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2 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

Fact from Fiction: Elections and the truth; is it too late to make it matter? By: Nicole Lashomb* The Rainbow Times’ Editor

A

fter the Mueller report, it was clear that Russians hijacked the 2016 American elections. Ironically, Hillary Clinton warned of that, before it even took place, calling Trump Putin’s puppet. And, she was right. According to Politico (https://politi.co/2WG2EOv), “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion," Mueller wrote in the 448-page document, which lays out new details about a Kremlin-backed plot that compromised Democrats' computer networks and targeted state and local election offices. Mueller wrote that investigators also found evidence of repeated communications …” When testifying on the report in front of members of Congress (https://bit.ly/2qip6RJ), Mueller warned us, all of us, that the elections needed to be secured. Not only were the Russians going to try and interfere, but they were also actively doing so. Yet, state and local governments have been slow to act to protect our election system, to protect our country. By the time you’re reading this editorial, the local elections in Massachusetts will be over and government elects will be chosen. If anything has been proven over this election cycle is that even at the local level, attacks have been vile, filed with hatred and cowardly acts on behalf of campaigns and the campaigns themselves. How much of

HOW MUCH OF TRUMP’S PERMISSIVE RACIST, MISOGYNISTIC, HOMOPHOBIC, TRANSPHOBIC, ANIT-IMMIGRANT, ANTI-SEMITIC AND MANIPULATIVE TACTICS BEEN DEPLOYED LOCALLY DO YOU THINK? Trump’s permissive racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and manipulative tactics been deployed locally do you think? By my count, there have been plenty, even by the candidates themselves on social media— and it sickened me. What was worse is how many people also chimed in, supporting hate and lie-filled posts, insulting others, making up fake profiles, and pretending to be victimized when they were the ones victimizing others. Tactics that were deployed

Ellen DeGeneres emerges as a prophetess She opens her mouth with CHANGING HEARTS AND wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” Proverbs (31:26). MINDS COMES FROM Ellen DeGeneres has opened her mouth to encourage America to be kind. She and her wife, Portia, sat CIVIL ENGAGEMENT. with former U.S. President George

FAITH, GOD & FAMILY

By: Paul P. Jesep* TRT Columnist

W. Bush and his wife Laura at a football game. Many have criticized her (https://bit.ly/32gJeRk) willingness to fraternize with the “enemy.” There also have been allegations of hypocrisy (https://bit.ly/2qiSpU3). Allegedly, Ellen doesn’t like everyone. According to several critics, she will not book certain individuals. This includes opponents of marriage equality. Not getting booked on Ellen’s show, however, doesn’t make her unkind. In addition, you can still be kind to someone without liking them. I’ve never watched an Ellen show (https://bit.ly/2r3yYyS) from start to finish. Although she’s a talented comedian and excellent interviewer, my priorities are watching

cable news, which raises my blood pressure. If she has a double standard, Ellen will sort it out with the Creator and her conscience. Ellen, like a prophetess, engages, educates, communicates, and encourages the better angels in each of us. Prophets and prophetesses are spiritually grounded teachers. They speak truth to power, set an example, or ask uncomfortable questions most want to avoid. He or she, even though flawed themselves, can be an example to others who may not accept, understand, or feel safe when challenged to move beyond comfort zones. Changing hearts and minds comes from civil engagement. George W. Bush, a likeable man who opposed same-gender mar-

See Ellen On Page 23

were right out of Trump’s own handbook. By appointing Justices to the Supreme Court who align with the neo-nazi type mentality, that Trump also seems to be a part of—whether by actual membership or covertly, he is changing America for years to come. Today’s America is a battleground and his legacy will reflect a faux leadership rooted in darkness—or impeachment. However, what Trump has successfully done is expose the hatred that already filled the hearts of many Americans. His “believers” that follow him blindly or look away when he commits atrocities—like treating immigrants as war criminals—when he, himself, has committed treason against the U.S. while lurking in the shadows within the Oval Office. What he has done is given permission for people to discriminate, to outwardly hate others, to commit acts of violence and emboldened bullies and cowards to pound their chests, parading down the streets. He is invoking and inciting violence through his words, his actions, his lies, and through others’ refusal and denial of any wrongdoing. When The Rainbow Times released its endorsements, my personal Facebook page became flooded with the opposition, spreading misinformation to others and lying about local initiatives and local politicians to try and get one up for the candidate they were supporting. There are and should be boundaries between home life and work life, agreements and disagreements, lies and the truth. I’m afraid in recent years,

Letters to the Editor [Re: Ask A Trans Woman: The hidden complexities of being Trans and closeted on Halloween] Dear Editor, If you want to dress up as a character of another race than yourself, do it! But do it in your own skin; don’t attempt to change your skin color with makeup. (Also stay away from racially associated hair styles such as dreadlocks.) A white person playing Black Panther is as valid as a black Superman or Wonder Woman. Those are honoring the characters, not appropriating them. Alien races with non-human skin colors are another matter. If you really want to wear full face or body paint to be another race, be Na’vi or Vulcan, or even a Smurf if you roll that way. —Shirley Dulcey, Online Please send Letters to the Editor to: editor@therainbowtimesmass.com. 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 publish a letter for any reason at all.

we’ve lost our way. Social media is not the sole culprit, but it certainly has made it easier to spread “fake news” that we all hear so much about. The truth is “fake news” has been around for nearly as long as credible journalism. This current government and governments all over the world have put out propaganda for as long as there’s been news to disseminate. It is a way to sway view points, especially to those who are less informed—intentionally or not—and it serves as a way to reinforce a person’s biases or beliefs, even if they are erroneous in nature. The Harvard Division of Education put out an excellent article (https://bit.ly/2NiCcak) with tips for consumers of news to recognize when something may not be

See Fake News On Page 12

Multiple Award Winning

The Rainbow Times The Largest LGBTQ Newspaper in New England—Boston Based TheRainbowTimesMass.com editor@therainbowtimesmass.com sales@therainbowtimesmass.com Phone: 617.444.9618 Fax: 928.437.9618 Publisher Graysen M. Ocasio Editor-In-Chief Nicole Lashomb Assistant Editor Mike Givens National/Local Sales Rivendell Media Liz Johnson Lead Photographers Steve Jewett Christine M. Hurley Photographer Jenna Joyce

Reporters Mike Givens Jenna Spinelle Chris Gilmore Audrey Cole Ad & Layout Design Prizm PR Webmaster Jarred Johnson Columnists/Guest Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep Mike Givens Keegan O’Brien Affiliations QSyndicate

The Rainbow Times is published monthly by The Rainbow Times, LLC. TRT is an award-winning publication affiliated with QSyndicate. The articles written by the writers, columnists, and correspondents solely express their opinion, and do not represent the endorsement or opinion of The Rainbow Times, LLC or its owners. Send letters to the editor with your name, address and phone number to The Rainbow Times (address shown above), or e-mail any comment/s to the editor-in-chief at: editor@therainbowtimesmass.com. All submissions will be edited according to space constraints. The Rainbow Times, LLC reserves the right not to print any or all content or advertisements for any reason at all. TRT is not responsible for advertising content. To receive The Rainbow Times at your home via regular mail, or through electronic delivery, please visit its website. The whole content and graphics (photos, etc.) are the sole property of The Rainbow Times, LLC and they cannot be reproduced at all without TRT’s written consent. The appearance of names or photographic representations in TRT does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation or gender identity of the named or depicted individuals.


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November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

Age Strong Commission highlights LGBTQ+ elderly lives; fights ageism Commission showcases elderly Bostonians to break up stereotypes and address aging population in the City By:Chris Gilmore TRT Reporter

IN THE LIMELIGHT

BOSTON—Recently, Boston Mayor Marty J. Walsh announced the launch of the first Age Strong Commission public awareness campaign, according to Commission officers. The Age Strong Commission, previously known and launched in early 2019 as the Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, aims to purposely educate others and bring resources to elderly Bostonians as part of a national movement to be more inclusive, accessible and languageand-action positive to older adults living in the city. “In Boston, we are committed to lifting up the stories of our residents, who have contributed so much to our communities,” said Mayor Walsh. “With our ageism work, we aim to create a more compassionate, more inclusive society where everyone has the support they need to live a fulfilling life.” The Age Strong Commission “reflects the City's efforts to make Boston inclusive, accessible and positive for people as they age,” according to the City of Boston’s commission’s initiative website.

