2 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com
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North Shore teacher files lawsuit against Montessori school over allegations of discrimination By: Mike Givens & Nick Collins/TRT Assistant Editor and TRT Intern, Respectively
IN THE LIMELIGHT
BEVERLY, Mass.—A Beverly, Mass. teacher is suing a Montessori school he taught at for nearly three years over accusations that the institution terminated his employment because of his pro-LGBTQ opinions and consistent requests to provide a more culturally competent atmosphere for LGBTQ students, according to a legal complaint filed with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. “I think that LGBTQ issues are everyone’s issues, and when you’re in an environment where individual needs are not respected or honored, it affects everyone,” said Cory Grant of the pending lawsuit he filed. Grant, 34, alleges in a seven-page complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD; https://goo.gl/oU9LmT) that during his employment at Harborlight Montessori (https://goo.gl/bFLw3B), between September 2014 and June 2017, he consistently encouraged administrators and staff to be more supportive of LGBTQ students. Initially, Grant said that he was a head teacher in the upper elementary program and taught after-school programs and clubs and, according to his complaint, had no disciplinary issues during his tenure. In April 2017, however, Grant said that head of school Paul Horovitz brought him
into his office and informed him that due to a lack of funding, his employment would end in June. “Staffing levels are based upon enrollment,” Horovitz said a statement e-mailed to The Rainbow Times. “A decline in numbers in our upper school necessitated the elimination of a teaching position.” Horovitz added that he could not comment on personnel matters outside of the statement provided to the publication. Harborlight is currently being represented by Jackson Lewis (https://jacksonlewis.com), one of the largest law firms in the nation. A list of grievances Montessori schools provide a form of education originally pioneered by Dr. Maria
Montessori in the late 1800s and early 1900s in Italy. The basic premise of a Montessori education is that children are provided a structured environment where they learn at their own pace based on their own interests and level of development. Children are often allowed to work through use of materials, as opposed to direct instruction, and classrooms also may be composed of children of different ages and skill levels. Students often have learning plans tailored to their individual needs. According to Private School Review (https://goo.gl/1V3viv), there are 75 private Montessori schools in Massachusetts serving more than 6,000 students. Harborlight Montessori, in Beverly, was
originally a pre-school founded in 1973 and currently has 40 faculty and 225 students, according to Horovitz. The school accepts infants all the way up to students in the eighth grade. “All members of the Harborlight community are valued for their contributions, talents, and opinions,” reads a portion of the website under a section titled “Our Commitment to Diversity” (https://goo.gl/YyFo5u), “The philosophy, curriculum, and administration of our programs aim to create an inclusive learning environment with respect to economic background, gender, gender identity and expression, race, national and ethnic origin, cultural heritage, religion, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and political beliefs. Harborlight integrates diversity and character education into each learning opportunity to empower students to actively approach each new experience with courtesy and acceptance.” However, Grant has accused the institution of not living up to its principles. During his first year, he alleges, a school administrator ignored a parent’s concern about a student being bullied, reportedly due to the child’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Grant’s complaint further narrates other allegations of administrators’ reticence to embrace LGBTQ students. It outlines instances of being censored by Horovitz, being frowned upon for suggesting a Pride day for students, and also for suggesting
See Montessori on Page 10
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Trans Talk: Eliminating Cis-centric behavior The hateful murders of trans people must end By: Nicole Lashomb*/TRT Editor-in-Chief
ince the transgender world has entered my life in the most pervasive way possible without being trans myself, my senses have been increasingly heightened by questions and comments that negatively impact the perspective of and increase bias against the transgender community by cisgender-centric behavior. Though it is never acceptable to just start talking about another person’s gender identity—unless that person has consented to do so—when you do receive the green light, do so with knowledge and not based on assumptions of what you think you
community and many other critical factors. Cisgender vs. Transgender Simply stated a cisgender person is a person who is not transgender. Cisgender people are often referred to as having their assigned sex at birth match their gender identity. In this case, if an assigned female at birth (a baby born with female sex organs) grows and gender identity aligns with being female, they are considered cisgender. According to the GLAAD Media Reference Guide (https://goo.gl/u2atz1), cisgender is a “term used by some to describe people who are not transgender. ‘Cis’ is a Latin prefix meaning ‘on the same
IF SOMEONE WAS ASSIGNED MALE AT BIRTH (BORN WITH MALE SEX ORGANS) & TRANSITIONS TO HAVE THEIR PHYSICAL PRESENTATION ALIGN WITH THEIR GENDER IDENTITY, THEY ARE LIVING AUTHENTICALLY, NOT
“TURNING INTO SOMEONE” THEY WEREN’T BORN AS BEFORE.
know. You were born a woman and now you’re a man? You were born a man and now you’re a woman? is wrong, on so many levels. Questions like these are not only incorrect assertions, but also dangerous, especially when those asking the questions are not considering that such questions can affect the overall wellbeing of a transgender person. In my professional and personal life, I often find myself correcting others, even the most well-intentioned allies of the trans community about why questions like the ones above are offensive and often miss the mark entirely on what exactly it is to be transgender. For us to understand this concept, we must understand the differences between the cisgender community and transgender
side as,’ and is therefore an antonym of ‘trans.’ A more widely understood way to describe people who are not transgender is simply to say non-transgender people.” In stark contrast, a transgender person is the opposite of a cisgender person. According to GLAAD, “for transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.” All of this leads me back to the cringing questions above. Transgender people are born transgender. Trans individuals are not people who decided to transform into the opposite sex. To view trans identity in such a limited way forces the very concept of what being transgender is into a cisgender mindset.
