad.org www.GLAD.org. Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund: 120 Wall Street, Suite 1500, NY. (212) 809-8585. www.lambdalegal.org. Lawyers for Equality and Diversity (LEAD): Advocates for LGBT causes. lawyersforequality@gmail.com. Modern Military Association of America: The nation’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to advancing fairness and equality for the LGBTQ military and veteran community. 1725 I Street NW, Washington, DC. 202 328-3244. info@ modernmilitary.org. https://modernmilitary.org/. National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Assoc./New England: Works for fair and accurate media coverage of LGBT issues. info@nlgja.org, www.nlgja.org. The Next Thing (TNT): Political and support group for queer people of color located at Brown University. 863-3062. tnt@ brown.edu. RI Commission on Prejudice and Bias: Hate crime awareness training program. www.calloutprejudiceri.org RI Human Rights Commission: Anti-discrimination law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit. 180 Westminster Street, 3rd floor, Providence. 222-2662 TTY: 222-2664, richr.ri.gov.

RELIGIOUS & SPIRITUAL All Saints Memorial Church: 674 Westminster Street, Providence. 751-1747. asmcri@verizon.net. www. allsaintsmemorial.org. Amicable Congregational Church: UCC. Open & Affirming. Pastor William Sterrett. Sunday 10am. 3736 Main Road, Tiverton. 624-4611. www.amicablechurch.org.

Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists: robin@awab. org, www.awab.org. Barrington Congregational Church: UCC: “The white church.” Sundays 10am. 461 County Road, Barrington. 246-0111. office@bccucc.org, www.bccucc.org. Bell Street Chapel: Unitarian Universalist. A Welcoming Congregation. Sundays 10am. 5 Bell Street, Providence. 273-5678. www.bellstreetchapel.org. Beneficent Congregational Church: UCC. An Open & Affirming congregation in the heart of Providence. Sundays 10am. 300 Weybosset Street, Providence. 331-9844. BeneficentChurchUCC@gmail.com, www.beneficentchurch.org. Berean Baptist Church: A safe and welcoming place for all God’s children. Sunday 10am. 474 Chapel Street, Harrisville. 568-5411. bereanbaptist@verizon.net. www.bereanri.net. Calvary United Methodist Church of Middletown: LGBTQ early dementia support group. Contact Amy. Sundays 10:30am. 200 Turner Road, Middletown. 847-6181, www.middletownmethodist.com. Central Congregational Church UCC:. An Opening & Affirming Congregation. Sundays 10:30am. 296 Angell Street, Providence. 331-1960. www.centralchurch.us. Channing Memorial Church: Unitarian Universalist: A Welcoming Congregation. Sundays 10am. 135 Pelham Street, Newport. 846-0643. administrator@channingchurch.org. www.channingchurch.org. The Chapel of Saint Therese of Lisieux: Open & affirming. Fr. Charles Vohs. Mass on Sunday 10:30 am; offering same sex wedding services in the Catholic tradition either in our church or at outside venues. 1500 Main St, West Warwick, RI. 401 680-9076. stocc1500@gmail.com. https://www.saintthereseocc.org/ Chapel Street Congregational Church UCC: Open & Affirming. 185 Chapel St., Lincoln, RI. 722-7934. www. chapelstreetucc.com. Charter Oak Grove ADF: An Open and Welcoming Congregation of Neo-pagan Druids in CT. charteroakadf@gmail. com, www.charteroakadf.org. ChristChurchinLonsdale:1643LonsdaleAvenue,Lincoln.Services 8am and 10:30am. 725-1920. office@christchurchlincoln.org. www.christchurchlincoln.org. Church of the Ascension: 390 Pontiac Ave., Cranston, RI 02910. Sundays at 10am. 461-5811. www.ascensioncranston.org. Church of the Epiphany: A diverse Open & Affirming Episcopal congregation. 1336 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence. 434-5012. info@epiphanyep.org, www.epiphanyep.org. Church of the Redeemer: a Welcoming Episcopal church. 655 Hope St., Providence. www.redeemerprovidence.org. office@ redeemerprovidence.org. Rev. Patrick Campbell, 331-0678. Concordia Center for Spiritual Living: A diverse community welcoming all spiritual paths to God. Sunday Celebration 9:15am. 292 W. Shore Rd., Warwick. Rev. Ian Taylor, 732-1552. info@ concordiachurchri.com. www.ConcordiaCSL.com. Edgewood Congregational Church: UCC. Open & Affirming. Service 10am. 1788 Broad Street, Cranston. 461-1344. office@edgewoodchurchri.org. www.edgewoodchurchri.org. Emmanuel Episcopal Church: Sundays 8 and 9:30am. 120 Nate Whipple Highway, Cumberland. 658-1506. office@emmanuelri. org. www.emmanuelri.org. First Unitarian Church: A welcoming congregation. Sunday 10:30am. 1 Benevolent Street, Providence. 421-7970. admin@firstunitarianprov.org, www.firstunitarianprov.org. First Unitarian Church in New Bedford: Service 11 am in person

