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Immigration and my own DNA ances- Can Trump turn back the clock on LGBTQ equality? try, an unexpectedly found identity “ By: Keegan O’Brien*/TRT Guest Columnist

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

M

ost of us have heard family folklore about our ancestors, our ethnicity and race, the origins of our family history and how they eventually migrated to the U.S. or Canada. For me, I identified with my “French-Canadian” roots most. I grew up on the Canadian border, and crossing into the country was an easy process, since my hometown literally had

French was actually in our lineage. We all thought we were right, until we weren’t. Recently, I took a DNA test to trace my origins. I was curious and was eager to find out exactly where I had come from with certainty. What ethnic background was it that gave me my particular features? Was there something in my DNA that made my temperament the way it was or that influenced my likes and dislikes? When the results came in, my heart nerv-

TURNING OUR BACKS ON IMMIGRANTS, IMMIGRANTS LIKE MY OWN FAMILY, AND IMMIGRANT FAMILIES LIKE YOURS, IS A CRIME—A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. a prominent bridge connecting the two nations. Then, I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to be able to absorb two cultures at the same time. To this day, I still feel at home in Canada. The thought of my French ancestors trekking from France to Canada was a beautiful story and one that I held onto dearly. My great-grandmother spoke French when she was a girl and eventually settled in NY, where I was born. Like many others, I traced my family origins back several generations and found piles of documentation substantiating my family history, and the stories passed down from generation to generation. I also knew I had some Irish in me, though I was never convinced it was the majority—my siblings and I often debated how much Irish versus

ously pounded waiting to see just what they would reveal about me. As matter of fact, I couldn’t look at them and made my spouse peak first. What I anticipated was far from what was revealed, and I was astonished. It revealed that my actual heritage was only minutely French (1%) and Irish (4%). As a matter of fact, I am mostly British, followed by the next highest percentages, Italian and Spanish. Rewind—British, Italian and Spanish. Wait, what?! Though I was pleasantly surprised by the results, I couldn’t help but realize how my life of privilege has been solely based on optics. I look the part—the part that allows me to escape free from racial and ethnic discrimination. Yet, the reality is, I am not what I always thought I was and what people ...

See DNA Ancestry on Page 10

Internet, wedding cakes, and measured responses By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist

I

FAITH

n my family, my dad, uncles, and cousins knew how to fix, build, and create things. They safely used hammers, screwdrivers, and other tools. This eludes me. Walking into a Home Depot remains a merciful rarity for me. In June, I dug holes in the front yard to plant several varieties of lavender. In the third hole, I snapped the thin, underground orange cable for the internet. It was Friday afternoon. No internet for the weekend?! Maybe longer! After settling down, though still fretting about the possible repair cost, I told myself that if this is the worse part of the week, I’m doing fine. I have a job, good health, live in a nice neighborhood, and am blessed with a small, trusted group of friends. I thought about a less frenzied few days. No 24-hour news to make me angry. No wasted time watching yet another B-horror vampire movie from the 1970s posted on YouTube. No more reading opinions of pundits about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of a Colorado baker refusing to make a wedding cake for a

same-sex couple based on religious views. Suddenly, my world became slower with fewer intrusions from a cold, complicated world. During the absence of internet, I read more and focused on long-ignored writing projects. Work e-mails had to wait. Rather than being fed opinions from television talk show panelists, I had a quiet time to reflect and form my own. I had to think more and be less influenced by drama-infused analysis used to manipulate viewer emotions to boost ratings. It was liberating. It forced me to break with some wasteful and perhaps spiritually and emotionally unhealthy routines. Although the internet was restored on Saturday, I benefited from a needed peace. Based on this experience, I promised myself to use the internet in focused moderation while remaining committed to writing, gardening, reading books, and limiting the news. The internet absence gave me pause to think about the recent Supreme Court wedding cake decision. I reminded myself to be thankful for something. It didn’t take Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com

AS your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” These were the words of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s at the 2016 Republican National Convention referencing the horrifying shooting massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. the month before. Leaving aside the blatant racism and Islamophobia of his statement, the past year has shown that Trump’s promise couldn’t be further from the truth. Trump’s first year in office has been a political roller coaster with a seemingly never-ending barrage of attacks against workers, the oppressed, and the planet, punctuated by spontaneous explosions of protest and resistance. And at time when public opinion has largely shifted in solidarity with demands for LGBTQ equality, the Trump administration is carrying out policies that threaten to turn back the clock on the rights that have been won and whip up hatred and suspicion that have fueled his bigoted rightwing base of support. Given the whirlwind of attack coming down from the Trump administration, it’s useful to take stock of the past year and evaluate the landscape of LGBTQ rights under Trump, the response from established LGBTQ political organizations and the possibilities for potential resistance. *** From attacks against trans people to the defense of “religious liberties,” the Trump administration has made it a point to target

Letters to the Editor

the oppressed and vulnerable and stand up for bigotry and discrimination. Last summer, in a series of classic Trump tweets, the president announced he would be reinstating the military’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, bogusly claiming the military couldn’t afford the high rate of health care costs. Never mind, of course, the high costs of building the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and military juggernaut. The administration has continued to defend the ban as it’s made its way through the courts. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinded Obama-era guidelines requiring schools provide basic civil rights protections to transgender students. In the context of a school system where trans students are regularly bullied and harassed and already experience disproportionately higher levels of depression and suicide, this decision will have extremely harmful consequences. Trump has stacked the court system with judicial nominees who are openly and vehemently opposed to LGBTQ rights.

See Trump on Page 15

The Rainbow Times The Freshest LGBT 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

Nicole Collins (Intern)

Editor-In-Chief Nicole Lashomb

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[Re: Transgender No Longer Classified A Mental Disorder]

Assistant Editor Mike Givens

Dear Editor, The only way a diagnosis for gender dysphoria or transgenderism can be made is by the patient describing how they feel, so I find it very hard to see this as anything other than a political decision. Other than in the cases of intersex patients or those with a chromosomal issue, there is no other medical tests that can be undertaken to confirm a diagnosis other than by the patient describing how they feel and how their life is impacted. I have immense sympathy for those suffering from gender dysphoria—it is a crippling condition. If mental health concerns ceased to attract stigma then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And that is where the priority should be—not reclassifying something to keep a vocal pressure group happy. —Antony Edgar, Online

National/Local Sales Rivendell Media Liz Johnson

Thank you for your feedback! We welcome all letters to the editor. All letters must be accompanied by an e-mail & phone # to be considered for publication. Please send them to: editor@therainbowtimesmass.com.

Lead Photographers Steve Jewett Christine M. Hurley Reporters Jenna Spinelle Chuck Colbert Al Gentile Chris Gilmore

Webmaster Jarred Johnson Columnists/Guest Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep Mike Givens Affiliations National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association NGLCC QSyndicate

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: 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.


