Strange Fruit

A new episode is posted every Saturday.
Dr. Kaila Story and Jaison Gardner

Dr. Kaila Story and Jaison Gardner host this weekly podcast of musings on politics, pop culture and black gay life.  

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Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Strange Fruit: Django Unchained; Puerto Rican Boxer Orlando Cruz Comes Out

Credit imdb.com

"At the university level, when I teach about sexism and racism, I insert humor into a lot of these things, because you have to point out the absurdity that is a part of racism. Racism, sexism, homophobia—these things are not logical processes of thought. These things are taught and socialized. They're not real."

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Strange Fruit
11:36 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Strange Fruit: Going Home Gay for the Holidays

Transgender model Connie Fleming
Credit Candy Magazine

It's a story we heard several times during WFPL's Defining Fairness series: a young person leaves his or her rural town for college in a bigger city, meets other LGBTQ folks, and comes out! But for some folks, when the holidays roll around and they head home for Christmas... they have to go back into the closet. 

This week we spoke with Dr. Stephanie Budge from UofL, who recently taught a workshop on coping with the holidays as an LGBTQ person. She says while some families do overtly antagonistic things (like using the wrong pronoun for trans folks, or refusing to let their LGBTQ family member bring a partner to holiday functions), what she hears about the most is simply ignoring. A young person might come out as queer to their family only for the response to be silence, and an unwillingness to acknowledge their identity.

Dr. Budge gave us some coping strategies we can all use during moments of holiday stress and family conflict, how to take full advantage of your chosen family's love when your family of origin doesn't support you, and how to tell when things are so bad or unsafe it might be better to skip going home altogether. 

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Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat December 15, 2012

Strange Fruit: Filmmaker Tiona M on Telling Untold Stories; Louisville Author TeaRon Watkins

A young black lesbian woman waits for the results of her HIV test after having been cheated on by a partner. For the middle-aged, HIV positive gay black man in the waiting room with her, the clinic visit is more routine. These are the two characters in documentary filmmaker Tiona M's latest movie, Bumming Cigarettes

Tiona joined us this week to talk about her work, and how she's been inspired to make the kinds of films she would have benefited from seeing herself, as a young black lesbian growing up in the south.

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Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Strange Fruit: Kasandra Perkins & Jovan Belcher; Sexual Assault in Communities of Color

Aishah Shahidah Simmons (top left), Gina McCauley (top right), hosts Jaison Gardner & Dr. Kaila Story

It's been one week since Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher shocked the football world by shooting his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, then himself. In the intervening seven days, people have tried to make sense of his actions in different ways. Could he have suffered concussions during his time on the field, which made him prone to violence and poor impulse control? Some outlets speculated Belcher was angry at Perkins for various reasons. ESPN was criticized for airing a graphic in tribute to Belcher.

To try to make some sense of the story and resulting coverage, we called Gina McCauley, who blogs at What About Our Daughters. McCauley says all the speculation about the causes of last Saturday's events is offensive, and an avoidance tactic. "Why are we going out of our way to ignore the fact that the reason this woman was murdered is because of misogyny and sexism?" she asks. "She was murdered because he wanted to control her in some way. He couldn't, so he killed her."

Her post on the murder cites the CDC statistic that black women ages 25-29 are about 11 times more likely than white women in that age group to be murdered while pregnant, or within one year of giving birth. She had a lot to share with us about the disparity in those numbers and why the media doesn't talk about it in cases like this.

We also spoke this week with documentary filmmaker Aishah Shahidah Simmons, who directed "No! The Rape Documentary." In the film she examines sexual assault in communities of color, and unique issues surrounding survivors within our community. 

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Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat November 24, 2012

Strange Fruit: Racial Divisions & the Transgender Day of Remembrance; Being Black, Gay & Christian

Credit GLAAD

"I've been talking about this since 1998, and we still aren't any closer to having integrated LGBT organizations. I don't want the rest of this decade to drag along. We can't afford it anymore. We can't afford it anymore. Our people are getting slaughtered."

