WXXI AM News

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The ImageOut Film Festival is back. The annual event presents LGBT arts and cultural experiences to promote awareness and foster dialogue. It kicks off this Thursday.

We preview this year's lineup, including a film called “For They Know Not What They Do,” which explores the evangelical church’s reaction to LGBTQ issues. We also discuss the film, "Unsettled," which tells the story of LGBTQ refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. after being persecuted in their home countries. Our guests:

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 celebrate Rochester Pride Week with a conversation about "Transformation Thursday." It's a new podcast hosted and produced by Amy Stephens and Penny Sterling, two local transgender woman who are outspoken advocates for the LGBTQ community.

Stephens and Sterling join us to share their individual journeys, what they have learned, how they handle difficult conversations with friends and coworkers, and more. 

  • Amy Stephens, comedian and co-host of  "Transformation Thursday"
  • Penny Sterling, storyteller, comedian, and co-host of "Transformation Thursday"

During the season premiere of the PBS Kids’ show “Arthur,” Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn, got married. The episode, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” featured the wedding of Mr. Ratburn and his partner, Patrick. The show is the latest in a series of children’s television programs and books to highlight diverse characters and inclusive storylines.

This hour, we discuss the value of inclusion on screen and in print – as well as behind the scenes – and the learning goals for children. Our guests:

  • Lesli Rotenberg, chief programming executive and general manager for children’s media and education at PBS
  • Cara Rager, manager of educational training and family engagement at WXXI Education
  • Leslie C. Youngblood, author of “Love Like Sky”
  • Ed Popil (Mrs. Kasha Davis), local drag performer and children's book author

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:

How can comedy and art be used to address serious issues like race and climate change? Actor and activist Peterson Toscano incorporates storytelling and performance art to explore the intersections of gender, religion, and climate. 

He is in Rochester this week to work with local students and community members, but first, he joins us on Connections. In studio:

  • Peterson Toscano, theatrical performance activist
  • Harshita Sood, sustainability initiatives manager at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Michael Boller, associate professor in biology, and director of the sustainability program at St. John Fisher College

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

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