__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1


2 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

Celebrating the Holidays during COVID-19 — hope is on the horizon soon By: Nicole Lashomb* TRT Editor-in-Chief

A

s COVID-19 continues to surge through the commonwealth and the rest of the country, the Holidays undoubtedly look and feel different this year. Many Americans are struggling through this pandemic without accesses to food stability, housing security, etc. They have experienced job loss and, most importantly, the loss of loved ones. It is no wonder the American Psychological Association (APA) has deemed that a majority of Americans are suffering from some form of depression and anxiety compounded by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. “Prior to COVID, a large portion of Americans were affected by mental health and substance-use disorders. And they’re really still not receiving the care they need and now with COVID, it’s really only exacerbated those problems … There’s stress, there’s isolation and trauma from what is going on today,” said (https://bit.ly/3m3esFm) Kristin Kroeger, chief of policy programs and partnerships at the APA. And, no one is immune to it. Not long ago, former First Lady Michelle Obama openly discussed her “low-grade depression” on her podcast, which reared its head as a result of the coronavirus and racial tensions across the country. Millions of others are in the very same predicament. “One in three Americans is dealing with symptoms of stress or anxiety,” according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics (BNCHS), the American Medical Associa-

PRESIDENT ELECT JOE BIDEN LEVELED WITH US ABOUT COVID & AS BLEAK AS HIS WORDS SOUNDED, IT WAS REFRESHING TO HEAR TRUTH TELLING & CALLING THIS BEAST FOR WHAT IT IS. YES, I AM STILL SPEAKING OF THE PANDEMIC. tion (AMA) noted on its website (https://bit.ly/3m69bNf). Former AMA President Patrice Harris, MD, MA, commended the former First Lady for her forthrightness. “Stigma has surrounded mental health for years,” Harris said, particularly among African Americans and Latinx [individuals]. “Now, with increased stressors such as job loss and financial insecurity, as well as the physical distancing required to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the risk of depression and anxiety is even more prevalent. Having a recognizable figure such as Michelle Obama openly acknowledge her struggles is helpful to dispel stigma.” To all of that, add the consistent attacks on democracy and political instability that are filling the airwaves, the media, and social media. It is truly a recipe for disaster. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is looking promising and the commonwealth is expected to distribute 60,000 of them initially to the state’s most vulnerable popu-

lations, according to a press briefing by Mass Gov. Charlie Baker. Although we are not there just yet, there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel. But, keep your eyes and minds open to any side effects that could arise from it too. We want to be optimistic but well informed, not ill-informed. Yesterday, President Elect Joe Biden leveled with us about the coronavirus and, as bleak as his words sounded, it was refreshing to hear truth telling and calling this beast for what it is. Yes, I am still speaking of the pandemic. Recently, Biden warned that a “very dark winter” is coming as the U.S. coronavirus case count nears 10 million, US News reported (https://bit.ly/3oAhKBO). Biden’s team, which is also so far, arguably the most diverse team ever seen in the history of presidential appointments, has also developed a widespread distribution strategy so that the first 100 million vaccines are distributed within his first 100 days. Likewise, there will be a federal

Onward children of the cosmos; there’s still work to do BUT 1 THING IS CLEAR, THERE IS A SUBTLE TREND ver the course of several years, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of mar- TO CURTAIL LGBTQ+ CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER THE riage equality (https://nyti.ms/340My70), this column has gently reminded readers and particularly activists not to be lulled FALSEHOOD THAT SUCH RIGHTS ARE UNDERMINinto a false sense of security. Changing hearts and minds can be even more important than court or legislative victories. ING THE RELIGIOUS FAITH OF OTHERS. The Supreme Court’s new super conser-

