The Rainbow Times' September 2019 Issue

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September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019

Conversion therapy ringleader “comes out” as ... gay after several decades By: Nicole Lashomb* TRT Editor-in-Chief


he trend is ongoing and it looks something like this …

A person is a member of the LGBTQ community. Said person starts a conversion therapy program. Said person eventually comes out as a member of the LGBTQ community after inflicting immense harm on thousands of LGBTQ people who participated willingly or unwillingly in conversion therapy. Here, the case is no different. “The founder of one of the nation’s largest conversion therapy programs, who spent decades leading the organization, now says he is gay, apologizing for his role in the practice,” reported ( The Hill. McKrae Game founded Hope for Wholeness in South Carolina. Game was fired by the organization and came out publicly in June. Recently he released a letter on social media apologizing for his part in destroying lives through conversion therapy. “I certainly regret where I caused harm,” he wrote on his Facebook ( account. “Promoting the triadic model that blamed parents and conversion or prayer therapy, that made many people believe that their [sexual] orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil, and worse that they could change was absolutely harmful." Yet, the damage is done. Although he has come to this realization now, his inability to accept himself lead him to destroy the lives of many people in the process. Countless LGBTQ people have attempted suicide in large part to lack of acceptance from society and the gender “norms” imposed by the culture in which we live. “So-called ‘conversion therapy,’ sometimes known as ‘reparative therapy,’ is a

AS MATTER OF FACT, IT HAS BEEN FOUND THAT THE MOST VITRIOLIC PEOPLE TOWARD THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY ARE USUALLY THAT WAY BECAUSE THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE THEMSELVES. range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” according to the Human Rights Campaign website. “Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.” And, religion is at the center of it all. I’ve heard right wing religious fundamentalists argue endlessly that members in the LGBTQ community have higher incidents of drug and alcohol abuse and com-

LGBTQ people need self-care 1st; loved ones 2ndly By: Paul P. Jesep* TRT Columnist



n offering spiritual direction, I’ve spoken with folks who are stressed, overwhelmed, and sometimes near burnout. In some cases, there is a sense of hopelessness. Life can take its toll on anyone. Hence, actively pursuing “self-care” is a must. You cannot be the best wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, or good friend, if you don’t take care of yourself. Self-care sounds selfish, but it is “selfless.” I’ve often heard it said, “I don’t have time to do something for myself.” Wrong. You do have the time, if you make it a priority. No matter how stressed or over-extended, I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t have time to shower or brush their teeth once a day. You make it part of your daily routine. Taking care of yourself is no different. Your family, significant other, and good friends depend on it. You can’t be there for

anyone, if you don’t take care of your mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing. Inner wellbeing is one component of self-care. It is a form of spirituality, broadly defined. Even an atheist or an agnostic is spiritual. Several years ago, an atheist challenged me at a workshop. The man insisted he wasn’t spiritual. I asked the guy, a father, “Did time stand still when you held your baby for the first time? Did you ever hold someone watching a sunset? Have you ever had a cup of tea or coffee early morning and listen to the birds chirp their wakeup songs?” He acknowledged yes to all my questions. I asked, “Didn’t time stand still?” He smiled. At that moment the gent realized he too, an atheist, was spiritual. Spirituality is about something transcendental. It is a moment in time where peace, beauty, and tranquility are supreme. LGBTQ individuals are inherently spiritual. For centuries they have had to live

See Self-Care On Page 10

mit suicide at higher rates because they are LGBTQ and it goes against God so their suffering is a result of that sexual orientation or gender identity. In reality, the suffering that the LGBTQ community faces is at the hands of those same prejudicial fundamentalists that cannot love, accept and celebrate who people are—because they are LGBTQ. That is what leads to the despair, which is what leads to hopelessness and isolation. The judgment of so-called Christianity, the same kind of Christianity that was used to justify slavery, abuse against women and girls, and so on—that is the problem. It is the messages derived from the pulpits that overflow into families, friends and personal circles where so many in the LGBTQ community see their value dwindle and develop a sense a worthlessness or where they learn that something is gravely wrong with their natural disposition of being who they are, who we all are and were meant to be. What these judges fail to miss time and time again is that they are the ones going against what God calls us all to do—to love and accept. Love doesn’t come with parameters. Love comes with seeing people for who they are and celebrating their very identity, the very person they were destined to be, the very image that God created. Being discarded by others, especially others that you’re closest to and not respected or accepted as your authentic self is what causes disproportionate degrees of self-destructive behavior. That cyclical religiously derived behavior is also what causes internalized homophobia as we’ve seen with McKrae Game. His own internalized homophobia unleashed itself in the most despicable way because of the harm he inflicted on others. How as a community, can we help others who are struggling with internalized homo-

Letters to the Editor [Re: Transgender Stress Comes From Many Sources] Dear Editor, I co-facilitate a support group in Charleston, SC. We welcome all, no matter where they are in their journey or how they decide to transition. They may also bring a friend or family member with them. Some are out, some are not. Some on HRT some not. Some have had surgery and for some surgery is an impossible dream. For others it is not something they want. Why does any of this matter? There is no right or wrong way to transition. Just the way that works for them. —Lee Anne Leland, Online Please send Letters to the Editor to: NOTE: All letters to the editor must be ac‐ companied by a phone # and an e‐mail ad‐ dress to verify your identity prior to its publication. We reserve the right not to publish a letter for any reason at all.

phobia? A number of years ago, a man used to call The Rainbow Times endlessly, leaving despicable racial slurs, homophobic and transphobic messages religiously in the middle of the night. I cannot repeat what was said to us because the words were that offensive. One early morning at 1 a.m., the phone rang which was routed to my cell phone, mistakenly. We picked up the phone because we knew who it would be. It was him. The tirade began. Every slanderous thing he said, we countered with information. Every insult he threw at us, we kept our cool to the best of our ability. There was something that told us to stay on the phone that night, so we did. Finally, with all this anger and vitriol he was directing at us, I had to ask … “Are you gay?” There was a deafening pause. The reply left my jaw

See Conversion therapy On Page 12

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

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

The Rainbow Times is published monthly by The Rainbow Times, LLC. TRT is an award-winning publication affiliated with QSyndicate. The articles written by the writers, columnists, and correspondents solely express their opinion, and do not represent the endorsement or opinion of The Rainbow Times, LLC or its owners. Send letters to the editor with your name, address and phone number to The Rainbow Times (address shown above), or e-mail any comment/s to the editor-in-chief at: 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. • The Rainbow Times • 3

September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019

Straight Pride Parade arrests, allegations of police misconduct, more Statement from the Organizers of the Counterprotest and from counterprotesters who were arrested By:Chris Gilmore TRT Assistant Editor


BOSTON— Boston Mayor Marty J. Walsh continues to receive complaints and reactions over his decision to allow the Straight Pride Parade (SPP; to take place last Saturday (Aug. 31) and to assign, what many considered to be, a colossal contingency of police officers (and funding) to protect the parade attendees, according to media reports and recordings. “They have a 1st Amendment right to be able to go in and march down Boylston St.,” said the Mayor via an interview with WBUR's Radio Boston on Tuesday*. “I’d love to see them not come here but unfortunately I have no way of keeping them out of Boylston St. and keep them out of marching here. If I could I would. I knew that if we went to court that that would’ve fallen right back on me in about two seconds, that that order would’ve been reestablished.” But Boston City Council Andrea J. Campbell, thinks that the current process to review and accept applicants to march in a parade should change, according to a post she shared via FB (

