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2 • The Rainbow Times •

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

The hypocritically Christian among us When art collides with identity shrinks.”


ike would be any parent’s nightmare, a lesbian couple recently found out their baby has Stage 4 cancer, LGBTQ Nation reported ( As if that was not tragic enough, it became worse when a “Christian” donor yanked their pledge to help fund the baby’s medical costs, once discovering she had two moms. Callie June, just 18 months old, has Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, which is a cancer of the nerves. As any devoted parent would be, her moms have been “by her side ever since,” the report read. According to LGBTQ Nation, one of the mothers quit her job to take care of Callie and insurmountable debt was incurred to pay for her treatment. As such, an extended family member is reported to have set up a GoFundMe page ( to assist with medical costs for the adopted baby. It was through the crowd-funding website where they allegedly came into contact with a person who said, “they would donate $7,600 toward Callie’s treatment.” I can imagine the financial relief that such a generous donation would provide to parents undergoing similar situations. “I am asking friends and family to please help if you can and to please pray,” pleaded the GoFundMe page. “This is my sweet niece who is 18 months old. Her name is Callie June and her adoption was just finalized this week. She is in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where on New Year’s Day she was diagnosed with advanced neuroblastoma that has metastasized to her lymph nodes and bones. We found out today that her cancer is in Stage 4 and she is high risk. She will need 18 months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, she will need a bone marrow transplant, and will also need future surgery to remove the tumor once it

Callie’s treatment will last as long as her short life has been lived. The agony of that must be excruciating alone. And, anyone in a same-sex relationship knows all too well the complexities of navigating in a world where you have to justify or defend your


WOMEN. love for each other, your family unit, how you choose to have children or not, and of course, there is the never-ending criticism from the religious right and the condemnation that ensues as a result. Only an already grave situation became worse. That donor, an “angel” some might say at the onset, recanted their offer of support when they found out that baby Callie was adopted by two women. Not only did they withdraw the assistance, they openly condemned the parents, even blaming them for the illness that was ravaging their baby’s body.

See Hypocritically Christian on Page 21

If you’re handed lemons, make Gay lemonade By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist



ike many throughout the world, I’ve made a pilgrimage to Notre-Dame Cathedral ( Several years ago, I attended Sunday Mass and accepted Eucharist in this ancient worship space. It’s still something I remember as a moving, special experience. Hence, I too mourned the tragic fire ( that gripped Paris in April causing extraordinary damage to a structure dating back to the 13th century. Construction started in 1163. The jarring event gives perspective. The cathedral serves as a physical point of reference. It provides continuity and in doing so a level of security that no matter the injustices or difficulties of life, it will be Okay. It’s comforting to see an iconic structure whether in person or from afar that has stood the test of time. In the end, however, the cold, confusing challenges swirling around us, including a tragic fire, underscores peace and security

comes from within. There are countless stories of heroes who survived emotional and physical brutality by drawing on inner strength to find hope in what appeared to be a hopeless situation. Seeing a religious symbol or a building of historic importance didn’t make it happen. Security and inner peace are not based on something tangible no matter how old, historic, or beautiful it is. The Creator doesn’t specifically live in a house of worship. You can find Supreme goodness anywhere at any time including a jail cell. Hence, a church, no matter how awe inspiring is not by itself filled with holiness, solitude, reflection, or community. It’s people and their personal relationships with a higher power and the lives they live outside the structure. It’s about their treatment of one another and responses to injustice. I perceived some of this strength by Seth Owen, a high school senior who was abandoned by his parents for being gay. Seth’s parents asked him, before he finished high school, to leave the only home he had ...

See Gay Lemonade on Page 23

By:Joey Phoenix*/Guest Columnist


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


didn’t know I was an artist, but I knew I wasn’t straight.

When I was eleven and living in Sarasota, Fla., doing far too well on standardized tests, my conservative Christian parents made the interesting choice to advance me a couple of years and put me in a large public High School. When I became a Junior at thirteen, I met Erin. She had golden starbursts in her eyes and freckles on her nose and when she held my hand I couldn’t breathe, but it still made me feel safe. My parents pulled me out of school before the holidays that year. My Dad had stumbled upon an e-mail that I had sent to one of my classmates where I used the word “jacka$$” and he didn’t like it. He also didn’t like the crowd that I was hanging out with. They were goth kids, punk kids, queer kids. They were the fringe society kids, the basket-cases, the miscellaneous. And that’s what I was too, one of the miscellaneous. I spent my teenage years trying to ignore my various attractions to people of opposite

Letters to the Editor [Re: Wils Makes History As The 1st Openly Gay Chinese Singer] Dear Editor, Thank you all for including me on your cover and the amazing press coverage! I’m so grateful for your inclusion and I know this is going to positively help so many LGBTQ kids in asia. Love you guys heaps. The article and cover are so beautifully designed. Xoxo —Wils, (who is the main feature of the April, 2019 issue’s of The Rainbow Times), Online [Re: Amazon Joins Business Opposition To Anti-LGBTQ Bills In Tennessee] Dear Editor, Tennessee IS the next North Carolina. They will be so happy when the companies involved in the music industry move to another state since a fair portion of the entertainers are LGBTQ or friends thereof. It seems that all of the former Confederate states that are pretty much controlled by the Fundamentalist “Christians” are really on the move to get rid of all of the LGBTQ people so they can found a “New Jerusalem”. —Tom McDonald, Online Please send Letters to the Editor to: NOTE: All letters to the editor must be ac‐ companied by a phone # and an e‐mail ad‐ dress to verify your identity prior to its publication. We reserve the right not to pub‐ lish a letter for any reason at all.

spectrum genders because not only was I forbidden to date women, I was even forbidden to date in general. And, because I was so far ahead in school, when I wasn’t on a tennis court training for ITF tournaments or reading whatever books were available to me—mostly classics and books written by evangelists like Jesse Duplantis or Kenneth Copland—I would write. I would put pen to paper and try to make sense of why I felt trapped and alone. When no authority figure in my life would listen to me, the paper would and the words would sing lullabies to me as I wrote them. The words weren’t brilliant words, they were faltering and scared but I wrote down what I felt. When I was yelled at by a pastor for suggesting God might be a woman, I wrote it down. When I fell in love with a tight rope walker and he and I had to keep our relationship a secret, I wrote it down. When I was told I was too ugly to actually be a girl, I wrote it down. Sometimes, I would sit at

See Art & Identity On Page 23

Multiple Award Winning

The Rainbow Times The Largest LGBTQ Newspaper in New England—Boston Based 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 Photographers Steve Jewett Christine M. Hurley Reporters Mike Givens Jenna Spinelle

Chris Gilmore Nicole Collins (Intern) Audrey Cole Ad & Layout Design Prizm PR Webmaster Jarred Johnson Columnists/Guest Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep Mike Givens Affiliations QSyndicate

The Rainbow Times is published monthly by The Rainbow Times, LLC. TRT is affiliated with the, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, NGLCC, and QSyndicate. The articles written by the writers, columnists, and correspondents solely express their opinion, and do not represent the endorsement or opinion of The Rainbow Times, LLC or its owners. Send letters to the editor with your name, address and phone number to: The Rainbow Times (address shown above), or e-mail any comment/s to the editor-in-chief at: All submissions will be edited according to space constraints. The Rainbow Times, LLC reserves the right not to print any or all content or advertisements for any reason at all. TRT is not responsible for advertising content. To receive The Rainbow Times at your home via regular mail, or through electronic delivery, please visit its website. The whole content and graphics (photos, etc.) are the sole property of The Rainbow Times, LLC and they cannot be reproduced at all without TRT’s written consent. • The Rainbow Times • 3

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

Toxic Masculinity Part I: Strips away gender equity, hurts everyone By: Chris Gilmore/TRT Reporter


Late in February at a Summit in Oakland, Calif., former president Barack Obama introduced himself as “Michelle’s husband, Barack.” In 2016, the former U.S. President wrote an essay for Glamour Magazine titled, “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like”. Canadian Prime Minister and selfproclaimed feminist Justin Trudeau, continues to work to end gender inequality and has explained—more than once—the importance of men’s involvement to ensure equality for all. “We shouldn’t be afraid of the word feminist. Men and women should use it to describe themselves anytime they want,” said the Canadian PM ( “Men have to be a big part of this conversation. That role we have as men in supporting and demanding equality, in demanding a shift is really, really important.” Both leaders have not conformed to gender norms when it comes to a public display of emotions, especially when impacted by tragic events or human suffering—something for which they have been criticized and mocked about by mainstream media and YouTube videos. Enter 2019 and the Gillette commercial

( “We Believe” that sparked, as Time magazine wrote (, “praise and criticism” for the company and much controversy over toxic masculinity and how dangerous it is for both men and women. “Toxic masculinity is the constellation of socially regressive male traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia, and wanton violence,” wrote Dr. Terry A. Kupers in Journal of Clinical Psychology, June 2005. And, toxic masculinity is not only present and taught to cisgender men. It is also a behavior that exists within the transgender community that equally hurts and dehumanizes other trans men, trans women and anyone on the gender spectrum. As such, in this exclusive series, The Rainbow Times interviewed various trans men, trans women, non-binary and GNC people from all walks of life about this topic. Their answers will bring light to how this “disease” is damaging to all humans, regardless of sexual orientation, assigned sex at birth, or gender identity. And, although you will only read some of their responses in the print version of The Rainbow Times, you will be able to read their full responses to what most of the interviewees consider to be an “epidemic” while telling us too how to intervene and start to anihilate it, one step at a time.

