Options Starts The Spring With New Board Chair, Ryan Vigneau
Options Magazine board member and RI Queer PAC leader, Ryan Vigneau, takes the reigns of Options’ board of directors. Mike Marrapodi continues to serve on board leadership as treasurer.
Options Magazine is excited to announce that Ryan Vigneau succeeds Mike Marrapodi as the chair of the Options board of directors. Vigneau, who describes himself as a “Queer man and a native Rhode Islander” is a 29-year-old Providence resident who joined the Options Magazine board of directors in March 2022. He is a data specialist at Skills for Rhode Island’s Future and the chief of staff of the Rhode Island Queer Political Action Committee.
Vigneau joined Options after meeting the editor in the fall of 2021. This editor was working a booth for Options at the RI Pride Jubilee. At the event, a young RI Pride board member introduced himself. He explained that his name was Ryan Vigneau and he had a lot of questions about Options Magazine, from how is Options reaching out to younger Queer and Trans people and how will Options do more in digital spaces. This conversation led to many more and soon this editor had a question for Vigneau: Would you consider joining the board of Options Magazine? And he joyfully said yes.
Vigneau describes it somewhat differently: “You wouldn’t leave me alone about joining the Options Board.” When asked what made him say yes to this editor’s alleged nagging he stated “what made me join was I could see the path Options was on.” Vigneau continued: “It had been digging itself out of the pit that COVID created that swallowed a lot of non-profits, and after attending a board meeting, I could tell that the organization had a direction it was trying to go on and my hope was to help be part of guiding it towards those goals.”
He discussed how he remembered in one of the first meetings the board was “talking about the increased viewership of Options, and admittedly, at the time I had heard Options was on the decline, only being a magazine for the older folk in our community.” A tough but accurate look at Options though he was quick to point out “but, I saw that shifting and an intentional move from the board to make the magazine relevant and interesting for all ages of our community.” Since joining the board, Vigneau has written articles for the magazine, assisted the chair with Options events, and advised the editor on digital strategy.
In the fall of 2022, Mike Marrapodi had been performing both the duties of board chair and treasurer. He informed the board and editor-in-chief that he would like someone to take on some of the responsibilities of running the organization’s board of directors. This announcement led to the board and editor to look to recruit more board members and to elevate another board member to chair. Vigneau quickly became the top choice.
When asked about his goals for Options, he stated that “my two biggest goals are to increase viewership and add variety to our stories to include the entirety of the LGBTQIA+ community.” Vigneau elaborated with the following statement:
My impression of Options historically has been that the viewership is primarily white Gay men or Lesbian women, which isn’t a negative, but we need to look at the world that is being left out of the conversation. If we publish more stories in support of the Trans community and highlighting the intersectionality between Black and Indigenous cultures and the Queer community, with more viewership these stories can spark more conversation and hopefully shift the culture of the queer community from being a tangle of siloed groups, to having more mutual support and aid towards one another. With unity comes strength and we don’t get that if we don’t hear each other’s stories.
The second part I alluded to, we need more stories in Options highlighting not just the struggles of our most marginalized, but also showing the excellence that exists in all letters of our community. The Queer community is not one unified entity, nor do I want to homogenize it to be. I want us to be able to tell our stories in this public platform we call Options so that we learn from each other, grow, and find a way to show strength together. Right now nationwide we are seeing a wave of hatred specifically towards the Trans community, and my hope is we (as Options) can culturally push the LGB side of our community to be understanding and supportive to our Trans and Non-binary siblings. Our stories are permanent and intertwined, we need to know those stories to stay strong.