lgbtq

11th ward Albany city councilman Judd Krasher
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history has sent shockwaves around the world and throughout our region. Capital Region Muslims and public officials are jointly calling for peace after Orlando.

  The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality.
 
When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness. 

His book is Boy Erased: A Memoir.

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The Massachusetts Senate is planning to debate a bill aimed at strengthening legal protections for transgender individuals.

This is a picture of the Live Out Loud Community Conference flyer
Facebook: Live Out Loud Community Conference

An annual community conference focusing on the LGBTQ community takes place Saturday in Pittsfield.

On the evening of June 24th 1973 a fire tore through a bar in New Orleans’ French quarter where a group of gay men were meeting for a religious service, 32 died in the blaze.  Though it was the largest massacre of gay people in American history no one called it a tragedy, and no one tried to understand the purpose of the meeting-it was a religious service. The men were part of a growing religious movement that developed in the 1970s that has since been forgotten and overshadowed by the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

In his new book Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation, historian Jim Downs uses the story of that fateful night as a jumping off point for a wide ranging narrative revealing that gay life in America in the 1970s was far richer and more varied than has been remembered. In short, gay life in that decade was about far more than just sex. He shows us gay people standing together as friends, fellow believers and colleagues to create a sense of community among  people who felt alienated from mainstream American life. Jim Downs is an Associate Professor of History at Connecticut College and an Andrew W. Mellon New Directions Fellow at Harvard University.

  Soon after Hillary Whittington and her husband, Jeff, addressed their daughter Ryland’s deafness with cochlear implants, Ryland began to express clearly, in word and behavior, a male identity, in ways typically seen as markers for young transgender children.

In her book, Raising Ryland: Our Story Of Parenting A Transgender Child With No Strings Attached, Hillary shares her family's story.

This is a picture of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey taking a photo with members of the state's Commission on LGBTQ Youth at their swearing-in ceremony.
Massachusetts Comission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Youth

A Massachusetts commission recently released its annual recommendations for 19 state agencies aimed at supporting LGBTQ young people.

The fight for gay, lesbian, and trans civil rights, the years of outrageous injustice, the early battles, the defeats, and the victories beyond the dreams of the gay rights pioneers is a powerful civil rights issue of the present day.

In her new book, The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle, scholar Lillian Faderman provides an account for the fight for LGBTQ rights. Lillian Faderman is an internationally respected scholar of lesbian history and literature. She is the author of several award winning books on LGBT history including, Surpassing the Love of Men and Odd Girls.

Affirming Transgender Rights

Dec 17, 2015

The visibility of issues facing the transgender community is at an all time high. 

In October, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted an executive order to include gender identity under the definition of sex in the 1945 Human Rights Act which will start providing employment and housing protections to transgender individuals. New York will be the 19th state to provide such protections to the Trans Community.

Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County

A new group in Berkshire County is looking to create a social network for LGBTQ seniors in the area.

October brought a new Executive Director to the Pride Center of the Capital Region. Michael Weidrich has served as the Interim Director, and has been on the staff of the Pride Center since 2012.The Center serves approximately 40,000 members of the LGBTQ community in ten Eastern New York counties. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Michael Weidrich.

  Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester spent 25 years investigating tough cases in Ocean County, New Jersey, protecting the rights of victims and putting her life on the line. She had no reason to expect that in the last year of her life, after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, that her final battle for justice would be for the woman she loved – as she struggles to transfer her earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree.

Laurel Hester’s story was shared in Cynthia Wade’s documentary, Freeheld, which won an Academy Award in 2008 for Best Documentary Short Subject. The doc has been adapted into a narrative feature film directed by Peter Sollett and starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page.

The Berkshire International Film Festival will present a screening of the new film on October 4th at The Triplex in Great Barrington. Berkshire resident, Cynthia Wade, will be in attendance to introduce the film and participate in a Q&A afterward. Laurel Hester’s sister, Lynda, will also be in attendance.

  Forty years ago, when a young Ginny Gilder stood on the edge of Boston’s Charles River and first saw a rowing shell in motion, it was love at first sight. Yearning to escape her family history, which included her mother’s emotional unraveling and her father’s singular focus on investment acumen as the ultimate trophy, Gilder discovered rowing at a pivotal moment in her life.

Having grown up in an era when girls were only beginning to abandon the sidelines as observers and cheerleaders to become competitors and national champions, Gilder harbored no dreams of athletic stardom. Once at Yale, however, her operating assumptions changed nearly overnight when, as a freshman in 1975, she found her way to the university’s rowing tanks in the gymnasium’s cavernous basement.

Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX recounts the physical and psychological barriers Gilder overcame as she transformed into an elite athlete who reached the highest echelon of her sport and recounts lessons learned from her journey.

Sean Philpott-Jones: There's Something About Caitlyn

Jun 4, 2015

Unless you've been living under a rock or on a social media fast these past couple of weeks, you've undoubtedly seen the pictures of Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair.  No surprise that she appears in the June issue, the same month that celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride.

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New York's attorney general has started a program to ensure transgender individuals have equal access to health care.

Eric Schneiderman's office announced the initiative Friday.