See Cis-centrism on Page 12
Drag queens and the unconventional teach us By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist
orld-renowned drag queen RuPaul recently shared with Oprah important insights about a, “new belief system that transcends the 20th century” (https://goo.gl/A39Q1k). Spirituality, broadly defined, is about leaving personal comfort zones. There is no growth, according to him, without moving outside one’s “own limited perception” of ourselves. It’s not a new belief system, but rather an ancient one presented in a creative, different way to individuals struggling with the world as it exists while trying to find a place in it. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is reaching folks on a soulful level where contestants are challenged “to go beyond their own limited perception of themselves.” There’s some truth to the cliché, “We’re our own worst enemy.” It’s difficult to see how often we can’t get out of our own way to realize our full potential. Ultimately, faith and religion is about challenging ourselves to let go of selfmade obstacles that limit our ability to
grow. It requires an open mind and often going into uncharted territory that may cause us a healthy kind of fear and anxiety. It’s critical to expose one’s self to many different opportunities to grow. Personally, I’ve never fully understood the Dali Lama (https://goo.gl/rrvuG6) or Deepak Chopra (https://goo.gl/yDU8rT). Yet, they have extraordinary wisdom to offer. What may not resonate with me clearly does for others. I love world religions. All of them have some lesson to teach me. They also provide perspective about life and my place in the world as it is and my duty to help change it for the better. Observing others on their personal spiritual journey, articulated by RuPaul as one example, are also learning opportunities. My best friend and his husband always require one of their two children to say grace before dinner every night. This reflects humility, gratefulness, cohesiveness as a family, and continuity and stability in good times and bad. They also belong to two different churches since both husbands approach Christianity a little differently.
See Drag Queens on Page 13
By: Ben Power*/Guest Columnist
n the first six weeks of 2018, brutal violence claimed the lives of at least three transgender women in the United States. Locally in North Adams, Massachusetts, trans organizer and Miss Trans America Pageant founder Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, age 42, was killed in her home on January 4, allegedly by her
ported homicides of trans and gender nonconforming people. Approximately 2,609 trans people, the majority of whom were transgender women of color, were murdered within the 10 years since the Transgender Day of Remembrance began in 2008 (https://goo.gl/qDD29Y). The Trans Murder Monitoring Project (https://goo.gl/ooTq1q) tracks this mourn-
... DISPOSING OF INCREASING NUMBERS OF TRANS PEOPLE NOT ONLY THROUGH THE
MURDER BUT ALSO THROUGH
HIGHEST LEVELS OF SUICIDE ...
husband, Mark (https://goo.gl/v5rBtQ). Reportedly, he bludgeoned her head repeatedly with a hammer and stabbed her through her heart. Christa was the first recorded murder of a trans person this year. Six days later, Viccky Gutierrez, a young immigrant from Honduras, died in Los Angeles (https://goo.gl/o7eH18). The man who allegedly stabbed Viccky to death set her body ablaze in the house where the two had met. On February 6, Tonya Harvey, a 35-year-old Black trans woman, was shot to death on the street in Buffalo, New York in an apparent hate crime (https://goo.gl/ff7y3T). This is a horrific start to the year following 2017, which was the deadliest year on record with 28 trans people killed in the U.S. alone, according to the Human Rights Campaign (https://goo.gl/FJCVAM; HRC). Worldwide in 2017, there were 270 re-
Letters to the Editor [Re: Faith, God and Family: Examining LGB attitudes toward transgender people] Dear Editor, As a Transgender woman myself I have lost my family,friends, employment all because I came out as my true self. And then to have The LGB community do the same towards me? Stonewall was started by transgender females not for ourselves but all of us!! And, then to slowly be erased! Wow. —Jayme lynn McIntyre, Online [Re: Faith, God and Family: Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?] Dear Editor, Chaplin/Priest/Lawyer, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. Part of his problem is his faith infused “reasoning.” Whose law does he advocate? Man’s, or the figment of his imagination? —Louis Riehm, Online “Letters to the Editor” should be sent via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your comments and feedback!
ful reality. The numbers are likely even higher because collecting information on these deaths is complicated by the fact that many trans people are misgendered in reports following their deaths. Read the rest of this Op-Ed at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com
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 Photographer Ellis Boettger Reporters Jenna Spinelle Chuck Colbert Al Gentile Chris Gilmore
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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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By: Al Gentile & Nick Collins/TRT Reporter and Intern, Respectively
IN THE LIMELIGHT
BOSTON—Speaking through tears, activist Judy Shepard revealed the pain and hope fueling her for nearly two decades in remembrance of her deceased gay son, Matthew, who was slain in 1998 during a brutal hate crime. “We all feel compelled to do this work around Matt’s name because this is what he would have wanted to do,” Shepard said. “He’s not here, so we’re doing it.” On January 30, the Anti-Defamation League of New England (ADL; https://goo.gl/kynCCC), as part of its “Breaking Barriers” speaker series, hosted Shepard. Speaking to a packed room of about 100 people, she told her story, and that of her son, in the context of her work for equality, awareness, and acceptance. On the evening of October 6, 1998, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson lured Matthew to a Laramie, Wyoming field and proceeded to pistol whip and torture the 21year-old openly-gay college student, reportedly after he made a sexual advance towards one of the men. Matthew was left tied to a fence with severe head injuries after the attack and was discovered the next day by a cyclist. He was in a coma for six days before being pronounced dead on October 12. “Some saw this as a turning point,” said Shepard. In the days following the attack, candlelight vigils were held around the world— and, at that time, in Boston, around 3,000 people gathered on the steps of the State House. Although both were eligible for the death penalty, McKinney, after his parents brokered a deal with the district attorney, was sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole. Henderson—“a follower,” as described by Shepard—pled guilty to murder and received the same sentence. Since then, Shepard has advocated for new legislation protecting LGBTQ people, given presentations all over the world on acceptance, and promoted “The Laramie Project” (https://goo.gl/6kLp2R), a play that explored the reaction to her son’s death. “It’s been 20 years of rewarding, frustrating, and sad, and joyous work, all at the same time,” she said. Robert Trestan, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Boston office, facilitated the conversation. “Breaking Barriers,” he said, “is about using the power of communication to foster understanding and action. Part of the mission here is to spread a message to adults, but most importantly to students that you can make a difference, that you can stand up. Part of this speaker series is to bring together people who have made an impact. One person can make a difference if they choose to do so. We want everyone to feel inspired and empowered to feel they can do it.”
