sexuality

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Self-identified gay men in Connecticut make up a growing percentage of new HIV infection cases, an alarming trend over the last decade that's forcing AIDS activists to get creative. 

Esther Shittu / WNPR

When we did our show on Romeo and Juliet a few months ago, Tina Packer invited us to come up to Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass., to see her new production of The Merchant of Venice this summer. Colin said we'd love to; we'll come up there and do a show!

It seemed like the sort of niceties that people often toss off on the radio.

But it turns out they meant it. And so, so did we! So we went up and taped a show in the Berkshires with Tina and her Shylock, Jonathan Epstein.

Republicans drafting the party's platform in Cleveland this week rejected appeals to soften language opposing same-sex marriage.

According to NPR, delegates supported language in this year's platform that says children "deserve a married mom and dad," and refers to "natural marriage" as between a man and a woman. 

Mabel Lu / flickr creative commons

Last fall, Colin saw The Bloodstained Men and Their Friends demonstrating in New Haven.

They wear white coveralls with red stains on the crotches.

Almost at the last minute, a federal judge has declared a controversial Mississippi law unconstitutional.

The law, HB 1523, would have protected religious objections to gay marriage, extramarital sex and transgender identities. The judge says it favors some religious beliefs over others and would codify unequal treatment of LGBT people.

The state's governor has said he looks forward to an appeal, but Mississippi's attorney general has expressed hesitation over appealing the case.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter says the military is lifting a ban on transgender service members.

"Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender," he told reporters today at the Pentagon.

The fundamental reason for the change, Carter said, is "that the Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now – the finest fighting force the world has ever known."

Aboard a flight home from Armenia, Pope Francis fielded a pointed question from reporters: Did he agree with German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, said gays deserve an apology from the Church?

His answer was frank.

Methodists from churches all over New England met last week at the New England Methodist Conference in Manchester. At that conference, they passed a resolution that attempts to make the broader church more inclusive for LGBTQIA people. It’s a decision that may have deeper resonance now after the attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando last week. Beth DiCocco is spokesperson for the New England Conference and she joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to discuss this resolution.

What is the Methodist Church's position on homosexuality?

With sorrow, anger and expressions of unity, the LGBT community across the world is mourning Sunday's deadly attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando. Meanwhile, security has been increased at LGBT landmarks and events in cities across America.

The attack — in which a gunman killed 50 people, making it the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history, and injured 53 — struck during Pride Month, which commemorates the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the gay rights movement more broadly.

When Luc Ryan Schreiber arrived at Yale University, he was an openly gay man on nearly every part of campus. But there was one place where he wasn't: the rugby team. 

"I had a coach who used a lot of homophobic language...as the motivation to go faster, push harder, whatever," he says.

A public meeting was held last night in New York City on whether to make the Stonewall Inn a national monument.

U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-10) told Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Parks Service Director Jonathan Jarvis that it’s important to recognize that the gay rights movement began at the Stonewall Inn in 1969.

A new picture of Manuel Santos appeared on Facebook yesterday, taken shortly after he'd learned that a Thai court ruled that his husband, Gordon "Bud" Lake III — their daughter Carmen's biological father — was the baby's sole legal guardian.

Curt Schilling, the MLB pitcher turned analyst for ESPN, was fired by the network after sharing a post on Facebook that appeared to comment on North Carolina's law that bars transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has banned all non-essential state travel to North Carolina in the wake of that state's decision to overturn an ordinance on transgender rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and several other plaintiffs have filed a federal lawsuit over a North Carolina law they say discriminates against the state's LGBT community.

The law, passed last week in a special session by the state's Legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, blocks "local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules to grant protections to gay and transgender people," as we reported.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

More than 2,000 students from Connecticut and across the northeast are attending the True Colors annual conference this weekend at the UConn Storrs campus.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I first met cartoonist Bill Griffith back in the 1980s. I arranged for us to tour a Boston-area Hostess Twinkie plant, which sounds like a weird first date but makes perfect sense if you're familiar with his creation "Zippy the Pinhead," an unwitting surrealist who swims happily through a sea of taco sauce, processed cheese and, well, Twinkies.

