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Pulse One Year Later: Honoring survivors & the 49 lives lost By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor


It was 12:45 a.m. in the early hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016 when Javier Nava arrived at Pulse Nightclub with his husband, Adrian Lopez, to meet up with a group of six other people. It was Latin Night at the LGBTQ hotspot and the group of eight spent their time talking and dancing. Nava explored the club including its back patio and eventually found himself on the main dance floor. While dancing, he said he thought a fight had broken out. “I thought it was a personal fight or something,” he said of the loud bangs he heard. “Everyone dropped to the floor and I dropped to the floor too.” What Nava didn’t know at the time was that Omar Mateen, a mentally unhinged security guard carrying a Sig Sauer MCX rifle, had just opened fire on patrons of the nightclub in what would become the most infamous mass shooting in the history of the country. “I felt something hit my abdomen. It was something hard,” Nava said. “When I looked at my body [I saw] a hole in my abdomen. In that moment, I was thinking I would have to move somewhere else because if I stayed there I would have been [shot again].” During the chaos that ensued, Nava lost contact with his husband and his group of friends. With the intention of getting up to the roof, he ran up a flight of stairs and bar-


Survivors and family members of the victims of the June 12, 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting are coming together to participate in a 3D mural project to commemorate the 49 lives taken one year ago in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history

ricaded himself in an office with a woman and four other men, one of whom had a gunshot wound to the leg. After being trapped in the office for nearly 40 minutes, first responders stormed into the office to rescue the hostages. Still bleeding and severely hurt from the gunshot wound to his stomach, Nava stumbled back down the stairs to exit the club. Police officers were engaged in a shootout with Mateen and as he reached the bottom of the stairs. “I had to cross the main dance floor. That was the hard part in the moment, because

there were a lot of people on the floor… there was a lot of blood on the floor,” he said. “[The police] told me not to look around, just go straight, go straight.” As he crossed the dance floor he did look around and of all of the bodies lying on the floor, he recognized the face of one. “I saw one person on the floor,” he recalled sadly. “And it was him. His name was Gilberto Silva.” When Nava arrived at the club earlier that evening, he greeted Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25, and another friend, Peter O.

Gonzalez-Cruz, 22, also known as Peter Ommy, who was also killed. Nava considered both men to be close friends. Nava was able to make his way out of the club and across the street to seek medical help. As he crossed the street, he saw his husband, Adrian Lopez, who had escaped the shooting without physical harm. Of the six other people in their group, four of them were killed in the shooting: Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31; Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26; Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala,

See Pulse 1 Year Later on Page 10

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6 • The Rainbow Times • • 10th Year Anniversary

Never Forgotten: 1 year after Pulse Orlando une 12, 2016. 49 lives were lost WE WILL NOT FORGET. WE that night and dozens more

Op-Ed: Learning from history; how marriage equality was won across the nation

were injured in a senseless massacre of the LBTQA community at Pulse Orlando nightclub, marking the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. One year later, we continue to grieve our lost brothers and sisters, and still mobilize to rise-up and conquer hate. We still stand united to take on homophobia in the fiercest way possible. We still arm ourselves with advocacy, solidarity and truth and most importantly, love. We still honor the lives that were and their legacy that has been left behind (as we did a year ago; We will not forget. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to them. We owe it to our friend too, KJ Morris, one of the casualties of that dreadful morning. Countless lessons have been learned since the mass murder last June. But, perhaps one of the greatest lessons is that love always conquers hate. In the midst of the most horrific tragedy committed against the LGBTQA community, we saw the world rise up and band together in solidarity against hatred at an unprecedented magnitude. However, we didn’t only attend and observe vigils, services, and memorials as they erupted throughout the globe. We witnessed a relentless human spirit that despite profound agony and grief, the collective energy strengthened us all through immense empathy, love and interconnectedness. Since Pulse Orlando, we’ve learned that we must lean on each other and learn from our differences, not just our commonalities.

By: Keegan O’Brien*/TRT Guest Columnist


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



WE OWE IT TO OUR FRIEND TOO, KJ MORRIS, ONE OF THE CASUALTIES OF THAT DREADFUL MORNING. Though often left out of mainstream LGBTQA reporting, it is critically important to remember that the majority of those slain that night were people of color, mostly Latinx. The intersectional identities drastically impact how incidents involving sexual orientation and gender identity are perceived within various cultures and expected norms, including during tragic events such as the Pulse shooting. In this case, the murders took place during a Latinx-themed night at the gay nightclub. The National LGBTQ Task Force released a statement ( by the Arucs Foundation ( on behalf of more than 120 LGBTQ organizations and their allies, which called for “all people to defeat with compassion the ...

See Never Forgotten on Page 12

Cautious response to Trump’s executive orders By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist



resident Donald Trump’s recent executive order ( to protect “religious liberty” causes more angst and chaos than fulfilling a campaign promise. The order will also endanger religious liberty, not protect it. In some ways, the order is more show than substance. The president sought to appease and patronize a core group of supporters through the order. The driving force behind the order was to weaken the Johnson Amendment ( Named for U.S. Senator and later President Lyndon Johnson, the amendment prohibited politicking from the pulpit, if a religious group wanted to keep its tax exempt status. The law is meant to ensure that religious institutions cannot campaign on behalf of a candidate or use their public platform to endorse the candidacy of anyone running for office. Prior to the order’s release the American Civil Liberties Union (; ACLU) threatened a lawsuit ( After its release, the organization yawned and determined resources would be wasted litigating it. The ACLU called the signing nothing more than a “photo op” ( Several prominent social conservatives expressed disappointment ( claiming that the


ay marriage leads to “the deterioration of marriage and the family” and “societal collapse. Keeping same sex couples from marrying isn’t discrimination, but simply enforcing ‘God’s law’.” These are just a few of the most recent statements by Vice President—and religious bigot—Mike Pence about marriage equality. But it doesn’t stop there. In 2015, President Trump’s right-hand man signed a “religious freedom” law as Governor of Indiana that gave permission to businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. After only a couple months in office, Trump came close to passing a similar executive order, but was forced to back down after a series of humiliating defeats and pressure from LGBTQ organizations. With Trump and Pence controlling the White House and a GOP majority in Congress, it’s understandable that millions of LGBTQ people, their family, friends, and allies are fearful that the rights won in recent years will be rolled back. While there’s no predicting what will happen in the next four years, with LGBTQ rights under threat in the Trump era, it’s important to look back at how marriage equality was won and generalize lessons for what’s ahead. It’s impossible to overstate how profoundly social attitudes and legal rights for LGBTQ people in the United States have advanced in just the past 20 years. In order to understand where we’ve come from and how we’ve gotten here, a brief history lesson is in order. In 1992, in response to pressure from the gay and lesbian movement and AIDS ac-

ONCE AGAIN, FAITH AND RELIGION IS TURNED INTO A TOOL, Letters to the Editor [Re: City of Boston to Host Annual RainA POLITICAL FOOTBALL TO LEVERAGE POWER, CONTROL, AND INFLUENCE. order didn’t go far enough. Many were dismayed the order omitted the right to refuse services to the LGBTQ community based on religious grounds. A cautionary note. The order provides: “the Attorney General shall, as appropriate, issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law.” My hunch is the ACLU will be in court at some point. Once again, faith and religion is turned into a tool, a political football to leverage power, control, and influence. Unfortunately, liberals as well as social conservatives do it. In some cases, it’s unintentional. Other times, the use of faith and religion can be unscrupulous. Sometimes, setting boundaries and making sure certain lines are not crossed is ignored. The legal impact of the president’s ...

See Executive Order on Page 21

bow Flag Raising Ceremony for BP] Dear Editor, A number of edits need to be made to this article: Firstly, the “is will” in the opening line of the story needs attention. But more importantly, our Grand Marshal’s name is Kristen Porter, not Kirsten. Likewise, “Michael” in John Michael Gray is misspelled. In addition, since the honorary marshalship is a posthumous honor, the adjective “late” before Norman Hill’s name makes it unclear that the other individuals named as Honorary Marshals (Dr. Bradford and Mr. Gray) are also deceased. Thanks in advance for making these important edits. —Michael Anthony Fowler (Boston Pride Guide Editor), Online Dear Mr. Fowler, Thank you for writing to The Rainbow Times about these “edits.” Unfortunately, given the hectic nature of these Pride months, in which we produce four print pieces in one month, we do not have our staff proof the press releases sent by Boston Pride, through your PR Company,

See Letters on Page 17

tivists, Democratic President Bill Clinton ran on a platform of supporting gay rights. But on February 1994, only a year into office, the Administration turned its back on the LGBTQ community and caved in to the religious right, instituting the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (; DADT) policy, which prohibited gays and lesbians from coming out while serving in the military. Then on September 21, 1996, in response to a ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court opening the door to the legalization of marriage rights for same sex couples and growing pressure from survivors of the AIDS crisis fighting to secure benefits and inheritance rights for their partners, President Clinton signed the federal Defense of Marriage Act (; DOMA), defining marriage for federal purposes as a union between a man and a woman. The bill also allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage granted in other states ...