PHOTO: TRT/STEVE JEWETT
Judy Shepard ‘Breaks Barriers’ in Boston
“[If] you know your neighbor is gay, it should make it harder for you to be a homophobe” Throughout the evening, Shepard made clear one of the guiding principles in her work was to tell Matthew’s story, and that personal stories are crucial to fostering acceptance of the LGBTQ community. “I still think one of the turning points for the gay community, in particular, was young people, everybody, coming out and telling their story,” she said. “It’s easy to hate an abstract; it’s hard to hate a personal. [If] you know your neighbor is gay, it should make it harder for you to be a homophobe.” She spent time painting a comprehensive picture of her son, allowing the audience to step into her world as a parent, and into Matthew’s world as a person. “He was very small. He was about 5’2”, and weighed about 105 [pounds] on a good day,” she said. “He was very vain, and he loved to wear Ralph Lauren … That’s where he bought all his clothes. He was very preppy.” She described Matthew as a nearly ubiquitous presence around school. As someone who was a friend to all, and someone with extremely strong opinions, she said she was often more worried about Matthew’s personality getting him into trouble than being targeted for his sexual orientation “What I worried about more was his desire to argue with people. He was very opinionated, and if he disagreed with you, he told you so,” she said. “Not that he was gay, but that he was argumentative, and he just didn’t back down. He was just really annoying sometimes. “He thought he could sing, but he couldn’t,” she said, eliciting laughter from the crowd. “He thought he could dance, but he really couldn’t do that either, but he had high hopes.” Joe Whipple called Shepard’s speech a, “very moving thing.” “The thing that struck me the most,” Whipple explained, “was that after so many years of progress, there’s [this] backsliding that’s going on right now that we have to be aware of. Also, it was interesting that all of this was bubbling under the surface durRead the rest of this story at TheRainbowTimesMass.com
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What life is like for LGBTQ people in Attleboro
By: Al Gentile & Nick Collins/TRTReporter & TRT Intern, Respectively
Communities around Massachusetts and the New England area have various services, entities, and groups geared toward supporting LGBTQ people. In some cases, the variety of services might be enough, while in others, more work needs to be done. In Attleboro, Massachusetts, the question of whether or not there is enough support for the LGBTQ community is an open question. The Rainbow Times looked into services for the LGBTQ community of Attleboro, to inform our readers of what is available, and what is still needed. A city of more than 40,000 people, according to the 2010 United States Census, Attleboro, Massachusetts is, in many respects, an open and accepting community. In terms of the on-the-ground social climate in Attleboro, Mayor Paul Heroux believes the city is welcoming and equitable. “We don’t have a problem with discrimination one bit,” he said. Heroux, has also served as a state representative for the Second Bristol District, which includes Attleboro, from 2013 to the present. However, Laurie Sawyer, a board member of Attleboro’s local Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) chapter, said this openness belies a lack of services for LGBTQ people. “I feel [Attleboro] being open, even though there are not very many resources to that effect,” Sawyer, who is in a samesex relationship, said. “We do have a church that’s open and affirming, which welcomes all, and specifically LGBT people.” The Second Congregational Church in Attleboro, where Sawyer said her PFLAG chapter meets, is an inclusive institution. Sawyer also indicated the Murray Universalist Unitarian Church is open and affirming. However, simply having a church that is open, Sawyer said, doesn’t have as much of the impact she believes is needed for a truly open and affirming society. “It could be the lack of people knowing about it, but also LGBT people specifically don’t really use PFLAG, it’s the families, and not everybody is going to church,” she said. “The church atmosphere has been changing though, especially in the last few years.” In an e-mail, Sawyer said the need for a more visible presence of LGBTQ people in city affairs is the next step to fostering a more diverse environment in Attleboro. Sawyer has sent a letter of interest to take a vacant seat on the city’s Human Rights Commission. “When these concerns are brought up, there needs to be a way to correct them directly to the mayor. This is why I suggest it be part of the city Human Rights Commission to bring about inclusion to all be-
PHOTO: PAUL HEROUX
Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux
cause it is a city group,” she said. “This group should also be a voice and a face in the city. They should be allowed to be involved in city events such as the Winter Festival (in February) and the Expo for the Senses (in the summer).” Mayor Heroux succeeded Kevin Dumas as Mayor of Attleboro. On his campaign website, amid lists of campaign goals, Heroux explicitly lists the LGBTQ community as one of the groups for whom he hopes to “run the city” (https://goo.gl/QBcsWS). “It’s present, it’s supported. The previous mayor [Kevin Dumas] was gay, and the current president of the City Council [Mark Cooper] is gay,” Heroux said. Dumas, Attleboro’s former mayor, concurred. He served as mayor for seven terms and 14 years—from 2003 to 2017—until he lost his seat to Heroux in November. Dumas was elected at just 27 years old, making him the city’s youngest mayor (https://goo.gl/irAQm9). According to Dumas, the community is supportive. In his experience, his sexual orientation did not affect his role as mayor. “There was no backlash at all,” he said. “I had grown up in the community and [it’s] very open. I ran [for mayor], I was open about who I was, and that wasn’t an issue in my election. Nor was it an issue in my fourteen years.” During Dumas’ tenure as mayor, Attleboro began LGBTQ Pride festivities, including a flag-raising ceremony. Being a suburb of both Providence, Rhode Island and Boston allows Attleboro to have a presence in Pride in both of the cities. On January 2, inauguration day in Attleboro, Heroux said he, “intentionally selected a gay woman [as] the master of ceremonies.” And of the two people who introduced him before the ceremony that day, one was homeless, and the other was a trans teen. “I personally wanted to make a statement about my support for transgender individuals,” he said. And, according to Heroux, despite the conservative political base, Attleboro is welcomingof the LGBTQ community. Read the rest of this story at TheRainbowTimesMass.com
March 8, 2018 - April 4, 2018
