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Boston Mayoral Proclamation | p6

Massachusetts Activists Fight for Comprehensive Sex Education in Schools | p7

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Trans Activists Discuss #Hike4Rights and their journey to Mass.’ highest peak | p8

LGBTQ-affirming sports teams commit to development, acceptance, and the score | p9 Eliminating Cis-Centric Behavior | p22 The Pride Season, Equity in Accessibility Key to Celebrating LGBTQ Identities | p29 Local organization plans youth-friendly, inclusive Boston LGBTQ Pride Ball| p33 A perspective: The Needs of LGBTQ Elders & Elders of color in the 21st Century | p36 New England Pride Calendar -Our Picks | p39 - 59 City of Salem Mayoral Proclamation | p42 I am Voting YES to Uphold Trans Protections | p45 Congrats to Gavin Grimm, a Big Win for Trans Students | p54 Advertising index | p61

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Massachusetts Activists Fight for Comprehensive Sex Education in Schools By: Michael Givens/TRT Assistant Editor Bay State activists are working to advance a bill in the Massachusetts legislature that, if passed, would mandate that public school districts offering sex education curricula expand their courses to provide more in-depth information on a range of issues related to sex, relationships, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy. “An Act Relative to Healthy Youth,” also

known as the “Healthy Youth Act” (https://bit. ly/2vF6Z5B), has an explicit commitment to ensuring that youth are empowered to make healthy, fully-informed choices about their bodies and their relationships, according to the bill’s supporters. “Over the last seven years, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF, has worked ...

See Sex Ed on page 24

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Ev Evnen (left) and Mason Dunn (right), trans activists leading the #Hike4Rights; Photo: courtesy of Mason Dunn

By: Nicole Collins/TRT Intern

By: Nicole Collins/TRT Intern


his August, trans activists Mason Dunn, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC;, and Ev Evnen, director of MaeBright Group, LLC, (, will be hiking to the highest peak in Massachusetts, Mt. Greylock, as part of an effort opposing the November ballot question that could strip away the rights of transgender people in Massachusetts ( Dunn and Evnen have dubbed the event “#Hike4Rights” (https:// The effort coincides with an initiative (https://goo. gl/cmqTUw) started in May by Freedom for All Massachusetts ( coalition, which is working to vote down the ballot question in November.

Trans Activists Discuss #Hike4Rights & their journey to Mass.’ highest peak

The Rainbow Times discussed #Hike4Rights with both Evnen and Dunn. The Rainbow Times: How exactly did this hike come about? Mason Dunn: Ev and I have been backpacking together now for a couple years, and we’ve also been doing trans advocacy for a couple years ...

See #Hike4Rights on page 14

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LGBTQ-affirming sports teams commit to development, acceptance, and the score By: Al Gentile/TRT Reporter


n the Boston area, amateur sports is an area where LGBTQ people are increasingly finding themselves, building community, and playing ball. From football and softball to darts and running, LGBTQ-affirming sports teams in Boston and beyond bring a culture of sportsmanship, acceptance, and fun to the LGBTQ experience. The Rainbow Times explored this phenomenon through the lens of players, all whom in different respects have navigated their own personal journeys through sport.

Robson Govine, for example, a transgender male who coaches and plays shortstop and left field on the trans-specific softball team, The Trailblazers ( ), said before finding the team he had a difficult time feeling comfortable following his passion for sports. “I actually spent a lot of time not playing sports because there wasn’t really a place for me to play,” Govine said. “I couldn’t play on women’s teams, and I didn’t feel comfortable playing on men’s teams because of my size.”

See Sports on page 10

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Sports from page 9

Govine, now 32, played various sports throughout his life including soccer and lacrosse. It was only at 27—just a year before embarking on his physical transition—that he found his place at Beantown Softball League (https://bit. ly/2rO0Y6i ) and The Trailblazers. “We were able to form trans-specific teams, focusing on making a space for trans folks to play sports, and so we play in a league that totally recognizes that, affirms that, and is really respectful of our players’ identities,” Govine said. LGBTQ-affirming sports teams and leagues seem to have one quality in common: A culture that supports inclusiveness, emotional and physical development and exploration, and building community.

But community is about more than making friends. Govine, who began socially transitioning at the age of 22 and undertook the physical transition process at 27, found a deep sense of comradery in trying times. Expanding his network helped Govine navigate the often tumultuous journey of transition, something he said was invaluable to his selfexploration. “Before I physically transitioned, it helped me be at ease with the idea of transitioning,” he said. “I didn’t have outside support systems from my family and such. Having teammates that could talk to me about hormone replacement therapy, about surgery, and really help facilitate me through that process was really valuable.”

For LGBTQ people navigating a largely heteronormative world, finding community can be difficult.

The following accounts are from people who found all these things and more through sport and who hope anyone looking for the same will see them on the diamond, pitch, or end zone. “ … the first people we call … ”

For LGBTQ people navigating a largely heteronormative world, finding community can be difficult. From his vantage point as vice president of the FLAG (Friends, Lesbians, and Gays) Flag Football League ( Adam Vavrek—a gay man—said their community was a garden where players blossomed. “I’ve actually seen a lot of great stories come out of the league. I’ve seen people lose weight and lead more healthy lives through football. I’ve seen people meet their best friends and boyfriends, and eventually husbands through the league,” Vavrek said. “I’ve also seen some people who came out of the closet … and this is an environment where they would be accepted, making the whole process easier for them.” For adults moving to a new city, finding friends is often difficult. As a newcomer to the Boston area, Vavrek said joining FLAG allowed him to establish his roots. “I moved to Boston eight years ago, and I knew one person,” Vavrek said. “Joining the league has introduced me to a whole host of people, and gave me a friend group I could rely on, and made my move to Boston a lot more enjoyable.”

great way off the field.

Alex Will, a gay male coach and player on the Boston Ironsides Rugby League (https:// ), said the community he built around him helped in a

“I find myself as an adult coaching high school rugby now, something I could have never imagined doing,” Will said. “I get to create new relationships outside of the team, and I hope that’s true for all our players. People can take that and go back to their jobs, their hometowns, and their families with the sense of empowerment they’ve gained, and form even more relationships.” As those relationships sparked on the field grow into their personal lives, players have found the gains go far beyond health and muscle mass. “My whole life revolves around the team at this point,” Will said. “There’s this strong community of people who have come to the team, who have pulled people from their own world to foster these relationships. When we’re free on a Friday night, these are the first people we call. When we need help moving, these are the first people we call.”

Scoring Against Stigma Throughout history, sports has served as an arena for change and greater awareness around social issues. National Football League player Colin Kaepernick famously kneeled during the National Anthem in 2016, and Jackie Robinson was the first black Major League Baseball player in several decades after Moses Fleetwood Walker played in the late 19th century.

See Sports on page 11

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Sports from page 10 James Stanton, a transgender man who also plays on the Trailblazers, said LGBTQ athletes can make an impact on the heteronormative world of sports. “There’s incredible potential to use sports as a tool for breaking away from normative concepts of gender, and to foster deeper understanding about the intricacies of gender,” Stanton said. “You can see sports as another battleground for civil rights, not just in terms of gender and sexuality, but in terms of race and ethnicity, or immigration status.” In many ways, according to Stanton, the sports world is a microcosm of society at large, where systemic change can be viewed and experienced in real-time. “It’s another facet of society that has all the same issues as real society, but since it is a smaller subset, it’s where you can actually start to see actual systemic change,” Stanton said. “It’s got to start somewhere, so why not have it start on a playing field, and kind of build it from there?” Will said LGBTQ-affirming sports teams are taking a shot at what he believes is a culture of “toxic masculinity.” “There’s this strange tension about these traditionally homophobic sports and the culture they’ve created, and how we as LGBTQ people

put our unique spin on it, and bring the best out of what sports teams have to offer and transform that,” Will said. “What is it like at the same time to have players who are openly making LGBTQ community jokes on the sidelines? What does it look like for us to have gay bars that sponsor us? This traditionally rough and tough sport has taken on this different LGBTQ flair based on people bringing their unique self to it.” Even the social spaces LGBTQ-affirming teams inhabit have changed over the decades. Kevin Collins, who is commissioner of the Beantown Softball League, said though LGBTQ people struggle today, the playing field was no escape for historic social issues such as discrimination and the AIDS epidemic. Launched in 1978, the Beantown Softball League began in a time when LGBTQ people were not accepted in society and on the field. Collins said stories of players who lived through the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s still haunt them today. Having players who went together to teammates’ funerals is a somber memory Collins hopes new generations of LGBTQ athletes will remember. “In the mid 80s, [the league] had a summer where they buried several players from the AIDS epidemic,” Collins said.

See Sports on page 17

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#Hike4Rights from page 8

as colleagues, with myself at MTPC and Ev at MaeBright. It kind of came about naturally, thinking about the [transgender public accommodations] bill, and then moving into this ballot initiative work. We really wanted to do something that would merge our passions for the outdoors and public accommodations and trans advocacy. Q: Why is #Hike4Rights important to you? Ev Evnen: For me, as a trans person, woods are one of the places where I feel I can be away from a society that isn’t always the nicest to trans people. In the woods, I can be me. Although my safety as a white masculine trans person is very rarely at risk, if my safety were at risk, the woods would be one of the places I would go.

the protections we won through the [state] Legislature in 2016. If we lose those rights and accommodations, it means that we have no legal recourse, should we experience discrimination in [public] places.

