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2 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

The harsh reality of LGBTQ+ health care competency outside of Boston By: Nicole Lashomb* The Rainbow Times’ Editor


hat do you do if you are LGBTQ, are in a medical emergency and the only hospitals around you are not competent in LGBTQ healthcare? That is the dilemma the community will face each time medical care is sought throughout most areas of the commonwealth, Boston excluded. In the latest Human Rights Campaign Health Equality Index (HRC-HEI), only three hospitals outside of Boston received a designation as a leader in LGBTQ Healthcare. Considering the number of hospitals and medical institutions throughout the commonwealth, that exponentially low number is alarming to say that least. An in-depth story on this very topic and its findings is published on page 3 of this publication. What if you don’t live in Boston? The pickings are slim. However, there are a few facilities outside of Boston who have taken LGBTQ affirming care seriously and vigorously. A few is not nearly enough to ensure the safety—physical and otherwise—for members of the LGBTQ community, specifically the necessary training needed to treat transgender, nonbinary (NB) and gender nonconforming (GNC) patients. Although many people live in liberal Massachusetts for its progressive ideals and messages of inclusion set forth by the legislature, the report within the pages of



MA & BEYOND? this publication describe the current situation and it is frightening for our community, particularly for those outside of the Boston area. If practitioners, nurses, registration attendants and other medical staff do not understand the unique issues presented by the LGBTQ community when seeking out emergent or routine medical care, how can the queer community be treated without bias, with competency, affirmation and compassion? For anyone entering a medical facility, it

Three prayers for the New Year “I READ HOW GAYS &

By: Paul P. Jesep* TRT Columnist



he persecuted can become the persecutor. Carl Jung referred to the “shadow” in all of us. It doesn’t matter whether straight, nonbinary, or LGBTQ – we all have the potential to do something bad. Hence, we rely on faith, ethics, and spirituality, among other things, to help keep our darker selves in check and us grounded. In the past year, I read how gays and lesbians demeaned trans- men and women. Last month, I was shocked learning a trans woman told an immigrant to “go back to your country.” A senior citizen told me at a cash register he supported the “make America great again” agenda, without understanding the proposed 2019 federal budget, if passed, would have cut Medicaid and Medicare by as much as 40 percent. It leaves me speechless knowing that a White House architect separating children from parents at the border had family escape pogroms in Eastern Europe. He had relatives murdered in the Holocaust. Abuse, unkindness, injustice, and hypocrisy overwhelm me. It’s especially


TRANS- MEN & WOMEN. LAST MONTH, I WAS SHOCKED LEARNING A TRANS WOMAN TOLD AN IMMIGRANT TO ‘GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY.’” during those times I turn to prayer. Prayer need not be verbal. It can be volunteerism or an act of kindness. Sometimes a kind, compassionate word can be the best gift of

See Prayers On Page 15

is a vulnerable moment—a moment that at anytime can mean the difference between life or death and our healthcare system is failing us overall. The findings There are more than 30,000 transgender residents in the commonwealth of Massachusetts alone, according to Project Out, Inc. Of those 30,000, most cannot afford to live in Boston to receive care from the commonwealth’s plethora of institutions that are affirming to the needs of the trans community, at least according to the HEI. Others I’ve known have traveled more than two hours to attend medical appointments at trans affirming and competent facilities in the region. I’ve heard countless stories from other trans people, people I consider family and friends, who have sat outside of the emergency room for hours in various parts of the commonwealth, even when they needed urgent care, out of an intense fear that they will be humiliated, “outed” and loose their dignity and respect in the process by medical professionals—some of the very people who are taxed with upholding the Hippocratic Oath who swear “to do no harm.” Unfortunately, the city that I love and call home does not have one affirming medical facility or institution that is listed in the HEI, not for the LGBTQ community as a whole and not for the trans-specific community either. It’s long past time for people, facilities and institutions to put their money where their mouth is. It is not enough to say that the practice is LGBTQ affirming or to simply march in a pride pa-

Letters to the Editor [Re: Ask A Trans Woman: Where Have I Been?] Dear Editor, Gather your strength and center yourself, as you need. Know that we readers understand that even the best marathoner must occasionally stop and take a breath. You have made and, Goddess willing, will continue to make a difference. Even the most articulate of us can sometimes become so frustrated by events that the only recourse is a wordless scream of rage and pain. It is so sad that our country has come to this at the moment, but the political climate, like fashion, changes with the season. If the community remains steadfast and resists the impulse to return to the shadows, eventually we will again be embraced by astute politicians and the current draconian policies will be reversed, hopefully in a way less subject to caprice than by the route of executive orders that the Obama administration took. This reader thanks you for all you do. Consider this comment a virtual hug. —Maria, Online Please send Letters to the Editor to: editor@therainbowtimesmass.com.

