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2 • The Rainbow Times •

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021

The Rainbow Times releases key endorsements: Salem, Lynn & Boston By: Editorial Board The Rainbow Times



he Rainbow Times’ editorial team has proudly released its Salem, Boston, and Lynn endorsements for Mayoral and City Council races. Each endorsement was carefully considered based on the upholding of progressive values and ideals, support of the LGBTQ+ community, a demonstrated understanding of issues impacting marginalized community members, and those who not only embrace diversity but who are supportive of inclusive practices of municipal leadership. The team believes there are two levels of competencies needed to be effective in local government. First, cultural and intersectional proficiency is needed to understand and work effectively on behalf of all residents. Secondly, critical municipal issues such as housing, the climate crisis, residents’ safety concerns, community members’ mental and physical health, infrastructure and development, all must take a front seat when leading municipalities forward. Likewise, those elected to leadership positions must be able to navigate the intricacies of establishing innovation within city government while not leaving behind equitable and inclusive practices and ordinances. Every local issue impacts each and every resident differently. However, due to systemic barriers, such obstacles disproportionately and adversely impact some members of disenfranchised communities. The candidates who have earned our endorsement have directly demonstrated to our editorial team — based on responses, past voting records, and actions — that they have the competency to not only lead broadly but are people who have already engaged themselves in pro-active roles to effect change for those who are at the bottom of the totem pole, for they are also invested in equity and we see that through their former and current actions. After receiving written responses to LGBTQ+ specific interview questions, including those based on intersectional identity, issues disproportionately affecting the community at the local level, and extensive research conducted by The Rainbow Times’ editorial team, we are confident in the endorsements below. We unequivocally believe that these candidates for elected office will represent the interests of the LGBTQ+ community (and communities of color within and outside of it) with vigor and knowledge, with compassion and logic, with fairness and impartiality placed at the forefront of their voting matters in city government. We are proud to stand firmly with the endorsed candidates and we are unwavering in our support of them, and our process conducted during this endorsement period. As a publication that focuses heavily

on civil rights and educating others about the intersectionalities of our vast identities, the litmus test was not easily passed. We are proud to endorse candidates that are best suited to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community and the subcultures existing around it, whether they’re friends, allies, or family members. Local government must be willing to make inroads on issues and contribute to producing solutions rather than stalwart them. Councillors should be willing and capable to bring tangible proposals to the table to combat the most pressing needs of residents. Simply standing in the way of progress just “for the sake of it” isn’t enough, nor does it fulfill a candidate’s responsibility with all of its base, which is most likely comprised of people from all walks of life, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, credo, religion, gender identities, etc. Like many cities across the nation and certainly within the walls of Congress, we’ve seen the devastating impact that Americans have suffered at the hands of elected officials that are not only out of touch with what would benefit the majority of residents in their districts — whose callous lack of responsibility or compassion to the plights of others reaps devasting consequences, thereby threatening the fabric of our democracy. There are obstructionists of all kinds and backgrounds, all racial identities, and so forth. Local government is certainly not immune to it, as has been demonstrated in Salem. After careful examination of voting records in multiple races, our team found that in Salem particularly, there have been four (4) City Councillors who have been obstructionists to producing results, offering viable solutions, articulating common-sense decisions (or bringing their own plans to the table), and who have been more aligned with the self-serving interests of a few, rather than representing all of their constituents with transparency and inclusion. They act in strife, ignoring any sense of accountability or responsibility to constituents. They do all unabashedly with a sense of impunity. They have been unmoved regardless of facts, experts’ advice, educational forums, and have not listened to the outcry of the critical needs of residents. That is not leadership at all, but rather using the people’s seat as a bully pulpit, similar to what we suffered through under the Trump administration. We must expect more from our elected officials. All residents across the board deserve it. Some candidates running for office this election cycle have intently and openly discriminated against the LGBTQ+ community, touting religious beliefs for their prejudicial practices, also most notably in Salem. They have weaponized LGBTQ+ status as if LGBTQ+ candidates or those who support equality for the members of this community are wrong to support equal rights for all. Others have openly made up malicious anti-LGBTQ+ rhet-