and streaming on ourYouTube channel: UU New Bedford, MA 71 8th Street,New Bedford,MA.(508) 994-9686.admin@uunewbedford.org, www.uunewbedford.org. First Universalist Society: UU. Welcoming congregation. Samegender weddings. 262 Chestnut Street, Franklin, MA. (508) 5285348. fusf@verizon.net, www.fusf.org. Foxboro Universalist Church: UUA. Service 10am. 6 Bird Street, Foxboro, MA. 508-543-4002. chair@uufoxborough.org. www.uufoxborough.org. Grace Episcopal Church in Providence: 175 Mathewson Street, Providence. 331-3225. hello@gracechurchprovidence.org. www.gracechurchprovidence.org. Hopedale Unitarian Parish: Sundays 10:30 am. 65 Hopedale St., Hopedale, MA. www.hopedaleunitarian.org, 508-473-0745. Rev. Tony Lorenzen. Immanuel Lutheran Church: A Reconciling in Christ congregation. Pastor Sandra Demmler D’Amico. 647 North Main Street, Attleboro, MA. (508) 222-2898. www.immanuellc.org. Interweave at Channing Memorial UU Church: Organization for the spiritual, political and social well-being of LGBTQ persons, and their allies, confronting oppression. 135 Pelham Street, Newport. 846-0643. Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd: A “Reconciling in Christ” congregation (Welcoming). 3383 Old North Rd., Kingston, RI. Sundays 9 am. Pastor Mary Hansen-Joyce. 7897776; office@goodshepherdri.org. Mathewson St. Church: United Methodist. 134 Mathewson Street, Providence. 331-8900. MathewsonStUMC@gmail.com. Mercy of God Community: Christian, inclusive religious order. mercycomm@yahoo.com, www.mgc.org. Murray Unitarian Universalist Church: Marriage and commitment ceremonies for all. Rev. Bob McKetchnie. 505 North Main Street, Attleboro, MA. (508) 222-0505 www.murrayuuchurch.org. Newman Congregational Church, United Church of Christ: Open & Affirming. 100 Newman Avenue, Rumford. 434-4742. www.newmanucc.org. Park Place Congregational Church: 71 Park Place, Pawtucket. 726-2800. office@ppucc.necoxmail.com, www.parkplaceucc.com. Pilgrim Lutheran Church: An inclusive congregation. Sundays 8 and 9:30am. 1817 Warwick Avenue, Warwick. 739-2937. parishasst@pilgrimlutheranri.org, pilgrimlutheranri.jimdo.com. Pilgrim United Church of Christ: Open and Affirming. 635 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA. (508)-997-9086. Providence Presbyterian Church: 500 Hope St., Providence. Service 10 am. 861-1136. www.provpresri.org. provpresri@verizon.net. Riverside Church: UCC.15 Oak Avenue, Riverside. Service 10am. 433-2039. www.rcc-ucc.com. St. Augustine’s Church and Episcopal Center at URI: 15 Lower College Road, Kingston. 783-2153. Sundays 8am and 10am. StAugustinesChurch@necoxmail.com, www.staugustineuri.org. St. James Church: Episcopal. 474 Fruit Hill Avenue, North Providence. 353-2079. St. Martin’s Episcopal Church: Sundays 8 and 10am. 50 Orchard Avenue, Providence. 751-2141. StMartinsNB.Secretary@gmail. com, www.stmartinsprov.org. St. Martin’s Episcopal Church: Welcoming Church. Monthly LGBT Eucharist. 136 Rivet Street, New Bedford, MA. (508)9948972. stmartins1887@comcast.com, www.stmartinsma.org. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church: Sundays 9am. 50 Park Place, Pawtucket. 728-4300. office@stpaulspawtucket.org, www. stpaulspawtucket.org.