Campbell said that the city should review its process for approving public events after what happened at the SPP. “While I am a firm believer in free speech, I’m not okay with wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars for a group to come into Boston from out of state to create chaos and spread hate. I would have preferred our taxpayer dollars be spent on community policing and violence prevention in our neighborhoods,” her post read. “This provides us with an opportunity to review our permitting process, especially with respect to organizations that are pretending to march under the guise of free speech but instead marching to promote hate, racism and bigotry, and thus incite violence.” Super Happy Fun America, aka John Hugo organizer of the Straight Pride Parade, has made his anti-LGBQ and Trans statements in the past via social media, and wanted his “straight flag” to be flown at City Hall too, Hugo said via a Fox News interview in June 2019. According to various news reports, there were approximately a few hundred participants in the SPP and over 1,000 rose up in counter-protest. The counter protest effort was spearheaded by Solidarity Against Hate-Boston (SAHB), a coalition of community groups and individuals who have been mobilizing against fascist organizing

sent directly to The Rainbow Times.


Counterproterster holding sign at SPP’s protest. See more photos of the protest on page 14.

in Boston since 2017. “In the lead up to the event, we heard a lot of ‘Why are you giving these Nazis any attention? That’s what they want!’ It's a sentiment we hear pretty often, and we reject it absolutely,” stated Claudia, an SAHB activist, via a collective statement

The Mayor’s Decision Mayor Walsh’s interest, according to his interview with the radio station, was to uphold the city’s values while allowing the marchers to do what they, under the law, are allowed to do. “But what I’m concerned the most or upset about the most is that the Straight Pride organizers, what they want to see, is division between people … and that’s exactly what they’re starting to see now,” said the Mayor. “Our values in Boston are inclusion, acceptance, love and we need to make sure that we continue to do that and continue to pass that message along, and let people know that we’re a great city. The best parade in our city, some of the best, one of the best, is Gay Pride and I’m proud to march in that Parade every year. We don’t have problems in that parade. There’s no issues in that parade. It’s about love and respect and that’s what we have to continue to be pushing for.” But SAHB contends and agrees with Councilwoman Campbell as it pertains to the permit and the messages that SPP was being allowed to send to Bostonians and the thousands of students settling in as college season starts, as their statement con-

See Boston SPP On Page 4

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Boston SPP From Page 3


“The city should never have approved this permit,” Claudia, SAHB, wrote. “The mayor said they approved [it] based on ‘operational feasibility,’ but we have to wonder what the feasibility standards are for him to think that it was a good idea to have a crew of known street brawlers marching through downtown on the same weekend that thousands of students are moving in and leases are turning over, knowing that these people beat up civilians when they're unopposed, and that large crowds are what have in the past effectively opposed them. “Instead, he decided to spend God knows how much of this city’s money, which could have been better spent on fixing literally any actual problem facing our residents, on trucking in riot cops from as far away as Amesbury to block major streets, harass peaceful protesters, and arrest street medics. “Meanwhile, right next door, Cambridge just announced the cancellation of the Caribbean Carnival, a beloved and joyous cultural festival, over concerns about ‘potential violence.’” Boston Police The Rainbow Times contacted the Boston Police Media Relation’s Department by phone and e-mail two days in a row to inquire about the arrests, the police contingency, and to know if any marchers were arrested, but no answer was received for the two given deadlines, despite confirmation of receipt. According to news reports and the Mayor’s interview with WBUR-Radio, thirty-six people were arrested at the parade and four officers also suffered non-life threatening injuries. The “Straight Pride is Hate Pride” organizers’ FB Page (, states that recordings of the police depict

September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019

the use of what many considered to be “excessive” force and arrests allegedly directed only at them and not the SPP people who were carrying “inflammatory” and prejudiced signs. “Make Normal Seem Normal Again; Unite America 1st; Flag, Nation, God; Drain The Swamp; Secure America’s Borders; 2020 Trump; In God We Trust; It’s Great To Be Straight; and even one with a drawing of Trump flipping off the crowd,” were some of the most visible signs the pa-

vere ruling against the counter protesters than what the DA’s Office apparently requested. In addition, the judge set bail when it wasn’t requested either. “There were a lot of organizations and groups that came in that were looking to disrupt the event and I can’t necessarily say that I blame them but you can’t do it violently,” said Mayor Walsh. “But there were other organizations that came to express their opinions too and they’re not being spoken about or being brought up right


STOOD UP AGAINST CHIK-FIL-A.” rade holders and marchers were carrying. “This was clearly a parade rooted in White supremacy and was a blatant Trump 2020 re-election event,” said Noelle Nickerson**, a counter protester. “It was obvious that the marchers and their message had nothing to do with straight pride and everything to do with ensuring that the majority stays in power. “The late Mayor Tom Menino would’ve never allowed this act of hate and discrimination to take place on the streets of Boston, much as he did not when he stood up against Chik-Fil-A.” Like her, business owners along the parade’s route showed their discontent with the parade marching through the city and by their businesses’. Some even placed signs on their establishments’ main entrances that read: “Go Home Alt-Right Scum.” Enter the counter protesters who were arrested.

now because they did it in a different manner.” However, one of such questionable arrests was caught on camera, according to a report from WCVB5-Boston. That arrest was that of Webber himself. He was speaking through a megaphone when police officers are shown to charge at him from behind, as the various online videos show ( Despite Webber’s and other videos like his—not showing any violence or resistance when the police allegedly accosted them—the judge did not change his decision. “The Suffolk County DA has attempted to have these charges dismissed, and thus far, the judges have illegally denied the motions to dismiss,” said Claudia, SAHB. In the case of Webber, although prosecutors moved to dismiss the charges against him, Judge Sinnott, instead, had him arrested in the court’s hallway, reported the TV station.

Judge doubles down on arrests “I have no shortage of things to say about how this went dreadfully wrong,” said Rod Webber, one of those arrested, via his FB Page ( “I’ve been arrested twice for doing nothing more than trying to communicate with the police regarding the dispersal order …” As Webber, others also claim being wrongfully arrested. Those detained at the Parade appeared in court on Tuesday not expecting to witness what took place. Judge Richard Sinnott issued a more se-

Misconduct? Webber stressed via a TV interview that he wasn’t resisting arrest. “They called this resisting but you can see in all the wide shots of all the other journalists there, that’s simply not the case,” Webber stated. “They’re making things up.” According to Mayor Walsh, he takes acts of police misconduct seriously. “And was there misconduct? And certainly we take any complaints about police misconduct seriously, and the commis-

