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2 • The Rainbow Times •

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Pulse Orlando: Our Tribute to you Orlando massacre leaves a lot of questions, but tragedy brings some resolute answers T

By: Nicole Lashomb*/TRT Editor-in-Chief


Additional glossy tributes will be availo say it’s been a difficult able for purchase through The Rainbow month for the LGBTQ Times website for five dollars. One huncommunity is an underdred percent of all funds collected statement. As 49 of our brothers through purchased tributes will be doand sisters were slaughtered by a nated to the victims’ fund. Lastly, The heinous hate crime, 53 more were Rainbow Times will be sending a framed wounded and tribute to Pulse Orhospitalized due lando and Equality HE VICTIMS LIVE IN Florida. to the nation’s largest mass I’d like to offer a shooting to OUR MEMORIES HESE special thanks to date. Although I our presenting will not elaborate on sponsors, Eastern ARE THEIR NAMES the perpetrator here, Bank and Harvard frankly, he doesn’t dePilgrim Health HESE ARE THEIR serve to have his name Care, who parteven stroked across nered with us to my keyboard, I will YOUNG LIVES CUT TOO make this happen. pay homage to our Additionally, please family and friends lost notice the dozens of SHORT FROM US in such an act of viobusinesses and nonlence. profit organizations URDER IS MURDER who participated This edition of The in Rainbow Times is dedthis tribute too. All IVES ARE IVES icated to all of the vicof the net proceeds tims, their loved ones generated as a reand our LGBTQA sult of such partnerOVE IS OVE community that once ship and participation again shall rise in the face of adversity. will be sent directly to the official vicWe’ve published a centerspread tribute to tims’ fund in Orlando. honor those taken from us. I hope you’ll The victims live in our memories. read it and remember the names of those These are their names. These are their who are no longer with us. We are also young lives cut too short from us. June publishing a glossy tribute to send to each 12th is a day that will remain in infamy to of the victims’ family to serve as a reall of us LGBTQ people and allies—a day minder that they are not alone in their that not all repudiated, but all should grief. We have an entire community have. Murder is murder. Lives are Lives. standing in love and solidarity with them. Love is Love.









L . L .

Orlando: Finding meaning and forgiveness By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist yodor DostoRATHER THAN OVER-THINK evsky, the Nineteenth Century novelist, wrote in the THE “WHY” OR STRUGGLE “Brothers Karamazov” ( WITH FORGIVENESS, LET ME “Every sin can be forgiven because God’s love is infinite.” The Orlando killer, SHARE MODEST OBSERVApossibly a self-hating gay man (, who murTIONS ABOUT GIVING MEANdered 49 people and injured dozens of others last month will benefit from the Creator’s forgiveness, not ING TO TRAGEDY. I NEED TO mine. At least not yet.



Spiritually, intellectually, and philosophically, I understand the healing nature of compassion for those who harm others. It is necessary to let go of pain and anger toward those who hurt and abuse. We should all forgive the sinner, but I’m not the clergyman to tell you the best way to do it. Nor am I an example to tell you how to love your enemy. It’s another area I fall short. This isn’t to suggest I don’t try to love my enemy and to forgive; I’m just not always good at it. There’s a basic human need to ask “why” horrible tragedies occur. Pain, suffering, injustice, violence are part of daily life. Sometimes we’ve become desensitized to them more out of a need to survive than as a reflection of not caring. And then, there




are sudden events like Orlando that jolt us. There are no answers as to why bad things happen to good people. We can speculate. We can over-think. We can comfort ourselves by believing there are

By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor

Since the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando that took the lives of 49 people and injured more than 50, I’ve been struggling to find something incredibly profound to say. I’ve spent hours attempting to process those events and articulate my thoughts in a way that reaffirms the worth and dignity of every single person who either died or was injured in what’s now the country’s worst shooting massacre to date. There’s a lot we don’t know about the shooter, Omar Mateen. There’s been rampant speculation about his sexual orientation, relationships with past partners, ties to Islamic extremism, mental health, and too many other issues to list. We’ll never truly know what went on inside the head of this man, but here are several things we can be certain of: •“Thoughts and prayers” are nothing without action: I wrote on Facebook that I’m sick of hearing the term “thoughts and prayers” when it comes to death and suffering. It always feels as though the ones who are most thoughtful and prayerful are usually the ones who have no interest in acting. Prayers imply a belief in a higher power, something greater than each of us. And presumably, when prayers are prayed, their purpose is to ask the higher being one prays to for some sort of intervention (alleviation of pain, bringing those responsible to justice, a sense of healing). It’s funny that we project these hopes and expectations onto a higher being, but rarely are we willing to take action ourselves. Instead of “thoughts and prayers,” we should devote ourselves to “contemplation and purpose.” We should process this tragedy, unpack

Letters to the Editor Dear Editor, I find it frustrating that the majority of your articles link to your website … I picked up a print paper, I would love to be able to read the articles. I get you need web traffic but it’s totally a turn off. Reading half an article leaves me unsatisfied … Only the people privileged to have internet get the chance to access content. —Mimi Anon, Online Dear Mimi, Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate it. We do everything we can to ensure that the articles are as complete in print. However, due to space constraints, often times, we must jump stories online. This is unfortunate, but trust us when I say that we really try not to jump them.

See More Letters on Page 16 See Orlando Forgiveness on P. 23


ORLANDO SHOOTING ... what it means, and devote ourselves to making a difference through action. And when I say action, I mean the big and small things. Treating each other with kindness,

See Orlando Massacre on Page 15

The Rainbow Times The Freshest LGBT Newspaper in New England—Boston Based Phone: 617.444.9618 / 413.282.8881 Fax: 928.437.9618 Publisher Gricel M. Ocasio Editor-In-Chief Nicole Lashomb Assistant Editor Mike Givens National/Local Sales Rivendell Media Liz Johnson Lead Photographers Alex Mancini Steve Jewett Reporters John Paul Stapleton Christine Nicco Sara Brown Luke Sherman Chuck Colbert Keen News Service

Ad & Layout Design Prizm PR Webmaster Jarred Johnson Columnists/Guest* Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep Natalia Muñoz* Keegan O’Brien* Mike Givens Affiliations National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association NGLCC, QSyndicate *Guest Freelancer

The Rainbow Times is published monthly by The Rainbow Times, LLC. TRT is affiliated with the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, NLGJA, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, NGLCC, and 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: 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 Rainbow Times • 3

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Short film brings “Ring of Truth” to U.S. politics, tensions between political parties The premise is simple. Talk show host Tom Franklin (portrayed by gay actor and filmmaker Matt Gaudreau) is beginning an interview with Republican Congressman Chip Garner (played by actor Sean Carmichael). A sparse production crew is nearby watching the conversation unfold between the host and his guest. But there’s a twist. Franklin prompts the congressman to put on a cursed ring that, when worn, causes the wearer to honestly respond to any question asked. Needless to say, the interview goes downhill after Garner places the ring on his finger. “I’m sure many people will have positive responses to the film and what it says and other responses will be negative, but the point is that the conversation gets started and that the facts are put out there even if some people don’t necessarily agree with them,” said Gaudreau, who wrote and directed the 12-minute short film, “The Ring of Truth: Guns, Greed and Homophobia in Republican Politics” ( The conversation that unfolds between Franklin and Garner is clearly an attempt by Gaudreau to open up a much-needed dialogue on a range of issues that are at the forefront of national politics. “It must suck to be a queer in Mississippi or North Carolina,” said Garner in response to a question from Franklin about the recent anti-LGBT laws passed in those states.


By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor

Journalist Tom Franklin (Matt Gaudreau) and Republican Congressman Chip Garner (Sean Carmichael) in “The Ring of Truth: Guns, Greed and Homophobia in Republican Politics.”