rade. Policies, treatment protocols and practice must demonstrate it, everyday. We have a long way to go, all around. According to the HEI, 73 percent of transgender respondents reported that they believed “they would be treated differently by medical personnel because of their LGBTQ status” and 70 percent of transgender or gender non-conforming patients have “experienced some type of discrimination in healthcare settings.” Those are alarming statistics that must be addressed. Likewise, the Index noted that 56 percent of “lesbian, gay or bisexual patients surveyed have experienced some type of discrimination in healthcare” and 29 percent reported that they “believed they would be treated differently by medical personnel because of their LGBTQ status.” When the members of the same medical community want feedback about their work with

See LGBTQ+ Health Care On Page 15

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 Editor-In-Chief Nicole Lashomb Assistant Editor Mike Givens National/Local Sales Rivendell Media Liz Johnson Lead Photographers Steve Jewett Christine M. Hurley Photographer Jenna Joyce

Reporters Mike Givens Jenna Spinelle Chris Gilmore Audrey Cole Ad & Layout Design Prizm PR Webmaster Jarred Johnson Columnists/Guest Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep Mike Givens Keegan O’Brien Affiliations QSyndicate

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.

TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 3

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

HEI ’19 Report: “LGBTQ Healthcare Leaders” pale in New England Only 3 healthcare facilities outside of Boston receive a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality designation

Overall, the report recognizes a record number of high achieving facilities with exemplary LGBTQ inclusion. However, New England states, especially those that are not a part of a major metropolis lag behind others when compared side by side. In Massachusetts, 8 of 11 healthcare leaders are located in Boston, making access to competent LGBTQ healthcare absent in much of the rest of the commonwealth.



A closer examination of the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) yielded startling results for New England’s LGBTQ community, according to data pulled from the index. For the 12th consecutive year, hospitals and healthcare facilities that participated in the report were scored on how many LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices they have established relating to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees. “The first criteria consist of the foundational elements of LGBTQ patient-centered care,” the report read. “The three remaining criteria are Patient Services and Support, Employee Benefits and Policies, and Patient and Community Engagement. In addition, this year participants had to demonstrate that they offered transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to their employees to receive a score of 100 points and earn HRC’s coveted ‘Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality’ designation.”

In Massachusetts, only three healthcare facilities outside of Boston received the designation as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality—Cooley Dickinson Hospital out of Northampton, the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester and Health Quarters based in Beverly. “I am deeply troubled that liberal Massachusetts does not have more hospitals and medical practices listed in the report as an ‘LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader,’” said Worcester resident Paul Stephano. “It raises many red flags for my husband and me and frankly, it does not make me feel comfortable seeking medical care in the way that others often take for granted. It’s unacceptable and gives me pause as I reflect on my own experiences in Massachusetts with how I’ve been treated at certain health care institutions. Very discouraging.”


By: Audrey Cole TRT Reporter

“While we're generally progressive in Mass., and committed to health equity, we've got to show it,” said Gabrielle Ross, Executive Director of Health Quarters in Beverly. “We encourage hospitals and facilities outside of Boston to demonstrate their commitment to equity and the inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees by benchmarking themselves

against the HEI tool. We encourage payers to make some of the tool's benchmarks mandatory quality measures and link these to higher insurance reimbursement.” Ross said that Health Quarters holds itself accountable by five core values, with inclusion taking center stage. “Our mission is to provide sexual and re-

See HEI Report On Page 6

4 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

Trans Man and LGBTQ activist gunned down; First transgender casualty of 2020 Transgender visibility and activism: What does it all mean for members of this marginalized community?


By:Chris Gilmore TRT Reporter

As the year came to an end and the New Year began, many people of the LGBTQ+ community were celebrating and looking ahead to a fresh start while others were relieved that the family isolation inherent to the season was over. For one family in McAlester, Oklahoma, the first of the year brought despair and murder, according to police reports at the scene of the crime. Dustin James Parker, a 25-yearold Trans man—a founding member of the McAlester chapter of Oklahomans for Equality, an LGBTQ rights group—who worked for a taxicab company was fatally shot on New Year’s day. The company, Rover Taxi, was providing free rides to help people get home safely after celebrating on New Year’s Eve. As the responding police officer, Capt. Kevin Hearod, told Tulsa World online (https://bit.ly/35BjFfA), he “found a Rover electric taxi that had been hit by gunfire multiple times.”

Visibility and risks Parker was visible and outspoken about his activism and rights for LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized groups. Such


visibility, others say, can bring unwanted and dangerous situations, as was the case for one Vancouver trans woman earlier this month. Julian Briggs, according to Vancouver 1130 News (https://bit.ly/2T1HbzH), told the news channel that “a man exposed himself and masturbated in front of her in

broad daylight on Jan. 2.” She said she feared being targeted because of her gender presentation. Briggs told the news outlet “she feels violated, taken advantage of, and is on high alert in public now.” Last year, around the time of the Trans