By: Paul P. Jesep* TRT Columnist

O

vative majority coupled with the appointment of over 200 lower federal court conservative judges in the last four years stems, in part, from the false narrative religious liberty is under threat. Justices Clarence Thomas (https://reut.rs/37JR8HI) & Samuel Alito (https://nyti.ms/2VZOOa9) publicly suggested marriage equality should be overturned having been erroneously decided. Justice Brett Kavanaugh (https://bbc.in/3n2ak9T) did not commit to recognizing marriage equality as settled law during his confirmation hearings. Justice Amy Coney Barrett (https://nyti.ms/3n47bq7) is open to reviewing and overturning precedent. Now that the judiciary is firmly in the hands of the right, so-called religious lib-

erty will be further “protected.” Increasingly, religious liberty is being used to show mainstream America that restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights are reasonable and necessary. There’s a perception religious liberty will balance everyone’s needs and interests. Sadly, religious liberty is a cover for religious oppression. Whether the Supreme Court will overturn marriage equality is too soon to tell. But one thing is clear, there is a subtle trend to curtail LGBTQ+ civil rights under the falsehood that such rights are undermining the religious faith of others. A bake shop (https://nbcnews.to/3qI4vB2) open to the public, for example, can now discriminate against who receives a wedding cake based

on religious liberty. Could a Christian town clerk refuse to issue a marriage license to a man and woman who are Wiccan or Pagan? Where will it end? What about the religious liberty of LGBTQ+ Americans and straight Americans who support LGBTQ+ rights? According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, approximately half of LGBTQ+ Americans consider themselves moderately or highly religious. No one talks very much about why a LGBTQ+ Episcopalian has a claim to religious liberty. It’s an overlooked, very important talking point for activists. Read the rest of this story at TheRainbowTimesMass.com

mask mandate for 90 days, which is a strategy that will allow the nation to lower it’s COVID-19 numbers, CNN reported. By this point we all should be well aware that wearing a mask, socially distancing and hand washing are our most effective tools to prevent the spread of this virus that has already claimed the lives of more than 270 million Americans. Of the national mask mandate, Biden argued that this step, in combination with the other COVID-19 safety protocols, will “allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help ‘get our country back on track,’” Axios reported (https://bit.ly/39XXzts). In the words of our President-Elect “Be a Patriot” and wear a mask. We owe it to our family and friends, our neighbors and all of the health care professionals and Read the rest of this story at TheRainbowTimesMass.com

Multiple Award Winning

The Rainbow Times The Largest LGBTQ+ Newspaper in New England—Boston Based TheRainbowTimesMass.com editor@therainbowtimesmass.com sales@therainbowtimesmass.com Phone: 617.444.9618 Fax: 928.437.9618 Publisher Graysen M. Ocasio

Chris Gilmore Audrey Cole

Editor-In-Chief Nicole Lashomb

Crossword Puzzle Artist/Designer Luciano Spanto

Assistant Editor Mike Givens National/Local Sales Rivendell Media Liz Johnson

Ad & Layout Design Prizm PR Webmaster Jarred Johnson

Photographer Jenna Joyce

Columnistst Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep Mike Givens Keegan O’Brien*

Reporters Mike Givens

*Guest Columnist

Lead Photographers Steve Jewett Christine M. Hurley

The Rainbow Times is published monthly by The Rainbow Times, LLC. TRT is an award-winning publication affiliated with QSyndicate. The articles written by the writers, columnists, and correspondents solely express their opinion, and do not represent the endorsement or opinion of The Rainbow Times, LLC or its owners. Send letters to the editor with your name, address and phone number to The Rainbow Times (address shown above), or e-mail any comment/s to the editor-in-chief at: editor@therainbowtimesmass.com. All submissions will be edited according to space constraints. The Rainbow Times, LLC reserves the right not to print any or all content or advertisements for any reason at all. TRT is not responsible for advertising content. To receive The Rainbow Times at your home via regular mail, or through electronic delivery, please visit its website. The whole content and graphics (photos, etc.) are the sole property of The Rainbow Times, LLC and they cannot be reproduced at all without TRT’s written consent. The appearance of names or photographic representations in TRT does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation or gender identity of the named or depicted individuals.