See Marriage Equality on Page 19

The Rainbow Times The Freshest LGBT Newspaper in New England—Boston Based Phone: 617.444.9618 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 Jenna Spinelle Chuck Colbert Al Gentile Chris Gilmore Keen News Service

Ad & Layout Design Prizm PR Webmaster Jarred Johnson Columnists/Guest* Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep Mike Givens Natalia Muñoz* Keegan O’Brien* Mike Yepes* 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.

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Freedom Massachusetts held a phone bank on May 18 to spread the word about the 2018 ballot question

Ballot initiative to strip away trans rights still on track to be voted on in 2018 By: Jenna Spinelle/TRT Reporter

BOSTON—Throughout Pride Week celebrations this year, you may hear one word come over and over again: referendum. Less than a year after it was signed into law, legislation in Massachusetts providing transgender people equal access to public spaces will be the subject of a question on the Commonwealth’s November 2018 ballot. Voters statewide will need to affirm or deny support for the measure after a request to overturn it received the signatures necessary to add a referendum. At a time when the political landscape seems to change daily and news comes and goes in an instant, spreading and maintaining awareness about this issue between now and next fall are priorities for local advocates of trans rights. Freedom Massachusetts (, a bipartisan coalition of business leaders, elected offiicials, and LGBTQ advocates, is leading the campaign to educate voters on the referendum and uphold the existing law. Mason Dunn, Freedom Massachusetts cochair and executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (, said Pride Week provides an opportunity to educate voters who might not be aware that this change is on the table. “We’re looking at this month-by-month and week-by-week,” Dunn said. “Pride events will give us an opportunity to educate and talk to our base and our community about what’s happening.” Dunn said that education is critical based on what he’s hearing from the community. “Most people we talk with know that the law passed last year … [and] ...that these rights are in effect,” Dunn said. “However, they are unclear about what [a] referendum is and what it means. They don’t even know that this will be up for a vote in 2018.” Keep MA Safe (, an affiliate of the Massachusetts Family Institute (; MFI), is leading the push to repeal the law. The group collected the 32,375 certified signatures re-

quired for a referendum ( within the mandatory 90-day window after the bill was signed into law last July. The signatures were certified by the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office in October and were among the more than 60,000 total collected by Keep MA Safe across the Commonwealth. Like Freedom Massachusetts, Keep MA Safe will spend much of the next 18 months spreading the word among its constituents to secure a vote in support of repeal next November. “We are extremely grateful to the thousands of people who courageously signed the petition, at times in the face of threats and intimidation,” Keep MA Safe said in a news release ( “As voters began to learn about the full impact of this law, we saw them often move from alarm to action.” The Rainbow Times attempted to interview a representative from Keep MA Safe for this article, but the request was declined. Both groups will work with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office to craft the ballot question in a way that’s clear and easy for voters to understand. “She [Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey] has worked with all sides, we trust she’ll be fair,” said Kasey Suffredini, Freedom Massachusetts co-chair and acting CEO of Freedom for All Americans ( “We will be asking voters to affirm what legislators did. A ‘yes’ vote supports the status quo.” Suffredini said he thought the referendum might happen, but there was no way to know for sure until the signatures were certified. He said the signatures collected represent less than 1 percent of the Commonwealth’s population and the transgender protection bill was passed by a supermajority in the state House and Senate and signed by a Republican governor. Given that history, Freedom Massachusetts expects that voters will cast their ballots in favor of the law next fall.

See Trans Rights on Page 22

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Pulse 1 Year Later from Page 5 33; and Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27. Two other friends in the group, whom Nava identified as Gilca and Joaquin, were wounded, but survived. By the end of that evening, six of Nava’s friends and acquaintances were dead.


“FOR MANY OF THEM, TIME HAS STOPPED.” *** Christopher Hansen was visiting Pulse Nightclub for the first time that evening. He’d moved to Orlando just two months before and had made plans to meet up with a friend that night. The decision to move to Orlando hadn’t been a difficult one. Having visited Disney World in Orlando when he was 5, Hansen said that the move was supposed to be a positive transition in his life. “I was at a point in my life where I needed to feel magic again, and love,” he said.

Hansen had arrived early in the evening, shortly after 11. He’d met up with his friend, who ended up leaving around midnight. Deciding to explore the club after his friend left, Hansen navigated the dance floors, back patio, and took in the scene. “I saw a couple dancing across the dance floor,” he said. The sense of love and intimacy he saw on the floor stirred within him a sense of yearning. “I could see the smiles on their faces … When I have a partner, I want to have that love; that’s the kind of love I want,” he recalled saying to himself as the couple danced. Sipping on Jack Daniels and ginger ale, Hansen watched a few drag performances and observed the club steadily fill to capacity. At one point, he said he walked over to the VIP area and sat on the back of one of the couches. Suddenly, he thought the music had changed. “I thought the DJ had amped up the music,” he said, not realizing that the loud noise he heard was not music, but the first three gunshots from Mateen’s Sig Sauer. People dove to the floor, glass shattered, and chaos ensued. In the frenetic race to take cover, Chris considered running into the restroom, which he’d been in earlier to wash his hands. His instincts told him not to and he quickly decided to run outside to the patio. He helped push a fence down and ran for his life along with several other survivors. His night was far from over.

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Pulse Orlando survivor Christopher Hansen PHOTO: SUSAN STAUFFER

“ … full of blood … ” Adrian Lopez, husband of Javier Nava, had just finished dancing with an acquaintance, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, and was heading back to his group of friends on the main dance floor when the shooting started. Rosado, 35, would be killed during the shooting just minutes later. “I looked over to my left and saw a bunch of people running and all of a sudden I noticed I was on the floor, I guess I fell,” he said. “And somebody fell on top of me, so I stayed there for a second hoping that the shots were going to stop and that was going to be it. “But when I looked towards the door, I saw [Mateen] still shooting at people on the floor. That’s when I realized I needed to get out of there.” Lopez said at one point he turned around and saw Mateen still shooting at people in the club and had no idea where his friends or husband were as they had all scattered after the shooting began. Lopez said he was able to get to the back patio and was going to call the police. “I reached for my phone and when I looked at it, it was full of blood,” he said. When they saw each other, Lopez and Nava weren’t allowed physical contact as Nava was placed in an ambulance and promptly taken to the hospital while Lopez was detained by police with other survivors in a cordoned off area. However, both men knew the other was alive. Lion, Taurus, Cleveland Having escaped the massacre going on within the walls of Pulse, Hansen, in shock and still processing what was happening, saw a man he identified as Carlos carrying another man who’d been shot. Hansen immediately set about helping Carlos carry the wounded man, whom he identified as Junior, to safety. “It was like I stuck my hand in paint,” Hansen recalled of carrying Junior and all of the blood he saw from his wound. Hansen took off his bandana and tied it around the wound. He and Carlos got Junior to safety, but soon afterwards, they both heard a cry for help. In the grass, not far from the club, a young

woman Hansen identified as Kalisha was hysterically crying and begging the two men for help. The 19-year-old wanted to be pulled out of the grass as she couldn’t move on her own. Hansen and Carlos hesitated about moving her without knowing whether it would worsen her injury, but relented and decided to help her. Hansen cradled Kalisha in his arms until emergency medical personnel arrived. “She was telling us she was cold and her heart hurt,” he said. To keep her awake and alert, Hansen said he talked to her. “I could feel her emotions, but I couldn’t get myself emotional because I would have lost concentration on what I was trying to do,” he said, noting that he had to do his best to keep her calm and focused. “I asked her what her favorite animal was (a lion), what was her sign (Taurus), and where she was from (Cleveland),” he said. At the time, neither Kalisha nor Hansen knew that she had a gunshot wound to the back. It was only after she was in the ambulance, that medical professionals would tell her where the wound was. Hansen said that his cradling her between his legs staunched the wound long enough for help to get there, saving her life. “I still have the stain on my shorts, where she was,” he said. “The air was thick with all kinds of pain and confusion” Nancy Rosado (no relation to Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado) was planning to attend church on Sunday morning when she heard news of the shooting. She went to the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Central Florida (, where members of the LGBTQ community were attempting to mobilize resources. Later, when she arrived at Orlando Regional Medical Center (, where the survivors were treated and the bodies of victims were taken, she observed a noticeable disconnect between hospital staff, police officers, and the survivors and family members. “The contrast between where I came from and the hospital was very sharp,” she said. I walked into the room where the families were … it was [a] predominantly latino group and the lightbulb went off in my head, ‘Oh, it was Latin night.’” Police officers and hospital officials were speaking English with survivors and family members who spoke Spanish as a first language. There was confusion and frustration as names were mispronounced and emotions were running high as many families were seeking determine if their loved one died or had been wounded. Some families didn’t even know their loved one was LGBTQ, according to Rosado. “The air was thick with all kinds of pain and confusion,” she observed. “First responders really weren’t set up to do things in a culturally competent way. We’re not a battlefield country. We don’t have exposure to this or how to handle this when you’re exposed to [it]. “All cities have emergency plans. You don’t know how good your plan is until the day it hits the fan. New York learned that the

