Image created by Camille O'Grady. Used by permission.
We celebrate Pride to commemorate the Stonewall uprising in late June 1969 and the progress that has been made in advancing LGBTQ+ equality.
The uprising is often credited as the spark that touched off the gay rights movement, but our guests have noted that this is an overstatement; the reality is a bit more nuanced.
Stonewall marked a turning point in the movement more than it created the spark. But new activist groups took hold in the wake of the uprising, and there's no doubt that the turning point Stonewall marked was a big one.
So happy Pride! Over the years, our youth broadcasters have created commentaries and conducted interviews with fascinating people about compelling subjects. Here's some OutCasting programming in recognition and celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month — and some important things to think about as we celebrate. After all, Stonewall was a rebellion against oppression, and even with all the progress that we've made, there are still oppressive conditions for many LGBTQ+ people, including youth. So as we celebrate, let's not forget that there's still a lot of work to do.
The rainbow flag
Celebrating Stonewall and Pride
Connecting youth with LGBTQ+ history
Who gets to call themselves LGBTQ?
Erasing our identities
On March 1, 2017, Gilbert Baker visited our studio to be interviewed but also to share his own stories with our youth broadcasters — and to hear theirs. Just a month later, on March 31, he died unexpectedly. This was his last interview.
Part 1 — May 2017
Part 2 — June 2017
OutCaster Alex talks about what it means to him to have interviewed Gilbert and gotten to know him.
May 1, 2017
Alex was invited to speak at the memorial for Gilbert held in front of the Stonewall Inn in New York City that June. On this edition of OutCasting Overtime, Alex reflects on his speech and his hopes for what it might represent in his life.
February 1, 2019
During the 1960s, gay bars like the Stonewall Inn in New York City were some of the only places where LGBTQ people could meet with each other and simply be themselves. This included people who had been kicked out of their homes for being LGBTQ, or people who feared losing their homes, jobs, or families if they were found out. At this time, it was common for the police to raid gay bars, arresting patrons for cross-dressing or for dancing with a member of the same sex.
When one such raid happened on the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, the people inside fought back against the police, sparking riots outside the bar that lasted for the next several nights. In the aftermath of the Stonewall uprising, many LGBTQ rights groups were formed, and the Stonewall uprising is often cited as a catalyst for the modern gay rights movement. While it may not have caused a turning point, it certainly marked one.
In this OutCasting series, OutCaster Andrew speaks with the renowned journalist and activist Andy Humm about the historical progression of LGBTQ life and activism since before Stonewall.
Part 1 — June 2019
Part 2 — July 2019
Part 3 —August 2019
OutCaster Andrew talks about why it’s so important to learn LGBTQ history, despite the fact that most people have so little knowledge of it. Understanding history is vital context for understanding LGBTQ people’s places in society and the struggles they face.
June 1, 2019
It has been argued about and written about. Films, some controversial, have been made about it. But it has also been celebrated and commemorated. Of course, we're talking about the Stonewall uprising, a series of riots at and near the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the West Village in New York City.
In this two part interview, we talk with Dr. Karla Jay, a longtime activist and author. She was involved in the second wave of feminism and was the first female chair of the Gay Liberation Front, an early post-Stonewall activist group. She is also a retired Distinguished Professor of Queer Studies and Women’s Studies at Pace University in New York City.
Part 1 — July 2017
Part 2 — August 2017
Youth broadcaster Shoshana attended her first NYC Pride march when she was 12. What has she learned since then, and how has it affected her understanding of why we celebrate Pride?
June 1, 2022
It's June and time to celebrate LGBTQ Pride. But exactly what do we celebrate, and is the LGBTQ community one big happy family? In this commentary from the OutCasting team, Rose explores issues within the community as well as the things that unite us.
June 1, 2021
There’s a “Straight Pride” parade planned for later this month in Boston. The group behind it, "Super Happy Fun America," reportedly has far-right and white nationalist ties. But is it worth getting worked up about? Or could it be something a more sinister sign of more neo-Nazi inspired displays of hate? There's a similar parade that supposed to happen in Modesto, California. In any case, it's too early to know.