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By: Nicole Lashomb/TRT Editor-in-Chief

IN THE LIMELIGHT

BOSTON, Mass.—Members of the transgender community took to social media by firestorm after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced last month (https://is.gd/vlmywz) that gender incongruence, commonly known as gender dysphoria, would no longer be classified as a mental health condition. The declassification moved gender dysphoria into the chapter under “sexual health.” Outwardly concerns about health care coverage, including gender confirmation surgeries and hormone therapy, were most often expressed. However, healthcare experts anticipate that the reclassification of gender incongruence under sexual health will provide greater access to health care and treatment for the transgender community. “The major change to have come about regarding gender incongruence in the International Classification of Diseases, 11th revision (ICD-11), is that it has been moved out of the chapter ‘Mental and Behavioral Disorders’ and into a new chapter, called ‘Conditions Related to Sexual Health,’” said Dr. Vilma Gawryszewski, Advisor, Health Information and Analysis at the Pan American Health Organization. “The decision was made by an external group of experts, who reviewed all available evidence, including scientific evi-

dence and evidence from both professional and concerned communities. Currently, there is a better understanding of gender incongruence and [we] know that it is not a mental health condition. The decision to move it into a new chapter on sexual health aims to reduce stigma, while also ensuring access to health interventions.” Reclassifying gender incongruence was carefully decided to affirm the transgender community and recognize gender incongruence as a treatable medical condition. “The chapter on sexual health was created to give place to conditions related to sexual health that do not necessarily fit into other chapters of the ICD,” said Gawryszewski to The Rainbow Times. “The decision to include gender incongruence as a sexual health condition recognizes that it is characterized by a marked and persistent incongruence between an individual’s experienced gender and the assigned sex.” Easier Treatment Now Nicolas, a trans masculine patient at Boston’s Fenway Health who requested anonymity, explained the impact that the reclassification has had on him. “I finally feel like I will be looked at as any other person seeking healthcare and not a mentally afflicted individual, just because of who I’ve always been,” he said. Treatment for gender dysphoria and subsequent treatment, such as hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgeries will

PHOTO: THE FENWAY INSTITUTE

Medical experts expect improved trans healthcare after WHO declassification

Dr. Alex S. Keuroghlian, MD, MPH, Director of Education and Training Programs at The Fenway Institute.

become easier according to Dr. Alex S. Keuroghlian, MD, MPH, Director of Education and Training Programs at The Fenway Institute. “Instead of the diagnosis being used to support barriers to gender affirmation, the declassification will hopefully improve access to gender-affirming medical care,” he said. “It will become easier, because understanding will increase about the fact that

trying to align a person's gender identity with their sex assigned at birth is neither ethical nor effective.” Gawryszewski explained removing gender incongruence completely from the ICD-11 would have removed the need for medical intervention. “The individual experiences a strong desire to be treated (to live and be accepted) as a person of the experienced gender. This may require recourse to medical interventions in order to treat with gender affirming treatment,” she explained. “For this reason, it has not been removed altogether as a condition, which would imply that no specific treatment is needed. Of note, gender variant behavior and preferences alone are not a basis for assigning diagnosis.” It is not anticipated that insurance coverage will be more difficult to attain for gender affirming services and treatment. “As gender incongruence is included in ICD-11, just within a different chapter, we do not expect it to be more difficult for the trans community to receive insurance coverage,” explained Dr. Gawryszewski. “However, this is an issue that takes into account factors beyond medical classification.” Yet, improved insurance coverage is already being seen in the medical community. Insurance Reinmbursement “We are already seeing improved insur-

Trans Healthcare on Page 23


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Fashion consultant and TV personality, Tim Gunn, lends his voice to the Stay Proud Project PHOTO: ANDREW HUEBSCHER

Staying Proud: New project works to keep LGBTQIA+ history front and center By: Al Gentile/TRT Reporter

Andrew Putschoegl is convinced that LGBTQ youth are destined to repeat history if they don’t learn from it. “We realized that our history isn’t passed down by our parents—most of them aren’t LGBTQ+,” Putschoegl, who identifies as gay, said. “If it’s taught in school, it’s a footnote. It’s up to us to educate those who are growing up now and help them want to know where they came from.” Inspired by an op-ed in Attitude Magazine in February 2018 (https://bit.ly/2KrE25b) arguing that younger LGBTQ people shouldn’t be obligated to learn about their history, Putschoegl said that his new initiative, the Stay Proud Project (https://bit.ly/2MvHH2a), grew from a rejection of that idea. “It felt sort of like a gut punch,” Putschoegl said. “Knowing where we come from feels important to me. How are we supposed to know where we are going, if we don’t know where we’ve been?” Sam Harris, a gay man and co-producer of the Stay Proud Project, said the importance of understanding LGBTQ history is about having an identity and—perhaps most importantly—a voice that generations before them fought hard for. “What’s that saying, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it?’ I’m old enough to know what it was like when we had no rights, no representation, no role models, no legal status,” Harris said. “It’s vital that the newer generations know what it took to get here.” Harris said as the elder generations who experienced such turning points as the Stonewall Riots and other pivotal moments in LGBTQ history pass away, a threat to the preservation of LGBTQ history rears its head. “Frankly, there are fewer and fewer elder [LGBTQ] people who were there, in the 60s and 70s, in the trenches. These stories need to be documented—as well as all the generations after.”

Raising Voices The Stay Proud project is a series of short videos that tackle such subjects as intersectionality (https://bit.ly/2lBWr4a), activism, history (https://bit.ly/2lFYIeY), and other topics. Typically hovering between one and two minutes long, subjects between 10 and 93 years old—all coming from different parts of the LGBTQ community—share their thoughts on a given subject. Mariella Mosthof, a self-identified “queer femme dyke” who was featured in the “PRIDE” installment (https://bit.ly/2tC5yGB), discussed how living without shame is an integral part of living with dignity. Understanding LGBTQ history, Mosthof said, is crucial to that end. “Shame is toxic to our development as humans. It keeps us stuck, preventing us from growing,” she said. “It erodes our relationships, with others, and it keeps us from making authentic connections.” Mosthof contended that having pride is a crucial part of self-actualization, something that many LGBTQ people struggle with in a world that can be hostile to their existence. “To be in love with ourselves is to affirm ourselves with acceptance and passion. If we carry shame in ourselves, we’re less likely to be able to affirm others with acceptance and compassion,” Mosthof said. “We’re more likely to let them down in the same way that we’ve been let down.” That tradition of passing down a legacy of acceptance and compassion, Harris believes, is a huge part of fostering more progress for LGBTQ people. “Now I am married and have a child,” Harris said. “It’s vital that the newer generations know what it took to get here.” Eye-to-Eye Viewers will notice that every single interviewee stares directly into the camera when interviewed as part of the series.

See LGBTQIA+ on Page 10


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Youth, adults “speak out” on need for comprehensive sex ed in final push to pass legislation By: Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak/Guest Columnist

O

OP-ED

n Monday, June 25, nearly 70 people gathered at Boston’s Old South Church to speak about something many people only whisper about: sex. Parents, teens, educators, and advocates shared what they and others learned—or didn’t learn—in their sex education classes, how that has impacted their lives, and what Massachusetts can do to ensure sex education never fails another student again. Dinah, a peer educator, talked about how she thought she had good sex education in school until she realized the lessons promoted LGBTQ stereotypes. Kim, Gloucester High School’s nurse during its infamous “pregnancy pact,” revealed that there wasn’t a pact at all (https://bit.ly/2KCqTq4): the 18 pregnancies that occurred over the course of that school year directly resulted from a lack of sex education. Sabina acknowledged she thought she knew how to talk to her kids about sex until she realized how little she herself had been taught about consent and healthy relationships. Each of the dozen storytellers were motivated to share their personal stories about how bad sex education has failed them because they’re hopeful they can persuade Massachusetts lawmakers to finally pass the Healthy Youth Act before the end of July when the legislative session ends. One-by-one, the storytellers pleaded for legislators to give today’s young people a

Youth rally in support of the Healthy Youth Act bill at a Boston-area gathering

better chance at a healthier future by improving access to comprehensive sex education and shutting down harmful abstinence-only programs in Massachusetts’ public schools. Even as they took the brave step of talking about their personal experiences with a room full of strangers, nearly every person who shared their story talked about how hard it can be for parents and teens to broach the topic of sex. And they are right. More than 60 percent of Massachusetts teens have not had a conversation about sexual health with their parents in the past

PHOTO: PLANNED PARENTHOOD ADVOCACY FUND

year, according to the 2015 Health and Risk Behaviors of Massachusetts Youth report (https://bit.ly/2KBM0bG) . As a mom of two boys, I, too, know just how awkward those conversations about sex can be—for parents and teens alike. The very fact that adults feel awkward talking about sexual health underscores the importance of ensuring young people have somewhere to turn for unbiased, factual information about their health and bodies. When parents and schools work together to support teens, no one is left without the information they need to protect their health.