Elderly lives shared publicly The campaign showcases eight older Bostonians who “defy negative stereotypes about aging.” Through the use of advertisements (https://bit.ly/2PHSDyJ), they defy labels that are often used against the elderly such as “frumpy, cranky, inactive, senile, frail, childish, over the hill, and helpless.” Their lives’ stories about resiliency directly challenge those biases. “Our goal is to help older adults be rec-

ognized for their experiences and contributions to Boston,” said Age Strong Commissioner Emily Shea to The Rainbow Times via e-mail. “This multifaceted campaign addresses implicit biases about older adults. The goal is to dispel stereotypes and replace the conversation about aging with positive messaging. “Their photos are paired with their stories, and together, challenge the labels society places on them. They all feel a sense

of pride and ownership of their age and life experience—they Age Strong. They serve as examples of how older residents should be treated.” The advertisements will be featured across the city on bus shelters, in Boston Public Library locations, in a 30-second television commercial, and on digital signage through this fall.

See Age Strong On Page 16


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November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

One year out: What’s at stake for LGBTQ Americans in the 2020 elections List of widespread attacks that the Trump-Pence administration has openly levied against LGBTQ people By: Christine Gilmore & Lucas Acosta TRT Reporter & HRC Writer, respectively

IN THE LIMELIGHT

Trump has targeted the LGBTQ community from the first day he took office. From that moment one of his goals, according to the Washington Post (https://wapo.st/2Ng9xTu), was the removal of the LGBTQ Rights page, once an integral part of the White House’s website under former President Barack Obama. However, that page can still be accessed via Obama’s archived issue here: https://bit.ly/2C7UJ33, WaPo reported in 2017. From that moment on, besides attacking most members of marginalized groups, Trump has done everything in his power to squash the rights of women, people of color, sexual and gender minorities while launching a full attack on the 15,000+ transgender servicemembers (https://bit.ly/2qoJPTC) who are actively serving in the military, according to several media reports from nearly every network. “Unfortunately, the Court’s stay of the lower courts’ preliminary orders means that courageous transgender service members will face discharges while challenges to the ban go forward,” said GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director, Jennifer Levi, via a statement in early 2019. “The Trump administration’s cruel obsession with ridding our military of dedicated and capable service members because they happen to be transgender defies reason and cannot survive legal review.” To inform readers, a couple of days ago the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), highlighted the stakes for LGBTQ people in the http://bit.do/hrcspan

http://bit.do/hrcspan

http://bit.do/hrcspan

http://bit.do/hrcspan

PHOTO: RICHARD CATABAY / UNSPLASH

2020 Presidential Election. “Since Donald Trump and Mike Pence took office, LGBTQ people have been under constant attack by an administration that is hell-bent on stripping away our rights and rolling back the progress we’ve made," said HRC President Alphonso David. "But our community is resilient and we have fought back every step of the way. HRC has mobilized our grassroots army of more than 3 million members, and 57 million Equality Voters, across the country to fight back and turn resistance into action. We’ve made investments, hired staff and begun voter engagement in states across the country to defeat Donald Trump. Come November 2020, HRC and the 57 million Equality Voters across the country will be ready to end this nightmare of an administration.” In 2018, HRC mobilized 57 million Equality Voters in targeted states and districts nationwide to help elect pro-equality leaders at every level of the ballot. In 2017, HRC identified six priority states for their importance in both 2018 and 2020: Ari-

2.4 Million Monthly Visitors

zona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In those states, proequality candidates won 5/5 Senate seats, 4/6 Governor’s mansions and broke antiequality trifectas or supermajorities in 4/6 states. Now, in addition to electing proequality candidates nationwide, HRC will build upon the tremendous successes in these states and across the country to elect a pro-equality President in 2020. Here’s a list of all of the attacks the Trump-Pence administration has levied against LGBTQ people (for the full list of Trump’s attacks on LGBTQ people visit https://bit.ly/36xwf1a): 1. Opposition to the Equality Act: Despite support from almost every segment of the U.S. population and a majority of Republicans, President Trump opposed the Equality Act. In May, the House passed the Equality Act, voting to guarantee critical non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people among other crucial rights. 2. Appointed anti-LGBTQ judges: Trump has appointed anti-LGBTQ judges with

alarming anti-LGBTQ records to appointments at every level of the judicial system, including anti-equality Supreme Court Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh and federal nominees Kacsmaryk, Mateer, Bounds, Vitter. Menashi and others. 3. Joked about Pence’s desire to hang LGBTQ people: In 2017, Trump joked about Vice President Pence’s anti-gay agenda saying “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!” In the Workplace 4. Supported employment discrimination against LGBTQ people: The Trump administration submitted amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting discrimination against LGBTQ people. 5. Banned transgender service members from the military: Against the expert advice of military leadership, medical authorities, budget analysts, 70% of Americans and the armed forces of allied countries, Trump and Pence banned transgender people from serving in the military. 6. Rolled back Obama-era non-discrimination protections: Trump’s Department of Justice upended previous DOJ interpretations of the Civil Rights Act that protect transgender and non-binary workers from employment discrimination and ceased enforcing non-discrimination protections as well as taking a hostile stance to LGBTQ workers in court. 7. Planned new rules to license discrimination: Trump’s Department of Labor issued a regulation designed to allow federal contractors to claim a religious exemption to fire LGBTQ workers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 8. Kicked people living with HIV out of the military because of their status: The Department of Defense instituted a “Deploy or Get Out” policy, which would remove military personnel living with HIV from service solely because of their status. 9. Created a hostile work environment for LGBTQ federal employees: According to Politico: “[The Trump administration] fostered a climate where six staffers who are LGBT described removing their wedding rings before coming to work in the morning, taking down photos of their partners and families or ultimately finding new jobs further away from certain political appointees. They did not want to be identified; two said they feared being reassigned for being gay.” In Health Care 10. Section 1557 Rule: HHS published a proposed major change to the administrative rule interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to remove ex-

See 2020 Elections On Page 21

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Trump attacks LGBTQ people, religious minorities with regulation On November 1st, the Trump administration announced a proposed new Health and Human Services (HHS) rule permitting, among other things, discrimination by taxpayer-funded adoption and foster agencies. The proposed rule would allow agencies to turn away potential foster or adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or because a couple is in a same-sex marriage. It would strip away nondiscrimination requirements and permit all Department of Health and HHS grant recipients, notably adoption and foster care agencies, to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and in many circumstances religious minorities and women, while still receive federal funding, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The proposed law was immediately condemned by most LGBTQ+ organizations.. “The Trump-Pence White House has proposed a horrific federal regulation that would permit discrimination across the entire spectrum of HHS programs receiving federal funding,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “This would permit discrimination against LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and women in programs related to foster care, adoption, HIV and STI prevention, youth homelessness, refugee resettlement, elder care programs and more. It is unconscionable that the

Trump-Pence administration would prioritize advancing discrimination over the wellbeing of vulnerable people and expect taxpayers to foot the bill for their discriminatory policies. The Trump-Pence White House is relying on the same flawed legal reasoning they’ve used in the past to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people and other communities.” When the proposed regulation is formally published, the American people would only have 30 days to offer public comments, an unusually short period to consider a policy that would enable widespread discrimination against LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and women that do not align with the belief system of an HHS grant recipient. Furthermore, the Trump-Pence White House has declined to enforce existing non-discrimination requirements regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and sex in programs that receive federal funding where the protection isn’t statutorily required while the proposed comment is pending. GLAD Senior Staff Attorney Polly Crozier issued the following statement: "What children need is supportive care and a safe and affirming home. This proposed rule not only harms children by reducing the number of potential homes available at a time when there is such incredible need, but it also sends a devastat-

PHOTO: MERCEDES MEHLING/UNSPLASH

Proposed plan allows discrimination by taxpayer-funded foster & adoption agencies

ing message to LGBTQ youth in care that they themselves are not worthy. We know that LGBTQ youth, and especially LGBTQ youth of color, are overrepresented in the child welfare system. This policy perpetuates bias and stigma that will hurt those

WE KNOW THAT LGBTQ YOUTH, AND ESPECIALLY

LGBTQ YOUTH OF COLOR, ARE OVERREPRESENTED IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM.