So for now, OutCaster Alex takes a look at why the reasoning behind this so-called "Straight Pride" parade is just. Sort of. Ridiculous.
On this edition, OutCaster Lauren talks about the recent Women's Marches that took place shortly after the inauguration of President Trump. She talks about the history of protest from the women's suffrage movement through the civil rights era and on into the LGBTQ rights movement, and the importance of voting and being in contact with elected officials (click here for contact info).
March 1, 2017
For the most part, LGBTQ history is not taught in schools in the U.S. As stated by California State Senator Mark Leno in 2012:
We currently require that students learn the history of a man, an African-American man who fought valiantly for everyone's civil rights and who was assassinated for his efforts, and that was Dr. Martin Luther King. But there was also a gay American man who also fought valiantly for everyone's civil rights and was also assassinated for his efforts. And his name was Harvey Milk.
Keeping LGBTQ history out of school curricula leaves LGBTQ students in the dark about the history of their own people. How are they affected when they're deprived of a social context for their own lives?
LGBTQ education is a controversial topic in public schools, especially with the recent outbreak of bullying and suicide. On this edition, we explore the issues LGBTQ children face in public schools, differing views on legislative action, and the benefits and repercussions of this legislation.
In California, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2012, will require public schools to include material on LGBTQ history and notable figures. OutCaster Juliana talks this week with California State Senator Mark Leno. The openly gay Democratic senator was the law's sponsor in the state senate.
Meanwhile, in Tennessee, the "Don't Say Gay" bill would effectively do the opposite, prohibiting mention of anything that strays from the heteronormative in grades K-8. Joining us are Brad Palmertree and Callie Wise from the Middle Tennessee chapter of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).
OutCaster Sarah talks about why LGBTQ history should be taught in schools, just like the history of other minorities, and about what it means when your school curriculum ignores your identity.
In this piece, Sarah talks about the pioneering California law that ended the exclusion of LGBTQ history in schools.
On an earlier edition of OutCasting, we interviewws California State Senator Mark Leno, the bill's sponsor. Listen to his interview here.
February 1, 2020
We observe a dark anniversary: forty years ago this month, The New York Times published the first mainstream press article about the pandemic now known as HIV/AIDS. Today, kids learn about it merely as another STI. OutCaster Lil considers what's lost when the homophobic context in which the pandemic unfolded is excluded from students' education.
July 1, 2021
A generational gap in the LGBTQ community is leaving many young LGBTQ people in the dark when it comes to the history of the LGBTQ rights movement. As young people strive and often struggle to accept themselves, this lack of knowledge can be extremely harmful, potentially leaving them isolated and more prone to self-destructive behaviors, including suicide.
Coming of age in the 1950s — more than a decade before the Stonewall riots — guest Christopher Z. Hobson struggled with his sexuality and went through years of psychotherapy before eventually coming to accept himself. In this episode, Chris speaks with OutCaster Travis about the generational divide and teaches us what it was like to be gay throughout his lifetime. He also discusses his life as an activist and his perspectives on how young people today deal with their sexual orientations and gender identities.
The closet is a powerful metaphor for the confines of concealed identity. It forces people to lie about things that are at the core of who they are.
Revealing the truth can be scary, particularly for young people who are unsure of how accepting their families will be. But coming out — when it's safe to do so — can be one of the most liberating things an LGBTQ person can do.
There's no question that it's easier to come out now than it has been in the past — at least for some of today's youth, in some places, in some situations. But is being gay such a non-issue that people shouldn't even have to come out? In this edition, Adam disagrees with friends who say that being gay has no more effect on people than having brown eyes.
October 1, 2016
Brianna, a youth participant in our home studio in Westchester County, NY, talks about the worst lie she ever had to tell.
June 1, 2016
On this month's edition, OutCaster Emma talks about coming out as bisexual to their* mother, who quickly went through all of the stages of grief except acceptance, called a psychiatrist, and told them "it's just a phase." For five years now, Emma has been forced back into the closet, and sadly, the thought of dating another girl is unthinkable to them as long as they're living at home.