December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 3


4 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021 PHOTO: JO TRIGLIO

Chastity Bowick

Transgender Emergency Fund of MA provides for critical need, love By: Audrey Cole TRT Reporter

Chastity Bowick understands the survival instinct at her core. A trans woman of color, she knows all too well the experience of many—experiencing homelessness and relying on survival sex work as she battled for her life. From the streets to the corner office, Chastity now spearheads the Trans Emergency Fund of Massachusetts, providing assistance she once received from the organization to others in similar predicaments. The Transgender Emergency Fund (TEF) is the “only organization dedicated to supporting low income and homeless Transgender individuals in Massachusetts,” its website read. TEF provides “assistance with homelessness prevention, shelter assistance, nutrition assistance, prescription co-pay assistance and transportation and escort [assistance] to medical appointments,” among other services, as part of the organization’s programming. In this exclusive interview, The Rainbow Times caught up with Bowick, who serves as TEF’s Executive Director and Matisse DuPont, its Organizational Administrator, to find out what the organization is up to this Holiday Season, how they are giving to others in critical need, and how the community can give back to them. Q: What is the mission behind TEF? Bowick and DuPont: The mission of the Transgender Emergency Fund is to provide critical assistance and support for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming individuals in Massachusetts. Q: When, why, and how did TEF come to be? Who was the brainchild behind it? A: TEF began in 2008 by founder Jesse Pack and a few others who wanted to help

a homeless Trans woman. They raised more funds than expected and decided to continue assisting Transgender people in Mass. Q: What programs and services do you offer to the trans community? A: The availability of our services is contingent upon available funding. All of our services with descriptions are listed on our website here: https://is.gd/tef_serv. Q: Have the needs of the trans community changed over the years? A: The overall needs of the trans community have increased on all fronts over the years. This is due to increased visibility and discrimination. We have also become more vocal about what we need for survival, which includes housing, employment, and social services. We need to know that we have access to adequate care. Q: Do you find that more trans women, trans men, nonbinary or gender variant folks seek services? A: We have only recently begun to officially collect demographics information, but generally speaking, trans women request assistance more often than any other group we serve. Q: How have the needs of TEF changed during the pandemic? A: We have implemented a wide variety of new services in response to the pandemic. Homelessness prevention requests skyrocketed because of the pandemic, which put a strain on TEF’s available financial services. In May, we implemented a food and personal supplies program with the American Heart Association and About Read the rest of this story at The Rainbow Times’ website


TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 5

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

Boston Pride’s apology results in backlash again; P4TP and other PoC weigh in After racist allegations through the years, others & new org. believe BP should let PoC lead going forward By: Chris Gilmore & Audrey Cole TRT Reporters

IN THE LIMELIGHT

BOSTON—Last week Boston Pride (BP) issued a press release letting the LGBTQ+ community know that the organization is undergoing a transformation to take responsibility for “their actions.” Their actions involve a series of events including what has been explained as a “unilateral decision to remove any reference of Black Lives Matter” from an official “statement on police brutality after the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade,” that lead to the resignation of 80 percent of Boston Pride’s volunteer workforce in June 2020, according to a former statement from Jo Triglio (they/them), past Boston Pride Communications team and cofounder of Pride 4 The People (P4TP). “… the [Boston] Pride Board … rewrote a statement, written by the Communications Team, condemning unjust, racist police violence, and posted it without consulting the Chair of Black Pride or the Communications Team. The statement was met with public outrage over Boston Pride’s persistent and ongoing neglect of issues of racism

tribution of power within the organization, nor to the majority vote of the current Board.” Triglio was one of 21 Committee members, chairs and volunteers who walked out this June to protest what they deemed as the BP Board’s erasure of such a relevant and critical statement pertaining BLM, police abuse and the murder of various black men and black people.

PHOTO: TRT ARCHIVES

and white-centeredness,” read Tuesday’s release from Pride 4 the People – Boston, and Trans Resistance MA. P4TP, has since “demanded the current Pride Board to step down” to no avail. The organization, composed of LGBQ+ people of color, BIPOC, QTPOC and allies, “proposed a transition plan to diversify the [Boston Pride] board and rewrite the bylaws to include power sharing, checks and balances, and transparency.” The BP Board has not met nor answered

their demands, “refusing” to do so, instead. “After six months of silence, the Boston Pride Board has released a transformation plan decorated with bells and whistles that attempts to divert attention away from the lack of structural transformation that is being proposed,” read P4TP’s statement. “This proposed ‘transformation’ process is merely a fancy performance designed to protect the absolute and exclusive power of the current board. It includes no structural change: no change to the bylaws, to the dis-