The congressman goes on to bluntly discuss abortion, immigration, and LGBTQ people and even his use of fear tactics to get votes. “I care about one thing. That is re-election,” Garner says with a look of sheer intensity on his face. “In the film, Chip says some pretty heinous things, and you start to wonder, at least I did, if these were things he actually felt or was this just the rhetoric so ingrained

in him that he couldn’t separate reality away from it,” said Carmichael, whose debonair good looks and all-American disposition add a gravity to the character reminiscent of many U.S. politicians. Given the June 12 shooting in Orlando that took the lives of 49 people and injured more than 50, the film, which was produced prior to the mass shooting, provides a particularly salient take on the national debate on gun reform. The film references

the December 14, 2012 mass shooting that took the lives of 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT ( “Bad guys can find these weapons,” Garner declares even before putting on the ring of truth. “The good guys should have them too. It’s all about balance.” Considering the recent shooting in Orlando, Carmichael said he felt his character’s comments around gun control were especially relevant. “Any time there is a strongly divisive political discussion you’re going to have the loudest voices at the fringes and then people meeting in the middle, trying to have an honest dialogue,” Carmichael said in reference to the recent shooting in Orlando. “But I think as long as people are having that dialogue, however many people that may be, that's important,” he continued. “Hopefully the number of people actually engaging themselves actively in that discussion grows.” Gaudreau grew more frustrated with the lack of progress in pushing forward gun reform in the wake of the Orlando shooting. “It's sadly no surprise that even after yet another horrible massacre in the U.S. that gun votes in the Senate and even a sit-in by Democrats in the House went nowhere,” he said, noting that the film was shot in April and posted online in late May and not filmed after the recent shooting in Orlando. “Republicans will not let any substantial

See Ring of Truth on Page 4

4 • The Rainbow Times •

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Op-Ed: How to stop violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people? By: Keegan O’Brien*/Special to TRT


y friends and I were out on the night of the Pulse massacre, celebrating the end of Boston Pride and losing ourselves on the dance floor, belting our hearts out to “Freedom” by George Michael. While we threw our arms around each other’s shoulders, shirtless and drenched in sweat, I closed my eyes and reflected for a moment on how far we had come, and on all the trailblazers, from Stonewall, to ACT UP, to the marriage equality movement, who fought to get us here. I knew that we stood on the shoulders of giants and it made me proud—proud to be gay and proud to have been apart of those struggles. Then I woke up the next morning and saw the news: almost 50 dead. I was stunned, horrified. The more I read the more my heart sank. The more I watched mothers frantically looking for their children, the more I learned about the victims—their names, their stories, their faces—the more I broke down and cried. There’s something deeply disturbing about the fact that mass shootings have become so commonplace in America that you slowly become numb to the carnage. But Orlando was different. Not only was it the largest mass shooting in modern American history, but it happened in a place where gay and trans people go to celebrate and find refuge, the one place where queer people have been allowed to forget about society’s bull$hit— the stares, the insults, the rejection, the judgment— and let down their hair down and just get away. Orlando showed us that in America, not even gay bars are safe. After witnessing the carnage in Orlando, LGBTQ people are scared—and rightfully so. Many want to know how to stop something like this from ever happening again. Unfortunately, the solutions from politicians in the corridors of power, both Democrat and Republican, will do little to

keep us safe and more to strengthen the surveillance state and empower the police. On the one hand, there are the neanderthals in the Republican Party who’ve built their political careers peddling homophobia and bigotry, and can barely bring themselves to mention that gay and trans people were the victims of Orlando’s attack. Let us also not forget that most of the people killed in the attack were Latin LGBTQ people. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump wasted no time in exploiting the attack to spew racist lies about Muslims and whip up anti-immigrant bigotry. Thankfully, many in the LGBTQ com-

forms to drum up support for “getting tough” on ISIS and making it harder for known terrorists and criminals to get guns. But the Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was born and raised not in the Middle East but in the U.S. It wasn’t ISIS that taught him how to use a gun but his employer, G4S, one of the largest private security firms in the world. And although an investigation is still ongoing, evidence points to Mateen’s mental instability and infatuation with violence, power and control—evident in a history of abuse towards others and typical characteristics in the profile of most mass shooters—played a bigger role than any

OMAR MATEEN’S BIGOTRY AND INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA DIDN’T COME FROM NOWHERE—IT WAS FUELED BY A SOCIETY WHOSE MOST POWERFUL POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS CONTINUE TO LEGISLATE DISCRIMINATION AND SECOND-CLASS CITIZENSHIP. munity have refused to give into this racist scapegoating. At vigils all across the country people held signs declaring, “Islam is not the enemy” and “No to homophobia, No to Islamophobia.” There’s a sentiment among many queers and allies that the Republicans have no right exploiting this tragedy to further their own bigoted and racist agenda. That is an important and positive development. On the other hand are the Democrats, who at least pay tribute to Orlando as an attack on the LGBTQ community, but offer up no real solutions. Instead, after the shooting, Democrats like Hillary Clinton— and even Bernie Sanders—used their plat-

religious beliefs. The main solutions being put forward by politicians and embraced by many people are tighter gun control laws and more policing. Many LGBTQ organizations called for stepped-up police presence at this year’s Pride parades and celebrations. And last week Congressional Democrats, with broad support, staged a sit-in on the Senate floor demanding gun control legislation. But will more cops or tighter gun controls laws actually make LGBTQ people safe, or prevent shootings like this from happening again? The answer is no. Dig beneath the media hype surrounding last week’s sit-in by Democrats in Congress and it’s clear that the legislation they were pushing would do little to keep LGBTQ people safe from violence

Ring of Truth from Page 3 gun legislation pass because they are beholden to the NRA.” Attempts by The Rainbow Times to reach a representative from the Massachusetts Log Cabin Republicans for comment were unsuccessful. “I believe that in many cases, these politicians are more concerned with getting reelected and answering to their special interest donors, than standing on the right side of the issue,” said Tyler Carlton, Massachusetts Democratic Party LGBT Subcommittee Co-Chair. “Although I don't believe in the use of stereotyping, I must say, the recent refusal of Republicans to pass common sense gun

(, but more to increase racial profiling against poor Black and Brown communities and shred civil liberties for Arabs and Muslims already targeted by the state. And, contrary to what we’re told, there’s little reason to believe that putting more cops on the street at Pride or in front of gay bars will do much to stop something like Orlando from happening again. The Boston Marathon is one of the most heavily policed events in the country, but despite that, in 2013 two brothers were able to blow up homemade bombs that killed three and injured dozens more. Far from making LGBTQ people safer, police are one of the largest perpetrators of violence against the most marginalized sections of the LGBTQ community. The Black Lives Matter movement has exposed the depths of systemic racism in American policing and the ease and regularity at which police profile, harass, brutalize and even kill people of color and poor people. A disproportionately high number of people targeted by police and warehoused in America’s jails and prisons are LGBTQ people of color ( Homeless LGBTQ youth and sex workers, many of them trans women of color, have been aggressively targeted by the advent of “quality of life laws” in most major cities throughout the 1990s that criminalized panhandling, loitering, and other petty infractions. But far from making communities safer, “broken-windows policing” has targeted the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Close to 20 percent of Black trans women have been incarcerated and more than 40 percent report being harassed and threatened by the police. For LGBTQ people of color, homeless youth, the undocumented and poor queers, cops are a source of fear, not security. What then is the solution? How do we stop another Orlando? The first thing we should fight for is full federal equality, and it’s a shame that mainstream LGBTQ organizations are not using this moment to call for a renewed grassroots movement beyond voting in the Fall elections.

See Violence Against LGBTs on P. 23 legislation, or civil rights bills regarding LGBT protections, it's hard not to see most Republican congressmen being channeled in Chip Garner,” Carlton continued. Partisan politics aside, Gaudreau said his goal in making the film was to start having honest conversations. He noted that though the characters of Tom Franklin and Chip Garner are fictional, the facts and statistics used in the film are based on real life-life data. “I can only hope this film can open people's eyes to what some of our politicians are really like when they are unmasked and that it can bring about some kind of positive change,” he said. To watch the complete film, visit • The Rainbow Times • 5

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

TrueNorth’s James Palmier, operation analyst, and Connie Englert, founder and managing director. PHOTO: TRUENORTH TRANSIT GROUP LLC

In wake of Gov. Baker’s executive order, LGBT entrepreneurs thrive in Mass. owners who have received certification as an LGBTBE in the months following GovBOSTON, Mass.—Late last year, Repub- ernor Baker’s directive. She founded lican Governor Charlie Baker expanded the TrueNorth Transit Group LLC (TNTG) Commonwealth Supplier Diversity Pro- (, a transportagram (SDP) ( to in- tion management and consulting company, clude LGBT-owned businesses, allowing in January 2015. TNTG calls Shelburne them to receive priority for state contracts. Falls, a tiny village in Established in 2010, Franklin County, home. SDP encourages the HE GAY COMMUNITY IS As the managing diaward of these conrector of TNTG, Entracts to companies glert operates a regional owned by women, REALLY LOYAL TO GAY PEO bus service, known as people of color, veterMAX, with Fox Bus ans, the disabled, and PLE T S THIS INCREDIBLE Lines Inc. MAX serves most recently, LGBT a number of towns and people. BOND SAID ARRITZ small cities in central "Frankly, I am Massachusetts, includthrilled that Governor EING ACTIVE WITHIN ing Amherst, Worcester, Baker is being proacand Northampton, comtive with diversity YOUR QUOTE UNQUOTE munities that have few programs in Massaeffective public transchusetts and think that portation services. TRIBE CAN BE REALLY our state is far ahead “We work and supof others,” said Canport transportation in GOOD FOR BUSINESS dice Collins-Boden, largely rural areas, and executive director of we connect parts of the Commonwealth to the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce the rest of the nation,” said Englert, who ( “I would has nearly three decades of experience in think that LGBT owned businesses would target Massachusetts to begin or bring their See LGBT Entrepreneurs on P. 18 businesses to Massachusetts as their home base." Jonathan Lovitz, vice president of external affairs at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) (, underscored the importance of Governor Baker’s executive order to the LGBT business community. “Becoming a certified LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) and contracting with companies who focus on supplier diversity is one way you can be sure our community isn’t just surviving but thriving,” he said. “Every day these enterprises are creating jobs, innovating industries, and adding to the local [gross domestic product] of their communities, as well as helping raise the visibility of the LGBT business community one game-changing opportunity at a time.” A transgender woman, Connie Englert is one of the many Massachusetts business By: Luke Sherman/TRT Reporter