THIS POLICY PERPETUATES BIAS AND STIGMA THAT WILL HURT THOSE YOUNG PEOPLE.

OUR TAXPAYER-FUNDED SUPPORT SYSTEMS MUST BE FOCUSED ON HELPING, NOT

HARMING, CHILDREN."

young people. Our taxpayer-funded support systems must be focused on helping, not harming, children." This is the latest action since Trump and Pence took office that grants HHS recipients a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and women: • In May of 2017, the Trump-Pence White House put out an executive order mandating the Department of Justice to work agency by agency to regulatorily create broad exemptions allowing faith-based organizations to discriminate against those who do not agree with their personal beliefs. • In January of this year, Trump-Pence’s HHS granted a waiver from federal nondiscrimination requirements to South Carolina’s Foster Care Program, which has contracted with a child welfare provider who seeks permission to refuse to serve prospective parents who do not share their religious beliefs, but who want to continue to receive federal funding to provide those services. South Carolina requested the waiver to allow federal funds to go to a child welfare agency that refused to work with Jewish and Catholic people who were otherwise eligible to support children in need. • This continues a pattern of citing court decisions unrelated to nondiscrimination laws to justify stripping away protections for LGBTQ people and others. In 2017, HRC released a report, titled Disregarding the Best Interest of the Child: License to Discriminate In Child Welfare Services, detailing the harms of efforts to write anti-LGBTQ discrimination by child welfare agencies into law. Statistics suggest

Trump Attacks LGBTs On Page 10


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November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

LGBTQ+ & Allies Thanksgiving dinner & celebration in Salem, Mass. Flavors of your Palate Presents a thanksgiving dinner, Dining with Strangers to nourish the soul and belly By: Audrey Cole TRT Reporter

SALEM, Mass.—The holidays can be a difficult time for some members of the LGBTQ+ community, where discrimination, isolation and lack of acceptance can make the season a gloomy one, according to a personal chef who hopes to turn that around this Thanksgiving. “I’m hosting this event to share food and love with folks that are going through, what I’ve been through,” said Chef Jonil Casado. “I’ve felt isolated or discriminated by family and friends at holiday gatherings.” Working together with partners from the LGBTQ+ Community, Casado will be serving a variety of cuisine, combining elements of different culinary traditions originating from different countries, regions, and cultures. “Jonil has everything it takes to be a successful LGBTQ community business leader—a terrific vision, a high-quality product, and a huge heart,” said Kristen Porter, Founder of Kristen Porter Presents/Dyke Night®. “It is a pleasure to mentor someone with such talent and humility who wants to give back. It is the creative process of finding ways to address multiple social issues as a social entrepreneur that is

PHOTO: JONIL CASADO

so much fun and Jonil’s Thanksgiving Dinner does just that." The event, Dining with Strangers, an LGBTQ & Allies Thanksgiving celebra-

tion, will take place on November 23 in Salem, Mass. “I started Flavors of your Palate in March of this year to offer personal chef

services,” explained Casado. “I’ve built in Dining with Strangers [events] to unite folks from all walks of life through their love of food. For this particular Thanksgiving event, I must credit Kristen Porter (from Dyke Night® ) because we brainstormed on how we can partner [together] and this came up while chatting. Although we will work on other events in the future, this one, I’m doing solo.” A Salem resident, Casado believes in empowering the LGBTQ+ community. Organizing this event, he believes, is one way to do just that. “These types of dinners are necessary to spread love, education and unity,” he said. “It’s time to create awareness and let the world know that we are people and are deserving of love, respect, and rights. I want to empower our LGBTQ+ community in every way I can. I want to start new traditions.” Attendees will find a non-judgmental place where the season can be celebrated openly and authentically. “It gives strangers the opportunity to learn about one another's culture, ideology, and community while having a delicious meal and yummy drinks,” said Casado via

See Salem On Page 23


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November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

Queer Puzzle November: Friends of Jessica Jones

PHOTO: SJ BAREN / UNSPLASH

Salem From Page 9 a press release. “The purpose of these events is for strangers to cultivate friendships and unity. Enjoy a judgment-free zone. Speak and dress as you wish. Leave your mask at home and your worries at work. Casado said he is currently expecting between 45-75 people to attend. “So far many people have demonstrated interest and have purchased tickets,” he

Trump Attacks LGBTs From Page 6

Across 1 Easy putt for Patty Sheehan 6 Bunch of stallions 10 Mary's pet 14 Best possible 15 1847 Melville travel book 16 Steinbeck migrant 17 With 18-Across, first Black lesbian superhero on TV 18 See 17-Across 20 B in Leviticus 21 Memory unit 22 Endora portrayer 23 "___ no idea!" 25 "Queen of Country" McEntire 27 Rio beach of song 30 "Rainbows Reign" and more 34 Hulu program with a teen lesbian 36 Bread 37 Elton John's lang. 38 Bottom line 40 Queer ___ three-dollar bill 41 Like a porn facial 45 Title role for Ruby Rose on the CW 49 _Cats_ inspirer 51 It may be eaten in a bar 52 Invite from bottoms to tops? 53 The life of Riley 54 Tickle a funny bone 57 Skipper's spot 59 "Dancing Queen" band 63 TV show with Alex Danvers, big sister of one from Krypton

65 Katrina Law plays Nyssa on this program 66 Penetrating question? 67 Shirley MacLaine's la Douce role 68 Moonshine maker 69 Straddling 70 Dog owner of South Park 71 Where to stick your tools Down 1 Bee Gees family name 2 Laying out 3 Sexual partners, inelegantly 4 Deus ex ___ 5 Antlered beast 6 Easter, Passover, and Bette Midler's birthday? 7 Do a nocturnal activity 8 Mister with a neighborhood 9 Homer's outburst 10 Once upon a time... 11 Similar (to) 12 "Can't Help Lovin' That Man Of ___" 13 Asks from one's knees 19 Just not done 21 Tallulah's home, for short 24 Cut 26 One with limbs spread wide 27 Legal conclusion beginning 28 Gridiron kicks 29 Stones' song covered by Tori Amos 31 Siege site of 1836 32 ___ T. Lardbottom of "Kudzu" 33 Pundit Alexander

35 Where to stick your salami 39 Navigator with a strait named for him 42 Norma Desmond's shot 43 Baseball great Ralph 44 "Getting to Know ___" 46 Amsterdam transport 47 "Till There ___ You" 48 In the world 50 Casual top 54 Sailing the Pacific 55 Bitch without papers, e.g. 56 Capable of performing 58 At Wit's End author Bombeck 60 Soft cheese 61 Cheeky 62 They poke around in leather 64 Bunkmates on base 65 Tammy Baldwin's party symbol

SOLUTION

that an estimated two million LGBTQ adults in the U.S. are interested in adoption, but the LGBTQ community often remains an untapped resource when it comes to finding families for children and youth in foster care. The report debunks the myth that having more providers is the key to higher rates of placement in homes; the bottleneck is not the number of providers, but the number of prospective parents. Where providers have ceased to provide services rather than comply with nondis-

said. “I’m also looking for sponsors to be able to donate tickets to those that cannot afford it.” Tickets are $29 and can be purchased online at Eventbrite (https://bit.ly/32fs9Y3). To connect with Casado on social media, check out his Facebook page: @personalchefjonil; and his Instagram handle: @flavorsofyourpalate. The LGBTQ+ Thanksgiving Dinner takes place at Espacio located at 105 Congress St. in Salem, Mass. on Saturday, November 23rd at 6 p.m. Kasey Suffredini released the following statement: “Right now in America there are hundreds of thousands of children waiting in government care for forever homes, and there are loving LGBTQ parents eager to care for them. This action today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services means that children in government care will needlessly continue to wait for the loving homes they need and deserve, while prospective LGBTQ parents are turned away not because of their ability to parent but because of who they are. This is a travesty for everyone involved, and distinctly

... RESEARCH CONSISTENTLY SHOWS THAT LGBTQ YOUTH ARE OVERREPRESENTED IN THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM, AS MANY HAVE BEEN REJECTED BY THEIR FAMILIES OF ORIGIN BECAUSE OF THEIR LGBTQ STATUS & ARE ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE TO DISCRIMINATION & MISTREATMENT WHILE IN FOSTER CARE.