Day of Visibility, Miss Major GriffinGracy, a Stonewall veteran and an activist for trans women of color, explained how visibility could be a double-edged sword for members of the community—especially trans women of color. “I really don’t understand why we need a Day of Visibility since for most of us, especially us black girls, we are as visible as we need to be,” said Miss Major via social media. “Our visibility is getting us killed. So, it’s not that we [trans people] need to be visible. I think the people who care about us, who are involved in our lives, and who know us; they’re the people who need to become more visible. They need to acknowledge that we exist, claim and show that they support us, and the best way to do that is talk about us in a positive light on our day of visibility.” With anti-transgender violence being at an all-time high, as reported by HRC’s Anti-Transgender Violence Report titled A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019 (https://bit.ly/37NwogB), “anti-transgender stigma and systemic discrimination heighten the vulnerability of transgender and gender non-conforming people from an early age,” according to the study. The same analysis reported that 91 percent of

See Trans Visibility On Page 10

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

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6 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

LaPointe is Fenway’s new CEO PHOTO: FENWAY HEALTH

National search process leads to LaPointe BOSTON—The Board of Directors of Fenway Health recently announced that it has selected Ellen LaPointe to be its next Chief Executive Officer. LaPointe was selected through a national search process to lead one of the nation’s foremost health centers for care and research focused on LGBTQIA+ health and HIV/AIDS. She will assume the role on March 9, 2020. LaPointe has held numerous leadership roles in the nonprofit and public health sectors, working in social justice, research, LGBTQIA+/HIV activism and advocacy, health policy, law, and equity over the last three decades. She currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Northern California Grantmakers in San Francisco, a nonprofit that brings together Bay Area philanthropy to advance the common good. During her tenure over the past five years, the organization has strengthened its leading role within a member-based philanthropic community that gives over $3.5 billion annually. LaPointe is also credited with transforming the culture of the organization, including the establishment of a robust equity framework to inform organizational priorities and practices. Jonathan Matsui, Chair of the Fenway Health Board of Directors, said, “We are delighted to have found an outstanding



“THE CONSTANT ‘MISGENDERING’ AND ‘DEADNAMING’—EVEN THOUGH NO ONE EVER ‘MISGENDERS’ ME BASED ON OPTICS ALONE—EXACERBATED AN EMERGENCY THAT COULD HAVE WORSleader with a proven track record and tremendous commitment to advancing LGBTQIA+ health, HIV treatment and research, racial equity, and social justice. We are confident Ellen has the character, experience, knowledge, skill, energy, passion, and vision needed to lead Fenway Health successfully into the future, and we look forward to working with her.” “It is an incredible honor to have been selected to join the Fenway Health team,” said LaPointe. “I am well-familiar with the extraordinary, pathRead the rest of this breaking role that Fenway Health has story at TRT’s website

ENED MY HEALTH CONDITION EVEN MORE SO AS I HAD TO DEFEND & EDUCATE OTHERS ON TRANS ISSUES AS I WAS BEING TREATED TO EVEN TRY TO PRESERVE A SHRED OF DIGNITY.” HEI Report From Page 3 productive health care without judgment and without barriers,” she said. “We hold ourselves accountable to five core values, and the first is to be inclusive. As one of our staff describes it, ‘We treat everyone who walks through our doors with dignity and respect, and that unquestionably includes our LGBTQ patients.’” In western Mass., Cooley Dickinson was the only hospital and one of only 7 hospitals in the Commonwealth to earn the designation as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare. According to a release by the hospital, over the last five years, it has focused on improving care for the LGBTQ community as a top priority, which is also a part of the hospital’s broader efforts related to diversity, inclusion, and health equity. “This designation affirms Cooley Dickinson’s commitment to providing equitable, inclusive and affirming care for LGBTQ patients and their families,” said Cooley Dickinson Health Care President and Chief Executive Officer Joanne Marqusee. “We are proud to receive—for the third consecutive year—this honor and to continue our efforts to ensure that our local LGBTQ community has access to respectful, appropriate care.” Meanwhile, on the Massachusetts North Shore, a trans man shares his account of what he calls the “worst healthcare experience of his life.” “I had a terrifying experience, not by the alleged fact that I was having a heart attack, but by the way I was treated at a Massachusetts North Shore area hospital last year,” said Patrick, who requested anonymity for this interview. “The constant ‘misgendering’ and ‘deadnaming’ me—even though no one ever ‘misgenders’ me based on optics alone—exacerbated a health-care

emergency that could have made my physical health condition even more dire as I had to defend and educate others on trans issues as I was being treated to even try to preserve a shred of dignity. It was the worst healthcare experience of my life and I couldn’t believe it was happening right north of Boston.” Actions speak louder than words and ongoing commitment to the LGBTQ community is needed and required, Ross affirmed. “We did a lot of work to make sure that as an organization and as individuals we are able to ‘walk the talk,’” she said of Health Quarters’ employees and its practices. “In 2014, we evaluated all of our organizational policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of our LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees against the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) benchmarking tool. We continue to do this every year, and we are proud to be a leader in LGBTQ health care for the fifth year in a row.” According to the HEI, 60 percent of participants earned the Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality designation. In Boston, those earning the highest accolades in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality included: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Health Care for the Homeless Program, Boston Medical Center, Fenway Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, and VA Boston Healthcare System. Throughout all five New England states, there were a total of merely 23 hospitals and facilities that made the cut as an LGBTQ Healthcare Leader. In contrast, North Carolina boasted 24 on its own. To read the entire report and to see how the rest of the New England and the country stacked up, check it out the Index online at https://bit.ly/2N5cBkH.