St. Paul’s Church: A welcoming Episcopal church. Sundays 9am. 2679 East Main Street, Portsmouth. 683-1164. stpaulsportsmouthri.org. St. Peter & St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church: 25 Pomona Avenue, Providence. 272-9649. www.stpeters-standrews.org. Saint Therese Old Catholic Church: Open & Affirming. Fr. David Martins. Sunday 10:30am. 1500 Main St., W. Warwick, RI 02893. 680-9076. stocc134@gmail.com, www.saintthereseocc. org. Second Congregational Church of Attleboro: UCC. Open & Affirming. 50 Park Street, Attleboro, MA. Sunday 10am. (508) 222-4677. office2nd@verizon.net. www.attleborosecondchurch. org. Seekonk Congregational Church: Open & Affirming. Sundays 9 and 10:30am. Rev. Joy Utter, 600 Fall River Ave., Seekonk, MA. (508) 336-9355. sccucc@verizon.net. www.scc-ucc.com. Soka Gakkai: Buddhist association for peace, culture, and education. Contact for weekly meetings in Providence. 930 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. (617) 264-2000. www.sgi-usa.org. Temple Agudas Achim: Reconstructionist congregation. 901 North Main Street, Attleboro, MA. (508) 222-2243. office@agudasma.org, www.agudasma.org. Temple Beth-El: Rabbi Sarah E. Mack. 70 Orchard Avenue, Providence. 331-6070. info@temple-beth-el.org, www.temple-beth-el.org. Temple Emanu-El: A welcoming Conservative congregation. Rabbi Wayne Franklin. 99 Taft Avenue, Providence. 331-1616. info@teprov.org, www.teprov.org. Temple Habonim: A warm, Welcoming Reform congregation. Rabbi Andrew Klein. 165 New Meadow Road, Barrington. 2456536. office@templehabonim.org, www.templehabonim.org. Temple Sinai: A Welcoming Reform temple. Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser, 30 Hagen Avenue, Cranston. 942-8350. webmaster@templesinairi.org, www.templesinairi.org. Unitarian Church in Fall River: Sunday 10:30am. 309 North Main Street, Fall River, MA. 508-678-9700. office@ unitarianchurchfr.org, www.unitarianchurchfr.org. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County: 27 North Road, Peace Dale. 783-4170. uucscri@yahoo.com. www.uusouthcountyri.org. Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven: Service 10:30am. 102 Green Street, Fairhaven, MA. (508) 992-7081. www. uufairhaven.org. United Congregational Church: 524 Valley Rd., Middletown RI 02842. A Welcoming congregation. Sunday, 10 am. www. UCCMiddletown.org. 849-5444. Westminster Unitarian Universalist Church: A UUA Welcoming Congregation. 119 Kenyon Avenue, East Greenwich. 884-5933. www.westminsteruu.org.

SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS Bisexual Resource Center: The Bisexual Resource Center works to connect the bi+ community and help its members thrive through resources, support, and celebration. Through this work, we envision an empowered, visible, and inclusive global community for bi+ people. PO Box 170796, Boston, MA. (617) 424-9595. brc@bicresource.net www.biresource. net. Biversity Boston: Mixed-gender social events for Boston and the surrounding area. (617) 424-9595. biversity-subscribe@biversity.org, www.biversity.org.

