2 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com
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Misdiagnosed trans woman rails against trans people; Pride 2018, more By: Nicole Lashomb*/TRT Editor-in-Chief
alt Heyer, a formerly self-identified trans woman, is no stranger to the media circuit and uses it to achieve his apparent goal— to discredit and disaffirm the LGBTQ community, particularly the transgender community. Since de-transitioning after living as a woman for eight years, he has become the echo chamber for the extreme right-wing argument against the trans community. Apparently, the 76-year-old believes his own discoveries are indicative of every trans person’s experience—a dangerous assumption from the start, especially in this misdiagnosed case. A feature on Heyer published in World Magazine (https://bit.ly/2sgfTHv), revealed that he was never actually transgender and instead was later diagnosed by “multiple therapists as having dissociative disorder— also known as multiple personality disorder, [which is] characterized by disconnection from one’s identity as a defense mechanism against psychological trauma.” Not gender dysphoria. Therefore, Heyer’s vitriolic tirade (https://bit.ly/2ILJmCw) against the transgender community often published in the Federalist—widely considered one of the most anti-LGBT publications today—is no different than that of any other neo-conservative extremist’s opinion column. His “view” of the transgender world, of living authentically post-transition and living wholly cannot be taken seriously or as coming from a “former trans person” because he never was transgender. His entire brand is built upon a farce. Heyer has no place in the transgender movement at all. Why am I focusing on this? Words matter because some take them as informed or in-
vestigative journalism and others merely believe what they read. And we should be held accountable by the consequences that our words can have on other readers. I learned that very early on, prior to even publishing my first story. Written word can be misconstrued too and, in extreme cases, it can lead to hatred, to suicide, to homicide, and even more. The written word cannot be taken back. I hope Heyer is aware of
WORDS TURN INTO WEAPONS BECAUSE THEY EMBOLDEN THE LEAST EDUCATED AND INFORMED, OR THE MORE EDUCATED AND BIGOTED. IF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN AND SUBSEQUENT ELECTION AREN’T A MODEL FOR WHAT I AM CONVEYING, I DON’T KNOW HOW ELSE TO EXPLAIN IT. this because he could be creating chaos for a young trans person whose parents or family read them. Fox News could be quoting him as an “expert” even though what he wrote was mere opinion. Bottom line, words hurt. Words haunt people. Words humiliate. Words turn into weapons because they embolden the least educated and informed, or the more educated and bigoted. If the presidential campaign and subsequent election aren’t a model for what I am conveying, I don’t know how else to explain it.
Sharing “holy” perspective makes all better & stronger
By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist
ften, when I share spiritual advice, I say, “Life is not about mistakes.” If life were about mistakes, don’t get out of bed in the morning. Life is perspective and experience. Ultimately, it’s about the quality of your personal journey and how you find and embrace joy and hope each day. Life experiences can make you bitter. You can develop a “woe is me” complex. Shame on you, if you do. Hopefully, experiences empower you to engage and resolve. Perspective is something you draw on. It’s wisdom that may instill empathy towards others. Everyone has his or her personal journey in life. Rarely can someone tell you what to do. You can, however, benefit from someone’s experience as you reflect on your crossroads. Substance abuse, a major breakup, coming out to parents, a new job that’s gone terribly wrong, or the challenges of being same-gender parents are major events in a person’s life. The possibilities go on. Some events are life-changing. You learn and carry on because life is too short. Don’t
Enter Pride Season … Within the pages of this edition, you’ll find the New England Pride Guide with this year’s theme selected by our team, Pride Revolution. Now is the time to resist and continue to stand for freedom, equality and against injustice of any kind. Nearly all members of any marginalized group have been under attack, especially since that dreaded day in November 2016. Over the past two years, the “resis-
dwell. Duty to humanity and one another calls you to share your personhood with someone else. Duty nurtures your authentic self and underscores to another soul that it will be okay. This is not about telling someone what to do. It should be the rare exception when using the obnoxious phrase, “You should … ” Most of the time, the only thing you can share is a personal experience that does not automatically translate to what another should do in his or her journey. A long time ago good-intentioned individuals told me, “You should go to law school.” I think they projected their own professional regrets. I went to law school. Not the best choice. Hence, if you are invited to share perspective, remember, it’s perspective, not what the other person should do. Sharing personal experiences can make you feel vulnerable to judgment or ridicule. What I’ve learned is not to allow someone else’s opinion to become my reality. If you have shared your authentic self, then all is well.
See Holy Perspective on Page 15
tance” has continued to grow and we are proud to be a part of it. The Pride Kick-Off Sunset Cruise will take place on June 22, from 7-9:30 p.m. The Rainbow Times is proud to produce this benefit cruise for North Shore Pride this year again. Last year, proceeds also went to Fenway Health’s The Borum. Check out more information about this cruise that SOLD OUT four months in advance. On the 22nd, besides having the killer
Letters to the Editor [Re: Op-Ed: Society Must Come to Terms With Bisexual Male Identity] Dear Editor, As a bisexual man I have lived in fear and silence for a good part of my 53 years and let me tell you it sucks. I’m out to a few people but I wish I could be out to all but I just don’t see it. —Jim (Anonymous), Online [Re: Community Periscope: Chicopee, Mass. lacks LGBTQ resources ...] Dear Editor, By the way, thanks for the call. Anyway, I live in Chicopee and I am in the closet exactly because of what this article says. I don’t feel there’s support nor a desire to educate themselves about our community. I’m glad you exposed it. I must remain closetted for now. —Robert S., Chicopee, Mass. 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: email@example.com.
beats of DJ Andrea Stamas, and the drag hostess with the mostest Kristi Kreamm on board, we’ll also be honoring Jeff Cohen, a long-time activist on the North Shore and Co-Chair of Salem’s No Place For Hate Committee, for his relentless work to better the lives of those most often oppressed. We will proudly present the LGBTQ All-Star Award to Cohen onboard. This year, The Rainbow Times is proud to be the main media partner of Montreal Pride and North Shore Pride. Their upcoming events are featured in our Annual Pride Guide and within the pages of this Pride Issue. The upcoming celebrations, marches and Pride events throughout the country mostly point to a sense of resistance and a pride revolution, as we forge ahead together. Happy Pride! *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 via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rainbow Times The Freshest LGBT Newspaper in New England—Boston Based TheRainbowTimesMass.com email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 617.444.9618 Fax: 928.437.9618 Publisher Graysen M. Ocasio Editor-In-Chief Nicole Lashomb Assistant Editor Mike Givens National/Local Sales Rivendell Media Liz Johnson Lead Photographer Steve Jewett Reporters Jenna Spinelle Chuck Colbert Al Gentile Chris Gilmore Nicole Collins (Intern)
Ad & Layout Design Prizm PR Webmaster Jarred Johnson Columnists/Guest Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep Mike Givens Arts Critic Edward Byrne 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: email@example.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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LGBTQ community doing more business with firms that affirm their identities By: Al Gentile/TRT Reporter
IN THE LIMELIGHT
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s election, the LGBTQ community is finding other ways to exercise power outside of the voting booth. A growing awareness of LGBTQaffirming establishments is filling a space that many see as threatened by the current political and social climate. Whether a space specifically for LGBTQ-related products and services, or simply a coffee shop that makes clear they are a safe space for LGBTQ people, the community is starting to support these spaces. AJ*—a young transgender man embarking on the journey of expressing his true gender identity— sees these spaces as crucial as he navigates the often anxiety-inducing trials of transitioning publicly. “It's important to be comfortable to be yourself, especially in the beginning stages of transitions," AJ said. “Especially with name and pronoun changes, and knowing that there are other people going through what you're going through." In his daily life, AJ said facing the world even in ordinary situations like grabbing coffee or going grocery shopping can be difficult when beginning to transition. AJ said he often seeks places where he can feel safe whenever he can. Along with transitioning, AJ is affirmatively trying to
adjust the regular workings of his life around LGBTQ-affirming institutions and businesses wherever possible. The ability to feel comfortable in his own skin, AJ said, is perhaps the most important reason. “I think that’s the common denominator for the LGBTQ community, and even for any sort of minority, that's a similar feeling across the board," AJ said. “Everywhere should be a safe space, but if we have these businesses that start to do it, it's a movement in the right direction. It may seem small, but it is actually quite a huge improvement." Safe spaces are, in many ways, shelters for some people to feel supported during landmark life events like coming out or transitioning. Erin Fallon, one of the organizers of “Queeraoke” at Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, has witnessed the importance of safe spaces firsthand. “There was this young queer man who had come from New York, had quite literally moved from New York a day before Queeraoke,” Fallon began. “He went up onstage, and said, ‘My name is Steven. I don't have a friend to speak of, and I need a friend.’" Queeraoke, apart from being a fun night to party in a safe space for LGBTQ people, isoften a place where one can find support in trying times. “Everybody got up on stage and circled him, and hugged him," Fallon said.
