Second national exposure for OutCasting —
week of May 13 — a special broadcast of our documentary on the Boy
Scouts of America's ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders. B.S.A.
is scheduled to vote on a partial lifting of the ban during the week
of May 20 — but it's more complex than it seems.
The Boy Scouts of America's gay ban is
listen to this episode
Since the late 1970s, the Boy Scouts of America
(B.S.A.) has had a policy that bans gay youth and adult leaders
from membership in the Boy Scouts. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that B.S.A. had the legal right to continue this
discriminatory policy. In the years since, organizations
have been formed to fight the ban through other channels.
Meanwhile, B.S.A. has ejected Scouts and adult
leaders whose homosexuality came its attention. Others,
after becoming aware of the policy, left Scouting on their own.
Untold numbers have declined to get involved at all.
More than 60% of volunteer Scouting leaders
voted on Thursday, May 23, to partially lift the ban, but only to
the extent that it covers youth Scouting members; under the
proposed change, gay adult leaders will still be banned.
Will it now be safe for gay Scouts to come out?
What message does the partial change send? Will it be enough
to enable B.S.A. to regain some of the support and membership it
has lost? Perhaps most importantly, why is the B.S.A.
reluctant to make a sweeping statement that discrimination is
This week's edition of OutCasting, which
was produced before the vote took place, explores these complex
issues through discussions with people who are or have been
involved with the fight to overturn the ban, including:
Evan Wolfson, the civil rights attorney who
represented a gay Scout whose ejection from Scouting led to the
U.S. Supreme Court case Boy Scouts v. James Dale;
Zach Wahls, the executive director of
Scouts for Equality;
Mark Noel, the executive director of the
Inclusive Scouting Network who was ejected under the gay ban
shortly after the Supreme Court decided the James Dale case;
Michelle Tompkins, national media manager of
the Girl Scouts of the United States;
Christoph, who left Scouting;
David, a current Scout who opposes the ban;
Michael, who is still closeted in Scouting.
exposure for WDFH's LGBTQ youth program, OutCasting!
The show was featured nationally
during March 2013 on the Pacifica program Sprouts. This
edition features interviews with
talking about teen suicide and prevention, and
California State Senator Mark Leno,
talking about a new law he sponsored
that will require teaching LGBTQ history in public schools.
other editions of OutCasting.
a public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues, is heard
on WDFH Westchester Public Radio — the only public radio
station in the lower Hudson valley.
LGBT community resources
If you're thinking of suicide,
please just stop. You are OK just the way you
Pick up the phone and call
1-866-488-7386 toll-free to talk with someone at
the Trevor Project's
suicide prevention hotline at any time of the night or day.
It Gets Better Project to see how
others deal with what you're going through.
But if you're
thinking of harming yourself, please just stop. There are
alternatives, and there are people who care very much about you.
For ways to contact these people,
Scout Ban: The Boy Scouts of America reconsiders its ban
on gay Scouts and adult Scouting leaders. This program is
scheduled for national broadcast in May on Pacifica.
Following our two part interview with the transgender activist Juli
Grey-Owens, we will broadcast our discussion with New York
State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who sponsored marriage equality
in New York and is now sponsoring GENDA, the Gender Expression
LGBTQ ISSUES IN EDUCATION:
A reading of the play "Queering History" by Maggie
Keenan-Bolger, and an interview with Maggie about how the play came
Seeking new student participants
Are you a
high school or college age LGBTQ person or straight ally? We
are seeking new volunteers to participate in OutCasting. Get
involved on the air or behind the scenes. For more
information, e-mail ocinfo at wdfh dot org.
WDFH executive director Marc Sophos named New Yorker of the Week by
NY1, New York City's cable news channel, for his work on OutCasting.
Read the front page article about OutCasting that was published in
The Journal News on October 6, 2011, the day OutCasting debuted
What our student
participants are saying
or read about
participation in OutCasting has benefited our student participants.
Seeking underwriters and
We are actively seeking underwriters (businesses
and nonprofit organizations) and Founding Supporters
— people, businesses, foundations, or
anyone else who wants to support OutCasting and
WDFH through major donations.
Information for underwriters [pdf]
underwriters: Please contact us by e-mail at underwriting at wdfh
dot org or by phone at (914) 674-0900 Ext. 60 to get information
Please contact us by e-mail at marc at wdfh dot org or call (914)
674-0900 Ext. 58 if you are interested in getting information about
becoming a Founding Supporter.
One of the founding documents of the
program, written in
December 2010 and updated in 2011
recent years, the LGBTQ community has seen
major advances: marriage equality in New York, the Obama
administration’s speaking out against DOMA, the start of the It Gets
Better campaign, and the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”
military policy. In stark contrast, there have also been
several highly publicized teen suicides. Not long ago, The New
York Times published an article about anti-gay groups that actively
oppose anti-bullying programs in schools. The article quoted Candi
Cushman, an educational analyst for the notorious anti-gay
organization Focus on the Family, as stating, “the advocacy groups
are promoting homosexual lessons in the name of anti-bullying.”
unsettled environment that juxtaposes progress with ignorance,
intolerance, and bigotry, a group of teenagers in the lower Hudson
River valley is starting a new public radio show to explore the
issues directly. The show, titled OutCasting, gives voice to
the LGBTQ youth community with a combination of insight, reflection,
respect, and a little humor.
working directly with the students in its new studio, training
members of a new generation of media activists by teaching them how
to produce a regularly scheduled show from concept to broadcast.
This includes identifying topics to cover in each edition;
scheduling guests; preparing, conducting, and recording interviews;
editing and assembling the show for broadcast and online
distribution; and promoting the show through press releases, social
networking, and other tools.