Staffers with the attorney general's Civil Rights Bureau will conduct training sessions at hospitals and medical centers around the state to discuss the best ways to ensure the rights of transgender patients are respected.

The reason cited: too many transgender Americans report being harassed or denied care because of their gender identity.

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This week the White House announced opposition to so-called "conversion therapy." The disclosure coincides with the 20th annual Northeast LGBT College Conference set for tonight at the University at Albany.

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

  James Lecesne has been telling stories for over 25 years. His short film, Trevor, won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 1995 and went on to inspire the founding of The Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention helpline for LGBT and, Questioning youth. He is also the founder of The After The Storm Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to offering support to community centers in New Orleans that are working with youth and the arts.

On Sunday, April 12th he will bring his one-man show The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey to the stage of Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY as part of their Helsinki on Broadway series presented in association with Showstoppers New York.

3/18/15 Panel

Mar 18, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, essayist, author, editor and activist - Barbara Smith and Political Consultant, Libby Post.

Schedule topics today include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins election in Israel; Penn State frat suspended; Presbyterian Church approves same-sex marriage; US Budget; new findings in breast biopsies.

    

  National Coming Out Day is October 11th. There is a new guide for parents to help them answer questions when their son and/or daughter come out to them. We welcome the authors of the new: This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids.

Herbert London: The Gnostic Idea Of Social Change

Aug 6, 2014

Gnosticism is in the cultural air we breathe. The desire to break with tradition requires new avenues of protest. A trajectory of gay rights to gay marriage has seemingly won the day with the Gnostics now seeking alternative pathways to reform. The new, the truly new, is the movement to project the acceptance of transgendered sexuality.

Kevin Sprague Photography

    Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore is currently running on Barrington Stage Company’s Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield, MA through August 2nd.

Starring Mark H. Dold and directed by Joe Calarco, Breaking the Code tells the true story of famed mathematician and computer science pioneer Alan Turing, who solved the German Enigma code during World War II, not knowing that, as a gay man, he’d fight a much harder personal battle at home.

  Yes, there has been a seismic shift in attitudes about gays in American politics and culture. Our reigning national story is that a new era of rainbow acceptance is at hand. But dig a bit deeper, and this seemingly brave new gay world is disappointing.

In The Tolerance Trap, Suzanna Walters takes on received wisdom about gay identities and gay rights, arguing that we are not “almost there,” but on the contrary have settled for a watered-down goal of tolerance and acceptance rather than a robust claim to full civil rights.

Suzanna Danuta Walters has written and lectured extensively on sexuality, popular culture, and feminism and is currently the Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University.

    Big Gay Hudson Valley is holding their first-ever Queen City Pride celebration in Poughkeepsie the weekend of June 5th through 8th. They’ve given their classic “Pride Preview Weekend” a new date, new time, and a host of all-new events.

Events include Night Out At Vassar on Thursday June 5th; Big 80s Cosmic Bowling hosted by Trixie Starr on Friday, June 6th; Hudson Valley Gay Life Expo on Saturday June 7th; Beefcake Dinner also on the 7th; and the Big Gay Summer Picnic on Sunday, June 8th.

Here now to tell us more is Stephan Hengst, Co-Founder of Big Gay Hudson Valley.com and the organizer of Queen City Pride.

    Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York will host Connections 2014 featuring Prof. Joy Ladin at Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany, NY on Thursday, May 15, at 6 p.m.

“Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders” will be the theme of Ladin’s presentation as she shares her Jewish journey through the transition process —not just of changing genders, but of creating a new self.

University of Massachusetts basketball player Derrick Gordon has announced he is gay.  He is the first openly gay athlete in Division 1 men’s basketball.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Genny Beemyn, the director of the Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst – the campus L-G-T-B center.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

The Empire State Pride Agenda announced the launch of its fifth annual LGBT Health Month this week. The campaign is designed to bring awareness to the unique health needs of the LGBT community. 

    Joe Donahue speaks with Chris Kluwe (author, gamer, nerd - and football player) about his book, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities.

    The Easton Mountain Retreat Center is an LGBTQ retreat center in Greenwich, New York. Part of Easton's mission as a non-profit organization is to work towards peace, nonviolence, and social justice and they are interested in cultivating the future leaders of America's gay rights movement.

Later this month, they will be holding their eighth consecutive summer program for LGBTQ youth, a four-day arts camp and leadership summit called Arts in the Woods. This weekend, they will also be holding a weekend-long LGBTQ music festival called Out in the Woods to fundraise for scholarships for disenfranchised young people to attend the camp.

John Stasio, Founder of Easton Mountain, and Wil Fisher, their Director of Youth Programming, join us to tell us more.

We've seen two historic rulings today from the U.S. Supreme Court concerning gay marriage - the striking down of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and a ruling clearing the way for same sex marriages to resume in California.

WAMC's Ray Graf spoke with Lynn Faria, deputy executive director with Empire State Pride Agenda, for reaction to the decisions.

Forty years ago, Richard Burns was a high school senior, getting ready to begin college at Hamilton in the fall. Today, he is the executive director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York City. This afternoon, Richard Burns returns to Hamilton to speak on “LGBTQ Rights, Past and Present” at the Red Room in the Kirner-Johnson building. He spoke to WAMC about what it was like 40 years ago to be gay and in college

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