THIS REGULATION WOULD ONLY EXACERBATE THESE CHALLENGES FACED BY LGBTQ YOUNG PEOPLE. crimination laws, placement rates did not decrease significantly as a result. Further, research consistently shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system, as many have been rejected by their families of origin because of their LGBTQ status, and are especially vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment while in foster care. This regulation would only exacerbate these challenges faced by LGBTQ young people. Freedom For All Americans’ incoming CEO and National Campaign Director

un-American. Studies show that children who age out of foster care without being placed with a family are at increased risk of homelessness, incarceration, and poverty. Enacting a rule that will limit the number of parents able to provide these homes is irresponsible, dangerous, and harmful to our nation’s foster children. We must put our children’s safety, health, and wellbeing ahead of discriminatory policies; our children’s needs should always come first."


November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

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Project Out receives $10K grant from Eastern Bank to serve the transgender community Non-profit organization offers community education, trans-specific services to allow for authentic living By: Audrey Cole TRT Reporter

SALEM, Mass.—Project Out, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization, has received a $10,000 grant from Eastern Bank to support its gender-affirming and community education programs, according to the organization’s spokesperson. “We are immensely grateful to Eastern Bank for their ongoing philanthropic work in the LGBTQ community and their dedication to supporting Project Out’s mission and programming to serve our transgender and non-binary community,” said Graysen M. Ocasio, Co-Executive Director of Project Out. The nonprofit was founded in April 2018 and launched in Salem, Mass. shortly thereafter. “Project Out was established with a twofold purpose—to assist the transgender and non-binary community in achieving authentic daily living while at the same time, eradicating bias existing within the nontransgender (cisgender) community through education and training initiatives,” explained co-founder Nicole Lashomb. As the demand for Project Out’s services surged, Lashomb and Ocasio reached out to Eastern Bank for support. “I was very impressed with the mission of Project Out, when I heard about it from

Nicole and Graysen,” said Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation President & CEO Nancy Stager. “It is an important resource for the community.” Community Education is Key: Project Educate Project Educate, the organization’s comprehensive training program, affords Project Out the ability to provide direct assistance to trans individuals while educating mainstream audiences on how to properly engage and interact with trans and non-binary people in an affirming way. “The health and support of transgender individuals cannot be achieved without involving the greater community,” Ocasio said. “Too many times, trans and non-binary people do not receive necessary support to be able to live each day authentically and safely. Part of that support and safety is to be accepted by mainstream audiences and society, in general. Through Project Educate, we seek to change that.” Trainings are provided and tailored to schools, municipalities, businesses, nonprofit organizations, health centers and civic groups. “We have several organizations and busi-

See Eastern Bank On Page 13


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WHAT WAS WORSE IS HOW MANY PEOPLE ALSO CHIMED IN, SUPPORTING HATE AND LIE-FILLED POSTS, INSULTING OTHERS, MAKING UP FAKE PROFILES & PRETENDING TO BE VICTIMIZED WHEN THEY WERE THE ONES VICTIMIZING OTHERS. Fake News From Page 2 from a credible source. Facebook, whose process is not easy to “pass” considers The Rainbow Times a credible source,for those who had asked me that question then. At the very least, fact-check your own thoughts and concerns. There are some great fact-checking resources out there such as FactCheck.org, PolitiFact.com, or Snopes.com. Do your own detective work and feel more confident in being able to

identify fact vs. fiction. Heading into 2020 election, we could all use it. *Nicole Lashomb is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times and Co-Ed of Project Out. She holds an MBA from Mayrlhurst University and a BM from the esteemed Crane School of Music. Nicole can be reached at editor@therainbowtimesmass.com.


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Eastern Bank From Page 11 nesses already on our schedule that recognize the critical importance of being able to interact in an affirming way with a trans and/or non-binary individuals,” Lashomb said. Currently, Project Out is booking training sessions into February 2020. “It really does come full circle,” Lashomb said. “Once a business or organization has completed our training program, they are added to our referral database. At that point, Project Out will be able to confidently refer trans and non-binary people to those organizations for services and/or products.” Board member Jeff Cohen underscores the importance of funding and the reality that many organizations serving marginalized groups encounter. “With the Federal government being less supportive financially of non-profits generally, the small pot of funding available becomes more competitive and marginalized communities are even more disadvantaged,” Cohen said. “It’s wonderful that Eastern Bank recognizes the importance of education and we hope other institutions will follow suit to support the necessary programs such as Project Health and Project Educate.” Living Authentically Through its trans-specific programming—Project Health, Project ID, Project

You and Project Work—the non-profit provides funding for medical co-pays and other financial assistance such as transportation to medical appointments. “Transitioning can be very expensive,” said Lashomb. “We have seen a very real need for the trans community to receive financial assistance and support to be able to transition safely and affirmingly. The services we provide can be life-saving.” Life saving, they are. “I will never forget our first client,” said Lashomb. “After waiting five years to begin hormone therapy, he went to the pharmacy to pick up his prescription. Unfortunately, it carried a co-pay that he could not afford. He had to leave the prescription behind. Within a couple of days, we contacted the pharmacy, paid for his co-pay and he began treatment.” In the client survey, the young man wrote, “I was feeling down and not well. After [Project Out’s assistance], I felt I had a reason to go on,” Lashomb said. “That is exactly why we do the work we do,” Ocasio added. Project Out, Inc. also offers referral services, legal assistance for ID and gender marker changes, transportation stipends for medical appointments, and connects trans and non-binary individuals to businesses that are trans and non-binary competent. Eastern Bank’s Commitment

See Eastern Bank On Page 20


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Please attend TDoR and help bring an end to Transgender murders By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw* TRT Columnist

I

TRANS OPINION

t's November again and once more it is time for the TDoR, Transgender Day of Remembrance. Every year we memorialize the transgender people who have been murdered from the previous November to the current November. As of this writing, since last November 20, 2018, 296 transgender people have died throughout the world. In the USA so far it's been 36 transgender people who have died. Here is my source: https://bit.ly/34s1oBd. This list includes suicides [and a trigger warning, for reader discretion]. I realize that some folks do not think suicides should be included in the TDoR. I believe they think this way because the folks who committed suicide were not brutally murdered by others, and including suicides dilutes the importance of concentrating on the brutally awful murders. While I can appreciate this point of view I, like many others these days, do include suicides in the TDoR. My personal reasoning is that first these folks most likely took their lives because of the way others treated them, therefore they indi-

rectly died at the hands of others; and secondly, I have known several friends who have committed suicide and, frankly, I cannot bear to exclude them from the TDoR. Why do some folks brutally murder transgender people and why do some folks drive some transgender people to suicide? I don't have the answers but I do have my opinions.

our birth name. They may also use incorrect pronouns [misgendering] while referring to us. Others may seek to exclude us from organizations like the U.S. Military service or refuse to serve us in their businesses or to recognize us as family members or friends. They may to erase transgender identities and they may try to take away our human rights. These partic-

THEY DON’T SEE US AS EQUALS AS HUMAN BEINGS.