Jake Gyllenhaal invites you to the ‘Fun Home’; Indya Moore, Netflix Netflix’s ‘The Half of It’ and Jackass are also coming Jake Gyllenhaal invites you to the Fun Home This is not a drill: Fun Home is going to be a movie.The autobiographical, bittersweet musical about a young lesbian’s coming-of-age in her family’s funeral-home business—one run by her difficult yet loving and deeply closeted father—will continue its evolution from Alison Bechdelcreated graphic memoir to Tony Award-winning stage musical to bigscreen production, thanks to producer Jake Gyllenhaal. The musical, adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, will also star Gyllenhaal as the father. Every time a queer project gets a big screen push, we worry a little that heterosexual hands will dilute their strength, but we trust the Brokeback Mountain star here. He’s a proven ally and clearly knows that we’re a picky population when it comes to our stories being told well. So far there’s no other cast, no production information or release date, but we can wait patiently for something worth waiting for. Steven Universe sees a Future with Indya Moore More Indya Moore! The transgender, non-binary actor who plays model Angel Evangelista on Pose has a new side gig and we’re very happy about that. They’re the voice of Shep, a non-binary character introduced in Steven Universe: Future, the continuation of Cartoon Network’s queerinclusive animated series Steven Universe. The groundbreaking original series about the magical space adventures of a young boy who is half-human, halfalien already featured characters who were transgender and intersex—imagine, if you can, if Peppermint Patty and Scooby Doo’s Velma had actually been written as lesbians and what that would have meant to earlier generations of queer kids—and the new show upholds the foregrounding of queer characters leading lots of the action. The story takes place in Steven’s adolescence and there’s little question that it will continue to push the boundaries of cartoons aimed at young audiences. The future is here. Netflix delivers queer YA movie The Half of It In 2005, the romantic com-

edy-drama Saving Face, directed by Chinese-American lesbian filmmaker Alice Wu, broke ground for its realistic portrayal of queer issues in Chinese-American families (Wu wouldn’t sell the script to a studio in order to maintain artistic control). Naturally, this means it took 15 years for her to be able to make another film. But now she’s back with what promises to be a sweetly queer Netflix YA film, The Half of It. It’s about a shy, bookish, high school girl named Ellie (Leah Lewis, Nancy Drew) hired to script some love letters and articulate romantic dialogue for a kind but nottoo-bright jock ( D a n i e l Diemer, Sacred Lies) who needs help getting the attention of his oppositesex crush (newcomer


By:Romeo San Vicente* Special to TRT



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January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com

8 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 9

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020 PHOTO: UNSPLASH

AMA classifies trans murders an epidemic, calls for action By: Audrey Cole TRT Reporter

CHICAGO—Twenty-five transgender lives were taken in 2019 as a result of violence against the trans community, particularly trans women of color, prompting the American Medical Association (AMA) to classify trans murders as an epidemic. “We are the most afraid we’ve ever been,” said New Orleans resident Mariah Moore, a program associate for the Transgender Law Center, to the New York Times (https://nyti.ms/2SUvgDG). “But we’re also stronger than we’ve ever been.” According to a release by the AMA (https://bit.ly/2T40w3h), the organization will “adopt a plan to help bring national attention to the epidemic of violence against the transgender community, especially the amplified physical dangers faced by transgender people of color.” The AMA warns that the number of victims of transgender violence could be much higher. “According to available tracking, fatal anti-transgender violence in the U.S. is on the rise and most victims were black transgender women,” said AMA Board Member S. Bobby Mukkamala, M.D. “The number of victims could be even higher due to underreporting and better data collection by law enforcement is needed to create strategies that will prevent anti-transgender violence.” More than half of reported trans fatalities occurred during pride season, typically between May and July, according to the AntiViolence Project (AVP). “The increased visibility is a signal for them that they need to double down in fighting back,” said Beverly Tillery, Executive Director of AVP New York, about those looking to harm transgender people to the NYT (https://nyti.ms/2SUvgDG). “We’re definitely seeing what we would call a backlash.”