A key resignation TRT learned earlier this week that the only Latinx BP Board member, Marco Torres, has resigned from the Board. Linda DeMarco, BP Board President, confirmed his resignation to this publication. The Rainbow Times has reached out to Torres for a statement and is awaiting a response. A recent video released by DeMarco, has missed the mark again, according to Jeffrey Rogers, a community member from Cambridge, Mass. “The only thing I saw and heard was an arrogant white woman who doesn’t address people of color, nor sounds interested in communicating with any community members over the constant BP abuse of brown, indigenous and black people and their disdain to work with people like me,” said Rogers, a black gay man who protested

See Boston Pride On Page 6


6 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

Boston Pride From Page 5 BP’s corporate friendliness and lack of help to PoC organizations in 2015. “I still don’t see why they haven’t met with the new organization, an organization that would know how to represent us all. To see that would be the beginning of them ‘getting it.’” To clarify BP’s stance and get answers for our readers on why the BP Board had not yet met with community members, TRT sent the organization 6 direct questions* (can be read at the end of this story). However, DeMarco sidestepped them and instead provided a nearly identical answer, focusing on the evolution of the organization with the community, as she had said last week in her statement to the press. “Boston Pride is continuing the ongoing transformation process and the Letter to Our Community issued last week speaks for itself, as does the information put on the website to address the issues facing our organization and our community,” read that reply to the questions asked. “As we said, we’ve heard the concerns of our community, who were disappointed by the Boston Pride Board’s actions this summer, and we’ve been working hard over the last several months to address those concerns in a comprehensive manner.” But the transformation they speak of, some allude, is not enough because they are “dismissive” of the damage inflicted within the community by the division that not entering into a dialogue causes to all parties involved.

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

“THIS IS A GLARING MISTAKE THAT CONTINUES TO BE MADE BY THE BOSTON PRIDE BOARD, ONE THAT DOES NOT REFLECT THE DIVERSE RACIAL, GENDER IDENTITY, & SEXUAL ORIENTATION POPULATIONS IN THE GREATER BOSTON AREA.” “Taking accountability is good,” said Majenta With a J, a gay cis man who is also a drag queen. “But, from what I've seen, the changes they are proposing are ignoring the root problem, and seem unlikely to bring about the change that so many in our community are seeking.” However, DeMarco maintains that they’re working on delivering a cohesive plan, inclusive of all. “Transformation is a process and Boston Pride will continue to evolve as our community evolves,” stated DeMarco via a statement. “We are creating a process that is interactive, representative of our community, transparent, impactful and sustainable. We need broader representation throughout our community, and we are prioritizing the representation of Queer, Transgender/Gender non-binary, Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other people of color on our board, on our committees and at our events.”

Yet others contend that evolving “with” the community is not enough when there is a Board that is not representative of the people it serves. That is what a transgender man and executive director of the Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc., Ben Power, asserts when he refers to the “fact that the Boston Pride board” not “being racially diverse is very problematic and should not exist as such.” “Some or all of the white leadership should step down and make space for BIPOC and QTPOC people who are in a better position to steer the event,” said Power, who is also the Curator, Sexual Minorities Archives. “Boston Pride sets an example for how our diverse communities can either unite or divide against each other. It is unacceptable to privilege the LGBTQIA+ movement over the Black Lives Matter movement, Black Trans Lives Matter movement, and Latinx Pride movements. Indeed, these movements are all in-

terwoven; the Boston Pride board and event should reflect that.” Others say that they have seen Boston Pride struggle with the same issue for too long and that each instance they’re back at step one, not knowing how to properly proceed. “Boston Pride is a reactionary organization,” said JP Delgado Galdamez, Communications Associate at The Network/La Red to TRT earlier this year about the organization’s actions after Floyd’s murder. “Pride didn’t start showing they cared about Black people and People of Color until members of these communities, often also people who are queer and transgender, started doing actions like blocking the parade route. Boston Pride did not read the room when they decided to post a statement that didn’t even meet the lowest bar of them all, saying #BlackLivesMatter.” Transformation, at a cost? In a press statement released in June 2020, Boston Pride spoke of the agency they hired for the task at hand. Dorrington & Saunders, LLC, is an agency that “specializes in transforming organizations to honor and operationalize their social justice missions from theory to application to practice.” Pride 4 the People contends that such funding could have been better put to use locally. “During these challenging times the Boston Pride Board has spent thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, paying a Read the rest of this story at TRT’s website