INSTEAD THEY TREAT US AS “OTHERS” AND NOT DESERVING OF LIFE. I think some folks “other” us, that is they don’t see us as equals as human beings. Instead they treat us as “others” and not deserving of life. Therefore, our lives do not matter to them and to them we are expendable—making it probably ok, in their eyes, to brutally murder us. Some folks refuse to believe in trans identities. Instead, they believe that transgender people are sick or confused or possessed by demons. These folks usually refuse to acknowledge us as for our authenticity and they may continue to call us by

ular scenarios may be causing factors for some of the transgender suicides. Some trans people are murdered after being intimate with non-trans people. It could be a date or it could be sex work. It doesn't matter. It all boils down to the stigma that trans people are not equals and are regarded as “others.” Laverne Cox shed some light on this subject in a June 2019 BuzzFeed interview. “Your attraction to me as a trans woman is not a reason to kill me,” Cox said in an interview that aired recently on BuzzFeed

News’ Twitter morning show, AM to DM (https://bit.ly/33iRhOO). “There’s been a market for trans women in the realms of dating and sex work for a very long time. We don’t have to trick anyone. There’s this whole sort of myth that trans women are out there tricking people, that they deserve to be murdered, and that’s not the case.” Citing issues that exacerbate injustices against black trans women—such as homelessness, not having access to gainful employment, a lack of affordable health care—Cox said, “You’re more likely to experience violence so those systemic things have to be dealt with.” She believes people who are cisgender and those who identify as female should “have conversations with the men in your life about trans people. We have to lift the stigma around attraction to trans people, and we have to lift the stigma around trans people existing,” she added. Yes, it is a systemic issue and we need to change a lot of things. Thank you, Laverne Cox, for your keen insight on this issue! In the meantime, I urge everyone to attend a TDoR in your area. The local community listings will help you find a TDoR near you. Let’s help to get the word out about these awful deaths and let’s work together to systematically change things and make it a safe world for transgender people. *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has 3 children and two grandchildren. She can be contacted at dejavudeja@sbcglobal.net.

Ask a Trans Woman: Finding the future of the Transgender Day of Remembrance

I

’ve written a lot about the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) over the last decade. And I’ve generally espoused a very hard line attitude towards preserving the annual observance as a day to promote awareness of the violence that trans people all over the world face every day of our lives—most especially as a call to come together as a community and mourn those trans folks, the large percentage of whom are trans women of color, who have been murdered over the past year. I have tried to fight against the desire to minimize, or even avoid altogether, the very real horror and deep sadness that accompany the observances for most folks. I have argued that while it’s important to celebrate the positive parts of being trans; it is also important to make space to acknowledge and actively deal with the harder emotions, and real dangers that are still very much a part of our collective experience. I stand by these arguments. And yet, I would be remiss if I did not admit that I also have come to think there must be space for change and growth in how we observe the Trans Day of Remembrance. I have felt many TDoR observances have begun to groan under the weight of their

By: Lorelei Erisis* TRT Columnist

own traditions and rote-repeated norms. I believe that for TDoR to stay vital and relevant to our needs as a community, we must make the space to rethink what TDoR

ply to listen—to really listen. I also have to be ready to be wrong. At the very least, I need to be prepared to allow my own ideas and opinions to grow and evolve.

I HAVE RECENTLY BECOME CONVINCED THAT IT MAY BE TIME TO SERIOUSLY RETHINK THE TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE, OR RATHER, HOW WE ACTIVELY OBSERVE IT IN OUR OWN COMMUNITIES. is to us, and particularly how it should be observed. It is good to discuss these things. Take a magnifying glass to our assumptions. Preserve what works. Discard or change what doesn’t. This process itself reflects what I believe to be at the heart of my argument for preserving and honoring the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The very real need to take the time to face the harsh realities that must be dealt with, and do the hard work that needs to be done. As a columnist and advocate, I have always believed that my primary job is sim-

As part of my constant process of actively listening, I have recently become convinced that it may be time to seriously rethink the Transgender Day of Remembrance, or rather, how we actively observe it in our own communities. As such, I asked my rather broad networks of trans folks and our closest cis allies what they thought the future of TDoR should be? What our observances should look like, both ideally and realistically? What I received were, by and large, some quite honest and, I thought, fair criticisms of TDoRs in general as well as some more

local specifics and a few genuinely excellent and direct suggestions for forward change. However, I think there are seeds with which we may grow the future of TDoR buried in all of these thoughts— there to be sprouted by anyone willing to give them water. To be clear, I don’t claim to have the answers myself to how TDoR should grow and adapt. I, of course, have some ideas. But, I am also very aware of my own relative privilege as a white trans woman living and working inside several overlapping bubbles of social and economic privilege. And so, in this case, I feel it’s best to let you hear some of these other voices for yourselves. Consider their ideas and, perhaps, let them guide you in your own work to find the future of the Transgender Day of Remembrance for yourself and your own community. I have removed the identities of these folks and minimally edited for clarity and length some of their comments. I have also removed specific place names. Partly, I have done this to protect the identities of those whose voices you read here; but also because, in my own experience, many of these comments can very well easily apply to a rather wide range of places that hold TDoR observances. Here are those voices. Read the rest of this story at TheRainbowTimesMass.com


16 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

Age Strong From Page 3

them as examples of positive aging.”

“This campaign is groundbreaking! Kudos to the Age Strong Commission for presenting bold, vivid, dynamic individuals to challenge our culture’s (mis) representation of what being ‘old’ means,” said Lisa Krinsky, Director, Fenway Institute’s LGBT Aging Project. “I think these ads will surprise viewers and open their hearts and minds toward older adults—seeing

LGBTQ & Intersectional Inclusion The city’s efforts to portray the seniors are also racially and ethnically inclusive— including members of the LGBTQ community too. “Our Age Strong team recognizes Boston’s aging LGBTQ community as a group to target to make sure that they have access to our services and programs, be-

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cause LGBTQ older adults are a part of a vulnerable population,” explained Shea. Aware of the inclusion of LGBT elderly adults, Krinsky concurred. “One of the people profiled identifies himself as a LGBT activist (among other things) and though the others don’t address LGBT issues directly, they represent a diverse and inclusive group of Boston residents,” Krinsky noted. Although there are no current or “out”

transgender elderly in the Commission, they are committed to full representation, according to their Commissioner. “We are committed to better represent all Bostonians, as we all experience aging. Our main objective is to break down stereotypes, including for transgender residents,” Shea explained. “We welcome the transgender community to engage with the

See Age Strong On Page 23


TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 17

November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

Healing through travel: “The Mountains of Paris” By: Audrey Cole TRT Reporter

Similarly to many in the LGBTQ community, author David Oates experienced first hand the painful rejection of “coming out.” Soon after, however, he realized how travel and the awe of the great outdoors could be transformative during tumultuous times. He fled his home, crushing dullness of routine and religious condemnation, and began his journey—mountaineering abroad. “The ‘God’ I had from my evangelical church hated me,” Oates told _The Rainbow Times_. “I was the gay kid in the Baptist pew, and it seemed that no amount of devotion or sincerity could compensate for my innate contemptibleness. It ate me up with grief, loneliness, and self-loathing.” Little did Oates know that his selfloathing was about to be deconstructed on a trip to the mountains. “What saved me,” an ironic word Oates notes, “was the High Sierras, where I got a college summer job taking at-risk kids up into the mountains. It was a shoestring operation, but we did some serious work!” An answer to defeating his internalized homophobia, sparked by his religious upbringing, slowly began to reveal itself to the writer. “I got to spend months clambering peaks and hiking remote forests and waiting for the next group to show up,” Oates recalled. “Spending a couple of days at a little glacial tarn, say, at eleven thousand feet, with peaks on three sides and a near-infinite view on the other. Quiet time in places like this … nights under the sky … patience and kindness from the other young men and women who were my co-workers— these began to construct an answer to the self-hating defensiveness and hiding I’d trained myself into.” An accomplished author of five nonfiction books and two of poetry, Oates has recently released The Mountains of Paris: How Awe and Wonder Rewrote My Life. In it, he explains how societal pressure, in addition to religious shame and shunning, transported him to a place whose views and