oric that involves heterosexual candidates having affairs with other city officials, etc. — a shameful tactic that is often believed by the most naïve amongst us, or those who want to create division within Salem. Currently, there is a local onslaught to impose personal religious practices into local government, with some Salem At-Large candidates claiming they will “govern according to the will of God,” and will vote according to their faith, regardless of whether human rights may be at stake and no matter what local ordinances and laws are already established. They have gone as far as to state that they support “conversion therapy” against gay and transgender students and adults in Salem, which leads to increased suicide rates, societal shunning, and longstanding mental anguish. The fact that Massachusetts was the 16th state banning gay conversion therapy wasn’t something that deterred them from making these false statements to some of our editorial team members and they are not alone in promoting this anti-LGBTQ+ agenda openly — and other times covertly — by letting voters know that gay and trans candidates did not belong in local politics. Factually, the information uncovered was alarming to say the very least. TRT will follow up on investigative stories it is working on about this specific hate-filled religious right that has shown up in Salem and is being moved around by other candidates who belong to other marginalized groups, which is the most troublesome aspect of what was uncovered. As we’ve seen in national politics, there has been a divisive trickle-down effect throughout the country. Some have expressed desire akin to a freezeframe in time, remembering what they deem as the “good days,” or reverting to the 1950s, a period of time that was stifling, abusive and oppressive for all marginalized groups. It is critical, as a society that our cities and towns continue to make progress — progress that will earn us all a seat at the table. Progress grows local economies. It ensures a brighter future for the youngest of generations and progressive policies place people, all people, at the forefront. The world moves forward and so must we. Many, both young and old, strive for equality, human rights, climate control and eco-friendly measures, womens’ rights, equal pay, reproductive rights, and gun control. We believe those professing those changes are moving in the right direction to correct the errors of the past, change the current systems of oppression that limit other Americans from having a seat, voice, and vote at the table, and who fight to change America for the better. Most old-school politicians and those who support white supremacy disagree. We don’t wonder why they do so. We must work harder to elect candidates who vow to change the status quo, even when many will resist. Resistance to change without a plausible argument is just born either out of fear

and ignorance, or bias and prejudice. There is a plethora of reputable information and published research by professionals of each field that offer plenty of information and education about prejudice and the patriarchy, as a system of oppression that continues to hurt every person under it, other than those in power. To sit idly and do nothing is not an option. To keep the status quo and continue to oppress anyone who is not white is not an option. We have seen where that has taken us, with covert racism and overt racism under Trump and the rise of white supremacy and domestic terrorism. And, bottom line, we can do better. But, we can only do better if we get out the vote. Words and endorsements are nothing if you don’t go out there and cast your vote. Let our democracy work fully by becoming an active part of the process so that you, too, can make a difference. With growth and change come challenges; with progress comes change

See TRT Endorsements on Page 11

Multiple Award Winning

The Rainbow Times New England’s Largest LGBTQ+ Newspaper — Boston Based Phone: 617.444.9618 Publisher Graysen M Ocasio

Photographer Jenna Joyce

Editor-In-Chief Nicole Lashomb

Reporters Chris Gilmore Audrey Cole

Assistant Editor Mike Givens National/Local Sales Rivendell Media Liz Johnson Lead Photographers Steve Jewett Christine M. Hurley

Ad & Layout Design Prizm PR Webmaster Jarred Johnson Columnistst Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep

The Rainbow Times is published monthly by The Rainbow Times, LLC. TRT is an award-winning publication that started printing in late 2006. The 1st print issue was published in Feb. 2007. 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 appearance of names or photographic representations in TRT does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation or gender identity of the named or depicted individuals.

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021 • The Rainbow Times • 3

4 • The Rainbow Times •

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021


Michelle Wu is on fire: Endorsed by Sen. Markey & Rep. Pressley Senator Ed Markey and Congresswoman Pressley endorse Michelle Wu for Boston Mayor