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sioner also does as well,” he said to WBUR Radio. “And if there’s something out there, an incident that happened … I mean, you can’t get a full vision of what’s going on in a 20-second clip on a video. You just can’t. There’s things that happened before that or lead up to that.” But for many, his posts and words were empty ones. In Twitter, at least 209 users replied to the Mayor’s comments with anger and disapproval of his decision to allow a large contingency of Boston Police officers to protect Super Happy Fun America ( Dayna (@daynabradstreet) was one of those who replied to the Mayor’s Twitter post. “Look, I don’t live in Boston anymore but I voted for you when I did,” Dayna’s post reads. “The police presence, and the fact that they were protecting the white supremacists and went after the counter-protesters, is a massive betrayal of that vote. Shame on you, Mayor, and shame on @bostonpolice.” An At-Large City Councilor candidate for Salem, Mass. who attended the counter protest expressed disbelief at the amount of police force used. “The most disturbing thing witnessed was the overwhelming show of force by the police, [it was] unnecessary, that was much more directed towards the counterprotesters,” said Jeff Cohen, Co-Chair, Salem No Place For Hate. “A much smaller force could have provided the necessary buffer.” Other counterprotester agreed with Cohen regarding how the police handled the counter protesters v. the parade marchers, who were seen inciting those protesting the event. “The ‘parade’ was a political campaign for fascism,” said Jenn Nakhai, Therapist, Aeon Counseling & Consulting. “The unnecessary use of force by the police. They seemed to protect the hateful crowd. The crowd inciting violence, including systemic violence.” Nakhai also blamed the media for their portrayal of marginalized communities, but believes change is in the horizon, but not without a fight. “It was beautiful to see our trans sisters rise up and fight back,” she said. “The media manipulates anti-fascist movement participants, making them look like criminal outcasts. However, it is the very unity of women, people of color and LGBT++ folks that combined forces to create the anarchistic style of successful protest we need. The revolution will be young, female, trans and all other intersectionalities of oppressed peoples.” To act or not to act? Organizations like Boston Pride, the total opposite of Straight Pride, put out a general statement on their website regarding the march that many lauded.

See Boston SPP on Page 10

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September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019 • The Rainbow Times • 5

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September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019

“All Together Now” amplifies voices of marginalized artists in Boston Performance series builds unity, dismantles prejudice, teaches life lessons By: Audrey Cole TRT Reporter

All Together Now (ATN) has launched its 2019 series to make space for and amplify the voices of marginalized artists, according to the series curator. “… A Boston-based multidisciplinary event series called All Together Now makes space for women, people of color, and queer performers,” said curator Anna Rae. “I often feature queer performers in my shows and am always looking for opportunities to raise the signal on their work.” Rae, a musician and photographer set out with three goals in mind, ATN’s website noted ( “to create space for marginalized artists, combine a variety of performance arts on a single stage, and bring NYC artists to Boston to create stronger connections between artists and audiences in the two markets.” From ATN’s inception in 2016, Rae noted that, “audiences were hungry for these types of spaces,” she said via a press release ( “In a town like Boston that is racially, economically, and artistically segregated, you need to recruit artists from across genres if you want to get people of many identities into the same room.” And, that is exactly what she did.

Dismantle prejudice through art & education Amanda Shea, a Boston multidisciplinary artist who identifies as a Queer POC (person of color), explained how prejudice prevails in Beantown. “In a city that prides themselves as liberals, often times we are faced with discrimination and not given platforms for our voices to be heard,” Shea said. “By speaking about topics of gentrification, poverty, education and generational trauma—I feel it’s necessary to highlight these topics in spaces that may not be affected by them directly.” Singer/Songwriter and ATN performer Mark Lipman has explored topics of shame, vulnerability and desire through music in past performances with his stage partner Jenee Halstead. The duo has currently set out to magnify the voices of disenfranchised human experience through personal narratives—this time with a focus on accessing limitlessness and wholeness in a world that sees difference as indicative of weakness and inferiority, he said. “There are a lot of ways that our voices are threatened,” said Lipman. “Sometimes, I feel that our voices get lost in the sheer cacophony of city life, the hustle of making rent and working day jobs. Sometimes, it's culture that enacts a mode of silence upon

Enters the role of ATN. “All Together Now has created a space for artists like me, who face disempowerment through mainstream cultural conserves, to dig into our very selves, to push ourselves to ask the question, ‘What do I want to say, and how do I say it?,’” Lipman explained.

Amanda Shea PHOTO: ATN

certain voices, and encourages us to believe we must silence ourselves. On top of that, sometimes the lives we're asked to live don't offer a space and time for us to even connect with friends and loved ones, make new meaningful connections, or witness each other's gifts ...”

The Current State of the Nation Rae acknowledged that the status quo has impacted many people adversely but offered insight about changing the “now.” “I think it's very easy in the current climate to feel overwhelmed, even in despair,” Rae said. “It's also tempting to think that there is some magical response—if I just figure out the exact right thing to do or say, the problems will be resolved. That's not a realistic demand for anyone to put on themselves, and I think it just tends to increase the overwhelming [feeling] and despair. For me, it helps to refocus on some very specific work I can do in my local community. What can I do right here and right now to honor the dignity, defend the safety, and celebrate the glory of people close to me? What can I do right here to create the kind of space I want to occupy?” Shea said that her performances have

See ATN Report on Page 19

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September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019

A changing landscape: Transgender travel and its evolution today Travel experience slowly improving for the trans community; obstacles remain By: Andrew Collins* TRT Travel Writer

"You could feel the electricity going through people. You could actually feel it. People were getting really, really pissed and uptight. I just said to myself, 'Oh my God, the revolution is finally here,' and I just like started screaming 'freedom, we're free at last!'" This is how Sylvia Ray Rivera, the Latinx transgender activist, described that momentous night of the Stonewall Riots, 50 years ago. Indeed, what most people consider the start of the modern gay rights movement began with a diverse crowd of patrons protesting outside the Stonewall Inn. Several of those brave souls, including Marsha P. Johnson—who would also become a prominent activist— were transgender. For LGBTQ travelers, the world has changed dramatically, largely in positive ways, since 1969. While virulent homophobia and discrimination still exists in far too many places, destinations and travelrelated businesses all over the world now enthusiastically court and welcome gay travelers. But for transgender travelers, measuring progress—and deciding where to plan vacations—is a bit more complicated than for many other members of the queer community.

"When travel locales are advertised to cisgender gay people, they tend to emphasize their own vibrant gay community," said Gillian Branstetter, media relation’s manager of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), in Washington, DC. "Transgender people tend to be a bit more concerned with other issues while traveling, including their safety, privacy, and ability to go through airport security." "There aren’t really locations, cities, or resorts that target or market to transgender people as a community," said Branstetter. And while this has long been the case, and that transgender travelers are primarily only marketed to as part of the broader LGBTQ community, some destinations have, albeit relatively recently, begun proactively reaching out to transgender travelers. A prime example is Fort Lauderdale, where tourism officials worked diligently to successfully convince one of the world's largest transgender gatherings, the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference (SOCO), to relocate there from Atlanta in 2015. “Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to a thriving LGBT+ community, and we're committed to inclusion and equality,” said Richard Gray, senior vice president of di-

The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB has become been a leader in the tourist industry in its efforts to court and welcome transgender travelers. PHOTO: GFLCVB

versity & inclusion at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We're continuously working to reach the transgender community to show them that

we're a destination that's diverse, welcoming, authentic, and accepting—and most importantly, a destination where you can be free to be yourself.” These efforts shine through in the visitor bureau's marketing materials, which depict transgender people—it's still rare to see trans representation in marketing materials produced even by destinations with otherwise strong LGBTQ content, but these efforts are finally beginning to happen. The SOCO Conference, which started in 1991, will take place this year August 15–17 at Fort Lauderdale's historic Riverside Hotel, which is set amid the stylish boutiques and restaurants of Las Olas Boulevard and just a short drive from the city's stunning beachfront. Events include a mix of social and networking events, from a pajama party and river cruise to several lunches and dinners out on the town. Throughout each day of the conference, seminars and workshops address a range of topics, from doctors presenting the latest in new treatments and medical procedures to experts on insurance, ID documentation, and many other important issues. It costs $125 to register for the conference (there's an extra cost for some activities), and the Riverside