The Healthy Youth Act would help create that support network by ensuring any public school electing to offer sex education teaches a curriculum that is medically accurate, age-appropriate, and inclusive of LGBTQ youth. This legislation would guide schools as they choose curricula that help young people delay sex and protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy if they do have sex. Not only can the Healthy Youth Act improve sex education, it will protect young people from the abstinence-only programs currently allowed in schools across our state. As it stands, Massachusetts allows public schools to use sex education programs that lack medically accurate information, shut LGBTQ youth out of the conversation, and perpetuate harmful stereotypes about gender roles. There is no guarantee these programs will provide accurate information about how to prevent unintended pregnancy or STIs, leaving young people vulnerable to misinformation and reliant on pop culture, Google, or pornography for their sex education. Leaving teens with the internet as their only resource is particularly worrisome, because sex education is about more than sex—it’s about building healthy relationships and acquiring communications skills and recognizing, respecting, and understanding consent—values not often modeled in what our teens watch online. For ...

See Healthy Youth Act on Page 23

P R I M E T I M E R S B o s t o n • 2018 • C l u b C a f é


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Cambridge agency provides clear path for same-sex couples to adopt By: Jenna Spinelle/TRT Reporter

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Eric Yaffe and Chee-Seng Lee quickly formed a unique bond with their adopted sons, Jose, 16, and Saul, 11. “A lot of the foster kids grow up feeling marginalized by society, which is very similar to growing up gay in that you also grow up feeling marginalized,” said Lee “We didn’t realize this until we adopted our kids. We understand what they’re feeling and provide empathy and try to encourage them to be proud of who they are.” Yaffe and Lee finalized their adoption last August. It’s one of 18 adoptions to LGBTQ couples or singles facilitated through Cambridge Family & Children’s Services (CFCS; https://bit.ly/2Kthl3J). The organization specializes in facilitating adoptions for children who are in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, particularly older children and teens. Anyone who wants to adopt a child in the custody of the Commonwealth needs to complete a Massachusetts Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (MAPP; https://bit.ly/2KbHjcF) class. Yaffe and Lee described the training as an eye-opening experience. “Every parent should do this regardless of whether they adopt,” Yaffe said. “I knew two different couples who had adopted. Both had really positive experiences.” The MAPP class was also the first introduction to CFCS for Sandra and Jessie

Desjardins, who adopted 5-year-old Ava and 8-year-old Skyla last November. They were nervous going into the class, but immediately felt welcomed by the diverse group of attendees. “There were people from so many different backgrounds, from couples not able to conceive to gay couples to single moms and single dads,” Sandra said. CFCS Executive Director Bob Gittens has spent his career advocating for children’s welfare. He served as cabinet secretary of the Commonwealth's Executive Office of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2003 and was Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services from 1997 to 2001. “All my life I’ve been looking at ways in which I can be helpful in supporting kids thrive and grow,” he said. “Growing up in the inner city and seeing kids heading to child welfare or [the] juvenile justice system, I knew that there were ways that adults can intervene to affect those outcomes.” Gittens said CFCS tries to be as accommodating as possible to all of its clients, which is what he feels sets the organization apart from other adoption agencies in the Boston area. “We have a very welcoming and outgoing approach in terms of being welcoming to folks from all backgrounds,” Gittens said. “We do have a reputation for being very receptive. Some families have come to us after not feeling welcome at other organizations.”

The Yaffe-Lee family

CFCS handles all aspects of the adoption process, which includes a home evaluation, court filings, and post-placement support. The amount of time needed to progress through these steps varies by family, Gittens said. “We tend to work with children who are a bit more difficult to place because they are in sibling groups,” he said. “We want to make sure there’s a good fit between children and families.” The process moved quickly for the Desjardins, who completed the home study in October 2014 and welcomed Ava and Skyla into their home a few days before Christmas that year. “They moved in the midst of a holiday party and then went right into Christmas, so there was a lot of excitement,” Jessie said. “It was an intense moment in time but worth it to see how excited they were to move in with us.” Yaffe and Lee experienced a similar sense of connection when they adopted

PHOTO: ERIC YAFFE AND CHEE-SENG LEE

their boys. Yaffe described meeting Saul for the first time as the start of a bond that’s only gotten stronger over time. “When we first met him I describe it to people as he gave us this huge hug and he hasn’t let go ever since,” he said. “We gave piggyback rides, ran through the grass barefoot and felt really free.” CFCS has worked with LGBTQ couples for as long as anyone on staff can remember—at least 20 years. The organization’s philosophy is that a stable home transcends the type of people who live in it. The agency hosts an adoption panel as part of the MAPP training and strives to make sure that an LGBTQ couple is included in every session. They also encourage families to stay in touch with each other and with staff after the adoptions are complete. When it comes to the children themselves, they seem to take having two ...

See Same-Sex Couples on Page 15


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DNA Ancestry from Page 2 deem me to be. It is undeniable now that I am part Hispanic, even if it is a smaller percentage than my British and Italian roots. When my ancestors migrated from Great Britain to Quebec, Canada, I learned that they mostly absorbed the French language and culture because they were seen as outcasts, otherwise. Then, my own family folklore started making sense, including why my great grandmother spoke French fluently, even though the migration to “New France” took place long before her time. The dots began connecting themselves. The more I read and researched, the more I learned about migration patterns and why people leave their motherland. Like Dorothy always said, “There is no place like home.” And, there isn’t. Most no one willingly leaves their home, their country, their culture, language, friends and family, unless there are dire situations. These situations are often based on life and death circumstances that prompt migrants to seek a better life. Often times, that better life is found in the United States and, at times, the United States can be a living hell. I suppose that depends on whom you ask. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the immigrant community is under attack and siege by the current presidential administration. Children have been ripped away from their parents and those who have sought refuge in the United States have been arrested at the border when they’ve come openly seeking assistance. According to a recent report

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(https://is.gd/OVrdFF) published in the New York Times (NYT), more than 2,300 immigrant children are have been taken away from their migrant worker parents by U.S. officials. This is unprecedented. NY Mayor Bill de Blasio was not even briefed that at the time, when hundreds of separated children were living secretively in agency housing within his own city. The federal government intentionally kept him in the dark. In Massachusetts, many, especially those in the House and Governor’s office, have become complacent in protecting immigrants. “In May, the state Senate included four basic protections in its version of the FY2019 budget, to stop law enforcement from being co-opted by ICE and protect civil rights and due process,” wrote to the Safe Communities Coalition, a coalition committed to defending Massachusetts civil rights values & protecting Muslims and immigrants against discrimination (https://is.gd/viJnsB). “But the House has done nothing, and Governor Baker has threatened to veto the protections if they're a part of the final state budget.” The coalition urges residents to contact their state Rep., but to especially reach out to Gov. Baker to insist on immigrant protections. “If you can't call, e-mail or post on social media and tag them. Time is short, so do it now!” they wrote. According to the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), one in six Massachusetts