Study: Nonreligious LGBTQ+ Youth face more discrimination WASHINGTON—Earlier this week, the nonreligious advocacy organizations, American Atheists and the Secular Student Alliance, released The Tipping Point Generation: America’s Nonreligious Youth (https://bit.ly/3m4Ntcy). The report, which draws on survey responses from nearly 34,000 nonreligious participants ages 18 and above, finds that nonreligious LGBTQ 1824 years olds face more discrimination than nonreligious cis, straight youth. “With younger Americans more supportive than older Americans of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections (https://bit.ly/3oCmuaa), we are at a tipping point in this country for greater inclusion. Nonetheless, LGBTQ nonreligious youth still face significantly more hardships than their cis, straight peers,” said Alison Gill, Vice President for Legal and Policy at American Atheists, who herself identifies as trans and lesbian. The Tipping Point Generation report found that LGBTQ youth participants encountered a higher level of family rejection than other youth. LGBTQ youth were more likely to say their families are somewhat or very unsupportive

(40.4%) of their nonreligious identity compared to heterosexual, cisgender youth (34.9%). Increased family rejection correlated with decreased mental health. Youth participants with very unsupportive parents were 45.4% more likely to screen positive for depression than those with very supportive parents, and they scored 9.7% higher on loneliness. Overall, LGBTQ youth participants experienced 9.3% more stigma than cisgender and heterosexual nonreligious youth, who already experience a heightened level of stigma. “LGBTQ organizations must take into account the dual identities of the nonreligious youth they serve—that they often face discrimination for being both LGBTQ and nonreligious,” said Kevin Bolling, Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance, who identifies as gay. “In working with students across the country, I often hear it was ‘easier to come out as LGBTQ to my parents than it was to come out as an atheist’.” Among multiple policy recommendations, The Tipping Point Generation report urges states, school districts, educational institutions, and advocates to work to prevent and repeal any school voucher programs that redirect funds to discriminatory private and religious schools. Voucher programs harm public schools and have a dis-

PHOTO: JORGE SAAVEDRA UNSPLASH

Report states that18-24 year old youth are at higher risk of rejection, more, than their cis, straight peers

IN THE LIMELIGHT

-

TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 7

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

proportionate negative impact on students that more often face religion-based discrimination, including LGBTQ youth, religious minority youth, and nonreligious youth. 86.7% of youth participants identified maintaining secular public schools as a “very important” priority. “As a result of the Supreme Court’s recent Espinoza decision, any state that offers vouchers must also provide them for antiLGBTQ religious schools. We must end

school vouchers programs in every state in the country. There’s no way around it. Until then, taxpayers will keep funding discrimination,” said Gill. In addition to supporting secular schools, 81.7% of youth participants rated LGBTQ equality as a “very important” policy priority. “With nearly half of LGBTQ Americans religiously unaffiliated (https://bit.ly/33UUOFC), as well as the shared goal of ensuring equality, LGBTQ and secular organizations and activists need to strengthen cooperation. LGBTQ youth, religious minorities, and nonreligious youth have increasingly been the target of the same Christian nationalism and religious-based institutionalized discrimination for several decades. Together, we are stronger,” said Bolling. Read The Tipping Point Generation: America’s Nonreligious Youth here (https://bit.ly/33ZRA3t). AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national civil rights organization that works to achieve religious equality for all Americans by protecting what Thomas Jefferson called the “wall of separation” between government and religion created by the First Amendment. We strive to create an environment Read the rest of this story at: where atheism and atheTheRainbowTimesMass.com


8 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

Gay man donates thousands of coats to local orgs., others too By:Audrey Cole TRT Reporter