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Boston Bisexual Women’s Network: Social activities including monthly brunches and quarterly publication, Bi Women Quarterly. www.biwomenboston.org. Cape and Islands Gay & Straight Youth Alliance (CIGSYA): 56 Barnstable Road, Hyannis, MA. (508) 778-7744. info@cisgsya.org, www.cigsya.org. Feminist & Queer Happy Hour: Casual meetings to network with people who care about the same things. Email feministandqueerhappyhour@gmail.com. Good Company (RIAGP): Networking and philanthropy. www. riagp.com. Imperial Court of RI at Providence: Drag and non-drag performers raise funds for local charities. All welcome to general membership meetings on first Monday at Dark Lady, 17 Snow Street, Providence. icri.prov@gmail.com. www.icriprov.org. Old Lesbians Organizing for Change-Rhode Island Chapter (OLOC-RI): Local chapter of national network of feminists 60 years old or better, working for justice and well-being through public discourse. Regular meetings to share experiences. Contact Mev Miller. OLOCinRI@gmail.com. Providence Queer Book Club: 3rd Wednesday, 7pm. Books on the Square, 471 Angell Street, Providence, queerbookclub@gmail. com. Rhode Island Gay Men’s Chorus: New season rehearsals begin in January and August. Singers and non-singing volunteers welcome. Monday 7-9:30pm. Beneficent Church, 300 Weybosset Street, Providence. www.provgmc.org. RI Pride: Open house 4th Wednesdays. Festival & Parade 3rd Saturday in June. Office: 1055 Westminster St., Providence 02903. Mail: PO Box 1082, Providence, 02903. 467-2130. info@prideri. com, www.prideri.com. RI Pride Lions Club: LGBT-inspired service-oriented club open to all. 3rd Mondays, 6-7:30p.m. at Mentor RI, 2065 Warwick Ave., Warwick. Ripridelions.com RI Prime Timers: Social and networking group for older gay and bi men. Second Sunday. Call Steve, 996-3010. www. riprimetimers.org. RI Skeptics Society: Yearning to talk with someone rational? Refreshing discussion. Fourth Saturday. East Providence restaurant location. www.meetup.com/skeptics-133/. RI Women’s Association: Lesbian social group. 21+. Dances & events. www.riwa.net. SAGE/RI (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders): (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders): Advocacy, education, and social events for LGBT seniors. Mail: SAGE-RI, 1665 Broad Street, Cranston, RI 02905. sageriinfo@gmail.com. www.sage-ri.org. Yankee Lambda Car Club: Regional club for GLBT vintage and specialty car enthusiasts. www.yankeelcc.com.

SPORTS & RECREATION PrideSports Boston: Network of twenty-plus gay spor ts leagues/teams in Boston area. www.pridespor tsboston. com. Boston Gay BASKETBALL League: ksg.bgbl@gmail.com, www.bgbl.com. BOATING: Yankee Cruising Club: New England’s club for LGBTQ boaters. www.yankeecruising.org. yankeecruisingclub@ gmail.com. Keith (508) 423-6123. Big Gay Al’s Duckpin BOWLING League: Proceeds benefit AIDS causes. Tuesday 6:30pm. 1463 Atwood Avenue, Town Hall Lanes, Johnston. Contact Frank Ferri. 831-6940.www.bgalbowling. com. www.townhalllanes.com.