A Queeraoke night held at Midway Cafe
Queeraoke has been an institution for acceptance and inclusivity for nearly 15 years, according to Fallon. Fallon, a queer-identifying lesbian who has been managing the event for several years, said the aim has always been to bring in more marginalized communities. What makes Queeraoke special, according to her, is the intersection of private enterprise and social acceptance. Midway Cafe has been a mainstay in the local music scene for years. A venue that often features independent acts from
around Boston and beyond, it has always been a place that—on an artistic level—has been open and affirming. Queeraoke is the LGBTQ community’s chance to partake in this ideology, which Fallon said has proven invaluable to the many people who attend. With a hands-off approach, the ownership of Midway Cafe has given Fallon and her management team an opportunity to take the reins and realize Queeraoke’s mission.
See LGBTQ Businesses on Page 23
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Tahirah Amatul-Wadud and the candidate again (thumbnail) with San Juan, Puerto Rico PHOTOS: TAHIRAH AMATUL-WADUD Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz
Candidate Profile: Tahirah Amatul-Wadud hopes to be West. Mass.’ next congressional leader By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor
A Springfield, Massachusetts attorney, Tahirah Amatul-Wadud is hoping to unseat incumbent Congressman Richard Neal in the 1st District of Massachusetts. The Rainbow Times interviewed Amatul-Wadud about her candidacy, her qualifications, and what it’s like running against an incumbent occupying the seaat for nearly 30 years. The Rainbow Times: What was your inspiration for wanting to run for Congress? Tahirah Amatul-Wadud: I was inspired by the strength of our people who have been complaining about [the] fact that too many people in our district are struggling and we do not have a fierce advocate representing the district to change our conditions. For example, we are last in the state for median income, we have a higher-than-average unemployment rate and a higher-than-average number of people not covered by insurance. Many people I know are working full-time jobs and part-time jobs to make ends meet. This depresses the quality of life for too many people. Q: What differentiates you from Congressman Neal in terms of how you'll approach this position, if elected? A: I am committed to being responsive to the people I serve. I support Medicare For All. I support reworking how we handle trade. The congressman's record on this has been to vote for Favored Nations Status for China and for terms and conditions with Panama. These arrangements have allowed [a] deep trade deficit to set in and 14,000 jobs lost in our district. He is beholden to special interest groups, which fund his campaigns, particularly pharmaceutical companies, insurance [companies], and others. This creates a
conflict between his donors and his constituents and explains why he has not worked to advance policy that aims to control drug costs or to seek real solutions to preventing and treating addiction. I support efforts to increase [the] minimum wage and raising the standard of living for all of our communities who so desperately want and need it. Q: Could you describe your background? A: I was born in Queens, New York and lived in Brooklyn as a little girl. We moved to Springfield when I was nine. I was homeschooled from that time up until I started [at] Elms College and then Western New England University School of Law. I am married and have seven children ranging in age from 4 to 24 years old. I am 44 years old. Q: As you know, Congressman Neal has been in his seat for 29 years. What's it like running against an incumbent candidate given the often controversial narratives in our society around women and Muslims during President Trump's presidency? A: I feel very confident running in the face of the incumbency. Speaking to and advocating for truth to power is something that I have done my entire life. As [a] lawyer, and professional advocate, I have the skill set, the experience, and agency to do so in a meaningful way. We can win and will. As for President Trump's attitude toward Muslims and women, it is dangerous and offensive. But his provocative statements allow him to give cover to his lack of follow through on policies he claimed to want to support, such as controlling pharmaceutical costs—he didn't in his roll out of policy on this issue [in May]—and how [the] trade deficit continues to kill our local ...
See Tahirah on Page 15
May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
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Dover, Mass. fosters a supportive environment for its LGBTQ community By: Nicole Collins/TRT Intern
In the sprawling suburbs west of Boston, resources for the LGBTQ community are scattered and clustered around larger towns and cities like Framingham, Waltham, and Wellesley. And while Dover, a small town of just over 6,000, doesn’t have many dedicated LGBTQ resources, residents report an overall LGBTQfriendly attitude in the area. “We don’t care what you are; if you’re nice and work hard, we accept you,” said Gerard L. Clarke, chair of the Dover Board of Health. He confirmed that there aren’t many LGBTQ-specific medical resources in the area besides general out-patient clinics. However, he emphasized the accepting community Dover fosters. “[It] couldn’t have been more welcoming,” said Robert Andrews, an LGBTQ resident of the town. He and his husband moved there five years ago. “Given our experience in Massachusetts, in general,” Andrews continued, “we didn't have too many reservations about being a same-sex couple in Dover, but we knew we would probably be one of only a few in town.” But Andrews and his husband received a warm reception upon arriving.
there were “Within a other samefew weeks sex couples ... I was inin town to vited to a socialize n e i g h b o rwith? Yes. hood coffee Is it a reaclub with son to many of the m o v e ? women in Probably the [town],” not; there he said. are too “When we many other had our great reaboys a few sons to stay. years later, “We just it was toured the amazing. public eleNeighbors mentary brought us Town Hall of Dover, Mass., a small town of just over 6,000 people, west PHOTO: FACEBOOK school as food, sent of Boston our boys are us gifts, and treated us like any other new family. Every- getting to be that age,” he said, “and once one in town … [has] gone out of their way again, [we] felt like our family would be to make us feel at home—although I think included and accepted. The Dover-Sherborn Regional School they do that with everyone.” Although Andrews and his husband District also tries to create a supportive ensometimes feel isolated from the LGBTQ vironment for LGBTQ students. At Dover-Sherborn High School community, they still feel welcomed. “Overall, I don’t think being gay has ever (DSHS), English teacher Scott Huntoon been an issue,” Andrews said. “However, I hopes to foster a welcoming environment am just one person who is white, male, for them. Along with school counselor Rob [have] been out for more than half my life and [I have] a husband and kids. Besides Williamson, the two run the DSHS Alliance (GSA; being a same-sex couple, our family is Gay/Straight https://bit.ly/2GDiIGZ), which meets once pretty conventional here in Dover.” “Would it be nice,” he continued, “if a month and, according to Huntoon, is often a mixture of LGBTQ students and allies. “[We] took over the GSA … three years ago, and we have been working hard to create opportunities for people at the high school to show that [we] are LGBTQfriendly,” Huntoon said. “So far we have had a lot of success. The administration and teachers have been amazing supporters of the club.” Early in their roles as GSA advisors, Huntoon and Williamson designed and sold GSA-themed t-shirts and, to their delight, noticed many other teachers purchasing and wearing them long after the sale. “I think it sends a powerful message to our students that it’s [OK] to be LGBTQ [at DSHS],” Huntoon continued. “I’m hop-
ing that this message is slowly trickling down into the minds of our students.” “For the most part, DSHS is an LGBTQfriendly place,” said Williamson. “We have several out faculty members and I couldn’t ask for a more supportive set of coworkers. Though microaggressions likely occur with regularity, I think that the student body is, on balance, very welcoming and accepting.”
AND WHILE DOVER, A SMALL TOWN OF JUST OVER
HAVE MANY DEDICATED
LGBTQ RESOURCES, RESIDENTS REPORT AN OVERALL
FRIENDLY ATTITUDE IN THE AREA. According to Williamson, out of the roughly 650 students enrolled at DSHS, 81 took part in Day of Silence demonstrations this year. Both Huntoon and Williamson also spoke about the support they felt in the town at large. “One of the things that always grabs my attention,as I am driving through the center of Dover every morning,is the LGBTQ rainbow sticker attached to the sign for ...