See Toxic Masculinity On Pages 12 & 13


4 • The Rainbow Times •

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

Visionary Voice Award recipient advocates for LGBTQ and immigrant survivors By: Audrey Cole/TRT Reporter

BOSTON—Last week, Hema SarangSieminski was honored with the Visionary Voice Award for their outstanding activism and legal advocacy on behalf of survivors of sexual violence and partner abuse, particularly within the LGBTQ and immigrant communities, according to the organization that presented the award. “Throughout their career, Hema has brought focused, skilled and passionate leadership to uphold the dignity of all survivors and engage in the complex work that is required at the intersection of violence, trauma, and oppression,” said Debra J. Robbin, Executive Director of Jane Doe Inc., (JDI) the Massachusetts-based organization that nominated Sarang-Sieminski for the Visionary Voice Award. “We are proud to recognize Hema for her extraordinary advocacy on behalf of individuals, and also for her broader influence in promoting the understanding and incorporating of intersectionality throughout our field of work.” Sarang-Sieminski, a senior attorney at the Victim Rights Law Center, has been working with survivors of partner abuse and sexual violence for nearly 20 years. Likewise, she has dedicated her life’s work to addressing the vast intersectionalities and subsequent oppression often faced by marginalized communities. “I began my legal career as an immigration attorney for survivors because of the violence I saw being enacted by institutions

that survivors were forced to navigate each and every day,” Sarang-Sieminski said. “Not only were survivors attempting to find safety from individuals who harmed them, they were also facing the challenges of oppression on so many fronts. This ranges from the fear [of] detention or removal by immigration authorities, to dealing with programs that express transphobia or don’t offer services in a survivor’s language of comfort, to the daily interpersonal white supremacy, anti-immigrant sentiment, misogyny, homo/bi/transphobia immigrant survivors endure. The journey to healing for survivors living at the intersections of oppression is a long and hard one. As a survivor, a queer person, a woman of color, an attorney, I knew I wanted my practice to be one that promoted healing through dismantling systems of oppression.” Multi-layered realities Robbin said that Sarang-Sieminski is having a broad reach in the field, bringing others into the fold of understanding individual and shared identities. “To support individual survivors and entire communities and effectively prevent and end sexual and domestic violence requires that we consider the multi-layered realities of people’s lives,” Robbin said. “Hema does not shy away from the hard conversations and complex and complicated work that is required to work at the intersections of violence, trauma, and op-

L-R, Debra Robbin, JDI Executive Director, Hema Sarang-Sieminski, NSVRC Visionary Voice Awardee, Diana Mancera, JDI Director of Membership & Programs, and Stacy Malone, Victim Rights Law Center Executive Director PHOTO: MARILYN HUMPHRIES

pression. In addition to her advocacy for individuals, Hema is having an influence more broadly in terms of the fields work to incorporate an understanding of intersectionality into legal and social services ad-


TERRORISM AGAINST WOMEN AS THE NORM. vocacy.” The Visionary Voice Award is presented by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center ( to recognize the creativity and hard work of individuals around the country who have demonstrated outstanding work to end sexual violence. Sarang-Sieminski is also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a Steering Committee member of the MA Women of Color Network and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. They were recently named one of the LGBT Bar's Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40. Microaggressions Fueled by the “resilience of these survivors and the power of our communities,”

Sarang-Sieminski recognizes the challenges that are inherent to create change and rises to meet the needs of LGBTQ and immigrant survivors. “There is so much work to be done to raise community awareness of the needs of LGBTQ survivors and immigrant survivors,” they said. “Survivorship is exhausting as it is. Surviving microaggressions and more overt aggressions that take place because of one’s LGBTQ identity, immigration status, race, HIV+ status take a toll and make it so much harder for survivors with intersecting marginalized identities to access services they need.” Intersections of oppression When the survivor is also a member of one or more oppressed groups, it limits the accessibility of resources that are needed to heal. But, Sarang-Sieminski said change is possible by taking the right steps. “While it’s not easy for any survivor to heal from sexual assault or intimate partner violence, survivors living at the intersections of oppression often are placed in positions where they must educate, defend, or render invisible many facets of themselves to obtain the remedies they need,” the attorney explained. “As providers and community members, we can change this by supporting the leadership of survivors and people of color, by engaging in cultural humility, and asking how we can make our businesses, organizations, and institutions more accessible.” Rape culture However, societal constructs such as rape culture must be dismantled to end sexual violence. According to Jane Doe Inc., "rape culture is a complex [set] of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women,” its website read ( “It occurs in a society where violence is seen as sexy and

See Visionary on Page 23

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6 • The Rainbow Times •

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019 • The Rainbow Times • 7

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May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

Pride Events in New England Part II: Celebrating 50 years post Stonewall By: Chris Gilmore/TRT Reporter

Since the Stonewall Riots 50 years ago, the LGBTQ community has made leaps ahead while backtracking along the way. The latter, being more prevalent today. With basic LGBTQ rights at stake all over again, support of Pride and Trans Pride organizations appears to be at an all time high in recent years. That sentiment is no different in New England, where The Rainbow Times (TRT) caught up with festival organizers about what’s in store for their regional events. Pride Portland! – June 7-16, 2019 (Parade June 15) Priscilla Acosta, Pride Portland’s! Marketing Chair, answered the questions for TRT. However, Pride Portland! is still in the midst of planning the parade and festival this year. Acosta explained that this was the reason why she didn’t “have an answer for all of the questions asked” at this time. Q: What’s this year’s theme? A: This year's theme is Stonewall 50. Q: How has the Stonewall Anniversary changed your preparation and scheduling of events this year? A: Without the Stonewall riots and the subsequent marches that came after, modern day pride parades would not exist. We keep that in mind every year when planning.

This year, we want to make sure people in the community know the history and how far we still have to go. Q: How are you being inclusive of PoC and QTPoC people when it comes to Pride this year? A: We've been holding meetings in order to get input from the community. We started with a community wide one and have plans for meeting with different affinity groups, starting with QTPoC (which is March 25). Our steering committee also consists of 3 PoC (me included!). We know and value the importance of having spaces just for QTPoC. Q: When (date) will Pride Portland! be this year? A: The parade and festival will be on June 15th but we have 10 days of Pride events from June 7th to June 16th. Q: What are the prices to be a part of the Parade/become a vendor & where can they be found? A: Parade and festival are free to attend if you just want to show up and have fun. If you want to be IN the parade, price depends on the size of the group, if it's a business, whether you're walking or have a vehicle/float, and whether you're a merchant or not, and more. You can see exact prices when registering https://prideport-

Attendees representing the City of Portland, ME marching in the 2018 pride parade. PHOTO: EMMA EGAN Q: If there are people who have felt unwelcome in the past, what do you say to them this year (if any)? A: We are making a genuine effort to make sure everyone feels included and feels like Pride is for them. We're always open to feedback and we can always use more volunteers. The Pride parade and festival isn't owned by Pride Portland!, it's for the community, by the community. I think it's important to note that Pride Portland! is completely volunteer-run. We're working hard to plan everything so our community has a place to gather, celebrate, protest, be themselves, etc.

North Shore Pride – June 22, 2019 North Shore Pride Board Member Betsy McGinnity, answered the questions for the organization this year. Q: What’s this year’s theme? Logo? Please send a copy of the artwork, if different from your own organization's logo. A: Stonewall 50: Looking Back Marching Forward Q: Who are/will be your grand and honorary marshals? Why were they chosen? A: We are honoring the Stonewall Riot Survivors this year and as such Salem resident Denis Castleton will be North Shore Pride’s Grand Marshall. Q: Send us a list of your events during Pride Weekend, and explain why are they relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events?