BOSTON—Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Senator Ed Markey recently announced their endorsement of Michelle Wu for Mayor of Boston. Pressley referred to Wu as her a partner in the fight for equity and justice for Boston communities. In 2009, Representative Pressley became the first ever woman of color elected to the Boston City Council. In 2012, Michelle Wu joined her as the second. “I’ve worked closely with Michelle Wu for nearly a decade. Michelle has a passion for service and a vision for our city that is grounded in her own lived experience and belief in the transformative potential of policy. At this pivotal moment in our city’s history, we need bold leadership — that’s why I’m so proud to endorse Michelle’s candidacy for Mayor. I look forward to continuing to work alongside her to tackle the entrenched challenges of racial, social, economic, healthcare, and environmental injustice facing our communities,” said Congresswoman Pressley (MA-07). Senator Markey, in his own endorsement, cited Wu’s leadership on climate issues and her commitment to a more equitable city. With Markey’s endorsement, Wu now has the backing of both Massachusetts U.S. senators. Senator Markey is the co-author of the national Green New Deal to provide a framework to confront the intersecting crises of climate change, a public health pandemic, racial injustice, and economic inequality. Michelle Wu is the author of the first-ever city-level Green New Deal to make Boston a national leader on climate and environmental justice. “As mayoral candidate and as Boston city councilor, Michelle Wu has championed the Green New Deal and made transformational action on climate change central to her commitment to the City of Boston. Her

proposals to expand access to free public transportation, decarbonize our economy, and invest in the basic rights of clean air and water will put Boston on a path to implement the systemic changes we need to provide our children, workers, and families a just and livable future. Michelle Wu will make Boston a Green New Deal city and position us to lead the national movement for climate action,” said Senator Markey. Wu commented on the Senator’s endorsement while mentioning his work for environmental justice, working families and more. “Senator Ed Markey’s bold vision has inspired activists, young people, and so many community members to lead, and I am honored to have his support. Throughout his career, he has been a steadfast advocate for working families, environmental justice and a more equitable city, state and nation. I am excited to continue to organize together, build together and fight together for our brightest future,” said Wu of Markey. The Boston Mayoral candidate also had words of praise for Congresswoman’s Pressley’s endorsement and leadership, a colleague she’s worked with in various capacities. “Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s bold leadership continues to reshape what’s possible in our city and country, and I’m so honored to receive her endorsement. We’ve legislated together, organized together, and partnered on delivering change—from equity in city contracting and healthcare access, to fighting for transit justice. I can’t wait to continue partnering for Boston to lead the way in building healthy, equitable, and resilient communities across our neighborhoods,” said Wu. Rep. Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and a survivor. On November 6, 2018, Pressley was elected to represent Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District in the U.S. Read the rest of this story at The Rainbow Times’ website • The Rainbow Times • 5

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021

Two-Spirit Pride is Native-Led in the New England LGBTQIA2+ Community In this Part I, they write about LGBTQIA2+ and Indigenous Pride, the intersections of mental health, the pandemic and how it affected already established indigenous struggles in the United States


Sherry Gagne (Metis, Abenaki, Mohawk, Algonquin, Choctaw – Board Member for North Shore Pride), Makademakwa Ikwe (Odawa, Potawatomi, and Metis), and Jessie Little Feather (White Mountain Apache and Navajo), three Two-Spirited individuals living in New England, have formed a small chosen queer TwoSpirit community. In this interview they talk about LGBTQIA2+ and Indigenous Pride, the intersections of mental health and indigenous struggles in the United States, how Sherry and Jessie met and started dating in the midst of grief and heartbreak, and how they’ve each been able to reconnect to their homes and their families, both chosen and biological, and what that has meant to each of them. —————————As of this writing, North Shore and Boston residents are standing, sitting, walking, reading, breathing, grieving, wishing, living, and loving on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded land of the Agawam, Massachusett, Naumkeag, Pawtucket, Nipmuck, and Mashpee-Wampanoag peoples. But having this said, statements alone are insufficient while the struggle against the systems of oppression that have attempted to both dispossess indigenous people of their lands and deny their rights to self-determination still perpetuates today. That reality, coupled with rampant homophobia and othering of those in the LGBTQIA2+ community means that an Indigenous person with intersecting identities in the queer, disabled, and/or other underrepresented communites has a sharp hill to climb in terms of equity and accessibility anywhere in the world. Defining terms: Native people are considered “Two-Spirit” in their communities when they fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial and social role in their cultures. For a more thorough description of this, read the interviewees own definitions in the transcript below. Author’s Note: this interview is transcribed below as it was given with only short edits for clarity. The text has been approved by the interviewees for correctness in representation. ————————————— A Community of Queer, Two-Spirit Individuals in New England Joey Phoenix (JP): What are each of your names and pronouns? Jessie Little Feather: My name is Jessie. My Native name is Little Feather,