See DNA Ancestry on Page 19

LGBTQIA+ from page 4 This, Putschoegl said, was intentional. “I felt strongly that eye contact directly with the camera would create a more intimate and personal connection between the person sharing their story and the people watching this at home,” Putschoegl said. “It just felt right—like the people on camera were having a one-on-one conversation with you.” For Steven Rowley, a gay man who was featured in the “Coming Out” installment of the Stay Proud Project (https://bit.ly/2tADQda), his participation was inspired by coming eye-to-eye with the need to build strength for the LGBTQ community. “The world is changing rapidly, and as a community we have achieved a number of political and judicial victories in rapid succession,” Rowley said. “Whenever that happens, the opportunity for blowback exists and we have to be ever-mindful that the struggle for equality is far from over.” Especially for vulnerable populations, Rowley said, an understanding of LGBTQ history is perhaps one of the most important ways to make living authentically a possibility for future generations. “Especially for gay people of color, the transgender community, and the most vulnerable among us, we have to remain vigilant,” Rowley said. “Part of that is understanding our history and teaching it to the next queer generation.” For Mosthof, the Stay Proud Project is a way for younger generations to stay inspired to advocate for greater acceptance of their identities. “What I hope viewers take away from the project is that it’s not passé to still be talking about and sharing and unpacking queer ...identity,” Mosthof said. “We’ve been historically underrepresented in cultural discourse since the beginning of time. Maybe after we’ve seen queer liberation centered for two millennia, then we can relax.” The Future of Staying Proud Harris and Putschoegl both said the Stay Proud Project is on a course to cover more subjects as time goes on. Leveraging their own networks, along with utilizing the combined social resources of organizations such as GLAAD (www.glaad.org) and the Anti-Violence

“ THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING

LGBTQ HISTORY IS ABOUT HAVING AN

IDENTITY AND ... A VOICE THAT GENERATIONS BEFORE THEM FOUGHT HARD FOR. ” —SAM HARRIS Project (https://avp.org) in New York, Harris said more is on the way. “This is a project that can go as wide as we can get,” Harris said. “This project has [enlightened] Andy and [I] to the obligation of documenting these stories, these people, these lives. If the enthusiasm we’ve received thus far is any indication, we’re on a good path.” “In an ideal world we want to interview people throughout the country, and eventually around the world,” Putschoegl said. “We have personally learned so much more than we ever imagined, and we want to help share these stories with everyone.” Apart from educating LGBTQ youth and inspiring them to explore their own history, Rowley said the Stay Proud Project is something for all community members, young and old alike. “The Stay Proud Project is for everyone. The younger members of our community to hear the voices of those who fought before them—the older members of our community to reflect, mourn our losses, and celebrate our victories,” Rowley said. “And for straight people—friends and foes—to listen to others talk openly about their lives and hopefully see them as more human.” For Mosthof, the Stay Proud Project is about recognizing that there is still much work to be done. She hopes this project will inspire more to understand that the struggle for acceptance and compassion is still an uphill battle. “It’s tempting to claim that we’re ‘postgender’ or ‘post-queer,’ as a society because of all the strides we’ve made in securing LGBTQ+ rights and protections,” Mosthof said. “But it’s important to remember that queer bodies carry the death and trauma of queer identity. We have a shared history of collective trauma and to lose sight of it is to risk never meaningfully healing from it.” For more information about the Stay Proud Project, visit their Youtube channel (https://bit.ly/2tIGOM5), their Facebook page (https://bit.ly/2Ixi9PO), or their Instagram account at @stayproudproject (https://is.gd/W9JTEA).


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By: Chris Azzopardi*/Special to TRT

E

ven in prison, Shea Diamond was a star. The concrete floor her stage, the men her audience. And the acoustics? “The best,” Diamond says. The 40-year-old soul songstress stretched her body over the hard ground, beating it while singing a song she wrote in her cell called “I Am Her.” She was serving a 10year jail sentence at various men’s correctional facilities in Michigan for committing armed robbery, a desperate attempt to fund her transition, and “instead of just counting the days and wondering what day it is, I put all the energy into music.” The men were transfixed, moved. “These guys were singing it,” she says, “and asking me to sing it again.” Diamond was released from prison in 2009 with a passel of songs she’d written, moved to New York City, and devoted her new life beyond bars to being on the front lines of transgender activism. In early 2016, out big-name producer Justin Tranter, whom she calls her “fairy godmother,” was blown away by an a cappella performance she gave at a Trans Lives Matter event. Now, Diamond’s empowered jail musings are free at last on her Tranter-produced debut EP, Seen It All, and a forthcoming full-length. Q: Do you think the world is ready for a major trans artist? A: Definitely not, but the world wasn’t ready for Einstein and his theories either. The world wasn’t ready for equality and

wasn’t ready for slaves to be free. So, the world isn’t always ready for change, but change is always going to happen. Q: How does it feel to know that you are a part of the change? A: It feels absolutely amazing to be a part of the change. In this climate, it’s especially important to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem, so music is able to tap into the areas that we weren’t able to tap into. We were definitely on the frontlines protesting, marching and community organizing, and at the end of the day, if people are jamming to a tune, then we will be able to effect more change. Q: When did you first become interested in music? A: I grew up with a lot of music. My aunties all sang, my mother sings. I grew up with someone always singing. Q: What role has music played in helping you overcome your hardships? A: Music was able to heal me in every moment, including my confinement. That’s when it was the roughest for me, because I didn’t have any support. So the family and friends that didn’t turn their back on me because of my gender identity, they turned their backs on me because I was a criminal in their eyes. I had to really reflect and deal with myself. I was left to myself and there was nobody else. I had to reflect and be ...

See Shea Diamond on page 15

PHOTO: IRA CHERNOVA

Trans singer Shea Diamond moved prisoners with her music while in jail. Now, the world.


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Trump from Page 2 The Justice Department rescinded an Obama-era federal memo declaring trans people are protected under civil rights laws and has come out in support of anti-trans “bathroom bill” legislation. The bigoted right has taken this as a green light to go on the offensive, using the guise of “religious liberties” and “bathroom bills” to chip away at established civil rights protections across the country at the local, state, and federal level. In 2017, 16 states introduced legislation to restrict trans people’s right to use the bathroom of their choice, six states attempted to repeal LGBT anti-discrimination laws, and 14 states attempted to remove protections for transgender students. While the anti-LGBT right hasn’t always been successful, it’s clear that they feel a new wind of confidence in their sails with Trump in the White House. The administration has provided a set of “religious liberties” guidelines to federal agencies asking them to respect “religious liberty protections” in all levels of the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services also created a new agency, the “Division of Consciousness and Religious Freedom” to ensure that the “religious liberties” of providers aren’t violated. We should be clear, these decisions have nothing to do with protecting religious liberties and everything to do with establishing the right of bigots to practice discrimination and hate. In the recent Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (https://bit.ly/2fEwm1s), the administration argued and the court ruled in favor of the cake shop’s right to discriminate against a same-sex couple. Although the ruling was limited and not the wholesale victory the right wing was hoping for, it sets a dangerous precedent for

Same-Sex Couples from page 8 parents of the same gender as a badge of honor. “They are proud to tell everyone they have two moms,” Sandra said. “It’s nothing to them at school or anywhere else … it’s just part of their normal day-to-day.” While some may think of adopting a baby as the only way to start a family, Lee encourages everyone to consider adopting

Shea Diamond from Page 12

IN THIS CONTEXT, IT’S NO EXAGGERATION TO SAY THAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION AND

RELIGIOUS RIGHT HAVE BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS. THE

future cases and gives further confidence to opponents of equality. Without any explanation, the administration fired the entire Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in December and refused to recognize LGBTQ Pride Month in June. *** The administration’s attacks keep coming, even though there’s been a major shift in the level of cultural acceptance and legal equality in the past decade for LGBTQ people. At the same time, however, the situation for the most vulnerable queer and trans people, particularly those at the intersections of race, class, gender and sexual oppression, remains extremely precarious and in a state of social crisis. Nothing demonstrates this more starkly than the level of violence endured by trans women of color. In 2017, 28 transgender people, overwhelming trans women of Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com

older children. “There are lots of other great older foster kids out there who can learn to love you and be part of your family if you give them the opportunity,” he said. “The most important thing is to get yourself educated and find out.” To learn more about the services offered by CFCS, visit their website at https://bit.ly/2Kthl3J.

