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Cambridge-based haven for LGBTQ homeless youth faces closure in the fall By: Al Gentile/TRT Reporter

IN THE LIMELIGHT

CAMBRIDGE—Facing budget troubles and an uncertain future, Youth On Fire (https://goo.gl/GBHSZ2; YOF)—a program which provides a safe space, valuable resources, and community for homeless youth—will close its doors this fall. For program manager Mandy Lussier, where those homeless youth will go, among the multitude of tasks she takes on at the understaffed program, is always at the top of their mind. “If we are not there to help them, I don’t know who will step in,” Lussier said. In the 2017 Massachusetts fiscal budget, cuts to funding from the Department of Health for homeless and LGBTQ youth devastated YOF—Lussier said about 64 percent of the program’s funding was wiped out, a total shortfall of approximately $300,000. That money is used to support homeless youth, either part of the LGBTQ community or not, in many ways. Hot meals, help filing paperwork for needed services, counseling, and even a partnership with the Y2Y Harvard Square Homeless Shelter (https://goo.gl/mSnnNQ), and numerous other services are offered to a population caught in a difficult position. “There’s not a lot of organizations that work with homeless youth,” Lussier said.

The YOF youth shared their thoughts about what it would mean not to have YOF in their lives. As scheduled, because of funding cuts, YOF will cease to exist. PHOTO: YOF FB PAGE

“If we’re not there, I don’t know where they’re going to go.” For Lussier, it is about the people, which is what keeps her going. “Sarah” For years, Sarah* was one of those youth you might see sleeping in a park in Cambridge, or in her classroom at Lesley University carrying all her earthly belongings. As a homeless youth, Sarah’s story is the face of an incredibly complex issue. As a first generation American woman in an immigrant family, she found herself dealing

with an intractable cultural conflict she needed to escape from. Struggling with a heroin addiction as well, having Youth On Fire was, in many ways, a lifesaver. Through their services, Sarah was able to apply for housing and school, and receive support to help her with addiction. Yet, sometimes it’s the small things that count. “It’s hard to overemphasize how comforting it is to eat a hot meal after having only eaten from the trash, or on an EBT card where you can’t even buy hot meals,” she

said. “And having someone cook for you is a real act of care, compassion, and love.” Sarah, who is now 27, began visiting the program when she was 18 because another homeless friend said she could get a hot meal there. She came to find that so much more was available to her and stumbled upon the beginning of getting her life back together. “It’s hard to understand the value of something like this but having somewhere to leave your stuff is incredibly important,” Sarah said. “Being able to be properly clothed to go to work is really challenging when you’re homeless.” Dealing with homelessness, drug addiction, chronic depression, and anxiety, the complexity of Sarah’s case is common for those coming to YOF’s door. It’s cases like this that Lussier sees every day. “There’s so many homeless youth in Boston and they generally need all the basic human rights like food, water, and shelter,” Lussier said. “They also find themselves in unsafe situations. The folks I see are really complex.” Having a safe, non-judgemental space as queer and pansexual meant Sarah was able to start establishing a community of friends who offered emotional support as well. “I can’t overvalue the importance of the community around me,” Sarah said. She eventually graduated magna cum laude from Lesley University with degrees

See Youth On Fire on Page 23


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Our story, my identity, the wife of a trans man A cautionary tale for young queer men

F

ifteen years ago, I married the most passionate lover I've ever had, my very best friend, the person that I couldn't imagine spending a day apart from, and the one I meet in my dreams. We've seen the very best and the very worst in each other, we have gone through immense joy, sheer happiness, deep pain, and grief together. We have suffered the loss of loved ones, held each other up through my father's cancer diagnosis, which he ultimately succumbed to, all while juggling strained familial relationships—mostly rooted in dysfunction and personal bias due to love ... our love. Throughout our lives together, close family, friends, and those who know us best have often commented on how synchronous our love is for each other. Regardless of the challenges that life has presented us, our love continues to grow and flourish. We have always supported each other’s decisions even if we disagreed and have held each other accountable with healthy expectations. I suppose a great part of why our love has deepened and broadened is the ultimate honesty and trust we place in each other and most importantly, the immense respect we have for each other and our marriage. Ironically, when my spouse “came out” publicly as transgender last month, the focus of his identity shifted from him to me. That was something I did not expect nor anticipate. After all, we’ve been a happily married couple for nearly 15 years. Formerly perceived as a lesbian couple by the outside world, the onslaught of questions surrounding his coming out process were often not directed toward Graysen at all. For some reason, the majority of people, even people I consider to be friends, were most concerned with how I was “taking it” and often posed questions that probed for information about my own sexual identity. “Did that mean I was not a les-

THAT IS PART OF THE BEAUTY OF TRANS MEN, AT LEAST MINE. bian anymore?” they asked. Admittedly, at the beginning of this process, I was deeply offended by such scrutiny. The audacity of others to even call into question what this meant for our marriage or my sexual orientation was unfathomable and at the very least inappropriate. Frankly, it was and is no one’s business unless Graysen and I decide to share such intimate information. That is the truth of it. However, upon further introspection, I realized that until I addressed it, the questions would continue. Without knowing the intricacies of our marriage, most people operated under the assumption that I didn’t know about him being transgender until as of late. They assumed that because the public didn’t know, that it must have been secret and hidden from me too, or that I was somehow deceived. I wasn’t. As a matter of fact, Graysen shared his gender identity with me more than a decade ago and I’ve encouraged him to “come out” for longer than I can remember. But, it had to be on his terms, in his time. This was his process and another beautiful journey we’ve embarked upon together. When I “came out” at the age of 19, I knew I had no interest in cisgender men sexually, physically, or emotionally—I was certainly not a part of the hetero-normative culture. None of that has changed, not with Graysen’s medical transition, or with any passing time in the prior years. Cisgender men are vastly different from trans men.

See My Identity on Page 18

You don’t need a president for hope or light By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist

A

FAITH

spiritual gay man recently asked me, “What draws you to Christianity?” He didn’t ask why I was a Christian, but wanted to know what “drew” me to the teachings of Jesus. Perhaps the broader question is what draws anyone to faith. His question is excellent, especially as the nation wrestles with the unsettling divisiveness of, to put it charitably, an unconventional president. My personal faith draws me to Christianity, though equally holy and sacred spiritual solace can be found elsewhere. Yet my overall embrace of spiritual mysteries has made me appreciate and seek enlightenment from many great religions. I sincerely believe in a Supreme Being who is manifested in different ways. I do not believe one faith is better than another. Otherwise, the Creator is limited rather than omnipresent, omnipotent, and infinite. Christianity is what provides me a connection to the holy. One of my favorite theologians, Father

By: Mike Givens*/TRT Assistant Editor

I

t was Halloween night. I was 24 and worked as an editorial assistant at a newspaper. I’d been exchanging emails with a handsome man in his 30s. We agreed to meet in Boston, go for drinks, and, if the chemistry was there, go back to his place for sex. We’ll call him Greg. I was recently out of the closet; an insecure, but intelligent writer just starting his career. Greg was from Massachusetts, well-educated, single, and devoted to his career in education. He was handsome with salt-and-pepper hair, a charming smile that made me shake, and a temperament so engaging that—though I’d only taken a couple sips of beer—I felt intoxicated. What was initially supposed to be a onenight stand had given me a high I hadn’t really felt before. In the following weeks, I developed a narrative around Greg, this man whom I’d only met once. We would be in a relationship, he’d help me learn to love myself, I’d love him, he’d love me, and we’d create a life with each other. I even wrote an article about the organization he worked for. In mid-December, we met up again and I expressed an interest in pursuing something more substantive. He was ambivalent. His work took up a lot of time and he was to pursue another degree at a prestigious university. He only had the time and capacity for something casual. If you’ll recall a column I wrote about a year ago, I’ve always had a pattern of falling for unavailable men (https://goo.gl/Z8995p), and Greg’s rejection only made my desire for him stronger. A few weeks after our mid-December meeting—the day after Christmas, no

OPINIONS

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

Letters to the Editor [Re: Breaking Down Bisexuality: Understanding the Most Prevalent Sexual Identity Under the LGBTQ+ Umbrella (Part 1)]

Alexander Men, an Eastern Orthodox priest, observed, “Faith is not an escape from life nor is it a way of shutting oneself off in some imaginary world” (https://goo.gl/DCWQMy). Faith requires us to engage with the world. It is not an escape. Jesus worked in the trenches to help one person at a time who in turn became disciples of love, kindness, and compassion while speaking truth to power. Like millions of Americans, I was appalled by the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia last month. A woman lost her life and many others were injured for speaking out against the racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and homophobia of neo-Nazis and white supremacist marchers. I was naively hopeful that the current president of the United States would take the opportunity to condemn such extraordinary vitriol, but instead he emboldened hate groups. It will be a very long wait until the next presidential election. Take small comfort in the mid-term elections next year.

