The Rainbow Times' Feb. 2022 Issue

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2 • The Rainbow Times •

February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022

Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill: A link to Communist principles within the U.S. Many Republican politicians prey on LGBTQI+ children; toy with at-risk lives hanging on in the balance By: Nicole Lashomb* TRT Editor-in-Chief


A Florida bill, coined the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, would ban classroom discussions on LGBTQI+ issues and encourage parents to sue schools or teachers that engage in these topics continues to move through the state’s House and Senate. There is no reason for this bill, other than to appeal to neo-conservative voters. Politicians that use social issues to further discriminate against marginalized people could care less about the health, wellbeing and affirmation of kids that are already severely stigmatized in schools across the United States, especially in states like Florida. The sunshine state is not so sunny for the LGBTQI+ community. It pales in comparison to others offering nearly no statewide protections for queer people, let alone for LGBTQI+ kids in school who, often, are desperate for any kind of support and acceptance. When this bill was brought to light in late January, the Biden administration denounced it on the basis that it already targets vulnerable student populations while also noting that these efforts are anti-LGBTQI+. “Today, conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack the kids who need support the most — LGBTQI+ students, who are already vulnerable to bullying and violence just for being themselves," the White House statement declared regarding the atrocious bill. "But make no mistake — this is not an isolated action. Across the country, we’re seeing Republican leaders take actions to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be." Bullying All children, not just those who conform to cisgender and heterosexual expectations and identities, should be protected within the walls of schools, just as every race, ethnicity, religion, and status should be equally protected as well. However, bullying, harassment and abuse of others does not arise from children. Innately, children are predisposed to be accepting of differences. Countless studies have been conducted to substantiate that. They are inquisitive to learn about the world around them, including from other people who may be different to them. Bullying is a pandemic that has ravaged us for centuries and is a long cry from COVID-19. The country has faced this devastating pandemic since Columbus colonized the United States. The ever-morphing virus that has eaten away at the soul of this country from the beginning feeds off of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and a

radicalization of religion that twists and contorts words to suit political and societal driven superiority. The problem does not arise from children, but rather their parents, religious leaders, and a society that chastises, belittles, and casts stones toward anyone who is not considered to be a part of the ruling majority. In this case, politicians prey on innocent and vulnerable children to gain votes, according to what they think may be popular with local ideologies. Rather than using their pulpit to declare protection for all kids, for their safety, and their right to be who they are, affirming their authentic identity and supporting inclusion, they choose to chip away at the souls of innocent children instead. “We have to create a learning environment where they [school kids] feel safe and healthy, or it’s not an effective learning environment,” said Heather

who they are, and to simply accept a society that murders their spirit, one cut at a time because it tells them you’re not worth it. Is it surprising that suicide rates amongst LGBTQI+ children and youth is astronomically disproportionate to mainstream youth? In these cases, these kids aren’t taking their own lives, society has already done that for them by annihilating who they are. Just like kids in schools are not taught the truth behind the colonization of the United States, how it resulted in the slaughtering of Native Americans, how enslaved people had no say in being brought to this land, and how brutal the truths are of the enslaved people that built this country one brick at a time, the Republican “leaders” want to continue to spread fallacies. They also want to wipe out any trace of the LGBTQI+ community too.

Ocock also said the bill erroneously assumes that school kids have a home environment where it is safe to have LGBTQI+-centered discussions. For many of her classmates, she said, the response to the bill is that of fear. “This is really a death sentence. ... they're trying to take a safe space away from children,” she said to CBS. “And also requiring teachers to ‘out’ students to their parents, that just really does not sit well with me because I have a lot of friends and I know a lot of kids in my own GSA that if they were in that situation, where their parents were contacted about who they are, it would be very dangerous for them both mentally and physically.” Intersectionality compounds impact A national research study, Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America, conducted by the University of Chicago found that “young people experiencing homelessness are most