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6 • The Rainbow Times •

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Looking back and looking forward on trans equality, more changes By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist



first entered the trans community in late 2001 and let me tell you, times have greatly changed since those days. Back then most people had never even heard of the word, “transgender,” and they had no idea of our existence. In the past, the trans women who were visibly trans were seen as either gay men who wore women's clothing or as sexual deviants. Of course, today most people know that we are not gay men nor sexual deviants. But before, that was what a lot of folks thought was true. Because of their invisibility, trans men (people who were assigned female at birth but are really male) were not even given a thought. It was all centered on trans women (people who were assigned male at birth but are really female) and the general thoughts were that trans women were really confused or deranged men. To many folks, even the thought of a man wanting to be a woman was a ridiculous thought. There was a lot of ignorance, fear,

homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny in the public's thoughts about us. I remember going to Transgender Days of Remembrance, TDoR, back then and hearing about the awful stories of how some trans women were brutally murdered in an overkill fash-

Today, there are some laws on the books that protect us. We still have a long way to go but we are making progress. There are still some folks who still believe that we are sexual deviants and undesirables but there are many more folks who now accept us for

THIS MAY LEAD TO PROBLEMS FOR CISGENDER MEN WHO ARE FEMININE LOOKING AND CISGENDER WOMEN WHO ARE MASCULINE LOOKING, AS WELL AS TRANS PEOPLE. ion and many criminal cases were not adequately followed up because we were considered “undesirables” and that our lives didn't matter. I would also hear of stories of how we, as trans people, would quite often lose the support of some family members, friends, co-workers, and in many cases even lose their jobs because they were trans. We had no legal, social rights, or human rights. It was pretty awful realizing that who you really are is looked down upon by the vast majority of society.

who we are. The over-killings heard at today's TDoRs, however, are still just as bad and there are a higher number of killings because of our increased visibility. Increased visibility is a double-edged sword. The good edge is that it shows that we truly exist as trans people and many non-trans folks are beginning to accept us and welcome us into their lives. Lawmakers are now even beginning to understand us and laws protecting us are being passed. The bad edge is that the people who don't

like us now can easily come in direct contact with us and they may give us a hard time, or much worse, kill us. It seems that everyone is looking at each other these days and trying to figure out if someone is trans or not. This may lead to problems for cisgender men who are feminine looking and cisgender women who are masculine looking, as well as trans people. As a matter of fact, visibility is so prevalent that some trans people who used to slip by unnoticed in society with no problems before are now having their gender questioned. Yes, increased visibility has helped us and also hurt us. It also has hurt other people who may look like they are trans people. Yes, the ignorance and hate is still out there. So what can we expect for the future? I can't really say, but I think that as time goes on trans people will become more accepted and welcomed as equals in everyday life. I can currently see some progress in the workplace, housing, public accommodations, and health care. As I stated earlier, we still do have a long way to go, but we are seeing some progress in those four categories. One category I do not see much progress at all is non-trans people openly

See Trans Equality on Page 8

A question of pride & passing privilege: To go stealth or to change the world? By: Lorelei Erisis*/TRT Columnist




ast month I wrote a pretty personal column about honesty and how I relate to that concept as a trans person. After reading it, a friend of mine, another trans person, asked me what I thought was an interesting and quite relevant follow-up question. It referred to an issue I have strong feelings about as an activist and an out trans woman. And I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to return, at least briefly, to the original question and answer format I used when I began writing this column. “I appreciate your relationship to honesty. I wondered what you think of trans people who employ their passing privilege to be “stealth”... is it a morally acceptable choice, and under what circumstances? ” For those readers who might not be familiar with what we’re talking about here, the idea of “stealth” could be most simply defined as the act of choosing to hide one’s trans status, “post-transition.” To, for all intents, cultivate the appearance of being cisgender, of having always been identified as the gender one is living as. “Going stealth” is an old concept in the trans community. It’s one that used to be considered a basic goal of most gender transitions. And in fact, the ability to do so or not was often used as gatekeeping criteria for whether or not a trans person was even provided treatment. If you couldn’t

“pass” you didn’t get help. I have, as you might expect, fairly complex feelings about the whole idea of “stealth.” In short though, I do understand the desire to transition and simply “course correct” one’s life, if you will, and then get on with it in the gender one feels is most appropriate. I have a lot of sympathy for that choice. At least now that it’s usually al-

more of us now than there ever was previously. It’s just that now you can see us. We aren’t hiding anymore. So yes, I think it’s really important to be visible, to not be stealth, especially for those who could be stealth. Because, for better or worse, the trans people who are most “passable” are also the most unconsciously persuasive to the cis masses, by

IT’S A LOT HARDER TO REINVENT A LIFE NOWADAYS WITHOUT ALL THE BAGGAGE OF A LIFE ALREADY LIVED. lowed as a choice and not a requirement. Being out as a trans person can be pretty tough. And it can add a not insignificant additional hurdle to overcoming the gender dysphoria that drives many of us to transition in the first place. However, I also believe that the visibility that comes with being out as trans is incredibly important for our community overall. I think most of the strides we’ve made in the last couple of decades can mostly be boiled down to an achievement of visibility. We have come out into the sunshine in droves and people are being forced to acknowledge that we exist and we are basically everywhere. Trans people aren’t something the rest of society can avoid anymore. As I’ve said before, it’s not that there are

their very “pass-ability.” I must admit however that it is still a very dangerous world out there for trans people. And everyone has to make their own assessment of how “safe” it will be to be out as trans. For some, the danger is too great. And I don’t harbor any negative feelings towards those who decide they cannot afford the risks of being out. Nonetheless, I don’t personally think that all risk should be avoided either. Some measure of danger is inevitably going to be part of the process if we want to change the world! But each person has to make that call for themselves. All of that said, I have no idea how being “stealth” is even realistically possible anymore. I know some folks do pull it off. But with the internet and social media and the

massively recorded and publicly documented lives we all are increasingly leading, it becomes more and more difficult every day. It’s a lot harder to reinvent a life nowadays without all the baggage of a life already lived. I think that soon, going “stealth” will hardly even be an option for all but the most disconnected people. Now, the caveat I have to make to all of this is that I know I am necessarily influenced in my own opinions by the fact that I am a very visible person. It’s doubtful that going “stealth” was ever going to be an option for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have decent selfesteem, I usually think I’m pretty attractive. And on the days I don’t think that (which I have like any woman or human generally), I remind myself about the crowns and the sashes I was awarded as a genuine pageant queen! But I’m still taller than, not just most women, but most people, which makes folks notice me, even before I transitioned, and it invariably invites closer scrutiny, which is the enemy of stealth. So, yeah, I’m not sure I had a lot of choice. And I do try to remember that when I am encouraging others to choose visibility over stealth. I made my own choice, for my own reasons, which I think are quite important! Nonetheless, they must make theirs, for themselves. Personally, I think it’s worth it. If not for ourselves, then for the generations of trans people who will come after us. Who because of our choice to be visible now, may never have to suffer the difficulties and prejudices we have faced.

See Stealth or Not on page 23 • The Rainbow Times • 7

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Trans talk 101: Terms to know & avoid In an effort to gain a better understanding of the language used in transgender culture, The Rainbow Times has compiled a special three-part series to explore the rich and diverse terms used by the trans community. The first part of the series ( explored a list of common—and not so common—words and phrases used when discussing gender identity. Part 2 of the series will discuss terms to avoid in the trans community.

would not say Chaz Bono is "transgendered." Problematic: "transgenderism" Preferred: none This is not a term commonly used by transgender people. This is a term used by anti-transgender activists to dehumanize transgender people and reduce who they are to "a condition." Refer to being transgender instead, or refer to the transgender community. You can also refer to the movement for transgender equality.

Terms to Avoid Problematic: "transgenders," "a transgender" Preferred: transgender people, a transgender person Transgender should be used as an adjective, not as a noun. Do not say, "Tony is a transgender," or "The parade included many transgenders." Instead say, "Tony is a transgender man," or "The parade included many transgender people."