See Pulse 1 Year Later on Page 20

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Pride Preview 2017 II: A review of pride celebrations across New England By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor

In the first part of this series (, published in a recent issue of The Rainbow Times, we interviewed several Pride organizations across New England including Northampton, Boston, Portland, the North Shore, and Worcester. This second part features pride organizations in Rhode Island, Hartford Connecticut, and Vermont. Rhode Island Pride ( June 17, 2017 Q: Please state your name and title within your Pride organization. A: Alex Gorriaran, Past President of Rhode Island Pride and Volunteer Q: What’s this year’s theme? A: When We R.I.S.E.—Rhode Islanders Standing for Equality This year’s theme is very relevant considering our current political landscape in D.C. It is a call to action to our LGBTQ community, our friends, and allies to come together to resist the inequalities that exist in our society and our need to rise up to make sure all [of] our civil rights, marriage equality and everything we have fought for through the years does not get taken away. When we rise … our voices will be heard, our rights will be protected, and we will celebrate the diversity of our LGBTQ community in Rhode Island and Southern New England.

marshals? A: Grand and honorary marshals to be determined.

Q: Who will be your grand and honorary

Q: Do you have a current list of events?

“Love is Love” as the LGBTQ community celebrates pride while being vigilant about the current political climate and religious freedom discriminatory laws, among others. PHOTO: TRT ARCHIVES/BP 2015

Can you explain why are they relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events? A: There are [a] diverse mix of events that lead up to the big day on June 17 with our

Rhode Island PrideFest and New England’s Only Illuminated Night Parade. There is our annual Countdown to Pride events where ...

See Pride Preview on Page 16

12 • The Rainbow Times • • 10th Year Anniversary

Never Forgotten from Page 6

lando United Day—A Day of Love and Kindness.” scourge of hate crimes based in animus toA single despicable act fueled by hate and ward LGBTQ people, people of color, and destruction of the human spirit morphed into those who live in the intersection millions of acts of palpable love, of our communities.” healing and acceptance. Shortly after the tragedy, muAnd, love always conquers rals honoring the 49 and celehate. brating their lives began popping “An exhibit of artwork collected up all around the city, painting from memorial sites set up around the town in vibrant colors. InterOrlando after the massacre will national artist Michael Pilato be shown at the Orange County ( & his History Center, followed by a meartistic partner Yuriy Karabash, morial service at the site of the collaborated with Orlando resiformer gay nightclub,” LGBTQ dent, Chimene Hurst to bring the nation reported. 49 to life again in a 3D mural Locally, Pulse survivors will honoring the victims of that fateIn memory of our lead the Boston Pride and North ful night. More can be read about Shore Pride (NSP) parades. Pulse friend, KJ Morris the Pulse Orlando Mural on page Survivor Christopher Hansen 5. (see page 5 & 13 of this issue) will be the According to a report published by NSP Grand Marshal and the honorary guest LGBTQ Nation, “City and county officials at The Rainbow Times Pride Kick-off Sunset in Orlando, Fla., want the one-year anniver- Cruise on June 23 and its Ultimate Pride sary … of the Pulse nightclub massacre to Splash Cruise on June 25 to close out North be marked with acts of love and kindness. Shore Pride weekend in Salem, Mass. June 12 officially will be dedicated as “OrWe celebrate #Forthe49—always loved and never forgotten ( And we #HonorThemWithAction. #HonorThemWithAction Happy Pride! *Nicole Lashomb is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times & Co-Chair of Salem’s No Place for Hate Community Engagement Sub-committee. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Crane School of Music/SUNY Potsdam and an MBA from Marylhurst University. Nicole can be reached via her e-mail #ForThe49 #PulseOrlando at

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Pride Cruise Series: TRT’s philanthropic resolve SALEM, Mass.—The Rainbow Times (TRT), New England’s Largest LGBTQ newspaper, will launch its first annual Pride Cruise series on June 23 and June 25 out of Salem, Mass. during North Shore Pride weekend. According to the publication’s owners, philanthropy and building community is at the forefront of this venture. “As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we wanted to give more the community. Although philanthropic work has always been a part of our mission, we saw a need for community events and services that celebrate the lives of LGBTQ people on the North Shore,” said Gricel M. Ocasio, TRT publisher. TRT launched a Pride Kick-off Cruise on Friday, June 23 to jumpstart North Shore Pride weekend, however, the cruise sold out 6 weeks in advance. In response to the quick sell-out of the Pride Kick-off Cruise, TRT launched a second Pride Cruise, The Ultimate Pride Splash, to closeout pride weekend in Salem, Mass. This cruise will take place on June 25 from 3-5:30 p.m. “The North Shore LGBTQ community has not been focused on as much as other larger urban areas,” said Nicole Lashomb, coowner and TRT editor-in-chief. “There is a real need for the LGBTQ community and allies to have opportunities to come together on the North Shore.” With a large dance floor and a Bose sound system to dance the time away, two cash tiki bars, complimentary catered food, a canopy above, decorative eco-friendly LED lighting, a heated main deck, and a whole lot of fabu-

lousness onb o a r d , there’s no better time to be out on the water. “We will be kicking off pride weekend and closing it out,” said Ocasio. “Local businesses and individuals have been so generous to assist us in making these events a success. Acclaimed DJ Andrea Stamas will be spinning for both cruises, Pulse Orlando survivor Christopher Hansen will be our honorary guest, Drag Queen Kristi Kreamm will be decked out on board to ensure guests are having a great time and Mercy Tavern will cater the event.” These cruises are presented by The Rainbow Times in collaboration with Mahi Mahi Harbor Cruises, Eastern Bank, the Peabody Essex Museum, Mercy Tavern and Northey Street House. 100% of ticket and raffle sales will go directly to benefit two organizations: 1. Fenway Health’s Sidney Borum Jr. LGBTQ Youth Health Center; and 2. North Shore Pride. “We wanted these events to bring a greater purpose,” said Lashomb. “In this case, it will provide funds to assist the work of non-profit organizations that are absolutely indispensible in our community.”

See TRT Cruises on Page 20

10th Year Anniversary • • The Rainbow Times • 13

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017 PHOTO: SUSAN STAUFFER

Christopher Hansen

In the spotlight: Pulse Orlando Hero By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor

The Rainbow Times recently interviewed Christopher Hansen, a survivor of the June 12, 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting, to discuss his heroic efforts to help other survivors and how the tragedy has shaped his life. Hansen will be the grand marshal of the North Shore Pride Parade on Saturday, June 24, to be held in Salem Massachusetts. Q: Take us back to that night. What was it like when the shots first rang out? A: I leaned up against the wall right next to the VIP [section]. Before I could even take a sip of my beverage, the first three shots were fired. Pow-Pow-Pow. I could feel the vibrations in my feet and my back and I thought it was the music. I felt that the DJ had maybe amped up the bass a little bit and I thought, “Wow, this is really crazy.” I felt guilty for a while dancing to the first three bullets that possibly took the first three angels … Dreams and hopes and lives that would be changed forever in a pool of uncertainty … Q: What was it like that night throughout the chaos of escaping helping other survivors? A: I felt like I was in a movie with surround sound … but it was actually my life … It seemed like the shooting went on for a whole song, maybe 4-5 minutes … People started dropping … Bottles behind the bar started shattering … I feel like it may have been the energy that pulled me instinctively [to stay and help others]. Every time I go with my own instinct it seems to be the right one. Q: You saved the lives of at least two people on that night. What made you stay? A: [At the time, I felt like] if had a hand in saving someone, then I did something right; my parents raised somebody who was proper, and I could make them proud. There was a girl in the grass and she was begging to be taken out of the grass. We put her in my lap. I was trying to keep her awake and alert. She [Kalisha] was shot in the back … When we put her in my lap, her bullet

wound was up against my thigh. The pressure allowed her to not bleed out. When I was little, my father had a joke. He would grab my hand, squeeze it, like a heartbeat and say, “Hi, I’m a surgeon and I fix hearts all day,” and he would pulsate my hand like a slow heartbeat. [That ‘joke’] helped me in one of my worst moments. Q: How do you feel the LGBTQ community responded to the shooting in the days and weeks following the shooting? A: It’s not just the LGBTQ community, it’s the whole world and Orlando and Florida within itself. Everybody came together when it happened … Everybody has come together as best as they can and they’re still working hard … The Orlando United Assistance Center helps the victims of crime. It’s where we go for counseling, financial assistance. If we need any kind of help, that’s where we go to get our resources … The Center has gotten stronger … “Somos Orlando” was founded by Nancy Rosado. She’s a 9/11 survivor and she was a police officer for 25 years; she retired and moved down here to get away from everything. When Pulse happened, she united; she helped unite the Latinx community … Somos Orlando has Latinx meetings on Thursdays where you can go and people of color and really anyone in the community can go … male, female, transgender, bisexual, straight, curious, everybody is welcome. We talk about everyday needs and we do scenarios and practices and we communicate with each other and every week you get to know someone different. It’s a pretty cool place to get to know people … Q: Have you encountered other forms of hatred before Pulse Orlando? A: I felt the weight of what shaped my parents biggest fear, and learned the first act of hate that anchored deep into my subconscious, the murder of Matthew Shepard. I became a scared and a broken young man at the age of 14 in the eighth grade, because I was just like him, gay. I didn't know what gay was until Matthew Shepard … How