GALA BOWLING League: Sundays 5:50 p.m., E. Providence Lanes, 80 Newport Ave., E. Providence. Season begins in Aug. View us on Facebook or email galabowling1990@gmail.com. Field Hockey: Teamworks Somerset, 732 Lee’s River Ave., Somerset, MA. New season every 10 weeks. (508-676-3956) info@teamworkssomerset.com. FLAG (For Lesbians And Gays) FOOTBALL: Bostonbased recreational football club. All skill levels are encouraged to participate. Saturday mornings in the fall and spring. www. flagflagfootball.com. Boston Pride HOCKEY: Now operating in Rhode Island with scrimmage games in Providence. www.bostonpridehockey.org. Movement Mondays: One hour class open to people in recovery and their guests. Size-inclusive, all body types and fitness levels. Providence Gay Flag Football League: We are an LGBTQIA+ recreational flag football league. Leagues in spring and summer including new Women’s+ in 2022. Visit www.pvdgffl.org or write dgosley@gmail.com. Rondeaus KICKBOXING: 272-5425. www.rondeauskickboxing. com. Main Street MARTIAL ARTS: Non-profit. Welcoming dojo and community center. 1282 North Main Street, Providence. 274-7672.www.mainstma.org. Chiltern Mountain Club: OUTDOOR recreation club in New England. Boston Gay ROWERS: Worldwide online community for gay and lesbian rowers, coxies, coaches, and race officials. www.glrf. org. Boston Ironsides RUGBY Football: www.bostonironsides.org. Providence Women’s RUGBY Club: Competitive and recreational. www.providencerugby.com. Frontrunners Rhode Island: RUNNING group (free yoga Mondays): Newcomers and all abilities welcome. Meet at Hope St. end of Blackstone Blvd., Providence, Thursdays 6pm. Contact Brian 751-7643 or bripm@cox.net. www.frontrunnersri.com. Frontrunners Boston RUNNING Group: Morning walk/ run along the Charles River. Saturdays,10am. Club Cafe, 209 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA. www.frontrunnersboston.org. OutRyders SKIING: New England’s largest gay and lesbian ski and snowboard club. www.outryders.org. Boston Strikers SOCCER Club: Non-profit social organization to learn and improve soccer skills in a relaxed, congenial environment. www.bostonstrikers.com. Renaissance City SOFTBALL League: New players and boosters always welcome. www.providencesoftball.org. Beantown SOFTBALL League: Friendly competition. 27 teams in four divisions of play: competitive, intermediate, and recreational. (617) 297-7490. www.beantownsoftball.com. LANES (Liquid Assets New England SWIMMING): Fitness and/or competition. (617) 937-5858. www.swim-lanes.org. TENNIS-4-All: Boston area tennis organization. www.tennis4all.org. Cambridge Boston VOLLEYBALL Association: Players of all skill levels welcome. secretary@cbvolleyball.net www.gayvolleyball.net. Ocean State Pride VOLLEYBALL League: Adult coed indoor league following USVBA rules. No try-outs. Fee applies. Kent County YMCA, 900 Centerville Road, Warwick. ospvolleyball@gmail.com. East Coast WRESTLING Club: (617)937.5858 x6. ecwc@juno.com. www.eastcoastwrestlingclub.org.

STUDENTS & YOUTH Bristol Community College The Lambda Connection: (TLC@ BCC) Robert Delaleu, Advisor; BCC-G118, 777 Elsbree St., Fall River, MA (774)357-4056. CCRI Gender Equity Initiative: SafeZone & Trans* 101 training. Support, info for LGBTQ people and allies. www.ccri.edu/ genderequity. CCRI Triangle Alliance: an LGBTQQ student-run group at CCRI, on the Flanagan, Liston, and Knight campuses. www.ccri. edu/triangle/. Home to Hope: Support for housing-insecure LGBT youth 13 -- 24. Crisis intervention, medical and other services. At YPI (743 Westminster St., Prov.) and Mathewson St. Church (134 Mathewson St., Prov.) varying days and times. For info/appointments: ayanna@ rihomeless.org or 484-7720. LGBT National Youth Talkline: 800-246-7743. Private one-toone chat and info on local resources. Peer Listening Line: Youth-staffed hotline for GLBT youth. Support, info and referrals. 5-10pm. Fenway Community Health Center, Boston, MA. (617) 267-9001 or (800) 399-PEER. www. fenwayhealth.org. Queer & Trans Thursdays: 6-8pm. Space for LGBTQ and heterosexual youth (24 and under) of color to foster coalitionbuilding and organize to address intersections of oppressions. 669 Elmwood Ave., Rm. B7, Providence. www.prysm.us. 3837450. Rhode Island College LGBTQ+ Office: works towards inclusion of gender, gender identity/expression and sexual orientation in all appropriate aspects of campus life. 456-9033 www.ric.edu/ lgbtq Salve Regina University – The Alliance: 100 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport. Contact: Benjamin Mead, benjamin.mead@salve.edu S.H.E.P.A.R.D. (Stopping Homophobia, Eliminating Prejudices and Restoring Dignity): Providence College, 1 Cunningham Square, Providence. 865-1631. shepard@providence.edu. The Trevor Project: The only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBT youth. Also offers social networks. (866)4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386). thetrevorproject.org. University of RI LGBTIQ2: Alumni association. 874-5808. gsimonelli@uri.edu. URI LGBTQ Center: A cultural department for students, faculty and staff. Florence Badejo. 874-2894. Youth Pride Inc.: Support, education & advocacy for LGBTQQ young people ages 13--23. Tues. -- Fri. 2 -- 8pm. The Way Out peer support group Thurs. 4pm. Gender Spectrum support group Tues. 4pm. Visit our website for full calendar of events. 743 Westminster St., Providence. 421-5626. info@youthprideri.org. www.youthprideri.org.

