OutCasting is public radio’s LGBTQ youth program. It presents a look at issues pertaining to the LGBT community as seen through the eyes of young LGBTQ people and allies and provides insight into the broad dimensions of the LGBTQ youth experience. OutCasting, produced by Media for the Public Good, Inc. (MFPG) in New York, reaches a general audience on more than 40 Pacifica Radio Network affiliate stations around the country (see STATION MAP). It is also available online here at MFPG.org and through iTunes.
OutCasting goes far beyond mainstream media coverage, which tends to be limited and sensationalist. And just as important as the issues we cover is the outlet that MFPG gives to these young voices: a population still marginalized, potentially victimized, and rarely heard. The experience of being an “OutCaster” is one of empowering, meaningful expression in a safe environment, thus turning the meaning of the word “outcast” on its head. It is also a powerful educational experience. Our participants learn a wide variety of important educational skills that go into creating quality journalism which will serve them throughout their lives.
Since its debut in October 2011, OutCasting has covered many issues in depth, including:
bullying and teen suicide, with Dan Savage, activist, author, and co-founder of the It Gets Better Project;
a documentary on the history and partial lifting of the Boy Scouts' gay ban;
the state of marriage equality following the Supreme Court’s DOMA and Prop 8 decisions, with civil rights attorney Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry and one of the key architects of the marriage equality movement, and Lavi Soloway, an attorney representing LGBTQ couples and a founder of Immigration Equality and the DOMA Project; future episodes will review the Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality ruling, attempts to circumvent it with "religious exemptions," and the road ahead for LGBTQ equality;
LGBTQ issues in religion, with Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in NYC;
transgender issues, including a two part interview with the transgender activist Juli Grey-Owens; a discussion about New York’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) with the bill’s sponsor, New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried; issues faced by transgender people in sports and, in upcoming episodes, a first-person account of a teenage boy growing up trans and bisexual, and problems encountered by trans people in getting appropriate health care, with Dr. Marci Bowers and Michael Silverman, Executive Director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund,
LGBTQ issues in public schools, with California State Senator Mark Leno, the sponsor of a law to end the exclusion of LGBTQ history from school curricula there.
Creating partnerships and expanding the pool of participating youth
In 2014, OutCasting/MFPG opened a bureau in New York City in partnership with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a well-known nonprofit that provides services to LGBTQ youth in the city. We are now working with Michigan State University to establish an OutCasting bureau there. These are early steps in an expansion that will culminate in a network of OutCasting student groups all over the country, so that the program is not only nationally distributed but also nationally sourced.
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