grandness peacefully merged to give him the clarity he needed. “I begin my story at a very low point in my life—the struggle in my first year away at college. I had walked all night, weeping and praying to God to change my ‘sinful’ queer self,” reflected Oates. “Around dawn, something else spoke to me. It was wordless. Huge. Beautiful. I looked from a bluff over the ocean and saw, not God’s wrathful condemnation (which I believed in, fervently), but instead—just the light of the horizon. A few stars still visible. Rocks and surf seething far below me. The wideness of the world, that made my agonizing over points of doctrine seem petty and unimportant.” Through the book, Oates also challenges the concept of ‘coming out’ and proposes the concept of ‘coming in’ to be able to counter the hatred often faced by LGBTQ people in society. “Coming out? In some way the preparation for it was this coming-in: Becoming at peace within myself,” he said. “I came to see that I was not separate from this universal pageant of scale and beauty, but clearly just another part of it. Not perfect; very small indeed; but worthy of participating in the world just like any other part of it. Made small, I grew. Coming out was relatively easy after that. When your feet are securely planted, you can’t be shamed by narrow doctrines and hateful people.” Oates is onto something. According to several articles and journals published about the impact of traveling and spending time in nature, such time can lead to restored mental energy and clarity, decreased stress, improved mental health, reduced risk of early death and countless physical benefits like the potential to reduce the risk of cancer and boost the immune system, Business Insider reported (https://bit.ly/2PM5MXK). “In this book, I follow that lead … and it takes me everywhere,” Oates said. “Nature. High peaks. Cities full of culture. Music. Art. Poetry. And the love I share with my dear companion—twenty years and count-

See Travel On Page Page 20


18 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

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Adam Does Adam: Glam-pop performer talks creative freedom American Idol’s Eighth Season Runner-up on LGBTQ music evolution and his full-circle Cher moment By: Chris Azzopardi* Special to TRT

At this point, American Idol is a mere footnote in Adam Lambert’s undaunted, venturesome, decade-long career. It was 2009 when Lambert astonished gays and moms with his confident strut and those sky-high notes, ultimately giving him the runner-up spot during the reality show’s eighth season. Since then, the out San Diego native, now 37, has checked some pretty wild boxes. Making Cher cry? Check. Queen frontman? Check. With his latest album, Velvet: Side A, the glam poprocker is checking yet another box, one that’s especially important to him: the box that lets him call the creative shots. Recently, Lambert phoned to talk about the classic, Queen-influenced sound of some of his best music yet, the progress made for LGBTQ artists, and his ongoing mission to root his career in “honesty and authenticity.” Q: It must be such a great feeling to promote a project you were so invested in from the get-go. Adam Lambert: Because I was so involved and so in the driver’s seat on this one, the sense of gratification I get from talking about it and sharing it runs deeper than ever before. Q: What are you giving yourself permission to do that you couldn’t do at the beginning of your career? A: I think it really all comes from knowing myself better. Knowing myself as an artist, knowing myself as a person, knowing what is keeping it real. And if something comes up that just doesn’t feel authentic, I’m just like, “No, I don’t want to do that.” Which is great. And obviously, having put the time in over the last 10 years into my career, I think I’ve earned more of that right. I’m doing what I want to do, period, the end. Everything about this project is me doing what I want to do. Creatively, I’m not having to compromise with anybody. Q: So are the EDM days over then? A: For now. (Laughs.) Q: That must feel refreshing. A: Yeah. I think I wanted to do something sonically that just felt like a different page for me, and also something that felt timeless, something that wouldn’t go out of date in three years. I just wanted to do something that felt classic. Q: Has touring as the frontman of Queen influenced that desire? A: There’s definitely some parallels there, for sure. I think having been part of that lineup has definitely rubbed off on me and made me realize it’s not always about the next sound. That’s not always the way to have the strongest connection with an audience. It doesn’t always need to be something that’s the next wave. It can be something that works that people love.

Adam Lambert

Q: Who do you admire for putting artistic integrity before commercial success? A: There’s a list, for sure. But recently, I do think that Lady Gaga has been an amazing example of somebody who’s gone against what was obvious or expected of her and done what made her happy, and I think at the end of the day the thing that I had to come to the realization of is, “If I’m happy with it and it feels authentic to me, that will come across to the public.” In the past I may have been guilty of trying to please the outside before the inside, and trying to just

PHOTO: JULIAN BROAD

do what was trendy or popular or what somebody else was doing as opposed to something that felt like it would make me happy, first and foremost.

fortable, a lot of people you’re trying to make feel like they’re a part of something. And you have to make a lot of compromises in order to do that.

Q: Was there a lot of pressure on you to conform? A: (Hesitates.) There was definitely some pressure put on artists in my position. But also, it’s me not being an idiot. I’m looking around, aware of how it works, and that is in many cases just how it works. You have a lot of people you’re trying to make com-

Q: You’ve said one of the reasons you decided on the name Velvet for the album is because The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, published in 2005, left a Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com


November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

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20 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

Eastern Bank From Page 13 Community partners like Eastern Bank are critical to Project Out’s mission. Overall, transgender organizations receive a small fraction of funding compared to other organizations, making Eastern Bank’s contribution to Project Out critically significant. “Trans communities only received 0.015 percent of all foundation funding, or a penny for every $100 foundations awarded,” Project Out board member Elsabel Rincon noted regarding a statistic published by the Nonprofit Quarterly. In contrast, Eastern Bank’s Charitable Foundation has provided more than “$1 million to LGBTQ causes” alone over the last decade, and millions more through the years, according to Stager, who is also Executive Vice President of Human Resources. “Eastern has been a corporate leader in supporting equality initiatives through both financial assistance and our progressive corporate practices,” said Andrea Goodman, Vice President, Public Relations &

Communications to The Rainbow Times. “This includes becoming the first company in the country to sign GLAAD’s amicus brief that asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), adding gender identity to our employee nondiscrimination policy, expanding our health insurance to include coverage for gender-related care, including transition-related surgery and supporting services, becoming the first bank in the U.S. to appoint a transgender person to the Board, and using our business voice, philanthropy and advocacy to help successfully uphold transgender equality in Massachusetts during last November’s election and ‘Yes on 3’ ballot question. Supporting Project Out’s important work to help advance the LGBTQ community is another example of our commitment to support opportunity for all.” A long-standing advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, Eastern Bank is a staple in the LGBTQ community. “I am delighted that Eastern Bank has awarded these funds to help Project Out provide services to the trans and non-binary population,” Betsy McGinnity, Project Out board member added. “It’s really heartening to get support from such a great community partner.” The bank has been providing assistance to organizations for “25 years now, and have donated over $85 million in close to 25,000 grants,” Stager said.

THANKSGIVING!

November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

And, the bank’s commitment reaches far beyond funding. “We will use our philanthropy, volunteerism, and advocacy to do what is right and smart to enhance inclusion across our region, to drive equitable economic mobility, and to work to encourage a welcoming environment for everyone; enabling each of us to make the kind of personal contribution we are meant to make and move our corner of the world to be better, fairer, more sustainable,” Stager affirmed. Eastern Bank donates $6-8 million each year across its footprint from the white mountains of NH, through eastern and central MA to the tip of the Cape, and into RI. “Eastern Bank’s contribution to Project Out will be life-changing and life-saving for countless individuals taking part in our programming from trans-specific services, to community education forums, to corporate and nonprofit training,” said Ocasio. “We thank them for their dedication to serving those most vulnerable among us and creating a brighter and more positive world for tomorrow.” Project Out has been selected to receive proceeds from the Holiday Classics Concert held at the historic Old Town Hall, located at 32 Derby Square in Salem Mass. The performance will be from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, December 13. For more information about this annual benefit, visit https://bit.ly/32h1JoT. Learn more about Eastern Bank at www.easternbank.com. To find out more about Project Out or to get involved, visit www.projectout.org.