WDFH started work on the program early in 2006, but the effort was
cut short when the station lost its previous studio space.
With its new studio now operational, it re-started work in the
winter and spring of 2011 by contacting the faculty advisors of
Gay-Straight Alliances and similar student groups in local high
schools and colleges. The program aired its first episode in
students working on OutCasting, it is much more than just an
after-school activity. When asked why this show was important to
her, Nora, one of the student participants, said, “I’m strengthening
my voice as a supporter of LGBTQ rights through radio. Not
only am I working for a cause I truly believe in, I’m also
developing media skills that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.”
Sophos, WDFH’s founder and executive director, was shaken by the
recent news of the apparent suicide of a bullied 14-year-old, Jamey
Rodemeyer, in upstate New York. He noted that a television
news program opened with the anchorman saying, “We begin tonight
with a story about something we don’t normally cover here. But
an awful lot of people in Williamsville are hurting tonight because
of a suicide there.” Mr. Sophos countered, “Why don’t they
normally cover stories like this until they erupt into violence and
suicide? There is far too much focus in the media on events
and too little on issues, and it’s damaging our country. It’s
like shining a spotlight at the outward symptoms of a disease
without trying to understand and eliminate the underlying causes.”
that OutCasting is an on-air and online resource for young LGBTQ
listeners but that the program is also aimed at a general audience
that wants to better understand the complexities of LGBTQ
identities. “Our country can’t seem to stop tying itself up
into knots over LGBTQ issues,” he continued. “There is so much
deliberate misinformation out there and it’s hurting and killing
kids. We hope that OutCasting will be able to inject some
humanism, and specifically an LGBTQ youth perspective, into the
episode, broadcast on October 6, focused on the role of Gay-Straight
Alliances in schools. It included a discussion among several of the
students behind OutCasting and an interview with Mary Jane Karger,
the Hudson Valley regional co-chair and a national board member of
GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). Dan
Savage, the journalist, writer, and columnist who co-founded the It
Gets Better Project, was a guest on the second episode.
California State Senator Mark Leno appeared in an episode on the new
California law requiring the teaching of gay history in public
schools. Brian Ellner, one of the main strategists of the
successful legislative campaign for marriage equality in New York
State, has been invited for the spring of 2012.
The show is broadcast locally on WDFH 90.3 FM in the lower Hudson
River valley and is available worldwide on the station’s website,
http://wdfh.org, via podcast and on-demand delivery. Due to a
recent signal expansion, WDFH can now reach a potential audience of
400,000 people in central and northern Westchester and eastern
Rockland. As an affiliate of the Pacifica Radio Network, WDFH plans
to share OutCasting with other affiliate stations across the
THE NEED FOR FUNDING
raise funding in order for OutCasting and other programming to
continue. In particular, we are trying to reach foundations,
businesses, and individuals who support LGBT issues and the
empowerment of youth. All contributions are fully
tax-deductible. We need your help, so please step up to the
WDFH is the
only public radio station in the lower Hudson valley. Our history
has been well documented by The New York Times, The Journal News,
The Gazette, The Enterprise, The Westchester County Business
Journal, WNBC-TV, and other media. Thanks to a recent signal
expansion, WDFH’s signal, at 90.3 FM, can now reach a potential
audience of 400,000 people in central and northern Westchester and
eastern Rockland. We can also be heard anywhere online at http://wdfh.org.
other public radio stations, WDFH is run by volunteers who bring
their passions and their vital interest in our local communities
into the station’s programming. WDFH produces in-depth public
affairs programs such as In Focus and Recovery Talk and broadcasts
other public affairs programs from independent producers around the
country. As the local broadcast affiliate of the Pacifica
Radio Network, we air two daily national news programs, Democracy
Now and Free Speech Radio News. WDFH also broadcasts a freeform mix
of rock, folk, blues, and jazz. We are entirely nonprofit and
noncommercial and are registered as a not-for-profit organization
under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
For more information, please
contact Marc Sophos, WDFH’s founder and
Executive Director, at marc -at- wdfh -dot- org.
LGBT community resources:
The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
The Trevor Project — anti-suicide —
toll-free suicide hotline 1-866-488-7386
The It Gets Better Campaign —
Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic —
CHAPS (Community Health and Prevention Services) of ARCS (Westchester-based
AIDS-Related Community Services) — basic information about
services that CHAPS provides and how to contact them through various
forms of social media and telephone numbers.
CHAPS's Twitter page, with information regarding testing,
upcoming events, groups, activities, and what events they will be
ARCS agency website, listing education, prevention, and testing
Fighting the Boy
Scouts' gay ban:
Scouts for Equality
Inclusive Scouting Network
Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST)
— LGBTQ synagogue in NYC
We Are The Youth — chronicling the
stories of LGBT youth in America
My Sister's Place — comprehensive shelter, advocacy, legal
services, and supportive services for victims of domestic violence,
dating violence, sexual abuse, stalking, and human trafficking in
Westchester County, New York.
Westchester County government link to LGBT groups
New York State Department of Health website proving county DOH
locations and contact information
The LOFT — LGBT community center in White Plains, NY, with
information about programs, groups, activities, outings, events, and
testing geared to LGBTQ people who are 18 and older
Center Lane — Westchester LGBTQ youth center, with information
about programs, groups, activities, and testing geared to LGBTQ
Gay Pride Rockland
Gay and Lesbian Activists Against Defamation (GLAAD) — media
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (legal strategies,
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
Human Rights Campaign
Freedom to Marry
PFLAG - Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Scouts For Equality — working to end the Boy
Scout ban on LGBTQ scouts
Live Out Loud