See “Don’t Say Gay” On Page 11


Publisher Graysen M. Ocasio

Photographer Jenna Joyce

Editor-In-Chief Nicole Lashomb

Reporters Chris Gilmore Audrey Cole

Assistant Editor Mike Givens

National/Local Sales Rivendell Media Liz Johnson

Wilkie of the Zebra Coalition, a Central Florida LGBTQ advocacy group. “When you have laws like this that directly attack our kids for who they are, it prevents them from learning. It prevents them from being able to be healthy.” Slaughtering of Native peoples, LGBTQI+ children? The “Don’t Say Gay” bill could serve as a means to completely ban and eradicate LGBTQI+-related education in schools — regardless of its critical importance through history. Recognizing LGBTQI+’s contributions is an honest account of our history and highlights community members who have helped create, develop, and innovate critical advances in science, astronomy and more. This bill would remove any discussion of LGBTQI+ people, regardless of the subject or setting, period. The erasure of the community sends a message to kids to stay hidden, to be ashamed of

Modern day colonization continues, disguised by righteousness, and the colonizers do not care who they need to slaughter in the process to take and maintain power and control. High-School youth’s message; outing students? For Delaney Ocock, a senior at Olympia High School in Orlando, the bill is an “unnecessary” barrier to LGBTQI+ students such as herself from having an essential support system at school, CBS News reported ( “The bill is sending a message to LGBTQ youth that they have something to be ashamed about, that their identities are so taboo that they shouldn't even be talked about in classrooms,” she told CBS News ( “In a world that already shames LGBTQ people enough, children who are learning and developing who they are don't need any more of that stigma.”

Lead Photographers Steve Jewett Christine M. Hurley

Ad & Layout Design Prizm PR Webmaster Jarred Johnson

Columnistst Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep

The Rainbow Times is published monthly by The Rainbow Times, LLC. TRT is an award-winning publication that started printing in late 2006. The 1st print issue was published in Feb. 2007. 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: 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.

February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022 • The Rainbow Times • 3


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AG Maura Healey expands grant to address affordable housing crisis in Mass. Program offers $100K loans to convert abandoned properties into affordable residential units


BOSTON—As part of ongoing efforts to address the state’s housing crisis, Attorney General Maura Healey today announced the expansion of her office’s Abandoned Housing Initiative Receivership Fund (AHIR) grant program to facilitate and incentivize the conversion of blighted properties into affordable housing units across Massachusetts through receivership. Under the expansion, providing a total of $1.5 million in grant funds, AHIR grantees will be able to offer loans up to $100,000 per property to courtappointed receivers if the abandoned property they are repairing is intended to produce an affordable residential unit. The AG’s Office defines an “affordable residential unit” as one with a long-term deed restriction that would require the owner to meet the Income Eligible Household requirements as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ( and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development ( “Our lack of affordable housing has reached a crisis point and has only been made worse by the pandemic,” AG Healey said. “By expanding this already successful grant program, our office will be able to help provide families with more opportunities for safe and affordable housing.” “Since May of 1999, Chelsea Restoration Corporation has been working with the dedication of the Attorney General’s Office to upgrade deplorable abandoned housing into safe homes for Chelsea families,” said Chelsea Restoration Corporation’s Executive Director, Helen Zucco. “With housing court approval, we have been able to repair all of the code violations, update housing taxes and eliminate water liens with the assistance of the funding from the Attorney General’s Office.” “The expansion of this grant will help amplify our work in securing af-

fordable residential units for families through the restoration of abandoned homes in our communities.” said Fall River Community Development Agency’s Executive Director, Mike Dion. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the Attorney General’s Office and will work together to address the affordable housing crisis in Massachusetts.” Launched in 2013, the AHIR grant program has played a critical role in assisting local communities in mitigating the impacts of the foreclosure crisis. The program utilizes funds from the 2012 National Mortgage Fraud Settlement ( unlawful foreclosures to provide financial assistance to receivership projects on abandoned residential properties in Massachusetts. From 2013 to 2017, the AHIR program helped fund $78 million in property rehabilitation efforts, including repairing 88 blighted properties and bringing 181 housing units back into use. The second phase of the program, launched in 2019, provided more than $850,000 in loans to receivers across nine separate projects, altogether rehabilitating approximately 17 housing units. For the newest phase of the program, receivers who work to create affordable housing units can now borrow up to $100,000 with loan forgiveness of up to 30 percent. Receivers who do not create affordable housing units will continue to be able to borrow up to $75,000 and have up to 20 percent of their loans forgiven. Funds for receivership projects are being distributed for use through two grantees — the Chelsea Restoration Corp. (CRC) and the Fall River Community Development Agency. For additional information on the AHIR grant, interested applicants can contact the Chelsea Restoration Corp. at (617) 889-2277, Fall River Community Development Agency at (508) 679-0131, or AG Healey’s Neighborhood Renewal Division at Grants are being funded on a rolling basis through March 2023.