Travel From Page 17 ing.” Malcolm René Ribot, commonly referred to as the FTM Traveler (https://bit.ly/34v1MPc) and a man of trans experience, shares Oates’ conclusions about the healing aspects the wild can bring into someone’s life. “Nature can absolutely be incredibly healing for the soul—generally throughout life, and in my experience, especially through transitioning and/or coming out,” Ribot said to The Rainbow Times. “I personally feel at peace there. Nature doesn’t judge me. Nature doesn’t judge any of us, nor cares in which ways we dress, express, or even relieve ourselves when ‘nature calls.’ It’s where I feel free simply just to be. To exist as I am.” Oates shares Ribot’s sentiment. “This consciousness of the deep, wild spirit of the cosmos is our birthright, I think, like the right to breathe or the privilege of simply existing,” Oates said. During his travels, Oates discovered two characteristics of human existence. “I’m convinced that our common humanity rests on two realities: The experience of suffering and the experience of awe,” he said. “Suffering is the price we pay for being human. But the story of being human, I think, must include the dimension of awe. For here we meet each other in a big space, full of indescribable potentiality. Art, music, poetry, nature—here, we are re-

See Travel On Page 23


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2020 Elections From Page 4 plicit protections for LGBTQ people in healthcare programs and activities by excluding LGBTQ people from protections from discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity. 11. Advocated for the elimination of the entire Affordable Care Act: The Justice Department issued a legal filing arguing that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act should be overturned. This move would jeopardize health care for over 130 million people with preexisting conditions like HIV and eliminate non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. 12. Created a Religious Discrimination Division: HHS created a new office whose sole purpose would be to defend physicians and other medical professionals who decide to refuse care, including to LGBTQ patients. 13. Proposed cutting over $1.35 billion from PEPFAR budget: In his proposed FY 2019 budget, Trump cut $1.35 billion from, or 29% of PEPFAR’s budget. PEPFAR is the U.S. government program that fights AIDS abroad. In Schools 14. Guidance for Schools on Transgender Students: The Departments of Education and Justice eliminated Obama-era guidance clarifying that schools must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity. This encourages schools officials to permit harassment of transgender students, deny access to facilities consistent with gender identity, and refuse to use correct names and pronouns—all inflicting untold emotional harm. 15. Rejected Complaints From Transgender Students: The Department of Education refused to respond to civil complaints filed by transgender students, including those who were barred from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. This increases the burden for transgender students to combat these harmful policies. 16. Suggested it is acceptable for schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students while accepting tax-payer funds: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has refused to rule out federal funding for schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students and has declined to state she would otherwise intervene should discrimination occur. 17. Sexual Assault: DeVos rescinded Title IX rules related to schools’ obligations to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence. By eliminating the Obamaera rules, DeVos increased the standard of proof from “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence” making it more difficult for survivors of sexual assault to obtain justice. LGBTQ people are disproportionately affected by sexual assault and harassment, and the stigma that many LGBTQ people face can make it more difficult for survivors to report. 18. Eliminated language protecting LGBTQ children participating in the 4-H program: The Trump-Pence Administration ordered 4-H programs to remove a policy specifically welcoming LGBTQ children in the 4-H program, which led to the firing

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS INTERPRETED IM-

MIGRATION RULES SPECIFICALLY SO THE CHILD OF A SAME-SEX COUPLE

BORN ABROAD VIA SURROGATE WOULD BE CONSIDERED "BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK" AND MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN

U.S. CITIZENSHIP. of an official who protested. In Housing 19. Allowed emergency shelters to deny access to transgender and gender nonconforming people: Despite the fact that LGBTQ people are significantly more likely to experience homelessness in their lives, HUD Secretary Ben Carson has proposed a rule to permit emergency shelters to deny access or otherwise discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming peoplewho are homeless. HUD also canceled a scheduled survey on LGBTQ homelessness. 20. Placed transgender incarcerated persons in the wrong prison: The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) rolled back an Obama-era policy that housed transgender prisoners consistent with their gender identity. With transgender people experiencing sexual assault at higher rates than average, this decision only puts them at further risk of assault. In Families 21. Allowed foster care programs to discriminate while accepting tax-payer funds: Trump-Pence White House has proposed a federal regulation that would strip away nondiscrimination requirements and permit all Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant recipients, notably adoption and foster care agencies, to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and in many circumstances religious minorities and women, and still receive federal fund-

ing. 22. Refused visas to partners of diplomats: The State Department began refusing visas for same-sex partners of some diplomats and U.N. workers if they are not married. 23. Changed rules to deny surrogate born children citizenship: The Trump Administration has interpreted immigration rules specifically so the child of a same-sex couple born abroad via surrogate would be considered "born out of wedlock" and making it more difficult to obtain U.S. citizenship. In Representation 24. Erased transgender people: Trump’s HHS proposed a new definition that would narrowly define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by birth. According to the New York Times: “The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million [transgender] Americans.” In addition, agency staff, including those at the Centers for Disease Control, have been instructed to stop using the word transgender in official reports. 25. Eliminated information on LGBTQ rights, mentions, and representation on government websites: Within hours of Trump’s swearing-in, pages on LGBTQ rights and recognition were removed from government websites, including the White House. 26. Blocked questions regarding sexual orientation from consideration for the census: Trump and Pence have sought to block questions on sexual orientation from the

census in order to erase LGBTQ people from official counts. This would, in turn, prevent the collection of crucial data that could help improve government programs and resources for LGBTQ people. 27. Refused to recognize LGBTQ people in National AIDS day Address: Despite being the community most affected by the epidemic, Vice President Pence has consistently refused to acknowledge LGBTQ people in his addresses on National AIDS day. In the World 28. Refusing LGBTQ asylum seekers fleeing violence: Trump issued an executive order to create further obstacles for all people seeking to enter the U.S., preventing refugees from escaping some of the most anti-LGBTQ regimes in the world. 29. Embassy Pride Flags: Pence defended the State Department directive to ban U.S. embassies across the world from flying the LGBTQ Pride Flag during Pride Month. 30. Left the U.N. Human Rights Council: Trump and Pence, over LGBTQ and other issues, removed the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council. 31. Chechnya: Trump and Pence refused to condemn attacks on LGBTQ people in Chechnya, where atrocities against queer people are horrific and ongoing. 32. Brunei: The Trump-Pence administration has refused to condemn a Brunei law that imposes barbaric punishments on LGBTQ people, including death by stoning, torture and whipping.


22 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

Jason Walker

PHOTO: KARL GIANT

Walker not slowing down J

By: Brian Sterling Special to TRT

ason Walker believes the road towards music stardom would have been smoother if he were a straight man or woman. “It’s been tough finding my place,” he admits, “especially coming out as gay long before it was deemed acceptable.” It’s been fifteen years since he first skyrocketed into the music scene with his debut album, “This Is My Life”, and in that time the Out Music Award winner has landed in the Top Ten on the Billboard dance chart an outstanding eleven times— with five of them at #1! However, the one thing that has eluded him is mainstream stardom. With Jason Walker’s fourth fulllength studio album set to release in early 2020—his first in ten years—and the positive buzz it is receiving from industry insiders who have heard it, he is feeling optimistic that it may happen now or never. “Now or Never” is also the name of the album’s first single. We spoke with Jason Walker from his New York home. Q: Your latest single, "Perfect Bitch" is being considered for a Grammy nomination. Jason Walker: A Grammy win would mean everything to me! I mean, I’ve dreamt, imagined, hoped and prayed for it since I was a child. It would mean respect. To be respected by your peers within this business; respected by other singers and writers, people that I’ve looked up to my whole life, is something that I’ve always strived for as well. That’s really what it boils down to.