See Periscope on Page 15
May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
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Leadership transition renews foundation’s focus on addressing needs of trans community By: Jenna Spinelle/TRT Reporter
M. Dru Levasseur and Tony Ferraiolo have matching “JCF” tattoos on their arms. Those tattoos symbolize the work they’ve put into building the Jim Collins Foundation (https://bit.ly/2ISiv8I) over the past 10 years and will serve as lasting memories as they transition out of their leadership positions. Levasseur and Ferraiolo met at a Yale University panel discussion in 2005 and quickly realized they shared a passion for spreading awareness about gender affirmation surgery and helping members of the transgender community pay for procedures often not covered by health insurance.
“The reason we succeeded was because of our friendship,” Levasseur said. “If one of us was having a hard time, the other one would step in. It’s been a labor of love, and I got a wonderful friend out of it.” In the early days, Ferraiolo said they heard from many people who told them others had tried to start something similar and their efforts would never come to fruition. Sitting at a picnic table in New Haven, they decided they were not going to listen to those critics. “The journey was very tough at the beginning,” Ferraiolo said. “But we wanted it to be fun and to take care of each other emotionally. We didn’t listen to people who
told us it wouldn’t be successful.” Levasseur and Ferraiolo announced last month that they would be handing over the reins of the foundation to Jody Cofer Randall and Ryan Sallans, both of whom served on the foundation’s board and are ready to take its work to the next level. Randall is the lead LGBTQIA administrator at Texas Tech University (TTU; https://bit.ly/1sHdL58). Sallans is a nationally-known transgender speaker, author, and advocate. Randall will serve as the organization’s president, and Sallans will serve as vice president. Randall said they are hoping to diversify the organization’s board of directors and its funding sources with the hope of making an even greater impact in the trans community. “Whether through internal operations or the sheer number of people we are able to help, we want to see that capacity grow,” Randall said. “I want us to be a model organization that is serving the trans community on health matters and surgical support.” The Jim Collins Foundation receives more than 200 applications each year for a just a handful of grants. Sallans and Randall said they were inspired to take leadership positions in the organization after making phone calls to grant recipients and hearing their stories. “When I was first approached about moving into [the] vice president role, I said no,” Sallans said. “But when you call folks
Jody Cofer Randall PHOTO: JODY COFER RANDALL
to let them know they receive a grant, that is an experience that words can’t describe.” Although the foundation is looking to increase its funding in order to provide more grants, leaders acknowledge that it ...
See Leadership on Page 10
May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
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Tony Ferraiolo (left) and M. Dru Levasseur, co-founders of the Jim Collins Foundation, will be handing over the reins of the foundation to Jody Cofer Randall and Ryan Sallans
Leadership from page 8 will never be able to meet every applicant’s needs. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, as even the foundation’s existence alone is enough to help in some cases. “We are saving lives just by being in existence,” Ferraiolo said. “We knew going in that we couldn’t help every single person, but just knowing that the foundation exists gives people hope. We hear from people who say that, although they didn’t get the grant, they are glad for the person who did.” The foundation is entirely volunteer-run, and its board members are spread out across the country. Sallans and Randall both described it as one of the most active nonprofit boards they’d ever served on. They are eager to build on what Levasseur and Ferraiolo started, but acknowledge that it might take time to get there. Randall said she could see a point where
the foundation brings on paid staff to further support the all-volunteer board. “We are in a state of transition and have an opportunity [to] say what’s it going to be now that we’ve grown up,” Randall said. “[We] want to get to the point where this work is not needed. [Our] ultimate goal could look like my office is not existing. That’s not where we are as a society.” Although it’s tough to step away from the something they built, Levasseur and Ferraiolo said they will continue to support the organization as much or as little as needed and will not stop fighting to raise money and awareness about the need for gender affirmation surgery in the trans community. “It’s not our foundation; the only thing we did was create it,” Levasseur said. “It’s really our community’s foundation and we need to step back and allow room for growth.” Applications for the 2018 grant cycle and additional information about the foundation are available at https://bit.ly/2ISiv8I.
BayPath Elder Services New LGBT Initiative: Showing of Gen Silent BayPath Elder Services, Inc. and its new LGBT will have a special showing and discussion of the award-winning film, Gen Silent, at Framingham State University on Wednesday, June 13. Gen Silent is a powerful documentary filmed in the Boston area that follows the journey of several older LGBTQ+ adults. Gen Silent director and producers Stu Maddux and Joseph Applebaum will be attending this event and will share their insights on the making of the film, update the stories of some of the elders in the film and discuss the issues of aging in the LGBTQ+ community. Lisa Krinsky of the LGBT
Aging Project will also be on hand to participate in the discussion. The LGBT Initiative, partially funded through grants from the MetroWest Health Foundation, is one of BayPath’s newest programs, with the goal of building a sustainable relationship with the older adult (60-plus) LGBTQ+ community in MetroWest. This event is free and open to the public of all ages. Donations, in any denomination, will be accepted to help cover the costs for the event and future efforts to serve the LGBTQ+ older adult community in MetroWest.FMI: https://is.gd/trtelders
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LGBTQ youth conversion therapy banned by governor in Hawaii The Governor of Hawaii, David Ige, recently signed a bill banning therapists (https://bit.ly/2LzDv1U) from offering conversion therapy to LGBTQ youth, making Hawaii the 12th state, along with California and Washington, to pass the legislation. In explaining his rationale, Ige referenced past scientific research that has proven that the therapy is ineffective and about the psychological damage it can have on youth. According to Ige, the therapy often leaves LGBTQ youth feeling depressed and isolated.
Pakistan passes into law new protections for transgender community This weekend, Pakistan’s new transgender nondiscrimination protections bill (https://bit.ly/2xkzk7f), “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018,” was passed into law. The bill creates protections for the transgender community in several different areas, including employment, housing, and health care, among others. The passing of the measure marks a significant moment in the country’s history, as it joins several other countries around the world offering such protections for the transgender and LGBTQ communities.
More importantly, it has shown recognition of the transgender community on behalf of the Government of Pakistan. Vietnam, New Zealand and Botswana, among other countries, have signed similar transgender protections legislation in recent years.
LGBTQ advocates protest Betsy DeVos by projecting data onto Education Dept. building Activists from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), led by artist Robin Bell, projected data about LGBTQ youth (https://wapo.st/2IUdSHv) onto the Education Department building in Washington, D.C. The projection read “How do you sleep at night?” and listed data taken from a recent HRC survey about mental health issues for LGBTQ youth. The survey targeted teenagers ages thirteen to seventeen from all U.S. states, including Washington, D.C. It found, for instance, that 70 percent of surveyed LGBTQ youth were bullied in school, 95 percent had trouble sleeping at night due to anxiety, and 5 percent felt their teachers were supportive of the LGBTQ community. DeVos was not present for the display.
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Salome Smith, Steven Martin, Elle Borders during a “Wiz” performance.