February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022

PTWC 2022 goes virtual, COVID concerns PHILADELPHIA—Mazzoni Center ( today announced it has made the difficult decision to pivot the 2022 edition of its Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference to a virtual format due to concerns over the lingering pandemic. This will be the second year in a row that the conference will not take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where it was held for more than 10 years. The decision was made after extensive discussions among the organization's leadership, with feedback from the Continuing Education Review Committees, the Interdisciplinary Review Committee, external partners, the conference Logistics Coordinator Dani Murano, and more than 400 community members who shared their feedback through a survey. Dani Murano explained, “One of the clearest messages we received from the community survey and community feedback on social-media was a con-

cern for the health and safety of community members for whom exposure to COVID-19 and its variants poses a potentially fatal risk. Historically, attendees and speakers have come from a multitude of locations around the globe. An in-person conference has the potential to increase spread beyond local communities.” Before making a final decision to pivot to a virtual format, the organization, and its partners, looked at ways to make an in-person conference as safe as possible, including increasing preventive measures such as reducing building capacity, implementing social distancing, and utilizing rigorous prescreening for COVID and vaccination status. Hybrid programming was also looked at but was not a viable option for PTWC 2022. While the conference is moving to a virtual format, the conference dates will remain the same: July 21-23, 2022. FMI or for updates, visit

Nondiscrimination Statute Affirmed in CT In friend-of-the-court brief, GLAD urged the Conn. Sup. Court to affirm the state’s nondiscrimination laws, including for LGBTQ people HARTFORD—In recent weeks, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued its ruling ( in Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities v. Edge Fitness et al., finding that Edge Fitness violated Connecticut’s nondiscrimination statute by maintaining a separate workout area for women. The Court found, as GLAD argued in a friend-of-the-court brief ( that the creation of a judge-made exception to the state nondiscrimination law would create a substantial risk that protected groups would be harmed. As the Court explained, authorizing exceptions would permit women and transgender people to be excluded based on “the privacy interests of men or the ‘moral comfort’ of customers,” which “defeats the purpose of our state’s antidiscrimination legislation.” “Connecticut has long been a leader on full and fair inclusion of LGBTQ people in all areas of life,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project Director. “Today’s ruling re-affirms that commitment, and ensures the state’s nondiscrimination law continues to work as intended for all those it was enacted to protect.”

GLAD’s brief was submitted by attorneys Bennett Klein, Jennifer Levi, and Gary Buseck and Kenneth Bartschi of Horton, Dowd, Bartschi & Levesque, P.C. of Hartford. The brief was also joined by Lambda Legal and Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition. Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, GLAD, works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation. • The Rainbow Times • 5

February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022

TikTok’s new policy limits hateful ideologies against women, LGBTQs


Months after working behind the scenes with UltraViolet & GLAAD, TikTok updates plan that opposes harassment, disinformation, misogyny, anti-LGBTQ+ hatred, misgendering, disordered eating content, etc. By: Audrey Cole TRT Reporter