See Prides On Page 10

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019 • The Rainbow Times • 9

10 • The Rainbow Times •

Prides From Page 8 ・Interfaith Celebration June 20th Tabernacle Church, Salem ・Kick-off Party June 21st Location to be finalized ・Festival June 22nd 11:00 - 5:00 Salem Common ・ North Shore Pride Parade June 22nd Noon Salem ・Youth After party June 22nd 5:00 - 9:00 nAGLY Salem ・Adult After Party June 22nd 5:00 - 9:00 Brodie's Pub Salem ・Drag Brunch June 23rd TBD Q: How has the Stonewall Anniversary changed your preparation and scheduling of events this year? A: It influenced our theme. Our speaker at the Interfaith is John-Manuel Andriote author of several books including Stonewall Strong: Gay Men’s Heroic Fight for Resilience. Q: How are you being inclusive of PoC and QTPoC people when it comes to Pride this year? Please explain. A: North Shore Pride is always inclusive of PoC and QTPoC as our motto for North Shore Pride has always been “Unity in Our Community”. We invite PoC and QTPoC to participate on the Board of NS Pride and to offer new events and programming ideas for us to provide [to the public]. Q: When (date) will NSP be this year? A: See above Q: What are events that are new to NSP this year? A: The kick-off party and the drag brunch. Q: What are the prices (if any) to be a part of the Parade or where can they be found? To be a vendor? A: Q: If there are people who have felt unwelcome in the past, what do you say to them this year (if any)? A: All are welcome at North Shore Pride. Q: Anything you'd like to add? A: Thanks! Please join us this year for an even larger Parade and Festival. #Stonewall50LookingBackMarchingForward Worcester Pride – September 7, 2019 Michele Roy Brown, Worcester Pride’s Secretary, provided the responses for the central Mass. Pride organization. Many events that Worcester Pride will hold (their origin) are rooted in the Stonewall Riots’ celebration, according to Brown. Q: What’s this year’s theme? Logo? A: This year’s theme is “Make Your Own History” to tie in with the 50th year remembrance of the Stonewall riots and the people that fought and continue to fight for equality for all. Please see the 2019 logo attached. Q: Who are/will be your grand and honorary marshals? Why were they chosen?

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

A: The parade marshals have not been chosen yet. We start to ask the community for ideas soon and marshals will be nominated in the summer.

Queer Puzzle: There’s Something About Marrying

Q: Send us a list of your events during Pride Week/Day, and explain why are they relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events? A: Due to the different time frame for our pride week events (September instead of June), we are still in the process of fine tuning and planning our pride week events. We always have an annual flag raising at Worcester city hall, a rainbow painting of the crosswalk downtown, a bridge lighting on Lake Quinsigamond, an LGBTQIA+ pageant, and the parade and festival. However, if you have any ideas for events that you would like to see, please let us know. We are always looking to make our events bigger, better, and more inclusive. We always hope to achieve visibility and inclusion at all of our events. Q: How has the Stonewall Anniversary changed your preparation and scheduling of events this year? A: The Stonewall Anniversary has really inspired a lot of cool things to happen in Worcester. The Worcester Historical Museum is putting together an amazing LGBTQIA+ exhibit titled “LGBTQ for the Record” that will feature different aspects of the gay history of Worcester and beyond. The exhibit will open on April 25th and run through September. Additionally, Worcester Pride added “Stonewall 50” to their logo to commemorate the anniversary, and several other things are in the works as well. Our third annual youth pride prom is on May 11th at the YWCA from 6-10 and the theme is “The Future is Queer” to also tie in with the Worcester Pride theme and Stonewall Anniversary. Q: How are you being inclusive of PoC and QTPoC people when it comes to Pride this year? A: Yes, last year, one of our committee members, Brianna Brewer, started a QPoC group called “Shades.” The group meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month at 6 p.m. at Pathways for Change. They are working on several different events throughout the year and for pride week. Q: When (date) will Worcester Pride be this year? A: The festival and parade are on September 7, 2019. However, we have other events going on from September 4th-7th. (i.e. annual pageant, crosswalk painting, etc.) Q: What are events that are new to Worcester Pride this year? A: We are working on some new events for 2019, as we do every year, but nothing is set in stone as of yet. Q: What are the prices to be a part of the *Read More on Worcester Pride’s event and check out Pride Vermont’s Event too at:

Across 1 Hairspray composer Shaiman 5 Twinkle in your partner's eye 10 Visit Barneys, e.g. 14 Person with a PC 15 Two to one, for one 16 Scroll for the cut 17 Circumcision or baptism 18 Gussy up 19 Prefix with science 20 Start of a question in There's Something About Marrying 22 More of the question 24 Ten-incher, for example 25 Tips off 26 Kind of straight, in poker. 30 End of the question 34 Be intense like a queen 36 Rear on board 37 Bone of John the Baptist, e.g. 40 Nuts 41 On-line locales 43 Airline to Ben Gurion 44 He cared for Samuel 45 Comic Lea 47 The I's have it 48 Emulates Isadora Duncan 50 Seasonal serving 52 Cartoon series of the episode There's Something About Marrying 56 Ryan of p0rn 58 German sub 59 "Lions and tigers and bears, ___!" 62 Matching notes for Rorem? 63 Head-oriented group

64 Secure with lines 65 Pain suppressed by Schumacher? 66 Chat room request 67

Down 1 Many a painting by Frida's Diego 2 Broadway whisper 3 Change labels 4 Thick liqueur 5 Will Geer's role on The Waltons 6 Cheryl of Charlie's Angels 7 War zone, in brief 8 Opera singers put them on? 9 Yves, but not YSL 10 Pilot's place 11 Character who married some gay couples and asked the question 12 Phrase from Ripley 13 Two queens, and others 21 Start of a Sappho title, perhaps 23 Kind of statesman 27 Response to an online personal, perhaps 28 1993 treaty acronym 29 Pass the threshold 30 Fruity kind of computer? 31 Latin I word 32 Urvashi has one 33 Degeneres program, for short, with The 34 Hauled ass 35 Marlene Dietrich role in

Blue Angel 38 Otello villain 39 Drain trouble 41 Mississippi Sissy author Kevin 42 Breaks for Almodovar 45 Report card blemish 46 "Fourscore and seven years ___..." 49 Boys Don't Cry actress Sevigny 51 Fairy story figure 53 "Suuure!" 54 Tales of the City character 55 Time gone by 56 Part of a Stein line 57 The Times of Harvey Milk, for short 60 He comes between Larry and Curly 61 Periods that last 525,600 min.


May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019 • The Rainbow Times • 11

12 • The Rainbow Times •

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019



Dani Farrell (below), 34, He/Him, African American, Founder / CEO of Trans In Color

Q: What do you think about toxic masculinity infiltrating in the trans men community? Does it exist? A: Although I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by trans men who are very open minded and accepting, there is no doubt that toxic masculinity is very much alive within the trans community. I personally feel that toxic masculinity is very sad. I also do not understand men with these attitudes. The majority of us, trans men, have been forced to live in the body of a woman for a good deal of our lives and have been affected first hand by the stereotypes associated with toxic masculinity. That is one reason it is so hard for me to understand why we would continue to perpetuate the same negative stereotypes once we are able to live freely as a man in the outside world. I know that toxic masculinity exists within the trans community because I’ve seen it firsthand. Toxic masculinity shows itself by “feminizing” men and this is negative because in a toxic masculinity environment women are looked upon as less than. Therefore, saying someone is feminine is basically a slur. One way that things are feminized are by calling them gay.

Devyn Nunez (above), 24, He/Him, Dominican, Photographer/Studio Production Assistant

Q: Some trans men say they've been bullied by other trans men who seem to support toxic masculinity. What are your thoughts on that? Has this happened to you? A: Honestly, I think it’s sad. They have this engraved idea, because of what they have experienced from their own family, etc., that they and others have to look and behave a certain way in order to be “trans enough” or “man enough.” While I haven’t experienced this myself, I know other trans men who get hate for not being on T or not wanting any or specific surgeries. There’s no prerequisite for being a man. A trans man who is pre-hormones and surgeries is just as much a man as one who is taking hormones and has had any surgery, both are just as valid as any cisgender man, even if that isn’t a specific trans person’s goal. Q: What is toxic masculinity? What behaviors (attitudes, actions, etc.) fall into that category? A: To me, toxic masculinity is unhealthy, harmful, oppressive ... Some behaviors that fall into this category include, but are not limited to, solving issues or differences they have with violence instead of talking it out ... the notion that showing emotion is a sign of weakness, being homophobic/transphobic/misogynistic, etc.