Leland Francisco / WNPR

Long before evangelicalism became associated with the mostly white, conservative followers aligned with the Republican Party, a long line of progressive evangelicals led reforms to abolish slavery, give women the vote and improve public schools.

But the history of evangelicalism is complicated. It has a rich history of social activism on behalf of the marginalized, mixed with deep discomfort with the very people it seeks to help.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I first met cartoonist Bill Griffith back in the 1980s. I arranged for us to tour a Boston-area Hostess Twinkie plant, which sounds like a weird first date but makes perfect sense if you're familiar with his creation "Zippy the Pinhead," an unwitting surrealist who swims happily through a sea of taco sauce, processed cheese and, well, Twinkies.

play2PREVENT

Yale School of Medicine's play2Prevent video game lab has developed a card game that helps young black women make the right choices when it comes to reducing the risk of HIV infection.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Ireland has become the first-ever country to approve same-sex marriage by referendum, voting overwhelmingly to approve it despite opposition from clergy in the heavily Catholic nation, according to official results announced today.

Reuters says in Friday's vote "more than 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot, the highest turnout at a referendum there in over two decades."

Earlier, both sides in the debate acknowledged that the "yes" vote had succeeded.

Voters in Ireland are deciding whether the country will amend its constitution to make same-sex marriage legal.

The vote on Friday follows months of debate in the heavily Catholic country. Opinion polls suggest the referendum will pass and Ireland will become the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in a national vote.

But, as NPR's Ari Shapiro points out, "Polls in this part of the world have been totally wrong in the past.

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An oratorio based on the life of gay rights advocate and politician Harvey Milk gets its New England premiere this weekend in New Haven. Oratorios are typically large musical compositions with a dramatic theme, written for orchestra, choir, and soloists; think Handel's "Messiah," or Haydn's "Creation."

Update, 11:17 p.m. ET

The Indianapolis Star's editorial board is weighing in on the matter, rather loudly, in tomorrow's edition.

Update, 8:55 p.m. ET:

Two Democrat-dominated state governments, Connecticut and Washington state, joined the boycott against Indiana on Monday.

Paul Keller / Creative Commons

Should sex education be limited to health class?

East Hartford health teacher Sue Patria suggested on WNPR's Where We Live that the best sex education programs are ones where all teachers incorporate sex and gender topics into their teaching. 

Paul Keller / Creative Commons

With sex education being a big political issue in many states, what does this all mean for the future of sex education funding in America? 

This hour, local and national experts weigh in on how public schools are talking to students about their sexual health. We learn about the history of sex education in the U.S., and find out where it's all headed in the future.

For the first time, Harvard University is banning sexual relationships between faculty and undergraduates, strengthening language in its policies on sexual misconduct. The change comes as the school examines its rules and undergoes a federal review.

Last year, Harvard was among dozens of schools the Department of Education said it's investigating for how they handle sexual abuse allegations.

Aurelien Guichard / Creative Commons

Today on the Scramble, we talk to two cartoonists about the road ahead from the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I'm still wrestling with some of my own questions about what this story means to the world of satire, which I consider vitally important to the health of the world.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration recommended a change in the discriminatory and unscientific policy that effectively prohibited men who have sex with men from donating blood for life. Those guidelines kept any man who had sex with another man — even just once — since 1977 from donating blood forever.

While gay discrimination has been reduced in so many other areas of life, up until now, there hasn't been enough medical or political will to intervene on the blood ban. That policy perpetuated stigma without improving safety.

The Food and Drug Administration is considering revising a ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men.

An FDA advisory committee Tuesday mulled the issues raised by changing the policy, which has been in effect since the early 1980s.

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