Dear Editor, I am not a transwoman, but I did read the article with great interest. I think my own history with make-up was very sim-

See No President for Hope on P. 22

See Letters on Page 22

Dear Editor, Thank you for this article. Massachusetts is one of the bastions of bisexuality. It is the home of: –Boston Bisexual Women’s Network (est. in 1983), the longest-lived bi women’s group in the world. –The Bi Women Quarterly (since 1983) –The Bisexual Resource Center (since 1985) And a number of coming out and other social and support groups. It’s refreshing to see an LGBTQ+ newspaper shine some light on us. —Robyn Ochs, Online [Re: Ask A Trans Woman: Makeup, Femininity & Identity—A Complicated Social Issue Facing Women]

HE SAID THAT MY FEELINGS WERE A

“RITE OF PASSAGE”... less—I saw him at Club Café, a local Boston gay hotspot. By then, the pattern had a full hold of me (or maybe I had a full hold of it). We chatted with each other briefly and made plans to see each other during the New Year. It could have been the loneliness of the holidays, my intense desire to be in a relationship, or the pattern that I’d become so entrenched in (probably all three), but I reapproached him later that evening, took him aside, and declared that I was in love with him. His demeanor changed. He told me quite sternly that he wasn’t interested. He wished me a good night and told me we’d talk in the New Year. We never spoke again.

See Young Queer Men on Page 21

The Rainbow Times The Freshest LGBT 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

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Assistant Editor Mike Givens

Columnists/Guest* Lorelei Erisis Deja N. Greenlaw Paul P. Jesep Mike Givens Natalia Muñoz* Keegan O’Brien*

National/Local Sales Rivendell Media Liz Johnson Lead Photographers Alex Mancini Steve Jewett Reporters Christine Nicco Jenna Spinelle Chuck Colbert Al Gentile Chris Gilmore Sandra Dias

Webmaster Jarred Johnson

Affiliations National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association NGLCC QSyndicate *Guest Freelancer

The Rainbow Times is published monthly by The Rainbow Times, LLC. TRT is affiliated with the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, NLGJA, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, NGLCC, and QSyndicate. The articles written by the writers, columnists, and correspondents solely express their opinion, and do not represent the endorsement or opinion of The Rainbow Times, LLC or its owners. Send letters to the editor with your name, address and phone number to: The Rainbow Times (address shown above), or e-mail any comment/s to the editor-in-chief at: 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.


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Comcast


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Friends of Pulse Orlando victim KJ Morris launch fundraiser for memorial scholarship By: Sandra Dias/TRT Reporter

NORTHAMPTON—Friends of Kim “KJ” Morris, a longtime Drag King in western Massachusetts, would like her to be remembered not because she was killed in the Pulse Nightclub shooting (https://goo.gl/kMN1ek), but because of her kindness, vitality, and enthusiasm for life. To that end, a group has come together to raise money for a scholarship in Morris’ name, which will be administered through the Community Foundation of western Massachusetts (communityfoundation.org; CFWM). “I think right now, how people are remembering KJ is because of the fact that she was a victim of the Orlando tragedy,” said Aimee Fyfe of Palmer, Morris’ close friend of 15 years. “Doing something that will continue to give back shines a new light on the way that we can remember her, as someone who loved the arts, performance, painting, drawing, and basketball. These are things she really appreciated and would have loved to help someone else pursue. Those were her passions.” Morris was a popular drag performer and dancer with strong ties to the LGBTQ community in western Massachusetts. She was working as a bouncer at Pulse Orlando, a gay nightclub, when Omar Mateen, 29, stormed the building and shot more than 100 people. Morris was among 49 people killed in the attack, considered the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter in American history and the deadliest incidence of violence against the LGBTQ community. In addition to the fatalities, nearly 60 people were seriously wounded. Mateen was shot and killed by Orlando police officers during the three-hour standoff. Morris was born in Torrington, Connecticut, and lived in the Pioneer Valley for more than a decade, including time spent as a performer and sometime bouncer at Diva’s, a former LGBTQ nightclub in Northampton where she adopted the stage name ‘Daddy K.’ She worked at various businesses in the area, including at car dealerships in sales; as a sales associate at H&M at the Holyoke Mall, alongside Fyfe; and as an events coordinator at local colleges, including Amherst and Smith Colleges. “If you knew KJ in western Mass., you most likely knew her as ‘Daddy K’,” Fyfe

A photo of a memorial to the late KJ Morris, aka “Daddy K.”

said. “She had her own web page as ‘Daddy K’ and did a lot of drag shows at

Diva’s, at the colleges, and at the Polo Nightclub in Connecticut. She loved doing drag. It gave her a world of confidence.” Matthew Rist, a friend and coworker of Morris’ who met her dancing at Diva’s one night about 15 years ago, is one of the friends who launched the GoFundMe campaign (https://goo.gl/JeD9bk); the two also worked together for a time. Rist said Morris was a great dancer and the two would

PHOTO: AIMEE FYFE

meet, grab a bite to eat, talk, and go out dancing. “She was always there for me, at any time,” Rist said. “If you just needed someone to talk to or hang out with, she was always there for those who needed her. We wanted to set up this scholarship fund to keep her memory alive in a way that supports people, which KJ was all about. Her smile just lit up a room.” Through fundraisers, including an annual drag show, and a drive on GoFundMe, the group is working to raise money for the KJ Morris Memorial Scholarship Fund. Rist said Morris’ friends chose to work with CFWM to create the scholarship fund because the organization invests the ...

See KJ Morris on Page 19


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Breaking down bisexuality: Understanding the most prevalent sexual identity under the LGBTQ+ umbrella By: Mike Givens/TRT Assistant Editor

In part one of this series, The Rainbow Times explored what bisexuality is, the bigotry bisexuals face, and the double standards that exist between men and women. In this final part of the series, bisexual people speak about their identities and misconceptions around them._ Jupiter Zirkua is a vocalist for the band Stuffy Doll. Based out of Seattle, the group is self-described, as “ … a dirty glam rock band with an affinity for the peculiar, glittery, and venomous.” Zirkua, who identifies as bisexual and genderfluid, described themselves as a, “tough-guy-goth kid” throughout their adolescence growing up in a strict Catholic household in Florida. Zirkua said that their childhood involved, “ … trying to discover exactly where I fell without letting any of the authority figures in my life catch on.” During their formative years, Zirkua preferred the company of girls and, for the most part, avoided spending much time with male peers. Having been raised by women, they felt more comfortable around females. When it came to boys, Zirkua preferred, “ … admiring them in close proximity.” But as they grew older, that admiration developed more substance. “ … it wasn’t until late elementary school [and] early middle school years that I had quite the words for it,” they said. “I think the first time it fully dawned on me that I saw boys as equally viable romantic partners with girls was in 6th grade with a sweet boy who looked like a young Severus Snape and all my hormones just started ringing the cloister bells. Zirkua is also pansexual, a term used to describe a person who is attracted to others regardless of gender identity, gender, or sex assigned at birth, and also as demisexual, meaning they must feel an intense emotional attraction to someone in order to pursue and derive pleasure from sex. Zirkua said they present as a white male, which can often make for interesting social interactions given their goth personality and gender fluidity. “That affords me a wealth of privilege that some of my friends don’t share,” they said. “ … society views a man's rejection of heteronormativity as worse than a woman's, but ultimately that doesn’t come close to overcoming the truly staggering amount of privilege I have to just be able to blend in with the heteronormative society whenever I want and, honestly, not even feel particularly uncomfortable.” But for people like Briyana Clarel, privilege is lacking. “Being black, queer, non-binary, and everything else that I am definitely contributes to being more marginalized than if I were only one or two of those things,” they said. When describing their process of accepting their sexuality, Clarel used terms like, “traumatic, confusing, complicated, and stressful.” “This heteronormative, misogynistic, anti-black, racist society has made it challenging for me to be my full self,” they said. “I have acquired a lot of emotional

and mental stress and trauma from navigating childhood, adolescence, and adulthood as a queer person.” Clarel said that they surround themselves with friends and a community of other queer and/or trans people, but still feels the burden of being an, “unidentified other.” “This has also impacted my social inter-

think to engage with me physically, which is an extra layer of protection.” Zirkua, who has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, said they often juggle identities in relationships. “ … most people who would have a problem with one would have a problem with the other. It's rare for me to come across a