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Montessori from page 5 that gender neutral restrooms be created for gender nonconforming (GNC) students, among several other incidents. “You are not allowed to call into question their leadership,” Grant said of the school’s administrators and the consistent clashes he had with Horovitz. Grant alleges that efforts to wear Pride pins in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016 earned him a reprimand. In one meeting, Grant said Horovitz yelled at him for expressing his frustration that the school was not more supportive of LGBTQ students and said that another administrator made veiled threats about whether he’d keep his job. “While I was in it, and while I was working on this issue, I didn’t consider how much it was affecting me,” he said of the stress the tension caused. “It’s depressing. It’s depressing to have to work on issues like this.” “Mr. Grant's advocacy made a big difference to many people—not just his students, but my family as well,” said Erin Miller, a parent whose child was enrolled in preschool at Harborlight. Miller withdrew her child from the school over concerns similar to Grant’s prior to his termination. Miller said she first met Grant at a parent teacher association meeting. Miller contends that she quickly realized at the meeting that the administration was not open to celebrating LGBTQ identities. Though Grant never taught her child, Miller said that she found him to be an ally and an advocate for LGBTQ students. “Mr. Grants' respectful, but persistent
March 8, 2018 - April 4, 2018
... A SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR IGNORED A PARENT’S CONCERN ABOUT A STUDENT BEING BULLIED, REPORTEDLY DUE TO THE CHILD’S GENDER
SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND/OR IDENTITY.
questions in that Parents' Association meeting caused me to start questioning the administration—and it quickly became clear that this was not a place that had experience or comfort in dealing with LGBTQA issues,” she continued. “This is a pre-K through 8th grade school, and the head of school told me that they couldn't organize a Pride event because there were young children there and it wouldn't be appropriate—obviously not thinking through how appropriate such an event would be for my child who has two lesbian moms or for any child or faculty member who themselves was queer or trans or who loved someone queer or trans.” Horovitz, however, said that the school does in fact provide an inclusive environment. “As a Montessori school, one of our guiding principles is that education needs to be an available choice to all students, no matter how they learn or who they are,” Horovitz also said in his e-mail statement. “We welcome and promote the diversity of our school. We have always been committed to providing a tolerant, inclusive community and are proud of our efforts and the work of our Inclusivity Committee to sustain a safe and welcoming environment for all of our students, parents, faculty and administration.” According to the complaint, in 2016, Grant said his title was changed from “head teacher” to “teacher” and his job duties were altered, a move which he claims was retaliatory. Grant said that faculty and staff also started to treat him differently and he often felt he was being targeted for his proLGBTQ views. “These non-verbal expressions included eye rolls, avoidance, failure to include me in discussions, non-responsiveness, using scathing or disdainful tones of voice when speaking to me, and passive aggressive language,” reads a section of the complaint. The complaint also states that someone anonymously left a copy of a New York Times article in his staff mailbox with a column on the need for schools to be tolerant of conservative viewpoints. “I felt like I was outcast and ignored,” Grant said of the treatment. “It is very disappointing to see a school that purportedly cares about and celebrates diversity willfully ignore the needs and concerns of the LGBTQA+ members of its community and punish a beloved teacher for advocating on these issues,” said Hillary Schwab, an attorney at Fair Work P.C. (http://fairworklaw.com), which filed the lawsuit with MCAD. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE; https://goo.gl/jTaFSE) issues guidelines for public schools to provide support for LGBTQ students through its Safe Schools Program (https://goo.gl/ZGq4jp). Harborlight’s classification as a private school means it does not fall under the jurisdiction
of DESE and is not required to adhere to any policies established by the office. A safe learning environment “The next step is that, over the next month or so, respondents (Harborlight School and Paul Horovitz) are required to file a Position Statement, in which they must substantively respond to the factual allegations in the complaint and the legal theories in the case,” said Schwab. “We then file a Rebuttal Statement in response to the Position Statement, further explaining the relevant facts and the legal theories.” The Rainbow Times reached out to MCAD about the complaint and was informed by a spokesperson that the complaint has been received, is being reviewed, but that the Commission would not be able to comment further. “It is my hope that this case will help other teachers advocate for the needs of their students without fear of retribution from their employers,” said Grant of his goal in filing the lawsuit. “Teachers are responsible for providing a safe learning environment for their students. No teacher should ever have to feel hesitant and fearful when supporting and honoring the identity of LGBTQA+ children.” Miller said that, if successful, the lawsuit will establish a precedent highlighting the importance of LGBTQ students knowing that they have adult allies. “To me, the most important outcome of the lawsuit is for trans and queer kids to see that there are teachers that will stand up for LGBTQ people,” she said. “When school administrators say that talking to kids about LGBTQ issues is ‘inappropriate,’ they create a profoundly unsafe environment for queer kids and families. If that is what they are saying publicly to a lesbian couple paying a lot of money to send their child to the school, what is being said privately? We all know that queer and trans kids are bullied—it was obvious to me from the conversations I had that the administration either didn't understand or didn't care about how to support LGBTQ kids and their families.” In September, Grant started teaching at Waring School in Beverly (https://goo.gl/vRaqNG), where he works with sixth and seventh graders and teaches science, math, and health. According to Grant, the transition was relatively smooth and the school’s administrators are aware of his lawsuit and the circumstances surrounding his termination from Harborlight. However, the sting of being fired from his job still lingers. “All I ever tried to do there was to create an environment that was safe and respectful,” he said. “And there would never be a need to make this issue public if actions had been taken to help support kids that fall within the LGBTQ spectrum when they needed it.”