Q: It came so close to hitting the #1 spot on Billboard, peaking at #2. Were you disappointed? A: Listen, after you have a number one record, that’s the only place that you wanna be. My last three have gone to number one and I feel extremely blessed by that. With “Perfect Bitch”, the competition was just so intense. We were up against the heaviest

hitters like Madonna, Whitney Houston and Kygo, Sting, Katy Perry ... So no, I’m not bummed that it didn’t go to number one because look at the company the song was in. Q: Do you really feel that coming out has prevented you from reaching your true potential as an artist? A: I think if I were to come out today, things would be a little easier for me. Queer artists are so much more accepted than they were 15 years ago when I started out. My sexuality was a hindrance at the time. It was seen as taboo. Q: Have there been situations in which there have been gatekeepers in music, gay or straight, for whom your sexuality has produced a difficult dynamic? A: I recall a situation that I’ve never spoken of before. It was nine years ago and I was at the Billboard Dance Music Summit in Las Vegas. At the time, I had a few Top 5 dance records under my belt and even two number ones. I spoke on a panel and I was my usual self but later, I was told that I had made someone feel uncomfortable because I was “too gay.” I was astonished. This was a dance music summit! I told the messenger that I had no intention of altering my personality, and that they could politely relay my message to the offended person to f$% off! Q: Does homophobia still exist in the music industry? A: Yes, yes and yes. Some people try to mask their homophobia so that they can fit into the mix while others are overtly blatant with how they feel. My opinion is this: if you are in the entertainment world, whether in design or production, you are going to have to deal with gay people. If you can’t show us respect, then you’re in the wrong business. You should be selling tires. Read the rest of this story at: TheRainbowTimesMass.com


TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 23

November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

Age Strong From Page 16 campaign and share their #AgeStrong story on social media. All of our events, resources, and programs are intended to uplift older Bostonians. Our team is focused on providing inclusive and equitable resources, events, and social engagement opportunities for all LGBTQ older adults, and especially those most vulnerable including members of the transgender communities of color.” LGBTQ Latinx Enter José Leopoldo Romero, Jr., or Leo as he is commonly known by many. Leo, a former U.S. Veteran who was contacted by the Commission for the campaign, is a restaurant chef-owner of “the most authentic Mexican restaurant in New England” called Casa Romero in the Back Bay. Leo thought it was important to participate because he wanted to “do what he does for as long” as he can. “Keeping active while you age is the best way to survive,” he said. “I hope that all of us who participated in the [campaign] will be an inspiration to elders to continue their lives as long as possible and as enjoyable as always.” Research partners Partnering with the FrameWorks Institute—the research partner for the Reframing Age Project (https://bit.ly/36wbDX2)—the Commission, under Mayor Walsh, uses the partners’ services to confidently address the needs and realities of the aging population. “Right now, aging simply isn’t an issue Americans are thinking about as a matter that requires a public response,” reads the Framing Strategies to Advance Aging and Address Ageism as Policy Issues’ Brief (2017; page 1; https://bit.ly/2C6M8NX). “This reality reveals a serious risk of policy inertia, or worse, rollbacks of existing supports. Unless the field of advocates who care about aging issues cultivates a more visible, more informed conversation on older people, it will remain difficult to advance the systemic changes needed to adjust to a society with increased and increasing longevity. “To change this dynamic, the field of aging needs to advance a set of core ideas that creates the shifts in public understanding essential to building the political will to create a more age-integrated society.” The Commission's Age-Friendly action planning has resulted in successful launches of the City's first pilot Senior Civic Academy (https://bit.ly/2oIkYKh); an interactive public restrooms map; age- and dementia-friendly business designations (https://bit.ly/2C4MsN8) and an Employment Guide (https://bit.ly/2pBeJIs) for people over 50; and a front-facing City staff training to educate employees on the needs of older people in Boston. Businesses who are eligible for the ageand dementia-friendly designation are ones that have taken steps such as ensuring they have respectful and patient staff, providing resting areas and non-slip flooring and using universal symbols, such as arrows.

“LOOKING FORWARD, IT IS TIME THAT BOSTON BECOMES HOME TO LGBT FRIENDLY SENIOR HOUSING

—ENABLING LGBT OLDER ADULTS TO LIVE & THRIVE TOGETHER IN A SAFE AND RESPECTFUL COMMUNITY.”

Ellen From Page 2 riage, sat with a married lesbian couple. He observed firsthand this is a real family, not much different than the one he has with Laura. Keep in mind laws are repealed. U.S. Supreme Court precedents can be overturned (https://reut.rs/2NG923V). Hence, there must always be engagement when the opportunity arises with those who see the world differently. Kindness and civility initiates conversation. If you like and respect someone, no matter how different his or her views are, it creates an opportunity to teach. Attitudes can’t be changed if there is no engagement. Generally, the “us against them” approach may cause more long-term harm than good. Of course, there are times when you stand your ground and draw a line in the sand and let come what may. But, this should be the last resort. Ellen makes it clear (https://bit.ly/33kNEIs), “When I say, ‘be kind to one another.’ I don’t only mean the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.” Personally, I follow this ancient philosophy, though it can be extremely difficult. In fact, I try to be kind to those I don’t like or

Travel From Page 20 Looking ahead Krinsky hopes that the Commission will continue to include the LGBT community as it has currently. “This campaign directly challenges the ageism that is embedded in our broader culture and pervasive within the LGBT community,” she said. “I hope the Age Strong Commission will continue this campaign in the future and use future opportunities to be inclusive again of the LGBT community. “Both the Age Strong Commission and the City of Boston have been strong allies for LGBT older adults in Boston for many years by funding community cafes for LGBT older adults, providing LGBT cultural competency training, actively supporting and participating in Pride events for LGBT older adults, and incorporating LGBT older adults into many of their community programs. Looking forward, it is time that Boston becomes home to LGBT friendly senior housing (https://bit.ly/2Nzng6M)—enabling LGBT older adults to live and thrive together in a safe and respectful community.” Leo also praised the Commission for its work. “I am very much impressed by the stamina and creativity of all my colleagues in this project, and applaud the Age Strong Commission for all they are doing to inspire all elders to be Age Strong,” said Leo, one of the models for the Age Strong Campaign. To learn more about the Age Strong Commission and Awareness Campaign visit https://bit.ly/2Nd0R0j. Learn more about Age- and Dementia-friendly Certified businesses here: https://bit.ly/329T87h. To become an agefriendly business click here (https://bit.ly/2N9sQhb).

minded of our strange, almost limitless capacity for awe, and thought, and creativity, and compassion. My premise is that these experiences are a central part of what makes us human.” This dual commonality is particularly relevant to the LGBTQ community, Oates explains. “Because awe and wonder are a universal answer to the narrowness and rejection we have so often experienced. Because in this answer we are invited to become our best selves, freed from reaction and the resentment of remembered hurts,” he pondered. “Liberated instead into an ennobling space, literally limitless! And, full of compassion and awe.” As for Ribot, he uses the great outdoors to ground himself.

who behave in a petty, dismissive, or less than collegial manner toward me. It’s how I try to live, though I sometimes think twice, since there is some validity to the cliché, “nice guys finish last.” Engagement with those who disagree is the only way to change hearts and minds. A person “who is kind,” according to Proverbs (11:17), benefits him- or herself. In Ephesians (4:32), the faithful are urged to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,” because each of us is flawed and broken, worthy of love and forgiveness. The Dali Lama (https://bit.ly/2NDc2OF) says, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” He teaches, “Our own brain, our own heart is our temple, the philosophy is kindness.” In all great religions there is a call to kindness and forgiveness. As difficult as it can be, the Cosmos asks us to create positive energy by being kind, helpful, empathetic, and compassionate. All of us can bring light into darkness as a prophet or prophetess. *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” (https://amzn.to/2pFNgFx). “It’s where I go to reconnect with myself, recharge, and ‘refill my cup’ so to speak,” Ribot added. “It’s where I know I can go to reflect and breathe and clear my mind. Whether I’m discovering incredible landscapes or waterfalls, summiting a mountain, swimming in a tucked away swimming hole or enjoying natural hot springs, or even sitting on a hill or in a field in the grass or by the water in a local park—listening to the sounds, taking in the smells, breathing in the fresh air.” To learn more about Oates’ journey to self-discovery and finding inner peace, check out The Mountains of Paris: How Awe and Wonder Rewrote My Life on Amazon (https://amzn.to/2rd0aeL), OSU Press (https://bit.ly/2JOTKcm) and other online book vendors.


24 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com

November 7, 2019 - December 4, 2019

Profile for The Rainbow Times

The Rainbow Times' November 2019 Issue  

Boston-based, The Rainbow Times' Nov. 2019 issue brings you more exclusive coverage while honoring & observing the Transgender Day of Rememb...

The Rainbow Times' November 2019 Issue  

Boston-based, The Rainbow Times' Nov. 2019 issue brings you more exclusive coverage while honoring & observing the Transgender Day of Rememb...

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