AS AN ADULT, GRACE SAID THAT SHE SAW A GAY FRIEND FROM HIGH SCHOOL AT A CLUB AND WHEN SHE CAME OUT TO HIM AS BISEXUAL, HE RESPONDED WITH AN EXASPERATED, “OH, ONE OF THOSE.” actions with friends, family, colleagues, and others,” they said. “While I have experienced emotional and mental challenges, I have not faced issues in securing housing or work, and remain connected to my family of origin, which is unfortunately not the case for many other queer and trans folks, especially those of us who are black.” JoAnna Hardee, a bisexual black woman in the Boston area, has a more carefree attitude when it comes to her identities. “I don't know that they intersect anymore than any other label intersects with being either black or a woman. Unfortunately, being a black woman in general puts you at an intersection, so at this point I feel that one further label is just what it is. A label. People have their choice [to] take it or leave it.” Having grown up in Florida, Hardee said that she was raised in a religious family and the coming out process was much easier when she moved up north. “I didn't come out until I was 21 and by that time, I'd moved to Boston,” she said, noting that her family and friends back in Florida have been supportive. “The community is huge here and I felt more comfortable being myself.” Though Zirkua has certain privileges in terms of fitting in with heterosexuals and meeting societal expectations, they said their sexuality has caused conflict. As an adolescent, Zirkua faced bullying for being too effeminate, and said they were “beaten and belittled” by male friends for their sexuality. Zirkua said that the brother of a male friend sexually assaulted them when he found out about their bisexuality. “After that, as I made my way through high school, I started to surround myself with queers and weirdos, dated a girl through a good chunk of my time there, and got a lot of the heat taken off,” they said. As an adult, Zirkua said that their gender fluidity often solicits stares. “If I grow a beard, I’m still happy wearing a dress,” they said. “I'm also built in such a way that, as an adult, only the drunkest and [foolhardy] of bigots might

queer ally who can’t hang with the idea of someone who's bipolar, but it comes with a long list of extra misconceptions to sort through.” Denarii Grace, a board member of the Bisexual Resource Center (https://biresource.org), said that her identities can’t be separated, but are interwoven. “So, the thing is, I can't separate my bisexuality from my other oppressed identities,” she said. “I'm a woman, a black

person, a fat person, a femme person, a [person with multiple disabilities], and a poor person, in addition to being bisexual. “So I can't really say, ‘Well, I've been traditionally unemployed for over three and a half years because I'm black. I'm perpetually single because I'm fat. I'm excluded from X, Y, or Z space because I'm bi/nonmonosexual/romantic.’ It's all connected and, I'm sure, in some situations one or two identities have affected outcomes and experiences more than others.” Harvard University Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Michael Bronski spoke about the lived experiences of people like Grace. “We understand that identities intersect with each other. As a movement, culture, and society, I think that we all need to do a lot more thinking about that. “A woman who identifies as bisexual and differently abled is going to have strengths, weaknesses, problems, situations, that are going to be completely different than other people’s. And I think we need to acknowledge what those might be.” Grace, who is also the nonfiction editor for the Deaf Poets Society (https://goo.gl/q1TLGz), an online journal featuring the literary works of the deaf and others with disabilities, said that she has experienced several forms of discrimination based on her identities.

See Bisexuality on Page 21


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Bisexuality Myths, Misconceptions, and Misinformation The Rainbow Times recently compiled a list of the most pervasive ideas surrounding the lives of bisexual people. Harvard University Professor and author Michael Bronski discusses why these perceptions of bisexual people are pervasive in American culture. Members of the bi community also shared their responses to these misconceptions. Bisexuals are promiscuous MB: I think the myth has happened because all human beings—gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, whatever—have a vast variety of sexual desires and appetites and that’s frightening to people and often people will accuse bisexuals of being promiscuous because they are projecting their own anxiety about their own sexual desires—where they would be promiscuous if they could— onto another group and then condemning that. Sexuality for most American adults is really confusing. It’s no surprise that when people identify as bisexual it falls outside of sex boxes and becomes even more confusing to people. Katie Cohen: Many people assume that because I am bi that I will cheat on my partner or that I have sex all the time with everyone. Some bi people, just like monosexuals, cheat on there partners. Some bi people, again just like monosexuals, have tons of sex. Cheating or having a high sex drive has nothing to do with bisexuality. Bisexuals are confused and need to “pick a lane” MB: As humans we want the world to be tidy and everything in its place, in its box, in its lane, so speak. The notion that someone is bisexual confuses that dichotomy of gay/straight, black/white … Alfred Kinsey, the sexologist who masterminded the Kinsey Report, said, “Nature doesn’t make categories, people do.” Nature is just what’s out there. So if you create categories and people don’t fit into those categories, it’s confusing, so the immediate reaction is, “choose.” JoAnna Hardee: [People need to do their] research, ask questions and stop assuming [they] know how one person is or feels. It's hard enough being who you are in this society without the extra judgment. Bisexuals are the same; they have the same experiences and desires MB: Again, this comes from our notion that we want things to be tidy and put into a box. So people will say, “Alright, this group of people says they’re not gay or straight, they’re bisexual, so that’s what they are. They’re bisexual. They’re all the same.” Clearly it doesn’t take into consideration the enormous fluidity of sexual desires, impulses, drives, and activity. It’s a total myth because not all bisexuals are alike, neither are all heterosexuals or homosexuals. Denarii Grace: The truth is that we don't even all use the same labels, which is why I use the term bi+ (plus). Our experiences of our bi+ (plus) identities are informed by our other intersecting identities. Most bi+ (plus) folks are people of color (especially black, like myself); most trans people are bi+ (plus). Those are two huge demographics that have very different experiences from their socially privileged counterparts (white people and cisgender people, respectively). And there are many other identities that affect how we experience the world. Bisexuals cannot be monogamous MB: It’s clearly the heterosexual, lesbian, gay anxiety about problems surrounding notions of monogamy and what monogamy means and then projecting that onto another group. If we think monogamy is a good thing, and many people do and hold it up as an ideal—and many people fail at that ideal—many of these myths happen because they’re projections of other people's’ fears, and they project these fear onto bisexuals who are disease-spreading, can’t make a choice, etc. In America now we think about monogamy as, “I miss you, I like you, we’re dating. Let’s not sleep with other people,” and it’s really not a lifetime sort of thing the way it would have been conceptualized in the 1850s. Even the notion of monogamy has a history and it’s certainly not fair to put that history on to bisexuals when no one else is paying attention to it. Priyanka: I think the reasoning behind this is that since monosexual people are attracted to one sex and being with only that one sex makes them happy, then there is something about the other sex that disqualifies them as possibly attractive to the monosexual person. Thus if bisexual people are attracted to both sexes, they must be with (at least) one man and one woman at the same time to be happy since that way, they cannot miss out on a potentially attractive sex to be with. Thus, a bisexual will constantly switch sexes of their partners, including cheating, and will never be happy. Bisexuality does not exist MB: Again, I think that most of these myths emerge from the notion that bisexuality is confusing to people because it doesn’t fall into a dichotomized view of how sexuality—straight/gay, heterosexual/homosexual—should be. It’s merely a sort of a rhetorical or metaphysical gamble to say, “Oh, well it’s a phase.” Our basic sexual imagination and sexual desires are far more complicated than we generally want to admit, or that we’ll act on. So to say bisexuality is a phase is an attempt to eradicate bisexuality as a valid category and that’s a really bad thing to want to do. Kate Estrop: Tell that to the bi+ elders who have been out as bi for several decades!

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Violence in Charlottesville shines light on hate, bigotry in America Local, national groups condemn Pres. Trump, white supremacists; Boston sends strong message to haters By: Jenna Spinelle/TRTReporter

LA AY SH NS VE GI

How We Got Here The August 12 “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville had been in the works for weeks and centered around plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park. The Charlottesville City Council voted in February to remove the statue and change the park’s name from Robert E. Lee Park to Emanci-

O: OT PH

Last month, Charlottesville, Virginia became a visible metaphor for growing social and political tensions in the nation around race and freedom of speech. A violent clash between white supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville on August 12 lead to one death and 19 injuries after a neo-Nazi protester drove his car through a crowded street. In the weeks since the tragedy, President Trump repeatedly refused to openly condemn white nationalist groups for their actions while providing ambiguous statements on the tragedy. Many Republican politicians and business leaders appeared to distance themselves from these groups. Organizations and activists from across the political spectrum have reprimanded the President for his actions and encouraged people across the U.S. to speak out against hate at a time when it appears to be front and center in the national dialogue.