So, right now, if a trans person were to experience discrimination in a grocery store, for instance, that person would be able to go to the Attorney General, the Massachusetts Coalition Against Discrimination, or “I think one of the legal as- a private attorney, and hold that grocery store accountpects that is so important able for that discrimination. the legal protecfor me is thinking about Without tions, that accountability the federal landscape and does not exist.

how trans-hostile [it] is right now; ... we have the opportunity to say, “not in our state,” and that in our state we’re going to continue to respect and honor trans people as people who should have access to public spaces.”

MD: I echo that. The woods, the outdoors, are all safe places for me, and they were when I was a child, growing up in a world where I was not seen as my authentic self. The only place I felt authentic was in the outdoors. And as a white masculine trans person as well, this is a space I was lucky to have access to in my youth … people don’t always have that same opportunity, so I recognize the privilege [in that]. Q:How specifically will this ballot affect the transgender community, legally? MD: I’ll jump in as the lawyer here. This ballot initiative … was initiated by the opposition to transgender rights, and they want to roll back

people socially?

EE: I think one of the legal aspects that is so important for me is thinking about the federal landscape and how trans-hostile [it] is right now; as the [Commonwealth] of Massachusetts, we have the opportunity to say, “not in our state,” and that in our state we’re going to continue to respect and honor trans people as people who should have access to public spaces. Q: How will this ballot question impact trans

MD: I think it sends a very clear message if the voters turn down the transgender rights ballot. It not only sends the message here, but nationally, that we aren’t welcome in our own home. That will be disastrous on the state and national level. That being said, [if] we win this ballot … it will show for Massachusetts that we are members of this community, we are valued, [and that] we are people who deserve just as much protection in public spaces as anyone else. See #Hike4Rights on page 26

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Sports from page 11 “We’re not dealing with that now, [or] what the discrimination was like, people driving by and yelling ‘fag’ or whatever. We need to remember and respect those people who did it, went through that.” Govine said stories and experiences from when The Trailblazers first formed and played in a league that was not LGBTQ-affirming sows gratitude for having joined up with the Beantown Softball League. “The players on that team talked about experiencing discrimination in that league. That league had certain gender rules about how many people had to be women at a certain time,” Govine said. “They experienced a lot of disrespect, a lot of verbal comments from players in that league. They told me that after games they walked to their cars together because it was kind of not safe to walk by themselves.”

It’s Not About Skill—And That’s Part of the Point Inclusiveness is one of several themes that span nearly all LGBTQ-affirming sports leagues in the area. A disregard for skill level, according to everyone interviewed for this piece, is adopted to that end. As a player and administrator for The Trailblazers, Stanton said that members of the transgender community often see his team as a path toward a healthier lifestyle, a disregard for skill is often a saving grace.

“Particularly when we first started, those [safe] environments were very few and far between. It seemed unnecessary to throw up some kind of gate,” Stanton said. “Nobody wants to hear that when they’re looking for a proverbial liferaft in a churning sea. It is a part of our team’s mission to welcome people of all abilities.” Many leagues are split up between divisions in much the same way as high school- and college-level sports. The lower levels are what Will believes is an entrance point. “People always say to me that they’re not the right size for rugby. We have people of all sizes, and there’s a place for you,” Will said. “Where you are right now, that is all you need. If you give yourself up over to this, it can change your life.” The path paved by different divisions, Collins said, is often one of personal development. He said Beantown’s New Player Clinic Days are demonstrations that anybody, even someone with no experience, has a position to play. “[Many people] never really played sports in high school, and even youth sports because they were uncomfortable being around that macho, locker room-type atmosphere,” Collins said. “You see a lot of young players develop and move up. We have a spot for everyone always, and you don’t have to face that stress you had growing up.”

See Sports on page 20

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Sports from page 17 “A League of Their Own” The 1992 film “A League of Their Own” saw actresses Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna, and others portray women in the WWII world of baseball while playing in the first allwomen leagues. For the LGBTQ community—and according to Govine, the transgender community in particular—having a safe space in the sports world to call their own helps to overcome common challenges living in a heteronormative world. “I’m in an environment where I don’t have to explain my gender identity to people, and every time I walk on the field I’m not worried about being [misgendered] because we’re starting each game saying our names and our pronouns,” Govine said. “It’s also this aspect of building an environment that’s supportive and doesn’t require explanation on our part as trans people.” Stanton believes the world of sports sheds a clear light on just how recreation has reinforced gender roles. “Sports can highlight the sort of boxes that we are forced to put ourselves in, in a kind of crappy way,” Stanton said. “I’ve heard stories of shopping around for different leagues. We did try a league that had weird politics around gender roles that were the complete opposite of what [The Trailblazers] were trying to be.” As the world of LGBTQ-affirming sports grows, Stanton said a major opportunity presents itself. From the separation of leagues along gender lines, to even the names of positions on the field, LGBTQ-affirming sports teams offer an engine to change the gendered characters sports has identified with for so long. “When you start to think about going through a physical transition, or even just a social transition, there’s terminology that’s inherent in the system that makes it on tiny microscopic levels unnecessarily gendered,” Stanton said. “I guess part of our team’s learning about what that means—and the league as a whole learning what it means—is trying to break those down.” “Not first baseman but just first base,” Stanton said, laughing.

Teamwork Makes the Team Work Apart from allowing LGBTQ people to find out more about themselves and others, LGBTQaffirming sports teams and leagues also bridge gaps between other communities. LGBTQ-affirming sports teams have educated the cisgender community about the realities of LGBTQ people. Alternately, according to Will, it’s been a source for new allies. “It’s one thing to have a team where GBT men feel safe in their group. It’s another thing to

“I’m in an environment where I don’t have to explain my gender identity to people, and every time I walk on the field I’m not worried about being [misgendered] ...” Govine said. “It’s also this aspect of building an environment that’s supportive ...” have that group expand to welcome people who identify as allies, or who don’t even understand that term yet but want to be a part of what we’re doing,” Will said. “I think it’s exactly what the world needs more of, in every way you could think of it. It’s great that a totally unsolicited guy wants to play on the team because, as they say, the culture we have is a culture they want to be a part of.” Will said about a quarter of their rugby players identify as straight, something a lot of people find surprising. “That’s a different dynamic—a lot of people think that a lot of those people are gay or trans or bi. That’s not true anymore,” Will said. “That provides specific opportunities for growth.”

It’s All About the Score While LGBTQ-affirming teams face particular struggles in terms of acceptance, it appears there’s more than the game itself that these teams share with the sports world at large. Evidently those shared experiences are largely what Govine, Will, Collins, Stanton, and Vavrek see as the “inspirational moment” they strive for in their play—a love of building something beyond themselves, and for the sport they play. For Vavrek, it’s about unleashing a player’s newfound potential. “For me it’s really watching others achieve something they haven’t achieved before. I really like seeing the best being brought out of other people,” Vavrek said. “This guy on my team last season scored his first touchdown, and he’s been with the league for about two years, and to be able to see him score and do something he didn’t think he was able to do was really emotional and powerful.” For Govine, that moment is realizing he helped build a community.

See sports on page 25

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Eliminating Cis-Centric Behavior Transgender people don’t “turn into” someone they weren’t already before

By: Nicole Lashomb/TRT Editor-in-Chief Since the transgender world has entered my life in the most pervasive way possible without being trans myself, my senses have been increasingly heightened by questions and comments that negatively impact the perspective of and increase bias against the transgender community by cisgender-centric behavior. Though it is never acceptable to just start talking about another person’s gender identity—unless that person has consented to do so—when you do receive the green light,

do so with knowledge and not based on assumptions of what you think you know. “You were born a woman and now you’re a man? You were born a man and now you’re a woman?” is wrong, on so many levels. Questions like these are not only incorrect assertions, but also dangerous, especially when those asking the questions are not considering that such questions can affect the overall wellbeing of a transgender person. In my professional and personal life, I often find myself correcting others, even the most well-intentioned allies of the trans community about why questions like the ones above are offensive and often miss the mark entirely on what exactly it is to be transgender. For us to understand this concept, we must understand the differences between the cisgender community and transgender community and many other critical factors.

Cisgender vs. Transgender Simply stated, a cisgender person is a person who is not transgender. Cisgender people are often referred to as having their assigned sex at birth match their gender identity.

