WXXI AM News

Gay rights

The Trump administration has argued that laws covering bias at work do not include or cover LGBTQ issues. This is, to say the least, perceived as a significant threat in the LGBTQ community.

We focus on what the law does and does not do, and we talk about LGBTQ history in Rochester. Guests:

  • Rowan Collins, educator with the Out Alliance
  • Bob Crystal, founder of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, now known as the Out Alliance
  • Matt Haag, member of Rochester City Council

The sitcom Will and Grace is making its return to the airwaves on Thursday, after finishing an eight year run in 2006. Former Vice President Joe Biden credited the show with educating Americans about LGBTQ issues.

We discuss the evolution of gay characters on screen, and whether the show deserves its reputation. In studio:

June is Pride month, and celebrations, marches, and solidarity events are being held in cities across the country. Some of these events have been interrupted by protests from members of the LGBTQ community who feel the movement marginalizes minorities. A group called No Justice No Pride staged a protest at the recent Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C. Members issued a list of demands, which included adding more transgender women of color and indigenous people to leadership positions, more stringent vetting of the parade’s corporate sponsors, and preventing uniformed police officers from participating in the parade.

The concerns reflect the broader issues on which Black Pride groups throughout the U.S. are focused. Our guests discuss the state of the current Pride movement at the local level, intersectionality, and how communities can work to be more inclusive. In studio:

Despite recent progress, it's still very challenging for some gay Americans to come out of the closet. That's particularly true for African Americans of faith.

We sit down with Pastor Malik McFarley-Sample, who came out recently. He's finding his place in the local faith community, but he admits that Rochester's black churches have a lot of work to do on LGBTQ issues. Our guests:

We examine the impact of North Carolina's new law that prohibits people from using public bathrooms that do not match the designated sex on their birth certificates, and that forbids local governments from creating their own anti-discrimination ordinances.

What does this mean for the discussion about equality, particularly as it relates to the transgender community? How likely is it that other states will pass similar legislation?

We also sit down with Nathan Manske, the founder of I'm From Driftwood. It's a project that "aims to help LGBTQ people learn more about their community and straight people learn more about their neighbors." Manske is in Rochester for several events, including a public presentation at the Gay Alliance's Resource Center. Our guests:

What's it like to be a gay parent? And what's it like to have -- and be -- a Jewish mother? Comedian Judy Gold explores those topics in her work and her shows, and she's coming to Rochester's Jewish Community Center.

Gold joins us for the hour, along with the JCC's artistic director, Ralph Meranto, and proud dad, Matt Tappon.

The Gay Alliance's new LGBTQ resource center is getting ready for its grand opening. We learn about what the center will offer for the LGBTQ community locally, and we have a conversation about the state of equality heading into 2016. Our guests:

Gay rights advocates are already turning their attention to other legislative battles in the wake of the massive Supreme Court ruling on Friday. Tuesday night, Monroe County Young Democrats will hold a public forum on the question of what comes next. Our panel offers a preview, with a look at a wide range of relevant legal issues:

  • Cory Gardner
  • Jo Meleca Voigt
  • Genesis Nunlee

The Supreme Court ruled Friday morning that same-sex marriages are legal in all 50 states. We gathered reaction from those on both sides of the ruling for this hour of 'Connections'.

Surgeon and possible presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson recently said that prison proves "being gay is a choice," because "people go into prison straight, and they come out gay." He had to walk those remarks back, but he maintains that the science is murky on whether homosexuality is a choice, and says it's a "sinful lifestyle." So our panel will look at his remarks, the science, and the state of equality in 2015:

  • Angela Clark-Taylor, Program Manager from the University of Rochester's Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies. She is also an instructor at the Warner School of Education and is currently teaching a course called “LGBT Issues in Education and Human Development”.
  • John Cullen, Coordinator for Outreach for the University’s Anthony Center.  He is the chair of Pride Alliance at the University and an LGBT activist.
  • Scott Fearing, executive director of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley

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