For years, Lynn, Mass. resident Peter Cipriano has collected items for those in need, selflessly giving of himself and his time to those who need it most. This Holiday Season is no different, as he currently has raked in more than a thousand coats to benefit local Massachusetts’ communities—all while relying on the generosity of strangers, even during a pandemic. This year, Cipriano has shattered his own record. Collaborating with Coats for Kids and an extended partner’s network of local businesses and organizations, Cipriano has become a point person to make it all happen after a friend reached out for his assistance in Lynn. He has been unstoppable ever since. Inspired by his husband’s own legacy of charitable and volunteer giving, Cipriano shares why it is critical that others give too and how it falls upon us all to change our communities through generosity and kindness. “… I am proud of what he does and extra proud that he serves the community this way,” Coco Alinsug said of his husband’s charitable commitment. I am a lucky guy to be married to somebody with a golden heart.” Trying to highlight some of the goodness of the Holiday Season, TRT interviewed Cipriano to find out more about what he’s doing to bring kindness to others this time of the year. TRT: Each year you do a coat drive. You’ve posted on social media that people can drop them at your home and this year. You collected over 1,000 coats for those in need. Who receives this generous donation and how long have you been doing it? PC: The coats go to Anton’s Cleaners where they are cleaned for free. Coats donated to Coats for Kids go directly to the local communities collecting the coats. Once collected and cleaned, coats are distributed free of charge through the Coats for Kids Distribution Partners Network, made up of local nonprofits, schools and social service agencies in New England. I have been collecting coats for the past 5 years. Q: Is this something you do on your own every year or is it a part of a larger organization? A: My friend, Sandi Watkins who owns I Did It Myself Framing got me involved in collecting. I would post on social media that she was collecting winter coats and the donations would start pouring in. She was the drop off point in Lynn and a few years ago she moved away and asked me if I could continue her work and be the drop off location. Sandi would collect the winter coats for the Shoe City Lions/Wyoma Square Lions Clubs who sort through the

PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Holiday inspiration right from the North Shore

Peter Cipriano

coats to make sure they are usable and then drop [them] off at the Lynnfield Anton’s Cleaners where they clean them for free and distribute to local organizations. Q: Why do you put your energy into gathering coats and who benefits from this charitable work? What inspired you to do it? A: I feel if we all put a little bit of energy into helping our communities we could really make a difference. When we all do better, we all do better! Anyone in need of a warm winter coat benefits from this drive. My husband, Coco, has always been my inspiration with community service. Q: Do you think it is important to give during the Holiday Season especially, or year round, or both? A: This year’s coat drive is from Sept. 28, 2020-Jan. 20, 2021, but I collect all year round and store the coats in my basement since Anton’s does not start accepting [coats] until the actual drive starts for that year. Collection all year round makes a huge difference. It has literally doubled the number of coats I have been able to collect. Q: Is it rewarding doing this type of volunteer work? A: Volunteer work is very rewarding. It connects us to our community by improving it and making [it] a better place for us all to live in. Q: When did you first start doing this coat drive? A: I started collecting coats about 5 years ago. Q: Are there other charities that you also support by volunteering your time? A: A couple of other items I collect &could use your help with are: 1. Soda/beer can tabs. These get donated to Read the rest of this story at Shriner’s Burn TheRainbowTimesMass.com


TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 9

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

Justin Utley brings much-needed cheer to the Year with new Holiday single in 2020-21 The singer shows with “All is Bright” that there is still a silver lining to think of this year

I

n “All is Bright,” the first holiday release from the OUTMusic Award winning singer/songwriter, Justin Utley sings how even during these dark and tumultuous times, there’s still a silver lining. “The pandemic has brought people closer together,” he says. “There’s nothing like spending time surrounded by the people who matter most, even if it’s over Zoom.” Written and produced by Utley and T. Harts, “All is Bright” is an optimistic, yet not overly sweet holiday song. Utley describes it as a little-bit of Lumineers/Mumford & Sons mixed in with a lot-a-bit of Justin. “It’s a unique sound that I believe has the makings to become a new holiday favorite.” Justin Utley’s “All is Bright” is being distributed independently and is available on all digital platforms with all presale proceeds benefitting the Homeless Youth Resource Center of Utah. “My favorite Christmas memory is from when I was 8 years old and my family finally got a piano,” Justin recalls. “It was an old Conover upright and it weighed a few tons. I grew up playing it, wrote my first songs on it when I was 12, moved it in and out of a number of apartments before I moved to New York City. My parents still have it at their house today. It’s a nostalgic piece, and means even more to me when I play it.”

Justin Utley PHOTO: NICK SOKOLOFF

Justin Utley was born and raised in Utah. His music career took off when he was selected to perform at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. His single,

“Stand for Something,” won Best Country/Folk Song of the Year at the 2010 OutMusic Awards. SiriusXM’s OutQ Radio later named Justin “Artist of the Year.”