PHOTO: THE LYRIC STAGE
Review: A joyful and important “Wiz” for a modern-day audience, 4 Stars By: Edward Byrne*/TRT Arts Critic
ike most, my childhood memories of “The Wizard of Oz” are defined and colored by the 1939 film starring Judy Garland. I always loved the scene where Dorothy et alia finally arrive at the Emerald City and are treated to all the luxury Oz has to offer: Scarecrow is fluffed with more hay, Tinman gets buffed, and even the Lion is primped with a bow for his mane. It all seemed too good to be true for these anthropomorphic characters and, of course, it was. Later in life, I saw the 1978 film version of “The Wiz,” a retelling of the classic in an African-American context. What captivated me about “The Wiz” then and now is that it’s not just a black interpretation of “The Wizard of Oz,” or the same story in a black context. “The Wiz” is a counterpoint to a dominant cultural narrative and product. It’s both an acknowledgment of the silencing of black narratives in art and mainstream popular culture as well as an allegory for the development of racial identity. Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s current production of “The Wiz,” running through July 1, isn’t Dorothy in an early 20th Century Kansas dust bowl, nor is it set in a Harlem park mired in 1970s urban decay. Producing artistic director Sprio Veloudos explains that what we’re seeing is the 2018 contemporary landscape of Oz; and the director of this production, Dawn M. Williams, delivers. This “Wiz” occupies a unique space of being good, different, important, and fun all at the same time. After some prologue—and the tornado— Dorothy, played by an earnest Salome Smith, encounters the hilarious and bumbling Addaperle (Yewande Odetoyinbo),
the good witch of the north. Addaperle’s magic never seems to work the way she intends, and the gags for us are plentiful. Addaperle convinces Dorothy that for her to get home she really needs to see The Wiz, in a strong rendition of “He’s the Wiz.” Then we get to the journey: easing on down the yellow brick road. In keeping with the contemporary nature of the production, this yellow road has no bricks, but illuminated yellow poles to lead the way. While this artistic choice requires some imagination, it reinforces the notion that this journey was never about miles traversed, but rather a developmental journey towards self-actualization. Dorothy encounters the expected characters along the way: Scarecrow (Elle Borders), Tinman (Steven Martin), and Lion (Brandon G. Green). Each sings a convincing tune about their struggle and they join Dorothy to see The Wiz in hopes of getting brains, heart, and courage, respectively. Martin stands out for his moving vocal talent. When you hear his soulful delivery, especially in “What Would I Do If I Could Feel,” you can’t help but think: he’s got heart already. He reminds us that everyone in this play is in search of something that is already within them. When they arrive in the Emerald City, there are no manicures or perms or funky disco promenades. Oz is the coolest club around and you need special green glasses to get in (and Dorothy’s special shoes). Coat check to your left. The Wiz, played by the excellent Davron Smith, in dazzling suits by costume designer Amber Voner, agrees to see Dorothy and her friends and makes them a deal: kill the wicked witch of the west and they’ll get … well, you know how it goes. Throughout this production there is a stunning orchestra under the direction of Allyssa Jones, whose only fault is they sometimes drown out the actors who sing without amplification.
See The Whiz on page 23
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May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
Trans Star Ryan Cassata: An exclusive interview with this award-winning performer By: Chris Gilmore/TRT Reporter
t just 23 years old, Ryan Cassata has already left a footprint big enough to last a lifetime. This internationally acclaimed transgender singersongwriter has garnered the attention of millions and has the awards to prove it. Perhaps what makes Cassata most appealing is the command of his musicianship and music video artistry, which he uses to create social awareness. For instance, his 2012 YouTube video “Hands of Hate” is a tribute to LGBT Youth whose lives were cut short due to either murder or suicide. He didn’t only sing and star in this music video, but his passionate delivery of the message is exceptional. Ryan also believes in paying it forward every time he can. He donated partial proceeds from “Hands of Hate” to the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ Youth Suicide Prevention organization. Cassata is not just an extraordinary musician, he is a trailblazer indeed. Based in Los Angeles, this Long Island native came out publicly at 13 and went on to share his personal gender-bending story via high-profile TV appearances, such as The Larry King Live Show and The Tyra Banks Show. If you don’t know Ryan by all of the above, you may know him through his success in film and his award-winning performance in "Collective: Unconscious," or his role in “Songs for Alexis”, which screened at seminal film festivals such as Frameline, Raindance, Toronto Hot Docs, and DOC NYC, among others. Cassata’s fascinating life journey will soon be chronicled when his memoir is released within the next year. In the meantime, The Rainbow Times recently caught up with Ryan to find out what he’s up to personally, professionally and to get an inner glimpse of what was really behind the release of his emotional single “Daughter.” Q: When did you move to LA? Why? A: I moved to LA in December of 2016 and I lived in San Francisco before this. I moved here because it is a hub for all creative industries and I love them SoCal vibes. Q: What would you like the music world
to know about musicians like you in terms of approachability, in terms of who you are? A: I would say I'm an approachable person and so are a lot of indie artists. We want to play shows. We want our names to get out there. I communicate with my fans as often as I can. I am not hard to reach.
Q: Who did you write “Daughter” for? A: I wrote Daughter for my dad. It's the song that tells the story of his transition with my transition. I'm female-to-male transgender. I've been living as Ryan for the last decade. My dad struggled a lot, and this song brought us both a lot of closure with his struggle. Q: Some lyrics to “Daughter” could be applied to various transitions in life. Do you think about the reach your songs could have on the mainstream (non-trans) community or when you write these pieces, are you focusing strictly on the trans experience? A: This song I wrote for my dad. When I wrote it, I was only thinking about my dad. When I finished it, I realized that it could probably help other trans people as well. I don't have many songs about being trans, so I would say that most of my songs are universal topics, they can be for everyone. Going back to “Daughter”, I think that a lot of people know a trans person who is out now. I think this sound could help a lot of people better understand trans people. It's only my experience, but a lot of people have shared with me that it’s also their experience as well. Q: Clearly, you’re a very talented artist. Have you seen movement from the mainstream community toward your music? If so, what has the response been? If not, why do you think that is the case? A: Thank you so much. All different types of people come to my shows. It's not just trans people. It's not just LGBTQ people. All different people come. I'd definitely like to gain more of a following and I think that will happen over time. Q: What do you think is the greatest misconception people have about you?
Ryan Cassata PHOTO: MAXINE BOWEN
A: I think that people think I hate testosterone, but I don't. It's just not the right choice for me to go on T right now. I have tons of friends that are on the hormone and I support them 100%. I've given several of my friends their shots as well. Q: When will your memoir be out? A: My memoir should be out by the end of the year or early 2019! Q: Why do you think it's important to share it with the world? What do you plan to accomplish with it? A: I wrote the book to share my story of going through hardships and coming out on top with a positive attitude. I hope to inspire other people […] that they can walk through any battle and never be bitter about it. I wrote the book to help myself process everything I've been through and during the editing process; I've had to read it several times, so it's definitely helped. More so, I wrote the book to help other people. My story and experiences have all been useful
in helping other people so far and I wanted to further do that. Q: What song of yours has been the most successful thus far (in terms of awards, BillBoard, etc.)? A: “Daughter” has been the most successful so far as it has had the most plays in the shortest amount of time and was featured in several large publications. Not only was it successful in that regard but more importantly, it was successful at helping other people. Dozens of people came out to their parents after hearing the song. And, a lot of people wrote me privately that the song has saved their life. It's been an incredibly touching experience and I'm so truly grateful for it. Q: Since coming out as trans when you were so young and standing tall in the shoes you were given fearlessly, what is the best advice you can give to trans youth who are scared to live authentically?
See Ryan Cassata on page 15
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A: You have to do what makes you happy
Tahirah from Page 4 economy. Q: What is your stance on issues impacting the LGBTQ community? A: As a lawyer, for all of my professional life same-sex marriage has been legal—my opponent voted against this. I am a family law attorney. In the context of family law, I have always known families to be defined by the legal right to marry as people see fit. In that lens, I have advocated for children of same-sex couples and for LGBTQ adults in their rights as parents. And I will continue to do so. Additionally, I support increasing and funding anti-bullying efforts in schools, and protection against discrimination in the workplace. I oppose religious exemption laws, which give people the right to impose their own religious principles on others or deny service to people in a discriminatory fashion. Q:Given the changing social landscape following the election of President Trump, I'm sure you've been aware of increases in xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, sexism and racism in American culture across the nation. As a woman of faith, how will you address acts of bigotry and hatred within your own district? A: As a congresswoman, I will continue to model a spirit of open-mindedness and respect, which I have tried to live my life committed to. I will always promote policies which protect people from oppression and marginalization, and I will work to elicit the voices of everyone in our community. Because of my identity as a woman of color and a Muslim, I am personally aware of how bigotry works and what it looks like. As a lawyer, and a candidate for office, I am gifted with the skills and platform to call it out and correct that behavior.
“THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY IS REPRESENTED IN EVERY ASPECT OF THE CITIZENRY SERVE.
