WXXI AM News

Gay rights

New research from Pew Research Center shows that American support for same sex marriage has almost perfectly flipped in the last 15 years. In 2004, 60 percent of Americans polled said they opposed same-sex marriage, while 31 percent said they supported it. In 2019, 31 percent of Americans polled say they oppose same-sex marriage, while 61 percent say they support it.

For the LGBTQ community in Gen Z, life is very different than it was for their parents and grandparents. We talk with an older lesbian couple about their lifelong journey towards accepting themselves and feeling accepted by others. In studio:

  • Barb Adams and Roz Pullara

April Franklin / WXXI News

It has been 50 years since the Stonewall uprising in New York City, and over the weekend, the Rochester LGBTQ community and its supporters participated in the annual ROC Pride parade held Saturday on Park Avenue, while also honoring Rochester’s own gay rights history.

The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in Greenwich Village where a police raid sparked a rebellion that fueled the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

We sit down with people of color in the local LGBTQ community to discuss identity, how they find belonging, and how they recruit allies. Our guests share their personal stories, the challenges they face – including healthcare disparities – and their ideas for how to create a more inclusive society.

In studio:

A young, gay activist in the United Methodist Church made headlines earlier this year when he appealed to the church to accept him and his LGBTQ peers. J.J. Warren is a student at Sarah Lawrence College and a certified candidate for ministry. At an annual conference in February, the church voted to uphold its ban on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage.

Warren is in town to speak at Asbury First United Methodist Church, which is considering leaving the denomination. He joins us on Connections, along with Reverend Stephen Cady from Asbury First. In studio:

2019 marks 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, which sparked the gay liberation movement. Next week, the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County will debut a new exhibit commemorating the anniversary of the uprising. It’s called "Stonewall: 50 Years Out," and it's part of a series of local events honoring the history of the LGBTQ+ community.

This hour, we preview the exhibit and those events, while discussing the impact of Stonewall and the current state of LGBTQ+ rights in America. Our guests:

A local church is weighing decisions similar to those faced by Spiritus Christi Church several decades ago. Asbury First United Methodist Church is considering breaking off from its denomination after delegates from the United Methodist Church voted to approve the church's so-called Traditional Plan. That plan involves a ban on same-sex marriages and LGBTQ clergy.

What does that mean for Methodist congregations that oppose the ban? We're joined by Reverend Stephen Cady from Asbury First. Cady attended the global conference earlier this week and has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights. He joins us to discuss the result of the conference and its possible impacts on his church. In studio:

  • Rev. Stephen Cady, senior minister at Asbury First United Methodist Church
  • Cory Tylenda, member of Asbury First United Methodist Church

We're joined by members of the Landmark Society and the Out Alliance to talk about historic places in our community that have played a pivotal role in the LGBTQ movement. Those organizations are leading a new walking tour that is part of the Landmark Society's LGBTQ Landmark Initiative

We discuss the initiative and Rochester's contributions to the LGBTQ movement. In studio:

  • Larry Francer, associate director of preservation for the Landmark Society of Western NY
  • Wayne Goodman, executive director of the Landmark Society of Western NY
  • Carol Ebersole-Weiss, member of the national board of governors for the Human Rights Campaign, and western new coordinator of the Human Rights Campaign of Greater New York
  • Evelyn Bailey, historian for the Out Alliance

Research shows that LGBTQ youth make up a disproportionally high percentage of the homeless population across the nation, putting them at risk for discrimination, sex trafficking, and more. It's an issue affecting our community.

Local organizations are pushing for more beds for this vulnerable population. We talk to them about their efforts, and we hear from people in our community who faced these challenges when they were homeless. 

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 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

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