Office of Governor Gina Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo has announced that the state employee health plan will now cover gender transition services. 


A Providence lawmaker has withdrawn a bill that would have provided explicit protections for transgender people to use public bathrooms. State Representative Edith Ajello said the state’s current law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity provides enough protection for transgender people. 

Ajello said she came to the conclusion after speaking with local LGBT advocates, and seeing the letter from the Obama Administration directing schools to allow students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.


Transgender advocates and civil rights groups plan to urge Rhode Island to adopt a statewide policy on transgender students in public schools. Last week the federal government issued guidance that says transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom and locker room of the gender they identify with.

The Obama administration also instructed teachers to use the name and pronoun the family prefers.

RIPR file

  A fluorescent yellow softball sails out of the in-field, toward woods that border Ponaganset High School in Scituate. The left fielder runs forward and catches the ball. This is home field for Ponaganset’s Lady Chieftains. Turns out, the team is not all ladies.

Justin Bonoyer is an outfielder for the Lady Chieftains. There’s a lot evolving in the life of this 16-year-old with a shock of bleached blonde hair.  Until a few weeks ago, coaches knew Justin Bonoyer as Elise Bonoyer:


Some Warwick residents are protesting a transgender student using the girls' locker room at Pilgrim High School. The debate has been playing out over social media.

Nearly 300 comments followed a Facebook post about the student, with some commenters claiming she’s making other female students feel uncomfortable.  

The student identifies as female.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Parents' Journey

Mar 1, 2016

  Last week we heard from an eighth-grade student, Will Malloy, who shared his deeply personal thoughts about his recent decision to transition from female to male.  Will told us about the challenges he faced when he decided to go public, and about the love and support he has received along the way.  This week we hear from Will’s parents – Liz and Steven Malloy – about their own journey.

Liz and Steven Malloy, parents of Will Malloy, live in Warwick.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Acceptance

Feb 23, 2016

  Under the best of circumstances, adolescence can be a challenging time.  Navigating shifting friendships.  Sorting out relationships with parents.  Fantasizing about what the future may hold.  For some, adolescence is also a time to sort out one’s identity in much more fundamental ways that seem so essential, so compelling.  As Ralph Ellison wrote in his novel Invisible Man, “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”  And we hear echoes of these sentiments from thirteen-year-old Will Malloy.

Will Malloy is an eighth-grade student at the Moses Brown School in Providence.  He lives with his family in Warwick.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Identity

Feb 16, 2016

  The famed writer and poet Gertrude Stein once said, ''Growing has no connection with audience. Audience has no connection with identity." Stein's claim, it seems, is that our true identity is embedded deep within each of us and develops over the years in its own inexorable way. It's a complex, even debatable phenomenon, as Alex Myers knows very, very well.


Before moving to Washington, DC, Alex Myers taught English at St. George's School in Middletown. His first novel, Revolutionary, tells the story of Deborah Samson, who disguised herself as a man and fought in the Revolutionary War.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Health insurers in Rhode Island can no longer limit or deny coverage based on gender identity. That's due to new rules from the state health insurance commissioner.

Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island is now one of just nine states and the District of Columbia offering coverage for transgender medical services under Medicaid. The new policy went public this week.

Previously, Medicaid in Rhode Island offered no coverage for patients seeking hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery. Now, those patients can get those services and mental health treatment too.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

When you walk into a doctor’s office for the first time, you might be asked to fill out a slew of forms. Many include a box to check for your gender: male or female. But what if that’s not an easy—or a comfortable—question to answer? That’s just one example of what keeps many transgender patients from getting the medical care they need. 

Matthew Clowney

A Providence-based photographer has been documenting a family with a transgender grandparent. The photos are part of an exhibit destined for the Boston Children’s Museum in the fall.

The Crow's Nest / University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Providence city officials say they want to be more inclusive of transgender employees and retirees. That includes extending health insurance coverage for gender reassignment surgery.

Providence officials say the city’s health plan will now cover a suite of services for employees and retirees who identify as transgender. That includes gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, and behavioral health care.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A few weeks ago we brought you the story of Hannah Rini, a transgender student in Pawtucket, who was bullied to the point where she left Goff Junior High School before finishing 7th grade. Pawtucket School officials declined to comment before the story aired, and they still say they can't discuss Hannah's story directly because of student privacy rules.

Michelle Rini

Last year, we introduced you to Pawtucket student Hannah Rini, who was about to start her first year of middle school as an openly transgender student. Before her first day at Goff Junior High she was filled with hope about the new friends she would make.  She felt confident because of the way her elementary school friends accepted her when she came out:

“I don’t know how they knew, but they knew I was trans. Maybe the way I was acting? They just weren’t surprised one bit,” Rini said at the time.