able to internalize a lot, and so I projected a lot of that energy, both negative and positive, into music and created what at the time seemed to be like poems or just words that started with a story. With “I Am Her,” I said, “I want to be able to express all my feelings about the church, the rejection from the church, how nobody wanted to accept me for being her,” and it talks about how, at the end of the day, I was by myself and I was all right by myself. Being trans, they wanted to punish me extra, they wanted to discard me of yard or telephone privileges for just being me. Q: What did your activism entail? A: It entailed a lot at different times. Because there were different roles I played within activism, like survival sex worker activism—a lot of work around that. Because a lot of people wouldn’t care if (trans sex workers) got murdered because nobody would question, and so that was affecting a large part of our community. Our most marginalized part of the community is the part of our community that is deprived of job opportunities, of other resources, and have to engage in survival sex work, because sometimes it’s our only option. Survival looks different for different people, and through my journey I’ve learned that. We were trying to gather clothing for someone who was trapped in another state, so we would have to raise money in order to get a ticket for them to get back to a safe place because they were deprived food and their clothes were taken. So these things were established within a place that was supposed to do it, but it was us doing it. That’s what our activism looked like a lot of the times, doing a lot of things that peo-

ple don’t wanna do. Our activism was protesting, was going to rallies, was going to march, was going to Washington, was going to all of these places trying to change policies. Our activism just looked completely different throughout the years. Do you consider your music activism? A: I do. In my music I believe that I touch things that people don’t really touch. I talk about what’s happening in our climate, and I believe that the great artists that weren’t so popular were the artists that were talking about what was happening in their times and speaking against those things. So everything from “I Am Her,” which became an anthem, to “Keisha Complexion,” that is reclaiming beauty for the dark-complected woman or person. It’s dealing with sexism, it’s dealing with activism, it’s dealing with self-care. There’s a part of my song that talks about, yes, we’re fighting all these things in life, there will always be oppression, but we have to have one day to just do us. Every element of my music is speaking to your spirit. Recently, the people (told me they) wanna dance, so I said, “OK, OK. I’m gonna give you good music but something you’ll be able to dance to too.” So I’m making music now. One song is still in the activism world, but you’re still dancing on it. But the latest one I just worked on has nothing to do with activism. It’s just about you literally dancing. Are you still working with Justin on those songs? A: I am working with Justin. I am able to work with other writers and producers as Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com


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Ministry beyond the church: Rev. Joe Amico By: Chris Gilmore/TRT Reporter

6 Ways Miami’s OUTshine is raising the bar on LGBTQ Film Festivals By: Mikey Rox*/Special to TRT

T

THE FRIVOLIST

here are plenty of notable LGBTQ film festivals around the country, but the best and most overlooked by our community (in my opinion) is Miami’s OUTshine, which features two editions—South Beach in the spring and Fort Lauderdale in the fall. I’ve attended the festival in each city over the past couple years, and I have to give props where props are due: The films are carefully selected; they’re representative of LGBTQ life on an encompassing scale; and even though it’s held in densely populated South Florida, the festival manages to retain its microcommunity feel. Here are six more reasons to attend this year.

gender experience I can’t say that I seek out transgender-experience films as part of my regular viewing —we’re all creatures of habit who stick with what we know and like when it comes to being entertained—and perhaps that’s why I’m always looking forward to OUTshine’s transgender film selection. The festival’s presentations of these narratives and documentaries take me out of my comfort zone so I can learn more about gender identity, transgender issues, and the real people living through the transformative process—something I think the LGB community in general struggles to understand, whether we’ll admit it or not. At OUTshine Miami this past spring, I was informed by the documentary Transformer, which followed Janae Kroc (who, as a male, was world-champion powerlifter and competitive bodybuilder Matt Kroc) as she navigated resistance to her transition from her parents; competing in a sport rife with homophobia, let alone transphobia; losing sponsorships; and raising three welladjusted sons, all while trying to figure out where she fits in her new world. Another recent favorite, which screened at OUTshine Ft. Lauderdale last October, is Japan’s first-ever transgender film CloseKnit, a narrative that skips the transition part of being transgender and dives right into the heart of a blended family that grows closer despite outside prejudice. It’s among the top five LGBTQ films I’ve ever seen.

1. OUTshine’s foreign film selection will blow you away If I’m completely honest, I’m a bit judgmental (and disappointed) in the LGBTQ films we produce here in the United States. Largely the plots are the same—it’s either two built-like-a-brick-$hithouse dudes meeting spontaneously in (enter any city here, but probably Palm Springs) who spend a weekend exploring each other’s bodies and falling in “love” before vacation is over, or it’s a coming out story we’ve seen time and again—and that’s notwithstanding the quality of the acting and/or filmmaking, which is, more times than not, subpar. I’ve seen excellent homegrown LGBTQ films, of course, but they’re few and far between. On the other hand, foreigners are producing standard-setting films for the genre, and the folks at OUTshine excel at choosing these well-made, dynamic stories. Countries like Britain, Germany, Iceland, Finland and Japan have all entered films that have surprised and elated the festival’s audiences— and the films have the awards to prove it. If you’re looking to shake up your LGBTQ film queue, I highly recommend French-Canadian film 1:54; the Icelandic drama Heartstone; and Argentina’s sexually curious Mi Mejor Amigo.

3. It’s a small festival that makes a big splash in the community Compared to New York and Los Angeles, OUTshine Miami (and even more so, Ft. Lauderdale) is smaller in scale, but the festivals span 10 days and nine days each, respectively. Its partnerships run the gamut, from LGBTQ student organizations to the Stonewall National Museum & Archives (a must-visit while in town) to niche health and support groups like Latinos Salud. Sponsors, including Showtime and Regal Entertainment Group, add credibility to the festival (which it does just as well on its own), and its marketing reaches just ...

2. Same goes for films about the trans-

See The Frivolist on Page 23

SALEM, Mass.—What could have been a career-shattering event, after a 17-year job with the United Methodist Church that was unexpectedly halted when he revealed to them he was gay, Reverend Joe Amico turned it all around and found himself doing exactly what he was meant to do: help and guide others in the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S. and abroad. The openly gay pastor at Salem, Massachusetts’ Tabernacle Church, a United Church of Christ (UCC) congregation, belongs to the Salem Rotary Club, is the Religious Liaison to Salem No Place for Hate Committee, serves on the Committee on Ministry for the Northeast Association for the UCC, and is a member of the clergy caucus of the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO). In addition, he is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC-I), serves as Vice President of NALGAP (The Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies), and is on the Editorial Board of Addiction Professional. For 10 years, Rev. Joe was a part of the Pride Institute, the nation’s first inpatient substance-abuse treatment facility specifically for the LGBTQ community. He was also an Associate Conference Minister for the Southwest Conference of the UCC where he worked collaboratively with the Congregational Christian Church of Mexico to create a Church Without Borders in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Crossing borders and spreading a message of love and acceptance, Rev. Joe recently brought his compassion and expertise to Bermuda’s LGBTQA community. After being splashed across front-page Bermudian headlines, The Rainbow Times caught up with this trailblazer to talk about his Bermuda trip, addiction within the LGBTQ+ community, faith, civil rights, Trump and his upcoming plans. The Rainbow Times: Can you tell us more about when you were forced to step down at the UCC, exactly what did you do and how did that impact you? Rev. Joe Amico: It was a devastating experience at the time. I thought I would always be a pastor and thought, what does one do with 17 years’ experience and an M.Div de-

