Updated: Jan 8
Options Magazine has had a busy year online. While the magazine printed just one edition this year, it now does a twice a month newsletter and Options’ online traffic has grown by over 300 percent compared to the year before – making OptionsRI.org the LGBTQ website of Rhode Island. To celebrate our online growth and to look back at the year-in-review, here are the top ten articles of 2021.
How do you measure a year? (And how do you say it without plagiarizing the musical Rent?) While in the song, you can use daylight or cups of coffee, here at Options we measured it in articles and eyeballs. Our list of the top ten articles isn’t an exact science since the view totals can go up when your web browser refreshers or when this writer re-reads a piece on Options’ website ten times after it has been published to ensure he didn’t miss any glaring typos. Yet, it does give us a rough idea of which articles are the most read pieces of the year. It should also be noted that press releases were not included in this list.
Now that it is 2022, here are Options’ top ten articles and columns for 2021.
By Kwana Adams
On a cold Saturday afternoon, Options’ reporter, Kwana Adams, visited Providence’s new non-profit Leftist library, Red Ink. Adams was there for a screening of Selene Means’ “The Time Is Already,” and found a wonderful new Queer and Trans welcoming space.
Journeying with Adams in this article the reader gets a great sense of the warmth of the founders of Red Ink and the eclectic energy of Red Ink’s visitors. There are many reasons why a well-written piece such as this made it onto the top ten from our readers. With the pandemic shuttering so much, the need for new meeting spaces developed quickly and was one of the driving forces in the creation of Red Ink and one of the reasons why the article is so compelling.
It doesn’t surprise this writer one bit that so many of our readers were interested in this story –– it is a positive story of something new and wonderful in a time when so much has been lost. It also highlights the growing and vibrant Leftist scene in Providence which is sure to attract attention from members of the movement and its detractors. The Queer Things We Found At Red Ink Library brought some light in the gloom of 2021 and was the tenth most viewed story of the year.
By Victoria McGurn
Options contributor Victoria McGurn peers into life for Rhode Island’s Queer youth living in our state's foster care system. McGurn follows the foster care journey of Theo, a nonbinary teen in a foster home with their younger sister. It is both a story about how foster placement can work for many youths to escape an abusive environment and be allowed to be themselves and the story is a haunting reminder that for every story like Theo’s and their sister, there are many more children that are not placed with families. According to the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families, seventy-five percent of teens in state care are never placed with families.
This story pulls at our heartstrings and forces us all to ask ourselves if we can do more to help. Important stories often get readers' attention and this story is certainly that. Fostered Youth Finds Support for Nonbinary Identity is a well-written, compelling story and was the ninth most-viewed story at Options in 2021.
By Kwana Adams
Kwana Adams' second story to make the list as the eighth-most viewed article of 2021 is Haus of Codec Centers LGBTQ & BIPOC Businesses, Performers, and Campaigns at Monthly Marketplace. Haus of Codec has had a remarkable journey since its founding in 2017 and as Adams writes, has become an important support for LGBTQ youth and our community as a whole. Not only has Haus of Codec held lively marketplaces at Dexter Park in Providence each month filled with food and entertainment, they have been doing so to raise money to start a homeless shelter for Queer and Trans youth.
Adams' second piece on the list is the third article in a row that focused on the positive good happening in our community. While so much of 2021 has been filled with sadness and gloom, reporting such as this is a reminder of the good happening in Providence, and Options readers have been drawn to it.
By Alex Morash
This is the first piece from this writer to make the list and is a From the Editor column. When first coming in as editor-in-chief, I wasn’t sure what to do with the From the Editor series. After some thought, I decided to test out how Options readers would respond to the From the Editor being a monthly opinion column.
Well, being me, of course, the test piece would lambast the highest elected official in the state and was written with no regard for if it offended business owners, city councilors, or even other members of LGBTQ community. The result of this was that McKee’s Too Busy With Business Handouts To Help Our Homeless comes in at a strong seventh place. This either means the piece resonated with many Queer Rhode Islanders or that Options readers enjoy hate-reading opinion pieces as much as readers over at The New York Times – either way, I’ll take it.
By LGBTQ Action RI
The group LGBTQ Action RI submitted an article to Options about how the state was moving to make all single-person restrooms available to all genders. This was not only a well-written article, it is important news for Queer and non-queer people alike. Business owners need to know to update signage, and for Queer and Trans people, it is a needed change.
LGBTQ Action RI’s article is filled with quotes from members of the community about why this change matters to them. Denying people access to a single-use restroom has always been absurd, RI’s Gender-Inclusive Restroom Act puts the voices of those living it onto the page for all to see and Options readers wanted to read it, making this our sixth most viewed article of 2021.
By Jen Stevens
Honorable Mention: From the Editor: Signing Off
Jen Stevens served as editor-in-chief of Options Magazine for the majority of 2021 and her touching From the Editor where she announced that after all the work she had done to help prepare Options for the future, she was ready to hand the reigns over to the next person, was quickly read throughout the state. The fact that it rose all the way to the fifth most viewed piece of 2021 is a testament to Stevens' work and how important a leader of Rhode Island’s LGBTQ community she is.
Stevens final From the Editor also gets an honorable mention for being a beautifully written send-off.
By Alex Morash
When Options got to interview Rodney Davis about RI Pride’s Halloween Jubilee, we knew it was an important story, but when during the interview we got the scoop that Pride has planned to bring back the illuminated night parade for June 2022, we knew we had one of the most important stories of the year.
RI Pride’s Infusing Providence With Some New Orleans Joie De Vivre comes in as the fourth most viewed article on the list. The piece was a joy to write and brings to life both the celebrations of New Orleans and the fun and remembrance of RI Pride. Coming in near the top of the list is a reminder that Options readers love to get their Pride on and is a strong sign that Providence Pride 2022 is gonna be lit!
By Alex Morash
This writer knew that as the new editor-in-chief of Options, getting to interview a Drag Race contestant was big. Yet, I didn’t know how much fun it would be to talk with Kelly Mantle. From talking Oscars while Mantle sipped a mimosa by the pool, learning about how Mantle and Tami Brown met, to exploring how Mantle has had to navigate the entertainment world as a nonbinary person, Drag Race’s Kelly Mantle Breaks Gender Barriers, Steals The Show In The Browns was a fascinating story to write and coming in as the third most viewed piece of 2021, it is this writer's hope it has been just as fascinating a story for our readers.
By Alex Morash
Someone should really ask Alex Morash where does he get off taking up four of the top ten bylines of 2021. I’d do it, but I just love myself too much. Instead, I am just so thankful Options readers have been interested in what I’ve had to write.
From the Editor: Meet Alex Morash, Options Magazine’s New Editor-In-Chief, announces Options' new editor-in-chief and puts into words where Options is looking ahead. Being the second most-read piece of 2021, it shows Options readers are committed to knowing and ensuring the success of our magazine’s future.
By Dontai Carmon
This is Dontai Carmon’s only piece on the list and is the writer’s only piece published on Options' website, but Carmon’s Accepting My Gay, Black, Asperger's Identity is a deeply compelling personal journey and was the most read article at Options in 2021.
Carmon opens up about bullying, coming out, and navigating a world made for neurotypical people as someone with Asperger’s (a condition on the autism spectrum) and dealing with all this as a Black Gay man.
Carmon’s story resonated with Options readers. Reading his words, it isn’t hard to connect with him and find similarities in one's journey to his or see parts of his journey and understand why not all struggles are the same. Reading Accepting My Gay, Black, Asperger's Identity one easily understands why it is the top article of 2021.