See Hansen on Page 17

14 • The Rainbow Times • • 10th Year Anniversary

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

5 Reasons why you need to attend more LGBT film festivals By: Mikey Rox*/Special to TRT



s someone who writes about LGBT entertainment on a regular basis (and has plenty of eye-rolls to give about the kind of content we’re putting out there; Prince Charming, anyone?), it was heartening to see recently at the OUTshine Film Festival in Miami (formerly MiFo) that the artists in charge of bringing our stories to life—whether triumphant or tragic or even mundane (our lives aren’t always disco balls and Unicorn Frappuccinos, after all)—have their fingers on the pulse of where we’re at as a community. But this and other LGBT film festivals are much more than grabbing a box of Sno-Caps and settling in for a flick about me and you. Here’s why it’s important—no, you’re duty—to attend an LGBT film festival ASAP. 1. LGBT film festivals tell our stories even if mainstream media won’t You can count on one hand the number of LGBT films that have caught mainstream attention over the past two decades. Not films featuring LGBT characters, but rather films about LGBT characters. Ask any of your straight friends (hell, even your younger gay friends) to name an LGBT film and I’m willing to bet you get one of three movies in response: Brokeback Mountain, The Birdcage and Moonlight. The latter of the three was only released last year, and therein lies the problem: Hollywood is still afraid to bring LGBT movies to the big screen. One argument is that there’s little money to be made off LGBT movies, but that’s just not true. Great LGBT movies bring in serious cash, like Brokeback’s $178.1 million haul on a $14 million budget and Moonlight’s $55.8 million take with a super-tight $1.5 million budget. What these three films have in common— as they do with most other LGBT films that have seen the light of day—is the internal struggle we all deal with as LGBT people. Coming out (or not coming out as is often the case) is perhaps our biggest story arc, and it’s the only one Hollywood seems willing to tell. Aside from us dying of AIDS, of

course. (*eye-roll*) This alone is a strong case for LGBT film festivals. “LGBT film festivals ensure there is an audience for LGBT films, which otherwise may struggle to prove their value in a mainstream market, and thus never get made,” says Ebony Rhodes, an OUTshine Film Festival board member. “LGBT and allies can support the film festival by sharing and promoting the event as a relevant cultural arts partner in the larger community through all regular channels of communication. Raising awareness of LGBT film festivals also means we must support the actual filmmakers and talent by learning more about their work and supporting their careers by buying their films or supporting media platforms that feature their films, shorts or web series.” 2. They bring awareness to our issues and humanize the LGBT experience Another reason LGBT films find it difficult to make their way into mainstream moviegoers’ consciousness is that mainstream audiences don’t “get” us. They’re not LGBT, so how can they relate, right? Obviously we know that we deal with all the same issues the rest of humanity deals with (except having to one day reveal our sexual orientation like what’s behind curtain number three on Let’s Make a Deal), but sometimes it takes strapping our family members to a movie theater recliner for two hours to get our point across. While local megaplexes are lacking options to help us hold our friends and family captive, LGBT film festivals are providing these experiences in droves. Some of the best movies I’ve ever seen—LGBT or otherwise—I saw at OUTshine last month. This is not an exaggeration. French-Canadian film 1:54, about school bullying, is not only topical but it should be required viewing for anyone under age 30. I beg you to find it (and a big box of Kleenex) and watch it with someone you love. 3. They’re a great way to meet other cultured members of the LGBT community While LGBT film festivals celebrate our stories in theaters, they also encourage creating

See LGBT Film Festivals on P. 21

10th Year Anniversary • • The Rainbow Times • 15

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

Accepting and loving who you are, as you are, is the ultimate form of pride By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist



t's June and once again, Pride season is upon us. This is the time when many folks come together and celebrate their diversity. It's a wonderful time where you can relax, catch up with friends whom you see maybe only once a year, enjoy each other, and maybe push the diversity envelope a little more than you usually do. Yes, prides can be wonderful, but not everyone celebrates them. Some folks may be busy with other things or maybe they just don't care to celebrate it, for whatever reasons. I have been participating in prides since 2004, and, although it's a lot better these days, I've always found it hard to get trans people to attend the prides and the marches. For years, it was only a handful of trans folks who would come. Yes, I do realize that some trans people are trying to go the “stealth” route, that is, trying to blend into society and to keep their trans status on the down low. I do respect their wishes not to attend pride activities and not participate in the marches. I wish them well but, at the same time, I also feel a little sad

for them. To me, to deny who you are can be very troublesome, especially if you are questioned or outed as a trans person. I've seen so many trans women get so upset when they think that they are passing (blending into society as female) and they get clocked (recognized as being transgender). Some cry, some yell, and some get real quiet. It's an uncomfortable situation where feelings are hurt, emotions run high, and their day is ruined. Let's face it, it's hard for someone who has lived decades presenting as one gender and then begin to present as the other gender. In the case of trans women, many of us are tall, we might have big shoulders, we might have large hands, we might have large Adam's apples, maybe a definitive brow, have hairline issues, have low voices, and we might not move and act so feminine. It's really hard to pass as female when you have a few of these things as shortcomings. Since I came into the trans community in 2001, like many other trans women, I have tried to play down these shortcomings. I've had some success with some and not so much success with others. I finally came to the conclusion that I still do have some of these male things going on even though I identify as female. I suppose that I could try to change some of these things with surgeries and that I could study harder on how to

... UNTIL I HEARD THE VOICES OF THE “ENBIES” (NON-BINARY PEOPLE) & THE GNCS (GENDER NONCONFORMING PEOPLE) THAT I FINALLY ... DECIDED TO TOTALLY LOVE ALL OF MYSELF, EVEN MY NON-FEMALE CONFORMING ATTRIBUTES. present more female, but I decided to not try. Instead , I've fully accepted who I am with my shortcomings. I've accepted my height, my large hands, my hairline, my low voice, and my male-like movements. Just this year I've decided to not only accept my “shortcomings,” but also to love and be proud of them. After all, I am me and there is nothing wrong with me. Like John Candy's character in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” said, “I'm not changing. I like me!” I like my height, I like my hands, I like my hairline, I like my low voice, and I like the way I carry myself. I've always questioned the thought about conforming physically to female norms. Yes, I've always bucked the status quo, but it wasn't until I heard the voices of the “enbies” (non-binary people), and the GNCs (gender nonconforming people) that I finally put two

and two together and decided to totally love all of myself, even my non-female conforming attributes. Yes, I've listened to the youth of today and they have turned my head. Although I still identify as female, I now reject the binary, which is, that there are only male and female genders. I can now see that there are more than two genders. I thank you, youth of today! Let me thank you with my low voice, and give you a hug with my big body and my large hands!! I am me, we are who we are, and there is nothing wrong with us. Happy Pride! *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a trans woman who has three grown children and is retired from 3M. She can be contacted at her email:

Ask a Trans Woman: Pride season is upon us, but I ask, whose Pride is it? By: Lorelei Erisis*/TRT Columnist



appy Pride season! Let’s talk about trans representation and presence (or lack thereof) in Pride parades and festivals. It’s a complicated and sensitive topic—so I’ll start with a few disclaimers before we dive in. I’ve done my best, as always, to fairly represent the incredibly diverse trans community. This column draws on years of conversations with many diverse trans folks, but it’s still biased by my own point of view and experiences—as a trans person, and as a Pride attendee, marcher, and organizer. I’m a columnist, not a reporter. The views and opinions in this column are mine, and not those of this newspaper, nor of any organization I represent or have represented previously. As I write about Pride events—their strengths and their flaws—I want to recognize what it takes to create them. From working with Northampton (Noho) Pride, I know that Pride parades and festivals are labor-intensive and expensive, requiring long hours from hard-working volunteers. Pride events also vary widely. Jami Shofner, a trans comic from Texas, notes: “In some places, Pride is very trans-inclusive and some are most definitely not, to the

