WXXI AM News

LGBT

California will become the first state in the country to offer a nonbinary option on driver’s licenses and birth certificates. This comes as a growing list of colleges is allowing students to indicate which pronouns they use on registration forms. LGBTQ activists say these are big steps forward, but challenges remain.

We talk about what policymakers can do to make institutions more inclusive. Our guests:

Members of the LGBTQ community are blasting actor Kevin Spacey, saying he conflated homosexuality with pedophilia. Late last month, actor Anthony Rapp told BuzzFeed that Spacey made a sexual advance toward him in 1986, when Rapp was 14. In a statement on Twitter, Spacey said he does not remember the encounter, but apologized and said his actions were caused by “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” In that same statement, Spacey then said he now chooses to live as a gay man.

The timing of Spacey’s announcement has fueled backlash: critics say it was a calculated PR move to distract from the alleged sexual misconduct, and it furthers the stigma that links homosexuality and child molestation – which is not backed by research. We talk about the impact of Spacey’s statement. Our guests:

  • Rowan Collins, education coordinator for the LGBTQ Academy at the Out Alliance
  • Kevin Coffey, assistant professor of social work in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Michael Lecker, director of LGBTQ health and inclusiveness at Trillium Health

The Rochester Gay Men's Chorus is celebrating 35 years of performances and community activism. The group promotes social change and LGBTQ pride through the choral arts.

We listen to some music and talk to members about how the group has fostered change through its grassroots efforts.

  • Ted Smith, board chair for the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus
  • Thomas Warfield, Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus alumnus    
  • Robert Strauss, artistic director of the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus
  • John Williams, longtime supporter of the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus

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 ImageOut Film Festival is back. It showcases films and other creative works that promote LGBT arts and cultural experiences.

We preview this year’s films and talk to the organizers. Our guests:

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:

We discuss the challenges faced by the trans community of color, which suffers disproportionately when it comes to violence and other issues. In studio:

  • Jahnell Butler, community health specialist at the MOCHA Center, and LGBTQ advocate
  • Jazelle Bonilla, community liaison for the Victory Alliance at Strong Hospital
  • Rudy Lott, community liaison
  • Bionka Castro, LGBTQ advocate

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:

"When I was in Prison…Restoring Dignity and Justice." That's the theme of the upcoming Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School lecture series. It includes the highly acclaimed film "13th," exploring the history of racial inequality, both in the country at large and in the U.S. prison system. Our guests will include the speakers who will address how to build social movements in a time of polarization, and on the state of LGBT laws (anti-gay laws, as they're often known) in other countries. Our guests:

  • Dr. Marvin McMickle, president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
  • Maurice Tomlinson, attorney and LGBTI human rights advocate and a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • Daniel Hunter, organizer with Training for Change and author of Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow

Despite condemnation by the American Medical Association and all the major mental health professions, conversion  therapy designed to change a person's sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual is still prevalent across the United States. Only five states and Washington, D.C. have outlawed the practice for licensed mental health providers. In fact, there may be hundreds of reparative therapy centers, but many are underground or protected by religious freedom laws. Researchers say the treatments -- which range from talk therapy to electroshock therapy -- have dangerous consequences.

A new film shot in and around Rochester tells the story of a gay teen's experience with conversion therapy. Our guests are from that film, Fair Haven:

  • Tom Malloy, producer and actor who plays Reverend Thomas
  • Kerstin Karlhuber, director
  • Jack Bryant, writer
  • Gregory Harrison, actor who plays Dr. Gallagher

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