* Emma uses they/them pronouns
June 1, 2017
OutCaster Jamie transferred from a college in upstate New York to a college in their home town. Jamie had been out as nonbinary for years, but as a practical matter, the transfer to their hometown school required Jamie to go back into the closet.
January 1, 2020
A lot gets said about "the LGBTQ community." It may be nice to think of LGBTQ+ people as a community, but the idea of community glosses over divisions among us, some justified and others just ridiculous.
Some older LGBTQ people complain that today’s more accepting environment makes things too easy for the new generation. Some people say that young trans people aren’t “trans enough” if they don’t want to transition medically. These are examples of gatekeeping – the idea that you have to earn your place in the LGBTQ community. OutCaster Carol considers how this can harm LGBTQ youth.
March 1, 2022
Mark, a new OutCaster in our main studio in Westchester County, NY, talks about his identity as a bisexual man in Dublin, Ireland, and about the phenomenon of bisexual erasure — the mistaken belief that bisexuality is not a real orientation but rather a temporary self-identification people adopt before they come out as gay.
November 1, 2016
OutCaster Samantha of our Michigan State University bureau wonders: do you have to be a "Perfect Three" on the Kinsey Scale to be truly bisexual, and is bisexuality considered queer enough by the LGBTQ community to belong to the club?
January 1, 2018
OutCaster Lauren discusses the impact of labels. She talks about both the security and difficulty that came with using different labels while coming out. Lauren identifies as bisexual and queer — but the latter label hasn’t always been well received. Lauren talks about the history of the word “queer,” and why she uses the labels that she does. She explains why a label can be so important to some LGBTQ teens, and so irrelevant to others.
December 1, 2017
OutCaster Dante comments on increasingly specific labels in use within the LGBTQ community. Do they help by describing people more accurately, or do they tend to separate us and keep us from finding common ground with each other?
January 1, 2019
The suppression of LGBTQ identities sometimes takes an even darker turn.
In this four part OutCasting series, we explore conversion therapy. Homosexuality used to be defined as a mental disorder, and many psychiatrists used to practice conversion therapy, the practice of trying to change someone’s sexuality from gay or bisexual to straight. This practice is now widely discredited within the medical and mental health professions, but it still exists throughout the country, now usually associated with religious institutions rather than medical institutions.
Part 1 — January 2020
Part 2 — February 2020
Part 3 — March 2020
Part 4 — April 2020
Anti-LGBTQ attitudes and policies put enormous pressures on LGBTQ people, particularly young people who may not have the knowledge, experience, or self confidence to be able to do anything with the hatred other than turning it inward on themselves. These pressures drive an alarmingly high percentage of LGBTQ youth to self harm.
On this second edition of OutCasting, we talk with Dan Savage, the nationally-syndicated columnist, author, activist, and co-founder of the It Gets Better Project. We also discuss the rash of teen suicides that led to the naming of October 20 as Gay Spirit Day.
OutCasters Dhruv and Lucas talk about the recent suicide of a gay nine-year-old boy and the messaging that needs to come from government and education to help reduce the epidemic suicide rates of LGBTQ youth.
October 1, 2018
We're a minority and we treasure the presence of straight allies in our quest for equality. Why in particular are straight allies so important for LGBTQ youth?
Meet Tomás, one of our newest OutCasters. On this edition of OutCasting Overtime, he talks about being called gay as a five year old and how that helped sensitize him to the cause of LGBTQ equality as a straight ally.
May 1, 2022
On this edition of OutCasting Overtime, Dhruv talks about his work at OutCasting over a nearly three year period and how it has activated his passion for being a straight ally to LGBTQ people. Being an ally, he says, is much more than just not opposing LGBTQ people.
September 1, 2019
OutCasting youth participant Max reflects on his fear of being ignorant and his motivations for becoming a straight ally of the LGBTQ community through his work at OutCasting.
March 1, 2018
On this tenth monthly edition of OutCasting OffAir, OutCasters Callie and Alex bring you the ABCs of being a straight ally to the LGBTQ community.
February 1, 2017
A lot of businesses fly rainbow flags every June. Do these companies have a real commitment to LGBTQ equality? Or is this annual display merely a marketing strategy to cash in on LGBTQ consumers? And how do you tell the difference?