Problematic: "sex change," "pre-operative," "post-operative" Preferred: transition Referring to a "sex-change operation," or using terms such as "pre-operative" or "post-operative," inaccurately suggests that one must have surgery in order to transition. Avoid overemphasizing surgery when discussing transgender people or the process of transition.

Problematic: "transgendered" Preferred: transgender The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous "-ed" tacked onto the end. An "-ed" suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors. It also brings transgender into alignment with lesbian, gay, and bisexual. You would not say that Elton John is "gayed" or Ellen DeGeneres is "lesbianed," therefore you

Problematic: "biologically male," "biologically female," "genetically male," "genetically female," "born a man," "born a woman" Preferred: assigned male at birth, assigned female at birth or designated male at birth, designated female at birth Problematic phrases like those above are reductive and overly-simplify a very

By: Christine Nicco/TRT Reporter

See Trans 101 on Page 16

8 • The Rainbow Times •

Trans Equality from Page 6 dating, loving, and coupling with trans people. Yes, there are some folks that are open about it, but as far as I can see, they are few and far between. When we get to the point when we, as trans people, are viewed as possible significant others by most of soci-

Glossy orlando TribuTe PP. 11-14

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

ety, I will then say that we have finally reached true equality. Only time will truly tell when it will happen. *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a trans woman who has three grown children and is retired from 3M. She can be contacted at

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House LGBT Caucus denounces hearing on ‘License to Discriminate’ legislation In the wake of the mass murder of 49 LGBTA people in Orlando WA S H I N G TO N — Saturday, post photos The Congressional “ON BEHALF OF THE LGBT of your wedding to LGBT Equality CauFacebook on Sunday, cus today denounced EQUALITY CAUCUS, I CALL ON and then get fired or the Committee on kicked out of your Oversight and Gov- ALL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS apartment on Monday ernment Reform’s dejust because you’re cision to hold a TO OPPOSE H.R.2802 AND gay. FADA exacerhearing on H.R. 2802, bates this injustice by which would give a URGE CHAIRMAN CHAFFETZ allowing religion to government ‘license be used as a blanket to discriminate’ to TO CANCEL THIS HEARING IM- excuse for denying businesses and nonLGBT people access MEDIATELY.” profits to discriminate to employment, housagainst LGBT people. ing, mental health — Rep. David Cicilline (RI-1) The Committee’s decare, emergency shelcision to hold a hearing on this anti-LGBT ters, and other essential services. This is legislation comes in the wake of the mass wrong. Fairness and equality are core murder of 49 LGBT people and allies at the American values. And in 2016, no AmeriPulse Nightclub in Orlando. The LGBT can should ever be made to feel less than Caucus issued the following statement in equal—especially not by their elected Represponse to the Committee’s announce- resentatives. On behalf of the LGBT Equalment: ity Caucus, I call on all Members of “This hearing is nothing more than an Congress to oppose H.R.2802 and urge election-year stunt to rally conservatives at Chairman Chaffetz to cancel this hearing the expense of LGBT Americans,” said immediately.” Equality Act sponsor and LGBT Equality The mission of the Congressional LGBT Caucus Co-Chair Rep. David Cicilline (RI- Equality Caucus is to promote LGBT 1). “Let’s be clear—there is no religious equality. The bi-partisan LGBT Equality basis to deny basic rights and liberties to Caucus is strongly committed to achieving someone based on their sexual orientation the full enjoyment of human rights for or gender identify. Period. LGBT people in the U.S. & around the “In most states, you can get married on world. • The Rainbow Times • 9

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Boston-based nonprofit seeks to end solitary confinement in Mass. prisons, jails By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor

BOSTON, Mass.—In September, Mike Cox will embark on a spiritual journey. The 31-year-old Starbucks manager will travel to Peru, Nepal, and India as part of his own personal healing process. A practicing Buddhist, Cox’s hope is that the trip, filled with long stretches of meditation and selfreflection, will help repair the damage he says he experienced while incarcerated. Cox served more than five years in prison for an array of serious charges including attempted murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and mayhem ( It was Memorial Day Weekend in 2007 and Cox, 22 at the time, was in Provincetown. High on painkillers and Valium, an anti-anxiety medication, Cox was shoplifting from stores in Provincetown when the owner of one of the stores recognized him with an item of clothing he’d stolen earlier in the day. Cox alleges that the shop owner approached him, brought him back to his apartment, and coerced him into having sex as restitution for the item he stole. But during the purported sex, Cox says he became violent. “I just kinda blitzed in the moment,” he said. Cox picked up a 10-pound dumbbell and smashed it into the head of the store owner. He was arrested and in March 2009 plead guilty. He was sentenced to six years in prison. The shop owner, 59 at the time, spent three weeks in a hospital, but survived. Cox estimates that while serving his time, he spent a total of four months in solitary confinement—a common practice in federal, state, and local jails and prisons to place inmates in isolated cells for days, weeks, months, and sometimes, years. “I was so out of my mind, I lied to the mental health workers and said that I was hearing voices so that I could get a sedative, so I could mentally check out,” he said of one of his stretches in solitary confinement. A psychiatrist wrote Cox a prescription for Abilify, a powerful anti-psychotic medication commonly used to treat depression, Schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. “It was super strong, it made me like a zombie,” he said of the drug, noting that it was a way for him to numb himself to the isolation. “I was super lethargic. My personal hygiene went downhill. I didn’t eat a lot. I was really just trying to sleep the whole time away.” Cox says he went into solitary confinement a total of five times during his sentence. To this day, he says that he’s still dealing with the repercussions of the long stints without human contact, spending 23 hours a day in a six-by-nine foot cell. “There needs to be more oversight because the impact on inmates is more severe than [the Massachusetts Department of Corrections] realizes,” he said. The campaign On June 11, at the Boston Pride Festival in the city’s Financial District, Black and Pink (, a Boston-

based nonprofit supporting LGBTQ prisoners and advocating for the national abolition of prisons, launched a campaign to end the practice of solitary confinement in jails and prisons across Massachusetts. “They should be looking at other resources and not putting people in torture cells,” said Reverend Jason Lydon, national director and founder of Black and Pink, of the widespread practice of isolation that many inmates across the country are subjected to. Black and Pink is specifically advocating for the closure of the Departmental Disciplinary Unit, DDU, a solitary confinement housing unit located at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution—Cedar Junction in Walpole, and for the complete dismantling of solitary confinement units in _every_ jail and prison in Massachusetts. “After the release of our survey report, ‘Coming Out of Concrete Closets’ (, it became abundantly clear that abolishing solitary confinement was a key priority for our members,” said Lydon of the survey released last fall reporting that 85 percent of the more than 1,100 respondents across the nation had been put in solitary confinement while incarcerated. Solitary or systemic confinement? According to the Massachusetts DOC’s website (, solitary confinement can take four forms: administrative, disciplinary, protective, and the DDU. “Administrative Segregation” is a temporary form of solitary confinement imposed when an inmate’s presence in the general population could pose a significant disruption or threat. For example, an inmate who is being investigated for a serious offense may be placed in administrative segregation if the DOC deems the inmate a threat to others. The duration of the segregation lasts until the perceived threat is resolved or the investigation is completed. “Disciplinary Detention” is a punitive form of isolation handed down when an inmate has committed a serious offense. Massachusetts state law says that this form of confinement cannot exceed 30 days for an offense or subsequent violations related to the offense. Inmates accused of a violation are subject to a disciplinary hearing to determine guilt. An inmate can be placed in administrative segregation while an investigation is conducted into an incident that may warrant disciplinary detention. As a case in point, if an inmate is being investigated for starting a fight, that inmate can be held in administrative segregation while the investigation is performed, and if found guilty, can then be sentenced to disciplinary detention for the offense. “Protective Custody” involves segregating an inmate from the general population if the inmate, or the facility’s staff, has expressed a serious health and/or safety concern. Many LGBT inmates request protective custody for fear of being harassed or assaulted because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The length of a stint in protective custody is dependent upon periodic assessments conducted by staff to determine the veracity of

A 6’x9’ replica of a Mass. solitary confinement cell

the health and/or safety concern. There are four categories of violations that could warrant an inmate being sent to the DDU, from a Category 1 (killing another inmate, setting a fire, committing sexual assault, etc.) to a Category 4 (possession of contraband, destroying state property, failure to maintain acceptable hygiene, etc.). Category 1 and 2 offenses, the most severe, are typically the offenses that are referred to the DDU, according to Chris Fallon, the DOC director of communications and administrative resolution. A 23year veteran of the DOC, Fallon is also a former captain of the unit. While administrative segregation, disciplinary detention, and protective custody confinements are commonplace in jails and prisons across Massachusetts, assignment to the DDU requires a special hearing. An inmate can be assigned to the DDU for up to 10 years. According to Fallon, as of June 26, all 124 beds in the DDU were filled. The Department of Corrections oversees


18 facilities in the state of Massachusetts, while each of the 14 counties in Massachusetts oversee their own jails. The effects Cox isn’t alone in the suffering he experienced while in solitary confinement. There are even more anecdotes detailing the stress solitary confinement can have. A transgender woman spends 15 years alone in a cell. The isolation becomes so unbearable that she resorts to cutting herself with the sole intent of being able to feel something; a destructive attempt to blot out numbness and inflict a small amount of life-affirming pain. A gay man in a medium security prison, forced to spend 23 hours a day alone inside of a cell, eventually loses his desire to live; he stops eating and refuses to get out of bed for most of the day. Lydon shared these anecdotes with The Rainbow Times and says that there are even more. Black and Pink’s campaign launch ...