Rev. Joe Amico

gree? While serving a church in a small Wis. town, I also served part-time as Chaplain at an adolescent alcohol and drug program. Because it was run by the Volunteers of America, which is organized legally as a church, I was able to keep my clergy credentials in the UMC until I later transferred them to the UCC, my current denomination, which ordained the first openly gay man in 1972. Looking back, I realize that had I not been forced out of the ministry at that time, I never would have had the wonderful opportunities I’ve had as an addiction counselor to do the trainings on LGBT issues, which have taken me all over the U.S., Europe and Bermuda. God moves in mysterious ways! Q: You’ve had a great deal of impact on the LGBTQ community in Bermuda. Why Bermuda and not somewhere else? A: I was invited by Bermuda’s Department for National Drug Control to do a training on LGBTQ+ issues for professionals. Q: What is the best way to describe your services specifically addressing the needs of the LGBTQ community at home and abroad? A: I’ve been doing workshops and training on LGBTQ+ issues for professionals for 30 years here in the U.S. and Europe. I started

See Rev. Amico on Page 19


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A gentle touch can go a long way in the struggle for acceptance By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist

I

TRANS OPINION

have been visible in public as a trans woman for 15 years now and I’ve run up against disapproval, fear, hate, and resistance. Some folks even went as far as to try to erase my identity as a trans woman. I would hear that I wasn’t really a woman, that I was a man, that I was weird, sick, gross, and an abomination, among other awful things. Usually, I would just ignore these awful words and go about my business. In the early 2000s, there was really no support at all for trans people, so I just took the hits and tried not to let them bother me. As time went on, trans people started coming out and living openly and when I encountered the awful name-calling, I would often try to nicely correct the person and let them know that I was female and to please use the proper pronouns and accept me as a woman. Sometimes, that worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Still, I remained nice to them and went about my business. Nowadays, I see and hear trans people sometimes being very militant and a bit abrasive to folks who misgender them, view them as less than equals, and try to

erase their existence. I can understand the trans person’s frustration and anger, but sometimes I’m taken aback a bit when I hear how harshly they treat the offending person. I still either nicely try to explain or

persuade them to support your cause. The other 20 percent will probably never support you, so it’s pretty much fruitless to try to reason with them. I know that some folks at times like to tangle with these

I WOULD HEAR THAT I WASN’T REALLY A WOMAN, THAT I WAS A MAN, THAT I WAS WEIRD, SICK, GROSS, AND AN ABOMINATION, AMONG OTHER AWFUL THINGS. I simply ignore and go about my business. I pick my battles and decide whether it’s worth it or not to pursue conversation with the offending person. A friend once told me about how a marginalized group goes about getting their rights. She said that 20 percent of the people will support you, 20 percent will be against you, and the other 60 percent are up for grabs as they could go either way. Since the first 20 percent already support you and are on your side, you don’t have to try to

folks, but in many cases, no minds are going to be changed. I just simply write off these folks and forget about them. Now the 60 percent who are on the fence or haven’t taken a stand yet are possible supporters, so these are the folks you need to persuade and enlighten. These are the ones who can make a difference in the fight for your rights. These are the ones you need to pay attention to and work with in hopes you get their support. How to work with these folks in the 60

percent? This is where I offer my solution to act nicely and attempt to inform them in a calm way. I personally try not to belittle them, but to speak to them on a respectful level. I don’t raise my voice or bring up their cisgender privilege, as those actions many times may back them into a corner and they may become defensive. Instead, I try to speak to them through my words and my actions, in a calm and respectful manner. Yes, I have reached some folks using this manner. Sure, there are times when I do not reach them, and I may notice that something inside them will not accept me for whatever reasons, but I still give it a try. Hopefully, I may have given them an opening to support us after they think it over for a while. If I raised my voice and began loudly accusing them of privilege, I think that may turn them off and send them into non-acceptance. It’s not always easy to control yourself as you speak with folks about your rights, but I try my best to keep myself calm. I try to keep my smile and to keep my message clear without making them feel defensive. That’s how I try to chip away at the 60 percent who hasn’t yet taken a stand. *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has three children and two grandchildren. She can be contacted via email at dejavudeja@sbcglobal.net.

Ask a Trans Woman: Celebrating my transition, remembering where it started had been there since before I had memos I sit here ries, and they were the last remaining physwriting this ical ties I had to Cape Cod. I can close my TRANSITIONING IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE column, it is eyes anytime and easily summon up the the first day of summer, view looking out over the pond. And the summer solstice. It is though I no longer bother to memorize my FOR MYSELF. I LOVE THE WOMAN I HAVE BECOME. also 11 years to the day own cell phone number, I still knew the since I started hormone phone number for the old landline in my replacement therapy Gram’s house by heart. I’M GLAD TO FINALLY KNOW THE WOMAN I AM AND (HRT). I took my first The house was slated to be sold once the doses of estradiol, a syn- estate was settled and so it seemed fitting thetic estrogen, and spironolactone, a to go back there and stay for a few months HAVE ALWAYS HAD INSIDE ME. testosterone blocker, in a car at the begin- to memorialize the end of the boy identity PHOTO: DAVID MEEHAN

By: Lorelei Erisis*/TRT Columnist

A

ning of a cross-country trip from Los Angeles to Cape Cod. I had been living in LA for about seven years and I was returning to Cape Cod, where I grew up, to spend the summer in the home of my recently deceased grandmother. Her house, on the shore of Eel Pond in the tiny village of Monument Beach, was the closest thing I had ever had to a consistent home. I stayed there often as a youth. My parents were always very good about providing happy homes for me but they separated when I was young and both worked a number of different jobs to support us. So throughout my childhood, we often moved around the Cape, from rental to rental, until my mom built a house for us with her own two hands (and the help of a fine group of other folks all working on each other’s houses). And it was a lovely home. But my grandmother’s house on Eel Pond, and the family’s cottage next to it,

I had crafted for myself over many years and the beginning of my new adventure of discovering who I am as a woman. I would go home to reset my identity and begin anew. So when I finally saw a doctor in LA who would prescribe HRT for me, and I signed the informed consent papers that would allow me to proceed without the sometimes-stigmatizing diagnosis of “gender dysphoria,” I remained patient and held on to that first filled prescription. I waited for the summer solstice, which in addition to being the longest day of the year, is also exactly six months from my birthday on the winter solstice, the first day of winter and longest night of the year. And as luck, and my goddess Eris, would have it, the summer solstice on June 21, 2007 worked out to be the day that my girlfriend Widow and I headed out on the road, leaving LA behind. I was also leaving my life of pretending to be a boy behind. We packed as many of our belongings as pos-

sible into a tiny compact car that needed delivery to its owners in Boston several days later. We found the car through a service that paired drivers in need of long-distance travel with cars in need of delivery. The owners of the car paid for gas and tolls within a very limited range of mileage and time. With the car packed so tightly, I could not fit in the driver’s seat, so Widow drove. Freshly on estrogen, I read the maps (yes, physical, awkwardly large maps), DJ’ed the music, and kept the conversation lively. The deserts, canyons, and hills of Nevada and Utah seemed sublimely beautiful to me as I thought I could feel the new hormones spreading through my body. With freshly female eyes, I even managed to look on the endlessly repetitive expanses of the Midwest with something approaching awe. And because my life is often filled with odd little adventures, as a newly minted transgender woman, Widow and I even got

a personal tour of the famed Kinsey Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington. I had no idea then just how prophetic that would be for the future career I would end up embarking on, as I learned more and more about whom I was and who I am as a woman. A day or two after that, we arrived at my Gram’s house on Eel Pond. I was a new woman in an old home. It was still several months before I felt confident enough to stop flitting back and forth between male and female presentations, but that trip, and that specific date of June 21, 2007, is the moment I mark as the very start of my transition, my rebirth as a woman. As much as being trans is hardly a choice—and even deciding to transition and start HRT was little more than a choice between quite certain death and an uncertain life—I am so glad that I made that choice.