Lucas Silveira (above), 45, He/Him, Canadian/Portuguese, Singer/Songwriter (The Cliks), Self Portrait


Q: Some trans men say they've been bullied by other trans men who seem to support toxic masculinity. What are your thoughts on that? Has this happened to you? A: This has absolutely happened to me. I've lost friendships with other trans men over these kind of situations. There are many trans men who see masculinity as a very binary, patriarchal performance. They have ideas of manhood in ways that I don't. I'm a pretty soft and comfortably openly vulnerable guy and many of the trans men around me have said to me that I'm "different" than most trans men they know. I speak to my past as a woman openly and with comfort and have even been asked in a group of trans men to stop outing myself, as they fear they will be found out. That

was something that truly infuriated me. I had been living in secrecy and in shame for so long and then even within groups of other trans men, they expected me to not be myself because they couldn't separate my way of being myself with their fears. Q: Younger trans men seem to be taken (and try to even emulate the behaviors too) of other trans/cis men portraying toxic masculinity tendencies. How can they combat this? A: Just stop it. It's that simple. Get to know yourself as a human first and then as a man. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be masculine. I love masculinity. But I don't love the kind of masculinity that hurts people, including myself. And it's very simple to see what kind of behaviours perpetuate toxic masculine culture if you take a moment to look inward and make a decision to come forward from a place of truth, humanity and vulnerability. See Next Page • The Rainbow Times • 13

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

SHED LIGHT ON HOW TO COMBAT IT Laila Ireland (below), She/Her, TransMilitary Advocate/LGBTQ Activist, Hawaii

Q: Do you think toxic masculinity hurts other trans men? Trans women? Relationships? A: I absolutely agree that toxic masculinity hurts other trans men and women, and even their relationships. Society has painted a picture of “how a man should be, act, and do.” In today’s society, there are many folks who wish to oppress the idea of gender-neutral roles or characteristics (i.e., boys can wear pink, play with dolls, dance ballet, etc.) and there are also many folks who wish to blur those hard gender-based lines and show that you can be and do whatever you want regardless of your gender. Toxic masculinity hurts and limits opportunities for growth, understanding, love, and community. Q: As a trans woman, how has toxic masculinity impacted you? Or has it? A: I have lived on both sides of the very binary spectrum. As a trans woman, I have encountered toxic masculinity in many forms. Upon these encounters, I find myself having to explain and deter them from mansplaining why their behavior was such. I feel reinforcing the idea that not all men should be or act or do a specific way is extremely important as we move forward in life. It allows society to be more inclusive and diverse and opens the opportunities of life to everyone, not just a specific gender.


Q: What do you think about toxic masculinity infiltrating in the trans men community? Does it exist? A: It definitely is in the trans community as well. I'm a trans guy that, for the most part, does not pass as a cisgender male, and especially not a 25-year-old cisgender male. I'm lucky if someone thinks I'm older than 18. I'm not on testosterone and have an androgynous appearance. Many other trans guys have judged me for this and even bullied me for not taking testosterone. Some trans guys have even told me that I cannot identity as a man because I'm not on T. The rules that these guys have in their heads aren't rules, they are stereotypes and they are definitely toxic masculine ideologies. Q: Toxic masculinity often takes the form of emulating cis men's attitudes and behaviors, is that partly why you

created your IG page AllTransBodies? A: Yes, the page was created because we saw that most of the other trans pages on Instagram were only focusing on trans guys that look cisgender. In fact most of the media only focuses on trans guys that pass as cisgender. We wanted to show how diverse and beautiful the community is and what the community actually looks like. We don't all pass as cis, and we don't all want to either. Q: Do you think toxic masculinity hurts other trans men? Trans women? Relationships? A: Toxic masculinity hurts everyone. Having any type of guidelines on gender expression and identity is harmful to society as a whole. People should act as they are and act with kindness. I try to remember to always lead with my heart instead of leading with ideas and stereotypes that people place on me. I have to be myself and if that's not masculine enough for strangers to consider me "male enough" then I really don't care. I care about being ME.


Ryan Cassata, 25, He/Him, Trans, Singer-Songwriter/Actor/Writer, Italian

La Espiritista (above), Late 20’s, They/Them/Theirs (shifts within spaces & context), Genderfluid, Performance Artist, Author, Healer, Latinx/Mixed, Peruvian & Cuban, Two-spirit

Q: Do you think toxic masculinity hurts other trans men? Trans women? Relationships? People in general? A: Absolutely. Toxic masculinity is an oppressive force, which ultimately attempts to restrict people’s ability to be their full selves. The worst part is it succeeds a lot. Especially for folks of trans experiences who are often made to believe that we need to prove our very existence, participating within toxic masculinity may be one of the main indicators that we are valid. I think that folks who may identify in the binary, it can be even harder and that there can be a lot of hate within the community to who is an actual man or woman. I also think that this hurts folks of trans experiences who are non-binary ’cause there is this fear that the validity of someone who is binary can be challenged, which is ridiculous! For example, someone in the community who identifies as a trans man may feel offended that I am on testosterone and I don’t identify as a man. It’s a false belief to believe that testosterone is what makes a man, because people who are men have always been men.

See Toxic Masculinity On Page 22

14 • The Rainbow Times •

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019 • The Rainbow Times • 15

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

“Being Different” Documentary will highlight 101 LGBTQ people By: Chris Gilmore/TRT Reporter

Directed by filmmaker Kevin Feraday, Being Different: 101 Global LGBTQ Individuals Who Changed the World will showcase how members of the LGBTQ community have helped to shape the world with a focus on more than just civil rights. “As a society, we often think of LGBTQ history as a history of activism, confined to the fight for equal rights,” said Feraday. “That history is invaluable and incredible in itself, but LGBTQ history encompasses so much more.” When asked why “101” individuals and how it will relate to people today, Feraday explained that the documentary-to-be will intertwine the past and the present while relating it in a unique way to the viewers. “101 felt like a good number to show a true cross-section of people from these different backgrounds and disciplines,” he explained. “Ultimately, Mark [S. Bonham the film’s executive producer] refined our list of notable individuals, but these stories will be told through interviews with historians, experts, and other members of the LGBTQ community. We don’t just want to talk about the LGBTQ people who have changed the world—we want to connect those stories to the LGBTQ people who are continuing to change the world today.” Specifically, the film creators have worked at developing perspectives that are inclusive and diverse with specific intention to draw attention to LGBTQ people whose personal contributions have been recorded, but whose sexual orientation or gender identity have not necessarily been documented. “The film will tell the untold stories of famous figures whose LGBTQ identities or non-normative relationships have often been downplayed or erased. Leonardo da Vinci, Eleanor Roosevelt, Alan Turing— people whose names we know, who have truly changed how we think and live, but who are commonly understood to be straight or heteronormative,” explained Feraday. According to Feraday, their motivation was to “focus on individuals that have truly changed the world” as they showed that those individuals were “from a variety of backgrounds.” “... we’ll use these stories of prominent figures to open the door to lesser-known stories of LGBTQ game-changers: Pauli Murray, an openly lesbian black woman whose work as a lawyer profoundly advanced the fight for women’s rights; Boris Dittrich, an openly gay Dutch politician who was instrumental to the introduction of same-sex marriage rights; Rachel Carson, whose work in marine biology sparked the creation of the environmental activism movement that we know today,” he added.

