As publisher of The Rainbow Times, New England’s largest LGBT newspaper, Graysen M. Ocasio is fully connected with his region’s LGBTQ community, and it is that reason he feels blessed to call Massachusetts, particularly his city of Salem, home.
“I love how free I can be here. In Salem, when I came out as transgender I immediately had the support of all of my colleagues, starting from the mayor’s office all the way down to neighbors of mine. In Salem I feel protected; protection and acceptance brings happiness, and happiness makes people thrive.”
A Latinx transgender male, Ocasio feels it is important to be visible because of the impact that his story and others could have on those who may be concerned about coming out and living their true identity; his goal with the paper is to educate and inform above all else.
“What we produce at The Rainbow Times is the opportunity to educate others about what our community is about. My life could be seen by a young person who may be coming to terms with who they are, or who feels invisible, helpless, or isolated due to a lack of support of their authentic selves. By being visible, I could be impacting or saving one of those lives. If a youth can identify with me, particularly a Latinx or trans youth, and can see I am able to live a ‘fulfilling’ life, then I have done my job.”
“It is also important to be visible because there are other people who don’t know a lot about transgender lives and have a preconceived idea that we are ‘different.’ We are equal — we live, we strive, we want happiness and health and respect, we want to matter, and we want people to understand as we go through life, and as we love, live, and age we want to ensure we are seen.”
As voters head to the polls this November to decide on the fate of transgender rights in the Commonwealth, Graysen hopes that they will keep the fact that people’s very existences are on the line.
“I want them to know they’re voting to grant or deny someone’s rights based on them living in their authentic selves. That shouldn’t be considered when it comes to basic human rights. on These are our lives, plain and simple. They’re voting in terms of someone being able to find a job, use the bathroom, or be treated fairly in housing and public spaces. They are voting to deny or allow a trans person to lose or gain those most basic rights. Exercising simple tasks and being afforded personal safety as any other citizen, is important to all of us, and it should not be up for scrutiny. My life and the lives of so many others depend on it Civil rights for any marginalized community should never be up for a popular vote, but since they are, I would pray compassion and humanity lead in the hearts of those casting this vote.”