Although trans women of color are most affected by anti-trans violence, on New Year’s Day, LGBTQ activist and Oklahoma trans man, Dustin Parker, was gunned down at 6:30 a.m., while providing free taxi rides for people to get home safely after celebrating, according to several reports. He was shot multiple times. Transgender violence is gun violence According to a recent study by Everytown, a gun control group (https://every.tw/2QU0UP4), 74 percent of the nation’s transgender murders were due to gun violence since 2017. “Transgender violence is a gun violence issue,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps director of research at Everytown to New Now Next (https://logo.to/39OEqrm, NNN). “There’s little research on guns and transgender communities. So, we really wanted to raise awareness of this issue and of hate crimes motivated by a victim’s gender identity and of the role that guns play.” According to the same study (https://every.tw/37NI6aY) that tracked the on-record transgender homicides from 2017 on, 82 percent of trans gun victims were black trans women. “… There seems to be a pattern and a relationship between states with very lax gun laws and levels of gun homicide, gun suicide, and also trans homicides, BurdSharps told NNN.” Everytown unveiled the correlation between trans homicides and geographic gun violence. According to the report, Texas and Florida showed the highest number of trans murders over the last three years. Likewise, Florida and Texas neared the top of the list for overall gun violence as well. AMA steps up The AMA has adopted a policy to directly address the epidemic through a myr-

See Trans Epidemic On Page 11

10 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

Trans Visibility from Page 4 trans murders were those of trans women of color and 81 percent of them were inflicted upon people under the age of 30. There is a very fine line between being visible and safe, said to Army Corporal Laila Ireland, now medically retired after 12 years of service in the U.S. military. “I absolutely believe that being visible as a trans, GNC, NB person does hinder one’s safety—in all aspects,” said Ireland, who is also featured in the documentary TransMilitary (https://bit.ly/30hHNTd) about the current state of affairs for trans service members in the military and the openly anti-trans Trump administration. “The paradox of trans visibility is this: we want to be equally visible, but it’s hard to be equally safe.” Raw Trans visibility For national trans organizer, activist, author and inclusion specialist Hope Giselle, being visible can be daunting too. For trans people of color, as statistics show, visibility can be more perilous. “If I’m honest, there were times where I was terrified. I have such a vibrant voice, to say the least, and not a lot of folks agree with that,” she said. “Social media makes me a sitting duck for bigoted behavior, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I believe that I am not just an advocate, but also an activist.” Ireland, agrees and adds that she believes that at this historical time in the world she must overcome the fears—a small price to

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020


“There have been moments when I have feared for my safety because of my visibility, not just as an activist and advocate as a trans woman, but even just as simply a being a trans woman of color,” Ireland added. “I recognize that my black trans sisters have a much greater threat to their existence. Being an advocate and activist in this movement in time and generation, requires me to look fear in the face and charge head on with what I believe in fighting for. In many instances for me, remembering the cause of my drive has helped transform that fear into power and positivity moving forward.” Disproportion, activism & Advocacy Advocacy and activism, although helpful in different ways, aren’t the same, Hope Giselle explained. Most importantly, she clarified, if activism made her a casualty, she is “ok with that” too, all for the amelioration of trans kind. “The difference between those two is that advocates tend to use that words and their words only; they use resources and figure out ways to connect folks to get the change that we need accomplished,” said Hope Giselle, a black woman of trans experience. “Activists, on the other hand, stand up and get in the game. … I’ve never liked sitting on the sidelines while people are watching things happen and only allowing a small percentage of us to actually engage in doing the work and if that means that at some point I’ll face a traumatic experience or even die, I am OK with that, especially if it means freedom for the generations of folks behind me who didn’t get to experience the joys of being themselves in the way that I do. Being visible has its restrictions, being trans has its restrictions, and

doing both of them together while simultaneously being black, feels like being hung by a noose and stoned at the same time on most days, but I don’t let that stop me from trying to prevent that feeling from being the reality and truth of those coming behind me.” And yet, the Stonewall heroes set the pace for what is known as the trans riots that propelled the trans activism that is seen today. “I am not visible, but I educate on the sidelines,” said Garrison, a trans man of color who requested anonymity. “The new generation with the Internet, the ease of spreading the word to meet and rally is something that we didn’t have, yet we still demonstrated. When I opt not to be visible, I merely work behind the scenes to make things happen from my end too. It’s equally important and it’s fundamentally needed. One cannot exist without the other. So, people like me historically set the tone, paved the way and taught as history shows that we stood and fought and are still fighting today, even if not on the frontlines. That’s not invisibility, that’s choosing safety over becoming part of the statistics. Many of us, elders, have experienced verbal harassment and physical violence against us already. No one should be shamed for not parading around waving the trans flag. Everyone is visible in their own way. Simply existing as trans is visibility.” According to the HRC’s Anti-Transgender Violence Report (https://bit.ly/37NwogB), “anti-transgender fatal violence disproportionately affects people of color.” The report states that since 2013, “at least 139 (89%) victims of anti-transgender violence were people of color, including: 122 Black and AfricanAmerican people, 15 Latinx people, one multiracial person, and one Native American person. Tackling the problem Educating others who don’t know anything about trans individuals is crucial and a way to eradicate anti-trans bias rooted in ignorance. Although not everyone needs to be visible, being trans is synonymous with living life with authenticity, according to Tre'Andre Valentine, Executive Director, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. “Visibility matters. In an ideal world, everyone would be visible and thrive without consequence. However, we do not live in an ideal world,” said Valentine. “Not everyone can be visible, not everyone has that privilege. Also, not everyone wants to be visible, but everyone wants to be safe— safe to love and live authentically. This is part of why the work for inclusion in representation, rights, access, equality, and equity is essential.” The experience of trans visibility varies, according to Hope Giselle, but overall the invisibility is more damaging in itself. “Visibility has always been an issue for TGNC folk,” she said. “However, lack of visibility has been a lot more detrimental to our livelihood, mental states, and emotional beings. While it’s scary to be open,