Slated to be released in late 2020, this film aims to teach young and old that diversity’s exploration and celebration are still needed. “We want these stories to educate as many viewers as possible,” he said, hoping that the film would also “bring inspiration to LGBTQ people who usually don’t see themselves reflected in the media they consume. The documentary will be available in two formats. The first is a 90-minute film, which will be shown at film festivals. Although still in its early stages, Feraday said that they are targeting several film festival venues: The LGBTQ focused The Inside Out Film Festival in Toronto is high on their list as well as Hot Docs and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The second format will be a comprehensive four-part series that will be suitable for TV and online viewing. Each of the four parts will be 60-minutes long and have a primary focus. Part I will briefly look at LGBTQ rights from a global perspective before showing contributions from significant philosophers, academics, theorists and activists. Part II will focus on social ac-

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tivists, academics and scientists who paved the way for contemporary social policies, institutions, and learning. The third part will highlight politicians and public figures, economists and business leaders. It will show the impact, both positive and negative, that these well-known LGBTQ individuals have contributed to society. Lastly, Part IV will focus on culture, arts, sports, recreation, and music. “We don’t have a television partner yet but we’re targeting PBS, Canadian broadcasters like CBC and streaming services like Netflix,” added Feraday. One person who works to leave his mark on the LGBTQ community is the film’s executive producer, Bonham ( The website he co-founded, QueerBio (, along with his book, Notables: 101 Global LGBTQ People Who Changed the World, acted as inspiration for the project, according to Feraday. And while 101 individuals will be profiled, not all are well-known. “We’ll use these stories of prominent figures to open the door to lesser-known stories of LGBTQ game-changers,” Bonham

said in a press release. Examining the lives of such influential members of society will hopefully influence future generations to put aside their differences and work together for the common good. “As a society, we often think of LGBTQ history as a history of activism, confined to the fight for equal rights,” said Feraday. “Our documentary will help educate people of all ages about the many ways that LGBTQ people have been at the forefront of innovation and exploration, changing and shaping the world in profound ways. From biology to physics, medicine to literature, art to politics…” The project’s success is dependent upon its fundraising campaign. “We're financing this project from private investors, grants and the community,” said Feraday. “Our, $25,000 IndieGoGo campaign was a way to begin to develop investors and interest with a larger community.” To support this project, visit their website ( The documentary teaser can be found here (

Get your ad seen! Advertise online at:

16 • The Rainbow Times •

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

Robert Santiago is the first Puerto Rican and LGBTQ Veterans Commissioner in the City’s history

Historic: Mayor Walsh appoints 1st Puerto Rican & LGBTQ Commissioner of Veterans’ Services for Boston

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BOSTON—Mayor Martin J. Walsh earlier this week announced the appointment of Robert Santiago as Commissioner of Veterans’ Services for the City of Boston. Santiago will be the first Puerto Rican and LGBTQ Veterans Commissioner in the City’s history. “I am proud to name Robert as the next Commissioner of Veterans’ Services, taking on an important role by making sure veterans in our city are well-supported and know that their service to our country will always be appreciated,” said Mayor Walsh. “Robert has proudly served our nation, and has shown through his work over the last three years that his commitment to serving our veterans in Boston is unwavering.” In 2016, Santiago joined the City of Boston as Deputy Commissioner at the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Services. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Services, Santiago served 20 years in diverse duty stations including sea duty on four warships; and overseas tours in Belgium, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Japan. Santiago participated in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Eastern Exit, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. His final duty station was in Boston onboard America’s Ship of State, the USS CONSTITUTION which is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. He retired from military service in 2008 while onboard USS CONSTITUTION. "I am grateful to Mayor Walsh for this opportunity to serve the veterans of Boston," said Santiago. "I remain dedicated to promoting the Mayor’s agenda to serving all veterans no matter the zip code, status, or orientation.” Santiago is on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Veterans Services Officer

Association and is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Santiago is also a member of the leadership team for the Homes for the Brave initiative which is part of the Mayors’ Challenge to end Veterans’ homelessness. He currently resides in Jamaica Plain with his husband, Robert Torres. Formerly led by Commissioner Giselle Sterling, the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Services strives to recognize and engage our veterans and their families; advocate for assistance in their time of need, and connect them with the services they've earned. The primary program of OVS is known as Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 115 and facilitated through the local Veteran Service Officer. Chapter 115 acts as financial help for veterans experiencing homelessness and low-income Veterans and their families. These benefits also include military burial assistance, subsidies on medical expenses and the decoration of veterans' graves and hero squares for Memorial Day. OVS also hosts Operation Thank a Vet, a program for volunteers to canvass identified Boston Veterans to thank them for their service and share information about critical resources that are available to them from the city, state and federal government. To date, an average of 10,000 veterans receives financial assistance each month from the Department of Veterans’ Services in Massachusetts with approximately 450 from OVS, the most in the Commonwealth. Through the Operation Thank a Vet program, the City has spoken to over 1,500 veterans and thanked them for their service as well as informing them of critical City services and resources.

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019 • The Rainbow Times • 17

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May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

This Queer World, according to openly bi Anna Paquin ‘True Blood’ actress talks ‘tricky’ LGBTQ representation, understated queer roles & trans teachings By: Chris Azzopardi/Special to TRT


nough with the labels: Anna Paquin just wants LGBTQ people to be people. As star and executive producer of Pop TV’s Flack, Paquin’s celeb-PR spin doctor, Robyn, fascinates because her hyper-controlling nature at work is in sharp contrast to her out-of-control family life. Robyn’s bisexuality is a mere footnote. It’s 2019. This is the queer-is-human moment Anna Paquin has been waiting for. This explains why, though she plays a lesbian character, she appreciates that her love interest (Holliday Grainger) in her upcoming film Tell It to the Bees, out May 3, eludes any kind of fixed sexual identity. Openly bisexual herself, Paquin came out in 2010 in a public service announcement for Cyndi Lauper’s Give a Damn campaign, dedicated to LGBTQ equality. At the time, she was portraying southern heroine Sookie Stackhouse on HBO’s vampire queerfest True Blood; she married her costar, Stephen Moyer, that same year. (The couple has 6-year-old twins, Poppy and Charlie Moyer.) But the 36-year-old actress’ precocious career in film and TV goes back decades to her childhood, when, at just 11 years old, she won the best-supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of Flora McGrath in 1993’s The Piano. Cross-genre roles abounded: Fly Away Home (1996), She’s All That (1999), Almost Famous (2000) and three X-Men films. In 2017, Paquin starred as a detective investigating the disappearance and murder of a trans woman (Sadie O’Neil) on the short-lived drama series Bellevue. Nearly 10 years later, Paquin still gives a damn—about inclusivity in her work, entertainment as a way to open close-minded minds, and actors who are forced out of the closet in the name of representation.

I love the fact that Robyn being bisexual just kind of casually drops in; it’s not a thing because it shouldn’t be a thing. And I feel like so many movies and shows, if they have characters who are leading anything other than heteronormative lives, it’s made into a big deal. It really shouldn’t be and isn’t. So I do love that part of the show.

Q: In Flack, there’s a gay scandal, a trans scandal and a lesbian sex tape, and that’s all within the first three episodes. I mean, this show was made with the LGBTQ community in mind, right? A: I mean, not intentionally. It was just made more with, you know, the human race in mind. And that includes all of us (laughs). There’s humor and drama to be found in all of our communities, but, yes, there is definitely something to be had for our LGBTQ community in the world of _Flack_. Although a lot of people ask me if that was me, because obviously it’s important to me, but that was just always part of the fiber of the show in those episodes, and that was our writers. I wish I could take more credit for that, but I really can’t.

Q: It sounds like you don’t think we’re at a place where LGBTQ characters can simply live within the fabric of the world, and maybe that’s because LGBTQ people can’t just yet either. A: Are we? (Laughs) I mean, I think everyone has different experiences. I really think it depends what part of the country you’re in and what kind of community you grow up in. Look, I’m a non-American-born Canadian-Kiwi living in liberal California, so my experience of the world as a bisexual woman is probably incredibly different from someone who lives in – not to single anyone out in particular, but let’s say a less progressive state. So I feel like we still have a ways to go, but we’re obviously going in the right direction.

Q: As an actress, are you drawn to stories that tell our stories? A: Yes, but I’m also just drawn to really amazing writing, and I think especially when there are stories that are our stories but are also written in a beautiful and eloquent way, that, to me, is a twofer. I mean,

Q: Where do you stand on the debate that exclusively LGBTQ actors should be playing LGBTQ roles? A: In casting all the characters in this show it would never have occurred to us to look at anyone other than trans actors for trans roles. I frankly did not ask the actress who

Anna Paquin


plays Robyn’s ex-girlfriend because I also don’t really think it’s any of my business. What’s tricky around some of that stuff is that, while I think representation of people within our community is incredibly important, I think it’s also putting a lot of pressure on people to come out in a public way that they may or may not be ready to do yet. I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to force people out of the closet, to be like, “Hey, you shouldn’t be playing this role because you’re not gay.” Well, what if that person is but isn’t comfortable coming out? Where does that leave us as far as representation, but also respecting people’s own timeline for their own lives and what they’re comfortable with? I think it’s incredibly complicated.

about her community asking quite specific questions as far as how we’re representing the community on the show. Because the script, you can do a good approximation, but if that’s not the life that you have lived then, obviously, you’re not gonna get all of it right. And being patient with the fact that we had taken a good stab at it, but then wanting to actually get it right, was something we were really very grateful for, and we obviously very much deferred to her on a lot of it.

Q: Was there pressure on you when you came out? A: If there was, I certainly didn’t experience any. Everyone in my private life knew. It wasn’t a big deal. But also, things aren’t a big deal if you don’t make a big deal of them.