A photo of Emancipation Park prior to the August 12 "alt-right" rally.

pation Park. That decision angered the pro-white movement, who feel strong ties to the

south’s history as a Confederacy during the Civil War. Charlottesville resident and prowhite activist Jason Kessler organized the

“Unite the Right” rally to draw attention to the statue and prevent it from being removed. The event quickly drew support from the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists groups. Counter protesters from the anti-fascist— or “antifa”—movement clashed with the pro-white ralliers on August 12 and at a pre-rally party on the University of Virginia campus on August 11. Protesters on both sides say they planned to act peacefully, but the event quickly turned violent as the groups clashed in the streets. The rally in Emancipation Park was scheduled to begin at noon that day, but was shut down by police before the first speaker could take the stage as tensions escalated. Protesters then moved to McIntire Park, which is north of the city’s downtown. All activities came to a halt when Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. Members of the LGBTQ community in Charlottesville were among the counter protesters at the rally. Activist Emily Gorcenski told the Guardian (https://goo.gl/1SfdfM) she had received more than 100 death threats in the weeks leading up to the rally and was carrying a gun that day to protect herself. “The Second Amendment is one of the Read the rest of this story at: http://wp.me/p22M41-4Vb


10th Year Anniversary • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 15

September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017

Neo-Nazis, the KKK & white supremacists are coming after all of us By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist

I

TRANS OPINION

wasn't surprised when the KKK, white nationalists, and white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, but I was surprised to see Nazi flags flying among their midst. I was shocked that those who flew the Nazi flag were so open about it. The Nazi symbol, the swastika, is such an awful symbol that for someone to actually fly the Nazi flag today was out of the question, or so I thought. It was bad enough seeing the KKK and the white nationalists and supremacists at that protest but to add neo-Nazis to the mix was to add horror to an already deplorable protest. The neo-Nazis hold the same beliefs as the original Nazis. Their cardinal enemy is the Jewish people, but they also despise non-white, as well as LGBTQ folk. The NeoNazis are afraid that they are losing their place in society and the Jewish people, the non-white people, and the LGBTQ people are seen as taking away their rights and knocking them off their place in society.

What is going on with these folks? How can they think like this? One reason that they may think like this is because many of them do not have the ability to think in a way that is nuanced. They can only see things in black and white

as enemies to the Neo-Nazis but how do LGBTQ folk fit in? LGBTQ folk are seen as abnormal to the neo-Nazis and that we should all go back into the closet. For instance, I recently saw on the internet, a KKK flyer which supported “bathroom

IF YOU LOOK AROUND YOU CAN SEE RACISM, XENOPHOBIA, ANTI-SEMITISM, HOMOPHOBIA, & TRANSPHOBIA IN OTHER FACETS OF ... rather than the more complex gray way. They lack integrative complexity when it comes to thinking. This was a finding from Alejandro Beutel who researches violent extremist ideologies. Mr Beutel is a researcher studying countering violent extremism at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (www.start.umd.edu; START). Beutel's findings show that the black and white thinking process can accept simplistic ideas such as the whites make up an Aryan race and that this race should hold privilege in the world. Of course, this is a ridiculous thought but unfortunately some people do buy into this ideology. This thinking places non-white and Jewish folk

bill” legislation. So, what can we do to stop this kind of hideous, extremist thinking? Holding counter protests, like Charlottesville did to bring more awareness to these terrible ideologies and letting everyone know that thy must not be tolerated. Other things you can do is to contact your legislators, let them know your feelings, and ask them what they will do to address these hateful ideas and actions. Keep abreast of any legislative bills coming up at town, state, or national levels and show your support or disapproval by lobbying your legislators. The Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org; HRC) reports that 100 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced so far in 2017

(https://goo.gl/pV4g93). You can also talk to friends and acquaintances andots of folks use social media such as Facebook to discuss their concerns about these ideologies. The neo-Nazis, KKK, and white supremacists are open and loud. There are also subtle ideologies and, of course, we need to address them too. If you look around you can see racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and transphobia in other facets of society. These also need to be addressed. They may or may not be directly linked with the neo-Nazis, KKK, or white supremacists, but they are there. Some are disguised as social or religious mores. Prejudices can be deeply ingrained in society and may not be noticeable at first glance but they are there. They may be in your clubs that you belong to, in the company you work for, the police department that protects you, and the church where you worship. Unfortunately, no place is immune to them. So please keep your eye out for these and do not hesitate to bring them up and point them out. The non-white people, the Jewish people, and the LGBTQ folk have suffered too long. It's time for this to stop. *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a trans woman who has 3 grown children and is retired from 3M. She can be contacted at her email: dejavudeja@sbcglobal.net.

The art of tucking: A femme discussion on an issue affecting many trans women tucking is just to take the penis, fold it ust recently down, and pull it back between the legs, as I had a tightly as is comfortable. While doing this, BREATHABLE FABRIC PANTIES AND UNTUCKING lovely con- push the testicles to either side of the penis, versation with a ideally up into the inguinal canal, the two young trans little holes from which a person’s testicles FOR AT LEAST PART OF THE DAY, WHILE SLEEPING friend, which re- initially drop and which they often go back minded me quite into to protect them during sex. This resharply of the im- duces the amount of space the genitals take AT THE VERY LEAST, ARE A GOOD IDEA. portance of com- up in your panties and between your legs. PHOTO: DAVID MEEHAN

ASK A TRANS WOMAN

By: Lorelei Erisis*/TRT Columnist

J

ing back to basics occasionally. I thought, after the conversation was finished, what we had talked about was exactly the sort of thing I wish I heard when I was beginning my own transition. It’s a subject trans women don’t often discuss amongst ourselves, but which affects many of us: tucking. If you aren’t familiar with “tucking,” it refers to the technique used by trans women, drag queens, and anyone else possessing a penis who might want to hide it from general view or even a hinted-at outline. The problem with most of the articles I found researching this column was that they tended to focus on more temporary tucking solutions for when a super-flat crotch might be preferred. Without going into any of the more elaborate procedures, the simplest method of

THE RAINBOW TIMES DIVERSE............just like our team is OBJECTIVE..........someone has to be INCLUSIVE........no one is left behind .....That is HOW media should be.....

I, however, find this hard to maintain with a simple daily tuck, so mine are often tucked up under and slightly behind the shaft of my penis, and unless I’m participating in some crotch-jarring activity, this is just fine. Next is finding the right panties to keep the tuck in place. Early on, I had a penchant for sexy, satiny panties that were often too skimpy. And though I still like these on occasion, they just aren’t practical for the needs of my, “anachronistic genitalia.” What I find works best are relatively new cotton panties. You’ll want to get some idea of your hip measurements. For a trans woman, this will generally be smaller than a cisgender woman. This measurement will help you make sense of the often baffling charts on packs of panties. What I’ve learned, after trial and error, is that I have to strike a balance between my hip measurement and the fact that I have more to contain in the crotch area than most cis women. The panties should be tight enough, with good elastic around the leg holes, to hold everything in place but not so tight that there isn’t some give to allow for comfort and movement without risk of anything falling out. The reason I recommend cotton, or some

other decently breathable fabric, has to do with hygiene and safety. Penises aren’t really designed to be kept in such a warm, moist position for an extended period of time. Breathable fabric panties and untucking for at least part of the day, while sleeping at the very least, are a good idea. In addition to the right panties, I also find a simple pair of tights or pantyhose help to keep things in place. Especially when being active or wearing clothing such as a very short skirt or tight shorts. A great help keeping your tuck hidden and also comfortable is the miracle of skirts! Most skirts provide enough fabric and flare away from the body to disguise even a quite loose tuck. This leads to my last two criteria: Dressing for your body type and managing critical self-assessment. These are two areas of advice that I would extend beyond trans women, to trans and cis people of any gender. With this caveat, a woman should dress however she wants, in whatever way makes her happiest and most comfortable. If you know your body type and can get an idea of what will work on it and what won’t, then you can work your daily wardrobe around that.