See Cis-Centric on page 23

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Cis-Centric from page 22 In this case, if an assigned female at birth (a baby born with female sex organs) grows and their gender identity aligns with being female, they are considered cisgender. According to the GLAAD Media Reference Guide, “cisgender or ‘cis’ is a Latin prefix meaning ‘on the same side as,’ and is therefore an antonym of ‘trans.’ A more widely understood way to describe people who are not transgender is simply to say nontransgender people.” Therefore, a transgender person is the opposite of a cisgender person. According to GLAAD, “for transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.” All of this leads me back to the cringing questions above. Transgender people are born transgender. Trans individuals are not people who decided to transform into the opposite sex. To view trans identity in such a limited way forces the very concept of what being transgender is into a cisgender mindset. In other words, to say someone is “turning into” a man or woman negates the entire trans identity entirely. If someone was assigned male at birth (born with male sex organs) and transitions to have their physical presentation align with their gender identity, they are living authentically, not “turning into someone” they weren’t born as before.

The Evidence According to a 2017 report published by Reuters, “Neurologists have spotted clues in

the brain structure and activity of transgender people that distinguish them from cisgender subjects,” the report read. “A seminal 1995 study was led by Dutch neurobiologist Dick Swaab, who was also among the first scientists to discover structural differences between male and female brains. Looking at postmortem brain tissue of transgender subjects, he found that male-to-female transsexuals had clusters of cells, or nuclei, that more closely resembled those of a typical female brain, and vice versa.” And, that is not the only biological explanation that leads to developing as a trans person, or having gender dysphoria. According to News Medical, there are many possibilities that affect a person’s development in the womb as it relates to gender identity. Some of those are outlined below.

Hormonal causes Hormones that trigger the development of sex and gender in the womb may not function adequately. For example, anatomical sex from the genitals may be male, while the gender identity that comes from the brain could be female. This may result from the excess female hormones from the mother’s system or by the fetus’ insensitivity to the hormones. The latter condition is called androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS).

See Cis-Centric on page 30

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Sex Ed FROM page 7 as part of a coalition to pass the Healthy Youth Act,” said Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and CEO of PPAF. “Parents, educators, school officials, and young people all support this legislation because they know it is an important step forward in building healthier communities and creating a culture based on inclusion and mutual consent. During this same period of time, STI rates have soared, and while Massachusetts has been able to make great progress in preventing unintended pregnancy among teens, Latinx, black, and LGBTQ teens remain more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy than white teens.”

The core argument against abstinence-only sex education courses is that the current framework isn’t effective in discouraging youth from engaging in premarital sex and often omits pivotal information about safe sex practices, consent, and STIs.

endorsed the legislation, said that the spirit of the bill is to ensure that students are fully supported when it comes to making decisions about their bodies.

teens,” reads a portion of a 2009 report authored by the organization (

“The scary truth of the

“We have student well- matter is that the delay of comprehensive health ness as a very high education in Massachusetts is having real and priority, and our board lasting implications on the lives of youths,” has supported legis- said Corey PrachniakRincón, director of the lation that attempts Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth to promote healthful ( “Every day that we wait practices for all stu- is another day in which students are not learning how to take care of and dents,” he said. “We The act explicitly manprotect themselves. It’s dates that school districts include sexual aware- another day in which providing sex education they are at risk.” courses in Massachusetts ness and health in that do so in a way that is According to the medically accurate and Washington D.C.-based sphere. You have to age appropriate. The bill nonprofit, Advocates would also ensure that be healthy to excel in for Youth (https://bit. these districts are teachly/2k8E3iT), the data ing youth about healthy backs up Prachniakschool and education relationships, abstinence, Rincón’s contention. proper contraceptive use, is a route that we know and pregnancy along “No abstinence-only with differences in sexual program has yet been works. A lot of students orientation and gender proven through rigorous identity. depend on the adults evaluation to help youth delay sex for a signifiGlenn Koocher, executo create the right en- cant period of time, help tive director of the Masyouth decrease their sachusetts Association number of sex partvironment for them. of School Committees ners, or reduce STI or (MASC; https://www. pregnancy rates among This is a way.”, which has

“We have student wellness as a very high priority, and our board has supported legislation that attempts to promote healthful practices for all students,” he said. “We include sexual awareness and health in that sphere. You have to be healthy to excel in school and education is a route that we know works. A lot of students depend on the adults to create the right environment for them. This is a way.”

The Data

An international study released in 2015 by the United Nations (UN; found that comprehensive sex education curricula in several nations helped reduce STI diagnoses and unintended pregnancies among youth, foster healthier intimate and social relationships, and delayed youth from engaging in sex (https://bit. ly/2K6SeA3). Prachniak-Rincón, who uses the pronouns they, them, and their, also said that bills like the

See Sex Ed on page 28

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Sports from page 20

“[Rugby] both gave me the confidence to see my sexual orientation as part of the fullness of my life, between all these areas of our lives, and know that the integration of that part of our lives is part of the work of adulthood,” he said. “Ever since I switched over to coaching, the thing I strive for most as being part of this team is enabling my players to really feel like they’re part of something, and having a good time,”

Govine said. “When I see my players having a good time, working cohesively as a team, that’s actually the moment. That’s the important thing for me—building that community around me.” Will said the culture of the team, which fosters self-actualization, is the best part for him. “[Rugby] both gave me the confidence to see my sexual orientation as part of the fullness of my life, between all these areas of our lives, and know that the integration of that part of our lives is part of the work of adulthood,” he said. Stanton believes using sports as an engine for players to more deeply explore themselves is where the true score lies. “The fact that we can offer [the team] as a haven, and offer it as a place for acceptance and encouragement and support, it’s pretty awesome,” Stanton said. “It plays a nice role in the overall journey for many members of the team.” As for Collins, it’s all about the score. “That moment for me is a close game—when you’re behind, and one of your guys or girls gets that hit that puts you ahead.” To see a comprehensive list of LGBTQinclusive sports teams in the Boston area, visit BosGuy (

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#Hike4Rights from page 14 Q:Why Mt. Greylock? EE: It’s the tallest point in Massachusetts. MD: It is. I think there’s something to be said [about] “being on the top of Massachusetts.” And a group of trans folks, our friends and loved ones coming together to say “this is our state,” from the tallest peak down to the lowest valley, and everywhere in between. “This is our home, and we deserve rights.” Q: What’s your itinerary for the hike? MD: We’re developing the itinerary now, and some of it’s going to depend on weather, and some of it is also going to depend on our “trail friends.” It’ll likely be 15 or 16 days out on the trail. We’re looking for folks to help us out along the trail by hosting us for a night so we can get out from the outdoors and enjoy a shower or something along those lines. The Mt. Greylock meetup will be one of hopefully a couple of other meetups where folks can meet us for a day hike. There will be opportunities to engage with us along the trail and to have conversations. While people won’t be joining us overnight for liability and safety reasons, there will be many opportunities to be with us in spirit, online, or in person.

“... there’s a lot of misconception around what ‘public accommodations’ means, thanks to the opposition spreading myths & lies about what the law actually says.” EE: We’ll have a blog as well.

MD: If we get sponsorships for GoPro cameras or something along those lines, [we’ll] do a video or a photo blog that we can update … when we get to places with WiFi. Q: What specifically do you hope to show with this hike? EE: We want to show that we’re really committed to winning this. I know that the opposition wants to tell people scary stories about trans people. We want to tell people beautiful stories about trans people, about trans people doing the things they love, trans people being in places they feel safe, and trans people living their lives. MD: The other thing I will point out is that there’s a lot of misconception around what “public accommodations” means, thanks to the opposition spreading myths and lies about what the law actually says. The parks, the trails, the shelters, along with places like grocery stores and libraries, theaters, all of those are public accommodations. That’s what’s at stake here: our access to and our ability to enjoy all of those places that make Massachusetts our home. Q:Do you have any words of encouragement to local and national leaders who are facing similar battles with regards to trans rights? MD: We’re in a unique situation here [in Massachusetts] because there are so few signatures required to put a law on [the] ballot. My hope is we don’t see any other ballot initiatives, but I know that the opposition is looking for any opportunity to strike down our rights and our dignity through these types of … initiatives. For other states [where there is] a possibility of seeing this, it’s about bringing the community together, it’s about celebrating our victories, and, in the end, working for and by the community at all times. EE: I hope to show … that trans people have as much right to be in public spaces as any other person does. I want to create a home in Massachusetts … where trans people have a right to use these spaces just like anybody else. Follow #Hike4Rights at

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Portland Pride

providence Pride

worcester Pride Spaulding

north shore Pride

boston Pride

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From Sex Ed on page 24 Healthy Youth Act go a long way in not only affirming the identities of LGBTQ youth but protecting them also. “What we really hear from students most of all is that it’s an affront [to] their dignity for them to sit through health classes and hear a curriculum that was designed as if they do not exist—that they don’t want to be ignored anymore—that they want to be included,” they said. “We should be able to provide that much to our young people in the Commonwealth.” On May 10, the Commission released a report ( on the state of LGBTQ youth and the findings showed that this population still faces severe disparities when it comes to HIV and other STI diagnoses, effective condom usage, and rates of pregnancy. “LGBTQ students also may lack in-school support for attaining and maintaining good health as the Commonwealth does not require that comprehensive, age-appropriate, and inclusive sexual health education be provided to all students … ” a section of the report reads before sharing some startling statistics. It notes that infection rates for HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea for sexual minority (gay, bisexual) males is still increasing in Massachusetts, as well as nationally. Behavioral risk factors increasing the likelihood of pregnancy were also found to be high for young sexual minority (lesbian, bisexual) females. “One large national study showed that sexual minority girls were twice as likely as other girls to report having their first sexual experience before the age of 14 (42 percent to 22 percent),” a section reads. “Sexual minority girls were also twice as likely to have had more than five sexual partners (21 percent to nine percent). This correlated with significantly higher rates of pregnancies among sexual minority teenagers compared to other teenagers.”