See Solitary Confinement on P. 10

10 • The Rainbow Times •

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Solitary Confinement from Page 9 featured first-hand accounts of solitary confinement posted along a wall at the Boston Pride Festival. Through these written words a common narrative filled with suicide, depression, anguish, hopelessness, sleep deprivation, the dissolution of relationships, and mental unbalance emerged. “Mentally, I am still going through a stage of how to be adjusted here in society and also dealing with psychological issues,” said Douglas Rogers, who was incarcerated from 1992 to 2005 and said he spent a total of nearly two years in solitary confinement during the more than 13 years he spent in prison. A Black and Pink member-leader, Rogers helped staff the kickoff of the campaign. While in solitary, Rogers said he spent 23 hours a day in a six-by-nine foot cell and was allowed one hour a day of recreation held in an outdoor cage he referred to as a “kennel.” More than a decade after being released from prison, he still struggles heavily with what he experienced. He said that several times prison staff left the lights on in his cell 24 hours a day, which caused him severe sleep deprivation. “They do things psychologically to mess with your mind,” he said. In the summer of 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report, “The Dangerous Overuse of Solitary Confinement in the United States (” highlighting the detrimental effects of solitary confinement, including, “ ... hypersensitivity to stimuli; perceptual distortions and hallucinations; increased anxiety and nervousness; revenge fantasies, rage, and irrational anger; fears of persecution; lack of impulse control; severe and chronic depression; appetite loss and weight loss; heart palpitations; withdrawal; blunting of affect and apathy; talking to oneself; headaches; problems sleeping; confusing thought processes; nightmares; dizziness; self-mutilation; and lower levels of brain function … ” According to Jean Casella, co-director of Solitary Watch (, a web-based initiative to publicly discuss solitary confinement and its effects, the national statistics on isolation practices in prisons are alarming. “About 5 percent of all prisoners are in solitary confinement, but 50 percent of all prison suicides take place there,” she said of the national trend, noting that isolation

“ABOUT 5 PERCENT OF ALL PRISONERS ARE IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, BUT 50 PERCENT OF ALL PRISON SUICIDES TAKE PLACE THERE,” SAID JEAN CASELLA, CO-DIRECTOR OF SOLITARY WATCH, OF THE NATIONAL TREND, NOTING THAT ISOLATION CAN CAUSE DECREASED NEURAL FUNCTION AND BRAIN SHRINKAGE. can cause decreased neural function and brain shrinkage. In late April, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, a Chicagobased advocate for quality health care in correctional facilities, issued a 17-point statement ( calling for the end of prolonged periods of solitary confinement. In its rationale, the NCCHC noted that solitary confinement stints longer than 15 days were, “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.” The nonprofit also called for correctional facilities to only use administrative segregation as a last-resort option; that inmates in protective custody should be housed in “the least restrictive conditions possible;” and that programs be established to help inmates transition from solitary confinement back into the general population or into the community post-incarceration. Fallon, however, said that it’s hard to determine the psychological effects of solitary confinement because of the complexities of inmates’ mental health prior to being sentenced to segregation. “The inmates in our system have a higher than normal incidence of mental health and substance abuse issues compared to the general population,” he said. “Many have both substance abuse and mental health issues co-occurring. “We continually review inmates who are housed in segregation cells in order to ascertain their mental state, health care needs, [and] appropriate placement. Our goal is to

return offenders to [the] general population as quickly as possible.” The Rainbow Times did not receive a return phone call from the Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Health, a state contractor providing mental and health care services to the DOC, regarding any documented physical or psychological effects of solitary confinement on inmates. Crime and punishment The first time Cox says he was sent to solitary confinement was due to a safety concern. Being housed with a career sex offender, Cox alleges that his roommate kept touching him. He requested to be moved, but was placed in solitary for two weeks. The second time, Cox says he felt that he was at risk of being assaulted because of his sexual orientation. He was placed in protective custody for two months. The third time, however, Cox says he was put in segregation for a hug. A fellow inmate and friend was being transferred to another housing unit and Cox leaned in to give him a hug. He alleges that he was placed in disciplinary detention for three days. “It sent me over the roof that they would use that as a pretext to lock me up,” he said angrily, noting that inmates were often sent to solitary over a federal law called the Prison Rape Elimination Act ( The 2003 law provides research and guidance on how to reduce the number of instances of sexual assaults in jails and prisons, but according to Lydon and Cox, the policy has been abused heavily by prison staff, particularly to the detriment of LGBT inmates. “I began to modify my behavior,” said Cox. “You almost become paranoid in a sense. You always know you’re being watched. I didn’t hang out with the other gay [inmates] as much. I would shower when no one else was showering.” “There have been seemingly endless PREA violations across the country that we have gotten notices for,” said Lydon. “One person reported getting a PREA disciplinary ticket for having his shirt off in the day room. A person here in Massachusetts reported getting a ticket for sitting too close to another prisoner, thighs touching. It's really outrageous.” Fallon emphasized that there’s no such

thing as consensual sex in DOC facilities, but that acts such as hugs or gestures of affections are not considered offenses, otherwise corrections officers would be issuing violations repeatedly. However, overt sex acts are subject to PREA tickets. “We would rather have inmates in the general population than segregation,” he noted. “Dealing with offenders in general population is much less resource intensive and allows for better institutional adjustment during incarceration, in terms of access to classrooms, jobs, [and] programs.” Fallon admitted that there are problematic corrections officers who overstep their bounds when dealing with inmates, but said that there are safeguards in place to protect those who’ve been victimized. “Have we disciplined corrections officers for misconduct? Absolutely,” he said, noting of the 5,200 DOC staff, 3,800 are corrections officers. “We have internal affairs staff. Inmates can file grievances against an officer. No officer has the power to place someone in segregation, that's an administrative task.” He also noted that while some inmates may levy fabrications of abuse against corrections staff, those in charge can spot a problematic officer and take steps to address abusive behavior. Lydon even theorized that within the next decade there will be a significant drop in parole for LGBT people because of accumulated PREA violations leading to solitary confinement and other forms of punishment. Fallon said that PREA violations are quite rare. “We don’t have a huge amount of validated PREA violations,” he said. “We are 100 percent PREA compliant. “We don’t just make up the rules, we follow them. There's a whole lot more to a PREA violation than just a hug,” Fallon continued, noting that he did not know the specifics of Cox’s incident. “Inmates walk up to each other; they hug or do a handshake with a hug. That happens all day.” “If there's smoke, there's fire,” Fallon said. “Sometimes inmates make false allegations. But when you hear inmates say things over and over again, we have an investigative unit [to address grievances].” Marginalized communities and incarceration Lydon said that gay men and transgender women are more likely to bear the brunt of abuse in prisons. “When you sentence a gay man or trans woman to prison, as a judge, you are saying ‘I think it is okay for you to more likely than not be sexually assaulted,’” he said. Black and Pink’s “Coming Out of Concrete Closets” report noted that, nationally, inmates are more than three times as likely to sexually assault LGBT inmates than prison staff. Of those respondents who said they’d been sexually assaulted, 76 percent said that they were intentionally placed in environments where prison staff knew they would be attacked. The report also noted that transgender women, Two-Spirit people, and cisgender gay men are put into solitary confinement against their will at the highest rate.

See Solitary Confinement on P. 21

Never Forgotten.


June 12, 2016 Edward Sotomayor Jr.