See Transition on page 23


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Rev. Amico from Page 17 as a counselor at Pride Institute, the first inpatient substance abuse program specifically for LGBT clients, three years after it opened in 1989. For 8 years, I was the President and currently serve as Vice President of NALGAP. NALGAP was instrumental in getting our government to publish A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals. Subsequently, we got the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to publish a training curriculum, which I now teach at national conferences, agencies or wherever else I get invited. Q: Addiction is so prevalent in the U.S. in the LGBTQ community. Why do you think that is? A: There are a number of studies that have been conducted. Most demonstrate that addiction in the LGBTQ+ community is three times higher than in the general population. There are a lot of theories as to why. Recent research has shown that both the tobacco and alcohol industry targets the LGBTQ+ community. When I first got into the field as a chaplain in an adolescent facility, one of the counselors used to warn the kids, “You hang around the barber shop long enough, you’re going to get a haircut.” For many years the only place queer folk had to meet each other were the bars, so if you had the biological propensity to become addicted, it stands to reason that folks would get addicted at a higher rate. However, I tell my addiction professionals nothing drives addiction more than shame. So many in our community suffer stigma and shame for being who they are, so they turn (unconsciously perhaps) to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism.

DNA Ancestry from Page 10 residents is an immigrant. “Yet, under the Trump administration, our immigrant friends, neighbors and coworkers are being demonized and targeted for mass deportation,” MIRA’s website read (https://is.gd/Pq65st). “The federal government wants state and local law enforcement to serve as ‘force multipliers’ for its crackdown on immigrants. The Safe Communities Act would stop that from happening in our state.” According to MIRA, “The Safe Communities Act protects the civil rights, safety and well-being of all residents by drawing a clear line between immigration enforcement and public safety (https://is.gd/Pq65st). … It ensures that our tax dollars are not used to help the Trump administration deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry.” LGBTQ immigrants, amongst others, come to this country in an attempt to survive situations otherwise impossible to overcome. Dire situations often riddled by extreme poverty, violence, a lack of resources to exist or persecution for who they are or who they love are often found at the forefront. Turning our backs on immigrants, immigrants like my own family, and immigrant families like yours, is a crime— a crime against humanity. The direction that this country is heading in is terrifying as the once proud democ-

Q: What inspired you to become a reverend? A: As an adolescent, I was struggling with so many issues including my sexuality. I found my church to be a place where I was accepted and affirmed and decided I wanted to be a minister so I could help others feel that same acceptance and affirmation.

QPuzzle this July 2018: “Oscar, But Not an Award”

Q: With the current abuse of immigrant children and families being separated at the border and thousands of children “lost,” what is the best piece of spiritual advice you can give to the immigrants being targeted and the citizens who are trying to help? A: Jesus family was an immigrant family! Jesus was born in a foreign land and they had to flee their home twice because of the Roman government. Our faith history is filled with stories of holy people who were immigrants and we are reminded over and over again in scripture to welcome the stranger and to feed and clothe them. My denomination has declared itself an Immigrant Welcoming Denomination and the Mission Action Group at Tabernacle is currently writing a similar declaration for us as a congregation. Q: Describe yourself in 3 words. A: The kids at that adolescent facility dubbed me “Captain Serenity.” I like that title for two words! Compassionate would be my third. Q: With the state of the nation, what are the three most important issues that you think people should be focusing on right now? A: Immigration reform, gun control, and Read the rest of this story at The Rainbow Times’ website

racy feels more like a tyranny. But, it doesn’t have to be that way in Massachusetts. We have a unique opportunity to create effective change and protect immigrant families, residents, and valued contributors to our commonwealth. We are called to a greater task of upholding the rights of the most marginalized among us. If Massachusetts doesn’t do it, what does that say about us? Will we still be considered the civil rights advocates and defenders of the country or will we succumb to the status quo, while placing thousands of lives in jeopardy? I am grateful for my ancestors’ courage and tenacity to give subsequent generations a better life. I have a better life and am able to contribute to the betterment of this country because of them. When my family immigrated from Britain, Italy, Spain, Canada and so on, there were no waiting lists or lines lasting nearly a decade to enter the U.S. like there are now. There was no red tape. We were a welcoming nation and should remain as such, just like Lady Liberty promised us. I wouldn’t be here otherwise, and neither would you. *Nicole Lashomb is Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times. She earned her MBA from Marylhurst University and her BM from the Crane School of Music/SUNY Potsdam. Nicole can be reached online at editor@therainbowtimesmass.com.

Across 1 Rocky Horror Picture Show following, e.g. 5 Cruising areas 9 Suitcases 13 Area east of the Urals 14 Grace, or will to be diplomatic 15 Come out 16 Swarm 17 Tennis stadium in Queens 18 Italian sports car, briefly 19 Actor currently directing and playing the title role in a movie about Oscar 22 Sex-toy batteries 23 One who wears very little clothing 24 Put it in a stallion's mouth 27 What you must remember, as time goes by 30 Queen bee's mate 34 From the top 36 Cole Porter's "___ Gigolo" 37 Transnational money 38 Pictures from the movie about Oscar? 41 GLAMA award, e.g. 42 Old Spanish queen 43 Went lickety-split 44 Panache 45 Bad bottom-line news 47 St. of the Cathedral of Hope 48 Print measures 50 Long sandwich, for short 52 Steppenwolf song about Oscar? 59 Melville novel about a

mutiny 60 On top of that 61 Lubricates 63 Avoid premature ejaculation 64 Serengeti sound 65 Kind of child 66 Family diagram 67 Macho man 68 Coming of Age in Samoa author

Down 1 Roof animal of Tennessee 2 Visitor at lesbianation.com 3 In ___ of 4 Home of the Buccaneers 5 Patrick Stewart's Enterprise, for one 6 Over and done 7 Masseuse's target 8 Carell, who played Bobby Riggs in Battle of the Sexes 9 Hairy gay guy, redundantly? 10 Trucker's rod 11 Present 12 Online exaggeration, perhaps 20 Enjoy Stephen Pyles 21 Church leader 24 Gathering places for Gaius Julius 25 Words before water or pursuit 26 Opening for a bopper? 28 Push forward 29 Larry Kramer's Just ___

31 Phrase from Ripley 32 Cathedral word in gay Paree 33 Flynn role opposite Davis 35 Circle on a Bernstein's staff 39 "___ we a pair?" 40 Durable 1960s game show 46 Word before generis 49 Flies like an eagle 51 Emulate a pansy 52 Make a break for it 53 Barbra's Funny Girl co-star 54 Name repeated in a Stein quote 55 Rorschach stain 56 Biblical birthright seller 57 Wine partner 58 Enchanted Disney character 62 Providence lead role

Info: Philly Trans Wellness Conference P. 4

SOLUTION


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Fear grows that a serial killer is targeting Jacksonville’s Transgender community

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Equality Florida mourns the murder of a transgender woman killed late last month in Jacksonville and joins with local LGBTQ leaders in calling on law enforcement to change policies that are hampering the investigation into what many fear may be a serial killer. Since February, four transgender women of color have been gunned down in the city of Jacksonville. Three of the victims died from their gunshot wounds, the fourth victim was shot five times but survived. All remain unsolved and the transgender community grieves while fearing for their safety.

Nearby Pride Events* Rochester Black Pride Aug. 8-12 https://bit.ly/2KsJNzE

**Montreal Pride** Aug. 9-19 https://bit.ly/2acA7s7 P-Town Carnival Aug. 11-17 https://bit.ly/2FtNGRu

Northey Street House Bed & Breakfast Inn Est. 2002

30 Northey St, Salem, MA • (978) 397-1582

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Springfield MA Pride TBD https://tinyurl.com/yab78d4e **Sponsored Pride Celebrations Events Prides where The Rainbow Times is the main media partner. Thank you Montreal Pride! ** NOTE: The Rainbow Times is not responsible for event date changes. Please contact the organization or their website for updates to the listings prior to traveling to any of the events listed above. Happy Pride!