By: Joey Phoenix Special for TRT Originally published by Creative Collective on Creative North Shore (

and I’m a Two-Spirit. That’s it. Makademakwa Ikwe: My colonized name is Aleticia and Makademakwa Ikwe. My pronouns are she and her. Sherry: I’m Sherry. I go by she and her and they and them. JP: As a non binary-person, I’ve found it very important to talk to people in community intersections who haven’t been talked to enough – people that are in the pride community and the indigenous community and other individuals in the BIPOC community. So again, I really appreciate your time and your energy in talking to me today. Let’s start with how the last year has been for each of you. Jessie Little Feather: Isolating, lonely, and a little depressing. Being limited in not being able to dance because I like to dance a lot. That, for me, was my stress reliever. I’m a truck driver and I would work all week, and then Saturday is a time for me to dance. So not having that stress reliever for me was very stressful. Now that it’s warmer I’m able to go out kayaking, taking walks, and camping. But this year too, Sherry and I met on Facebook. We had a mutual friend, Sherry and I, and I guess she saw my picture. Sherry: I thought she was really cute. [they all laugh] Jessie Little Feather: I met Makademakwa Ikwe online too, but we’re just friends. Joey: So Makademakwa Ikwe, how has the last year been for you? Makademakwa Ikwe: It’s been a fu@king year from fu@kin’ hell, that’s what’s been been really difficult. I left a six year relationship with a woman and it’s been tough, I have to tell you. One of the unspoken things that we don’t talk about is mental illness. And

I suffer from mental illness, I have severe PTSD. And I’ve had it since I was a child. So whenever I have a breakup, I have to deal with deep seated PTSD. No shame in that, just saying it’s tough. And I had to go through a lot of different healing modalities and go to my own ceremonies to address it, because as a Two-Spirit person, it’s not about sexual orientation. It’s about who we are, our roles in our communities, how we handle our powers, how we conduct ourselves. Our roles as Two-spirit people will

mean different things in different Native Nations. Even as Two-Spirit people, we are not homogenous, but we have diverse roles according to our Nation. JP: Do you feel supported by your community around mental illness and these challenges? Makademakwa Ikwe: There’s a lot of stigma and shame around mental illness. And, you know, you don’t talk about it. So most of my life, I have never talked about it. It’s only been this year that I’ve talked about it openly. In the past ther was only a select few who knew that I suffered from it. And it’s now that I’m talking about it. Because I’m not alone. I think the more we talk about it the more that we can support each other. I am getting more support and I feel safe in ways I have never before been supported. JP: I love that. I deal with that a lot. Sherry, how has this year been for you? Sherry: It was a rough year. It was a rough year for me too. I lost a relationship that I thought was gonna be a long Read the rest of this story at The Rainbow Times’ website

6 • The Rainbow Times •

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021

Fenway clinicians release Trans & Gender-Diverse health care guide First case-based textbook to address health care needs of transgender and gender diverse adults

To our readers, we hope you enjoy a little Rainbow Sudoku while Pride Season 2021 takes place (and beyond) & to de-stress a bit too! The solution is

Enjoy! —TRT


Rainbow PrideDoku

BOSTON—Fenway Health ( this month announced the release of the first case-based textbook to address the comprehensive health care needs of transgender and gender diverse adults. Coedited by Drs. Alex S. Keuroghlian, Jennifer Potter, and Sari L. Reisner of The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, this sentinel resource was published by McGraw Hill ( Professional. Transgender and Gender Diverse Health Care: The Fenway Guide offers a roadmap for clinicians who seek to provide culturally responsive care that meets the primary, preventive, and specialty health care needs of transgender and gender diverse adult patients. Authored by Fenway Health clinicians, researchers, staff members and other national experts, the Guide highlights best practices in care from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders. “Demand for state-of-the-art health care services for transgender and gender diverse people is rapidly increasing,” said Dr. Alex S. Keuroghlian, Director of the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center at The Fenway Institute, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Gender Identity Program. “This textbook is an invaluable resource to all clinicians who care for transgender and gender diverse adults.” “Medical providers have a responsibility to be familiar with the most upto-date scientific and clinical information, and they can find all of that information and more in this guide, which highlights key aspects of gender identity emergence across the lifespan and provides much-needed guidance on both hormonal and surgical gender affirmation,” said Dr. Jennifer Potter, Co-Chair of The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and co-editor of The Fenway Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health, published in 2015. “We have long known that transgender and gender diverse adults experience health care disparities largely rooted in stigma, including acts of discrimination that take place in health care settings,” said Sari L. Reisner, Sc.D, Director of Transgender Health