In a recent announcement (, the video-focused social media platform TikTok released an updated user policy now expressly featuring limitations on ‘misogyny’ and anti-discrimination protections for transgender people, including a prohibition on misgendering and deadnaming. TikTok also announced they will start to remove the promotion of disordered eating content, conversion therapy programs, etc. TikTok implemented the changes after campaigns by UltraViolet, GLAAD, and other groups urged the platform to start taking more responsibility for algorithmic issues and protecting users. “TikTok has become a little safer for women, girls, LGBQ and trans people …" said Bridget Todd, Communications Director at UltraViolet, a national gender justice advocacy group. “We applaud TikTok for responding effectively to our recommendations and implementing them into an updated, more protective user policy. Even so, it’s clear social media platforms have a long way to go across the board. LGBQ+, Transgender, Women “Social media is nearly ubiquitous in modern life. Which is exactly why we can’t allow social media companies to tacitly condone disinformation, racist, misogynistic, homophobic or transphobic attacks — this announcement suggests that TikTok executives agree,” added Todd. “When anti-transgender actions like misgendering or deadnaming, or the promotion of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ occur on platforms like TikTok, they create an unsafe environment for LGBTQ people online and too often lead to real world harm,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “TikTok’s move to expressly prohibit this harmful content in its Community Guidelines and to adopt recommendations made in GLAAD’s 2021 Social Media Safety Index raises the standard for LGBTQ safety online and sends a message that other platforms which claim to prioritize LGBTQ safety should follow suit with substantive actions like these.” TikTok’s post announcing the new policies, written by Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s Head of Trust and Safety, explained where the company is headed with this update to their community guidelines. “Though these ideologies have long been prohibited on TikTok, we've heard from creators and civil society organizations that it's important to be explicit in our Community Guidelines, read Keenan’s post


( “On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform,” The blog conveyed the main updates to the policy as stated via the blog and found below: • Strengthening dangerous acts and challenges policy. “We continue to enact the stricter approach we previously announced to help prevent such content - including suicide hoaxes - from spreading on our platform. This previously sat within our suicide and self-harm policies, but will now be highlighted in a separate policy category with more detail so it's even easier for our community to familiarize themselves with these guidelines. As part of our ongoing work to help our community understand online challenges and stay safe while having fun, we've worked with experts to launch new videos from creators that call on our community to follow four helpful steps when assessing content online stop, think, decide and act. Community members can also view these videos at our #SaferTogether hub on the Discover page over the next week.” • Broadening the approach to eating disorders. “While we already remove content that promotes eating disorders, we'll start to also remove the promotion of disordered eating. We're making this change, in consultation with eating disorders experts, researchers, and physicians, as we understand that people can struggle with unhealthy eating patterns and behavior without having an eating disorder diagnosis. Our aim is to acknowledge more symptoms, such as overexercise or shortterm fasting, that are frequently under-recognized signs of a potential problem. This is an incredibly nuanced area that's difficult to consistently get

right, and we're working to train our teams to remain alert to a broader scope of content.” • Adding clarity on the types of hateful ideologies prohibited on the platform. “This includes deadnaming, misgen-

dering, or misogyny as well as content that supports or promotes conversion therapy programs. Though these ideologies have long been prohibited on TikTok, we've heard from creators and civil society organizations that it's important to be explicit in our Community Guidelines. On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform.” • Expanding the policy to protect the security, integrity, availability, and reliability of the platform. “This includes prohibiting unauthorized access to TikTok, as well as TikTok content, accounts, systems, or data, and prohibiting the use of TikTok to perpetrate criminal activity. In addition to educating our community on ways to spot, avoid, and report suspicious activity, we're opening state-of-the-art cyber incident monitoring and investigative response centers in Washington DC, Dublin, and Singapore this year. TikTok’s Fusion Center operations enable follow-the-sun threat monitoring and intelligence gathering, as we continue working with industry-leading experts to test and enhance our de-

See TikTok On Page 11

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February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022

The super-straight Super Bowl is queerer than you think By: Mikey Rox* Special for TRT



he NFL, like most professional sports leagues in America, is notorious for its lack of LGBTQ+ representation and infamous for its rampant internal homophobia, which the NFL itself denies but that gay former players have confirmed exists. We all know it anyway. Acceptance of homosexual and bisexual sports stars — even in hyper-masculine football — is becoming more commonplace, however, and if you need proof, just look at the Super Bowl. Queer people have been scoring big for visibility at the big game for the past few years, a trend that we hope continues at LVI on February 13 and well into the future. In the meantime, here are a few proverbial touchdowns for the queer community in NFL world championship history and beyond.