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez Age 35

Mercedez Marisol Flores


age 34

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo Age 20

Antonio Davon Brown

Age 26

age 29

Luis Daniel Conde

age 25

Age 39

Cory James Connell age 21

kj morris age 37

Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez age 27

Shane Evan Tomlinson age 33

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan age 24

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz Age 22

Enrique L. Rios Jr Tevin Eugene Crosby age 25

Paul Terrell Henry age 41

Age 25

Juan Ramon Guerrero & Christopher Andrew Leinonen

Age 22 & age 32, respectively

Oscar A Aracena-Montero & Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez

Age 26 & age 31, respectively

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega Age 24

Miguel Angel Honorato Age 30

Darryl Roman Burt II age 29

Juan ChevezMartinez age 25

Jerald Arthur Wright age 31

geraldo a. ortiz jimenez age 25

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon Age 37

Luis S. Vielma Age 22

Joel Rayon Paniagua Age 32

Angel L. age 28 Candelario-Padro

Jason Benjamin Josaphat Age 19

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool age 49

akyra monet murray

Age 18

Christopher Age 24 Joseph Sanfeliz

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado

age 35

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice age 30

Presenting Sponsors

Franky Jimmy age 50 Dejesus Velazquez

community supporters

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez age 37

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla

age 25

Stanley Manolo Almodovar III

age 23

Photos: Facebook

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera

Martin Benitez Torres Age 33

Frank Hernandez Age 27

Age 36


Age 32

Javier Jorge-Reyes

Alejandro Barrios Martinez age 21

Leroy Valentin Fernandez

age 25

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala

Age 33

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez Age 25 • The Rainbow Times • 15

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Orlando Massacre from page 2 checking our prejudices and misconceptions, and approaching others with open minds and hearts. There are things we can do at a policy level to make sure tragedies like this don’t happen again, but small acts of kindness and grace of spirit can shatter the sheer hatred that exists in this world. • Monsters are what we make of them: In the wake of tragedies like this, it’s human nature to demonize Omar Mateen. What he did was horrifying, sickening, disgusting, and without justification or merit, but let us not forget that the same evil that drove Mateen to do what he did is the same evil that drove a Sacramento, CA minister to lament that Mateen didn’t murder everyone in the nightclub that evening ( That same evil is behind countless Americans vocally opposing stricter gun legislation. That same evil belies the politicians who’d rather send “thoughts and prayers” then crack down on lax gun laws. And that same evil is behind members of Westboro Baptist Church protesting the funerals ( of the Orlando victims. Any way you look at it, the same malevolence is behind a lot of the overt and covert acts of violence and oppression, from legislative bills that use religion to attack LGBTQ rights to the hate crimes that put many LGBTQ people in the hospital or the grave. • Angels are what we make of them: Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing attended Orlando vigils and stood proudly

and determinedly with the survivors of Mateen’s hate. Vigils around the country saw LGBTQ people and their allies come together with the common purpose of mourning the loss of those who died. We’ve seen an incredible amount of compassion, love, and strength poured out to the victims and

BUT EQUALLY IMPORTANT WAS THE FACT THAT 23 OF THE 49 PEOPLE WHO DIED WERE PUERTO RICAN. A BULK OF THE PEOPLE KILLED WERE PEOPLE OF COLOR. their families. • Race and ethnicity matter: First and foremost, the victims of the shooting were human beings. But equally important was the fact that 23 of the 49 people who died were Puerto Rican ( A bulk of the people killed were people of color. We do not live in a post-racial America and we should never forget the cultural and ethnic heritages of those we’ve lost. Nor should we forget the struggle of those who are still alive and fighting against racism and oppression. •Sexual orientation and gender identity matter: I perused the Facebook pages of several high school classmates, family

members, and friends who are conservative Christians and have been their whole lives. Not one of them offered any condolences, or even recognition, of the shootings in Orlando. Their Facebook posts on June 12 and after are filled with Bible verses, photos of their children, meaningless prattle about how righteous they are, but nothing else. Let me be clear: Just because the 49 people killed in a nightclub in Florida were not nine church-going Christians inside of a Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, does not mean that their lives are somehow less worthy of remembrance. Those 49 people may not have been 26 schoolchildren and teachers in Connecticut, but their lives are just as valuable. Respectability politics should never trump the intrinsic worth of human life. Regardless of how you feel about LGBTQ people, their lives matter equally. The day we value some lives more than others is the day we need to re-evaluate the true meaning of our religious and spiritual beliefs. There’s a long road to healing ahead of us, but we must band together. We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of a national marriage equality decision in the U.S. Two days after that was the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. There’s still work to be done, though, as the events in Orlando have shown us. We owe it to every single victim of the Orlando shooting to move forward, love each other, and never cease in our commitment to evolving. *A graduate of the Boston University College of Communication, Mike Givens has





been a social justice advocate for more than eight years. During that time he’s worked on a range of initiatives aimed at lifting up marginalized populations. An experienced media strategist and public relations professional, Michael currently devotes his spare time to a number of vital issues including racial justice and socioeconomic equity.

16 • The Rainbow Times •

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

7 Hard truths the LGBT Community must address in the wake of the Orlando massacre By: Mikey Rox*/Special to TRT


or the past few years that I’ve penned this column, I’ve kept it light and fluffy. It’s called The Frivolist after all, and my goal is to entertain with innocuous content that focuses on the fun stuff in life. I’ve written about movies, music, fashion and fitness here—all of which, in the grand scheme of things, are rather inconsequential. Then Orlando happened. Forty-nine of our LGBT “family” members were gunned down simply for being LGBT, along with another 50-plus injured, and in reflection of June 12’s early-morning events I didn’t think it appropriate to use this space to reveal the latest summer gadgets. Instead, I’m using my editorial allowance this time to dissect the aftermath of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history and our loved ones’ reaction to it; the response by the media; and how we, as a unified people, must take a stand to tell those who oppress us that enough is enough. We are in this together until we are not, and that fate should never be up to another human being. Thus, here are a few bitter pills to swallow if you don’t want to be a statistic. 1. There’s Still Little Focus on Mental Illness Sane people don’t walk into a nightclub with a capacity crowd in the middle of the night and open fire a la Tony Montana. Yet the three major talking points on both

mainstream and social media following the massacre were gun control, terrorism by Muslim extremists and lax immigration laws—even though the latter is moot because the gunman, who I will not glorify by name, was born in the United States. We must start addressing our country’s epidemic of mental illness, no matter how difficult the conversation is, so we can effectively diagnose and treat it before it’s too late. That’s not to say that the other soapboxes are irrelevant—they aren’t—but mental illness played a part in this tragedy, and we can’t keep brushing it under the rug. 2. There Are People in Power in This Country Who Want Us Dead It’s not hard to find an American member of the clergy who has at one time or another—maybe during a Sunday sermon or perhaps in a video that’s surfaced online— called for the condemnation and, in some cases, execution of LGBT people. They exist. Despite their seeming abundance, however, they’re relatively few in numbers, and they’re often viewed as fringe members of the religious community. Who we should be more concerned about, however, are the elected officials who we’ve put in power that are facilitating a deep-seated disdain and hatred toward LGBT people and other minority groups. People like the Trumps, Ted Cruzes and Dan Patricks of the world are a problem, and they cannot be absolved of their bloodstained rhetoric

any longer. 3. Bitching About Gun Control on Social Media Is Useless If gun reform is important to you, push your issue with policy change. Updating your status about how this never would’ve happened if AR-15s and similar assault weapons weren’t readily available and legal to obtain makes zero difference—especially to those who have been and will be buried by their families because their bodies are full of bullets. 4. The Silence of Your Non-LGBT Friends Is Deafening – But Also a WakeUp Call You might have noticed something disturbing the day of and after the Pulse nightclub attack: Your LGBT friends and allies mourned this tragedy while much of the rest of your network either remained silent or skirted the issue of decades of villainizing our community. If they did have an opinion, it was about guns and Muslims and terrorists. This in itself should be a wake-up call to you that you know and love people who do not care if gay people are murdered in mass—and you need to start separating yourself from their deadly ideology. 5. It Doesn’t Get Better – And We Need to Stop Pretending It Does Dan Savage’s rainbow-tinted “It Gets Better” approach to LGBT discrimination helped ease our pain a few years ago when LGBT suicide was a top story in the news cycle, and while that nonprofit marketing gimmick wasn’t even true back then, it’s practically nonexistent now. No matter how much progress we make in terms of legislation for our civil liberties, the conservative right and its radical cohorts continue to

Trans 101 from Page 7 complex subject. As mentioned above, a person's sex is determined by a number of factors—not simply genetics—and one's biology does not "trump" one's gender identity. Finally, people are born babies—

Letters to the Editor from Page 2

establish us as demons. As a result, there are proverbial bounties on all our heads— and we need to get our heads out of our asses about it. We are Orlando; this could’ve happened to any one of us—and if we don’t wise/rise up, it will. 6. Allowing Anyone to Marginalize You Must End Now You don’t need to apologize for who you are anymore. Like, ever. If somebody doesn't like who you are because you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, that’s their problem, not yours. Stop apologizing to your relatives, friends, coworkers and pastors. You don’t owe anybody anything, but you should start demanding respect. Otherwise, cut them out of your life. Their political and religious views are poison, and it can kill you. 7. We All Need to Take a Course on How to Survive a Mass Shooting There’s no end in sight for America’s scourge of mass shootings. It will happen again and again and again. And until every assault weapon is melted down, you are in danger. If the government won’t protect you, you have to protect yourself—and step one is enrolling in a course on how to survive a mass shooting. They’re growing in abundance, because, well, that’s our reality now, and it’s in your best interest to be prepared. Your life may depend on it. *Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox (

they are not "born a man" or "born a woman." In Part 3 of the series, we will discuss derogatory terms used against transgender people. not like me and even leave me.