See Trans Travel on Page 23

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September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019

Boston SPP From Page 4 “Boston Pride is not interested in responding to their bait. Our strength comes from directing our attention and energy to helping one another meet the challenges of intersecting oppressions,” the statement read. “Boston Pride will continue to focus on supporting and empowering members of the LGBTQ community. We will continue to focus on the needs of people of color, trans individuals, and all those who have experienced racism, xenophobia, and sexism.” SAHB, however, disagrees with such an approach and Instead, they believe the SHFA can only be tackled with action. “In the lead up to the event, we heard a lot of ‘Why are you giving these Nazis any attention? That’s what they want!’ It's a sentiment we hear pretty often, and we reject it absolutely,” read the statement. “We see no examples in history of fascists becoming more powerful as a result of being confronted in public. We see no examples of fascism going away by itself from being ignored. Fascists don't want ‘attention;’ they want to organize to commit violence, and disrupting their events and their organizing efforts makes it harder for them to do that. “The kind of attention that does build up the Nazis is media attention. Too many people treated the Straight Pride Parade like a joke, where they should have been looking at it like what it was: an attempt to recruit people into organized fascism.” The fight continues SAHB, with the help of a Tweet that asked for donations by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07;, set up a bail fund that exceeded the fundraising goal of $15K. It was closed on Sept. 1 after receiving a total of $24,652. As a result of the alleged police actions taken on SPP day, a new FB Group has formed. “Shame on Marty Walsh: A Response to police violence.” The group will meet this weekend to discuss what took place at the SPP and hold the Mayor and others accountable for it. “Proud Boy president Enrique Tarrio has said that their group's goal is to bankrupt major cities by flying their goons in and making the cities spend all their money on riot control,” read Claudia’s statement from SAHB. “We suggest Mayor Walsh do an even minimal amount of research into these hate groups the next time they show up with their hands out, whining that they're

Self-Care From Page 2 their truth in an unwelcoming world. This spiritual struggle gives definition to a different kind of collective consciousness and spiritual depth. It provides a very different perspective about the world and one’s place in it. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (“The Mayor”), the first viable gay presidential candidate in America’s history, often and comfortably speaks about his faith and spirituality on the campaign trail. He’s an Episcopalian


Queer Puzzle Sept.: We are “Remembering Henri”



RECRUIT PEOPLE INTO ORGANIZED FASCISM.” oppressed if Boston doesn't spend all our taxpayers' money on them. And perhaps he can dig up some concern about ‘potential violence’ from the likes of New Hampshire American Guard President John Camden or ‘Fourth Degree’ Proud Boy Kenny Lizardo, both known fascist street brawlers who have already injured Boston community members at other events.” Thousands protested the SPP. A couple of hundred marched in the Parade. To read SAHB’s complete statement visit The Rainbow Times. To check out more photos about the protest, visit The Rainbow Times’ Facebook page ( *EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rainbow Times sent the Mayor’s Office two direct series of questions. The first time, they sent a brief general statement without addressing the specific questions asked about the Parade, arrests, police force, etc. The second time around, The Rainbow Times received the audio recording from the Mayor’s Office with parts of the Mayor’s interview from WBUR-Radio as a response. **Noelle Nickerson’s last name has been changed at the request of the interviewee and her desire to remain partially anonymous.

(Christian). His self-care is both religious and spiritual. Mayor Pete is an example to any LGBTQ person recovering from religion ( He’s also helping to take back God from extremists ( Self-care often requires us to find a quiet place to engage in self-awareness. Fear, anxiety, unhappiness, or low self-esteem are some of the challenges we all have Read the rest of this story via The Rainbow Times’ website

Across 1 Embarrass with porn, perhaps 6 "Dancing Queen" band 10 WNBA star Rebecca 14 Nephew of Donald Duck 15 Jacques of song 16 Doctor Zhivago 17 Young girl of old comics 18 Cotton pod at Tara 19 And others, for Caesar 20 Village People song with the line "Everybody is a star" 23 They work under 5-Down 24 Keanu's role in The Matrix 25 Went down on loudly 27 Big name in hair care 31 Elevator pioneer Elisha 32 With 46-Across, Village People song about invincible songs 34 Pockets stuffed with meat 38 Alt-rock genre 39 The L Word, and others 42 Rough stuff underground 43 Fosse field 46 See 32-Across 49 With mouth wide open 52 Bites the head off of, perhaps 53 Hit the skids 56 Places for Dr. Kerry Weaver 57 D.C. lobby group 58 Village People song about the Big Apple 63 Steamed up 65 Muscle Mary stat 66 Wet spot on a blanket of sand

67 Auction web site 68 Sailing the Pacific, e.g. 69 Flaming queen's quality 70 Ready to be eaten 71 Choose not to come 72 Not as many

Down 1 Weight loss product 2 Big asset 3 Rita Mae Brown, e.g. (abbr.) 4 Advice to a bottom who wants to be on top? 5 Dr. Kim, and others 6 Name on a column 7 Nags beat them 8 Village People producer Henri (1936-2019) 9 Closet-emptying cry? 10 Tough cleaner 11 Really queer 12 Burn on the rear of a steer 13 Lubricates 21 Rifles 22 Plumbing problem 26 Greek consonant 27 Reproduced without sex, for short 28 Teacher in The King and I 29 Soon, long ago 30 Orton's bathroom 33 Butter portion 35 Love yourself, with "off" 36 Aida solo 37 Religious splinter group 40 Acidity nos. 41 Lorca's guy

44 Tin roof animal of Tennessee? 45 Ghostbusters role 47 Set boundaries 48 Like some pricey items at Barneys 50 Britten's Billy Budd and more 51 Village People song with a Horace Greely quote 53 Queen Christina star 54 Rehoboth Beach setting 55 Aggressive sort 57 Like a Piper in a fairy tale 59 Anthem starter 60 Voyeur's confession 61 Kind of jack 62 North Sea feeder 64 Head job?