THE RAINBOW TIMES DIVERSE............just like our team is OBJECTIVE..........someone has to be one is left behind .....That is HOW media should be.....

extent that alternative events have come into existence in order to actually be all-inclusive.” So, first of all: I like Prides. I’ve marched in Prides all over the Northeast, and it’s always a good time. Rather than ride on floats, I prefer to march with my Miss Trans New England crown and sash, with my fist raised high and my voice loud and clear. I get to

(cis) gay men and, to a lesser extent, by cis lesbians. There’s a lot of evidence that the riots that inspired our modern Pride celebrations—from Stonewall, which the first NYC Pride March commemorated, to Compton’s Cafeteria, which predated Stonewall by a few years—were trans-led and trans-centered. This is a contentious topic and I don’t have space to go into it here, but the fact is


[AT LOCAL PRIDE CELEBRATIONS]. meet wonderful folks and spend time with old and new friends, many of whom I only see during Pride season. And I often hear that seeing me loud and proud at Pride made someone feel safe, welcomed, less alone, or inspired to start their own transition. Prides are great for visibility, for having fun, and for creating safer spaces for LGBTQ people, especially youth, to come out and be themselves—even if only for the day. Jillian Graham from Connecticut shared: “Pride events, like rallies, have always been good for raising our spirits and giving us hope for change. As a young trans woman it was also an effective way to meet other trans folk … Many of the early pride events I participated in helped give me a [feeling] of community power.” But on a less positive note, many trans people feel increasingly pushed out of Pride—an event that’s meant to include our whole LGBTQ+ rainbow—by cisgender

that many trans people feel a sense of ownership over the genesis of Pride. When trans people say that they feel marginalized or excluded from Pride, organizers often respond by encouraging them to volunteer or get involved in planning—but it can be hard to get involved, stay involved, and influence these often cis gay and lesbian-dominated organizations. When trans people do try to offer help or advice, they can find themselves ignored—and then organizers wonder why more trans people don’t get involved. Pi Erised Fong, of Massachusetts, shared this example: “I was once chastised at a Pride for leading trans rights chants during the parade. I was told that I was too angry and that it was ruining the party atmosphere.” Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Last year, trans people in Massachusetts fought long and hard for basic rights—

yet at Boston Pride, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (; MTPC) was almost at the very back of the parade. Achieving a historic success for trans rights didn’t keep us from being relegated to the end of the line. And in 2015, a group of local trans people issued a list of demands to Boston Pride ( and the larger LGBTQ community aimed at addressing inequalities for trans people and people of color. Two years later, we still haven’t seen significant, visible action. What started as a protest has become a party, which in and of itself is not terrible. Pride has always had a celebratory aspect, and we deserve the right to celebrate our achievements, enjoy our community, and blow off some glittery steam—but the increasingly corporate culture of many Prides is a serious issue. Someone has to foot the bill for the event, but when trans people and other marginalized groups see more corporate banners than representation of their own identities and communities--it makes an impression. When I march in Pride, I’m often one of a very few non-drag, visible trans people in the entire parade. I’ve heard from many trans people about the issue of drag visibility being elevated in Pride culture more than trans visibility. Naomi Wixon, a trans woman from Massachusetts, sums this up nicely: “As a trans woman I really like Pride events and the community that comes with them. I'm also wary of them, and a lot of that comes down to drag performances.” She’s concerned that uninformed people at Pride may confuse trans women with drag queens, something that many trans women, including myself, Read the rest of this story at:

16 • The Rainbow Times • • 10th Year Anniversary

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

Pride Preview from Page 11

are] still working on final names.

each bar and club hosts an event to build awareness on all the happenings, recruit volunteers and raise much needed [funds]. There will be a mix of events, performances, entertainment, and some events focused [on] health and wellness, [but] inclusive for all. Some highlights include the Providence City Hall Flag Raising on Sunday, June 11 and back by popular demand, we will be hosting Pride Yoga on Tuesday, June 13 at 6 p.m. at the site of the PrideFest on the greenway at South Water Street in Providence. A complete list of events can be found at or follow us on facebook at @prideri.

Q: Do you have a current list of events? Can you explain why are they relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events? A: We are a volunteer organization. So far: September 6, 2017: Raising the flag at City Hall Sept. 7, 2017: PrideFest fundraiser; Sept. 8, 2017: Bar Crawl; Sept. 9, 2017: PrideFest at Pratt Street Downtown, Hartford; Sept. 10, 2017: Brunch at Nixs Rest Bar Please visit for updated information.

Q: What are you excited about for the 2017 Pride Season? A: The Rhode Island PrideFest and New England’s only Illuminated Night Parade is always the highlight of the season. Last year we saw record numbers attend with more than 75,000 participants. The Rhode Island PrideFest hosts more than 200 vendors, businesses, and organizations along with an area for our Kid’s Zone and Youth Center. There will be a main stage and an acoustic stage with entertainment all day along with our beer, wine, and spirits garden. PrideFest is from 12-7 p.m. The parade starts at 8 p.m. on Dorrance Street and continues down Washington Street, then Empire Street and ends on Weybosset Street. Spectators line all the streets and there will be a [viewing] area by the Providence Performing Arts Center. And of course every bar in the city will be having block parties all night long after the parade. The energy in the city is electric and we send an open invitation to everyone to participate in the weekend events that transform the City of Providence into a Gay Disney World. Please join us when we rise together on June 17. Q: Do you consider your Pride to be inclusive and to have members of the LGBTQ community of color on your board? How so? A: Rhode Island Pride is very fortunate to have a diverse mix of volunteers and board members. We have a mix of gender, sexuality, range of ages from young to, should we say, “wise and experienced,” along with a cultural mix that includes African American, Asian, and [Latinx]. Hartford Pride ( September 7—September 10 Q: Please state your name and title within your Pride organization. A: Charlie Ortiz, Chair. Our mother organization non-profit is Claro Inc. ( Our committee name is Hartford Capital City Pride ( Q: What’s this year’s theme? A: Pride and Patriotism— Q: Who will be your grand and honorary marshals? A: We are a small Pride [and] about [7,000] people attended last year. [We have] no marshals[;] we award [three] hard-working people from our LGTB+ community [and we

Q: What are you excited about for the 2017 Pride Season? A: We are working together with others Prides to support each other and working on House Bill 6695—An Act Concerning the Protection of Youth from Conversion Therapy … Q: Do you consider your Pride to be inclusive and to have members of the LGBTQ community of color on your board? How so? A: Yes, we very excited to have … on our board, [which is composed of all people of color … a range of identities,] from white, black, latino/a, [people with disabilities], transgender [people], and others. Vermont Pride ( September 10 Q: Please state your name and title within your Pride organization. A: Josie Leavitt, Interim Executive Director, Pride Center of Vermont. Q: What’s this year’s theme? A: We will be holding a contest for the community to choose the theme. We're hoping to have it decided by the end of May. Q: Who will be your grand and honorary marshals? A: We hope to them picked out by the end of May. Q: Do you have a current list of events? Can you explain why are they relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events? A: … we are in the process of compiling events. I can say that will have three hours of local and national entertainment. The goal with all our events is to bring the community together to celebrate the diversity that makes the LGBTQ community so amazing. Q: What are you excited about for the 2017 Pride Season? A: I'm always excited for Pride. I love how it brings all the community together in joyous celebration. Q: Do you consider your Pride to be inclusive and to have members of the LGBTQ community of color on your board? How so? A: Our Pride is very inclusive and largely run by volunteers who truly represent the community. There are currently six people on the Pride Center Board and there two people of color.

10th Year Anniversary • • The Rainbow Times • 17

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

Hansen from Page 13 could I become the man I expected to be if I was hated for who I was and how I acted? Q: Could you tell our readers a bit about the 3D mural project you’re working on with artist Michael Pilato (Note: To learn more about the project read The Rainbow Times’ reflection piece ion page 5, or visit A: Michael Pilato is an artist, a musician, a poet, a writer, an illustrator, he is just life. I carry around with me a wooden heart that he carved ... When I met him, he was doing a 49-hour stand-in vigil. He stayed up for 49 hours, one for each angel, to paint this mural. When the mural is finished, I will be travelling with it around the world. I’ve had the honor of personally getting to know the artists as people … to be working with a team of illustrators who are going to reshape, reform, and revamp the art industry. It’s’ amazing. This is a whole new genre. This is an augmented virtual reality mural. There’s an app, there will be messages uploaded to it. The 49 angels are going to have [family members] tell their stories. There’s going to be a painting, and when it’s done, people will be able to walk up to it and tape messages and video messages and upload it to the mural. They’ll be able to take messages and poems or whatever they want, and when the mural leaves [its location] those messages will be forever stamped on it. There will be 49 murals between Orlando, Kissimmee, Fla., and Puerto Rico. It’s amazing how Michael is bringing the art community together, the families of the victims, the survivors, the community, and the world.


