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Announcing The Finalists For The 2023 Options Awards

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Options Magazine has announced the finalists for the second annual Options Awards, voting is now under way until September 16.

The second annual Options Awards is an event that honors Rhode Island’s LGBTQ communities and allies. Nominations for the Options Awards were open for the entire month of July -- longer and sooner than last year's Options Awards nomination process. This led to a larger number of nominations, more categories having nominees, and many new faces this year. In fact, nearly every category has new members of the community up as finalists this year.

Given the competitive nature of the nominations process, nearly every category this year was narrowed down to five finalists. The one exception that has more finalists was best drag performer with ten finalists. The decision was made to have a larger pool of drag nominees than other categories because the editor did not wish for an angry mob of drag queens to appear outside his house.

The biggest changes this year are the inclusion of more categories, including photography, stand up comic, podcast, and local coffee shop. Altogether there are over 100 individuals and organizations nominated in 34 categories.

The full list of finalists is below:

People, Artists, and Activists

Rhode Island’s LGBTQ Hero Of The Year

Ladiva Jonz

Tiara Mack

Rodney Davis

Giona Picheco

Top Local Activist

Alex Kithes

Wendy Becker

Stephen Hogan Jr.

Kate Montero

Rodney Davis

Top Local Activist For Trans Rights

Donnie Anderson

Jaye Watts

Antonio Reisopoulos

Best Local Ally

Jen Bonin

Andrew Sharp

Enrique Sanchez

Steve Ahlquist

Kat Murray

Best Local Actor

Graham Stokes in Disorienting Dick and other performances

Rachel Warren of Trinity Rep

Mike Joseph in Saint Drogo and other performances

Olivia Sahlin in The Naughty List and other performance

Payton St James in Death Drop Gorgeous and other performances

Best Local Artist

Annie Tuthill

Claire Annette

Yung Onyx

Steven Kp

Ken Tasho

Best Local Photographer

Ryan Welch

Jen Bonin

Brooke Seminick

Derrick Woods-Morrow

Grayson Rose

Best Local Poet

AJ Delsignor

Aimee Nicole

Felicia Nimue Ackerman

Justice Gaines

John-Francis Quiñonez


Best Gay Bar In Rhode Island

The Eagle

Alley Cat

The Stable

Dark Lady


Best Lesbian-Friendly Bar or Dance Club

The Dark Lady

Free Play




Best Local Stand-Up Comic

Karen O'Donnell

John Kelley

Jordan Valois

Best Local DJ

Coleslaw - Stable/Askew

DJ Jake Gerifano - Eagle

Jakey Poo - Eagle

DJ Patrick Graham Jr

Zoila Rosa

Best Bartender

Kyle Silva - Free Play

Mike Rigney - Stable

Kyle Prunk - Mirabar

Cathy O - Alley Cat and Dark Lady

Zack Provost - Ego

Top Drag Performer

Claire Annette

Complete Destruction

Viza D. Klein

Calypso Phoenix Brown

Yung Onyx

Ninny Nothin

LaDiva Jonz

Lexi Prozac

Haley Star

Rage Ramzee-Brown

Best Drag Show

A-List - Stable

Drag Brunch - Black Sheep

Lip Sync Assassins - Dark Lady

Gauntlet - Mirabar

The Trailer Park Girls Brunch

Best Pride Block Party Of 2023


The Dark Lady


The Eagle

The Stable

Food and Dining

Best Local Coffee Shop



Nitro Bar

White Electric

Seven Stars

Top Restaurant

Gracie's, Providence, RI

Res American Bistro, Providence, RI

Apsara, Providence, RI

The George, Providence, RI

Red Stripe, Providence, RI

Best Chef

Evan Matthew

Heber A. Aguilar

Jennifer Backman

Max Hodge

Paul Murphy

Best Take Out



Chinatown on Thayer

Frisky Fries

Gourmet House

Best Late Night Eats


Baja Tex Mex

Sakis Pizzeria

Ma’s Donuts

Courtland Club


Best Local News Outlet

UpRise RI

Options Magazine

NBC 10 News



Best Local Journalist

Steve Ahlquist, Stubstack Newsletter

Dan McGowen - The Boston Globe

Shiina Losciuto - WPRI

Alex Morash, Options Magazine

Mario Hilario, NBC 10 News

Best Local Podcast

Tea with Taylor

Providence Vibes

The Nurse and The Worst

Non-Profits, Resources, And Social Clubs

Best Rhode Island Non-Profit

AIDS Care Ocean State

Haus of Codec


Youth Pride Inc.

Rhode Island Pride

Best LGBTQ Social Club Or Support Group

Haus of Codec

Pride In Aging - Formerly Sage RI

Youth Pride, INC

Queers and Beers

PFLAG Providence

Best Local LGBTQ Sports League or Club

Providence Gay Flag Football League

Frontrunners Rhode Island

Outloud Sports

Chiltern Mountain Club

OutRyders SKIING

Best Local LGBTQ Sports Athlete

Brian Patrick Mulligan -- Fronterrunners

Chris Almonte - PVDGFFL

Michael Petracca - PVDGFFL

Ostin Linnehan - PVDGFFL

Rob Rannin Jr. - PVDGFFL

Best LGBTQ Event of 2023

Illuminated Night Parade and Festival -- RI Pride

Newport Pride

Market Days -- Haus of Codec

Sunset Drag Cruise -- Newport Out

Woonsocket Pride

Local Businesses

Best Hair Salon or Barbershop

Urban Fellow, Providence, RI

Strands, Providence, RI

Flipp Apothecary, Providence, RI

The G Salon, Providence, RI

Aruverde for Rosebud Salon, Providence, RI

Best Hair Stylist or Barber

Simony Resende, Aruverde for Rosebud Salon

Lisa Pasquale, Strands

Vinn Hartman, The G. Salon & Spa

Normand G. Couture, Strands

Shane Szrom, Strands

Best Real Estate Agent

Cassia Foster

Don Batten

Ray Sirico

Gary Jacques

Marcus Randolph

Best Doctor’s Office or Health Care Provider

Thundermist Health Center

Anchor Medical

Tri-County Health Center

Open Door Health

Planned Parenthood Providence

Best LGBTQ-Owned Business

Mister Sister

FreePlay Bar and Arcade

The Stable

Res American Bistro


Voting is now open on the Options Awards finalists until September 16.


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