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Conversion Therapy From Page 2 dropped. “Maybe I am,” he said. I became choked up with tears not because I was offended by all of the things he said earlier in the conversation but because it all became clear to me in that moment. It was his own desperation, despair and selfhatred, palpable through the distance and reflected in his heinous words—of which we happened to be on the receiving end. He proceeded to tell us about his family, his religion, how he could never come out while his mother was alive, whom he was close to as he described. But, he would never be accepted he said. We stayed on the phone with him for over an hour that night—listening. He needed to be heard and that is what we did. The demeaning phone messages left on The Rainbow Times line ceased from that night forward, as he promised they would that night. I think of him often and hope that his life is moving positively ahead. He deserves it. We all do. Every time I hear about another antiLGBTQ ringleader “come out” as a member of the LGBTQ community, it doesn’t surprise me anymore. As matter of fact, it has been found that the most vitriolic people toward the LGBTQ community are usually that way because they have something to hide themselves. In an open letter ( published by NCLR titled Former Ex-Gay Leaders Unite in Opposition to Conversion Therapy, several Conversion Therapy and practicing leaders of the ex-gay ministries,

wrote: “Conversion Therapy, also known as ‘reparative therapy’, ‘ex-gay therapy,’ or ‘sexual orientation change efforts’ (SOCE), professes to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to change or overcome their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the letter began. “The majority of those who practice this ‘therapy’ often do so with little or no formal psychological training, operating instead from a strict religious perspective, believing homosexuality to be a ‘sin.’” According to the many ex-leaders, it was indeed the lessons taught through one form or another that led to not accepting and loving themselves. “We once believed that sexual orientation or gender identity were somehow chosen or could be changed,” they wrote. “We know better now. We once thought it was impossible to embrace our sexual orientation or sexual identity as an intrinsic, healthy part of who we are and who we were created to be. We know better now. Looking back, we were just believing (and sometimes teaching) what we had been taught—that our identity needed mending. We grew up being told that being LGBTQ was disordered, sick, mentally ill, sinful, and displeasing to God. We grew up being told that loving, same-sex relationships were shallow, lust-driven, deceived, disordered, and impossible.” Although coming to terms far too late, after damaging countless lives, these ex-

See Conversion Therapy On Page 19 • The Rainbow Times • 13

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Creep of the week: Rep. Steve King Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-women Iowa Representative By: D’Anne Witkowski* TRT Travel Writer


hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Steve King is in trouble. It seems, and I take no delight in saying this, that the Republican Party has forsaken him. Oh, who am I kidding? I take great delight in pointing out that Steve King, one of the most outspokenly racist and antiLGBTQ House members, no longer has any friends—or any friends with deep pockets, anyway. As many news outlets have reported, King is up for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he currently represents white people in Iowa, and his campaign is hurting for cash. As The Daily Beast reported, "As he faces the toughest campaign since he was first elected in 2002, he is doing so with a potentially catastrophic lack of resources. The $18,365 that King’s campaign had in the bank at the end of June was the least cash on hand he’s ever reported after the first six months of a cycle.” In other words, dude is broke. For context, The Daily Beast also reported that another Republican is challenging King in the primary, and that guy has over $300,000. Not to mention the fact that Democrat J.D. Scholten is running against King again, having lost last time by only a few points. For those who are familiar with King, you know how awful he is. But during this dumpster fire we call the Trump Presidency, it’s easy for even the most terrible Republican to kind of get lost in the background. But no matter how terrible Trump is, King has made a valiant effort to say, “No! I’m worse!” Take his most recent comments in favor of rape and incest, for example. King is strongly anti-choice and would like all abortion outlawed even in cases of rape and incest. During a speech to a group of conservatives in Des Moines King said, "What

if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? ... Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can't say that I was not a part of a product of that.” In other words, thank God for rape and incest, otherwise we wouldn’t have so many people on this planet. And, gosh, if King can’t definitively trace his ancestry back far enough to rule out any possibility of rape or incest, well, can’t no woman nowhere decide what to do with her body ever again. Case closed. King is also well known for being hella racist. There’s a reason why neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer calls King “our guy.” Despite years of well-documented racism, the GOP largely let King go unchecked. At the beginning of 2019 the finally punished King by taking away his House committee seats after remarks made praising white supremacy. Still, many Republicans are acting SHOCKED that King is such a vile human. In addition to racism, King also has a long and storied history of being antiLGBTQ. Since taking office in 2003 King has not been shy on this issue and has been Creep of the Week many times over the years. A few of his greatest hits: last year he tried to make flying rainbow flags over U.S. embassies illegal. He “joked” that Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan should “elope to Cuba” together (get it? Because they’re liberal justices so they must be lesbo for each other). He’s likened transgender people to castrated slaves. He doesn’t want transgender people to use the bathrooms in the U.S.

See Steve King On Page 21

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Extremist religion needs to be put in its place asap By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist



he Trump administration is becoming more and more of a nuisance to the rights of transgender Americans. It's bad enough that we have to put up with “the Donald's lies”, BS, and high drama everyday, but now he wants to take away rights of transgender people in the U.S. He wants transgender people out of the military and he wants transgender people to be legally fired solely for being transgender. This is totally unacceptable and anti-American. If you take away the rights of Americans then you are anti-American. In this case, then, “the Donald” is an anti-American! Who is pushing this nonsense? It is extremist religion or religious right. More specifically, it is the extremist Evangelicals. Now, I don't care if these extremists make up any rules whatsoever for their church and themselves, but they cannot push their rules on the American people. This is the United States of America, not the United States of some religion. We should not tolerate these anti-American actions. Yes, because they want to take away our rights as Americans. These religious extremists are also anti-American!

How did these extremist Evangelicals get their voice? They got it from the Trump administration. Whenever a Republican is in the White House, these extremists—as well as other extremist groups such as white nationalists and the KKK—become emboldened. The reason why the Republicans warm up to the Evangelicals is that Republicans love the Evangelical vote. Previous

gions trying to place restrictions on my life, especially the restrictions placed on me because I am a transgender person. They have no right to do so. They think that they have God on their side. How come every religion says that they have God on their side? Do they think that they really have a special “in” with God? How about the other religions? Do they say that the other reli-

HOW DID THESE EXTREMIST EVANGELICALS GET THEIR VOICE? THEY GOT IT FROM THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION. Republican presidents have also warmed up to Evangelicals to get their votes, but these previous Republican presidents have just given lip service to the Evangelicals. Now, with the orange menace in the White House, the extremist Evangelicals have someone who will do their bidding. This has got to stop. These extremist religious groups must be put in their place for the good of America and the American people! I am so sick and tired of extremist reli-

gions don't really have this “in” with God that they really have? Oh please! They also say that America is a Christian nation. It's not. America is a nation made of many different people with many different religions and some folks have no religion at all. Is it fair to push one religion's rules on the whole country? How can they be so selfish and how can they feel so entitled to push their agenda on the rest of us in this great country, which built itself on

freedom? This is the United States of America not the United States of Evangelical extremists. These radicals need to understand just what exactly Thomas Jefferson meant when he spoke of what they call today, religious freedom. Jefferson noted, “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” These words are in the First Amendment ( of the U.S. Constitution: “This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another.” Freedom of religion, as in the first amendment clause, also means that any American can practice any religion they want in the U.S., (please see the second part of the above quote.) Freedom of religion does not mean that any religion can impose any rules it wants on the American people. These religious fanatics need to understand this in no uncertain terms. Yes, they are trying to overstep their bounds and they must be put in their place. How do we put these extremists in their place? Simple. Keep the Republicans out of the White House. Vote Blue! That will put the radical Evangelicals back in their closet. If Trump gets re-elected you can be sure that there will be more attempts to

See Religion on Page 21

Ask A Trans Woman: Where have I been? Well, the answer is complex By: Lorelei Erisis*/TRT Columnist


f you’re a regular reader of this column, you may have noticed that it has been absent for a couple of months. I know at least one loyal reader who has asked me in person about this, and my answer was that I was simply on a short hiatus. I could offer all sorts of other excuses as well. I’ve been super-busy, I pretty much always am. I’ve had family visiting. I’ve been working on a bunch of other projects; trying to survive, like everyone else I know. But here’s the truth. I’ve just been having a really hard time doing what I do. And, while all of the things I listed above are contributing factors, they aren’t the main reason. The main reason is that I’ve been blocked. Given everything that’s going on in the world right now, and particularly this country, all I can think of when I open a fresh, blank doc on my computer is just how angry I am. And, scared. So I write all these very political pieces-exhortations to action, to storm the beaches speeches. If I were to boil down what I do to it’s most basic job description it would be this:

I think about being trans. Deeply. And then, I write about it. I try to consider every aspect of what it means to be trans and how we fit in the world. I poke and prod at ideas about trans

tions than someone else who might not have the tools or temperament to answer accurately, or worse, be hurt by them. I also do it because I have seen first hand that sometimes leaving these questions unad-

... THOSE OF US WHO DO THIS GIG, TRANS PEOPLE WHO WRITE, SPEAK & MAKE ART ABOUT THE TRANS EXPERIENCE, WE STEER INTO THE SKID. identities and any related branching of identities and experiences that I become aware of. I keep myself as informed and educated as possible about the full range of trans and gender-variant identities, experiences, and news in the world. I challenge my own assumptions; interrogate what I believe, and why I believe it. I also explore and give deep consideration to any and all questions that come my way, whether from trans folks, or cis, including those questions that most of us agree, are either rude or insensitive to ask. Because people are curious by nature, I feel like it’s better if I answer those ques-

dressed and unanswered can lead to the worst sorts of misinformation and ignorance. That was actually one of the initial observations that led to the creation of this column, 10 years ago. To be clear, I feel extremely lucky that I am trusted to do this job, that people read what I write and genuinely seem to want to hear what I have to say. It’s an incredible honor. It makes me part of a relatively small segment of trans people who seem to do the opposite of what everyone else is trying to achieve. Whereas many other trans and gender non-conforming folks simply want

to be who they are and get on with living their lives; those of us who do this gig, trans people who write and speak and make art about the trans experience, we steer into the skid. We focus intensely on the things others would rather not have to—that can be very hard sometimes—especially when I hear about my siblings and comrades being killed or taking their own lives. Or, when I read in my morning newsfeed that my own government is actively trying to take away the still small number of rights and protections that I, and many others before me, fought for tooth and nail. Because I am so inextricably tied into the news cycles, because it’s essentially my job, I cannot avoid the daily horror. Even when I try to distract myself, the algorithms that control what I see in all my news and social media feeds sneak it in. Anyhow, I never have been the sort of person to look away. These past several years, as my visibility has increased, and I’ve become even more tied to the vastness of our community, it has all seemed that much more personal. In many ways, it is quite intensely personal. I have sometimes made the joke that there are three things certain in life. Death, taxes, and sooner or later you will meet me. In truth, I meet more people in a year than most folks will in a lifetime, and I ...

See Lorelei On Page 21

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September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019 PHOTO: AUSTIN DISTEL / UNSPLASH

8 ways couples can face down their debt demons together


By: Mikey Rox* Special to TRT


elationships are hard enough as it is, but throw money into the mix and it becomes a recipe for certain disaster. It doesn't have to go down like that though. Your relationship can survive a financial crisis—yes, even a menacing mound of debt—if you can both get on the same page and work together to solve the problem.

1. Avoid the Blame Game Remember, it takes two to tango, and in most cases you didn’t get into debt all alone. Before tempers flare and you both say and do things you regret, take a breather, regroup, and recognize that your current situation isn’t the fault of one person. Even if a recent debt is the sole work of your partner—say, from a gambling addiction—getting angry and blowing your top won’t help. Go through your emotions responsibly and concentrate on nipping the immediate issue in the bud— counseling may be necessary for this—before coming up with a plan of attack to get back in the black. 2. Pay Off Your Worst First Once you have a handle on your debt and resolve yourself to proactively eliminate it, go hard. Debt won’t dwindle away if you’re passive about it. Attack the problem head on to keep it contained. “Pay off your worst first,” says Steve Anzuoni, financial expert at Fairway Financial. “Sit with each other and gather your statements and pay down the higherinterest cards first.” Financial expert Harrine Freeman suggests a similar approach. “Set up payments plan with creditors,” she says. “Pay off old accounts first, then focus on paying down current debt. Keep

credit card balances at 20% or less of the credit limit.” 3. Steer Clear of Financially Stressful Situations in the Future Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, and this adage should absolutely apply to your finances. If you’ve gotten yourself in a hole, start digging yourself out and don’t look back. Also be wary of new situations that can affect the hard work you’ve done to get back on track. Your relationship can only handle so much stress, and it’s not fair to either of you to go into situations—even ones that seem like good moves financially—that will put the whole arrangement in jeopardy. “I coach couples that financial stress can bring out or aggravate problems in a marriage that would not have otherwise have arisen,” says Elliott Katz, author of Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man ( “They should avoid getting into financially stressful situations even if it will be profitable in the long term but will cause stress to them in the short term.” 4. Reduce Your Spending – Stat! It may seem like an obvious tip to cut back your spending considerably when you’re in debt, but you’d be surprised at how many people keep swiping those cards even when there’s a problem. Freeman suggests reducing the overall household spending by 30 percent to increase your monthly cash flow to pay off debt. It’ll be a sacrifice for a while, but desperate times call for desperate measures if you want that debt burden off your back. 5. Accept That You’re Not the Joneses, and That’s OK A lot of the time, couples go into debt try-

See The Frivolist on Page 23

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Stewart Taylor: Gets personal and messy with “Mess Your Hair Up” The graduate from Berklee College of Music and now Los Angeles resident talks show biz’s ins and outs By: Dominic Salamone Special to TRT


tewart Taylor has wanted to be a singer since he was seven years old. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where he had the opportunity to work alongside American Idol’s Kara DioGuardi. She introduced Stewart to Charlie Puth, who taught him the innerworkings of the studio. After graduating Berklee, Stewart moved to New York City to gig on the Lower East Side for two years before making his way to Hollywood in 2017. Since then, he has been writing and recording in Los Angeles and regularly pitches songs to artists like Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. “Show business is a huge hustle,” he reflects. “It involves a lot of rejection, tons of networking, recording sessions, and figuring out how you’re going to pay your bills and rent. I’ve worked so many parttime and dead-end jobs to make ends meet and have moved so many times, but I’m still here!” In his new single, “Mess Your Hair Up”, Stewart encourages fans to be playful and adventurous in the bedroom. “It’s important to have fun with your partner or partners, be adventurous sexually, and to have a good time,” he says. Q: Who inspired your new single, “Mess Your Hair Up?” Stewart Taylor: My boyfriend at the time. I had recently moved to LA from New York and we were still dating long distance. He sent me a really sexy picture of himself after a haircut, and I told him I wanted to jump on him and mess his hair up. The chorus of the song came to me almost immediately afterwards. Q: It’s a very different record from ““Liberation,” the song most people associate with Stewart Taylor. A: I released “Liberation” four years ago. My sound and perspective have definitely changed since then. Back then I was writing a lot of inspirational anthems. These days I tend to focus on what’s going on in my relationships and love life. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve also found that I’m more at home making pop music with an R&B/Funk twist. For “Mess Your Hair Up,” I went into the studio with my cowriters and told my producer I wanted to channel Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson and early Justin Timberlake records. The sound definitely ended up somewhere in between. Q: How is life in LA? A: I think what people don’t realize about moving to any big city for show business is that it’s not going to [be] welcoming at first. Q: Has being out about your sexuality made things even harder? A: Even with all the progress the LGBTQ has made in the last few years, it’s still

Stewart Taylor

harder to break through if you’re not an All-American straight boy or girl. But all of my favorite artists and songwriters started from nothing and built empires, despite obstacles and adversity.