I'M DROWNING. Q: You got a tattoo after the Pulse massacre on your right arm. On the left side, a dandelion grows out of a rainbow-colored Pulse sign. At the other end of the pulse sign are colorful arrows shooting into the air into the head of the dandelion. Could you tell us what the tattoo symbolizes? A: [What the tattoo means is] through every storm the wind will come and the seeds of love will be planted into our pulse and feed life. It’s the never-ending cycle knowing that even though there are dark times, there are light times ahead also because the seeds of love will be grown. Q: Has Pulse stayed with you? A: I feel light and whimsical and I feel like I can go anywhere. Other times, I feel like a big boulder at the bottom of the ocean where

I'm just stuck and I'm drowning. It's really, really challenging for me too to look over the hump. Then, I found “church.” I didn't have much faith because being part of the LGBT community I was shut out feeling unable to love God because I'm sure you couldn't be gay [and do so too]. Q: How has this experience changed you? A: I have a bracelet that says “Chance.” My roommate in Ohio got it for me … the next day my parents’ house burned down … It was like chance was brought there and I felt like it gave my family a second chance at life because they were all sleeping at 4 o’clock in the morning … I kept this bracelet even [after] a wreck I was in when I moved from Ohio … I totaled my car in the mountains of Virginia and when you looked over the edge of the road where I was, all you could see were trees and mountains and if I would have gone off that edge, I would have died … by chance, I made it through that wreck … I came to Florida, went to Pulse, I was wearing that same bracelet, hadn’t taken it off and I wore it that night, by chance. It still has the blood stains from that night on the bottom of the wristband … I consider it as a reminder that you should always take a chance in life and even when you’re facing danger, on the other side, it’s okay. Through all the bad, there’s good. Through chance there’s luck and you just have to keep moving forward. So I’m going to continue wearing this bracelet to remind myself to take a chance on life. I’m Chancen Romancin’ Hansen. To learn more about Chris’ experience during the shooting, checkout page 5 of this issue of The Rainbow Times.

Letters from Page 6 O’Neil & Associates. This specific release was sent to us by Christian Rodriguez Shaw, who is one of their staff members, we believe. The first sentence that you refer to was sent to us by you, and spelled and edited by you. We merely published it, as an act of good faith to inform the community that we represent and continue to proudly provide the service we always provide. The 2nd edit that you mentioned, the name of your Grand Marshal, that too was listed as such on your press release. The 3rd edit that you’re referencing, the word “late” was again provided by your PR company and your organization. Lastly, we will be more than happy to provide you with a screen shot of exactly how this press release was sent to us, for your records. We know these situations happen in this business. We’ve been publishing our awardwinning publication for 10 years and are aware of human errors. We make them too. This business of writing and editing is not as easy as it seems, even with a large staff or group of volunteers. We wish you good luck in your future endeavors and hope that your team corrects the press releases prior to sending them to us and other media outlets. At other, less hectic times of the year, we have (indeed) edited your press releases as a courtesy—we do it for all press releases that are sent to us. Happy Pride! Best, Gricel M. Ocasio and Nicole Lashomb

The Rainbow Times’ Publishers

18 • The Rainbow Times • • 10th Year Anniversary

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

Cute confessions: Queer stories of romance, relationships, and true love By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor


t’s summertime and Pride season is in full swing. LGBTQ people across the state, nation, and the world are celebrating their identities and living their lives authentically. Two years out from a landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage rights for same-sex couples, The Rainbow Times asked several people to share quirky stories of love, romance, and relationships in honor of a season where we celebrate the love of self and the love of others. Digital love I met my (now) fiancé officially through Facebook. However, before we ever met in person, she was my little brother’s friend who I [had] never met or seen because we lived in two different cities. I was a manager at a store at the time and my brother’s [friend] needed a job. I told her to come down and apply and I would interview her. She never came and about a year later, my brother tagged a girl on a Facebook post. I thought the girl was pretty, so I friended her. It turned out the girl I ended up adding was the girl I was supposed to hire a year prior, but had never showed up. I met her in person on February 22, 2013, and we have legit been together every day ever since. May the odds be ever in your favor I was home from college and my friend Jacob took me to a hookah lounge he used to frequent. I had just ended things with a guy I had been seeing, and was looking forward to the night out. Jacob had a crush on a waitress named Brooke and introduced us. After she walked away he turns to me and goes, "I'd do anything to take her out" to which I replied, "Jacob, I love you, but I have a better chance with her than you do." Little did we know she actually was gay and proceeded to ask me out that night. We dated for a year afterwards. A Facebook frolic My boyfriend and I, as proper millennials, met on Facebook back in 2013. He approached me, finding my profile through my best friend's Facebook page. He was dating my best friend's roommate, was creeping around Facebook, thought I was cute, and randomly added me as a friend. I remember seeing the little red notification that I had a friend request and the thrill of seeing that a cutie had added me. Immediately upon accepting the request, he started Facebook chatting me. We chatted for a few hours about our favorite music and more. We almost met up immediately for a hook up. However, we decided we wanted to wait to see each other until the next day for a proper date. Been together ever since! Hospital hangout I met my partner while we were both working in the same department at a hospital in Boston. I thought she was cute, but wasn't sure if she was queer. I would go out of my way to talk to her at work and get to know her. She finally asked me to hang out after

work one day and every day after that, for the past four and a half years,we’ve been together. Fox meets panda From Fox I went with my best friend to a BBQ for his softball team in one player’s backyard. Soon after, the host sent me a really cute message on OKCupid to connect and maybe go on a date. He didn’t remember me from the party, and I responded to him with, “I’ve been in your bathroom.” We still went on a date together—that started with cocktails and ended with a long walk through the city taking each other to our favorite buildings. At about 3 a.m., I kissed him goodnight. Three years later we’re married. From Panda I was looking at OKCupid when I saw a picture of a cute girl screaming at a topiary dinosaur. I sent her a message that was tailored to match up with the things she liked in her profile: podcasts, bowties, and Alison Bechdel. When she messaged me back she responded with this eerie message of, “I’ve been in your bathroom.” I had no recollection of who she was, but asked her out anyway. Our second date was a nighttime bike ride underneath the Zakim bridge and drinking wine from Nalgene bottles. Our wedding vows mentioned the creepy OkCupid message! And they skied happily ever after We met on The Welcoming Committee ski trip at Mount Snow in Vermont. A mutual friend introduced us because we were both training for the 2014 Boston Marathon. Ironically, we had been in the same circle of friends and both played in [the] Boston Women's Flag Football League for about five years, but we didn’t meet each other until the timing was right. That ski day was rained out, which allowed us to spend the day chatting and discovering our shared love of food, especially sweet potato fries. Lesley was completely oblivious to Katie’s interest in her until we met on the dance floor at an 80s party later that night. We ended up talking the entire bus ride home the following day and haven’t gone a day without speaking since. We've been engaged since April 2016 and are getting married in September. Two brides, two proposals ... Jules said yes … On their first date, Sul took her to a sushi restaurant in Brookline for good conversaRead the rest of this story at:

10th Year Anniversary • • The Rainbow Times • 19

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

QPuzzle: Don’t say it’s not your “Kama Fault”

Across 1 Fairy tales and such 5 Alpert of Mame fame 9 Larry Kramer's alma mater 13 Liberace's style, for example 14 Skin softener 15 Estimating words 16 They call it the ___... 19 The Iceman Cometh writer Eugene 20 They may lie on the bed together 21 On bended knees perhaps 24 ...because it asserts positions ___ (with 42-Across) 26 BenGay target 28 Eye problem 29 You've Got Mail female 32 It's human 34 King in Jesus Christ Superstar 35 Marilyn Monroe's two big ones 36 Pack up 41 Little bit 42 See 24-Across 45 Gallo portrayer in And the Band Played On 46 Emulate Bonheur 49 "Good grief!" 53 ...and when I look at it, my face __ 58 Lawrence of Arabia director David 59 Material for a drag queen 60 Coloratura Gluck 61 Giant table

62 Oral votes 63 Dated, with "out" Down 1 Linking toy 2 Buck heroine 3 Martha, who was married to Mark Harris 4 Translate into code 5 Small towns, to Shakespeare? 6 It spreads its limbs 7 Rimbaud's king 8 Direct path to a queen 9 Kid 10 Opening amount 11 Sad ending for love 12 Stats from A League of Their Own 17 Heterogeneous mixture 18 ___ Fein 22 Thespians do it 23 Frequent Rock Hudson costar Doris 24 Not that, and more 25 Rich cake with nuts 26 Went down on 27 Honey holder 30 Yellow-brick way 31 Write further 33 George Babbitt's field 34 Olympic skater Eric 37 Vardalos of Connie & Carla 38 Anderson Cooper's network 39 Two-time link 40 Mineo of movies 43 Tomorrow, to Frida 44 Pesters