What I mean by managing critical selfassessment is quite simple. Because of dysphoria and various other socially influenced body negativities, I might notice every little flaw in myself. Others, in my experience, often don’t notice or care about these things at all. Including what appears to me to be an unsightly and misgendering bulge in my crotch. As I have learned to relax about my own insecurities, and really look at other women, I have noticed that many cis women, in addition to all the little bulges and bumps we are encouraged to reign in, often have pretty significantly bulging crotches. The perfectly flat crotch, it turns out, is mainly an ideal, not a constant reality. So that tiny bulge in my pants? Not really as noticeable as I thought. In fact, as the years and HRT have assisted, I have even found I can be comfortable wearing a bikini to the beach, without any special care or preparation beyond normal femmescrutiny in the mirror. What does it matter if there is the slightest of bulges at my crotch? I’m a trans woman. That is just how my body is Read the rest of this story at: http://wp.me/p22M41-4Vd


16 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • 10th Year Anniversary

September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017

Freedom Through Femininity: All-American Rejects Frontman on Crossdressing

T

yson Ritter strips down to nothing for the All-American Rejects’ new queer project. Fuzzy leopard-print top, blonde wig, fake eyelashes, low-cut skirt, stilettos—the frontman de-drags as he transforms from a prostitute, Betsy, to a seemingly married, suited-up man and life of the party, Robert. The 11-minute short film conceptualizes identity and authenticity through the complicated and ultimately haunting duality of a single person. “Sweat,” a swaggering glam-rocker, finds Betsy leaving her mark on the streets—and in a bathroom stall when things get hot and heavy with an androgynous hookup. But then, during the juxtaposing come-down “Close Your Eyes,” we discover, tragically, Robert’s “real” life comes at a price. As the alt-rockers mount a musical comeback with the two-song EP and a forthcoming album—their first since 2012’s Kids in the Street—Ritter, 33, opened up about his own femininity, being asexual for three years, his strong opinion on how “everybody’s selling celebrity” and being there for his lesbian sister when their family was not. Q: Can you tell me about the concept of this short film and how you ended up using a crossdresser as your subject? A: Jamie Thraves is a brilliant British film director who we were lucky enough – he’s actually FaceTiming me right now. Hang

on. (Laughs) We’ve become brothers over this, but he approached us with a simple one-line concept that just said, “I see Tyson playing a woman and I see him playing a man named Robert whose fantasy is playing that woman.” It broadened beyond that through our correspondence because, of course, I had immediate questions for him about the story of Robert and the purpose of this film. Once we boiled it down, it was just this concept of identity and how people in all walks of life are never the same person in any room they walk into. I think Robert’s struggle to find himself was something that bled into my correspondence with Jamie, and we just started exploring all of our dark secrets together. It was really this cathartic thing to just talk about our lives and the regrets we’ve had and the compromising things we’ve done to become the person we were and are. Q: How have you had to come to term with your own identity? Have you ever questioned your own sexuality? A: I absolutely have. I went through a really bad breakup when I was in my mid ’20s and I was asexual for almost three years, just living in New York by myself, totally stone sober and trying to find myself. I was raised by my mom and my grandma, and that femininity and that balance within myself of the masculine and feminine has always been a yin-yang. It’s pushing and pulling, always. And I embrace that energy because I think some of

PHOTO: INTERSCOPE RECORDS

By: Chris Azzopardi/Special to TRT

Tyson Ritter

the strongest things about me are from what my mother and my Nannu gave me. Q: As someone who’s been acting for several years now, you may be aware of

opposition to cis, white men acting as LGBT or queer. There’s been a lot of pushback regarding this. How conscious were you of that sentiment while developing the storyline for this video? A: I always knew that (Betsy) was a fantasy of Robert and it’s that suspension of disbelief that kept me grounded in the character. My wife helped me a lot. I just wanted to make sure that I grabbed onto all the femininity that I’m not afraid to show and put it into Betsy. I didn’t wanna approach the character half-assed at all, and as far as it being a risk to play that role, to me it was an escape and a surreal journey through a fantasy of Robert’s. At the heart of this story is a man named Robert who has a life and has a purpose, and I was serving him. So, I guess I didn’t feel like there was a compromise given that the character I was playing was the true heart of this journey. Q: You’ve given the LGBT community many encouraging songs over the years, including “Move Along.” Can we expect more along those lines? A: I realize that, in these divisive times, there is so much hate and division. The thing that breaks my heart right now in the world is just how divided we are. Even my parents didn’t go through this shit. I think it’s pouring out of me right now, so the things that I see and feel in the world are the things that I’m gonna be writing about. Read the rest of this story at: http://wp.me/p22M41-4Vf


10th Year Anniversary • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 17

September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017

7 fitness challenges to show how jacked you are, even if you aren’t THE FRIVOLIST

By: Mikey Rox*/Special to TRT

Summer bod will be hard to maintain as the sun sets on these final few dog days and the brisk breeze of autumn ushers in a serious craving for carbs. But you can keep the extra pounds at bay outside of beach season by participating in fitness and adventure events galore. From breaking a sweat in bouncy houses to pushing your limits through treacherous terrain, here are seven events widely available across the country to keep you in top shape— or at least at a steady weight so you can stuff your face all fall and winter long.

1. Vacation Races Breathtaking views and the pursuit of healthy living converge in Vacation Races, which hosts 5Ks, half-marathons, Trailfests (multi-day, 50-plus-mile adventures) and Ultras (featuring 100K, marathon and half-marathon options), set in the most majestic places in the United States, like Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks, the Shenandoah Mountains, Mount Rushmore and Joshua Tree, among a dozen-plus other spectacular, getawayworthy landmarks and historical locations.

2. The Color Run Billed as the “Happiest Event on the Planet”—and arguably the one with the gayest sensibility—The Color Run 5K douses white-clad participants head to toe in a rainbow of colors (in the form of edible, nontoxic powders; they’re not trying to poison you) as you run 3.1 miles through a course that this year includes a Dream Wall that allows runners to paint their aspirations, photo ops with giant unicorns, a colored Foam Zone and a Finish Festival with music and post-race sustenance. Runs are held from February to November, setting up shop in 31 states from coast to coast. 3. ROC Race Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge (ROC Race for short) grew to more than 100,000 par-

ticipants last year, all of whom were gunning to get wet, wild and a little banged up through a course of about a dozen obstacles —inspired by the ABC game show Wipeout—like the infamous Wrecking Balls, the menacing Sweeper and a finish-line glide down a four-story waterslide. Locations for ROC are limited to northern and southern California, New England and D.C.; this year’s last hurrah pops off in NYC on Sept. 10. 4. Warrior Dash Elite athletes and first-timers alike will find the strength to conquer Warrior Dash’s 12 world-class obstacles, including scaling walls, crawling through muddy trenches and jumping over fire, in this test of endurance that rewards finishers with medals and a post-race party with beer, music and a few thousand other crusty Dashers to mingle with. 5. Cotopaxi Questival Adventure Race Grab a group of two to six of your closest friends and set off on a journey of adventure, exploration and a lifetime of memories during this 24-hour scavenger hunt-meets-outdoor discovery excursion that sets you on a beat-the-clock list of challenges that traverse the terrain, from urban jungle to mysterious forests to the splashy shores of our expansive coast lines. The best part is, you don’t know what you’re in for until you get there. 6. Tough Mudder If you’ve checked the popular 5K races and courses off your weekend-warrior bucket list, graduating to the Tough Mudder is the next logical progression in your total fitness-event domination. Here, you’ll work your way through 10 miles of mud (tie those shoes tight!), completing challenges that include scaling a 15-foot wall, scrambling up a slippery slope, and—nipple alert!—plunging into a dumpster packed with 10 tons of ice. Read the rest of this story at: http://wp.me/p22M41-4V5


18 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • 10th Year Anniversary

September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017

20th Annual Lesbians & Friends Dance The October 2017 Lesbians & Friends Dance: A Party for Prevention is a benefit for the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC), the state’s leading breast cancer organization with the unique goal of breast cancer prevention. This event for the New England LGBTQA community will be held on Saturday, October 21 from 8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Brookline located on 1200 Beacon Street

in Brookline, MA. Highlights for the 20th annual dance event include a free one-hour dance workshop available to all dance participants from 7– 8 p.m., led by Liz Nania, Director of Out to Dance; music from DJ Triana; a large silent auction; complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets are $45 in advance (call 617-376-6222) or $50 at the door. FMI: visit www.mbcc.org/.