Those are the strong words we heard this week from TransGriot blogger Monica Roberts, an African-American transwoman who once called Louisville home. We called Monica for an impromptu interview for this week's show, and she was gracious enough to make some last-minute time for us. We were trying to make some sense out of Jai and Doc's experience at Sunday night's Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) ceremony in Louisville.

Every year on the TDOR, we honor transpeople around the world who have been killed during the preceding year due to transphobia (of hate crimes against LGBTQ folks, transgender and people of color are disproportionately at risk). This year, 265 names were read as part of the ceremony—each the name of a lost brother or sister. Around 70% of those victims were black or brown people. Every single one of the 13 victims from the United States this year was African American or Latina.

But the Louisville TDOR was strikingly white. This phenomenon encompassed organizers, participants, and the audience—wherein the three people of color were all cisgendered, and two of them were Jai and Doc. Monica talked to us about the pervasiveness of segregation within trans activism and how the solution could lie in more trans people of color in leadership positions throughout LGBTQ organizations.

Later in the show we bring you the second part of our conversation with writer and activist Darnell Moore. This week we talk about being black, gay, and Christian. "I remember this evangelist saying she would rather her son be addicted to drugs than to be—she didn't use the word, she just did the broken-wrist type of gesture—than to be gay," he says. "I was mortified."  

But he reminds us that the black church is not a monolith, and there are also LGBTQ-affirming spaces within black Christianity. "I got to a point where I said if it means that my truth, the true person that I know myself to be, is something that will lead me to quote-unquote hell, then I would rather go to hell [...] for living in my truth than to go to heaven and live in a lie."

Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat November 17, 2012

Strange Fruit: Yolo Akili, Darnell Moore, Gay Men and Sexism

He's a poet, activist, counselor, wellness consultant, performance artist, and more. But this week, what got our attention about Yolo Akili was his article, Gay Men's Sexism and Women's Bodies. In it, he talks about incidents of gay men giving unsolicited advice about (and sometimes nonconsensually touching) women's bodies, and why it's often seen as more acceptable behavior in gay men than it would be in their straight brothers. We've talked before about how being gay doesn't give you a free pass to be racist; Yolo reminds us that it also doesn't give you carte blanche to make sexist comments or treat women's bodies like public property.

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Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Strange Fruit: LGBTQ Election Victories; Big Brother's Wil Heuser

Doc and Jai pose with Wil Heuser in the WFPL studio

This week's election has been widely regarded as a victory for LGBTQ rights. Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin will become the first openly-gay U.S. Senator, and several state passed ballot initiatives legalizing same-sex marriage. This week, we spoke with Constitutional Law Professor Sam Marcosson from UofL's Brandeis School of Law, to find out what the implications of the results could be, and whether we will ever see marriage equality in the Commonwealth.

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Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Strange Fruit: Dr. Yaba Blay's (1)ne Drop Project; Director Kenny Leon

Images from the (1)ne Drop Project


Who is black? That's the question the (1)ne Drop Project seeks to answer. The project, created by Dr. Yaba Blay, features photographs of people who identify as black, African-American, biracial, and other identities—but whose physical appearances may provoke curiosity, or even disbelief, in strangers. Dr. Blay will appear on CNN's Black in America 5 to talk about what it means to be black. But this week she made some time to talk to us about her work.

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Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Strange Fruit: Dr. Gary Gates, Co-Author of LBGT Population Study

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"Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?" 

That was the question Gallup posed to ​121,290 people June 1 and Sept. 30, 2012. The result is the largest single study of the distribution of the LGBT population in the U.S. on record, revealing data that turns the stereotype of the affluent, white, gay man on its head. For starters, African Americans and other ethnic minorities are more likely to be LGBT than white people. 

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Strange Fruit
7:30 am
Tue October 23, 2012

African Americans More Likely to Identify as LGBT than White Americans

The largest-ever demographic study of America’s LGBT population was released last week, and the data revealed that African Americans and other ethnic minorities are more likely to identify as LGBT than white Americans.

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