After famously breaking ties with his Mormon roots, Justin became a soughtafter talent, touring Pride Festivals alongside acts like Dan Reynolds, Icona Pop, Tegan & Sara, Margaret Cho and Billy Porter. He regularly provides insight on issues of faith and the LGBTQ community at colleges and universities throughout the USA and has appeared on CNN’s ‘Faces of Faith’ Sunday news segment, NPR, SiriusXM and MSNBC. He is a two-time recipient of the FBI’s “Inspiring Citizen of the Year” award. “All is Bright is about bringing people together to celebrate something meaningful and special,” Justin continues. “I wanted to write a song for the holidays that didn’t have lyrical ties to a specific tradition since we all value different aspects of this time of year.” Justin Utley plans to spend the holidays in Utah with his brother and his brother’s family. Like most of the world, they will not be able to enjoy time with other family members in-person, but they will be sure to gather together over Zoom. Justin Utley’s “All is Bright” is available on all digital platforms, as is his latest album, Stars. Visit Justin Utley’s website @ Justinutley.com. Follow him on Instagram @justinutley and Facebook @justinutleymusic.


10 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

Bye to old Administration; new dawn is coming! By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw* TRT Columnist

I

TRANSGENDER

, for one, am so glad that Biden/Harris b e a t Trump/Pence f o r president/vicepresident of the United States. We can expect that President-elect Biden will roll back Trump’s awful executive orders with executive orders of his own. I expect that transgender people will be allowed to openly serve in the military once again and homeless shelters won’t be able to refuse a spot for transgender people either. Also, I anticipate that the Biden administration will put back gender identity and expression in the government documents that the previous administration scratched us out. It is disgusting how badly LGBTQA+ folks are and were treated under the Trump administration and I'm glad that the Biden administration will see us, know that we exist, and will look out for us. I always cringe when I find out after an election that the Republicans won the presidency, or control of the House or of the Senate. That means trouble for us as LGBTQA+ folks and especially transgender folks because the Republican Party will gladly do the work of the extremist religious groups in return for voter support. Extremist religious groups have always been a thorn in the side of LGBTQA+ peoBy: Luciano Spanto TRT’s Crossword Puzzle Designer

Q-PUZZLE

ACROSS 1 Tea leaves container 4 Org. that currently ranks Novak Djokovic #1 7 Home movie format 10 "If you ask me...", in a chat room 11 Upcoming Ryan Murphy musical about a lesbian teen 13 ___ Lipa ("Don't Start Now" singer) 14 There were multiple ones in a John Waters movie 15 First ever Oscar-nominated actor to come out as transgender 17 No, for Marlene Dietrich 18 Start of many California cities 19 90s British pop group with hit song "5, 6, 7, 8" 21 Italian bills replaced by euros 25 Info. at Logan Airport 27 Email folder 28 Lady Gaga 2020 album 31 Meghan who sang "All About That Bass" 32 Cage of "Moonstruck", familiarly 33 2020 Emmy winner for acting, writing, directing and producing "Schitt's Creek" 34 Opposite of WSW 35 Texting initials 36 "Under the ___" (Oscar-winning song) 37 Orbison who sang "Oh, Pretty Woman" DOWN