Four known gay players have appeared in Super Bowls past Although the 2010s failed to produce a self-identified queer player who made a Super Bowl appearance, the previous four decades didn’t disappoint. Washington Redskins tight


More LGBTQ+ inclusive ads, gay players & cheerleaders, queer artists, openly gay & female coaches

end Jerry Smith (Super Bowl VII, 1972), New York Giants offensive lineman Roy Simmons (Super Bowl XVIII, 1983), Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo (Super Bowl XXXIII, 1998), and New England Patriots offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan (Super Bowl XLII, 2007)

have all competed for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy, albeit before coming out publicly post-NFL career. In total, 15 NFL-ers have come out as gay or bisexual after their league careers ended, and only one – Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib – has come out while active; he made history on Sept. 13, 2021, as the first openly gay player to appear in a regular season game in the NFL’s 101-year history. Super Bowl ads are more LGBTQ+ inclusive than ever before Fifteen years ago, Snickers aired a spot featuring two men ripping out their chest hair to prove how not queer they were after accidentally kissing while trying to eat a candy bar, and you can bet your ass hair that GLADD and the HRC had something to say about it. Fast forward to 2021, and those protests were exchanged for praise at the level of LGBTQ+ inclusivity during the year’s most-watched sportscast, with Super Bowl ads starring openly

queer product promoters, including Lil Nas X, “Queer Eye”’s Jonathan Van Ness, drag queens Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, and YouTuber/late-night host Lilly Singh shilling everything from Pop-Tarts to pimple cream. How gay will the costliest commercials of the year get in 2022? Tune in to find out. Modern halftime shows are chockfull of queer artists In 1991, New Kids on the Block kicked off the pop-focused mini-concert halftime shows we enjoy today (prior to the ’90s, most Super Bowl halftime shows featured marching bands and a set list of musical standards performed by lounge acts), and one member, Jonathan Knight, identifies as gay, though he wasn’t out at age 22 when the group were “Hangin’ Tough” on the gridiron. Among a long list of other queer Super Bowl halftime milestones (like Lady Gaga’s entire performance in 2017) sexually fluid

See Super Bowl On Page 11

Black & Pink National’s union organizing launch

Rainbow PrideDoku — Enjoy! To our readers, we hope you enjoy a little before, during and after Pride Season. Maybe it’ll help de-stress you too. Good luck! The solution is

OMAHA—Workers at Black & Pink National, an Omaha-based non-profit working towards prison abolition, have announced they are forming a union under the Denver NewsGuild (TNGCWA L37074). The Black & Pink Union stands to be the largest trans & queer abolitionist union in the country. On Wednesday, a majority of employees including staff throughout the organization delivered the union mission statement to leadership. The workers are organizing to address major challenges at the company, including understaffing and high turnover. They will continue to mobilize to win voluntary recognition from the company. “We refuse to let those of us most

vulnerable to systems of oppression be left behind,” reads their mission statement. “As Mariame Kaba writes, ‘Everything worthwhile is done with other people.’ We stand together in union solidarity so that we may create the abolitionist world of our dreams.” Black & Pink National was founded in 2005 as a volunteer alliance of trans and queer people across prison walls, dedicated to demolishing those walls through advocacy, support and organizing. The organization is now one of the largest abolitionist nonprofits in the nation, truly unique in its combination of liberatory vision and material resources, advocacy and direct service.

February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022 • The Rainbow Times • 7

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February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022

“Personal Effects: What Recovering the Dead Teaches Me about Caring for the Living” By: Terri Schlichenmeyer* Special to TRT