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QPuzzle: It is really “The Bottom Line” for us today
Across 1 Queer-looking E 6 Opening noted at the office 10 Hieroglyphic serpent 13 Hometown of Brando 14 C&W singer McCoy 15 Homophone of a Broadway bio 16 Target of deep thrust? 17 Lynch of Glee 18 Will beneficiary 19 Jabbed with a joint 20 Bear of the night 21 Bannon and others 22 Decide not to go straight 24 Performing in the Globe, e.g. 26 Suffix with cigar 29 Sweatin' to the Oldies guru Richard 31 Marvel Comics superhero 32 ___ tape (video starring Trump) 33 Tavern with naked dancers? 37 Word before "ass" 39 Org. for Jodie Foster 41 What parents may hope homosexuality is 42 Beat up on 44 "I have a headache" et al. 46 Brothers & Sisters producer Ken 47 Washington setting of Frasier 49 Strip under the futon 50 ___ People 53 Wannabe singer's tape 55 Spamalot writer Eric
56 Type of bag 58 Paul Lynde, on Bewitched 62 "The multitudinous ___ incarnadine" (Macbeth) 63 Man, as a cruising goal 64 It comes under a jockey's shorts 65 Scots cover their heads with them 66 Adverb in verse 67 News show of Jenna Wolfe, formerly 68 State that didn't elect homophobe Roy Moore (abbr.) 69 Oldest of the Brady kids 70 Begins, on Broadway Down 1 Batman word like "Pow!" and "Bam!" 2 "Move your butt!" 3 In the pink 4 Start of the "bottom line" about lesbian sex as you get older 5 Alternative to TNT 6 More of the "bottom line" 7 Kind of beer 8 1996 Lili Taylor movie with Mel Gibson 9 She loved Franklin and Lorena 10 Spartacus venue 11 Filing for palimony, e.g. 12 As such 15 End of the "bottom line" 23 Gaydar, for example 25 Move the football between your legs
26 Jazz singer James 27 What you must remember, as time goes by 28 Todd Oldham designs, e.g. 30 Stood for 34 Bouncer for Amelie Mauresmo 35 China setting 36 Money from Lucy to Ethel 38 "___ yellow ribbon ..." 40 Comic Dana, source of the "bottom line" 43 Falling behind 45 Cole Porter's "___ America First" 48 More economical verbally 50 End of a farewell from Frida 51 Like Everett, as a movie husband 52 Wool source 54 Michael of The Village Voice 57 Away from the wind 59 Turn over 60 Like some meat 61 Maker of some fruity flavors
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March 8, 2018 - April 4, 2018
PostSecret THE SHOW hits Springfield’s CityStage Justin Tranter’s queerness helps him connect
Cis-Centrism from page 6 In other words, to say someone is “turning into” a man or woman negates the entire trans identity entirely. If someone was assigned male at birth (born with male sex organs) and transitions to have their physical presentation align with their gender identity, they are living authentically, not “turning into someone” they weren’t born as before. The Evidence According to a 2017 report published by Reuters (https://goo.gl/E9b6mY), “Neurologists have spotted clues in the brain structure and activity of transgender people that distinguish them from cisgender subjects,” the report read. “A seminal 1995 study was led by Dutch neurobiologist Dick Swaab, who was also among the first scientists to discover structural differences between male and female brains. Looking at postmortem brain tissue
with females, other marginalized communities ho needs awards when you have W Oprah? True, walking away with a shiny, golden By: Chris Azzopardi*/Special to TRT
CityStage website: https://goo.gl/zCFSku Show sizzle reel: https://goo.gl/BBsTTV Frank Warren’s talk: https://goo.gl/M3jBRD NOTE: The content found in this piece is an advertorial. of transgender subjects, he found that male-to-female transsexuals had clusters of cells, or nuclei, that more closely resembled those of a typical female brain, and vice versa.” And, that is not the only biological explanation that leads to developing as a trans person, or having gender dysphoria. According to News Medical (https://goo.gl/ExdmYr), there are many possibilities that affect a person’s development in the womb as it relates to gender identity. Some of those are outlined below. Hormonal causes Hormones that trigger the develop ment of sex and gender in the womb may not function adequately. For example, anatomical sex from the genitals may be male, while the gender identity that comes from the brain could be female. This may
See Cis-Centrism on page 15
statue has its own perks, but for songwriterto-the-stars Justin Tranter, just being nominated for a Grammy and a Golden Globe this year was a triumph. Now, too, he can officially add “sat in the same church as Oprah” to his prolific résumé (OK, whatever, the Beverly Hilton in L.A.) while the queen shook the world with her epic Globes speech in early January. “I lost and I survived, and had a f#@king blast, and got to watch Oprah’s speech live in person after I lost,” says Tranter, 37. “I could’ve swerved out, but I was having the time of my life.” Lately, life’s been good to Tranter. Aside from picking up a Song of the Year nod at the Grammys for “Issues,” performed by Julia Michaels, and Best Original Song at the Globes for the Nick Jonas-sung “Home” from the animated fantasy Ferdinand, the former Semi Precious Weapons frontman has amassed four pop radio Top 10s (including Maroon 5’s “Cold” and Halsey’s “Bad at Love”), co-wrote all the original songs on Gwen Stefani’s 2017 Christmas album, and was named BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year 2016. The wordsmith behind pop behemoths by Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Kesha recently discussed the “delusion” involved in becoming a pop songwriter, how his queerness helps to nurture his bonds with the female artists he writes for and his mission to give marginalized artists a voice. When I spoke to Gwen Stefani in 2016 about her This Is What the Truth Feels Like album, she said, “He was so supportive of me and so confident in me, and I had lost a lot of my confidence, so he really brought that out of me.” Do you hear this from other artists you work with? I do hear that, and it makes me feel amazing—and it makes me feel even better to know that someone like Gwen is saying that to other people too. It’s such an awesome thing to do. After 10 years of my band getting to wear and sing and say and be exactly who I was and do exactly what I wanted to do—my band members were amazing with following my vision for so long—I take really great pride in helping other people feel confident enough to share their truth. Of course, with Gwen, it was the easiest because I’m a Gwen superfan. Q: Do you think being queer helps you connect with these female artists, who so many gay men revere, in a special way? A: Being queer has shaped absolutely every single thing I have ever done and helps me understand the underdog point of view, because I am an underdog. A lot of homophobia is based in misogyny, so I can relate to a lot of these things, whether that’s just in terms of writing lyrics or how I work with women. I think we’ve faced similar challenges. I still think in a lot of ways, especially in the professional world, women have it a lot harder than queer men do. But