Q: What do you hope fans take away from your music? A: I want fans to not only feel good when they listen to my music, but to also be motivated and inspired to be themselves, spread love, never give up, and to live so

loud that the world can’t help but take notice. Visit Follow on Instagram @Stewarttaylormusic ( • The Rainbow Times • 19

September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019

ATN from Page 6 been directly impacted by current events “tremendously.” “I believe as an artist it's my duty to capture the times we live in and be a voice for those who feel silenced,” she said. “By creating art that resonates not only on a social standpoint, but a personal one, it’s imperative that I speak about it in all spaces.”

“The people on the outskirts of society, the ‘warriors’ if you will, are the ones that can teach us the most about who we are,” Lipman added. “Giving women, people of color, and queer folks the microphone is a way to literally heal cultural wounds and bring us all—women, people of color, queer folks, and straight white cisgender men alike—to a place of more understanding, compassion, and celebration for ourselves and each other. If we listen to where we are hurting, and we free those voices, it reverberates to each and every one of us.” For Lipman, ATN can also lead to selfempowerment. It represents “an opportunity to choose how to express myself in spite of the fear of being shamed, and to take risks that lead to empowerment,” he said. Building support and community “Artists want to share their work, and they also need support,” Rae said. “… Explore the work of these artists, even just one if there's someone who sparks a particular interest.” ATN allows artistry to flourish and community to be built. “All Together Now represents inclusive-

Mark Lipman and Jenee Halstead

Boston native and female Hip-Hop Artist and songwriter Kay Wattz, who self iden-


alike. “These shows challenge us and celebrate




Uplifting each other According to Lipman, the work that ATN does is critical to a collective wellbeing. “Inspiration is free—we can be inspired by anything at any moment,” he said. “… The feeling of being inspired is priceless because we can then choose to create a new world for ourselves with new possibilities.” Those lessons can come from someone at a time and place most often overlooked.

Conversion Therapy From page 12 leaders have called for a complete ban on conversion therapy as explained in the letter According to the U.S. News and World Report (, “electroshock therapy, chemical drugs, hormone administrations and surgery are among the methods that have been used in conversion therapy, noted a team of experts reporting Aug. 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.” Only 18 U.S. states have banned conversion therapy for people younger than 18, and no states have banned conversion therapy for adults. “Researchers found that approximately 698,000 LGBT adults in the U.S. have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received it as adolescents,” according to

ALIKE—TO A PLACE OF MORE UNDERSTANDING, COMPASSION, AND CELEBRATION FOR OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER.” ness and unity,” Shea said. “It represents safety and community. It's a place where we can share our art, our journeys and experiences through our vulnerability.” the Williams Institute ( Massachusetts passed the Conversion Therapy Ban ( earlier this year. *Nicole Lashomb is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times and Co-Ed of Project Out. She holds an MBA from Mayrlhurst University & a BM from the esteemed Crane School of Music. Email her at:

tifies as a proud Black alpha female (stud) & member of LGBTQ community, believes her music and its messages are universal as she represents her community and stands firm in what she believes. “All Together Now is a melting pot, a safe place, and an amazing experience for the artists and the audience,” Wattz noted. The impact of the shows runs deep for both performers and audience members

humanity,” Lipman added. “And please, use the inspiration to create change in your life! Pay it forward! Oh, and bring a friend, preferably a straight white cisgender male one (smiles).” To learn more about ATN and to attend upcoming performances of the artists interviewed in this article and more, check out

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Lorelei From Page 15 genuinely care about all the people I am lucky enough to meet. I may not have a lot of time, but I try to make every connection as genuine and real and personal as possible. One of the harder consequences of that, however, especially being a part of such an often marginalized and discriminated against community, is that a lot of people I know personally have been dying. Some have been murdered, some committed suicide, and others have died as the result of a shockingly inadequate national healthcare system. The numbers are, personally, quite staggering. For the past two years or so,

that had filled the vast bulk of all I could find about our collective experiences when I was trying to figure out who I am myself. After all, my original training was as a comic and improviser. My qualifications include having been the first Miss Trans New England. My greatest satisfaction is in making people happy, not angry. I prefer inspiring joy to spurring action. And, I want to be able to do those things for you—and for me. But, sometimes it’s just too hard. Sometimes I fail; the fight goes out of me. The words I have to say scare me. And I can’t say them. So, I guess what I’m saying is, I am not a superhero. I’m just a woman who knows how to speak and write and make herself

BECAUSE I AM SO INEXTRICABLY TIED INTO THE NEWS CYCLES, BECAUSE IT’S ESSENTIALLY MY JOB, I CANNOT AVOID THE DAILY HORROR. EVEN WHEN I TRY TO DISTRACT MYSELF, THE ALGORITHMS THAT CONTROL WHAT I SEE IN ALL MY NEWS AND SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS SNEAK IT IN. someone I know from either the trans or queer communities, (often both) has died on average about every two months, often in clusters. That’s the background for me to the daily stream of outrages coming from the Trump administration and all the news I read of “Straight Prides” and harassment of LGBTQ folks. There is this intense, and very personal pain that underlies every action I take, every word I write. I want to write about more than this though. I don’t want to just be writing angry screeds and exhortations to action. Though of course, those are important— perhaps more important than ever. Our lives are so much richer, beautiful, and more complex than the terrifying news of violence and discrimination against us. I want to be able to think about that and write about it, for all of you wonderful readers. One of my aims, when I started writing this column, was to be a voice for how incredible it is to be trans. It was also to talk about all the many positives of this trans experience, as a balance to all the horror stories and tales of rejection and woe

Religion From Page 15 restrict transgender people, women and other groups. Also, if he gets re-elected there will be more conservative justices on the Supreme Court to overturn the rights we currently have. We cannot afford to have any more conservative judges appointed to the Supreme Court! Let's put ex-

heard, who cannot tolerate a bully. And, one who will not tolerate injustice. But I also cry and hurt and struggle to do what needs to be done. I’m just human. Just like you. What I’m saying is, if I can get up and keep going, even If I have been laid low, then so can you. My primary message is this: It doesn’t matter if we are knocked down or taken out of the fight for a bit. That happens. That will keep happening. What matters is that we take the time to take care of ourselves when we need to and that we get up again and keep going when we are able. So, keep loving and laughing, crying and fighting; and we’ll all keep moving ahead, together. See you next month, beautiful humans. Slàinte! *Lorelei Erisis is an improviser, storyteller, activist, adventurer, pageant queen and the bane of bigots everywhere. Send your questions about trans issues, gender and sexuality to her e-mail at: tremist religion in its place by voting out the Republicans, especially this current Republican president! *Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has 3 children and two grandchildren. She can be contacted at

Steve King From Page 13 Capitol building. In 2015 he claimed the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling meant that people could marry a lawnmower. According to Salon, in 2014 King supported an Arizona bill that would essentially give blanket protections for people who want to discriminate against LGBTQ people. He claimed that if LGBTQ people were protected by discrimination that they would then just go looking for lawsuits. “How do you know who to discriminate against. They have to tell you," King said according to Salon. "And are they then setting up a case? Is this about bringing a grievance, or is it actually about a service that they’d like to have?” I can just see it now: two guys trying to decide what to do on their next date. “Want to watch something on Netflix?” asks the first guy. “Nah,” the other guy replies.