I SEEK TO
I HAVE FOUGHT
AND WILL ALWAYS FIGHT AGAINST DISCRIMINATION AND HATE.
and how you will serve them if elected to office? A: The LGBTQ community is represented in every aspect of the citizenry I seek to serve. I have fought and will always fight against discrimination and hate. I will fight to uphold the laws which protect LGBTQ people and families and look to bridge gaps where there are inconsistencies in laws— for example, a more protective state law and less protective federal law. I will pursue protections from bullying for all students and particularly students who are bullied based on gender identity or [sexual] orientation.
Q: How do your identities as a woman and as a Muslim contribute to the work you'll do if elected to office? A: It allows me to be keenly aware of the need to seek and listen to the voices of all people I seek to serve.
Q: Any other thoughts you'd like to share? A: We can win and we will win. I view my candidacy itself as a victory for the people of the 1st District. As a candidate with a diverse background, I know that representation matters. I also know being able to talk about the issues near and dear to people's hearts is important. That I am doing that already shows that I am having an impact. [The fact that] I will continue to do that as an elected official is evidence that the people will continue to win with me as their congressional representative.
Q: What should the LGBTQ community in western Massachusetts know about you
To learn more about Amatul-Wadud, visit https://bit.ly/2IGKggk.
Periscope from Page 6
tives was, “[incorporating] strategies for working with young men of color and LGBT students.” *** While medical resources for the LGBTQ community are sparse in Dover, residents say they’re sparse for the rest of the population, as well. “Because [it’s] a small town, there aren’t really many resources for anyone,” Andrews said. “So LGBTQ folks are basically in the same boat as everyone else.” “What’s nice,” he continued, “ is that we are so close to so many other communities if you want to go to [Jamaica Plain] or West Roxbury for healthcare practitioners who specialize in LGBTQ health, it’s not a far drive.”
and you can't hold back who you are. Just be yourself and be kind to others. If you lose a friend because you came out, [then] they weren't really a friend to begin with. Your true friends will stay. Q: What do say to other trans musicians who are just starting in the industry and how to break into it? A: Be kind to other people. Say thank you and work on your art and pushing your career every single day. Q: If you hadn't pursued a career in the music industry, what would you had done or was there anything you'd planned to do other than being a singer/song writer/producer? A: I’m also an actor and writer. I think I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing. For a brief time I wanted to be a politician, but I don’t think I’m cut out for that type of job. [Laughs] Q: Use three words to describe your music and three more to describe yourself. A: My music: Honest, Acoustic, Punk. Self: Empathetic, Confident, Brave. Q: What is something about yourself that people would be shocked to know? A: I call my parents on the phone every single day by choice. Q: Which of your songs is your favorite or your top 3? A: Hard to pick ... Right now I'd have to
Holy Perspective from page 2 Two years ago, I contributed an article (https://goo.gl/PSsQXv) to The Rainbow Times about LGBTQ cowboys and girls. It was an incredible experience interviewing folks who participate in rodeos. I learned a lot about authenticity and acceptance. Sadly, for the first time, I learned about discrimination the transgender community experiences within the greater LGBQ community. I learned how the persecuted can become the persecutor. Over the last several years I’ve been penpals with a few transgender women in male prisons through the Black and Pink (https://bit.ly/2sdZXoA) penpal program. Once again, I’ve been educated, developed empathy, and now have a very different perspective about myself, the world, and those who are discriminated against for being different. St. Benedict of Nursia (https://goo.gl/7GxBUL), venerated in the Catholic, Episcopal, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, laid the foundations for the monastic life for discipline, devotion, and drawing closer to the Giver of Life. I keep an icon of this great saint outside the window near my writing desk. St. Benedict teaches us to overcome weakness by drawing on the strength, integrity, fellowship, and goodness of each other. It’s about God (gender neutral) who wants a relationship with you, me, and us! We lift one another up to be closer to the
say: Cocaine Crazy, Alcatraz and Hot Springs, Arkansas. Q: For those pining for you out there, are you available? A: [Laughs] Yes, I am single, but totally married to my career. Q: Where can people buy your music? A: ITunes & Amazon or stream it on Spotify. There are also physical CD's [available] here: https://is.gd/6QOQWH. Q: How can people contact you to perform? A: [Smiles] Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Q: Do you have any shows coming up in New England? A: None in New England yet. I hope soon! I love Boston. I'm a huge Red Sox fan. Q: We know you now have a busy West Coast Tour, when are those and how can people get tickets to it? Ryan Cassata w/April Rose & Mae Krell 7/5 – Los Angeles, CA - Bar 20 7/6 - Sacramento, CA – Luna’s Café 7/7 - Oakland, CA – Oakland Octopus 7/9 - Portland, OR – Stephen’s House (contact email@example.com for more information.) 7/10 - Eugene, OR – Noah’s House (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for address) Wed 7/11 – Seattle, WA – Café Racer For more information about Ryan Cassata visit: ryancassata.com. Holy! We share perspective and experiences as holy souls to enhance our lives with integrity and character with one another; this binds us with the Divine. *Paul is a personal chaplain, seminary trained priest, and lawyer in greater Albany, NY. He’s also the author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.”
North Shore Pride 2018 June 23, Salem, Mass. http://bit.do/hrcspan
Dover Church,” said Huntoon. “Both my siblings went through the [Dover-Sherborn] school system, and I’ve known many community members throughout my life,” Williamson added. “Though I’m sure attitudes vary from person-to-person and family-to-family, I’ve felt personally supported as an educator and as a person in general.” The administration at DSHS also take steps on their end to improve the experiences of LGBTQ students at the school. From January 30–31, 2015, for example, Ellen Chagnon, the director of guidance at DSHS, attended a conference sponsored by Harvard Medical School (https://bit.ly/2wZWejZ) about dealing with student mental health issues. Among the conference’s learning objec-
Ryan Cassata from Page 14
May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
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May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
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May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
10 essential $ tips for Gay grads By: Mikey Rox*/Special to TRT
ere’s the good news, new grads: You’re not as financially inept as the media por-trays you. Stash Invest (https://is.gd/7H6pka) asked grads like you what they plan to do with their graduation money, and the results are comforting. The largest percentage—23.8 percent of those polled—plan to put the haul directly into savings while 21 percent will pay rent or other expenses. An impressive 19.2 percent plan to invest their grad cash, and a near equal amount—18.7 percent— said they’ll pay down student loans with the money. That’s a great start. But there’s plenty more to learn about savvy spending and sav-ing now that you’re in the real world. Here are a few essential tips to help you hit the ground running.