ick up eggs. Milk. Macaroni. Bread. If you don’t jot down a list of things you need to find, you’ll forget something. Apples. Light bulbs. Flour. Putting things on paper helps you to remember what you need and what’s missing. But in the new book, “Personal Effects” by Robert A. Jensen, the pick-up is more personal; the items, more heartwrenching... Robert Jensen’s growing-up years were not what you’d “call a normal childhood.” His mother suffered from mental illness; his father treated him as “a secondary concern.” It perhaps didn’t help that there was no room for discussion about Jensen’s being a boy “who liked boys as much as girls.” Says Jensen, “I hope you never have to see the things that I’ve seen...” He doesn’t say that because of his personal life, though, but because of his job: Jensen is an expert in recovering human remains and personal effects when disaster, accidents, murders, and battles occur. He says it’s not even his “first weird job,” but as the Chairman of Kenyon International Emergency Services, he knows that it’s one of the most important. Jensen, for instance, was called to work after the Murrah Building was bombed in Oklahoma City. He’s recovered the dead for the U.S. government in Somalia; helped recovery efforts in places such as Haiti, New Orleans, and New York, and he’s worked to resolve what happened in devastating plane crashes around the world. He’s brought back the remains of loved ones to their grieving families, and he’s also been involved in the efforts to recover valuable cargo for insurance companies. “Being prepared for a disaster is really not that hard,” he says.

Just “don’t prepare for the last disaster that just occurred.” Something bad is going to happen to you — if not now, tomorrow; if not then, soon. Disasters happen, as author Robert Jensen indicates, and there are things you can do to minimize the damage and hassle. But getting the information you need to do so won’t be easy, if you want advice from “Personal Effects.” The thing is that this book is solid. For fans of the unusual, you can’t get any more unusual than the story, both personal and professional, of a guy who searches for body parts. Jensen’s tale is thrilling, cringe-worthy, and heroic; there’s advice and little-known minutiae that only an insider would know. You won’t be able to forget the gist of this book. And yet, man, it’s a rough read. “Personal Effects” is laden with choppy half-sentences, errant punctuation, and too much repetition – things which are relatively common, and forgivable. But then there’s the irritatingly incorrect homonym usage, a maddening as-

See Bookworm On Page 11

Mazzoni Center grant helps trans women PHILADELPHIA—Mazzoni Center is pleased to announce it has received a grant of $15,000 from Philly AIDS Thrift ( to launch the L.I.F.E. (Living in Fullness Everyday) Academy, a new program designed specifically for trans women of color living with HIV. L.I.F.E. Academy will build upon the existing infrastructure of Mazzoni Center’s OUR Way program which focuses on improving the social determinants of

health that impact trans women of color. “I'm happy this Philly AIDS Thrift grant will allow us to provide support to BIPOC Trans women living with HIV to empower them, and ensure that they know their lives, experiences, and voices matter to us as community, to Mazzoni Center, and to Philly AIDS Thrift,” said Tatyana Woodward, MazRead the rest at The Rainbow Times • The Rainbow Times • 9

February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022

Ada Vox is true royal fashion; named runner up on Queen of The Universe By: Mike Bahr Special to TRT



da Vox slayed the competition on the first season of Queen of The Universe. In the show’s finale, her rendition of Willy Wonka’s "Pure Imagination” wowed the judges. Then she pulled out all the stops with a sweeping cover of Journey’s "Open Arms". Unfortunately, Vox’s smash performances were not enough as she finished runner-up to Grag Queen. Following the finale, she tweeted how grateful she was for the opportunity to compete on the show and the huge difference it made in her life. We spoke with Ada Vox from her San Antonio home.

Q: Are you still riding high from your experience on Queen of The Universe? Ada Vox: My experience was anything and everything I could have hoped for! I truly feel like it was exactly what I’ve been working towards my entire career. Q: Is there anything you would do differently if given the chance to compete again? A: My only critiques throughout the competition revolved around my looks, but the fact of the matter is I would have come with better fashions if I could have. Due to my financial circumstances, I was forced to do the best with the time and resources I had; and my talent is what carried me to the top. I went into this competition knowing that I wouldn’t have the best drag, but I went to show that I have the best vocals in the drag world, and I think I proved that. Q: What are your thoughts of competition shows? A: I absolutely adore competition shows! I’m a very competitive person. Q: Have you anything left to prove? A: I think I’ve proven my passion, skill, and professionalism; the things that are most important to me. Things like high drag and fashion come with money and resources. They will show themselves as time goes on. They are something I will definitely prove down the line. Q: You once said that the most difficult part about performing in drag was getting people to see you as a serious artist. Has that changed? A: Many people still view me as a drag artist more than a music artist. I can’t count how many times I’m asked, “so when are you doing Drag Race?” However, I know I’m in a better place now to release some, hopefully, very successful music that will show people what I truly do.