“Let’s goad the florist down the street into discriminating against us so we can sue him.” There are a lot of terrible people who hold office in the U.S. Often, it can feel like everyone is corrupt and all of it is pointless so why bother voting because we’re all doomed. But it really is possible to vote for good people. People like J.D. Scholten, for example. King is proof that there are consequences for being horrible. However, he’s also proof that in order for there to be consequences in the Republican Party, you have to work really, really hard at being the worst.






*D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter at @MamaDWitkowski (

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Trans Travel From Page 9 Hotel offers attendees special rates starting at just $89 nightly. Year-round, Fort Lauderdale has become one of the better destinations in the country for transgender travelers. The number of transgender residents is significant, and the broader LGBTQ community is more educated and in tune with issues that concern transgender people than in much of the country. This is generally the case among other cities with vibrant queer populations and progressive political leanings—think San Francisco, Washington, Portland, New York City, Seattle, and Chicago, to name a few. That said, according to a recent report by the NCTE, every single one of the police departments in America's 25 largest cities has, thus far, failed to take adequate steps to ensure the safety and protect the rights of transgender people. On a more positive note, the Human Rights Campaign has identified more than 225 U.S. cities that have implemented a nondiscrimination ordinance that specifically includes gender identity ( Have a look at this list, and you'll find quite a few surprises. Tiny Montevallo is one of two municipalities (along with Birmingham) in Alabama that have such an ordinance. So, too, do nine cities in both Idaho and Kentucky. On the other hand, a number of prominent

TRAVEL-RELATED BUSINESS & TOURISM OFFICES, HOWEVER, CAN TAKE SIGNIFICANT STEPS TOWARD HELPING TRANSGENDER VISITORS FEEL MORE WELCOME AND SAFE. cities with sizable and highly visible transgender communities don't have these local laws (many of them are, fortunately, in the 21 states with comprehensive statewide gender-identity protections). For many transgender people thinking about where to travel, concerns are less about tourist marketing campaigns and even specific legal protections and more just about local attitudes and the degree to which they can expect to feel safe and represented. Even if, for example, several cities in Idaho and Kentucky forbid discrimination on the basis of gender identity,

DELTA AIRLINES RECENTLY ADDED "UNSPECIFIED" AND "UNDISCLOSED" AS GENDER OPTIONS FOR ITS PASSENGERS WHO IDENTIFY AS NONBINARY. it doesn't necessarily mean that these communities are especially woke in their attitudes about transgender rights. "Lexington is fine but not like the West Coast," said a transgender man (who requested anonymity) who moved to Kentucky a couple of years ago. "The biggest issue is bathrooms. Most of the restaurants and bars don’t have single-occupancy bathrooms, and there are a few places where it feels pretty impossible to use the bathroom—no locking doors, no stall. Even when I do find single-occupancy bathrooms here, they’re almost always gendered." Conversely, although Houston's infamously failed to pass gender-identity nondiscrimination ordinance in 2015, it's still one of the better cities in the country when it comes to LGBTQ visibility, and it has a large and dynamic transgender community and excellent resources. The same could be said for Atlanta, which does have a law protecting transgender people. But Georgia and Texas are among 19 states in the country that receive a negative rating from the Transgender Law Center ( on the basis of its gender-identity policies. In other words, there's really no single metric or criteria for determining the transgender-friendliness of a place. Figuring this out requires a bit of sleuthing and ultimately considering a few different sources. Travel-related business and tourism offices, however, can take significant steps toward helping transgender visitors feel more welcome and safe. Inclusive messaging does help, not only as a welcome sign to the transgender visitors but also to heighten the awareness of these issues among cisgender allies. Hotels, restaurants, bars, and retailers can provide sensitivity training to their staffs about using neutral gender pronouns, make an active effort to employ transgender workers, and provide gender-neutral bathrooms. The aforementioned NCTE is a tremendously helpful resource for transgender travelers. It has highly informative sections on its website related to travel issues ( and airport-security screening (, a

process that has become disturbingly more intrusive in recent years. According to the organization's National Transgender Discrimination Survey, "nearly one in five transgender travelers reported being harassed or disrespected by airport security screeners or other airport workers." In the face of these realities, NCTE's section on airport security offers tips on how to pack and prepare in advance of air travel, what to do if your official ID differs from how you present your gender, what to expect from airport body scanners and during pat-downs, how best to communicate with TSA personnel, and what steps to take in the event of mistreatment or discrimination by airline staff or other officials. One factor that transgender travelers can consider when deciding where to go and which businesses to travel with is the degree to which companies have proactively worked to ensure the safety and comfort of their transgender employees and clients. For example, Delta Airlines recently added "unspecified" and "undisclosed" as gender options for its passengers who identify as nonbinary. And, Airbnb requires all of its hosts and guests to agree to an anti-discrimination policy that includes gender identity, and the company has also joined several amicus briefs in support of transgender students waging legal battles. Also, according to a spokesperson for the company, in 2018 Airbnb launched a transgender employee group, Trans@, and "medical coverage for employees has also been expanded to now follow the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) standards of care." Delta and Airbnb are among dozens of travel companies that score a perfect 100 on the HRC Corporate Equality Index (, along with American Airlines, Southwest, and United Airlines; Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott hotels; Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines; and many other prominent industry members. *Writer Andrew Collins divides his time between Mexico City, Oregon, and New Hampshire. You can read more of his work at

The Frivolist From Page 17 ing to keep up with friends, family and neighbors—perhaps even more so for queer couples. You may be able to keep up for a while, but if you’re spending money on things you can’t afford just to _look_ like you can, it’ll come back to bite you eventually. Try to be happy with what you have or else work harder to improve your financial situation (picking up side gigs, furthering your education, asking for a promotion at work, getting a better-paying job, etc.) so that you can actually afford the things you want to buy as status symbols. Or, ya know, finally convince yourself that money doesn’t buy happiness. 6. Set Up Payment Alerts to Stay on Track If you have trouble remembering to pay bills, use technology to help you. Set reminders when bills are due and to be notified when account balances are low. Also set up overdraft protection if you’re prone to overdrawing your account so you can at least cut back the fees you’re charged. 7. Make It Clear Who Handles What Financial Responsibilities and When Nobody wants to accept the responsibility of handling the relationship’s finances —especially with all that can go wrong— but somebody has to do it. Make it clear which one of you that will be and create a budget and bill-paying schedule together so you can hold one another accountable and stay on track. “Discuss who will manage the finances, who pays what bill, what finances will be joint, where finances will be managed, when finances will be managed, how finances will be managed currently and in the future, and how expenses and bills will be paid,” Freeman advises. 8. Enlist the Help of a Financial Planner If You’re In Too Deep If you’re already in debt, the last thing you need is another expense. However, if Read the rest of this story at:

24 • The Rainbow Times •

September 5, 2019 - October 2, 2019

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