See Trans Visibility On Page 12

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1st Assisted Living in WMA receives Platinum designation for LGBT cultural competency training Christopher Heights™ receives Platinum designation from SageCARE Late last year, Christopher Heights™ Northampton (CHN) became the first Assisted Living Community in Western Massachusetts to receive LGBT Cultural Competency Accreditation through SageCARE, a national cultural competency LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) training program for healthcare providers for older populations. The training focused on increasing awareness about the unique needs and concerns of LGBT older adults, offering meaningful ways to best support LGBT older adults, and providing measures for creating genuinely inclusive communities and services. “Christopher Heights helps seniors enjoy their life as they age. We create a welcoming home for our residents at vulnerable times, including transitioning from living alone to living in a supportive community,” said Michael Taylor, CHN’s Executive Director. “Seniors who identify as LBGTQ have often faced discrimination and might be nervous to join a new community. We want all people to know they will be welcomed and supported with dignity when they walk through our doors,” he said. CHN’s commitment to creating and

Tran Epidemic From Page 9 iad of ways, such as: • Forming partnerships with other medical organizations and stakeholders to educate members of the public, legislatures and law enforcement using verified data on hate crimes against transgender individuals and highlight the disproportionate number fatal attacks on black transgender women; • Advocate for consistent collection and reporting of data on hate crimes across all levels of law enforcement that includes demographic information on a victim’s birth sex and gender identity; • Advocate for a central law enforcement database to collect data on reported hate crimes that correctly identifies a victim’s birth sex and gender identity; • Advocate for stronger law enforcement policies regarding interactions with transgender individuals in order to prevent bias and mistreatment and increase community trust; Advocate for local, state, and federal efforts that will increase access to mental health treatment and address the health disparities that LGBTQ individuals experience. Fatal anti-transgender violence in the U.S. Nearing the end of 2019, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released their report on the epidemic, A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in the United States in 2019 (https://bit.ly/35wA0C5) that also yielded disturbing results. “Transgender women of color are living in crisis, especially Black transgender women,” said HRC President Alphonso

Christopher Heights™ of Northampton’s LGBTQ Advisory Council PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER HEIGHTS™

maintaining an inclusive community is reflected in the high participation rate—96 percent of its managers and frontline staff completed the training—and in its Platinum designation, SageCARE’s highest rating. “Given our unique LGBT-friendly location, we want to ensure that Christopher Heights of Northampton is at the forefront of acceptance and inclusivity for all Assisted Living Communities in Western Massachusetts,” said Teresa Weybrew, director of Marketing and Admission at CHN. Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com

David in a release published by The Rainbow Times (https://bit.ly/2QYGJzC). “While the details of the cases documented in this report differ, the toxic intersection of racism, sexism, transphobia and easy access to guns conspire to deny so many members of the transgender and gender non-conforming community access to housing, employment and other necessities to survive and thrive. Every one of these lives cut tragically short reinforces the urgent need for action on all fronts to end this epidemic—from lawmakers and law enforcement, to the media and our communities.” Since January 2013, HRC has documented more than 150 transgender and gender non-conforming people who were victims of fatal violence; at least 127 were transgender and gender non-conforming people of color. “Nearly nine in every 10 victims were transgender women and 58 percent of all domestic deaths occurred in the U.S. South,” noted the HRC report (https://bit.ly/35wA0C5). “These disturbing numbers likely underreport deadly violence targeting transgender and gender non-confirming people, who may not be properly identified as transgender or gender nonconforming.” The report also profiles two other cases of transgender women, Johana ‘Joa’ Medina and Layleen Polanco, whose deaths remain under investigation. The HRC asserts that their deaths were likely impacted and fostered by hate, indifference and dehuRead the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com

12 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

Trans Visibility From Page 10 what’s even more detrimental is the harm that we’ve been proven to do to ourselves if we lived in solitary confinement. The truth of the matter is we cannot change the world overnight or the societal norms that it follows, but I don’t think that retreating back to the shadows, back alleys, and underground way of living, as the generations before us lived, is going to save us especially not with such vibrant youth coming up behind us.” Cisgender men and trans violence Trans safety and equality is dependent on activism and education. Understanding the complexities revolving around intimate relationships for trans people—which have often turned fatal for many—is critical to safety, especially that of trans women of color. “LGBTQA+ communities need to create space and invest in the well being of trans communities,” said Valentine. “Follow the lead of trans women, specifically trans

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020


DER ONE’S SAFETY—IN ALL ASPECTS,” THE PARADOX OF TRANS VISIBILITY IS THIS: WE WANT TO BE EQUALLY VISIBLE, BUT IT’S HARD TO BE EQUALLY SAFE.” women of color and Black trans women who have been doing this work to address violence in our communities, invest in their work, invest in their lives. Trans women who are attracted to and have relationships with cisgender men are the ones who are being murdered. There needs to be direct, focused conversations about cisgender men enacting violence on trans women and why.”