ple. They always want to take away our rights. They are not empathetic towards us in the least and they don't even want to affirm our lives. Extremist religious groups are merciless toward LGBTQA+ folk. I do want to clarify that non-extremist religious groups do not fall in the category I mentioned before. Many religious groups solidly support us as one would think a proper religious group would do. These individuals surely are Disciples of Christ or whichever God they follow. And, they do practice what they preach. My heart and love go out to these folks, as does my gratitude for their support. The radical religious groups, however, are another story. They want to keep us down. They want to overturn any and every law that protects trans people and LGBTQA+ people. How do we stop them in their tracks? Don’t ever vote Republican. Always vote Democrat. Now, I know there are people who say that the Democrats and the Republicans are the same and neither are any good and to them, that is probably so. Me? I can see a huge difference between Democrats and Republicans in just the way each treats our community. I feel more at ease knowing that Democrats in power will watch my back as opposed to Republicans in power who will disregard my rights. I do realize that Republicans, (conservatives) and Democrats, (liberals) think differently. Even if you are a conservative LGBTQA+ person please think about the support the Democrats give us and the headaches that the Republicans put us through. If you identify as neither, Democrat nor Republican, then please think about the liberal support for LGBTQA+ people. The Democrats may not be perfect, 1 Future White House inhabitants 2 Lucky charm 3 Alyssa Naeher's position in the US women's national soccer team 4 Prefix for "sphere" 5 "___ So Raven" (Disney Channel sitcom) 6 Mail friend 7 Race won by Jaida Essence Hall this year 8 Viva ___ (by word of mouth) 9 Twitter private chats 12 Elton John and Liberace, for example 16 Facing danger 20 Actresses Emma and Sharon 22 Comedian Carl who passed away in 2020 23 Los Angeles neighborhood 24 Actress Dash of "Clueless" 26 "Bust ___" (Young MC song) 28 Study frantically 29 Fictional villains Gruber or Landa 30 Maisie Williams character in "Game of Thrones" 31 Six point plays in the NFL

but they are far better for LGBTQA+ persons than Republicans. When I first registered to vote back in 1972, I registered as Independent because I mistrusted both the Democrats and the Republicans. I remained Independent until I worked at a local factory that had a union, UAW to be exact. The company had put us in a strike situation and I remember working in the strike lines. The subject of politics came up and an old union member remarked “A working man has no business voting Republican!” I thought about what he said. I told him that I was Independent and he reminded me that I couldn't legally vote in the primaries as an Independent. I thought about that too and I decided to reregister as Democrat. That old union member got through to me. As I mentioned before, the Democratic party might not be the perfect party but they are definitely, hands down, better than the Republican party, especially when it comes to LGBTQA+ people. Please think about that the next time, and every time, you vote. *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a local trans woman who has three grown children, two grandchildren and is retired from 3M. She can be contacted at dejavudeja@sbcglobal.net.

Stay Safe, Stay Well! With Hope of A

Better New Year! THERAINBOWTIMESMASS. COM

“original kink” on black queer experience, vulnerability and masculinity NEW YORK—original kink addresses the stereotype of the Black man as rage-filled, fearful, and hyper masculine. It takes on the stereotype of the Queer man as sensual, vulnerable, and feminine. It is at the intersection of these two interrogations of Black and Queer identity that Jubi ArriolaHeadley flourishes. “[This is not] a white space,” ArriolaHeadley writes, using literal blank spaces within his own anthology to symbolize the blatant reality of Black erasure in the United States. In intertwining the complex theme of Black identity with current political issues such as anti-racism and Black Lives Matter, Arriola-Headley pays tribute to influential Black activists and cultural figures. He dedicates his poems to AIDS activist Craig G. Harris, 1968 Olympians and protesters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, and the long list of unarmed Black individuals killed at the hands of the police. Perhaps the most powerful moments in this collection come when Black and Queer experiences intersect. Arriola-Headley divulges his own experience as a Queer man through explicit and provocative explorations of the Black body. “Here’s how you loved Him: you couldn’t think of Him without a capital H,” Arriola-Headley reminisces in the poem “Puppy Love.” Through blunt, honest prose, he is able to convey the raw, earnest power of queer love. His poetry explores themes of sexual obligation, first and last loves, and even includes a step-by-step

See “original kink” On Page 11


TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 11

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

“original kink” From Page 10 guide to loving your in-laws. By presenting a dimensional and intersectional collection of contemporary poetry, Jubi Arriola-Headley’s original kink serves as a much-needed reflection on being a Black

Queer man in the socio-political climate of 2020. About Jubi Arriola-Headley Jubi Arriola-Headley (he/him) is a Black queer poet, storyteller, and first-generation The rest online at United Statesian who The Rainbow Times


12 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

December 10, 2020 - January 7, 2021

Profile for The Rainbow Times

The Rainbow Times' Dec. 2020 Issue  

Boston-based, The Rainbow Times' Holiday Special Issue is here, highlighting the community and its work, along with highlighting LGBTQ+, QTP...

The Rainbow Times' Dec. 2020 Issue  

Boston-based, The Rainbow Times' Holiday Special Issue is here, highlighting the community and its work, along with highlighting LGBTQ+, QTP...

Advertisement