Research at The Fenway Institute, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School,and Director of Transgender Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital based in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension. “Our textbook applies a health-equity model of care and provides guidance for clinicians when addressing health needs of transgender and gender diverse communities.” Transgender and Gender Diverse Health Care: The Fenway Guide features essential information that includes but is not limited to the following topics: • History and epidemiology of transgender and gender diverse health care • Primary, preventive, and specialty care considerations for transgender and gender diverse patients • Hormonal, surgical and non-medical gender affirmation • Trauma-informed and gender-affirming care • Behavior health, eating disorders and body positivity • Reproductive health, obstetrical care, and family building • Treatment of HIV and sexually transmitted infections • Community building, advocacy and partnership Transgender and Gender Diverse Health Care: The Fenway Guide will be distributed by all major general and medical booksellers. It is available for purchase at ( and ( About Fenway Health Founded in 1971, Fenway Health advocates for and delivers innovative, equitable, accessible health care, supportive services, and transformative research and education. We center LGBTQIA+ people, BIPOC individuals, and other underserved communities to enable our local, national, and global neighbors to flourish.

October 11: National Coming Out Day 2021

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021 • The Rainbow Times • 7

8 • The Rainbow Times • PHOTO: ALONSO REYES / UNSPLASH

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021

2021 Gayest Halloween costumes Guess what post-quarantine Halloween doesn’t have time for, queer boys and ghouls? Your bullsh*t. By: Mikey Rox* Special to TRT


he Ghosts of Halloween Costumes Past have spoken, and this go-round there shall be no sexy firemen, no sexy chefs, and absotrickin'-lutely no sexy pirates, so help us God. That doesn’t mean you're required to keep your shirt (or pants) on as you get down with the devil on All Hallow’s Eve, but let’s all agree to put the basic bitchness on the backburner for now, shall we? To that end, we've dug deep into the queer year’s most topical hoots, howls and happenings to help you conjure up a skeleton’s-closet worth of fright night-spiration to make this Oct. 31 one for the (c)ages. Industry Baby Lil Nas X kept tongues wagging all summer long as he dropped radio banger after banger, culminating in a crescendo of groundbreaking looks and appearances leading up to the release of “Montero,” the openly gay rapper’s debut studio album. To create one of the most iconic looks from the album’s promotion, which you can cop from X's Instagram page, fashion yourself an exposed baby bump flanked by an all-over-print silk robe, white trousers, and neck bling to boot. For a wilder take, fully birth the concept and go as the bundle of joy itself, which we think probably shares partial DNA with "American Horror Story: Death Valley"s half-human, half-alien hybrid, Theta (Angelica Ross), but you can be the judge of that. ‘Queer Eye’ Minifigures On October 1, LGBTQ+ corporate ally LEGO released the “Queer Eye” Fab 5 Loft building set, complete with Karamo, Jonathan, Antoni, Tan and Bobby minifigures and show-staple accessories, like Tan’s clothing rack

and Antoni’s kitchen island (where we’re sure he’s toiling over tiny culinary creations like fancy hot dogs and elevated grilled cheese – but we digress). Stay above our fray as you gather the squad to build a group ’fit that starts with generic mini-figure costumes, available on Amazon, that you can zhuzh up any which way you’d like to capture the essence of their decidedly dramatic and distinct personas. 'The White Lotus's Armond and Dillon Start filling out your “Magnum P.I.”era ’stache now if you’re planning this couples costume featuring “The White Lotus” ill-fated hotel manager Armond and his semi-willing butt buddy, Dillon, which requires more printed-pastel resort wear for the former than the latter. Play it any way you’d like for the party proper – without the lethal doses of coke, we hope – and then head home to reenact that instantly iconic sex scene set to the show’s sinister, anxiety-inducing tribal-music score. TikTok Thirst Trap Want a foolproof recipe for Halloween thirst-trap success? Slip into a pair of snug Wranglers and dusty cowboy boots – shirtless – and stream on repeat country music duo Brooks and Dunn’s reinvigorated 1992 single “Neon Moon” (better known on TikTok as #TheSunGoesDown) through your portable Bluetooth speaker. You’re guaranteed to save at least one horse tonight. The Iceberg That Sank the Titanic Out comedian Bowen Yang gives us plenty of camp in the characters he portrays on “Saturday Night Live,” but

