Updated: Mar 22
Coronavirus dominates this issue of Options, because there isn’t a soul in our local community unaffected by the pandemic. It will not surprise you that Options’ regular nonprofit contributors aren’t conveying messages of doom and gloom. Rather, they’re reaffirming their commitments to their missions, however postponed or diverted their activities may be, and are inviting you along in hopes of brighter days to come. In particular, Rhode Island Pride heroically started a food and supply drive and delivery service for community members in need during this crisis (p. 7).
Out on the Town, our regular centerfold photo montage (p. 14), depicts a packed celebration of RI Pride’s 20th Anniversary Goddess Show on March 1. On March 12, Providence entertainment licenses were revoked to slow the spread of COVID-19. Looking through a current lens (as I write to you on March 29), these images of revelry could be illustrative of the way things used to be, of a narrowly averted disaster (had an ill person chosen to attend), or the promise of good times ahead.
For the time being, enjoying online performances by local LGBTQ talents will keep you entertained, connected to your community, and safe (p. 10). I've personally valued the connection through live performances more than I ever imagined I could.
Anticipating your desire for a shift in focus as you turn our pages, we’ve included stories resistant to coronavirus: the importance of being counted in the 2020 Census (p. 11), a look at the work of the Providence Human Relations Commission (p. 18), and a discussion with community members about election concerns (p. 13).
Longtime readers will notice this issue of Options is unlike any other, in that it features no upcoming events, and is unintentionally themed on a subject without an obvious gay angle. You’re unlikely to pick up a copy at your favorite bar or cafe; rather, issues will be found at health centers and grocery stores. We have fewer ads, and therefore fewer pages, than any issue under my editorial direction, and we are headed to press without being fully funded. This partially results from COVID-19-related cancelations, but also because advertisers increasingly opt to advertise through online tech giants. We did not want to suspend printing at a time when our readers are holding onto whatever normalcy they can grasp, our peer organizations are rising to the occasion, and while our local printer needs our business more than ever.
Please donate at OptionsRI.org if you’re able, and support this truly unique perspective of one community’s – your community’s – grassroots response to a global crisis.