AIDS Project RI new website and testing program

AIDS Project RI launched a new website today. They are also launching a new anonymous rapid HIV testing program.

Starting on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011, The Project will be operating an HIV testing program to help Rhode Islanders learn their HIV status in a safe, comfortable, and private environment. We have licensed HIV testing counselors who perform anonymous rapid HIV testing for free every Tuesday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on an appointment and walk-in basis.

More info


Headmaster No. 2 PVD Launch Party


Rugby uniform by Joseph Segal, photographed by Jesse Burke

Thursday, August 18 • 6:00pm – 10:00pm
The Salon57 Eddy Street

The end of summer is nigh, but Headmaster wants to party with you just once before the fall term starts. Celebrate the release of Headmaster no. 2 with the magazine’s editors, contributors and models. Copies of Headmaster will be for sale, along with prints and t-shirts, if you haven’t gotten yours yet. DJ set by HARSHBOYS, plus a fancy Headmaster drink special and snacks.

Also, stick around after the party for a performance by B-Hive, Providence’s (the world’s?) premiere B-52’s cover band.

The party is free and open to everyone.



From the The Providence Journal:

In all, nine same-sex couples formalized their commitments to one another during the month, the first in which they could they could enter into marriage-like agreements with their partners.

Two of the ceremonies took place in Providence, two took place in Newport and one each in Burrillville, Cranston, Little Compton, North Providence and Pawtucket, said Peter Hanney, a spokesman for the state Department of Health.


Never Forget

Rudolf Brazda, believed to be the last surviving person who was sent to a Nazi concentration camp because of his sexual orientation, died yesterday at age 98. I’m all about asset based communities, and don’t want to dwell on disturbing new hate crime stats or persecution, but by the same token it’s important to remember that much of our sense of community today was forged in persecution and prosecution of yesterday. So let’s celebrate the freedoms we have to be, wear, and love who we like, even as we advocate for more.


Beyond Tolerance

Looking into the history of the India Point Project for yesterday’s post, I was struck by how our description of ourselves and our organizations changed as we became more visible to the mainstream. Take two articles from the same publication, by the same author, describing community groups meeting at two different locations. In this 2002 Bay Windows article, one of the partners in the still yet-to-open India Point Project was described as “the Enforcers (a gay social group that funds nonprofits)”. But in this 1999 article about the groups displaced by the closure of RITA’s Place, the same group is described as “Enforcers RI, a group of leather, S&M and fetishist people that conducts fundraising for AIDS and other causes”. I remember when the Enforcers were still around – they met at AIDS Project RI when I worked there and were my first exposure to an organized leather community. While they were certainly very engaged in raising funds for LGBT groups, I wonder how they felt about having their central purpose vanillafied to “a gay social group that funds nonprofits”.

Part of the reason that I left full-time LGBTQ activism is that I didn’t want to sell the “we’re just like everybody else” line. (Also because the pay and the hours sucked, but that’s a post for another time.) Our movement was launched out of the closet by a police raid on a club full of drag queens, butches, gutter punks, homeless queer youth and sex workers who couldn’t be pushed any farther (see pic below), but we’ve lost track of our roots. We’ve moved from Stonewall Riots to Stonewall Kitchen. As I said to Jef a while ago, there’s no gay sex in the gay rights movement, because talking about gay sex makes people feel squirmy and we’re just here for our rights. I guess I’m sort of a bourgeois queer liberationist, believing that there are differences in our various subcultures which should be embraced and celebrated. As the gay rights movement nationally moved toward a set of mainstream ideals (queers should have the right to get married and join the army), and sold out our trans brothers and sisters again and again, I got very personally disillusioned with the work, and very concerned about my own ability to personally represent the party line. We started to push a “teaching tolerance” agenda that I just couldn’t get behind. I don’t want to be tolerated, like a bad smell or a too cold meal. I don’t want to be asked to change or pretend or tone it down and stop making people uncomfortable. I want to be part of a liberation movement that asks us all to confront our own discomfort and recognize that difference is beautiful and vital and critical.

I’m not sure how to end this post except to acknowledge that this is an ongoing conversation that I hope keeps happening within and outside queer communities. I’d love to have some of it here, so please feel free to respond or repost.


Community Center?

Do you remember when Rhode Island had a gay community center? The India Point Project briefly operated one on the East Side in Providence, but went belly up and abruptly locked its doors back in 2004, when I was still a Baby Professional Queer. While part of the vision behind this blog is to function as a virtual community center for LGBTQQIAXYZ Rhode Islanders, we’re clearly quite a ways away from achieving that vision. So in the meantime, we encourage you to take the Community Center Survey that Options Newsmagazine is running right now. We’ll post the results when Options does.


Queer Salon 2

Apparently the ‘zine I found so compelling last week was distributed at a dance party, and led to some folks feeling like they weren’t queer enough to be at a queer event. I didn’t go to the event so I don’t know all the details, but it seems some folks felt like the nature of queerness was being rigidly policed, and felt that they had to explain, justify, or defend their identities, genders, partners, and behavior. As a result, some of the party organizers are hosting an event on Wednesday:

Queer Salon 2: An conversation on the politics, visibility and space of/for queerness in our community.

Wednesday July 27th 8pm
280 Broadway Room 200, Providence, RI, 02903

Further info on the discussion after the jump. Unfortunately I have class, so if you go and have stuff to share, please email us so we can post a follow-up.
Continue Reading →


My new Love

Don’t start any rumors, I’m keeping my old love, and not just because I’m afraid to give up the political connections our partnership contains. But I’ve got a new love: local anonymous queer propagandists f.i.e.r.c.e.n.e.s.s.. They have posted a really excellent text on privilege and queerness, which I’m happy to attribute to its author if they come forward….

It’s not just what you know — it’s what you never have to know. It’s happening every day, at that party or park or potluck, when you can look like what you really are and touch who you really want to touch without feeling like you’re violating others’ expectations. It’s never being forced to examine accepted ideas of gender and sexuality, despite their arbitrary nature. It’s never having to realize that people are seeing you as something you know you are not.

Privilege is about safety and belonging. It lies hidden in identities and desires that don’t need to be justified or defended or even spoken of, because they reaffirm the identities and desires of most of the people around you. Privilege is assuming, before you even get there, that your gender and your sexuality are welcome and expected wherever you might want to go. (emphasis mine)

I don’t know about you but I think about how welcome my gender and sexuality will be whenever I go out, and I’m almost always prepared to be unexpected at best. It doesn’t usually influence where or when I go, or much of how I present myself, but it certainly influences my feeling of armoring up to go out into the world. Being visibly queer is a complicated thing, and many brilliant folks I know are marginalized because of it. Being accepted in the mainstream is lovely in many ways, but it comes with the pressure to be acceptable to the mainstream. I think hard about where I am and am not willing to compromise. (I don’t shave my legs, but I always wear pants.) My gender is not an unconscious thing – it’s something I do, think about, wrestle with, and prepare to confront folks about on a daily basis.

I’ve been hearing some pushback that some recent queer events have been hostile to folks perceived to be heterosexual or heteronormative. This is not part of my vision of queer liberation. I’d love to think and talk more about how we create spaces to be queer in its original sense: transgressive and nonconformist, outside the norm. Not to rigidly expect that everyone look like us, or that only freaks and outlaws be invited, but where the new norm is no norm. Because we all deserve the privilege of feeling like we’re welcome and expected.