My Identity from page 6

transition sunk in and became a reality, I became nervous of any potential health ramifications from testosterone therapy. I became scared of how the world would treat him. I was anxious about traveling to areas that didn’t have competent transgender care. I became terrified of the unknowns. However, when someone is transgender, the transition itself is a lifesaving treatment. The ramifications of living inauthentic are far more catastrophic. We forged ahead … When Graysen’s medical transition began 3.5 months ago, I did not feel a sense of loss and grief. Though I understand that some spouses of trans people may have difficulty with the transition and grieve the loss of the person they thought they were married to, my experience was not like that. Perhaps it was because I had years to process, learn and grow with my trans husband privately. We took the time and had the opportunity to discuss concerns, come up with a plan to deal with potential familial fallout and strategize our future as a trans family. From the beginning of this journey years ago, we started as a united front and we’ve built a fortress around us since. In terms of my identity, if it is so important to know, I identify as a cisgender woman that is attracted to trans masculine female spirited energy—one person in my case. That, however, is not the take home lesson. The part of my identity that matters most to me and should to others posing these questions is that I am happily married to an amazing trans guy and we will be celebrating our 15-year anniversary this month. That is all you need to know and that is all I’ll say about it from this point on. *Nicole Lashomb is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times. She holds an MBA from Marylhurst University & a BM from the Crane School of Music (SUNY). Email: editor@therainbowtimesmass.com.

Cis men cannot understand the complexity of the female experience because they have never lived that life. Trans men can relate in every aspect, especially if they have outwardly lived longer presenting as female to mainstream society. Graysen spent most of his life socialized as a female. This gives him a profound understanding of issues that plague women in American culture and makes him more in tune to how I perceive the world. He is innately better equipped to meet my needs and expectations—me being the strong feminist that I am. He does not emulate the destructive behavior of the patriarchal culture in which we live and he certainly does not oppress women through words or actions. That is part of the beauty of trans men, at least mine. When I first learned about Graysen’s gender identity, none of it took me by surprise. All of the pieces just fit better together. A bulk of our experiences made much more sense upon his revelation. That is not to say there was not an initial process for me to go through as well, but the more I reflected on it I realized that Graysen was already who he was. His soul, personality, passions, likes and dislikes, his character, the very essence of his being were already solidified. Regardless of how much his physique changes in the future, he will always be that person that I fell so madly in love with 15 years ago. When Graysen was at the doctor’s office to receive his first hormone shot, it was a moment filled with immense happiness for both of us. It was an honor to witness such a life-changing moment. The trans guy I adored was finally en route to becoming his authentic self. I knew I was gaining a happier and healthier version of my love and I couldn’t wait for him to manifest fully. In the following days, as the medical


September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017

when she asked to buy her a drink. “She hit on me, but I was in a relationship donated money to keep the fund alive in perpetuity. The scholarship will be avail- at the time,” Fyfe said with a laugh. “But able eventually to college-bound students we became friends and had been best friends ever since.” living in western Massachusetts. Fyfe said Morris had a sociable, outgoRist said between fundraising events and the GoFundMe drive, the group has raised ing, self-confident, and charismatic out$5,876 to open a scholarship fund through ward persona as ‘Daddy K,’ but most the CFWM. He said $25,000 must be people did not know the real KJ, whom, raised within three years to fully fund a she said, was actually shy and reserved. “People thought she was this happy, bubself-supporting scholarship. Allie Thorpe, a longtime friend of Mor- bly person 24-7, but she wasn’t,” Fyfe recalled. “She was a very ris’ through her wife, caring friend who was Melissa Nahas, also is there for all the major helping with the gobumps in my life, from fundme campaign and breakups to deaths in the said the group is planfamily. I could call her at ning other possible 3 a.m. and she would events, such as a restaucome right over.” rant fundraiser and a basFyfe said the two had a ketball tournament. standing date every Thorpe said she spent Wednesday night to many happy hours with watch TV shows, includMorris, going out dancing America’s Top ing, walking their dogs, Model and American and playing cards. MorIdol. ris threw her a bachelor “We would drink and party when she got marorder pizza and we ried in July 2011. looked at Wednesday “She was a very loving nights as Aimee and and caring person and KJ’s holiday, no matter was a pillar of support what relationships we for me,” Thorpe said. were in at the time,” “We confided in each Fyfe remembered. Fyfe other a lot. She was al- The late KJ Morris as “Daddy K.” said Morris loved her ways there for me through whatever troubles I was having and I tried to be there for dog Shiloh, who had passed away earlier, and was obsessive about buying shoes. her. She had a big impact on my life.” Morris also loved painting and many of Thorpe said Morris was highly committed to her work as a drag performer and her friends have her artwork on their walls, served as a mentor to younger drag kings Fyfe said. She loved basketball and played in local recreational leagues. While Morris coming up. “She really enjoyed helping the younger moved away from the area, Fyfe said she performers learn the ropes and what music “was a western Mass. girl” at heart and to collect and how to dress up and do their would have been honored to have a scholfacial hair and perfect their moves,” Thorpe arship created in her name for local stusaid. “Her performances were very impor- dents who want to go to college. “For her, leaving western Mass. was one tant to her.” Thorpe said organizers hoped to gear the of scariest decisions she had ever had to memorial scholarship specifically to make, but she decided she needed to live LGBTQ students, but learned through life outside the box” Fyfe said. The night that Morris departed for a job CFWM that they could not do that because it would be discriminatory in a general in Hawaii, she drove over to Fyfe’s house scholarship program that is open to all. She where her friend discovered she had all her said the scholarship will include some lan- clothes piled in the backseat of her car. “I had to give her my suitcases so she guage encouraging LGBTQ students to could properly pack her clothes and not use apply, however. “KJ played a big role in the LGBTQ trash bags!” Fyfe said, laughing. “She went to Pulse, looking for gay peocommunity of western Mass., particularly for the up and coming drag performers that ple, like herself,” Fyfe said. Morris was only on her third shift as a she took under her wing,” Thorpe said. “Many of them looked to KJ as an inspira- bouncer at Pulse Orlando when she was murdered in the shooting. tion. “Pulse was a horrible tragedy,” Thorpe “I think she would be humbled and proud of it,” she said. “She would have thought it said. “It’s not hard for those of us who were was a great way to help people who have KJ’s friends to think about her and rememstruggled, who have been a part of the ber her. This scholarship is a way for us to LGBTQ community that she was such a remind the public that there were people affected by this directly, there were people big part of.” After living in western Massachusetts, taken from us who had such great potential. Morris relocated to Hawaii in 2015 and They were real people, with hopes, and then, less than a year later, to Orlando, dreams, and lives. This is a way for us to Florida, where she moved to help out her give back, in a way that KJ would have mother and grandmother. Thorpe said after wanted.” For more information about making a she moved away, the two of them would often send each other funny “Just Because” tax-deductible donation to the KJ Morris cards that they found in stores to keep their Memorial Scholarship Fund’s GoFundMe page or e-mail Matthew Rist at: kjmemorifriendship alive. Fyfe said she first met Morris at Diva’s alscholarshipfund@gmail.com.

KJ Morris from page 8

10th Year Anniversary • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 19

QPuzzle: Things that happen “In The Nick of Time”

Across 1 Haul ass 5 Chocolate factory vessels 9 School of Marcel Duchamp 13 Poet Broumas 14 Bygone pump name 15 Word after "penis" 16 Closet opening 17 Cover for Adam's privates 18 It goes before one's time 19 Nick's brother who just came out on Twitter 22 Doug Mattis, for one 23 Touched a vampire's heart, like Buffy 27 Say "there, there" to 30 Egypt and Syr., once 31 Nice buns, for example 35 Prefix with political 36 Woodcarver's tool 37 Nick's vocal group 40 You might see a polar bear there 41 Lube brand 42 Hoped for responses to come-ons 43 TV character from beyond Uranus 44 Gene Robinson's office 46 Hoofing it 48 Queer one, to straights 53 Kids' TV network where 19-Across made many guest appearances 56 Collette of The Hours 59 "I Could ___ Danced All Night" 60 Nathan of Modern Family 61 Spread it on your muffin

62 It's taken over in a coup 63 Forbidden fruit site 64 Part of a hard head 65 Bear necessities 66 Like Easter eggs

Down 1 Bubbly drinks 2 Dracula accessory 3 Socrates' market 4 Ouija alternative 5 "Zipperless zipper" 6 Cruising 7 Russian ruler of old 8 One dance style of Gregory Hines 9 Messing of the Will & Grace reboot 10 Singer DiFranco 11 Burned item 12 "Yes" in the navy 20 Homes for Nigel Finch and Hart Crane? 21 Sorbonne summer 24 Praise for Lammies, e.g. 25 "Straight Outta Compton" rapper 26 Get decent 28 Shrek and others 29 Saw things 31 BBC sitcom 32 Late NASA astronaut Ride 33 Pooh-pooh 34 Just make, with "out" 36 Guys and Dolls co-creator Burrows 38 Imitated Samantha 39 Universal donor

44 "Unhappy" rapper Big ___ 45 Little hooters 47 Optional item between meat and bun 49 Sat on one's bottom 50 Willing and able partner 51 Gift recipient 52 Erect 54 Funny lady Clinton 55 Wolfson of Freedom to Marry 56 Lover that you can't get over 57 Arena cry, to Lorca 58 Name divider

Correction In Part I of the Bisexuality Series (Aug. 2017 Issue), an interviewee’s last name was regrettably misspelled. The person’s last name was reported as “Munroe.” The correct spelling is “Monroe.”

