Rhode Island State Council of Churches

Rev. Anderson, executive minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, is taking a three-month sabbatical to continue to transition to being a woman, council president Chontell Washington announced in a news release.

RIPR File Photo

Political novice Nika Lomazzo hopes to become the first openly transgender Rhode Island state representative. Lomazzo has never held or run for elected office before. She says she’s only become politically active in the past year and a half, inspired in part by the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.

RIPR File Photo

Medical professionals and community members interested in transgender health are holding a conference today convened by Brown University, Rhode Island College, and nonprofit advocacy group the TGI Network. The conference comes at a time of heated rhetoric about transgender issues.


The National Education Association of Rhode Island  is speaking out against President Donald Trump’s repeal of federal guidelines on school bathroom use for transgender students. The organization says it will stand behind transgender students’ choices.

NEARI president Larry Purtill says it’s important to remember that Trumps’ action does not undo legal protections for transgender students. And it may not have an immediate impact in Rhode Island.

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A Providence lawmaker has withdrawn a bill that would have provided explicit protections for transgender people to use public bathrooms.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.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

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.