PHOTO: LUKE FONTANA
PostSecret: Unheard Voices is a visual, auditory and emotional journey through the beauty and complication of our deepest fears, ambitions, and confessions and it comes to life on March 22 and 23 at CityStage in Springfield, Mass. for two shows only. With the assistance of projected images and video, three actors guide the audience through a crowd-sourced narrative of the stories behind never-before-seen secrets: sexual, sad, funny and controversial postcards that have made PostSecret.com one of the most popular blogs in the world. With half a billion visitors, half a million anonymous secrets received and the release of 5 bestselling books, artist, curator and internet phenomenon Frank Warren has put together a team of theatre professionals to bring life to the unheard voices of PostSecret. With the bravery of RENT and the surprising honesty of The Vagina Monologues, PostSecret: Unheard Voices is a breakthrough in audience sourced storytelling that reaches beyond the confines of the stage, reminding audiences that no matter what you may be facing, you are not alone. Tickets are available by calling the CityStage box office at 413 788-7033 or visiting citystage.symphonyhall.com. For additional information, check out the websites below.
in terms of bullying and feeling ashamed of our sexuality, there’s common ground there. When I was young, women writers, women artists, women songwriters, women comedians—they’re all I ever cared about. I never really related to the traditional point of view. The experience of being queer helps me relate to marginalized people, but also, I’m just a fan. I just love what women have to say and how they look at the world. Q: When has that bond been especially strong in the studio? A: That’s a great question. With Julia and Gwen. And Halsey and I—we worked together very quickly. We only wrote one day together and, luckily, we wrote “Bad at Love,” which turned out to be a great success for both of us. But that song felt really easy. There was the New York bond, and we’re both part of the LGBTQ community. So, when she was working on the lyrics for the first verse using male pronouns, and then in the second verse using female pronouns, of course she knew I wasn’t going to flinch and that I was only going to celebrate that. Julia and Gwen are the ones I’ve written the closest with and spent the most time with writing. And Britney—she knows that I’m a fan, and I think that brings a confidence to the writing and recording sessions. I respect Selena in such a huge away and she knows that. Q: You recently signed Shea Diamond, a trans woman of color, to your record label. Are you making it your personal mission to bring more queer musicians into the fold? A: Of course it’s more queer people, but it’s also just people whose voices aren’t normally heard, so whether that means more young women, LGBTQ people, racial minorities—whatever it means, I just want to give as many marginalized people a voice as I possibly can. I feel like if we’re not paying our privilege forward, then what’s Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com
March 8, 2018 - April 4, 2018
Drag Queens from page 12 Hence, the children will be the beneficiary of both traditions. Another good friend is also a devout Christian and I had the honor to be the officiant at the wedding of him and his husband. My friend rarely misses a Sunday Mass and is an enthusiastic member of his church choir. He lives his faith, in part, through his calling as a social worker. His lifelong embrace of the Episcopal Church keeps him humble, grounded, and believing in a universal love where all are treated with dignity and respect by God. Although not Episcopalian, I often find myself at an Episcopal church, though I’m always ready to experience something spiritual outside my routine. There are Sikh and Buddhist temples in my area that I have yet to experience. The to-do list just gets longer. Music also can be uplifting and transcendental. By the time this column appears, I’ll have attended “Parsifal” at The Metropolitan Opera. It’s Richard Wagner’s last opera and is an interpretation of the Holy Grail story. The themes are about redemption through compassion and spirituality compromised and reborn. Its five and half hours (yes, there are intermissions), but the music quiets me and reaches deep within unlocking emotions. February 14 began the season of Lent which ends with the most important day in the Christian calendar, Easter Sunday on April 1. Lent is a time to reflect, hopefully with grace to grow. It’s about dying to self and being reborn into a better reflection of the holy and divine that created us. Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com
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14 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com
March 8, 2018 - April 4, 2018
Gender Equality: Are trans people the harbingers of the future? TRANS OPINION
By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist
ecently, I saw a f r i e n d ’s post on Facebook. She was talking about the value and purpose of trans people. I asked her what she thought our value and purpose was and she answered that she didn’t exactly know, but she was working on it. She brought up the point that trans people can see things from a male and female viewpoint. Trans people might understand some situations a little better than a cisgender person, a person who is not trans, because trans people have the experiences and viewpoints of both gen-
ders. This post made me recall a lot of my past thoughts on being a trans person and how we, as trans people, do see things differently. Questions arise and it’s truly a new way of thinking about gender when you question exactly what is truly male and what is truly female. Then you can look at how the genders seem to be blending nowadays and the picture may become clearer.