“Sex is like fire”

Hannah Liebscher, a senior at Cambridge School of Weston, is a peer educator who said she knows first-hand the damage abstinenceonly sex education curricula can have. “This is partly because [the class] was taught by someone out of touch with my generation and our needs, and whose personal ideas were allowed to influence his teaching,” she said of the experience. “He was conservative and awkward and didn’t want to talk about sex with teens, so he just told us not to have it or we’d

“Study after study has shown abstinence-only programs do not help young people ... They also stigmatize conversations about sex, making young people less likely to talk to a trusted adult when they need help.” get STIs! I wanted to ensure that this wasn’t happening to teens and young people growing up in my area.” According to Childs-Roshak, there are other disturbing anecdotes of youth being poorly served by current sex education practices. “One young man shared that he thought something was wrong with him and questioned his mental health because he was attracted to other men, but nothing in his sex education class acknowledged this as a possibility,” she said. “He’s now found his voice and is comfortable and proud of who he is, but no one should be left feeling like they don’t belong or don’t fit in—especially our young people. Your sex education class should be a space of empowerment, not shame.” In another instance, she quoted an instructor for a sex education program called Heritage Keepers ( “Sex is like fire. Inside the appropriate boundaries of marriage, sex can be a great thing! Outside of marriage, sex can be dangerous!” “The Healthy Youth Act would protect young people from the shaming, harmful, and often inaccurate information used by abstinence-onlyuntil-marriage programs,” she stressed. “Study after study has shown abstinence-only programs do not help young people prevent STIs or unintended pregnancy or prepare young people for the real-life situations they will face. They also stigmatize conversations about sex, making young people less likely to talk to a trusted adult when they need help.” For Koocher, his decision to support the legislation comes from his own personal experience.

See Sex Ed on page 34

28 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018

Photo: TRT Archives

This Pride Season, Equity in Accessibility Key to Celebrating LGBTQ Identities


By: JP Delgado Galdamez/TRT Guest Columnist

lmost two years ago, I was standing on the corner of Yonge and Dundas Street East in Toronto, Canada, for the city’s Pride Parade. My best friend invited me, and his partner drove about 10 hours to get us there. I was looking forward to having an amazing time as I remember being excited to see the international grand marshal, trans activist Aydian Dowling and dance and cheer to the music. So, I waited. I waited and waited. The parade was running late and I was upset. I was in full drag, in a sparkly oversized sweater—wrong outfit choice, considering it was a hot summer day—and hungry, the brunch we ate before the event was too small. It didn’t satisfy my hunger, but it sure ruined my lipstick.

minutes after the parade had been stopped. That same year, Boston Pride (BP; https://bit. ly/1gwKt0t) invited, then uninvited (https://bit. ly/2IV33Io), Woburn Police Officer Anthony Imperioso to be one of the Pride marshals, after public outrage ( over Imperioso’s, “inappropriate, offensive, and bigoted statements about Black Lives Matters protestors, Muslims, and people on welfare” on Facebook. Those comments are no longer public [but some can be accessed here (https://].

See Accessibility on page 32

After about 45 minutes, the parade arrived. I got to wave at Aydian! I danced and had a blast. When we got back to the hotel and I was able to access WiFi again I realized the reason why the parade was late. Black Lives Matter (BLM) Toronto stopped the parade with a sit-in that had a few different objectives. They wanted to hold Pride Toronto accountable for their anti-Blackness. They retook a space from which they had been excluded and erased. Additionally, BLM Toronto had a list of demands (, including changing Pride Toronto’s hiring policies to prioritize Black transgender women and Indigenous people. BLM Toronto also demanded that police floats no longer be allowed in the parade, to reinstate the South Asian stage, and to hold a public town hall between Pride Toronto and BLM Toronto within six months, which actually happened ( BLM Toronto also demanded more Black deaf and hearing sign language interpreters for the festival; BLM Toronto includes people with disabilities in their mission statement (https:// Pride Toronto signed the demands around 30 New England Pride Guide 2018 • The Rainbow Times • • 29

Cis-Centric from page 23 Exposure to progesterone or other estrogenic drugs Although there is no research that shows that males or females exposed to progesterone in the womb or other estrogenic drugs, such as diethylstilbestrol (DES) may have a raised risk of gender dysphoria; there may be an association in some atypical aspects of gender role behavior. Rare conditions that may lead to gender dysphoria There may be rare conditions like congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), and intersex conditions (also known as hermaphroditism), which may also result in gender dysphoria. In CAH a female fetus has adrenal glands (small caps of glands over the kidneys) that produce high level of male hormones. This enlarges the female genitals and the female baby may be confused with a male at birth. Intersex conditions mean babies may be born with the genitalia of both sexes. In these cases the child is allowed to grow and choose his or her own before any surgery is carried out to confirm it.

Say This, Not That

As you see, transgender people are already born into their correct gender, even if the body indicates otherwise based on sex organ development. Instead of saying things like someone “turning into” the opposite assigned gender, say “prior to living authentically,” or “prior to transitioning.” The same practice should be applied when referring to experiences prior to transition. Please do not say, “when you were a woman or when you were a man,” because the reality is that a transgender person never was that assumed gender in the first place. If you believe in any concept of the after life, you likely believe that our spirits live beyond the physical world. Whether born with a male or female spirit, that same spirit transcends the physical body. Regardless of how you physically present to the world at birth, it is our spirit, the essence of our being, the internal, deeply held sense of our gender identity that lives on, not the anatomical sex organs assigned to us at birth. Please check your cis-centrism at the door and remember: Trans is beautiful. * Nicole Lashomb is a graduate of Marylhurst University and the Crane School of Music (SUNY Potsdam). She holds an MBA and BM, respectively. To reach Nicole or send a letter to the editor, email her at [This column first ran in the March 8, 2018 issue of The Rainbow Times].

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New England Pride Guide 2018 • The Rainbow Times • • 31

Accessibility from page 29 The year prior, 2015, Massachusetts communities and organizations implemented an action at the Boston Pride Parade, using the campaign #WickedPissed, a direct clap-back at BP’s theme “Wicked Proud.” The list of demands (, some directed to BP and others to the Boston LGBTQ community, did not include any mention about accessibility services and the inclusion of LGBTQ disabled folks. In the meantime, Boston, and their communities and organizations within, still struggle with its racism ( and accessibility (

edging that police presence is required for an event of such size. BP’s parade is the largest in New England, and according to BP’s marshal orientation, the fourth largest parade in the country. Police presence at the event is expected. Historically, Pride, nonetheless, was a riot against police. A riot which was led by transgender women of color, many who happened to also have a disability. By asking police to not participate in marching in the parade, Pride Toronto sent a message of commitment to continue working towards justice for all LGBTQ people. LGBTQ police officers are, obviously, welcome

“BLM Toronto focused on integrating many other identities that can intersect with Blackness & formulated demands that address different types of needs ...” Accessibility Isn’t Limited to Physical Barriers A study ( by the Ruderman Family Foundation (https://bit. ly/2IOKHsD), an organization advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout our society, states that up to half of the people killed by police have a disability. People with disabilities face disproportionate violence from police, similarly to people of color, transgender people, queer people, and immigrants. That is why BLM Toronto’s action was so important. BLM Toronto focused on integrating many other identities that can intersect with Blackness and formulated demands that address different types of needs, some of which are specific to certain communities, others that are so broad that the entire LGBTQ community benefits from them. By asking Pride Toronto to not allow police to march in the parade, BLM Toronto helped Pride Toronto to further center people with disabilities, as well as queer and trans folks, Black folks, and all other people of color, survivors of abuse, and others.; instead of providing a platform to violent and oppressive systems like police. Ableism and racism aren’t the only issues within law enforcement. Domestic violence is two to four times more common (https://bit. ly/2x09pkW) among families with a police officer than American families in general. A police department that has domestic violence offenders among its ranks will not effectively serve and protect victims in the community, including people with disabilities who are survivors of domestic violence. BLM Toronto’s demands for Pride Toronto were concise: they demanded police floats not be allowed in the parade, implicitly acknowl-

to march in the parade, just as long as they’re not wearing the uniform that has, for many of them, protected from consequences after unnecessarily and unfairly killing Black, brown, queer, trans, women and/or people with disabilities. Making spaces safer for people with disabilities means rejecting individuals and organizations that are violent against the disability community and/or people with disabilities. Any barrier that may prevent a person with a disability from going to an event, even if there are no physical barriers, is an accessibility issue.

