Updated: Apr 1, 2021
I was instantly intrigued when I met Jazzmen Lee-Johnson while having the privilege of speaking on a panel with her as part of Trinity Repertory’s America Too project. Who knew the RI Department of Health (RIDOH) had an artist-inresidence (who happened to be queer)? I had to learn more. In this issue, we give you a taste of the wide breadth of Lee-Johnson’s fascinating and impactful work (p. 6), and direct you to her full interview at optionsri.org to dig deeper.
Jonathan Lucero McKinney is a savvy writer with a passion for health issues, who pitched a story about vaping in the LGBTQ+ community. His knack for research and legwork lent a lot to the piece, which takes us from the 1990s tobacco industry SCUM campaign targetting LGBTQ people to a barstool at the Mirabar today (p. 12).
With these two stories in the works, I figured we had better reach to RIDOH for an issue sponsorship. Thankfully they were receptive, or we’d have halved our print run. This was a natural partnership, as the theme of health runs through every issue of Options. Our content often addresses disparate LGBTQ health issues, and thanks to RIDOH, even some of our paid advertisements offer access to programs with solutions (pp. 2, 25, 36).
November 3’s RI Pride Honors event was the highlight of my professional career. In my Pyramid of Pride acceptance speech, I said that I’d gotten there simply by saying “Yes” when asked and sticking around. If we’re lucky, these three new Options team members who’ve recently said “Yes” to critical roles will stick around, because they’re each doing a fantastic job: Advertising Manager Daniel Restrepo, Designer Koki Mendis, and Calendar Editor Galen Auer.
This is a very special issue of Options Magazine. Heart, soul, sweat, and sleepless nights went into it from team members new and old. We hope to top it next issue, if given the chance through your donation to keep us going. Flip to the centerfold (p. 18) to find the many reasons you should give today. This issue is special enough without it being our last.
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