Undercounting the victims Transgender murders continue to increase and current statistics do not come close to revealing the actual number of trans murders because “data collection is often incomplete or unreliable when it comes to violent and fatal crimes against transgender and gender nonconforming people.” Parker’s murder, also according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is currently considered the “first violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming

person in 2020.” “Some victims’ deaths may go unreported, while others may not be identified as transgender or gender non-conforming in the media, often because authorities, journalists and/or family members refuse to acknowledge their gender correctly,” according to the same HRC report (https://bit.ly/37NwogB). HRC said that it would continue, “to hold the Trump-Pence administration and all elected officials who fuel the flames of hate accountable at the ballot box.” In Massachusetts, Boston Pride’s president, Linda DeMarco, responded to Parker’s murder. “Boston Pride is outraged at the murder of Dustin James Parker, a transgender activist as we are outraged by all of the recent murders of transgender individuals,” she said. “We are very saddened by his tragic loss as he fought for equality and inclusion for the transgender community. As Boston Pride prepares to commemorate our 50th anniversary this year, we know that the struggles for our community continue, especially for transgender individuals and trans people of color. That is why we will keep fighting for equality, diversity and inclusion for all.” Parker leaves behind a wife, four children and a legacy of activism. Police are still investigating the crime. A campaign to raise funds for his family by Rover Taxi manager Brian West can be found here (https://bit.ly/2QBp7uH).



January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

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14 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

Queer Puzzle January: Queer Pop Culture Moments

Across 1 The sound of music 5 Women live together here 10 Sally who rode into space 14 Nat. counterpart in MLB 15 "Scary Movie" Cheri 16 River in Nureyev's homeland 17 The first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time, in 2014 19 Where to vote against Trump 20 Scene with Mary 21 Olympic diver Greg 23 Reagon of the Big Lovely band 25 Aetna rival, for short 26 Thigh-length skirts 29 Old Spanish queen 31 Full House twin name 35 Of a rear entrance 36 California city 38 In Cold Blood writer, to pals 39 Monae, who came out as pansexual in 2018 41 Apple CEO who just came out in 2014 43 Xtra's prov. 44 Production 46 Locale of valuable stones 47 Peewee or Della 49 Granola lesbian's bit 50 Maupin stories 51 Blow away 53 Picture puzzle 55 Homes of women who don't do guys 59 Dwell (on)

63 Marlene's role in "Blue Angel" 64 She wore a Pride Flag to the Met Gala in 2018 66 10 C-notes 67 Leave your lover in bed 68 Cock's cry 69 Strip a fruit 70 Push forward 71 Game groups, to Billy Jean

Down 1 It might go right to the bottom 2 Barbra's Funny Girl guy 3 Campbell of The Company 4 Type of dysfunction 5 Puts an edge on 6 Pigged out 7 Get ready for sex in an easy chair 8 Switch suffix 9 Snafu 10 Drag queen of Drag Race which premiered in 2009 11 Branding tool 12 Lover of Lorca, perhaps 13 Pipe elbows 18 Greek consonants 22 One who handles your horse 24 From ___ Eternity 26 Ursa ___ (nighttime bear) 27 Bananas 28 "Divine Comedy" poet 30 Penetrating 32 Seat at the Stonewall Inn

33 Lose ground 34 Cooks in a hurry 36 Sore throat producer 37 Mar. basketball tourney 40 My Fair Lady composer 42 Moby Dick, et al. 45 Edible root 48 Dan, cofounder of "It Gets Better" in 2010 50 Biggest brass instrument 52 Big name in Chinese history 54 Something you have when you have guts 55 Hoofbeat of a stallion 56 Eugene O'Neill's daughter 57 NY Met or LA Dodger 58 School year division 60 Verb of Verlaine 61 I ___ Andy Warhol 62 Works under Edith Head, perhaps 65 Org. for bears


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January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

2000-2020: What lies ahead for Transgender people in the 20s? By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw* TRT Columnist



e l come to a New Year! Believe it or not, we are now in 2020! What will the future hold for trans people in this new era of the 20s? Looking back, we have come a long way from 2010 and a very long way from 2000. In 2010, we were just beginning to secure non-discrimination rights for trans people in some states. In 2000, most people never even heard the word “transgender” and we were thought of as very sick and twisted folk, someone to avoid, someone who could die and no one would care. Back in 2000, most trans people would lose their jobs, the love of their family and friends and be ostracized from society when they transitioned to their true gender. Back then, you had to completely “blend” as male or female; there were few out and open transgender folk. If you didn’t “blend” or you were “outed” then you would be ostracized. You were labeled as a sick weirdo and an undesirable person. Then, the medical profession told you to transition to your true gender and then move to another

5 ways to get a loan, not from a bank or a loan shark


By: Mikey Rox* Special to TRT

Hard up for cash but afraid you won’t qualify for a traditional bank loan? You’re not alone; not every LGBTQ person is the financial guru the media makes us seem. You can, however, get the cash you need – and quick – with these alternatives that won’t drive you years into debt.