Q: Why did it take so long? A: It wasn’t really a conscious thing. A lot of times with choices it kind of depends on what material comes your way and when. I hadn’t happened to have a proper lesbian love story of any sort really come my way prior to that. I think I was probably somewhat obvious casting for that (laughs). But it’s a beautiful love story, it’s set in the 1950s in Scotland, my character is adopted, basically got outed as a teenager and left her community under quite traumatic circumstances. (She) falls in love with an-

Q: I’d like to note that your show Bellevue represented the trans community in a very real way. I know you really bonded on the set with actress Sadie O’Neil, who played a trans character. A: What an awesome, smart, talented actress and writer and poet. She was incredibly patient with all of us who know less

Q: In Tell It to the Bees you play your first explicitly queer character in film. A: In a film, yes. But my character in (2017’s sci-fi anthology TV series) Electric Dreams was also a lesbian.

Read the rest of this story at: • The Rainbow Times • 19

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

Be visible: Fight the Trans military ban, support our own By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist



he transgender military ban is unacceptable. The ban effectively erases transgender identities as if transgender people don’t even exist. We were headed in the right direction for trans rights under the Obama administration. However, the Trump administration is trying to put a hold on our rights first by taking away the rights of transgender personnel who serve our country and make our country safe for us. Not only is this ban unacceptable, it is inhumane and frankly disgusting. And, it will affect the country as a whole too since there are over 15K transgender servicemembers in the military now. Who will enlist in such large numbers as our community does? What can we do to stop this awful ban? For starters, we can contact our lawmakers and let them know the ban is acceptable. We could also sign petitions that support our transgender troops. But, what else can we do? In my opinion, it might help a great deal if trans people became more visible. I believe that trans people need to be seen in all facets of everyday life so much so that

after a while, it will be normal to see trans people everywhere and everyday. I suggest that trans people ride public transportation, shop in their local stores, patronize their local restaurants, attend their local town and city concerts, and so forth. Be seen, be visible, be a part of everyday life and activities. People need to get used to trans people. I think visibility will get us there. I realize that not everybody can be safe in public for various reasons. I completely understand and I do not wish you to put yourselves in harm's way, so please be safe, even if it means you have to stay on the down low and hidden for now. Other folks who may not face these kinds of situations, though, can be safely seen in public. These are the folks who I want to reach and to whom I am asking to become more visible. We have to start somewhere and I figure that being visible in public is a good way to support our trans folks in the military. They are risking their lives to protect us, so we can at least support them by being visible. It’s easy for me to be visible. I am a trans woman who is 6’3” and I have a low voice, so I am noticeable and visible. I don't mind being visible because I know that by being visible I am showing cis folks that there are indeed, trans people in the world. There was a time, however, when I was deep in my closet and deathly afraid to go out in public. You see, I’m a baby boomer who

“ ... SUPPORT OUR TRANS MILITARY SERVICEMEMBERS SINCE THEY ARE THE ONES BEING ATTACKED ...” was born in the early 1950s and the world was very different back then. It was after World War II and the “good times” were here. The economy was booming and most everyone seemed to want to start a family since the war was over. With the “good times” there was also an attempt to control us, to control how we lived and how we acted. Coronet Films produced many social guidance films for young adults for those purposes, and these films were regularly shown in high schools from the 1940s to the 1980s. The films taught us about dating, family life, courtesy, and citizenship, among other things. There was no mention of transgender people in these films but there was, however, a film about the “dangers” of gay people entitled “The Homosexual.” It definitely was propaganda against gay people. You can view the Coronet film here ( and see for yourself. Can you imagine what kind of films Coronet would have made about transgender people? What I'm getting at is that many of us,

older folks, have seen these Coronet films and, although we may not agree with the propaganda, these films may still be in the back of our minds. As a result, some folks may still have some prejudice against LGBTQIA folks. We need to change these minds and I believe the best way to accomplish this is to be visible and show that we are a part of everyday life. After we change enough minds, these people will most likely be on our side. I do believe that this form of prominence can be an effective route in changing minds to gain and maintain our rights as trans people. Let's start with first supporting our transgender military servicemembers since they are the ones now being attacked by the current administration. These trans military officers are protecting our country and us. Let's support them. Please be visible, but be safe! *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has 3 children and two grandchildren. She can be contacted directly via e-mail at:

The forgotten importance of getting together; of face-to-face talks By: Lorelei Erisis*/TRT Columnist




recently received this question from an old friend of mine. C o m m u n i t y. It’s incredibly important. But then, I doubt I need to tell you that. It’s not hard to find somebody saying this. Look almost anywhere on the Internet, especially in activist leaning circles, and you’ll easily find someone talking about the importance of community. But so often when you hear people talking about “community” nowadays, they are speaking in an abstract. We speak of the LGBTQ community, or the trans community, or the queer community, or any number of other identity-based, often large, and/or ephemerally defined groups. And, for so many of these communities the place they come together most regularly is online. We have Facebook Groups and subreddits, Twitter chats, and assorted forums, newsgroups and virtual worlds. Honestly, I’m not here to be a grumpy “old” person. I love those online communities, and political blocs just as much as anyone else and I make fine use of them all

for the work I do as an activist and performer. Recently, however, I was reminded of the importance of “community,” not just in the online, virtual sense but in the, “real world,” immediate and visceral, face-to-

in-person community and how vital this off-line socialization is to the communities I hold dear. The reason I even knew about this “Lesbian/Sapphic Night” was because I heard about it from one of the organizers, a

I WOULD LOVE FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE A DRINK OR A LAUGH WITH ANY OF YOU LOVELY FOLKS SOMEDAY. face sense. A couple weeks ago, I went to a “Lesbian/Sapphic Night” at a delightful little local bar in Easthampton, Mass. (the town right next to Northampton) called “The 413.” It was filled with “woman-centric” women, non-binary (and assorted adjacent identities), cis and trans people. The crowd skewed a little on the young side, as crowds like this at events like these will do. But, there was also a smattering of people representing age groups up into the 50s, including myself, somewhere in between. It completely warmed my heart. And, over the course of the evening, I began to think just how much I missed this sort of

woman I met while attending a newly formed social/support, “Trans Woman & Fem(me) Meetup” held at a local church in Northampton—where I live. But before I go on, let me give you some context. When I first moved to Northampton, Mass., for the first of several times, as a teenager in the early 90s, it was in it’s heyday of being nationally publicized as, “Lesbianville USA!” The area was filled with more gay and lesbian bars than you could shake a rainbow at. It was a community that was vital and active. If you wanted to meet others like you, there was a place you could go, in-person,

to do just that. At least provided you were over 21. (Or, ahhhhhhhh, you were a 6’4”, especially “mature looking,” 19 year old like I was, or you knew someone who was especially handy with, ummmm, “graphic design”…). And, even if you couldn’t get into the bars and clubs, there were house parties and discussion groups and cafes where interaction was much more de rigueur and encouraged than it is today. Now I’ve come back to town and all the old gay bars are gone. The cafes filled with folks staring at computer screens. The last dedicated “gay bar” in town, “Divas” has been closed almost three years now. Yes, in some senses, this is all (at least) partly a result of some pretty positive advances. The world, or at least this part of the country, has gotten a lot safer and more accepting for gay and lesbian folks and in varying degrees, trans people. LGBTQ people have won great advances both socially and legally. And to a large extent, the disappearance of all the gay and lesbian bars and dedicated meeting spots is a side effect of our ability to safely go where we please. We no longer have go to the gay bar to seek safety in numbers. We can much more safely just go the neighborhood spot than we ever could in the bad old days. Or, at least that’s most true if you are traditionally gay or lesbian and cisgender. Read the rest of this story at

20 • The Rainbow Times •

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019 • The Rainbow Times • 21