I hope that in the future, we can keep more stories on our print issue so that readers like you read them without the need of a computer. Thank you for sharing your concerns with us! We appreciate it. —The Editor

As a fellow author , who writes about authenticity, I “grok” what you shared and glad that you shared it with us. Also, our truth may change in every moment….adn it is OK to acknowledge this —Grace Stevens, Online

[Re: Ask a Trans Woman: The Importance of Honesty & the Struggle to Tell the Truth]

[Re: Kennedy, Scott Introduce Amendment to Religious Freedom Restoration Act]

Dear Editor, Great article Lorelei, and awesome to see your willingness to go inside and find the willingness to share your inner struggles – and vulnerable places, with your readers, with honestly as a visible person. Choosing to live our truth, our authentic selves is an issue for all people, not just trans, or queer, but a challenge for everyone. SO many of us, may here the words reverberate in our minds ‘If they really knew me, they would

Dear Editor, The good intentions of elected legislative officials striving to protect the religious freedom of expression in this country inadvertently created a weapon of dehumanization and discrimination based on fear. Maybe now, cooler heads will prevail and right the accidental wrong they’ve created and deny those who would discriminate against others for their own comforts sake. —Chutney Gray, Online • The Rainbow Times • 17

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016


1. Margarita With A Straw 2. Parched 3. Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson 4. Orange is the New Black Season 3 5. Carol 6. Portrait of a Serial Monogamist 7. All About E 8. Liz in September 9. The Girl King 10. The Royal Road



TOP 10 BEST SELLER VIDEOS 1. Those People 2. Women He's Undressed 3. Holding the Man 4. Henry Gamble's Birthday Party 5. 4th Man Out 6. You're Killing Me 7. Helicopter Mom 8. Saved! 9. Vicious: The Finale 10. How to Win at Checkers (Every Time)

18 • The Rainbow Times •

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

LGBT Entrepreneurs from page 5 the public transportation sector. Englert’s company received certification as an LGBT-owned business by both the NGLCC and Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office this past spring. Rich Parritz, the owner of Promostuff Online (, a Bostonbased promotional products company, emphasized the importance of LGBT-business owners identifying themselves as such. “The gay community is really loyal to gay people. It’s this incredible bond,” said Parritz. “Being active within your quoteunquote tribe can be really good for business.” While the Massachusetts Department of Transportation awarded its current contract to TNTG to operate its bus service before Governor Baker updated the SDP, Englert said that the directive will benefit her company as it grows. “Without the executive order, we would not even be considered [for] this work … so while the short-term impact has not been felt, we are definitely—because of this status, because of the executive order—able to look at future growth plans in a way that we would not have been able to,” she said. Stacy Robison, the co-founder and president of CommunicateHealth (, has also registered her company as an LGBTBE with both the NGLCC and the state. She founded her business, a health education and communication firm based in Northampton, seven years ago with her partner in her attic. It has since grown dramatically, with approximately 40 employees currently working for the company. Robison believes that Governor Baker’s executive order benefits LGBT entrepreneurs by increasing the visibility of the community in the business world, which

she cited as one of the chief challenges LGBT business owners face. “We’re also a woman-owned business, and so I participate in all sorts of programs for women-owned businesses, like networking, mentoring, and things like that,” she said. “But until now, there haven’t been the same sorts of opportunities for LGBTowned businesses because essentially we haven’t even been recognized as a group. Visibility has just been such a huge challenge.” For businesses based in towns and cities with bigger LGBT populations, however, the executive order, while still meaningful, has had less of an impact. Robert Papa, the owner of Art’s Dune Tours (, a Provincetown-based touring company, has owned his company for about 20 years. His family founded the business in 1946. “Being in Provincetown is a huge advantage for us because we’re, you know, a gay town. It’s great that we don’t have to worry about any discrimination at all,” Papa said. “We’re lucky in that sense compared to other small businesses that are in a non-gay area.” Unlike many other areas of the state, Provincetown has a chamber of commerce that has events for LGBT business owners. Because many LGBT-owned businesses are members of the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce, LGBT businesspeople in the area have many opportunities to network with one another, Papa added. Robison stressed that although this directive helps LGBT entrepreneurs, LGBT businesspeople have already achieved great success in the corporate world. “It’s not that LGBT-owned businesses can’t do the work and need extra opportunities. I think we’re good proof of that,” she said. “We’re already doing the work. We’re qualified to do the work. But I think something like this just gives even more opportunities to new businesses to compete, and I think that’s all the better for everyone.” For more information on the LGBT business community in Mass. & the certification process for LGBT business owners, visit • The Rainbow Times • 19

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

QPuzzle: Let’s start with an orange alert

Across 1 HHH, to Sappho 5 Military cross-dresser Jeanne ___ 9 Pick up 13 Marcel Duchamp's style 14 Genesis brother 15 In the year, to Nero 16 Scores 17 What Brando was doing on the Bounty 19 She debuted as 51-Across recently at Shakespeare in the Park in New York 21 Former NFL player Tuaolo 22 In the zone 26 Mississippi Sissy author Kevin 29 Buff stuff 30 The Simpsons storekeeper 32 Readies for publication 33 Reaction of 51-Across to 19-Across, perhaps? 37 The Sound of Music name 39 Coming Out Under Fire, for short 40 Crude carriers 42 Matthew of Wyoming 48 Deep throat tissue 50 "Fiddle-___!" (Tara expression) 51 Orange candidate 54 Can you diagnose this? It isn't hard 57 Narrow opening 58 Ancient Roman poet 59 Bi 60 Problem for skin

61 Sentence unit 62 Place for your drawers 63 Pops the question Down 1 "My Cup Runneth Over" singer 2 Thy Neighbor's Wife author 3 Is nuts over 4 Well-endowed old goats? 5 Oral sex protectors 6 Go to the edge of 7 Like bell-bottom jeans 8 Paying customer 9 A rainbow flag symbolizes this 10 Folk singer DiFranco 11 Lodging place 12 Drink with fruitcake 18 Closer to Holly? 20 Batting coach Charlie 23 Latin poet 24 Eng. class about Wilde 25 Article of Frida 27 Mardi Gras mo., often 28 Moved one's ass 31 Sources of anal probes? 33 David Hyde Pierce alma mater 34 Welcome indication 35 Force to leave 36 Rilke's I 37 Vidal's Visit ___ Small Planet 38 Unburden 41 Singer O'Connor 43 Summer hrs. in NY 44 Alexander conquered it

45 "Mature" viewers 46 Lee of The Long, Hot Summer 47 Low points 49 Activity of Isadora Duncan 52 Some watch faces 53 Pack with queens 54 Frigid 55 West of Hollywood 56 Mom-and-pop org.

Enjoy the Summer ... Our wishes to you and yours!


20 • The Rainbow Times •

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016 Photos: Steve Jewett/TRT Photographer • The Rainbow Times • 21

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Solitary Confinement from Page 10 “While prison staff may claim they are placing LGBTQ prisoners in solitary confinement for their own safety, it is often being done so as an attempt to decrease sexual activity amongst prisoners or to control what they see as disruption of the social order of the prison by LGBTQ prisoners,” the report noted. Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American inmates were twice as likely to be placed in solitary confinement than their white counterparts, said the report. The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics released a report last October highlighting national “restrictive housing” trends and the data roughly matches that of Black and Pink’s report. “Use of Restrictive Housing in U.S. Prisons and Jails, 2011–12” ( did not track gender identity, but did report that, nationally, lesbian, gay, and bisexual inmates (27.8 percent) experienced higher levels of restrictive housing than heterosexual inmates (17.5 percent) in prisons. Though white and Latino/Hispanic inmates during the same timeframe experienced equal levels of solitary confinement (16.0 percent), black inmates were put in segregated housing at a slightly higher rate (20.8 percent). In 2013, Margo Schlanger, a law professor at the University of Michigan, was able to document what she referred to as a “racialized skew” ( in solitary confinement practices based on statistical data collected using 2005 BJS census data. In her report, she noted that Massachusetts had a slight overrepresentation when it came to people of color being sentenced to solitary confinement. Fallon said that sexual orientation is noted during the initial housing intake assessment when inmates are processed for lodging, but is not a demographic marker that is tracked throughout incarceration. If an inmate identifies as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, Fallon says that accommodations are made to keep the inmates in safe housing quarters. The DOC does track gender identity and has 17 inmates who identify as transgender, according to Fallon. “If we have someone who has gender dysphoria, we are going to try to place them in a place where they’ll be safe and other inmates will be safe,” he said. “For example, if an inmate identifies as female, but had demonstrated violence against females, we would need to consider that before placing them among female inmates, because we have a duty to protect everyone as best we can.” Fallon emphasized that transgender inmates are treated “accordingly, based on what their needs are” and said that accommodations are made for inmates who require hormone therapy, laser hair removal, and other treatments. "We try to mirror the treatment [standard] that inmates would receive in the community while still prioritizing safety.” Fallon said that the DOC does not have data readily available concerning the demographics of the inmates currently being held in solitary confinement. He did note that, including the 124 people in the DDU, there are 460 inmates currently being held in some form of segregation.