See Halloween On Page 11 • The Rainbow Times • 9

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021

Music Shaker: Grammy remixer Tracy Young is now making her own hits From Club music to Grammy Remixer; Tracy Young is now making her own hits, more PHOTO: MIKE RUIZ

By: Lynn Weigand Special to TRT


hen Tracy Young began her career in club music twenty-five years ago, she didn’t give much thought to how maledominated the field was. “I just had this passion inside me to play music,” she explains. Then she won the GRAMMY for Madonna’s “I Rise (Tracy Young Pride Intro Radio Remix)” and became the first woman to win “Best Remixed Recording” since the category’s inception in 1998. “There are no words to describe how I feel to be recognized by my peers, the Recording Academy and actually winning the Grammy,” Young says. “It makes me want to work harder and be better every day!” She is releasing several new productions this fall: a dance anthem she wrote and produced with British pop star and actor Duncan James and two singles she wrote and produced with Debbie Gibson that appear on the singer’s just released The Body Remembers album. She also just released the first-ever official remix of KD Lang’s hit song, “Constant Craving,” through Nonesuch Records. We spoke with the remixer-turnedoriginal music maker from her home in Miami.

Q: Did you have personal favorites? A: “Only In My Dreams” and “Shake Your Love” Q: In your lengthy career, you have collaborated with so many top artists, most notably Madonna. What was unique about Debbie? A: I feel so blessed to have collaborated with so many artists over the years. What makes Debbie unique is her 360-approach to a music project. She is a songwriter, producer, vocalist and pianist; and understands everything it takes to make a hit record. Q: Did you organically drift towards that 80s synth genre when working with Gibson? A: Actually, the 80s inspired synth you hear is sampled from one of my original productions that I worked on years Lynn Weigand: What was it like to

“Things We Couldn’t Say” by Jay Coles By: Terri Schlichenmeyer* Special to TRT


You’d like an explanation, please. Why something is done or not, why permission is denied, you’d like to hear a simple reason. You’ve been asking “Why?” since you were two years old but now the older you get, the more urgent is the need to know — although, in the new book “Things We Couldn’t Say” by Jay Coles, there could be a dozen becauses. Sometimes, mostly when he didn’t need it to happen, Giovanni Zucker’s birth mother took over his thoughts. It wasn’t as though she was the only thing he had to think about. Gio was an important part of the basketball team at Ben Davis High School; in fact, when he thought about college, he hoped for a basketball scholarship. He had classes to study for, two best friends he wanted to hang out with, a little brother who was his reason to get up in the morning, and a father who was always pushing for help at the church he ran. As for his romantic life, there wasn’t much to report: Gio dated girls and he’d dated guys and he was kinda feeling like he liked guys more. So no, he didn’t want to think about his birth mother — the woman who

Tracy Young: Debbie is an icon. She is an amazing songwriter and producer, literally the Taylor Swift of my era. The 80s were a defining time for me as it shaped my love for all things music. In fact, you could ask any of my high school friends about the mix tapes that I used to make. They no doubt included some of Debbie’s greatest hits!

walked out on t h e family w h e n Gio was a little kid didn’t deserve his consideration at a l l . There was just no time for the first woman who broke his heart. It was nice to have distractions from his thoughts. Gio’s best friends had his back. He knew pretty much everybody in his Indianapolis neighborhood. And the guy who moved across the street, a fellow b-baller named David, was becoming a good friend. A very good friend. David was bisexual, too. But just as their relationship was beginning, the unthinkable happened: Gio’s birth mother reached out, emailed him, wanted to meet with him, and he was torn. She said she had “reasons” for abandoning him all those years ago, and her truth was not what he’d imagined ... There are a lot of pleasant surprises inside “Things We Couldn’t Say.”

See Bookworm On Page 11

work with Debbie Gibson?