Accessibility Facts about BP’s 2018 Parade As of today, police are still allowed to march in the BP parade. This year, BP is taken steps to provide more accessibility to the disability community. They partnered with Old Town Trolley Tours to provide a “handicap-accessible trolley” for elderly folks and those with disabilities who wish to be part of the parade. BP is also implementing a “handicap-accessible viewing area” for folks who wish to watch the parade from a safer, dedicated platform. To access these services, please contact BP’s concert will also be wheelchair-accessible and have American Sign Language interpretation. *Born and raised in El Salvador, JP Delgado Galdamez is a Boston-based activist, drag performer, and educator. They focus on bringing together politics, anti-oppression work, and comedy through lip synching and commentary. When JP isn’t performing, they are doing trainings and outreach for The Network/La Red, a local LGBQ/T social justice organization that works towards ending partner abuse. You can follow them at @dragqueenjp (https://bit. ly/2rVR5V4) on social media.

32 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018

Local organization plans youth-friendly, inclusive Boston LGBTQ Pride Ball Members of the Boston-based Yes Fest team are planning a youth-friendly LGBTQ Pride Ball in East Boston for after this year’s Pride Parade By: Nicole Collins/TRT Intern


n a disheveled, dimly-lit room crammed with four desks, a radiator, and countless concert posters, Wes Kaplan and Gabi Barroso discuss plans for their upcoming LGBTQ Youth Pride Ball. They’re sitting in the headquarters of Boston Hassle (, a music and arts organization headquartered in the Dorchester Art Project ( office in Boston. The two are members and planners of Yes Fest (, a self-described, “radically-inclusive arts and music festival” and a project of Hassle. “Our [goal] is empowering teens to have ownership and the wherewithal to organize and generate their own culture—like do-it-yourself

art and music shows,” said Kaplan, one of the Yes Fest coordinators. “We started that by having different music and youth nonprofits recruit volunteers, adults, and teens, while still being open to volunteers not necessarily affiliated with specific organizations.” The festival is comprised of and planned by several local organizations—specifically, the Brookline Teen Center (, ZUMIX (, Girls Rock Campaign Boston (, BrainArts ( and the West Suburban YMCA (

see alternatives on page 41

New England Pride Guide 2018 • The Rainbow Times • • 33

Sex Ed from page 28

“I have a long background in this topic, including my early work as an admitting officer at a health provider that was doing more abortions in Massachusetts than almost anyone else,” he said. “They were ‘therapeutic’ abortions at that time. I escorted far too many students into the delivery room for their saline injections and way too many anxious, terrified females to the physicians’ and nurses’ offices to prepare them for the clinical services they were to receive.” Seeing the impact of young teenage girls experiencing unwanted pregnancies was a motivation to support more robust sex education curricula, according to Koocher. “I realize that these kids represented every element of society—rich and poor, every race, and every end of the political spectrum,” he said. “I determined that, despite what one thinks about reproductive choice, the obvious route is education and prevention as the first step to avoid more difficult decisions. I also realized that reproductive health advice is the easiest thing in the world to give ... to somebody else.”


The #MeToo movement has also bolstered advocates’ arguments for the necessity of the Health Youth Act. “In 2015, nine percent of Massachusetts teens reported experiencing non-consensual sexual contact,” said Katia Santiago-Taylor, advocacy and legislative affairs manager for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC; https:// “This needs to change. Comprehensive sex ed that focuses on consent is a powerful tool in reducing and preventing sexual violence. It addresses sexual violence and assault at their roots.” Childs-Roshak agreed. “The alarming number of sexual assault incidents experienced by young people makes clear [that] we can’t wait until college to talk about consent,” she said. “Young people need to know how to talk about sex before they start having sex, so they are prepared to handle difficult situations now, once they are in college and throughout their lives.” According to Prachniak-Rincón, the statistics for LGBTQ youth who experience sexual violence is quite sobering. “In Massachusetts, LGBTQ youth are three times as likely as other youth to experience sexual contact against their will … ” reads a portion of the Youth Commission report. “[The bill’s passage] will help our young people to identify when they have been wronged and to avoid causing harm to others,” they said. “Certainly, at this moment of a national discussion on harassment and consent, we should be able to appreciate that our youth need to be educated to be able to understand that conversation, and for theirs to be the generation that changes things.”

Getting it Right the First Time Hannah Liebscher said she credits her experience with peer educators after the sex ed class with providing her with the proper education she needed.

“I was lucky enough to be a part of the Get Real Teen Council peer education program and learn more about myself and relationships and sex, but other people may not get that second chance at learning these vital materials,” she said. “So we have to make sure they get a good education the first time.” “What is being discussed right now in the State House is not an extreme plan,” said Prachniak-Rincón. “It’s actually a fairly conservative approach that does not require schools to provide sexual health education, and that—even in schools that self-select to provide sexual health education—does not require students to attend it. It basically just says that schools that offer optional sexual health classes, they cannot discriminate by excluding entire populations from the conversation, and they cannot use curricula that have been proven in countless studies to not work. I do not think that ideas like holding our schools accountable to deliver quality education or using curricula that do not actively discriminate against part of the class, are radical or divisive. It’s common sense.” Santiago-Taylor said that the bill’s passage will prepare a well-informed population of young people to enter the real world. “Ultimately, it means more education, better engagement, and healthier youth,” she said. To learn more about the Healthy Youth Act, visit 34 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018

New England Pride Guide 2018 • The Rainbow Times • • 35

The Rainbow Times recently interviewed Shirley Royster, an LGBTQ elder of color, about issues facing seniors and the aging process.

A perspective: The needs of LGBTQ elders &

elders of color in the 21st Century By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor and Nicole Collins/TRT Intern 36 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018

The Rainbow Times: What are some key issues facing LGBTQ seniors?

your community. And, making inroads as we age is very difficult.

Shirley Royster: I think some of the issues are getting quality care. We … will be needing assisted living programs [and] assisted care to stay in our homes. I will elaborate first about the senior programs.

We will probably need a lot of care as we age, to have people come in and assist us with staying in our own homes. And, right now, that does not exist.

Right now [in many assisted living facilities] if you are out, a lot of times you are [sat] in a corner, no one bothers you, no one wants to assist you because you are this gay person. And [being] gay is looked down on, even [among] seniors as it is … young people.

Q: What are some key issues facing LGBTQ seniors of color?

As we get older, we need more care. And, a lot of times, because we … were in the closet or we’ve lost our partners, we are really alone, and we don’t have families to come visit us.

A: Racism. People of color have always been discriminated against. And that has not changed as we age and as we go into our senior years. And that has never been addressed: racism against people of color or ageism. As we age, we get less noticed, our care [starts] to diminish, our needs are less taken care of and, if you are a person of color, you’re probably the last to receive the services that you really need.

So that’s, again, something that’s a real concern for us as we age and go into programs to assist us in living longer, while getting care as we age.

If you’re out, a lot of us go back into the closet—especially if you’re a gay person of color—so that you can get basic care.

And the other [issue] is in housing. There is no senior housing allotted for [LGBTQ] people. We’re usually just stuck in housing—if we can find it with people who have mental health issues, people who have drug issues, and we are usually isolated because of that. Because it’s hard being in a community when that’s not …

Q: What are some key issues that you see nowadays facing LGBTQ people that are completely different than the issues LGBTQ people faced when you were in your 20s?

See LGBTQ Elders & Elders of Color on page 38

New England Pride Guide 2018 • The Rainbow Times • • 37

LGBTQ Elders & Elders of Color from page 37 A: When I was growing up … we had clubs. There were clubs that we would go into. And one club in particular was in Dudley Station. It was in the black community. It was called “Elite.” We had a big community, we had singers that would come in from the community, and we could go to clubs. The “1270” [and] we had a club in Cambridge, the “Other Side.” Those clubs no longer exist for us.

Q:Where do you see LGBTQ rights heading in the future? A: I’d like to see us have more legislation around our health, around our housing and around our life. I own my home with my girlfriend and I’d love to stay [here] and get the healthcare that [we] need. But that’s conditional. My partner and I—our incomes have to remain separate. If our incomes are together, then that diminishes how [many] services we can get.

If we are supported by younger people, we can have a more extended life, better access to services … and being able to have friends—a community. Our community is enriched if we have younger people in our lives.

When we talk to young people now, they don’t have a central place where they can go. My understanding is that they have places they get on the internet and say, “We will meet up here at this time,” or, “we will meet up here at a certain date.” Or, “we’ll meet up here, and we’ll do this together.” But they don’t have a steady place where they all can gather at the same time and foster those relationships that we used to have when we were younger. A lot of people I knew when I was in my 20s, I still have those people in my life because we fostered those relationships and we kept in touch over the years.

