Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Strange Fruit: Kentucky Schools Unsafe for LGBTQ Students

Credit GLSEN.org

Did you feel safe in middle and high school? Were you ever physically harassed, or even assaulted, because of your LGBTQ identity? A report released last month by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) confirms what many of us already knew: Kentucky schools are often hostile and unsafe for LGBTQ students.

The study is called School Climate in Kentucky (PDF), and the results show lots of work still needs to be done. For example, 9 out of 10 students in the Commonwealth say they regularly hear anti-gay slurs in school. 36% report regularly hearing that language from school staff members.

Nearly 6 in 1o students were physically harassed (like being pushed or shoved), and 3 in 10 were physically assaulted (like being punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon) because of their LGBTQ status or gender presentation. 

So instead of just rattling off numbers and feeling disheartened, we decided to speak to the folks who compiled the research. Mark Bartkiewicz is a GLSEN researcher who worked on the state reports, and he joined us by phone this week to talk about the results, how Kentucky's numbers compare to other states, and what can be done to help (spoiler alert: it's gay/straight student alliances and enlightened faculty members).

We also spoke more this week about the closet door in professional sports (for people who know next to nothing about them, we sure do talk about them a lot). This week, NCAA breakout star & top WNBA draft pick Brittney Griner came out of the closet. "I wouldn't say I was hiding or anything like that," she told Sports Illustrated in an interview. "I've always been open about who I am and my sexuality. So it wasn't hard at all. If I can show that I'm out and I'm fine and everything's ok, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way."

Who doesn't feel the same way? Male professional athletes, it would seem. In fact, this same week, NFL player and University of Louisville alumnus Kerry Rhodes has been the target of gay rumors after MediaTakeOut.com released pictures of him looking affectionate with another man while on vacation (they helpfully illustrated the story with an NFL logo in which the football has been covered in pink sequins).

Rhodes told The Advocate that he's not gay, but he's an ally. "I know a lot of people are recently talking about athletes struggling to come out to their fans right now," he said, "and I support them, as well as wish those individuals comfort." It seems like the world is waiting for an actively-playing male athlete to come out, so in our Juicy Fruit and closing thoughts segments this week, we did some unpacking of the situation. How do sexual politics play out in the hyper-masculine culture of pro sports (especially football), and why is it so very different for women athletes than men? 

Around the Nation
6:59 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Officials Seek Answers In Aftermath Of Deadly Plant Explosion

An explosion leveled a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on Wednesday. The blast killed 14 people, injured more than 200 others and damaged or completely destroyed at least 80 homes.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 4:47 pm

With the house-to-house search over and the living and dead largely accounted for, the town of West, Texas, began the transition from shock and disbelief to communal grieving.

On Friday night, mourners gathered at St. Mary Church of the Assumption to remember the dead. Many of the dead were first responders who were fighting a roaring fire for 30 minutes before the explosion, which was felt 80 miles away in Fort Worth.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn caused a stir when he suggested that there might be many more people missing than thought.

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Asia
6:56 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Suspects' Chechen Roots Draws Eyes In Russia

In this image taken from a cellphone video, the father of the Boston bombing suspects, Anzor Tsarnaev, talks to the media about his sons, in his home in Makhachkala, the Dagestani capital, on Friday.
AP

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 2:09 pm

The Boston Marathon bombing suspects are ethnic Chechens with links to the volatile North Caucasus region of Russia. Moscow's reaction to that fact appears to be as complex as the region's turbulent history.

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Wade Goodwyn is a NPR National Desk Correspondent covering Texas and the surrounding states.

Reporting for NPR since 1991, Goodwyn covers a wide range of issues from politics and music to breaking news and crime and punishment. His reports have ranged from weather calamities, religion, and corruption, to immigration, obituaries, business, and high profile court cases. Texas has it all, and Goodwyn has covered it.

Local News
4:07 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Byline | Progress Kentucky; Thunder Safety; Murray State President Termination

Here are the topics covered this hour on Byline (full audio link below):

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The Two-Way
4:00 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

CDC: U.S. Hospitals Should Be Vigilant For Bird Flu

An H7N9 bird flu patient is escorted after his recovery and approval for discharge at a central China hospital on Friday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 2:57 pm

U.S. hospitals have been urged to be on the lookout for symptoms of bird flu among patients who have recently traveled to China, where a new strain of the virus has killed 17 people and infected more than 70.

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Environment
2:34 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

LG&E to Announce Plans to Reuse Coal Byproducts at Mill Creek

Erica Peterson WFPL

Louisville Gas and Electric will hold a press conference Monday morning to announce “a new beneficial reuse manufacturing facility.” The star-studded event will feature Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and state house majority leader Rocky Adkins.

So, why the fuss? It seems that Louisville company Charah plans to use the byproducts scrubbed from the emissions at the Mill Creek Power Station in a sulfate-based fertilizer the company manufactures.

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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

The Scene In Boston: 'Today Is So Much Scarier'

A sign calling for citizens of Boston to "Shelter in Place" hung across I-93 Friday in Boston.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 7:20 pm

Update at 7:10 p.m. ET. Back Inside:

Following reports of sudden, heavy police presence in Watertown, Boston police have asked residents to once again stay indoors. Just about an hour earlier, the governor had lifted the shelter-in-place advisory. The police tweeted: "Police operations in the Franklin Street Watertown area. Residents shelter in place."

Update at 6:25 p.m. ET. "Shelter-In-Place" Advisory Lifted:

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The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Boy Scouts Propose Ending Ban On Gay Youth

A statue outside the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 12:51 pm

The Boy Scouts of America says it will propose lifting its ban of gay members of the organization. The matter will be put to a vote of its 1,400 members of the Boy Scout National Council next month.

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Local News
11:57 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Byline Today: Security for Derby Events, Progress Kentucky and More

Security changes for Thunder Over Louisville and the Kentucky Derby, the latest on the recording of a Sen. Mitch McConnell strategy meeting and controversy at Murray State University. These topics and more will be discussed this afternoon on Byline.

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