Douglas Rogers, a member-leader of Black and Pink, stands in front of a 6’x9’ replica of a Mass. solitary confinement cell during the campaign launch to end solitary confinement. PHOTO: LISA THOMPSON

Exploring the alternatives “I wish this campaign was going on before my time,” said Cox of his belief that solitary confinement does more harm than good. “Some people leave prison in a worse condition than what they were previously in. It’s really sad. I’ve seen it happen.” When asked about alternatives to solitary confinement in the DOC, Fallon discussed

two options that are presented to inmates, but only those suffering from mental illness. The Behavior Modification Unit is reserved for inmates who have consistent behavioral problems. The unit offers therapeutic group sessions, intensive psychotherapy sessions, and conditional programming that reward good behavior with perks.

The Secure Treatment Program is reserved for those who are classified as seriously mentally ill. Inmates in the STP are given very intensive psychotherapy and more hands-on treatment for behavioral issues. “I still think there’s a need for segregation,” said Fallon. “If someone’s not severely mentally ill, do they need the BMU?

See Solitary Confinement on P. 23

22 • The Rainbow Times •

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016 • The Rainbow Times • 23

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

It’s unbelievable that in 2016, at a time when gay marriage is now legal nationwide and an overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality, LGBTQ people can still be fired or denied employment or housing in a majority of states—including Florida. Mateen’s bigotry and internalized homophobia didn’t come from nowhere—it was fueled by a society whose most powerful political institutions continue to legislate discrimination and second-class citizenship. Where is the Democrats’ sense of urgency to have a sit-in for an LGBTQ inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act? The Religious Right needs to be challenged and driven out of business. Right wing organizations proposed more than 200 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation this past year alone—most of them anti-transgender bathroom bills and phony “Religious Freedom” laws that are nothing but a disguise to promote homophobia and legislate discrimination. In the process they’ve spewed vile transphobic rhetoric and given confidence to

Stealth or Not from Page 6 They might never have to even make that choice, because being trans will simply be thought of as one of the many delightful ways that people simply are. Isn’t that what being a good human is all about? Making a better world than the

Solitary Confinement from Page 21

*Lorelei Erisis is an actor, activist, adventurer and pageant queen. Send your questions about trans issue to her at: observations. In April, they highlighted the state of Colorado (, which reportedly reduced its number of inmates in administrative segregation from 1,500 to 160. With 20,000 inmates in Colorado prisons, over the course of five years it reduced the number of inmates in administrative segregation from seven percent to less than one percent. By “reclassifying” hundreds of inmates and transitioning mentally ill inmates from solitary confinement to residential treatment programs, the state was able to make a substantial change in its segregation policies. Though ambitious, people like Rogers are still hopeful that Black and Pink’s campaign to abolish solitary confinement in the Commonwealth will be fruitful. “I would like this to [spread] all over the country,” he said. “Most of these people that are coming out [of prison], it has been a mental strain on them and their family. I lived it. I know what goes on in these prison systems.” As for Cox, he’s landed on his feet. After being released from prison, he devoted himself to staying sober, went back to school, and received an associate’s degree in business management. But the pain is still something he lives with daily. “It got to the point where it affected my intimate relationships,” he said of his experience being incarcerated and victimized because he’s gay. When serving inmates like Cox, Jean Casella of Solitary Watch stresses “services and rehabilitation” over “punishment and isolation:” “No one has ever turned into a more productive, more fulfilled, or better socialized human being by being locked in a concrete box.”

answers, known only to some higher power. Hopefully, by the grace of the Creator we eventually let go and live our lives, never forgetting, but getting on with life’s bitter-sweet journey. Rather than over-think the “why” or struggle with forgiveness, let me share modest observations about giving meaning to tragedy. I need to process this tragedy by making sure the 49 who were taken are not victims, but martyrs. Only by convincing myself that their lives were not taken in vain, however, can I approach the possibility of forgiving the gunman. Before their lives were cut short the individuals had meaning and purpose. The manner in which they were taken challenges us to find even greater meaning to their lives. Personalize Orlando by making the loss timeless. Don’t let them become victims. Experience each individual loss as a sacrifice that will bring about a better world. Every time Congress or a state legislature votes down or refuses to consider legislation that would ban discrimination in housing or employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as one example, chant “Remember Orlando.” Caution them that when discrimination is permitted they’re sanctioning injustice. People who are marginalized for being different become less worthy, less human. In the extreme, discrimination escalates and becomes Orlando. Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox (R-Utah) shared his thoughts about Orlando at a vigil ( He said, “I am speaking now to the straight community. How did you feel when you heard that 49 people had been gunned down by a selfproclaimed terrorist? That’s the easy question. Here is the hard one: Did that feeling change when you found out the shooting was at a gay bar at 2 a.m. in the morning? If that feeling changed, then we are doing something wrong.” Let this tragedy be a painful, unwanted opportunity to change the attitudes of Americans uncomfortable with the LGBTQ community. Use this tragedy to educate them on what may happen when those who seem different are rejected as part of the fabric of this country. If rejection occurs, those who do it become untrue to their Creation as the Creator intended and

From our perspective, there’s a need for segregation.” Lydon said he believes that dealing with behavioral issues should be more restorative than punitive. “You put people who are too dangerous together. You put people who are at-risk together. You don’t put them in solitary confinement, you put folks that are of similar risk levels in the same space,” he said. Black and Pink’s executive director would like to see restorative justice circles in prisons and jails. Inmates who have experienced harm would be placed in therapeutic groups together while inmates who have caused harm are placed in similar groups. Inmates experiencing harm would be given the space to heal and process their experiences while those inmates who’ve caused harm would be held accountable in their groups while having their dignity as human beings affirmed. Trained mental health professionals would facilitate both groups and, if requested, inmates who’ve experienced harm can be allowed to participate in restorative circles with those who’ve caused harm to help process and move beyond the experience. Fallon said that the DOC’s current policy is to house inmates together who are assessed to be at similar risk levels. "We tend to house predators with predators and victims with victims,” he said, noting that sometimes segregation cells have two inmates in them and that cells are often placed next to each other so that inmates are not completely isolated. Solitary Watch has spent the last year conducting national and international studies of changes in solitary confinement practices and has published articles on their

one we inherited? Slainte!

Orlando Forgiveness from Page 2

Violence Against LGBTs from P. 4

bigots everywhere. Is it any surprise then that there’s been an increase in anti-LGBT hate crimes and suicides ( It's also necessary to broaden how we conceive of violence against LGBTQ people. Forcing queer youth to live homeless on the streets is a form of violence. Police targeting Black and Brown LGBTQ people and poor queers for harassment, incarceration, and even death is a form of violence. If we're serious about ending violence against queer and trans people then we have to demand the government disarm the police and end the criminalization of poverty. We need to demand the government invest in building shelters and ending homelessness, eliminating poverty, creating safe schools, and building a society that embraces people all across the sexual and gender spectrum. *Keegan O’Brien is a queer socialist activist and writer from Boston who recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Master’s degree in Education. His writing has appeared in The Nation, Electronic Intifada, Jacobin Magazine, Socialist Worker, and the International Socialist Review.





—LT. GOV. SPENCER J. COX (R-UTAH) don’t live up to what it should mean to be an American. *Paul is a corporate chaplain, seminary trained priest, and attorney in greater Albany, NY. Reach him through his site:

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24 • The Rainbow Times •

July 7, 2016 - August 3, 2016

Profile for The Rainbow Times

The Rainbow Times' July, 2016 Issue  

In this issue, we have a Tribute to the Orlando Victims from pages 11-14 and then more coverage and opinions about the massacre. Our cover s...

The Rainbow Times' July, 2016 Issue  

In this issue, we have a Tribute to the Orlando Victims from pages 11-14 and then more coverage and opinions about the massacre. Our cover s...