We’ve had programs where we’d had [comparisons] of young people now and when we were out in the street or out in our gay life. It’s definitely, definitely changed. We hear young people say, “We’re in the gay community in Boston; we’re in the black gay community in Boston.” I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think there really is one. When I was in my 20s, for me, there was more sexual activity. We had to figure out how to keep ourselves safe. In other words, in this climate, as far as AIDS, as far as Hepatitis C, as far as even violence … on the elderly, I think there’s a whole different climate in how we maneuver ourselves in the community now. If I am going to go out to the theatre, I usually try to get a group of us to go. I’m not hanging out by myself. I want to go with people that I know, people that I feel safe with and, if anything happens, I have some kind of a support with me. That’s what I mean about maneuvering as an elderly gay person. Also, I think the way the community is now, there [are not] a lot of places where we can go that are safe. That’s why I think the elders of color group that I belong to has been so popular and has been able to function for the last thirty years that we’ve been in existence.

We are stronger if we are supported by each other. I think we are stronger when we have the support of the younger people.

If we are supported by younger people, we can have a more extended life, better access to services … and being able to have friends—a community. Our community is enriched if we have younger people in our lives. The generational support from the younger people has been so valuable to us and we try to nurture that. Q: Could you discuss key activities in the Boston area that seniors can do that will help address the common problem of loneliness and isolation that so many elders face? A: Well, for us elders of color, we have something called “Flashback Sunday.” And we have four main functions a year. One … is a pool party, usually held in August. And we usually have an event in October … one of our health programs where someone comes in and speaks about diets, how to stay healthy [and] aging. In February, we have a march and another program that’s designed to, again, talk about how we can stay healthy, and how we can support each other. Right now, we’re gearing up for our Pride party. We have a dinner program that’s done the second Wednesday of the month. It’s sponsored by Ethos ( That’s held at Whittier Street, and [it’s] also well-attended by elders of color. The elders of color are [also] talking about trying to sponsor programs where we can visit the elders who are not able to come out. Our website is up, and we will be putting out information on our website, also, to talk about things that are affecting us, things we can get involved in, places we are welcomed at—some ways in which we can be supportive to each other. The website is

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June 1-10; Red Lantern 5th Annual Pride Week Specials Menu;

Open daily at 5p; Serving up their Pride specials menu celebrating the LGBTQ community’s leaders and icons. Dine on tasty treats like Sylvia Rivera Ramen and The Lance Bass, or cool off with a Bi Tai or Stonewall Sangria; 39 Stanhope St. Boston, MA. FMI: 617-262-3900 or

June 2; South

Coast Pride;

9:30a-4p; Buttonwood Park; 1 Oneida St. New Bedford; FMI:

June 2; Hull Pride; 2-10p; Hull

Yacht Club; 5 Fitzpatrick Way, Hull; FMI:

June 2; Concord Pride Official After Party; 7p-12a; The Capitol Center for the Arts; 44 South Main St, Concord NH; Drag Show


by Kristi Kreamm and Chichi Marvel with the fabulous music of closing DJ Andrea Stamas; Opening DJ George Pappas; Comedian Kayla Sampson & More; FMI:

June 1-3; Provincetown’s 1st Annual Pride Event; Provinc-

etown Business Guild; 3 Freeman St., Provincetown; FMI:

More on page 44

Proud to stand with the LGBTQ community! Happy Pride! State Representative Paul Tucker

- Paid for by the Committee to Elect Paul Tucker -

New England Pride Guide 2018 • The Rainbow Times • • 39

40 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018

Alternatives from Page 33 Sarah Saydun, the Pathways Coordinator at ZUMIX and organizational representative at Yes Fest, agreed with Kaplan with regards to the importance of the event. “It’s extremely important to me that there are safe spaces and exciting events that exist for teens in this city,” she said.

“Our main goal is to show queerness in the way it should be shown—as a growing community,” she said. “I want queer folk from low-income areas to be able to free themselves, even it’s [only] for a night.” According to Barroso, the Pride Ball is one of the first events of its kind in the area.

“All the brown gay events [in the area],” Barroso explained, “are obsolete and taken over by Caucasian gay events that are super old, 21 and older, and involve no sense of creativity and expression.”

“The … idea was for it to be radically inclusive,” Kaplan said. “We try to keep it teen-driven, teenempowered.”

“I think this is the first … radically inclusive event of this caliber,” she said.

Yes Fest hosted its first festival (https://bit. ly/2rWejdT) in October of last year. Since then, they’ve hosted smaller shows, exhibitions, and performances.

“Giving credit where it’s due, I don’t think we’re the first teen LGBTQ activist group to come on the scene … but we’re far from the point in the Greater Boston area where it seems like there’s really something for everyone,” Kaplan added.

“It’s a passion project of ours,” said Gabi Barroso, another Yes Fest coordinator and sophomore at Revere High School. She said she had the idea when she and a friend were discussing Pride festivities in the area.

There are similar events in the area: Boston LGBTQ youth group BAGLY’s Youth Pride & Prom ( event in late May, for example, or Boston Pride’s Youth Pride Dance (, also on June 9.

For their most recent project, they’re hosting a youth Pride alternative at ZUMIX—a teen center in East Boston—on June 9, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

But the youth-driven spirit of the Pride Ball is what, according to Kaplan and Barroso, sets the event apart from others.

It’s scheduled to begin right after Boston’s main Pride Parade, which goes from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. “All the brown gay events [in the area],” Barroso explained, “are obsolete and taken over by Caucasian gay events that are super old, 21 and older, and involve no sense of creativity and expression.” And, they decided to host their own ball—in typical Yes Fest style, incorporating aspects of dance, fashion, and art.

A Safe Space Barroso recalled not having such resources as a young child. “I grew up—was born and raised—in Revere,” she said. “I was very much a local in that sense. So, going out and understanding … the local music scene [and] the local queer scene is very scary and intimidating. It’s been a weird thing to navigate.” She hopes this event will help youth experiencing similar issues. Mithsuca Berry, a senior at Revere High School and another Pride Ball planner, agreed.

“This is teens with their own volition, driven by a desire to see the things they want to see,” Kaplan continued. Along with doing one-on-one college and career counseling—among other roles—at ZUMIX, Saydun has helped out both with Yes Fest and the Pride Ball. “I’m honored to be a part of the [teams],” she said, “and am excited to help make [the] youth vision for this event a reality.”

The “North Star” According to Barroso, Yes Fest and the Ball will act like a “North Star” of inclusion and acceptance for young LGBTQ communities across Massachusetts. “I will throw my body to the dogs for accessibility,” she said, “especially for youth of color and underprivileged youth.” “When this idea was submitted to the committee, I was totally excited by it,” Kaplan later said. “[It’s] a really unique event that speaks directly to the interest and the needs of youth in Boston and to a subset of youth who don’t feel like they’ve got things made for them. It’s a really cool thing to have helped start a committee that can be a vehicle for that kind of thing.”

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June 3; AIDS Walk Boston;

10a; FMI: https://bit. ly/2IxKQwY

June 3; Silver Party Annual Dinner Dance;

3-7p; Holiday Inn, 1200 Beacon Street, Brookline; Tickets $20 at the door; Advance reservations encouraged @ 617.927.6417; Dinner, dessert; Giving out 3rd Jim Campbell Award for leadership & service; Entertainment by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and DJ Shelley; FMI: https://bit. ly/2GELdEq or bguragain@fenwayhealth. org S

June 3; Bears and Cubs Boston; 5:30-9p; Boston Harbor Cruise

Company; 200 Seaport Blvd, Boston; Kick off Pride Week w/Underbear Cruise on Boston Harbor; 21+; FMI: https://bit. ly/2qzZ3CA

June 3; Pride Remembrance Me-

morial; 6p; Gar-

den of Peace, Plaza of 100 Cambridge St, Boston; Remember & celebrate the lives of those no longer with us; FMI: https://bit. ly/2rYwO10

June 4; Out Professional Executive Networking (O.P.E.N.);

6-9p; Mix & mingle with a wide range of Boston’s LGBTQ professionals & allies at the 9th Out Professional Executive Networking (O.P.E.N.) event series being held at Red Lantern Restaurant and Lounge. O.P.E.N. is free w/complimentary appetizers & cash bar, Info. tables from orgs. that support/services to the LGBTQ community; Free; Red Lantern, 39 Stanhope St. Boston; RSVP or FMI: Jarrett Hanley, Sales Manager at Jhanley@

June 4; Grand Opening: Meeting House Supper Club for LGBT Seniors, Friends & Allies;


4-6p; First Parish Unitarian Church; 26 North Street Medfield, MA; FMI or to register: Call 781784-4944 or email

June 4; Political Forum: Defending Transgender Equality in Massachusetts – A Public Discussion on the Repeal of the Public Accommodations Ballot Question; 6p; District Hall; 75 Northern Ave. Boston; FMI: https://bit. ly/1XQklpO

June 5; Pride Lights at the BCA: Honoring Those We Lost to the HIV/ AIDS Epidemic; 7p; BCA Plaza; Tremont St; Free; FMI: https://

More on page 46

S Senior Event

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I am voting


Kimberley Driscoll

Ana Nuncio

Co-Chair, Massachusetts Mayors for Freedom


uphold trans protections Mayor, City of Salem &

Member, Salem School Committee member & President, Latino Leadership Coalition “Our vote will affirm our belief in the dignity of every person. Transgender people are particularly vulnerable in today’s political climate, and we need to take a stand to protect them. We can do this through our vote on the ballot question. We know better, so we can DO better on behalf of every person in our Commonwealth.”