1. Borrow From a Life Insurance Policy If you’ve been paying into a life insurance policy, that money is already yours. Certainly it’s intended to cover the costs of your death and perhaps alleviate some of the financial strain on your loved ones and/or dependents once you’re gone, but if you need to tap into those funds while you’re still alive, it’s an option. Whatever you withdraw will be deducted from your beneficiaries’ payout, which makes them SOL upon your death, but at least you don’t have to worry so much about paying back what you’ve taken out —because, ya Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com

area of the country so that you can start your life over again. Of course, you had little to no support system, you were to “tough it out” by yourself. That’s the way it was back then. In 2010, it got much better for us transgender people. We were beginning to gain some acceptance. I personally transitioned to female back in 2007 and although my

discrimination laws based on gender identity. Yes, there is still work to do in the other states, but I have faith that these states will catch up by the end of this decade. If you live in a state with no antidiscrimination laws for trans people, I urge you to get involved with your local transgender political organization or your local LGBTQ political organization. Ask what

BACK THEN, YOU HAD TO COMPLETELY “BLEND” AS MALE OR FEMALE; THERE WERE FEW OUT & OPEN TRANS FOLK. company, 3M, accepted me and supported me, most companies did not. I very well might have lost my job back in 2007 when I transitioned to female, but I was fortunate to work for a progressive and politically correct company. Some of my friends weren't so lucky; they lost their jobs because they transitioned. The anti-discrimination laws in many states for trans people were just beginning to be passed in 2010 although Minnesota passed their anti-discrimination law for trans people in 1993. Today, trans people in many states have non-discrimination protections. Currently, twenty-three states, the District of Columbia and 400 cities and counties have non-

Prayers From Page 2 all. Giving of your time is one of the greatest sacrifices. Prayer can involve something you write. Prayer, whether volunteer work, acts of kindness, or verbal or silent prayer, must be routine, like brushing teeth. Prayer grounds us, especially during times that are socially and personally overwhelming. Below are recent prayers to use, edit, discard, or inspire you to write your own. Be a Light Teach me, Giver of Life, through Your Holy Sophia (Wisdom) to: Forgive and forget wrong; Be Patient of the ignorant; Love the spiritually broken; Sacrifice time for the needy; Be a positive example to others; Economy of words for those who insult; Allowances for the insecure and arrogant; Offer measured responses and not overreact; Courage to gently defend those who have been wronged; Kind and supportive words to offer all whether foe or friend; Never to become a persecutor, especially if I have been persecuted; Humility in all things because there is always someone smarter, more talented, more patient, or more loving than me; and Guide, teach, and humble me, Giver of Life, while you empower me to be one of Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com

you can do to support the cause and please show up in numbers and testify at your statehouses. Besides non-discrimination laws what else is needed to maintain and further our rights as trans people? One thing that comes to mind is that we need more liberal judges throughout the country. Currently, we have, in my opinion, too many conservative judges. How do we change the tide? We vote liberal politicians into office, especially the office of the president. Currently, we have a Republican president appointing conservative judges throughout the country. If we replace the current president with a Democrat, the chances are that

LGBTQ+ Health Care From Page 2 LGBTQ individuals and they can’t find many who’ll disclose if they are or not members of this community, the answer is clear as to why. Likewise, this is why people who seek care do not often mention that they are members of the LGBTQ community, even though there are certain medical considerations when addressing the needs of this marginalized group. All of these stats are reprehensible. The medical system is failing one of the most

the new president will appoint more liberal judges throughout the country. I advise you to please get out there and vote and vote blue. We need to have more liberal judges who will rule in favor of us. When the court cases come to the judges, I would much rather deal with a liberal judge than a conservative one. On another note, as time goes on I see many transgender people coming out and living openly. This is great! As Harvey Milk urged the gay folk to come out and live openly in the early 1970s we, as transgender people, are now coming out and living openly. Our visibility is growing every day, so that is coming along fine. Now what we need to do is to get involved to change the laws and to get involved and vote blue to change the judges. Yes, I’m calling all trans people and allies to step up and get involved in the rights of transgender people. Get those anti-discrimination laws passed and vote blue to get more liberal judges. I would love to see anti-discrimination laws for transgender people in all 50 states by the end of this new decade, if not sooner. I would also love to see many more liberal judges on the different benches all through the country. Let's make these happen! *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has 3 children and two grandchildren. She can be contacted at dejavudeja@sbcglobal.net. vulnerable populations around us, repeatedly. My only question is who will hold them accountable in liberal Massachusetts and beyond? *Nicole Lashomb is editor-in-chief of The Rainbow Times and Co-Executive Director of Project Out. She holds an MBA from Marlyhurst University and graduated from the esteemed Crance School of Music with a BM. To reach Nicole, e-mail editor@therainbowtimesmass.com.

16 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

January 9, 2020 - February 5, 2020

Profile for The Rainbow Times

The Rainbow Times' January 2020 Issue