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019


Shelby’s death: A wake-up call of the critical need to support LGBTQ PoC youth ALABAMA—Nigel Shelby, a gay Alabama teen described by his mother as “outgoing” and “always full of joy, full of light” has taken his life after ongoing anti-LGBTQ bullying at school, according to the Human Rights Campaign. “I don’t want him to be remembered as a kid who was bullied for being gay and who took his own life,” the teen’s mother Camika Shelby said. “He was so much more than that. He was sunshine. He was just a great spirit to have around and it just breaks my heart because I feel like he had so much more love to give." Suicide is the second leading cause of death among U.S. teenagers, and members of the LGBTQ community are at great risk due to the impact of social stigma, family rejection, bullying, stigma, harassment and abuse. Studies show these rates are increased for Black children, the HRC’s site read ( The 2019 Black and African American LGBTQ Youth Report ( demonstrated alarming trends among more than 1,600 respondents, ranging in age from 13 to 17: • More than 70 percent of youth “usually” feel worthless or hopeless; • Just 35 percent of Black and African American LGBTQ youth said they can “definitely” be themselves in school; • Forty percent of respondents reported being bullied on school property within the last 12 months; • Two-thirds of Black and African American LGBTQ youth have been verbally assaulted because of their LGBTQ identity—and nearly one-third have been physically threatened. The Youth Report noted that “the combination of discriminatory policies, systems, portrayals and biases ( complicate the ability of Black and African American LGBTQ youth to fully express and explore their intersecting racial and LGBTQ identities at a time that is already confusing and difficult to navigate for so many young people.” If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800273-8255. To reach The Trevor Project’s 24-hour crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth, call 1-866-488-7386. The Trans Lifelife can be contacted at 877-565-8860 for transgender people of any age. Read more at Students of New York’s most bigoted church say its head pastor abuses and molests teens Former students from Atlah World Missionary Church, the ill-reputed Harlembased church & private school that outwardly proclaims its hatred of LGBTQ+ people, said that Pastor James Manning “psychologically abuses kids, teaches them

to hate gay people and convinces parents to abandon their children, ” in a Huffington Post exposé ( where they interviewed 27 people closely tied to the church. The outlandish vitriol directed toward the LGBTQ community has come in countless ways. Signs outside of the church that have read inflammatory statements like, “Jesus would stone homos” and “Obama Has Released The Homo Demons On The Black Man. Look Out Black Woman. A White Homo May Take Your Man,” Queerty reported at the time. An interviewee, Sharif Hassan, described his torture at the hands of Manning. “For three full school days in 2011, a church leader would take Hassan to the pitch-black basement in the morning, locking the door and leaving him there for eight hours. Hassan, then 17 and a junior at Atlah High School, sat on a grimy bench in total darkness. His lungs filled with dirty air from the nearby boiler. Bugs and rodents crawled around him,” the Huffington Post wrote. An audio recording allegedly captured sexual abuse ( An audio recording from a female student depicted “Manning sexually harassing and touching her, stating that he’d had sexual feelings towards her since she was 14,” Queerty reported ( “Manning called the recording ‘doctored’ and allegedly began kicking out any students connected to the recording and told their parents to disown them, effectively making these kids homeless high school dropouts. No legal case ever resulted from the recording.” The former students wonder how it is possible that Manning has escaped scrutiny for countless years and equate the power he hold to that of a cult leader. “He has power over all those members in church, whether financially, mentally,” Hassan said to the Post. “How is that anything but a cult?” To read more on this exposé, visit

Trump has made more than 10K false or misleading claims since taking office Often dubbed the Liar-in-Chief by political pundits and others in the social media sphere, an analysis of Trump’s claims since taking the oval office has proven that they weren’t off base, according to the Fact Checker’s database ( The president reached 5,000 false and misleading claims in the database in just over 600 days of his presidency. However, as time moves on, just 226 days later, Trump exceeded the “10,000 mark—an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period, which included the many rallies he held before the midterm elections, the partial government shutdown over his promised border wall and the release of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the presidential election,” the Washington Post reported ( The current tally of false or misleading claims at the time of press is 10,111.

Democratic presidential candidates decline invite to speak at an antiLGBT group’s summit in Iowa IOWA—U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg have all declined invitations to speak at the Family Leader’s summit that is scheduled to take place on July 12, according to a report ( released by NBC News. “I welcome any opportunity to talk about how faith guides me, but I cannot—in good conscience—attend an event put on by an organization that preaches bigotry and sows hate against the LGBTQ community,” wrote Booker on his Twitter page. “That’s why I am declining an invitation to the Family Leader’s July 12 summit.” Invitations were also extended to Vice President Biden and U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (DMass.). Several media reports have noted that the New England Senators have also declined to participate. “The Family Leadership Summit traditionally extends invitations to national leaders from the church, culture and government to speak to Iowa’s faith voters,” read the organization’s website. “In the past, those invitations have included prominent figures from both political parties.” To read more on this story, visit TRANSFORMING PARENTS is a support group for parents and grandparents of transgender, gender non-conforming or questioning children, teenagers & adults. We meet on the 1st Thursday of each month in Northampton. Our next meeting is Thursday, May 2nd, from 6:30-8 p.m. FMI:

Hypocritically Christian From Page 2 “My prayers for Callie. I was going to donate $7,600.00 to her fund, but I found out her parents are lesbian,” they wrote. “I’ve chosen to donate to St. Jude due to that fact. Sorry. I’ll still pray for her though, but maybe it’s God’s way of getting your attention that she needs a mommy and a daddy, not two mommies.” Such a stunted mentality might be understood better if we didn’t know better. But we do. If there hadn’t been documented research upon studies and empirical findings that prove that children who grow up with gay parents thrive just as well or better when compared to those raised in heteronormative households, then one may be able to understand such an ill-informed perspective. But, we know better. If there wasn’t scientific evidence that being a member of the LGBTQ community is valid, even biologically based and irrefutable proof that what benefits children the most is a loving household, then one could possibly understand the level of ignorance. This is not based on ignorance but on hate. This “Christian” donor, as the article describes them, is not Christian at all, at least not according to the example set by the Christ that the Bible depicts and Christians are “called to follow.” When you peel away the layers of people and their behavioral patterns, it becomes obvious as to which Christians live their lives according to Christ’s example and which are wolves in sheep’s clothing. How many times do we hear the religious right extremists argue “pro-life” stances over and over again? However, those very people are usually the ones that pick and choose whose life matters and whose life does not. In this case, because baby Callie has two mothers, her life and the mothers’ suffering didn’t matter to this “Christian.” Instead, their judgment and condemnation was more important to them. That condiRead the rest of this story at:

22 • The Rainbow Times •

Toxic Masculinity From Page 13

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

Izaac Limon (above), 19, He/Him, College Student, transgender male, Native American

Q: Do you think toxic masculinity hurts other trans men? Trans women? Relationships? People of color (QTPoC)? A: The thing with toxic masculinity is that it does not only hurt the person who is projecting it. It has a clear domino effect within families, friends, relationships, schools, and work environments. The toxicity has the possibility of breeding abusive actions and words, and normalizing it to other men that it is okay to act that way sends the message out that we don't have to take accountability in how we behave with our friends, families, partners and strangers.

Freddie Blooms (above), 30, He/Him & They/Them, communications professional / caregiver / artist, Genderqueer/Non-Binary, White with White privilege

Find the comprehensive answers from the interviewees & others that didn’t make it here at:


Queer California: Untold Stories Museum’s Exhibit in Oakland, Calif.

4 LGBTQ exhibits to catch this spring By: Mikey Rox*/Special to TRT

Punch up your post-brunch weekend activities with these exhibits of cultural and LGBTQ significance.



Q: What do you do to combat toxic masculinity (Freddie)? A: As someone perceived as a white man, I am constantly working on leveraging the unearned privilege I am given for a greater good. I try to walk with humility, knowing that I will never cross a threshold into being a "good" masculine person or "good" white person, but that it is a lifetime’s work. I will make many choices to engage in every day—and when I mess up or "fail," I will be compassionate with myself and make a different choice next time. And I will mess up, because I'm only human, and am always going to be working through my own trauma and socialization.

1. Superfine! Art Fair, New York, N.Y. Superfine! NYC moves this year’s everyman art fair, May 1 to 5, from Manhattan’s Meatpacking District to SoHo with a particular emphasis on queer culture, including Brooklyn artist Adam Chuck’s Call Me By Your Preferred Pronoun special project. Commissioned by the fair’s directors, the exhibit’s Polaroidstyle paintings evoke the continued narrative of the Oscar-nominated film’s Oliver and Elio, reimagined with the broader LGBTQ community in mind. Other not-to-miss exhibit highlights include works from contemporary Provincetown artists Andrew Moncrief and Thom Jackson, cloaked-identity Andy Blank’s $200-orless “f*&%ing awesome” pieces made with museum-quality materials (a groundlevel Banksy-esque opportunity, if you buy into the manufactured hype), and tapestrybased mixed media paintings that dabble in the occult from Chris Roberts-Antieau. Tickets are available at and include complimentary beer or wine for fairgoers. 2. Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement, Washington, D.C. While history tries to whitewash what actually happened in New York’s Greenwich Village in June 1969, “Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement” will set the record straight through powerful artifacts, images and historical print publications from those landmark moments in LGBTQ liberation. Housed at D.C.’s Newseum, the exhibit will explore key moments of gay rights history, including the 1978 assassination of Harvey Milk; the AIDS crisis; U.S. Rep. Barney Frank’s public coming out in 1987; hate-crime legislation efforts; “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; and the fight for marriage equality. The program will feature journalists, authors,