1. Commit yourself to being independent (No more asking for help – sorry!) One month after you land that decent job is when you need to make a clean financial break from the welfare providers you call parents. That gives you enough time to get your proverbial ducks in a row—and collect your first paycheck—so you can really start adulting. Mobile bill, car payment and insurance, gas, utilities, internet, groceries, rent—all that good stuff—should now be your responsibility if you have a job. And no hitting mom and pop up for extra cash because you spent all your disposable income buying Fireball shots for a future one-night stand. For starters, that swill is poison, and two, he probably would have gone home with you $30 ago. 2. Stop wasting money on stupid things Millennials and lazy people around the world—along with their enablers—lost their ever-loving hive minds when the avocado toast guy suggested that maybe they should stop spending money (https://is.gd/snpSJp) on overpriced food trends and other luxuries if they want to afford a home. Certainly there are prevailing factors preventing many demographics from becoming homeowners, but I happen
to agree with that author on this particular point. So here’s my advice to curb that practice: If you want to get ahead, especially if you’re on a tight budget, it’s critical to have self-control, say no to all the shiny things, and concentrate more on making extra cash instead of spending what little you have. You’re not entitled to anything you didn’t earn, and the world doesn’t owe you anything. The faster you learn that, the happier your heart (and wallet) will be. 3. Make a budget—and adhere to it— like your life depends on it If you’re new to managing your own money, the best place to begin is with a budget. There’s a wealth of resources online to help you get started. The concept is simple: In one column list your expenses; in the other, keep track of your income and then crunch a few numbers to make sure everything balances out or, if you’re lucky, results in a surplus. Negative numbers in a budget are no bueno, but you already know that, degree holder. Sounds like a hassle, but only if you like being broke all the time. 4. Fortify your saving with coupons, cash-back deals and more Along with clipping coupons for groceries and other purchases, tap into cashback savings on apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51 and SPENT (https://is.gd/z3LjT3), which offers up to 25-percent cash back on your favorite brands; use in-store apps like Target’s Cartwheel; cut costs on activities with daily deals; identify days and nights that offer the best discounts on whatever you plan to buy (like BOGO free meals at restaurants, for example); and plan clothesshopping trips around major sales paired with loyalty points and discounts. I often pay pennies on the dollar because of my dedication to saving money, and you can too if you make it part of your rou-tine. 5. Avoid keeping credit balances Credit cards are your friend when you know how to use them responsibly. They’ll help you build a respectable credit score when you swipe and pay on time and over Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com
18 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com
May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
Pride celebrations’ importance in “these” times, the trans ballot question By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist
t’s June and in many towns and cities around the world, you can find Pride festivities that are attended by many people. I recently attended Northampton (NoHo) Pride in Northampton, Massachusetts and, according to the organizers, there was estimated to be more than 40,000 people in attendance. I have been attending Noho Pride since 2004 and every year the attendance gets bigger. I attribute the attendance increase to the changing times and the evolving views of people. Younger people are attending Prides in larger numbers than ever before and many new allies have sprung up at Prides, especially in the form of church groups. Other groups are also attending Prides such as the #MeToo contingent known as “Say Something,” or freedom for all groups such as Freedom for All Massachusetts (https://goo.gl/jPMB8u). There is another political presence to Prides evident in the marches. People march in their groups to show the world who they are, what they represent, and what they want. It’s a bold political statement to march. You are standing up for
yourself, your friends, and for people you don’t even know, but who need you to stand up for them. It’s especially important to stand up and march in these times of Republican power in the White House. This administration’s appointees are often not
everything we can to protect you going forward.” The current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is not an ally in the least to the transgender community. As a matter of fact, he is trying to set us back rather than helping
IF YOU ARE A MASS. VOTER, VOTE “YES” IN THE UPCOMING NOV. ELECTION ON THE TRANS RIGHTS QUESTION. ... A “YES” VOTE MEANS THAT YOU’RE SAYING
“YES” TO UPHOLD TRANSGENDER PROTECTIONS. very friendly to LGBTQ folks. During the time of Democratic power in the White House, the appointees were much more committed to upholding the civil rights of LGBTQ people. A case in point is an “old” meme I recently saw on Facebook the other day. It was a picture from 2016 of the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, and her quote, “Let me speak directly to the transgender community. No matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that we see you; we stand with you, and; we will do
us and protecting us. He already reversed an Obama administration ruling and took away transgender protections in the workplace. He’s also working to remove transgender people from the military. This is what happens when you elect a Republican into the White House. Prides are also great times to network and connect with the movers and shakers of political organizations. They know the upcoming bills and have the strategies to help protect the rights of LGBTQ people. They can tell you the dates and timetables of the bills and when and who to lobby. It’s im-
portant to reach out to your lawmakers and let them know that you need their support. It’s also important for the lawmakers to see you in person as their constituents because, after all, if they know your story then they may be able to better understand your situation and direct their votes to help you. By the way, if you are a voter in Massachusetts, please vote “yes” in the upcoming November election on the question on trans rights. A “yes” vote means that you’re saying “yes” to uphold transgender protections. Besides the political awareness, one of my favorite aspects of Pride is to see the newbies come alive with happiness and joy! They can finally be themselves, even if only for the day. Some folks cannot be themselves in their daily lives for whatever reasons, but for that one day, they can stand tall and proud. I really love to see their smiles and energy--their spirits really do come alive! Prides also are a good time to see old friends who you may see only once a year and it’s great to catch up with them. After all, they are part of your family. Yes, a huge sense of family is in the air at Prides too. I really believe that Prides help us stick together as a big family and keep us informed politically. *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has three children and two grandchildren.
Ask a Trans Woman: During this Pride season, what are you marching for? PHOTO: DAVID MEEHAN
By: Lorelei Erisis*/TRT Columnist
ride season is officially here. As I write this, I’m fresh off of marching in the Northampton (NoHo)Pride Parade. By the time this hits the presses, Boston Pride will be looming. And I will be preparing to
march in that too. I usually refer to it among my friends as, “Smiling and waving season.” All told, I have been marching in these two Pride celebrations for nine years now. I’ve also marched in both the Providence and New York City Pride Parades. In my first Noho Pride Parade as the newly crowned Miss Trans Northampton, I rode in the back of a pickup truck, which was super classy. In the Providence Pride Parade, I upgraded a bit and rode in the back of a restored 1932 convertible Mercedes! That was very cool. But mostly I have always preferred to march. It’s where I shine. Every year I unpack one of my two crowns (plus a tiara, and three sashes) from the Kermit The Frog lunchbox I keep them in, to keep me from taking myself too seriously (technically the tiara has its own separate Hello Kitty box). I pull a pretty dress out of my overstuffed closet, lace up my Doc Martens boots—I tried marching in heels one time and t was a bad idea— and
I hit the streets. Most of the times I’ve marched, it’s been with groups of trans people and our allies marching for trans rights or to represent trans visibility. There have been a couple exceptions to this, though. The first time was when I marched in the New York City Pride Parade with a group called, “Take Back Pride.” I had no formal marching plan that year. I simply put on the crown and sash, talked my way past the police barricades—It’s amazing what you can get away with when you’re wearing a pretty sash and a glittery crown—and walked around one of the gathering pens for marchers asking people what their group was until I found a group I thought would line up with my ideals. “Take Back Pride” had a very simple message. They wanted to put the political and revolutionary voice, the rebellious Stonewall spirit, back into Pride. It was a message I found myself easily aligned with; one that has resonated with me through the years. And, apparently the group appreciated my voice as I appreciated their message, since I was very quickly pushed to the front of the contingent! To this day, when I march in Prides, one of my main messages, regardless of the specific group, is to remind the crowds that, “Pride started as a protest! Never stop fighting!” At this recent Noho Pride, those words were especially poignant for me. This year
TO THIS DAY, WHEN I MARCH IN PRIDES, ONE OF MY MAIN MESSAGES, REGARDLESS OF THE SPECIFIC GROUP, IS TO REMIND THE CROWDS THAT, “PRIDE STARTED AS A PROTEST! NEVER STOP FIGHTING!” I decided, after much thought, that I should break with my usual tradition of marching with a trans or queer specific group and march with the contingent of sex workers and their allies who were marching in Noho Pride for the first time to protest the recent passage of SESTA. A nasty piece of anti-sex worker legislation that I wrote about here last month (https://goo.gl/KpsCMh). It felt like the right thing to do, the moral thing to do. It was an action most closely representative of the original spirit of Pride, back when it was more protest than party. And this is what brings me to what I would like you to consider. If you are planning on marching, or riding, in a Pride parade this summer, I would like you to think carefully about who you are going to march with and why you are marching. I have no problem really with the fact that Pride has become primarily a party. I do think it’s good to come together to cel-
ebrate the great strides we have made as LGBTQ people. It’s important just to see how many of us there are and how big our crowds of supporters have grown. But I also think it’s important, crucial even, to remember the roots of Pride. Remember the protests and the police violence. Remember the bigots who would line the routes of the first parades to harass participants, so that some marchers had to wear paper bags over their heads for fear of being recognized. Remember the drag queens and the sex workers, the queer people of color who organized and led those first marches only to find themselves marginalized later by cisgender gay people who sought to “normalize” queer culture and bring, or force, LGBTQ folks into the mainstream. I believe it’s especially important this year, given the state of the country and the world to bring some of that protest spirit back into Pride. I’m glad to see so many ...