See Vox On Page 11


Vox’s smash performances were not enough as she finished runner-up to Grag Queen

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February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022 • The Rainbow Times • 11

February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022

likely to be African American, Latinx and/or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ), The Rainbow Times reported ( “LGBTQ youth had a 120 percent higher risk of experiencing homelessness than youth who identified as heterosexual and cisgender.” As it is, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, GLSEN, found that the school environment in Florida specifically is “not safe” for most LGBTQI+ students, according to a 2019 survey. “The vast majority of LGBTQ youth who responded to the survey said they regularly heard anti-LGBTQ remarks in schools, and about a quarter had experienced physical harassment at school,” CBS News ( also reported. “But 98% of respondents could identify at least one school staff member who was supportive.”

Super Bowl From Page 6 pop icon Katy Perry holds the record for the most-watched halftime show with an audience of 118.5 million viewers back in 2015, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Gay male cheerleaders broke ground in 2019 as the first to perform at a Super Bowl Openly gay cheerleaders Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies joined the all-female L.A. Rams squad in 2018, and less than a year later they made history at Super Bowl LIII as the first gay men to represent their team at the biggest sporting event in the United States. Katie Sowers made Super Bowl history as the first openly gay and fe-

TikTok From Page 5 fenses.” In the coming weeks, every member of the TikTok community will be prompted to read the company’s updated guidelines when they open the App, according to the post. Previous Updates Late last year, the groups released a set of policy recommendations to provide solutions for how social media companies can improve their platforms and avoid discrimination toward women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ population. The letter was

Vox From Page 9

Abhorrent requirements Read the rest of this story at:

Bookworm From Page 8 sumption of readers’ prior knowledge, and an extremely unfortunate quotation from a grieving mother that really could’ve been told better, and you’ve got a book that’ll make you sigh but not in a satisfied way. For most readers, this’ll be a dealbreaker and that’s too bad. “Personal Effects” is basically very, very fascinating, but its errors might not make it worth picking up.


“Don’t Say Gay” From Page 2

But, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill would squash that as well.

*The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a prairie in Wisconsin with two dogs, one patient man, and 17,000 books. male coach American football coach Katie Sowers made history in 2017 as the first openly LGBTQ+ coach in the NFL, a distinction she’d double-down on in 2020 when, as offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers, she became the first female and openly gay coach in a Super Bowl. In 2021, Sowers joined the Kansas City Chiefs, which took her to the Super Bowl for a second time. A three-peat seems to be in her future as the Chiefs inch closer to another AFC West victory as of press time.

Q: What does the support of your fans mean to you? A: Without my Voxies, I wouldn’t

be able to pursue my passion! I take hours out of every day to make sure that I read every single comment on all of my social media and respond to as many as possible. I want my supporters to know I love and appreciate them! Q: Is there anything fans would be surprised to learn about you? A: I am a completely 100% sober queen and always have been! From a young age, I was so dead set on achieving my dreams that I decided I wasn’t going to let anything deter me. Also, I write songs and play multiple instruments: clarinet, saxophone, flute, ocarina, guitar and I dabble on piano. Q: What are your plans going forward? A: My plans are to continue performing around the world, to put out music, and to connect with as many people on an emotional and spiritual level as possible, through my voice. I hope to one day perform arenas, be invited to the MET gala, and be the face of some of the world’s biggest brands. Gotta put it into the universe to get the juices flowing! Follow Ada on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @adavox.

*Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels endorsed by 75 groups and included recommendations, such as: • Enforcing and implementing antiharassment and discrimination policies • Expanding the definition of hate speech • Stopping the spread of disinformation • Providing support for victims of harassment on their platforms • Shift internal culture, conduct antiracist workplace trainings, and create policies To view the letter and a full list of signers click here:

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12 • The Rainbow Times •

February 10, 2022 - March 10, 2022