More on page 47

“I’m voting yes this November because our Commonwealth is a place where we should embrace the notion that all people deserve the same protections and same rights no matter who they are or how they identify. Every day, every resident of Salem has the peace of mind in knowing that they are protected in Massachusetts, everywhere they go, and I am proud of that fact. As a city, our unique history lends Salem a particular understanding of how critically important it is that no one be targeted or singled out for different treatment under the law just because of who they are. I’m voting yes to uphold these protections in November, I hope you will do so, as well.”

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June 6; LGBTQ Multi-School Mixer; 6-9p; Ca-

June 8; Mayor’s Pride Luncheon; Join Ethos, thedral Station; 1222 Mayor Martin Washington St, BosJ. Walsh and ton; Free; Multi-school the Elderly meet-up! Celebrate Commission; Boston Pride Week & S 11:30a - 2:30p; meet LGBTQ alumni & allies from a multitude of colleges & universities. FMI: https://bit. ly/2IE5Oyu

June 6; Holyoke’s Rainbow Supper Club; S 4:30-8p; Din-

ner served @ 5:30, Dancing till 8; Holyoke Council on Aging; 291 Pine Street, Holyoke, MA; $2.25 Suggested donation for people ages 60+ ($6 under 60); No one turned away; FMI: Nutrition Dept. 413-538-9020; Email:

June 7; Pride Night at Fenway Park; Boston Red Sox take on the Detroit Tigers; 7:10-11p; FMI: kl8Gd9

Venezia on the Water; 20 Ericsson St. in Dorchester, for their Annual Pride Luncheon for LGBT Seniors, their Friends, Allies and Supporters; No cost to attend this event but you must RSVP by 5p on June 1st, or sooner, to reserve your place, as space is limited and tickets go fast! RSVP: or call 617.477.6606.

June 8; LGBTQ Pride Celebration: Shabbat Potluck Dinner; 6:30-8:30p; Open Spirit; 39 Edwards St, Framingham; FMI:

June 8; Boston Dyke March; Bos-


non-commercial, community-centered, grassroots, inclusive pride event. The Dyke March is for everyone: dykes, lesbians, non-binary people, queers, bisexuals, trans* folks, genderqueers, and allies! People of all ages, genders, races, orientations, religions, and abilities are welcome and encouraged to attend. FMI: https://bit. ly/2FtcvwM

Boston Dyke March Schedule

6p: Gather at the Parkman Bandstand (Boston Common Gazebo), listen to music, buy merch, and prepare to march; 7p: Step off the Common and march through Downtown Boston (accessibility vehicle available); 8p: Return to Common for more music, speakers, and fun! 9:45p: Head to the Official Dyke March After party (details below).

ton; Join thousands of LGBTQ people More on page 48 marching in community for the Boston TRANS Dyke March - a free, S Senior Event Event

46 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018

I am voting

Yes to

uphold trans protections

Fara Wolfson

Co-Chair of Salem No Place for Hate, Veteran teacher (20+ years)

“In November, I will absolutely vote YES to uphold transgender protection in Massachusetts because the words liberty, justice and equality mean something to me. I believe that if you are truly committed to the struggle for equal rights, there is no other option.”

Scot Sternberg

Jeff Cohen

“Protect freedom to be who we/they are; Recognize strength & resiliency we/ they bring; Opt for rights for all!”

Proud that the Non-Discrimination Ordinance that passed Salem City Council unanimously in 2014 and included transgender and gender

Founding Member of Progressive Salem

Co-Chair, Salem No Place for Hate Committee

see yes on page 49

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June 8; Official Dyke March After-Party;

9p-1a; Bella Luna & Milky Way Lounge, The Brewery 284 Amory Street Jamaica Plain; Dance/Dine/ Drink your way into Pride weekend with DJ Maryalice; 21+, Wheelchair Accessible, All Gender Bathrooms, Advanced tix required; $10/15 (included VIP Weekend Pass); FMI: https://bit. ly/2KGVxxM

June 9; Cambridge Pride Brunch; 9-11a;

Cambridge City Hall; 795 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge; Special event honoring the recipients of the LGBTQ+ Commission Community Recognition Award, the Bayard Rustin Service Award and the Rose Lipkin Scholarship Award; FMI: https://

June 9; LUSH: Official Womxn Pride Party- New Location; 9p-2a; ICON Nightclub, 100 Warrenton St Boston; 21+, All Gender

Bathrooms; $20 (included VIP Weekend Pass); Longest running & award winning womxn/queer pride party in Boston; FMI:

June 9; 41th Annual LGBTQ Pride Interfaith Service; 10-11a; Union Church; 485 Columbus Ave. Boston; FMI: https://bit. ly/2s2LtHP

June 9; Pride Morning Worship; 11a; Old South

Church; 645 Boylston St, Boston; Honoring Freedom For All Massachusetts; FMI:

June 9; Boston Pride Parade;

12 Noon; Copley Square to City Hall Plaza; Staging 7:3011a; Free; Rain or Shine; FMI: https://bit. ly/1AunGSV

June 9; Boston Pride Festival;

11a-6p; City Hall Plaza; FMI: https://bit. ly/1JMoTq8

June 9; Boston


Pride Youth Dance; 6-10p; City

Hall Plaza, Under the Tent; FMI: https://bit. ly/1JbW9H4

June 9; LGBT Senior Pride Trolley’s at Boston Pride Parade;

9-11a; Meet in Copley Square* Ride on 1 of the LGBT Senior Pride Coalition’s two Old Town Trolleys; RSVP to reserve your seat: 617.927.6417 S

June 10; The Official Boston Pride Closing Party; 9p-2a; Close

out Boston Pride 2018 in style at The Grand; 58 Seaport Blvd. Suite 300, Boston; This club is unlike ANYTHING Boston has seen before. Opening set by DJ Andrea Stamas; Tix $20 in advance/$25 at the door at https://; All proceeds to benefit Boston Pride; Limited VIP Tables available; To Reserve: Jhanley@; FMI:

S Senior Event

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June 10; PrEP for Pride Community Boat Cruise; 7-10p; 60

Rowes Whrf, Boston; Free but you must register to attend; Geared towards the celebration of queer communities of color & their contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS; Cruise Ship: M/V Music City Queen; 21+ (ID required for alcohol consumption); FMI:

June 10; JP Outdoor Block Party with the Divas, Dogs & Drag Show; 2-8p;


to drink; WheelLater street morphs chair Accessible; All into one giant dance Gender Bathrooms; floor w/special live $15 ($5 goes to the performance by New Comm. Fund); 2-3p Fame; FMI: https://bit. DJ Maryalice features ly/2GCfhQO throwbacks from the 60s/70s/80s; Kids big June 10; Trans and small enjoy the Picnic and Kidz Corner w/face Protest (Pride painting and dress Portland); 2-5p; up selfie booth! The Lincoln Park, Maine; 6th Annual Divas, FMI: https://bit. Dogs & Drag Show; ly/2kheWdK 3p; rescue dogs for adoption showcased More on page 55 by drag performers; FB Page will post photos/bios of the TRANS S Senior Event Event dogs showcased;

1 Perkins St (entrance Hyde Square side), Jamaica Plain; 21+

Yes from page 47 identity started in our Committee, we believe that we need to move forward and make sure that transgender people are not subjected to the discrimination, harassment and stigma they will endure without. We support trans equality and justice.”

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Gavin Grimm! A BIG win for Trans Students due to Grimm’s efforts

“The district court’s ruling vindicates what Gavin has saying from the beginning,” said ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Joshua Block. “Federal law protects Gavin and other students who are transgender from being stigmatized and excluded from using the same common restrooms that other boys and girls use. These sorts of discriminatory policies do nothing to protect privacy and only serve to harm and humiliate transgender students.”