See Pride Protest on page 23
TheRainbowTimesMass.com â€˘ The Rainbow Times â€˘ 19
May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
QPuzzle this Time: Let's get to the bottom of this
New England & Nearby Pride Events** Pride Niagara June 2-9 https://bit.ly/1THojvk Hull Pride June 2 https://bit.ly/2KsrlYe Boston Dyke March June 8 https://bit.ly/2FtcvwM Pride Portland June 8-17 https://bit.ly/2rUJo0a Boston Pride June 9 https://bit.ly/1gwKt0t Philly Pride June 10 https://bit.ly/1VIP5ov Ri PrideFest June 16 https://bit.ly/2JIg30S Chicago Pride June 17-25 https://bit.ly/1Jryc09
**North Shore Pride** June 21-24 https://bit.ly/2rb8053 Pride Toronto, Canada June 22-24 http://www.pridetoronto.com/ San Francisco Pride June 23-24 https://bit.ly/1nAg9Gb NYC Pride June 24 https://bit.ly/1deuY1S LA Black Pride
July 1 https://bit.ly/2KsJ3dQ 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 Worcester Pride Sept. 5-9 https://bit.ly/2KqzwV0 Hartford Capital City Pride Sept. 8 https://bit.ly/2qUH1NA Pride Vermont Sept. 8 https://bit.ly/2r94rfm Holyoke MA Pride October/TBD https://bit.ly/2HHvfPi 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 and North Shore 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!
Across 1 Liquor source in Gomer's Mayberry 6 Hoofbeat of a stallion 10 Gay cable network 14 She hoped Gibson was gay in What Women Want 15 Org. against pirates 16 Digital rectal, for example 17 How 37-Across jokingly described the meaning of the song "Bloom" 20 They have a top job 21 Water channel 22 Log Cabin pundits do this to candidates 24 Giant outfielder Mel 25 Like a gown at a drag queen wedding 29 McKellen movie Gods and ___ 34 Greek architectural style 35 Penetrating reed 36 Bloomers worn around the neck 37 With 39-Across, "Bloom" singer 38 Spot for a computer 39 See 37-Across 41 Shakespeare's dusk 42 Some Christmas trees 43 Cock teaser 44 Detecting Butch cologne 47 Meat treats 48 Shooter in Bruce Weber's field 49 "Movin' ____" (theme from a Sherman Hemsley sitcom)
51 Man of La ___ 54 Made possible 59 Actual theme of the song 61 Dull discomfort 62 It keeps a fruit from being exposed 63 Hell of a comedy writer 64 "The ___ the limit!" 65 Part of YSL 66 A pink triangle has three
Down 1 Direction from Susan Feniger 2 Friend of Dorothy 3 Britney Spears' "___ Curious" 4 Focus of an almost nude statue 5 Pianist with a candelabra 6 Outer pie part 7 Aflame 8 Meatheads 9 Umpire Dave 10 Jennifer Love's last name 11 Veep, e.g. 12 Pink in a steakhouse 13 Letters on an ambulance 18 Like phone sex, in a way 19 Drives from the closet 23 Ban on commercial intercourse 25 Gets a mouthful 26 Composer Ned 27 Phrase after Sheehan's hole 28 Home improvement letters 30 WNBA sport to Eliza
Doolittle? 31 "Jailhouse Rock" star 32 Jerk a knee 33 Goes to the bottom 35 Brothers & Sisters producer Ken 39 Web site concerned with HIV 40 SEP, e.g. 42 Angler-supplied cookout 45 Some Mapplethorpe equipment 46 Off your rocker 47 Made a "Clang, clang, clang" sound 50 Jocks' antitheses 51 Emulate Harper Lee's bird 52 Like smoking areas at a gay club 53 Tel ___ 55 Sons of, in Hebrew 56 Swedish soprano Jenny 57 Suffix with Smurf 58 Easter egg solutions 59 Article written by Lorca 60 Suffix with hero
20 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com
The world swipes right on Adam Rippon Skater on finding his gay power, sex-inspired costumes and his post-Olympics clapback for Tinder ghosters By: Chris Azzopardi*/Special to TRT
Yes, this is an interview,” a schoolgirl-giggly Adam Rippon deadpans to fellow figure skater Charlie White who, naturally, is curious about the current topic of conversation: sex and harnesses, and how both come together to inspire his uniquely nontraditional collection of on-ice ensembles. Rippon is chatting while putting on his performance makeup in a locker room inside a Rhode Island arena, about to serve a graceful two-song solo during a Stars on Ice stop, featuring his Olympic peers. “(Charlie is) like, ‘I’ve never done an interview like this before,’” Rippon tells me. “He said he’s never been honest and open.” Rippon takes a long, very “Adam Rippon for dramatic effect” pause, the kind you know and love if you’ve been obsessing over every fabulous, filter-less turn of phrase our self-proclaimed “glamazon b|tch” has turned: “You should try it out!” No kidding: The 28-year-old ice champion leads by example, proving with unapologetic defiance—he fiercely came at the vice president of the United States for his anti-gay rhetoric—and iconic Folsom elegance, like the S&M gear he wore during the Oscars this year, that being yourself can take you places. If you’re Rippon,
who’s from Scranton, Pennsylvania, it can take you to Pyeongchang, South Korea, where Rippon set fire to the ice during the 2018 Winter Olympics, becoming the first openly gay U.S. male athlete to win a (bronze) medal in a Winter Olympics. Rippon’s mere existence as a brazenly gay global inspiration with a tongue as sharp as the blades on his skates has been celebrated for his “fa&gy magic,” as coined by journalist Peter Moskowitz. And at a recent Stars on Ice show in Detroit, Michigan, he elicited the wildest applause, from suburban moms to girl tweens and a squadron of genuinely proud queers. Reese Witherspoon loves him. So does Elmo. And like any good mother, Sally Field tried to set him up with her gay son. My roommate was starstruck even before Rippon rang me, so nervous just knowing Adam Rippon would be calling that she left our Airbnb apartment. I share this with Rippon, who’s, again, all giggles: “It’s a really high compliment that your roommate needed to leave.” (Later, during our goodbye, he playfully says, “Tell your roommate I said ‘hi.’”) Rippon would make his Dancing with the Stars debut weeks after our call, slaying a vogueing cha-cha to RuPaul’s “Sissy
See Rippon on Page 21
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May 31, 2018 - July 3, 2018
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Rippon from Page 20 That Walk.” But before he competed against Tonya Harding with partner Jenna Johnson during the ABC dance-off, the skater opened up about how booze kills his wit game and what he tells guys on Tinder who want a second chance with him and inspiring suicidal queer youth, all the while, being his irresistible self. That’s all you can really ask for—and in Rippon’s case, want. Chris Azzopardi: I want to give you a phone hug and say thanks for giving this 35-year-old man a new level of realness to aspire to. Adam Rippon: I’m hugging you back. Q: You stood next to Britney Spears at the GLAAD Media Awards recently for a pic. I heard she liked the way you smelled. A: Yes, she did. It’s just, like, weird— you’ve seen somebody your whole entire life, and then you walk up to them and you’re like, “Oh, you’re real.” But she was really nice. We just congratulated her on her award and she was like, “You smell really nice,” and I was like, “Thank you so much, ’cause that’s so important to me.” Q: Is it weird that now I want to know how you smell? A: I smell nice. Q: Like primrose? A: Yes. Q: And that night was special because gay Olympian Gus Kenworthy kissed you on stage. How exactly would you describe your relationship with Gus at this point? A: Umm (laughs), so, I mean, we’re just friends, obviously. His boyfriend was backstage laughing at him, and so he was just trying to be funny. Gus is a nut. Q: But you’re so close. And both of you being gay Olympians, it seems you’ve really bonded. A: Oh, absolutely. We’re just like brothers. I guess brothers who kiss. But no, I love him, he’s so nice, and we’re very good friends. Q: So, “Dancing with the
Stars”: Can you even believe that you’re competing against Tonya Harding? A: (Sighs) Ah, I cannot. Q: What is that like? A: It’s not a super big deal, but I think she’s got a lot going on, so I’m just gonna let her do her own thing, probably. Probably best. Q: You’ve met? A: I did meet her. She’s very pleasant. Q: Team Tonya or Team Nancy? A: Well, I mean, Tonya tried to kill someone, so I’m Team Nancy, probably. Q: This wild ride: If you could relive any part of it, which part would that be? A : I don’t know, because I still feel like I’m in the middle of a wild ride. I haven’t had a moment to really be like, “This Olympics experience is over,” ’cause right now I’m still skating a bunch with _Stars on Ice_, and I think when I finally have a day off, I’ll be like, “Oh, wow, there’s a lot going on.” But I haven’t had a day off, which I actually think is amazing and great, and I’m trying to enjoy every single second. I think one thing that saved me is, I don’t really know what my schedule is. I just kind of plan a few days in advance; I don’t feel overwhelmed. I’m just having a good time with it. Q: Reese Witherspoon is one of your biggest fans. Which Reese movie do you most identify with? A: Legally Blonde. It’s true. It’s the first Reese movie that I ever watched and how I always still think of her, which isn’t fair cause she’s done so much. But yeah, I adore her. Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com
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LGBTQ Businesses from Page 3
“What I've seen in the past five years is them really handing the mic over to us. Being the queer promoter has really allowed me to take the night to a place where he lets [that mission] happen," Fallon said. “Especially for a bar that is not owned by someone who is queer, I think it is the opportunity to not just engage folks in that night and show support and solidarity and allyship if you will, but really a chance to let shine a community for a long time that had to be more in the background." Establishments that operate as a hub of allyship—whether queer-identifying or not—may have an impact on those seeking to conduct business in a safe space. AJ said his experience at The Garment District, a Cambridge business known as one of the best places for second-hand clothing, was a welcome relief for a common issue transgender people experience. With non-gendered bathrooms and dressing rooms, AJ said he felt at home shopping there. “That was a really great place for me to go that my friend brought me to because I felt comfortable finding the clothes I wanted, and being able to go into the dressing rooms,” AJ said. “I didn’t have to ask the question of ‘Do I go into the men's or women's dressing rooms? Do I go to the men’s or womens bathrooms? They were really nice addressing me [with] the proper pronouns as well."