Four months into what some fear may be the work of a serial killer, law enforcement continues to misgender the victims. Not only is this disrespectful, it erodes trust and may create an unwillingness by others in the community to step forward. Since the death of Celine Walker in February, Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s Director of Transgender Equality and Chair of TransAction Florida, has been working along with local transgender advocacy groups to educate the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO), offering transgender cultural competency training and resources to give law enforcement the most effective way to

... LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTINUES TO

MISGEN-

DER THE VICTIMS. NOT ONLY IS THIS

DISRE-

SPECTFUL, IT ERODES TRUST AND MAY CREATE AN UNWILLINGNESS BY OTHERS IN THE

COMMUNITY

TO STEP FORWARD. respond to violence against transgender people. JSO contacted Equality Florida to say they are considering the same Department of Justice-sanctioned training that other agencies have undergone. “The transgender community in Jacksonville is frightened. They fear this could be a serial killer or orchestrated violence targeting the community. They do not feel protected on their own streets,” said Gina Duncan. “By misgendering these transgender women, the JSO disrespects their memory and impedes their own investigations. These are out, trans women and that is how they are known in the community. All across the nation, law enforcement agencies have adopted protocols for responding to anti-transgender violence. They recognize that respecting the community builds trust and creates a willingness to share information that may catch a killer.” Concerned citizens can contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-2133. Kelly Pope of the Jacksonville Transgender Action Committee responded to the horrific attacks stating, “During national pride month, when others are out celebrating, our community is grieving. In fact, we are not just grieving. We are actively fearful for our own lives. We need all eyes on Jacksonville right now.”


July 5, 2018 - August 1, 2018

TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 21


22 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

July 5, 2018 - August 1, 2018


TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 23

July 5, 2018 - August 1, 2018

Trans Healthcare from Page 3

ance reimbursement for gender-affirming medical and surgical care in the context of increasing societal affirmation and legal protection of transgender identities,” said Keuroghlian. The reclassification should assist in removing additional obstructions to transgender healthcare. “We do not foresee any additional barriers as a result of this specific change,” said Gawryszewski. “One of the new features of ICD-11, however, is the inclusion of definitions, including a definition of gender incongruence, which will facilitate standardized reporting and enable us to really see and compare barriers to trans healthcare across countries.” No Psychological Evaluation Since determining gender incongruence is not a mental health condition, requirements for psychological intervention are lessened and Keuroghlian explained the importance of an informed consent model. “It is already best practice to have general practitioners initiate gender-affirming hormone therapy in an informed consent model, without requiring a separate psychological evaluation by a therapist,” he explained. “Clinical practices are increasingly moving toward this model of care.” The removal of gender incongruence from the mental health chapter of ICD-11 aims to reduce stigma toward transgender identity. “The aim is that the change in classification will help the trans community gain better acceptance in society,” Gawryszewski explained. “Understanding that gender incongruence is not a mental health condition, yet leaving it as such, would cause stigma. It is hoped that by removing it as a mental health condition will help reduce stigma and encourage better social acceptance of individuals living with gender incongruence.” A Treatable Condition

The Frivolist from Page 17 about everyone in its host cities, especially the LGBT enclaves on South Beach, like Hotel Gaythering, a gay-owned and -operated mini-resort within walking distance of the main theater. 4. OUTshine board members are present and accessible If ever you want to learn more about the festival, the film-selection process, how to be involved in behind-the-scenes efforts, or just geek out over your favorite festival film, you’ll have plenty of time to strike up a conversation with board members and volunteers. They attend each and every film, and they’re mingling with guests at all the OUTshine social events. 5. You’ll have ample time to socialize with fellow cinephiles From the moment you arrive at OUTshine, it’s party time. Each festival kicks off with an opening night film and party, followed by several other events and parties throughout the week, including mixed

Healthy Youth Act from Page 6

I FINALLY FEEL THAT THOSE WHO LOVE ME ARE ABLE TO VIEW THIS FOR

WHAT IT IS, A

TREATABLE

MED-

ICAL CONDITION, AND NOT SOMETHING JUST MADE UP IN MY MIND.” And, the associated stigma reaches deep. “By not having transgender being considered a mental health condition, I finally feel that those who love me are able to view this for what it is, a treatable medical condition, and not something just made up in my mind,” Nicolas explained. When homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatry Disorders in 1974, it “led to decreased stigma and greater health care access for the gay and lesbian community,” said Keuroghlian. The same is expected for the transgender community too. “Being transgender is not a mental illness,” Keuroghlian stressed. and segmented men’s and women’s events if you prefer homogenous mingling. Sponsors in the area also offer deals, like Hotel Gaythering for instance, which offers attendees a free drink with a festival ticket stud. Come for a drink; stay for the sauna and steam room. 6. Beautiful beaches are a mile away Whether you’re attending OUTshine Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, the beaches are only a mile or so from the host theaters making it tempting and convenient to relax and catch the rays between films. You can stick with the typical shorts-and-tanks scene of course, but if you’re feeling adventurous, hop on Gaythering’s free shuttle to clothing-optional Haulover where you can spend the afternoon letting it all hang out as nature intended. *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 spends his time writing from the beach with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.

speak-out participant Lizzie, her sex education covered the basics of physical health, but it failed to prepare her for how to recognize that she was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Consent-focused sex education prepares young people to handle difficult personal situations, while also combatting the broader culture of harassment, assault, and abuse brought to light by the #MeToo movement. Now that this culture has been exposed, it’s time to transform it into one based on affirmative

Without the Healthy Youth Act, Massachusetts public schools will be left defenseless against the Trump-Pence administration’s harmful agenda that puts extreme ideologies ahead of science. Yet, with less than a month left in the legislative session, the Massachusetts House of Representatives has yet to vote on this effort to protect our young people. The storytelling event on June 25 is a part of our final, urgent push for the Healthy Youth Act, and our coalition will only get louder. On Tuesday, July 17, we are storming the Massachusetts State House to make

CONSENT-FOCUSED SEX EDUCATION PREPARES YOUNG PEOPLE TO HANDLE DIFFICULT PERSONAL SITUATIONS, WHILE ALSO THE BROADER CULTURE OF SAULT, AND

COMBATTING

HARASSMENT, AS-

ABUSE BROUGHT TO LIGHT BY THE #METOO MOVEMENT.

consent. The need for the Healthy Youth Act has never been more urgent than it is today. Not only is a meaningful action to prevent sexual misconduct long overdue, the federal government is making it harder for all our communities to stay safe and healthy. The Trump-Pence administration is abandoning the federal government’s evidence-based approach to sex education in order to peddle medically inaccurate abstinence-only programs that erase LGBTQ young people.

Transition from Page 18

I rejoice every day in having chosen life, even if it was terribly frightening and incredibly uncertain. Transitioning is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I love the woman I have become. I’m glad to finally know the woman I am and have always had inside me.

our voices heard for LGBTQ-inclusive, consent-focused sex education and sharing our sex education stories with our state representatives. Join us (https://bit.ly/2Kz6KUX) and urge your representative to pass the Healthy Youth Act! *Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (https://bit.ly/2Kl3lK3). Today I celebrate my re-birthday! Slàinte! *Lorelei Erisis is an actor, activist, adventurer, and pageant queen. Send your questions about trans issues, gender, and sexuality to her at: askatranswoman@gmail.com.


24 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

July 5, 2018 - August 1, 2018

The Rainbow Times' July 5, 2018 Issue  

Boston-based, The Rainbow Times' July issue continues to bring you the most in LGBTQ exclusive news, continuing with our transgender coverag...

The Rainbow Times' July 5, 2018 Issue  

Boston-based, The Rainbow Times' July issue continues to bring you the most in LGBTQ exclusive news, continuing with our transgender coverag...

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