54 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018

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June 13; Gen Silent Screening @ The FORUM; S 7-9p; McCarthy

Center; Framingham State University, 100 State St, Framingham; Join BayPath Elder Services & Framingham State Univ. for a special screening of Gen Silent & discussion w/ film’s Director; Free; Snacks; FMI: 508-5737288

June 13; Growing with Pride: Navigating Your Career While LGBTQ;

6-8p; HubSpot; 2 Canal Park, Cambridge; Free; FMI: https://

June 13; MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth Meeting; 6-8p;

Health Policy Commission (50 Milk St, 8th Floor, Boston); Fiscal year 2019 and upcoming year plans; FMI:

June15; Trans Allyship Work-

shop; Portland

Pride! FMI: https://bit. ly/2s0ljGF

June 16; Boston Prime Timers Special Presentation; 2-5p; Club

Café; 209 Columbus Ave, Boston; Special presentation to the 5 remaining founding members; Musical drag show by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Free; FMI: c98VAA


June 16; Rhode Island Pride’s 43rd Annual PrideFest & Illuminated Night Parade!; 11a-9:30p; South Water St; Providence; FMI: https://

June 16; Pride Portland! Festival; 1-5p; Deering Oaks Park, Portland, Maine; FMI: https://


:30p; Portland, Maine; FMI:

June 20; Kathy Griffin: Laugh Your Head Off World Tour;

6:30-8:30p; The Vets; 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence; FMI:

June 27; Trans Potluck PicnicLewiston;

5:30-7:30p; 120 Park Street, Lewiston, Maine; Local trans community and allies for a fun potluck picnic in Kennedy Park; FMI:

June 30; MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth Health Event; YWCA, Worcester; 1-4p; Youth speakers & community organizations talking about LGBTQ youth health and health access; FMI: dharani.persaud@

More on page 56

June 16; March for Trans JusS Senior Event tice; 10:30a-1-


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Aug. 2-4; Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference; Mazzoni

Center; Pennsylvania Convention Center - 129 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA; FMI: https://

Aug. 11-17; PTown Carnival Week – Mardi Gras by the Sea!; Commercial St, Provincetown MA; FMI:

Aug. 12; Carnival Pride Flag Raising Ceremony; 10a; FMI: https://

Aug. 11; TriState Prime Timer Anniversary Party; 11a4p; MA, CT & RI to S celebrate the An-

niversary of the founding of the Prime Timers; 12 Acres Farm; Smithfield, RI; $50; FMI: everharry@

Sept. 8; Burlington VT Pride Parade & Festival;

12-5p; Battery Park; Burlington VT; https://

Sept. 5-9; Worcester

Pride; Parade & Festival; Sept. 8; FMI: https://bit. ly/2KqzwV0

October 27; RAVEN: 20th Annual Raven Halloween Costume Ball; 9p-1a;

prize packages for the Top 3 costumes (or group costumes); FREE professional Tarot Readings; $20 Adv Tix Recommended; 21+; Milky Way at The Brewery 284 Amory Street Jamaica Plain MA; FMI: 617.524.6060 or

SPONSORED PRIDE: North Shore Pride

June 2; Dance Your #TrueSelf/Zumba Alejandro for North Shore Pride; 9-11a; Join us

for a special Pride-edition Zumba class with Zumba Alejandro & guest instructors Chris Tognazzi and Ashley Springett to benefit North Shore Pride. Salem State University South Campus Gym; Family-friendly, $10 suggested donation at the door, rainbow attire encouraged;


June 10; A Celebration of Pride & History at Beauport; 11a3p; Celebrate Pride Month at Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House & learn all about the rich history of embedded within its walls & get a glimpse into the life of a gay man in the early twentieth century: celebrated interior designer; 75 Eastern Point Blvd, Gloucester; Familyfriendly, $20 Historic New England & North Shore Pride members/$25 non members; FMI: 978283-0800 or https://

Trans Pride Roundup

June 17: Los Angeles; FMI: https://goo. gl/e4VK3G June 22: Seattle; FMI: qEAkZL June 22: San Francisco; FMI: https://

More on page 58

S Senior Event

56 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018


Be Authentically You.

Learn More at New England Pride Guide 2018 • The Rainbow Times • • 57

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June 21; North Shore Pride Interfaith Celebration; 6-9p;

Join North Shore Pride for the annual Interfaith Celebration which brings people from many different backgrounds and belief systems together under one roof to celebrate faith, love & pride in a safe & inclusive environment; Tabernacle Congregational Church, 50 Washington St. Salem, MA; Family-friendly, free to attend; https://

June 22; The Rainbow Times Kick-Off Sunset Cruise to Benefit North Shore Pride; 7-9:30p; DJ Andrea Stamas; SOLD OUT. FMI:

June 23; North Shore Pride Parade & Festival; 12-5p; Salem Commons Park; Grand Marshall actress/ comedian Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch); New extended parade

route & several cash prize categories for parade participants. Radio personality Angie C. of WZLX will emcee the festival on Salem Common w/ Live entertainment by local music acts, a dedicated kid-zone, beer tent, food trucks & dozens of vendor tables w/the best local LGBTQ-inclusive companies and organizations; Familyfriendly; Free; FMI:

June 23; North Shore Pride Youth After Party at nAGLY;

5-8:45p; Museum Place Mall; 2 East India Square Suite #121, Salem; immediately following the North Shore Pride festival; Pizza; snacks; Dance party; Free; FMI: or 978-224-2102

June 23; Official North Shore Pride After Party; 4-8p; DJ Andrea Stamas returns to rock the dance floor on the patio at Murphy’s


Pub for the Official NSP After-Party; 300 Derby St. Salem; 21+ only; Free; includes 1st floor patio party w/dancing; $10 cover includes access to air-conditioned 2nd floor bars during After-Party (4-8p) & admission to the After-After-Party (8pclose) in the upstairs club room w/a comedy show by Caroline Rhea & more dancing with DJ Andrea until close; $20 VIP admission includes exclusive meet-and-greet with Caroline after show; FMI: https://bit. ly/2s3l10K

June 24; North Shore Pride Closing Tea Dance; 2-6p;

Flatbread Company; 311 Derby St, Salem; Close out North Shore Pride weekend, say goodbye to NSP 2018, at the Closing Tea Dance with music by Boston favorite DJ Jim Clerkin; 10% of profits from all pizzas sold go to NSP; Family-friendly; Free; FMI:

More on page 59

58 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018

June 24; HABIT Tea Pride Edition – New Fame ft. DJ Andrea; & the North Shore LGBTQ Social Network present a special Pride edition of their HABIT Tea series to benefit NSP; 9 Wallis in downtown Beverly’s Arts District; Performances by New Fame; music by DJ Andrea Stamas; food, Rasta Pasta; beverages for purchase; 18+; Tix $15, https:// or 978525-9093

June 16-17; Denver PrideFest; FMI: p1MwhS

June 23-24; NYC Pride; FMI: https://

June 23-24; San Francisco Pride; FMI: https://

June 23-24; Twin Cities Pride; FMI:

more prides

June 24; Seattle Pride; FMI: https://

June 22-24;

June 7-10; Capital Pride; FMI:

Pride Toronto; FMI: tskwG4

July 13-15; San Diego Pride; FMI:

Aug. 9-19; Montreal Pride & Parade; FMI: https://

*Check dates and information with each organization prior to attending. The Rainbow Times is not responsible for date changes or overall changes from the Trans Pride events listed above.

June 9-July 7; London Pride Festival & Parade; FMI: https://

June 24; Pride Puerto Rico; FMI:

June 9-10; Los Angeles Pride; FMI: vYszxg

June 10; Philly Pride; FMI: https://

June 16-17; Chicago Pride Festival; Chicago; FMI:

New England Pride Guide 2018 • The Rainbow Times • • 59

PROUDLY by your side everyday

60 • • The Rainbow Times • New England Pride Guide 2018

Advertising Index

Good Vibrations | p2 Boston Gay Men’s Chorus | p3 STCC | p4 Freedom for All Massachusetts | p5 Attorney General Maura Healey | p7 Boston Elder Info | p7 Treasurer Deb Goldberg | p8 Speaker Bob DeLeo | p9 Mayor Marty Walsh | p9 Fenway Health | p11, p15, p22 Congressman Mike Capuano | p12 Senator Elizabeth Warren | p13 Secretary of State Bill Galvin | p14 Boston City Councillor Tim McCarthy | p16 Congressman Joe Kennedy | p16 Governor Charlie Baker/Karyn Polito | p17 Senate President Harriette Chandler | p18 5 Star Travel/Tzell New England | p19 Boston Medical Center/Project Trust | p21 State Representative Liz Malia | p22 Cooley Dickinson Hospital | p23 Brattleboro Retreat | p25 Dignity Boston | p26 Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital/Partners Health Care | p27 Liquor Land | p29 Triangle Program, The | p30 Network La Red, The | p31 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute | p33 OutMetroWest | p34 Trans Wellness Conference | p35 Atrius Health | p37 State Representative Paul Tucker | p39 Mayor Kimberley Driscoll | p39 North Shore Pride | p40 Salem Cycle | p43 Popped! | p43 Salem Chamber of Commerce | p43 Independent Living Center of the North Shore & Cape Ann | p45 Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth | p43 Highlands Inn, The | p49 Justice of the Peace, Laura Assade | p50 New England Dog Biscuit Company | p50 Boston Pride Closing Party at The Grand | p51 The Car Buff | p51 Mercy Tavern | p53 Northey Street House Bed & Breakfast | p54 Project OUT | p57 XClinc, Codman Square Health Center | p59 Rainbow Times, The | p60 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center | p62 Grassroots Campaigns | p62 Eastern Bank .... Inside back cover Montreal Pride ...... Back Cover

New England Pride Guide 2018 • The Rainbow Times • • 61

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Profile for The Rainbow Times

New England Pride Guide 2018  

Boston-based, this is our yearly Pride Guide, the largest and farthest-reaching of its kind in New England. This year's theme is "Pride Revo...

New England Pride Guide 2018  

Boston-based, this is our yearly Pride Guide, the largest and farthest-reaching of its kind in New England. This year's theme is "Pride Revo...