SUPPORT GROUPS & SOCIAL SERVICES Abuse Victims and Survivors: Support on phone for LGBTQ victims & survivors of partner abuse. Confidential peer-led groups. Hotline: (617) 742-4911. TTY: (617) 227-4911. advocate@tnlr. org. Adoption Options: Non-sectarian help. Jewish Family Service, 959 North Main Street, Providence. Contact Betsy Alper. 3315437. Cwild@jfsri.org . www.adoptionoptions.org. Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center: Offering resources for victims of domestic violence. 723-3057. www.bvadvocacycenter.org.



Child & Family Services: Counseling, young parent support, adoption, more. LGBT groups. Open six days. 66 Troy St., Fall River, MA. (508) 676-5708. www.child-familyservices.org Children’s Friend RI: Foster parents needed for newborn to age six.. 153 Summer St, Providence, RI.. 401 276-4300. info@ cfsri.org. http://www.childrensfriendri.org/ Community Care Alliance: Stipend, assistance, training provided by Family Resources Community Action. 235-6095. www.famresri.org. Compass: FTM trans info, support and social group. Boston first Thursday 7-9pm. compassftm@gmail.com. www.compassftm.org. Day One: Counseling & legal aid for victims of sexual assault/ abuse & incest. 24hr hotline. (800) 494-8100. 421-4100. www.dayoneri.org. Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health: Foster parents wanted. Devereux Therapeutic Foster Care offers generous tax-free stipend, free comprehensive training, 24-hour support.. Multiple Locations. 401 734-9680. https://www.devereux.org/ site/SPageServer/?pagename=ma_care Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County: Support, court advocacy, counseling, safe home, info for women and men in abusive or controlling relationships. 24hr free and confidential helpline. 782-3990 or toll free 800-494-8100, www.dvrcsc.org. Family Service of RI: Training, stipend, support provided for nurturing adoptive families. Family Service of RI. Contact Gregary Wright. 331-1350 ext. 3305. www.familyserviceri.org. Gay Fathers of Greater Boston: Support. 738 Main St. #323, Waltham, MA. (781) 333-8429. info@gayfathersboston.org, www.gayfathersboston.org. Gay Officers Action League (GOAL)/New England: Law enforcement officers (sworn & civilian), fire, rescue & publicly employed EMS. Confidential. P.O. Box 171587, Boston, MA 02117. www.newenglandgoal.org. On Facebook at NewEnglandGOAL. HIV+ Gay Men’s Support Group: Refreshments served. AIDS Care Ocean State, 18 Parkis Avenue, Providence. 5213603. New members contact Scott. 640-3108. LGBTQ+ Grief Support: Professionally led, bi-weekly, confidential group for those suffering a loss. Sponsored via Zoom by HopeHealth Hospice & Palliative Care. Write Alex Zima at azima@hopehealthco.org. LGBTQ+ Peer: Our Peer led LGBTQ group is held every Tuesday from 5-6 pm and individuals can attend in person or virtually. Login to attend virtually is: hoperecovery password: 1234. 294 Valley Road, Unit 6, Middletown RI 02842. 401-324-5861. hoperecovery@psnri.org. https://www.hoperecoverycenter.org/ LGBTQ+ Pregnancy & Parenting Group: Free support group for people (partnered or not) parenting or considering it. First Saturdays at Open Circle in East Providence. Visit Facebook or email LGBTQpregnancyandparenting@gmail.com. 401-439-2441. Mantalk of S.E. Mass: Thurs. eves. inTaunton, MA. Social support for gay, bi, and questioning men from Mass. and RI. Confidential, drug- and alcohol-free. Find us on Facebook and MeetUp. MentalHelp.net: National directory of inpatient treatment options for those with substance abuse problems. www. mentalhelp.net/care/substance-abuse/ri/. Partner Support Group at Fenway Health: A ten-week support group with the purpose of building community and connections for anyone who identifies as non-trans, ages 18+, and is in a relationship with a trans* person(s). 1340 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. Contact Sarah Eley, LICSW. 857-313-6551. seley@fenwayhealth.org.