Back in the old days there would be gender-specific roles when a man and a woman would start a family. Usually the male did the hunting for the food while the female did the gathering of tinder and wood for the fires, collecting berries and wild plants for food, and raising children.
well lessen and we could see more gender blending in the future. Male and female jobs are now evolving into people jobs with less dependence on gender-specific roles. Today, in most cases, it doesn’t matter if you are male or female, it’s more important that you can do the job. This is a far cry
... WE ARE CLOSING IN ON GENDER EQUALITY AND I BELIEVE THAT TRANS PEOPLE ARE HELPING TO PUSH THIS CHANGE FOR EQUALITY. As time went on, hunting and gathering changed. Today, food, warmth, clothing, etc. can be purchased. The male does not have to hunt for food. The female does not have to gather firewood and food. Now, the raising of children is shared. There really is no need for now-obsolete gender-specific roles. It appears to me that evolution is taking us into an era of the genders becoming equal. Because of this equality, I would guess that gender distinctions could very
from the 1950s when men held almost all the available jobs. If a woman did work, it was often as a teacher, a nurse, or a secretary. Men held almost all the other jobs. The playing field is now being leveled. Those old days are gone, and things have changed. Now, how do trans people possibly fit in this scenario? Well, we trans people have spent time in life as both genders and our experiences and viewpoints encompass those experiences. You could look at us as
possibly a future look of an equalizing force between the genders, or possibly a missing link between the genders. If you look even closer, you may find that there are levels of male and female all along the gender spectrum. What is a gender spectrum? Picture a line with male on one endpoint and female on the other endpoint. The males on the one endpoint are “manly men” and the females on the other endpoint are “girly girls.” Yes, there are true manly men and there are true girly girls, but most people are not at these end points; they are somewhere between the two. Some will be closer to the manly man end point and some will be closer to the girly girl end point. Some will be clustered in the middle. It’s like everyone has a level of male and female and those levels put them on some point in the line. I’m guessing there will be many, many points along the line. Where do you fit on the gender spectrum? In my lifetime, I have seen the beginning of the coming together of genders. When I was young, most women did not work outside of the home, they were more subservient to men, they kept silent when they were sexually harassed or worse, and if Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com
Ask a Trans Woman: The risks and rewards of coming out as transgender By: Lorelei Erisis*/TRT Columnist
PHOTO: DAVID MEEHAN
his morning with a column looming and a brain that feels—after one of the hardest months I’ve had in recent memory—like it’s been put through the spin cycle in the washing machine, I opened a document on my computer that I use to keep track of all the questions that people ask me. As I was reading through these questions trying to find one that might make a good seed for a column, I read two questions that on the surface seemed unrelated, but which my brain, in its spinning and beaten state, connected to each other. The first question, was this: Would you consider it wise to come out to a severely disapproving family?
—Temperance D. This was a specific question, from a specific person. But unfortunately, it is also a variant of one of the most common questions I get. I hear it from adults, of all ages and stations in life, as well as a disheartening number of younger folks. “Should I come out?” It’s a question I generally have two answers for. The first answer is the one I want to give, the philosophical, moral, and political answer. That answer is, come out! Do it! Be yourself! Be proud and visible and happier in your own skin! It can make such an incredible difference in your life. The second answer, however, is an entirely different one. It is the answer born of caution and hard reality. That reality is that each of us must weigh the benefits of coming out as ourselves against the very real risks of disapproving families, friends, and communities.
ARE YOU PREPARED TO BE OUT AND VISIBLE AS TRANS IN A COUNTRY WHERE WE SEEM TO HAVE BECOME ONE OF THIS REGIME’S FAVORITE SCAPEGOATS? And here is the second question: In the age of Trump, is it wise to try and be "stealth" until this regime is gone? Or, do we take the risk of being out and proud, with the risk that things could get much worse? —Marian J. You might notice, as I did, that there was one word that connects these two questions. In each, I am asked if it is “wise” to come out. The second question, however, already gets halfway to the root of the answer. Marian J. further asks if the “risk” of coming out is worth it? As a side note, though, I know with fair certainty that the identity both of these people are asking about is that of being trans. You could easily sub in “queer” as well, with much the same answers. It’s that question of risk that we really all have to weigh for ourselves. To be clear, coming out as trans in this society is not a safe choice, not by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe someday it will be, hopefully. Just now, it’s not. Yes, it’s quite a bit safer than it was 50 years ago. It’s even debatably safer than it was 20 years ago. And, there are parts of the country that are certainly safer than others. For instance, I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s one bubble of safety inside another statewide bubble of (relative) safety. But even here, just in the last month,
two trans people I knew personally, friends of mine, have died. One was murdered. The other took hir own life (note: The word “hir” is a third-person singular pronoun often used by female-identifying trans people) . They both took a risk in coming out, in being out, as trans. Given the fullness of other people’s lives, I cannot say here whether either of them would have considered that risk as worthwhile in the final calculation. But, there were factors leading from that risk of being out as trans that certainly contributed to their deaths. They both lived inside rings of this bubble. And it still wasn’t enough to protect them. So yes, there is serious risk in coming out. It is not safe. Then, I would also argue that many of the most worthwhile parts of living a full life are not necessarily safe. We take risks all the time. Whether it’s moving to a new city for a new job; telling someone we’ve started dating that we love them; playing a physically dangerous sport; or even just driving across town. All of these involve risks either to our emotional or physical wellbeing. We are constantly doing a calculation to decide if those risks are worth it for us. Do Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com
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March 8, 2018 - April 4, 2018
Cis-Centrism from page 12 result from the excess female hormones from the mother’s system or by the fetus’ insensitivity to the hormones. The latter condition is called androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS). Exposure to progesterone or other estrogenic drugs Although there is no research that shows that males or females exposed to progesterone in the womb or other estrogenic drugs, such as diethylstilbestrol (DES) may have a raised risk of gender dysphoria; there may be an association in some atypical aspects of gender role behavior.