SOLUTION


20 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • 10th Year Anniversary

September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017


September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017

about LGBT Life and People (https://goo.gl/bVmXNK), said that while In high school, Grace said that a white the labels we assign our identities can be family hurriedly rushed their children in- helpful, they’re also limiting. side of their suburban home when a group “The categories we’ve created are fairly of black friends and her were walking by useful and fairly functional, but they’re also their house. Grace also said that she’s had fairly inexact,” he said. “So putting people to argue with a public transit bus driver to in those boxes is great to form a movement let her exit out of the around, but we often don’t front door because of a get to dealing with the indiphysical disability. As an vidual’s psyches and conadult, Grace said that she sciousnesses.” saw a gay friend from Grace said that the key to high school at a club and erasing the hurtful attitudes when she came out to about bisexuals is through him as bisexual, he reeducation and understandsponded with an exaspering. ated, “Oh, one of those.” “We need people who are “Systemic and even innot part of the commuterpersonal oppression nity—including gays and are very insidious, lesbians—to take the initiasneaky,” said Grace, who tive to learn about our conis also a freelance writer tributions to history and and editor and a poet, culture,” she said. “We singer, and songwriter. need people to pay attenHarvard University Professor “And it affects relationtion to our specific issues, Michael Bronski ships of various kinds, in our dire numbers, because different ways.” we need help and we're being forgotten. Grace said that platonic friendships have We've been doing the work; we need you been the healthiest for her, especially those to do it, too. Don't claim to be an ally to the with other bisexual people of color. Her re- larger LGBTQ+ (plus) community if you lationships with family are complicated don't get educated on all of our issues. It reand her romantic life she describes as ally doesn't take much, and costs you noth“nonexistent,” a stark contrast to what she ing.” says is the assumption that bisexual people For more information or resources recan date and have sexual partners much lated to bisexuality, please visit the website more easily than gays, lesbians, and hetero- of the Bisexual Resource Center sexuals. (https://biresource.org). Bronski, who coauthored, "You Can Tell NOTE: A Bisexuality Myths and MisconJust By Looking": And 20 Other Myths ceptions Side Bar can be found on page 11. PHOTO: ELI S. BURAKIAN

Bisexuality from Page10

10th Year Anniversary • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 21

Young Queer Men from Page 6 *** About a month after my embarrassing declaration, I sent him an e-mail apologizing profusely. He responded kindly, but with distance, and said he needed space. I was a mess. I cried, lost a tremendous amount of weight, closed myself off from others, and grieved the imaginary love affair that never was and did my best to forget the fictional life he and I would never have. A few years later, I sent him another email apologizing and asking for his forgiveness. He responded again with kindness and understanding, but with no intention of seeing each other again. He said that my feelings were a “rite of passage” for young gay men—developing feelings for someone who doesn’t reciprocate—and said he forgave me. I saw him once in an Apple store. We made eye contact briefly and he hurriedly turned away without acknowledging me. I don’t blame him. *** It’s been nearly 11 years since that Halloween night where the pattern got the best of me (or I got the best of it). I’ve grown a lot, moved forward in my career, had a brief (and disastrous) relationship, and have learned quite a few lessons along the way. In late August, my friends and I got together to celebrate a dear friend's birthday. We took him out to dinner and ended the evening at Club Café. As I’m standing outside with a friend chatting, I see Greg about

20 feet away. I lounged around the bar area, people watched, and spent time with one of my friends while the others went dancing. Greg walked by me a few times without acknowledging me. I don’t blame him. *** What on earth was I thinking falling in love with a stranger? I didn’t know this man from Adam, but I projected every hope and expectation I had for love on to him. He’s in his 40s now, still handsome, but I literally know nothing about him other than what I gleaned on those two superficial dates 11 years ago. Maybe he was right. Maybe feelings like I have for him are a rite of passage. As the song says, everybody does play the fool sometimes. I challenge anyone to say they’ve never met someone they found attractive and immediately started projecting expectations onto them. Maybe the feelings weren’t as strong as love, but I think we have a tendency to create narratives in our heads around people who are physically and intellectually attractive to us. And it wasn’t love I was feeling for Greg. It was the need and desire to be in love and be loved. Greg was just that blank screen through which I projected a lifetime of insurmountable hopes and dreams. As I thought about him that night, I realized that he probably was not all I made him up to be. Maybe he’s a horrible boyfriend. Perhaps he’s too picky to ever ... Read the rest of this story at: http://wp.me/p22M41-4V9


22 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • 10th Year Anniversary

September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017

Mes de Herencia Hispana y los votos que cuentan en Sept. 12 Por: Graysen M. Ocasio/Publicador de TRT

LATINX VOICES

Es importante hablar de nosotros los latinos y la importancia de estar envueltos en eventos cívicos. El 12 de septiembre son las primarias en Massachusetts. Si desea que haya cambios en su vecindario, que sus derechos se hagan valer, que se le respete su ciudadanía y o residendia local o nacionalmente, entonces debe votar. Al ejerzer su derecho al voto, está ayudando a otros que, como usted, necesitan nuestra ayuda. Uno de esos grupos es el de los inmigrantes en Salem. Tenemos que votar en noviembre por exactamente eso. Votaré “SI” en la pregunta El 12 de septiembre los votantes de Salem irán a las urnas a votar en las Elecciones Preliminares Municipales. ¿Recuerda la pugna del documento del Santuario de Paz y lo mucho que se trabajó para poder ayudar a nuestros hermanos inmigrantes? Bueno, esos concejales quienes fueron crueles y no escucharon de razón ninguna? Si lo recuerda, entonces sabe por quién y por quién no debe de votar. Escribí una columna de opinión sobre los candidatos y como votaron durante el voto para pasar la ordenanza de Santuario de Paz en la ciudad. Si vive en Salem, estos tres concejales libres (la Presidente Elaine Milo y los con-

Letters from Page 6 ilar; I wore make-up for certain jobs or dates but not the rest of the time. Of course, I’m in Western Massachusetts, not everyone wears make-up here. I don’t need it to hide behind anymore, so now it’s just fun (enter Cyndi Lauper). —Patricia A MacKay, Online Dear Editor, As for feeling unsafe in the current political climate, here is my experience: I’m a transwoman who started transitioning last year and started RLE this past January. I am also an amateur astronomer. Yesterday (August 21st), in case you slept through it, there was a total solar eclipse visible across the United States, coming ashore in Oregon and exiting in South Carolina. I watched the eclipse from my home

... INFÓRMESE SOBRE LOS CANDIDATOS A CONCEJALES EN ESTA PAPELETA DE VOTO. cejales Arthur Sargent, y Jerry Ryan) votaron en contra de la ordenanza. Recuerde sus nombres, vaya al web de Salem (https://goo.gl/tizG1o) y regístrese para votar. Infórmese de quienes son sus concejales en cualquier lugar donde viva. El proceso electoral es prácticamente el mismo dondequiera que resida. El Concejo Municipal (City Council, en inglés) actual en Salem está compuesto de 11 concejales, cuatro de ellos son Libres (At-Large, en inglés), lo que quiere decir que todos los votantes, sin importar donde viven, en Salem pueden votar por ellos. Este voto es sumamente importante para los inmigrantes, sus familias, amistades y alíados. De los cuatro concejales libres, éstos votaron en contra del documento de Santuario de Paz. Uno lo es Arthur C. Sargent III, la otra es Elaine Milo, Stephen Lovely y Jerry L. Ryan. in northern Massachusetts, where the eclipse was only about 63%. I’m old enough that I may not live to see another total eclipse in North America. Why didn’t I travel to some place along the path of totality? Look at a map of the eclipse path—with almost no exceptions, the states through which the eclipse went are MAGA states, where transphobia is alive and well and encouraged by the local politicians and clergy. There’s a lot more to being safe for this astronomer than just having the right viewing glasses! —Marla Daw, Online [The Link Between Erectile Dysfunction & the Trans Military Ban] Dear Editor, Limp or not, military professionals and Congressional members, particularly Democrats should pick up the chorus started