Read the rest of this story at

10 • The Rainbow Times •

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021 • The Rainbow Times • 11

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021

Endorsements From Page 2 and compromise. We must have elected officials that understand the unique set of circumstances that surrounds forward movement. We also need elected officials who are equipped to rise to the occasion, who have the conviction of their words and work, who seek to understand and advocate for others, who strive for inclusion, and who comprehend how critical this point in time is — a time that will make or break so many of us when words and practices have been tainted, twisted and weaponized to gain political advantage or promote policies based on self-serving and archaic interest. We need elected officials who keep all residents in mind and who will work to dismantle the onslaught of attacks against the LGBTQ+ community and all marginalized communities while breaking down barriers to the access of services and who put a sizable dent into the systemic oppression that we know glaringly exists in nearly every facet of life. After a rigorous endorsement process, The Rainbow Times proudly endorses the candidates below.

Halloween From Page 8 none have gone over quite as well as his sassy personification of the iceberg that sank the Titanic on the NBC mainstay’s “Weekend Update” segment, which was likely a major tipping point in his nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series this year – making him the first featured player on the show to receive such recognition. Recreate the costume by carving a large block of painted Styrofoam fitted to your head and complete the getup with makeup, turtleneck and bedazzled thrift store suit in glacial tones, like white and hypothermia blue. Las Vegas Raiders Defensive End When Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out publicly in an Instagram story on June 21 – becoming the first active NFL player in history to do so – jerseys and T-shirts bearing his name were the top sellers among all league players at popular sportswear retailer Fanatics. Now that they’re back in stock, add one to your online cart, round up a helmet, pads, and a pair of cleats, and spring for the tight, white, standard-issue football pants (that you’ve always wanted anyway) at your local Dick’s. Jock strap optional – but the players don’t wear one, so why should you? Goes-Both-Ways Robin Tim Drake, the third iteration of Batman’s legendary sidekick Robin, came out as bisexual in the August issue of “Batman: Urban Legends” (which sold out within days and required a second printing of the issue (#6), a rarity in the comic-book world), confirming what us queers suspected about the Boy

For Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll for Salem Mayor The current incumbent, Mayor Kim Driscoll, has kept Salem moving forward for the past 16 years while serving the residents of Salem with strength, resiliency, intellectual fortitude, and inclusion. Under her formidable leadership, Mayor Driscoll has helped lead Salem to become a world-class city with a booming economy, smart development, and an indepth understanding of issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community and the subcultures existing within it. For ongoing progress, inclusion, and equity within the Salem borders, Mayor Driscoll is the only choice. We are thrilled to announce our ardent endorsement of Kim Driscoll once again for Salem Mayor. Mayor Driscoll has fervently stood with the LGBTQ+ community, has committed herself to equity within the city of Salem, and has publicly demonstrated leadership from an inclusive, educated, and innovative process. She has handled the COVID-crisis like a champ while putting the health and safety of Salem residents at the forefront and ensuring the city stays on track and operates as normally as possible to allow Wonder all along. If you’ve never suited up as the Dynamic Duo's swishier half, consider celebrating his recent addition to the LGBTQ+ community. The iconic character, now swinging around Gotham and both ways, is so ubiquitous this time of year that you'll find his signature tights and mask anywhere costumes are sold. Olympic Diver Knitting Trying to save coin this spooky season? Slap on a Union Jack-plastered Speedo with a ball of yarn in one hand and a knitting needle in the other. Put some effort into it and you could have a handcrafted cock sock by the end of the night. The Fagg0t from Matt Damon’s Mouth We can’t say we were shocked (stirred perhaps, but not shaken) when Matt Damon revealed himself to be a dinner-table bigot after earlier this year he told the press a story about casually dropping the F-bomb over meat and potatoes with the fam (which apparently he had no idea was offensive until his own daughter schooled him “Good Will Hunting”-style), so it’s only fitting we give him the Halloween send-up he deserves. Let your interpretation of the faux pas run wild, but dressing up as Liberace-lover and common criminal Scott Thorson, whom Damon played in 2013’s “Behind the Candelabra,” is a solid jumping-off point. *Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels (

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our local businesses to flourish. That is not an easy task and something that many other Mayors and cities struggled with last year and even now. Her leadership is unmatched and we are proud to throw our full support behind her re-election bid. Salem’s future depends on it. Our climate concerns deserve someone who will support eco-friendly solutions while standing against all types of prejudice. We know Mayor Driscoll has delivered substantial solutions already that have safeguarded people of color, and LGBTQ+ youth. The creation of the Salem Race Equity Task Force (SRETF) is one of those examples of her leadership in the wake of the national exposure that the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor brought to life. With the SRETF, there is a solid foundation and an intentional effort from the Mayor to tackle issues that minority people experience in Salem. That shows that Mayor Driscoll sees BIPOC people and all, and she delivers on her commitment to continuing a Salem that is inclusive of all, and where accountability is present. It’s not about perfection, it’s about a record of fighting for what’s right and protecting those who need it most while protecting the environment, maintaining our history, developing coalitions with community partners to tackle the most pressing needs of Salem residents like housing, affordability, development, and infrastructure. Salem has been in the process of transformation, a transformation that has led us to this point of growth. That can only be accomplished with a formidable leader that delivers on the promises made to us all. Mayor Driscoll is a fighter and doesn’t give up, even when there have been obstructionists on the Council to halt any meaningful progress and have tried to deny many Salemites of basic human rights, such as the right to be able to afford housing and support ADUs, so that those who work locally and contribute to the wellbeing of a vibrant city can afford to live here too. Mayor Driscoll walks the walk and talks the talk. She has been out on the campaign trail not merely to get a vote but to get to know the concerns of the residents and to listen to how she can continue to improve the city as a whole. She invests herself deeply in city issues and that includes going into the trenches with others and digging

deep to get the job done. No one person will agree on every single decision a Mayor makes — that is an impossible task. What we know is that Mayor Kim Driscoll is a powerhouse that doesn’t seek a pat on the back for a job well done, but instead fights to ensure that Salem is a thriving city where we can all grow and flourish. She creates a safe haven for those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community (and other racial and ethnic minorities) and provides a sense of safety and affirmation to those who need it most. She has listened to harsh criticism from some residents and has received misogynistic comments from other mayoral candidates or Councilors, comments that wouldn’t ever get into a political race had there been two male candidates running for the corner office. Yet, she persists. We are proud to go into the trenches with Mayor Driscoll any day of the week.

Bookworm From Page 9

line. This book is aimed at readers ages 12-and-up, but beware that there are a few gently explicit, but responsibly written, pages that might not be appropriate for kids in the lower target range. For older kids and adults, though, “Things We Couldn’t Say” offers plenty of reasons to love it.

From the start, author Jay Coles gives his main character a great support system, and that’s a uniquely good thing. Gio enjoys the company of people who want the best for him, and it’s refreshing that even the ones who are villains do heroic things. Everyone in this book, in fact, has heart, and that softens the drama that Coles adds — which leads to another nice surprise: there’s no overload of screeching drama here. Overwrought teen conflict is all but absent; even potential angsts that Gio might notice in his urban neighborhood are mentioned but not belabored. This helps keep readers focused on a fine, relatable, and very realistic coming-of-age story

For Salem Councillors At Large* Alice Merkl; At-Large City Councillor Alice has endlessly proven that she is fully vested in Salem and has been for a number of years. Her dedication and work are not only for one specific cause, a particular area of interest nor a certain group of people. She is fully dedicated to a wide variety of initiatives and serves all people with the dignity and respect they deserve. Alice was endorsed by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus PAC and the North Shore Labor Council, an interview that dissects candidates’ answers in a very long and timed process that isn’t easily won. She has been active in volunteering efforts for the Mack Park Food Farm, the Community Life Center, Salem’s Council on Aging, the Salem Food Pantry, and on neighborhood clean-ups just about every month. In the past, she has lent her voice to LGBTQ+ causes, such as the Yes On 3 Campaign to educate students and residents during public forums on trans rights issues. She has taken it upon herself to be knowledgeable, informed, and proactive in combating food insecurity, supporting environmental sustainability, housing for all, and historic preservation advocacy, as key issues she’s devoted to. Read the rest of this story at:

“Things We Couldn’t Say” by Jay Coles c.2021, Scholastic $18.99/higher in Canada - 320 pages *The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a prairie in Wisconsin with two dogs, one patient man, and 17,000 books.

12 • The Rainbow Times •

October 7, 2021 - November 11, 2021

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