The Dance of Business and Politics With added emphasis on LGBTQ rights in the current social climate, Trevor Kafka—a gay man and owner of Gravity Alternative Movement (GAM; https://bit.ly/2LlxJAP), a circus-style performing arts studio in Watertown—said businesses that are LGBTQ-affirming make political statements doing so. “Any time you make a specific allegiance or dis-allegiance to any kind of polarizing ideology, it's always going to partially be a political stance, but it's one that the businesses can personally choose,” Kafka said. “It's one that I feel is important for my business to make sure we express for the people who are interested in coming to our business that it's a place where they can feel comfortable." Kafka said the circus arts world in general is a welcoming community for LGBTQ people. As one of the core values of that field is valuing alternative forms of expression, he’s found that people from all walks of life, in and outside the LGBTQ community, have the opportunity to express themselves freely. “The reason that I feel that it tends to be attractive to a lot of people in LGBTQ communtiies already is because as people who are discovering our own sexualities or our own gender identities, we're trying to feel our own way or carve our own path with our own expression, and the way that we treat artistic expression through circus arts has a very similar parallel to that," Kafka said. "We're taking our own inner feelings, and expressing them in a way that we'd like to share with others." In many ways, according to Kafka, making a political statement in support of
SUPPORTING THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY IS IMPORTANT TO KEEPING THE MOMENTUM OF SOCIAL CHANGE ALIVE. LGBTQ communities is increasingly becoming a sound business strategy as well. “Especially in the Boston area, as far as business goes, it's not a super bad thing for business to be LGBTQ-friendly, especially because the community around here is especially liberal," Kafka said. In terms of making political statements, Fallon said businesses starting to court the LGBTQ population could translate into other kinds of power. “I think money is powerful. I think that the more we support queer-run events and nights and businesses, the larger voice we get on the stage so to speak," Fallon said. “As people start to see us, and continue so see us grow in numbers, being public and engaging in community just outside of our own spaces, it turns into more political power. We become not just relevant, but also counted." Mary Kennedy—a lesbian and owner of Kennedy Publishing Media—believes, one of the most important tasks of LGBTQ-affirming businesses is sticking together. Kennedy’s company owns Pinkweb (http://pinkweb.com), an online and print directory of businesses who are either LGBTQ-owned or affirming. Operating since 1981, Kennedy believes supporting the LGBTQ community is important to keeping the momentum of social change alive. “It's important to support people that support us," Kennedy said. “It's a community that's always advanced itself, and it's something where if you want someone to do a service, you want to make sure they're sensitive to the community." As support for LGBTQ-affirming businesses grow, Kennedy said, the choice of whether or not to support the LGBTQ community will become a more obvious one. “I think it goes hand-in-hand,” Kennedy said. “Business, especially non-gay business, sees an opportunity in the gay community that has a high discretionary income." As a particularly valuable resource to the LGBTQ community, Kennedy said being in business all these years has given her the opportunity to feel like she has given back. “As a lesbian, it's a great opportunity to be a part of the community, and I think that's what really kept us around. We enjoy working for the community and with the community," Kennedy said. “The more viable or high-profile the community, the more businesses are more open to courting the community. It’s about exposure, letting people know that they're there." A Source of Allyship In terms of furthering awareness around LGBTQ issues, Fallon said allies in both
the business community and beyond are paramount. Midway Cafe has been an ally in hosting Queeraoke, Fallon said, even when business wasn’t so good. “I think having someone like Jay—the owner—or a place like Midway Cafe commit not to just making money, is incredible,” Fallon said. “I have to be honest, we have booming nights, but of course there are nights where things are tough. It's rare, so we're fortunate." The fact that Queeraoke has been running this long, amid the ups and downs with business, is evidence to Fallon that Midway stands as an ally to the community. “That commitment to allow us to set forth and tell the story and shape the night and give back to our community is a really
important sign that there is support there, that it's not just superficial and about money," Fallon said. Allies, AJ said, are a part of the community, and should make their status known. “I consider allies as part of the community, even if you identify as straight and you're 100 percent supportive,” AJ said. “They're just as important because they're helping to create a safe space, they're helping to create understanding. I include them in that." For more information on Queeraoke, a weekly LGBTQ gettogether that takes place every Thursday, visit their Facebook page (https://bit.ly/2GCjZxS). *For the sake of respect and safety for his identity, “AJ” was used as a name attributed to maintain anonymity.
Pride Protest from Page 18
have always stood on the sidelines or stayed at home, there is no better time than right now to stretch your legs in the street, raise a sign high, and lift your voice in solidarity with the oppressed and the marginalized. Let’s put the protest back in Pride! Slàinte!
corporations, businesses, and politicians turning out to support LGBTQ folks. I truly am. However, maybe consider marching with one of the more marginalized groups that could benefit from your voice and your presence filling out their numbers. Always ask, of course. And if you are white, or cisgender, remember to put people of color, trans, and other voices forward. If you have never marched before, if you
The Wiz from Page 13 And yet, with all the brainpower, heart, courage—and especially talent—on and off stage, this production of The Wiz sometimes doesn’t quite feel at home. The Lyric always seems to find ways to make an inflexible space feel different with each production. But here, big numbers including the iconic “Ease on Down the Road” and the liberation anthem, “Everybody Rejoice (Brand New Day)” feel small, constrained, and like they could use a few more voices and bodies. The ensemble, with interesting and contemporary choreography by Jean Appolon, doesn’t always seem to know why they’re there. The conceptual nod to New Orleans never quite materialized. It’s there in costumes, the ensemble, and scenic
*Lorelei Erisis is an actor, activist, adventurer, and pageant queen. Send your questions about trans issues, gender, & sexuality to: email@example.com. design gestures by Baron E. Pugh, but it all feels extraneous. Since there’s no place like home, why are we going to NOLA? Still, I wouldn’t miss this production. It warms your heart, reveals something about your own understanding and pursuit of self-identity, and just might give you the courage to sing along when the spirit moves you. 4 out of 5 stars (★★★★☆) *Edward Byrne is an educator, artist, writer, and consultant on diversity, equity, and inclusion. His work has included theatre and other performing arts projects that help audiences develop cultural humility and explore new possibilities for social justice. He lives in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
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Boston-Based, The Rainbow Times' Pride Issue 2018 is full of exclusive stories, such as how the LGBTQ community is supporting more of their...
Published on May 30, 2018
Boston-Based, The Rainbow Times' Pride Issue 2018 is full of exclusive stories, such as how the LGBTQ community is supporting more of their...