El concejal de “El Punto”, Robert McCarthy, votó a favor de la ordenanza. Los otros concejales que apoyaron la medida también fueron: Beth Gerard, David Eppley, Josh Turiel, Thomas Furey, Stephen G. Dibble, y Heather Famico (Famico no desea continuar como consejal). El concejal cuya familia empezó la petición para prácticamente anular el voto del los concejales por la Ordenanza lo fue Stephen Lovely. Hay que recordar estos datos. Estos dos nombres no se le deben olvidar de una u otra forma si está a favor de la Ordenanza. Estos dos concejales no creen en que exista una ordenanza de paz en Salem. Ciertamente, yo me recordaré de sus nombres. Su voto cuenta—salva y mantiene a familias unidas también. Debemos considerar el apoyar a candidatos como los que votaron por iniciativas que ayudan a las comunidades marginadas, especialmente a los latinos, de Salem. Si no vota, no se puede entonces quejar de las reglas que le impongan a usted o a los que conoce. ¡Su voto cuenta! Si no desea votar por otra razón, recuerde que unas valerosas mujeres dieron sus vidas para que las mujeres pudieran votar. Si es hombre, luche por los derechos de aquellos por los cuales puede votar que seguirán ayudando a las comunidades marginadas de Salem. Si perseverámos, estte será un feliz mes de Herencia Hispana. ¡Felicidades! here. If one in five of all transgender people serve in the military, why are people who are supportive of our massive military not supportive of a group that proportionally potentially sacrifices more members than any other group in America? And why isn’t this being driven home to the electorate? In America you don’t get to sit on your butt, not pick the fruit, not pick the cotton and not serve in our military and simultaneously complain about everyone willing to feed you, cloth you and make you safe. If the Democrats don’t start driving this train instead of wringing hands, we’re all going off the bridge … —Dale Orlando, Online

No President for Hope from Page 6 Until that time my faith must sustain me. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded all those who struggled to speak truth to power and injustice that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” (https://goo.gl/di2WJa). Of course King was inspired by his Christian faith. In the Bible are many inspirational teachings (https://goo.gl/kb8yPD)about being the light in a dark world. Charlottesville reminded me that my light is not dependent on a crass, inept, misguided, uninformed, and often ignorant president. I can be my own light because of personal faith. Belief in a higher authority inspires me to try to make the world a little less cold and unjust. I’m also inspired by Heather Heyer (https://goo.gl/44mEq1), who died when peacefully protesting. She is a light in the world. A neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd and murdered her. Heather’s Mom said it best, “They tried to kill my child to shut her up—well, guess what—you just magnified her.” Heather is a martyr and now with the angels to inspire those she leaves behind. Who needs an out-of-touch president when there is Heather’s memory and inspiration? My faith helps me to visualize a holy fire of love and warmth from which I light my candle to pass on to others. It fuels me to give solace and reassurance to others that “this too shall pass” while encouraging them to volunteer, peacefully protest, limit their news access, and get involved in a campaign because the midterm elections are next year. My faith reassures me darkness never trumps the light. You don’t need inspiration from the current president to pass on your light. *Paul is a corporate chaplain, seminary trained priest, and lawyer in greater Albany, NY. He’s also author of, “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.”

Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 - Oct. 15


10th Year Anniversary • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • The Rainbow Times • 23

September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017

Youth On Fire from Page 5 in special education and creative writing. She’s sober, has steady housing, and is making use of the emotional tools she developed while a member of YOF. With her half-shaved head and eyes that have lived through so much, she can still glow with gratitude. “I contribute everything to Youth On Fire, the fact that I had that support.” Max Many homeless youth are caught up in dangerous and abusive relationships, which make safe spaces like Youth On Fire so important for them. Maxine Brandeis, a 27-year-old bisexual woman, was in an abusive relationship. She said the haven Youth On Fire offered her meant the world. There was also something else that was particularly important. “They allowed dogs which was one of the biggest things for me,” Brandeis said. “There were very few places in my life I could go. I could probably count them on my hand.” Brandeis said she made several attempts to leave her partner, and each time the staff and community at Youth On Fire welcomed her with open arms. “I tried to leave him so many times and they were always there for me,” Brandeis said. “The safety of their members is first and foremost.” Brandeis also suffered from epilepsy, and harbored a general distrust of doctors. She said discriminatory diagnoses related to her homelessness and range of complex issues put her in an unsafe position. Youth On Fire was able to help her in several ways in this regard. “They gave me some sense of trust in doctors, and they gave me a lot of knowledge to know it was ok to not be able to do something because of a disability,” Brandeis said. “I learned how to ask for help. Not doing so got me into some really bad situations.” With the support she received from Youth On Fire, Brandeis said she has become a stronger, more resilient person. Further still, the community she developed around her at the program gave her something that homelessness almost completely robbed her of: an identity. “You’ll never be treated more invisible in your life. You’re like a piece of trash to them,” Brandeis said. “Eventually it was a community you had. It felt different; I never had that growing up.” Ash “I didn’t know what I was getting into,” said Ashton Roberts, who identifies as nonbinary, about moving to Boston in 2010. “Growing up in Texas at that time as a queer person was really, really hard.” Roberts’ partner had asked them to move to the area. With no stable housing lined up, they found themselves sleeping in a tent on the Charles River that winter. “It was a huge wakeup call for me,” Roberts said, “I didn’t talk to my parents because I didn’t want them to know.” While contending with this, Roberts said the partner they moved to Boston with was emotionally abusive. Coupled with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder and a growing drinking problem, Roberts said hopelessness began to close in. “I had some moments when I felt I could-

n’t do it anymore,” they said. YOF assisted in giving Roberts a refuge from their abusive ex-partner, secured housing several times for them, and helped them sign up for health insurance. Yet one of the most important services, Roberts said, was a place to rest their nerves. “You could go there to zone out, to relax, to get away from everything for a minute,” Roberts said. Since then, Roberts has moved back to Texas and is in a loving relationship with secure housing. While still having different kinds of struggles, Roberts said the skills and more positive outlook gained from the program lives on today in them. When reflecting on the fact Youth On Fire could close down, their voice became tinged with emotion. Homeless youth are in peril, Roberts said, without a program like Youth On Fire. “They need it right now, they need it really bad,” Roberts said. “Those kids need it.” The Road Ahead Lussier put bluntly the plight of homeless youth in Boston. “[Homeless youth] are not going anywhere, and they should be valued like anyone else,” Lussier said. “They may not have homes, but they are a part of the community.” Lussier said staff are advocating to Governor Charlie Baker all the time to secure sustainable funding. Through a recent social media campaign Youth On Fire was able to raise $50,000, an amount that will keep them open for the next few months. Youth On Fire is what Lussier describes as a “low-threshold” program, so in cases of youth on the younger side of the spectrum—they serve youth beginning at age 14—common barriers like a lack of official identification mean they can reach more people. Those people who are benefiting from the work at Youth On Fire, Lussier said, could be anywhere. With the future of the organization under threat, it’s difficult to tell how many people would be affected. “These are the folks who might be your barista, or your classmate at UMass,” Lussier said. “Turning your back on them just seems criminal. This would be taking a huge step backwards.” If you are interested in running a campaign or donating to Youth On Fire, or helping out in other ways, visit their website at https://goo.gl/GBHSZ2. *Sarah’s real name was not used to protect her identity.


24 • The Rainbow Times • TheRainbowTimesMass.com • 10th Year Anniversary

September 7, 2017 - October 4, 2017

The Rainbow Times' September 2017 Issue  

Boston-Based, The Rainbow Times brings you a lot of information in this issue. We proudly report on Cambridge's Youth On Fire closing story,...

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