Updated: Mar 22, 2021
Welcome to the last planned regular print issue of Options Magazine – one issue shy of “Volume XL, Issue 1.” Instead, we’ll begin our fortieth year online, with plans for annual print editions (p. 6). Never say never, but with print media vanishing, it’s hard to imagine a future Options board of directors reviving our print tradition. Evolve, we must, and we hope you’ll stick with us. One anonymous supporter has stepped up a second time to ensure a successful transition (p. 7).
This issue’s News Briefs section is packed with important local and national stories (p.10). We’re grateful to octogenarian writer Myra Shays for spearheading this section in recent years on top of her responsibilities as a copy editor, as well as editor of our highly-valued Resources section. As Options’ seniormost volunteer, her dedication and encouragement have been an octane-boost to Options’ fuel.
In January, Senator Tiara Mack was sworn in as RI’s first openly queer Black state senator. In her interview, she shares how her activism and identity will inform how she represents her Providence district (p. 12).
Between the anxiety-inducing chaos of the last presidency and the pin-prick of light at the end of this long Covid tunnel, we find ourselves caught in a moment defined by hope. In that spirit, we asked community members to tell us the first thing they’ll do once Covid restrictions are lifted. Spoiler alert: hugs are a top priority (p. 16).
Dontai Carmon had an urgent desire to share his story when he presented Options with five essays about how he came to accept his identity as a gay, Black man living with autism. Distilled into this shorter piece, we see the man emerging who would come to embrace an enthusiasm for equality for all of his communities (p. 20).
Due to a lack of community gatherings to feature in our regular Out on the Town photo spread, I charged our lead photographer Jen Bonin with gathering her Pride photography team’s favorite shots to remind us of the community we hope to return to (p. 14).
I thought I’d leave you with my favorite photo from my years at Options. Shot by Jack Hartwein-Sanchez for our July 2015 cover, it depicts Wendy Becker (top right, who would have led the 2020 Pride Parade as Grand Marshal), and her family on the day the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. After the four years we’ve endured, their sign’s celebratory message is particularly fitting: Finally. Congrats, America!