7 acts of self-care you should already be doing
By: Mikey Rox*/Special to TRT
ife comes at us fast, and it’s getting easier and easier to get lost not only in our circumstances but also in the world around us. Work, friends, family, politics, relationships, past relationships—they all affect us, and not necessarily in a beneficial-to-ourwell-being kinda way. That’s why it’s important to step back from it all on a regular basis, take stock of our own physical, emotional and mental health, and give ourselves the selfloving we need. Here are seven ways to start today.
1. Cut the BS and get back to basics Sometimes you just need to reset, and that means concentrating on your necessities instead of the frivolous BS that consumes your time and energy and, in all likelihood, makes you love and enjoy yourself even less. Clear your head. Get enough sleep. Drink more water. Eat healthier. Exercise several times a week. These are your start-over essentials; none of the other crap matters until your most primitive requirements are met to the best of your ability. “In addition, start each day with a selfcare moment,” adds work-life balance expert Suzanne Brown. “Don’t check your phone first thing to avoid kick-starting your stress. Instead, do a mental self-care checkin before you get out of bed. Take a few moments to see how you're feeling. Then you can make mental adjustments so you're in a better mindset for the day. It will help in your interactions with your family and co-workers.” 2. Set a daily reminder to take a deep breath I listen to Elvis Duran and the Morning Show on Z100, and one of the co-hosts reminds listeners every hour of the show to take a deep breath. I look forward to it every day. Totally one of those things we take for granted, but which can help out a great deal when we’re feeling stressed. Certified health coach and yogi Angela Rocchio agrees. “Breathing deep is one of
the best ways to lower stress in the body,” she says. “This is because when you breathe deeply it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body, which slows down your heart rate and decreases your blood pressure.” To maximize the effects of your deepbreathing routine, Rocchio suggests sitting comfortably with your eyes closed after setting a timer for two to three minutes. Allow yourself to inhale and exhale; do each for the count of five seconds. “Try not to judge yourself for being distracted when distractions come up,” she continues. “Our brains are just doing their job. When distracted, bring yourself back to the breath. It gets easier over time. Just know that we all struggle with it–even those that have been practicing meditation for years.” 3. Power down and shut those screens off I’m a slave to my screens, and you probably are too. That’s precisely the reason why I need to go on a social media hiatus occasionally—at the very least deleting the apps from my devices, but sometimes deactivating my accounts temporarily so I don’t tempt myself so easily. It’s worked in the past, and I feel infinitely lighter than when my face is glued to Facebook and Twitter, allowing myself to be affected by all the soul-eating negativity day in and day out. Dr. Colleen Carroll, bestselling author of Hooked on Screens, details more of the detrimental effects of our digital addiction. “Adults check their phones approximately 150 times a day,” she reveals. “This is shortening our attention span, creating a tech dependence and instant gratification Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com
Rare conditions that may lead to gender dysphoria There may be rare conditions like congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), and intersex conditions (also known as hermaphroditism), which may also result in gender dysphoria. In CAH a female fetus has adrenal glands (small caps of glands over the kidneys) that produce high level of male hormones. This enlarges the female genitals and the female baby may be confused with a male at birth. Intersex conditions mean babies may be born with the genitalia of both sexes. In these cases the child is allowed to grow and choose his or her own before any surgery is carried out to confirm it.
Say This, Not That As you see, transgender people are already born into their correct gender, even if the body indicates otherwise based on sex organ development. Instead of saying things like someone “turning into” the opposite assigned gender, say “prior to living authentically,” or “prior to transitioning.” The same practice should be applied when referring to experiences prior to transition. Please do not say, “when you were a woman or when you were a man,” because the reality is that a transgender person never was that assumed gender in the first place. If you believe in any concept of the after life, you likely believe that our spirits live beyond the physical world. Whether born with a male or female spirit, that same spirit transcends the physical body. Regardless of how you physically present to the world at birth, it is our spirit, the essence of our being, the internal, deeply held sense of our gender identity that lives on, not the anatomical sex organs assigned to us at birth. Please check your cis-centrism at the door and remember: Trans is beautiful. * Nicole Lashomb is a graduate of Marylhurst University and the Crane School of Music (SUNY Potsdam). She holds an MBA and BM, respectively. To reach Nicole or send a letter to the editor, e-mail her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
16 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com
March 8, 2018 - April 4, 2018
Boston based, The Rainbow Times serves all of New England. This issue has the same exclusive coverage as previous ones. We pride ourselves i...
Published on Mar 8, 2018
Boston based, The Rainbow Times serves all of New England. This issue has the same exclusive coverage as previous ones. We pride ourselves i...