A few months ago, OutCaster Vivian was shopping and saw a T-shirt with a rainbow on it – for $40.00.
It got her thinking. A lot of businesses are doing things like that: selling LGBTQ-branded merchandise, flying rainbow flags, marching in Pride parades. That’s great – but is it enough?
In this piece, Vivian mentions an LGBTQ-supportive ad from Doritos. Watch it here.
March 1, 2021
Most people know that LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bi, and trans. The Q can stand for queer, an old slur reclaimed by LGBTQ people. It can also stand for questioning — someone who's not sure about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
But often a plus sign is added to cover identities that may be less known. Here are some.
A riveting first-person account by OutCaster Dante and an interview with Professor Anthony Bogaert of Brock University (Ontario), an asexuality expert.
Part 1 — Dante's first person account
Part 2 — Dante's interview with Prof. Anthony Bogaert
Across most of history and across many (but not all) societies, gender has been assumed to be binary: that is, people fall into one of two mutually exclusive categories — male and female. Gender has also been equated with sex: male bodies contain male brains and female bodies contain female brains. And in most cases, this is true: such people are called cisgender. But as we've explored on OutCasting, there are people whose gender identity is female though their bodies are male and vice versa, and those people are called transgender.
In this fascinating conversation, OutCaster Jamie talks with fellow OutCaster Alex about their (Jamie's) coming to understand their gender identity, their confused feelings about being a boy at an early age, their later questioning of their sexuality (Jamie identifies as pansexual), their family's acceptance, and more.
Most of us are conditioned to think of sex in binary terms — people are either male or female, one or the other. But nature is rarely if ever binary, and some people are born with a combination of male and female organs, internal and external, and these people are called intersex. (The term intersex also encompasses other things, such as different ways in which people’s bodies react to hormones.) People can be intersex without even knowing of it; we recall a story of a man in his seventies who, following abdominal surgery, discovered that he had a uterus and ovaries.
On this two part OutCasting series, we talk with two eminent authorities on intersex who are intersex themselves: Georgiann Davis, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the board president of InterACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, and Cary Gabriel Costello, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the coordinator of the LGBT Studies Program there. Also see Georgiann's web site and Cary's blog.
Part 1 — May 2018
Part 2 — June 2018
We continue the exploration by talking with an intersex youth who was assigned female at birth and identifies as transgender.
Elliot, a 16 year old transgender and bisexual boy (left), and Jay, a genderfluid individual (right), talk about the effects of gender dysphoria in their lives. Both are participants in our NYC Bureau.
May 1, 2016
Dating can be awkward for anyone, but when you're young and LGBTQ, it can get even more complicated.
Dating in high school can be confusing enough. "Do you think he likes me?" "Will she think I'm a dork?" "He's a senior and I’m only a freshman. Can I just go up and talk to him?"
But for LGBTQ teens, the challenges can be even more daunting. Issues of outing and even violence can arise. "I like her but she's not paying attention to me. If I tell her I'm interested, will I be outed to the entire school? What if my parents find out?" "He's cute. I wonder if he's gay. If I try to talk to him and he's not, will he and his friends beat me up after school?" And with a much smaller dating pool, it’s harder to find an appropriate partner.
In this month's edition of OutCasting Overtime, youth participants Alex, Andrea, and Lauren talk about all of this and more.
August 1, 2018
Dating while you're young can be fun, exhilarating, and awkward all at the same time. But straight teenagers can talk with their friends and hopefully their families about what they're experiencing. They get affirmation from those around them and their confidence in themselves grows.
But when you're LGBTQ, your friends may be uncomfortable talking about same-sex relationships, and with parents, it can be dangerous for some kids to come out at all, let alone talk about their relationships. So where can they turn?
On this edition, Vivian speaks for the OutCasting team about where LGBTQ teens can turn for support and gives advice to straight friends, parents, and school personnel about how they can be good allies.
January 1, 2021
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Rainbow flag image at top of this page: Camille O'Grady. Used by permission. Rainbow flag image in social media posts: Steve Johnson / Unsplash.
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