46 Miami branch location 47 Position at sea 48 Queen's "___ Born to Love You" 50 Folk singer Guthrie 51 Tammy Baldwin, in brief 52 Neighbor of Neb. 54 Like a cunning linguist 55 Word before kwon do 56 Thurman of Kill Bill 57 Second pitches for Copland

Happy Pride! SOLUTION

Marriage Equality from page 6 and was passed by the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities from both Democrats and Republicans. The LGBTQ movement encountered divisive setbacks in the 1990s with the passage of DADT and DOMA under supposed Democratic “ally” Bill Clinton, but important social and cultural shifts were underway throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s that could not be reversed: more people, especially millennials, were coming out. As time went on, the future of discriminatory laws was tenuous as more Americans knew someone who was gay, lesbian, or bisexual. On November 18, 2003, history was made when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize marriage equality. In the case of Goodridge v. Health Department ( the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry. In their ruling, the court stated in clear, unambiguous terms that separate was not equal, “The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens.” The ruling continued, “We declare that barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution.” Despite efforts to prevent and delay the ruling by anti-gay Republican Governor Mitt Romney and homophobic Democrat and Republican state legislators, the movement defeated the bigots. On May 17, 2004, the first marriage licenses were issued. As time went on, more people realized that far from leading to “societal collapse,” legalizing marriage equality simply guaranteed people’s basic civil rights. The victory in Massachusetts inspired a wave of protests for marriage equality in towns and cities across the country. In San Francisco, thousands of couples lined up for marriage licenses when Mayor Gavin Newsom defied California’s discriminatory state law banning gay marriage and ordered the city-county clerk’s office to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples until the Supreme Court stepped in and halted and overturned the licenses.



TURE WARDS, TO AN ASCENDING MOVEMENT THAT FLIPPED PUBLIC OPINION, SECURED LEGAL VICTORIES, AND FORCED REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC POLITICIANS ALIKE TO CHANGE THEIR TUNE. After Massachusetts, it appeared that there was an opportunity for a new civil rights movement to take off as others tried to initiate similar actions across the country. Instead, the Democratic Party worked to shut down the new movement. Marriage equality activists were accused of being too divisive and told to get behind John Kerry’s unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign, despite the fact that Kerry opposed marriage equality. The well-known openly-gay Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank told couples in San Francisco that the “timing wasn’t right.” “When you’re in a real struggle, San Francisco making a symbolic point becomes a diversion,” he lectured. Not only did Kerry lose to Bush in the 2004 election, but also 11 states passed constitutional amendments banning marriage Read the rest of this story at:

20 • The Rainbow Times • • 10th Year Anniversary

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

Conmemorando a las víctimas de Pulse, celebrando sus vidas Por: Gricel M. Ocasio*/Publicadora de TRT



a verdad es que medité mucho antes de escribir esta columna. Es el mes de Orgullo LGBTQA y aunque estaremos celebrando lo positivo, único y genuino de nuestras vidas, también estaremos conmemorando las vidas que se perdieron y los sobrevivientes de #PulseOrlando. El sólo pensar en lo que sucedió en la madrugada del 12 de junio de 2016 me trae agonía y sentimientos de pesar. En #PulseOrlando perdimos, Nicole y yo, a una buena amiga, KJ Morris. KJ era una persona de un corazón genuino—alguien que quería a otros fácilmente y una persona quien era fácil de querer también. Esta edición la dedicamos a las almas que perecieron en Pulse, un tributo parecido al que hicimos el año pasado (, pero esta vez con unos reportajes exclusivos sobre lo que verdaderamente aconteció directo de las personas que lo vivieron. Ellos nos cuentan lo que sucedió, como sobrevivieron y que han hecho con sus vidas desde Pulse. El reportaje les traerá un recuento de la comunidad de Orlando, Florida, sobre cómo se unieron ante tal malevolencia y como respondieron en amor, en servicio, en orgullo LGBTQA. También hablará de las vigilias y eventos que sucederán en el estado y la nación para honrar a los que perdieron sus vidas en el club. Recuerden que la mayoría de los que

Pulse 1 Year Later from Page 10 hard way. New Orleans with Katrina learned that the hard way. And, Orlando has learned it the hard way. When it comes to being culturally competent, Orlando has grown.” An NYPD veteran and 9/11 survivor, Rosado said she reverted to her emergency response training and immediately started interpreting for family members and survivors. At one point, she said the police asked everyone to move to a Hampton Inn

IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO SIMPLY MOURN THE LOSS OR EVEN CELEBRATE THE RESILIENCY OF OUR COMMUNITY; WE HAVE TO DO THE REAL WORK OF UPROOTING BIGOTRY AND HATRED OF ALL KINDS. across the street where the FBI had set up a base of operations. Rosado said it caused a massive amount of confusion. She approached the police officer in charge and

LA EXTENSIÓN DE LAS ALAS DE LOS ÁNGELES (DE HASTA 10 PIES DE ANCHO) MANTENDRÁ A DICHAS PERSONAS FUERA DEL ÁREA DE LAS VIGILIAS. fueron asesinados eran miembros de la comunidad Latinx. Eso quiere decir que no tan sólo eran marginados por ser LGBTQ, sino que también fueron el blanco por ser Latinx. El año pasado cuando esto ocurrió muchas personas aliadas en Facebook ni tan siquiera se acercaron a preguntar como estábamos— ni a darnos el pésame. Escuché de amistades “gay” que me dijeron que las personas “más religiosas” de sus amistades de Facebook no hicieron ningún comentario sobre la masacre más grande en la historia del país. Fue como si para ellos las muertes de Pulse no fueron importantes de reconocer. Hubo personas que hasta se alegraron y comentaron que era “bueno pues ahora habían menos ‘gays’ en el mundo”! Me quedo pasmada ante tales acciones. Por esa razón, durante estas vigilias en la Florida, el director asked him to speak in Spanish to the group and to also lead the group in prayer. After taking Rosado’s suggestions, the transition from the hospital across the street to the hotel went much smoother, she said. She continued interpreting for survivors and family members along with several other women who’d arrived to help out. After chatting with each other about the obvious need for culturally competent services for survivors and family members, the women banded together in the coming weeks and months to form Proyecto Somos Orlando (; PSO). PSO’s goal is to provide culturally and linguistically competent social services to the survivors and family members of victims. “When we think LGBTQ, we don’t realize that we have all these intersectionalities,” Rosado said. “That’s the nature of crisis and trauma.” According to Rosado, the Hispanic Federation gave a $10,000 grant to form PSO and provide socially competent services to the survivors and family members. A year out from the massacre, Rosado said she still worries about the trauma inflicted upon the survivors. “It’s one year out, but is it really one year for them?” she said. “For many of them, time has stopped.” … it was all organic, there was no playbook … The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Central Florida was the first non-profit on the scene of the Pulse shooting in the early hours of June 12, according to the center’s executive director, Terry DeCarlo.

ejecutivo del “Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Central Florida” Terry DeCarlo, dijo que están anticipando prejuicio y discriminación en estos servicios. Debido a esto, a DeCarlo y a otros les han obsequiado el programa de ángeles llamado “Fuerza Angelical” que, durante las vigilias, estarán batallando con esas personas que buscan interrumpir los servicios con mensajes homofóbicos hacia la comunidad que ha sido tan gravemente herida tras esta matanza. Los ángeles son los mismos que usaron las personas combatiendo el discrimen hacia los “gays” de los miembros anti-gay de la iglesia de Westboro. La extensión de las alas de los ángeles (de hasta 10 pies de ancho) mantendrá a dichas personas fuera del perímetro de donde se estarán llevando a cabo los eventos. ¿Por qué estas personas sienten tanto odio en su corazón que desean infligir aún más dolor hacia aquellos quebrantados por la ignorancia y el prejuicio en contra de la comunidad LGBTQ? Es una pregunta retórica. ¡Gracias a Dios por estos ángeles, y por los ángeles terreros que viven alrededor nuestro! En el mes de orgullo LGBTQ, si desea hacer algo por nuestra comunidad, déjele saber a alguien que conozca que puede contar con usted como aliado y como apoyo. Recuerde que somos latinos y somos miembros de esta comunidad que es atacada diariamente por vivir de la forma en la que nacimos y amar a quienes deseamos amar. Lea el resto de esta columna en:

DeCarlo said that he went to the scene to provide on-the-ground support, and after having spoken with law enforcement, he immediately headed to the center to set up a crisis unit to support victims and their families. “Within the first three hours, we had close to 600 people in our center … ” he said. The center’s staff spent the day gathering information from police, speaking with the press, sending out updates on social media. Within hours, DeCarlo said he had a large group of grief counselors either travelling to Orlando or in the city providing mental health services at restaurants, businesses, and schools. And the center became an epicenter for both LGBTQ people and the larger Orlando community. “People came to be around community members who were just as emotional as they were,” he said. “People came to get hugs. People came to see what they could do.” And the help poured in. “ … they wanted to give back … People were bringing supplies ... water … energy bars … snacks … tissue … toilet paper … anything they knew we could use … ” he continued, noting that the center’s staff had to set up a system to take in all of the supplies, inventory them, and then hurriedly redistribute them to survivors, family members, first responders, doctors, and blood banks. According to DeCarlo, 35,000 cases of water had been accumulated in just a few days. The amount of supplies became so overwhelming, Cheney Brothers, a Floridabased food distributor, loaned the center an

