Options Taps Alex Morash For Next Editor-in-Chief: Options Magazine’s board of directors tapped Alex Morash to serve as the magazine’s new editor-in-chief. Morash is an accomplished writer, having served as the economic researcher for Meda Matters for America, and has bylines in The Advocate Magazine and The Washington Blade. He has also served as the media director for the National LGBTQ Task Force and in 2019-2020, he served as the statewide press secretary for the Florida Democratic Party. After the start of the pandemic, Morash moved back to New England to serve as former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s editor and researcher. He is a resident of Providence, RI. Below is his first letter from the editor.
Dear Options Reader,
My love affair with Providence started when I was a senior in high school. My friends and I would spend more time getting ready for the nightclubs than it took us to drive to Providence from Cape Cod. We were all just 18 and going out to a club –– for us, it was always Mirabar –– was one of the most important parts of our lives. The dancing, the music, the opportunity to make out with a boy, or maybe a couple of boys, up on the box and be part of all the gay reverie was everything to us. Back then, admittedly almost 20 years ago, for my friends and I, Providence was our Queer and Trans City of Oz.
For us, in short: Providence isn't a place to be queer, Providence is queer.
A few years later, I decided to move to Providence. I did this mostly because it was the only place a frequently jobless twenty-something like myself could afford to rent an apartment with a few buddies during the Great Recession. For the first time, I felt that I was part of a Queer community.
Providence is a city with a large working-class Queer community that doesn’t act the way society told me we were supposed to. It wasn’t a place where everyone had lots of disposable income or where we all were socialites. Queer people in Providence didn’t behave as the LGBTQ characters did on Will & Grace.
Instead of being a community obsessed with looks or money, I found a Queer community where we all struggled to pay our bills. We would often take odd jobs and worked in fields we weren’t supposed to. We looked out for each other. If a group of us went out one night and saw someone else from the club a little lost walking home alone, they’d come over and suggest we all walk home together. And it was also a community that wasn’t afraid to cause some good trouble. I learned quickly that Providence –– and indeed Rhode Island –– may be small but it sure is loud and is never well-behaved.
Over the years, Providence grew to hold a special place in my heart. When I wanted to check the pulse of this beloved city, I’d do it by opening up a copy of Rhode Island’s LGBTQ magazine. I am overjoyed to take on the role of editor-in-chief for our community's pulse ––Options Magazine.
Taking the reigns of a nearly 40-year-old LGBTQ magazine and Queer resource guide is not something I take lightly –– especially with it being an outlet that I have enjoyed for nearly two decades. I do this with respect for the many great writers who’ve penned their prose within Options’ pages and filled with the conviction that LGBTQ Rhode Islanders need Options Magazine now more than ever.
As I sit writing to you, over half of all Americans are having trouble paying their bills, even more than that are living paycheck to paycheck, and over 742,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. I sit writing to you knowing that in Rhode Island, LGBTQ people are dealing with all this and more. Nearly 1 out of every 4 LGBTQ Rhode Islanders live on food assistance and 28 percent of us make less than $28,000 a year.
Upon that backdrop, we have elected leaders in Rhode Island that have refused to spend $1.1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds the Ocean State was given –– the only Democratically-controlled state to do so. The national level is even worse: We see a Democratic Party that is more focused on passing legislation for a PR boost than helping working Americans and a Republican Party that, when it isn’t going to bed in public with white nationalists, is busy ripping masks off of school children and moonlighting in election fraud. The times we live in can feel bleak, and worse, it doesn’t feel like anyone has our back.
What makes Options such a wonderful magazine is that it isn’t a for-profit media outlet, it is a non-profit advocacy news organization. This means Options is a source for news, a resource, and a champion for our community. Our job is to have our community’s back, especially when no one else will. I see that commitment in Options' wonderful board members, volunteers, and Jen Stevens, our outgoing editor-in-chief. I see a team who are all interested in supporting our community and telling our story.
Too often, we only see a very narrow window of the LGBTQ experience. Yet, Providence and Rhode Island have a rich queer story to tell. It is a multi-racial story. It is a working-class story. It is a story filled with colorful characters, passionate activists, and trouble makers.
Our story matters. As editor-in-chief, my work is to ensure our stories are told.