During the Equality Alabama Gala on Saturday, several awards were handed out, including a media award, given to WBHM for its radio series “Gay and Straight in Alabama“. Accepting the award was producer and reporter Bradley George. On the series:
It’s been a whirlwind spring for advocates of same sex marriage. Four states — Iowa, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire — recognized such marriages. That flurry of activity is drawing attention to the concerns of gays and lesbians. But that conversation seems largely absent in Alabama.
And it’s true — the lives LGBT people lead in deep Red and even Purple states are largely ignored by folks in large gay metro areas where rights are often expansive and taken for granted, including civil unions, DPs, etc. These are rights LGBTs in Alabama can only dream about at the present time. The five-part series of reports (with another segment that was a call-in program) touched on these aspects of LGBT life in Alabama.
- Domestic Partner Benefits. Diversity statements or equal opportunity policies are not unusual, but for some gays and lesbians those words are not enough.
- Spirituality. For many gays and lesbians, coming out is an overwhelming experience. They face, family, friends, coworkers and sometimes the most daunting of all, their church. The message delivered from the pulpit leaves many at spiritual crossroads. Some feel obligated to be someone they’re not. Others try to decide what part of their spirituality to keep and what to discard.
- A religious black woman, Marie Sutton, discusses Gay Marriage. It’s hard not to get excited about a wedding, especially if you’re a woman who loves romance. But for WBHM commentator Marie Sutton one invitation turned into months of conversation about homosexuality, the bible and the meaning of “love thy neighbor.”
- Bullying Gay Students. It’s a phrase many kids use almost daily: ‘That’s so gay’. Experts say that the use of homophobic slurs in schools is on the rise. Two 11-year-olds recently committed suicide after being bullied with anti-gay taunts. And though a new law requires the Alabama Department of Education to come up with a policy prohibiting harassment, that new policy isn’t likely to mention sexual orientation.
- The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” culture in Alabama regarding sexual orientation. Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is a phrase often associated with the military. But it also applies to the lives of gay and lesbian civilians living in Alabama. Those who are out face possible discrimination. Others spend their lives hiding their true selves.
At the links you can both listen to the pieces and read the transcripts.
Bradley George came up to me after the dinner to say that he reads PHB (and that he also lived in NC — btw, in the district of horrorshow Virginia Foxx). Part of his research landed him at the Blend on my post about journalist Bob Moser’s excellent article for OUT Magazine in 2004, “Unsweet Homo Alabama,” which asked the pertinent and timely question “Is Alabama really the worst place to be a gay person in Bush’s America?” He wanted to find voices in the state to talk about life as it stands now. I did a short interview with Bradley about this:
Surf over to WBHM and listen/read about the series and discuss…
I gave two talks at the conference earlier in the day. Obviously I couldn’t blog or Tweet it; Zach at Sweet Homo Alabama did during “Online Activism.”