TRT Pride Cruises from Page 12 To purchase tickets for the Ultimate Pride Splash Cruise on June 25, visit Pre-purchase is highly encouraged to guarantee your spot on board. Learn more about The Rainbow Times, by visiting About Fenway Health’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center The Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center,is a program of Fenway Health that provides safe, non-judgmental care for young people ages 12–29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else. The Borum is affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as an important component of Community Care Alliance, and with Boston Children’s Hospital. It is licensed as a health center, mental health clinic, and substance abuse center by the Department of Public Health. About North Shore Pride The mission of North Shore Pride, Inc. is to promote the general welfare, and enhance the social life of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community of the North Shore, and to promote the acceptance of the members of this community by the broader North Shore community. To carry out these purposes, the organization engages in activities designed to promote greater understanding of LGBT issues, educates the members of the LGBT community on issues of importance to them and engages in fundraising activities, partnering with individuals and organizations, in furtherance of its stated purpose. 18-wheeler to store and deliver supplies. “… it was all organic, there was no playbook … ” he said. In the wake of the massacre, American Airlines donated two million sky miles to provide travel for family members and loved ones to come to Orlando. JetBlue followed suit. The Center partnered with the Orlando United Assistance Center (; OUAC) to provide mental health services. “We now have grief counselors at the center every single day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” he said. “We have two, sometimes three, counselors a day because they’re seeing three to four people a day. The survivors, the families, have become our families. Whatever they need, we’ll help them find it.” “We all woke up on June 12 in shock,” said Hannah Willard, public policy director for Equality Florida (; EQFL), the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization. “For our community, the level of shock couldn’t be overstated.” EQFL set up a GoFundMe page for the survivors and families of the victims with an initial goal of $50,000. “Every couple of hours we had to raise our goal,” she said, noting that more than 120,000 people from 120 countries had donated roughly $9.5 million in just a few days. In the wake of the massacre, Willard said EQFL made two promises: “We committed to making sure every single penny we raised would go directly to ...

See Pulse 1 Year Later on Page 23

10th Year Anniversary • • The Rainbow Times • 21

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

LGBT Film Festivals from page 14 more stories in the real world. To that end, there are plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with other attendees at these festivals, with post-screening discussions, cocktail parties, brunches and cultural activities around town that bring us together without having to open a single app. 4. Attendees spend their pink dollars in our communities I spent 10 days in Miami for OUTshine (it’s a major event for the LGBT community, as are the other fests around the country) while other attendees came in and out of Magic City at their leisure to enjoy the films they most wanted to see, as well as dine, shop and relax. When I wasn’t inside a theater, I was out exploring the surroundings—and spending my gay money. I enjoyed the area’s abundance of incredible restaurants (I recommend Orange Blossom and Yardbird Southern Table & Bar), rented a Jet Ski on the ocean, popped into the Pérez Art Museum in downtown, threw back a few drinks at Sugar atop the East Hotel, hit up a vinyl store to cop an album for my record player at home, and played gay bingo at Hôtel Gaythering. Proceeds from the latter supported OUT Miami, so it was money well spent. 5. LGBT film festivals remind us we’re not alone in our individual struggles Being LGBT can feel lonely at times, especially when we’re not represented equally in the content we consume that allows us to

see ourselves and recognize that other LGBT people are going through the same things we are. That’s changing on television —GLAAD reported the highest number of LGBT characters ever on television last year —but we’re still not equitably represented in movies, or at least not in the ones that hit major theaters. So we must continue to find the content that does represent us and fully support it. Say Rhodes, “LGBT film festivals are important because we learn to truly accept ourselves as LGBT, from having positive role models and access to validating narratives that help us process otherwise confusing, complex and often scary emotions within ourselves. The film festival provides a supportive environment to reminisce, rejoice and affirm our own identity and the fact that we are not alone.” Remember that: You are not alone, my friends. Grab a pal. See a movie. Stay proud. OUTshine hosts two LGBT film festivals a year: Miami in April and Ft. Lauderdale in October; it will host its first seven-day film festival cruise in Feb. 2018 aboard Celebrity Equinox. For more information, visit *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.

Executive Order from page 6 executive order is so far innocuous. The potential spiritual damage, however, is real. How many LGBTQ individuals already suspicious of faith and religion will perceive this political action as another reason to avoid anything religious? In addition, the sacredness of faith and spirituality is compromised. Efforts to elevate it by politicians does nothing more than secularize it. There is irony in those who shout the most about the loss of religious liberty while their behavior compromises it. In America, the concept of separation of church and state goes back to colonial times. Many people of faith wanted a metaphorical wall to make sure the tawdriness of politics and the temporal world did not soil the holy.

Sadly, many religious Americans have forgotten their history. The president’s order is an opportunity, though one requiring patience and lip-biting, to engage social conservatives about the meaning of religious liberty. Too often the religious freedoms of pro-LGBTQ denominations are ignored. What about the religious liberties of Unitarians, Episcopalians, and certain Jewish groups, among many others? Why are their voices not heard on the national news and talk shows? Trump’s executive order is another example of why an individual’s personal faith should be independent of organized religion. Religion can enhance a spiritual sojourn. It Read the rest of this opinion column at:

22 • The Rainbow Times • • 10th Year Anniversary

Trans Rights from Page 8 “We are absolutely confident that voters will want to uphold fairness for their neighbors,” Suffredini said. “All this question does is essentially repeal the statute that legislature passed.” Suffredini said the effort to overturn the law is part of a larger campaign to curb rights for LGBTQ people across the country. Similar efforts are underway in Montana and Washington state. “This referendum was not triggered by the passage … of our bill [in] 2016 … it’s long been part of the playbook for the same people who oppose marriage equality,” Suffredini said. The existing law in Massachusetts remains in effect between now and the vote next year. In the event that the veto request is successful, Suffredini said Freedom Massachusetts would work with the legislature to pass the law again. However, the debate that will happen between now and then is likely to increase the negative rhetoric surrounding what advocates view as an already stigmatized and marginalized community. Janson Wu, executive director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (; GLAD) said the group is preparing for ads that portray members of the trans community as predators and may even incite bigotry. “This referendum contributes to the climate of hate that already exists,” Wu said. “People in our community are afraid and feel vulnerable, especially after the elections [and] the climate of hatred that has con-


KEEP MA SAFE FOR THIS ARTICLE, BUT THE REQUEST WAS DECLINED. sumed our country.” “It’s important that voters in Massachusetts reject this just like they rejected efforts to roll back marriage equality,” Suffredini said. “We are the firewall and there are lives at stake.”


% of The Rainbow Times’ ReadeRs aRe PeoPle of ColoR


June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

10th Year Anniversary • • The Rainbow Times • 23

Part of the 3D mural project to commemorate the 49 lives taken one year ago in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history

Pulse 1 Year Later from Page 20 those impacted by the Pulse shooting, the survivors and the victims’ family members,” she said. “We took it very seriously that all the money donated by the 120,000 people from around the world through GoFundMe would [go to those impacted]. “And we then turned to the second promise: to honor those we lost with action. It’s not enough to simply mourn the loss or even celebrate the resiliency of our community; we have to do the real work of uprooting bigotry and hatred of all kinds. “What happened at Pulse underscored the reality that LGBTQ people are targeted not just because of who we love. [It also] illuminated the intersections of our identities as queer people. The majority of the victims at Pulse that night were queer people of color, the vast majority of those folks were Latinx.” Willard said that this fact alone highlighted the need to provide services that were intersectional and inclusive, noting that several of the victims, survivors, and family members are undocumented or don’t speak English as a first language.

Over the last year, EQFL has followed through on its promise to honor the victims with action. In terms of its policy priorities, it has devoted resources to a safe and healthy schools project to ensure that queer youth are fully supported and included in their school environments. EQFL is also actively lobbying for nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people across the state, supports reproductive rights, and, most noticeably, has taken a public stance on gun violence. “The Pulse massacre made it impossible for us to ignore the way that gun violence can impact queer people,” she said of the organization’s partnership with progressive organization to advocate for common sense Read the rest of this story at:

24 • The Rainbow Times • • 10th Year Anniversary

June 1, 2017 - July 5, 2017

The Rainbow Times' June 1, 2017 (Pride) Issue  

Boston Based, TRT's Pride issue is full of the stories that are trending in the LGBTQ world, beyond the mainstream. The cover introduces you...

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