politicians and other newsmakers who have led the fight for equality, through Dec. 31, after which the exhibit will travel nationally ( 3. Queer Miami: A Fascinating Look at the History of LGBTQ Communities in Miami, Miami, Fla. Revisit Miami’s queer past through this exciting exhibit of artifacts, photographs and archival footage, curated by local historian Julio Capó Jr., which chronicles more than 100 years of the area’s queer communities’ will to survive, thrive and rise above discrimination, isolation and violence. An expert on the intersection of gender and sexuality throughout history, Capó, who is an associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, also is the author of Welcome to Fairyland: Queer Miami Before 1940, which has received six honors, including several awards from the Florida Historical Society, Florida Book Awards and Southern Historical Association. The exhibition will run until Sept.1 at HistoryMiami Museum. 4. Queer California: Untold Stories, Oakland, Calif. With a concentrated focus on transgender communities, people of color and women, Queer California: Untold Stories at the Oakland Museum of California, through Aug.11, explores the lesser-told history of minorities within a minority through rarely seen artifacts, archival documents, photographs, costumes and ephemera such as ’zines, stickers and flyers. Powerful examples of social activism through contemporary artwork and historical materials align important milestones in LGBTQ culture, showcasing a diversity of queer identities, civil rights and resistance to oppression. OMCA includes representations of queer bodies and material with sexual content in this exhibition to affirm the ways they have been central to the experience of LGBTQ individuals and communities. *Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist Read the rest of this story at: • The Rainbow Times • 23

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

Art & Identity From Page 2 the piano in my church before people would arrive on Sunday mornings and I would take those words and turn them into music. This ritual felt sacred, like a promise to myself that no matter what happened, I would get through it and find another place and group of people who would understand what I went through, what I wanted, and how to live a life that wasn’t societally normal. I didn’t believe it fully at the time, but I hoped for it. I wrote through the three years of trying to be a professional tennis player. I wrote through my Senior year of attending a small private Christian High School so I could graduate on time. I wrote through my undergrad at Liberty University, where I had to keep yet another relationship, my first real lady partner, a secret for three

Visionary from Page 4 sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm. In a rape culture, both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is, in fact, the expression of values and attitudes that can change.” However, societal constructs such as rape culture must be dismantled to end sexual violence. According to Jane Doe Inc., "rape culture is a complex [set] of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women,” its website read ( “It occurs in a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm. In a rape culture, both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is, in fact, the expression of values and attitudes that can change.” Sarang-Sieminski said examples are all around us. Believing the survivors “It’s the victim-blaming we see each time a survivor discloses,” they said. “It’s the lack of resources available for sexual assault survivors. It’s judges or institutional stakeholders who still turn to a survivor’s clothing or behavior as a basis for discrediting them. It’s refusing to believe sexual assault is an issue in LGBTQ communities. It is the language we hear all too often of rape being used to “correct” someone’s sexual orientation, gender expression and/or identity.” Believing and supporting survivors, Sarang-Sieminski says, is a critical step to

years because to be openly queer at Liberty meant expulsion. Halfway through grad school at Boston College, someone suggested to me that I might try freelance writing as a way to pay my bills. More than a decade of playing competitive tennis had wrecked my body and I was struggling to keep up with working full-time at a bakery and taking full credit hours at school. In my whole life, I had never thought that I could possibly get paid for what I had been writing, and when he suggested this, my whole world changed. It was also that year that I would meet my eventual husband, which is something I’ll return to in a moment. The first couple of years of writing professionally sapped the strength from me. I had been using this skill, this art, as an outlet and suddenly, I was dependant upon it for my financial security. It burned me out quickly and I had to start looking for other dismantle rape culture at its core. Education is also key. “We can believe survivors,” said the honoree. “We can acknowledge that gendernonconforming youth are at far greater risk of sexual harm and center the experiences and needs of trans* and gender non-conforming survivors of color in the work we do. We can support survivors at our workplaces by acknowledging and mindfully accommodating the tremendous toll survivorship takes on our health, wellbeing, and spirit. We can talk about and model consent with our children from the time they can talk. We can teach our children what it means to have autonomy over our bodies and what to do or say when they see someone trying to take away that agency (whether directed at them or another person). We can learn what we can do to interrupt rape culture as bystanders.” Undocumented immigrants With regards to the immigrant population, including people that may be undocumented, Sarang-Sieminski offered specific advice and encouragement. “If an immigrant is undocumented and experiencing abuse, they should know that 1. They are not alone; 2. Despite so many forces that may tell them otherwise, no one ‘deserves’ to be harmed; 3. Options for immigrant survivors do exist even in this antiimmigrant climate and; 4. Only they get to make decisions regarding whether, when, and how to access supportive services,” they said. In Massachusetts, survivors can call SafeLink at 1-877-785-2020; TTY: 1-877521-2601 or visit For out-ofstate survivors, they can seek assistance from the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 800-799-SAFE (800-7997233), according to Sarang-Sieminski. “From our unique vantage point as the only statewide coalition in Massachusetts focused on these issues, JDI can see who is doing extraordinary social justice work that often goes unsung,” said Robbin, of Sarang-Sieminski’s nomination. To learn more about Jane Doe Inc.’s initiatives, legislative priorities, and training programs, visit NOTE: Sarang-Sieminski uses the pronouns she/her and they/them.

ways to fill that emotional gap that words had filled up until that point. I picked up a camera and started photographing people. It was exactly what I needed. My first fully-fledged art project was called the Olympians. The idea was to transform humans into deities by putting them in elaborate costumes and covering them in glitter. I wanted it to be a statement on elevating queer culture. My Aphrodite was male. My Hermes was non-binary. All of the models I chose were miscellaneous. They were like me. I moved to Salem, Mass. in 2013. I was bedazzled by all the queerdos that not only lived there, but who wanted to be friends with me. My inner eleven-year-old squealed with delight each time I would have a long conversation about gender or pansexual identity or making weird art. No one looked at me askance when I told them about the fantastical worlds I wanted to create—they offered to help me. No one

questioned me when I told them that I thought that I might be non-binary. They offered me support, they offered me resources, they told me their stories. It was as if I had been given a glimpse into Wonderland, even though most of me was still firmly planted in a world that was purely heteronormative. I lived in a world of expectations. I lived in a world where I was constantly afraid. Even though this brightness was all around me, I didn’t think I had any right to it. Almost immediately after getting married in 2017 I realized that I wasn’t the gender I had been assigned at birth. I was somewhere in the middle. I was Peter Pandrogynous. Marriage has a way of holding up a magnifying glass to self-identity and existing issues and so, along with the gender identity, questions concerning my orientation and my difficulties with monogamy

Gay Lemonade From Page 2

sary, this includes parents. This doesn’t mean you won’t be a dutiful son or daughter and help as best you can physically care for them in old age. It does mean you set boundaries. You need not be subjected to guilt, shame, or judgment by anyone. Life changing events shape and define us. We all get banged around at one point or another—sometimes several times over our long or short lives. You can draw strength and perspective from these unwanted, inevitable experiences and offer a measured response, or you can react and potentially allow yourself to be an angry, bitter victim. Seth is an example of a measured, positive response. Last month, I made a modest contribution ( to Seth’s charity, Unbroken Horizons ( I invite you to do the same, especially if you’d like to give a wedding, graduation, or birthday gift in someone’s honor ( *Paul is a personal chaplain, seminary trained priest, and lawyer in greater Albany, NY. He’s also author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis (”

ever known. The Florida teen became homeless (, yet still graduated Valedictorian, earning admission at George Washington University in D.C. It’s a life changing event. Seth could have self-medicated in many unhealthy ways including drugs, alcohol, or overeating. Instead, he set an example for everyone young or old feeling marginalized or abandoned. He started a nonprofit to provide scholarships to LGBTQ students going to college, university, and vocational and technical schools. His actions told the world he didn’t need his parent’s approval or affirmation. That takes extraordinary spiritual strength. It also demonstrated the self-esteem of an “old soul” in a young man’s body. Ultimately, we answer to the Creator, our consciences, and the person with whom we may one day marry. Although scripture does say honor your father and mother, in doing so you don’t have to be emotionally and psychologically abused. Toxic people need to go. If neces-

Read the rest of this story at:

24 • The Rainbow Times •

May 2, 2019 - June 5, 2019

Profile for The Rainbow Times

The Rainbow Times' May 2019 Issue