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June 2022

PFLAG (Parents, & Friends of Lesbians & Gays)Greater Providence: We are Parents, Friends & Members of the LGBTQ+ Community giving caring, confidential support when you need it most. Meetings are currently held the 1st Wednesday of each month via Zoom from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Free registration is required by going to www.pflagprovidence.org to register. The Attleboro PFLAG Chapter meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Email pflagattleboro@gmail.com to sign up for their meetings. We also provide education on issues and challenges facing families and their LGBTQ+ loved ones, as well as advocating at local and state levels to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for those who are LGBTQ+. P. O. Box 41344, Providence, RI 02940. 401-307-1802. pflagprovidence@gmail.com. http://www.pflagprovidence.org/ Queer Transformative Roots (QTR): Queer & trans people of color organize campaigns to support stability for our communities. 669 Elmwood Ave., Suite B13, Providence 02907. www.prysm.us. 383-7450. Rape Crisis Center for S.E. Mass: New Hope, Inc. Advocacy, shelter, services for domestic abuse survivors. Hotline (800) 323HOPE. Office (508) 226-4015. RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 24hr helpline: (800) 494-8100. 467-9940. Sexual Health Education & Advocacy Program: HIV, sexual wellness, domestic violence risk reduction. Free, confidential, bilingual (Spanish). No caller ID used. Calls blocked for safety. 861-6191 ext. 121. Sojourner House: Call for confidential support group. Support, shelter, advocacy and information for people in abusive relationships. Including specific LGBT services. No caller ID used. Outgoing calls blocked for safety. 24hr helpline. 765-3232. 8616191. Office 861-6191. www.sojournerri.org. St. Mary’s Home for Children: Sexual abuse treatment for children. 450 Fruit Hill Ave., N. Providence. www.smhfc.org. Adam Cable, 353-3900. Straight Spouses: Groups and online support. www.straightspouse.org. The Samaritans of Rhode Island: 24hr hotline for suicidal, lonely, despairing, depressed. (800) 365-4044. 272-4044 (RI only). www.samaritansri.org. TGI Network of RI: Support, advocacy for transgender, transsexual, gender-variant and/or intersex people. Borderlands peer group 1st & 3d Tues. and 1st & 3d Sat. of the month. Location & information: 441-5058. info@tginetwork.org. www. tginetwork.org. Trans* Partners New England: Gives romantic partners of transgender people a confidential, safe space to explore the impact of a loved one’s gender identity on their relationships, and to connect with other loved ones of transgender people. First Wednesday 6:30-8:30pm. Providence. Location unpublished for privacy. partners@tginetwork.org. Trans* Youth Family Allies: Support for gender-variant and transgender children ages 3-18. info@imatyfa.org, www.imatyfa.org. Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA): Growing organization to address the concerns of fair treatment of transgender veterans and active duty service members. www.tavausa.org. Women’s Resource Center of Newport and Bristol Counties: Offering services to victims of domestic violence. 846-5263. www.wrcnbc.org.

We are proud of the collective positive impact RIHousing has made on Rhode Island’s housing landscape since our inception in 1973.



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