Commentary Strange Fruit

Louisville’s Fairness Ordinance is one of the oldest comprehensive LGBT protections in the nation. Since early 1999, it’s been illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity in our city, so many of us take it for granted that we’ll be protected.

But what about those members of our own community who live or work a short hop across the river, in Southern Indiana?

While New Albany enacted a fairness law in 2012, there’s no such law in Jeffersonville. Our guest this week, Indiana University student Evan Stoner, is spearheading the effort to change that.

Stoner, who’s lived in Jeffersonville for the past 12 of his 19 years, says he’s experienced firsthand the consequences of living in a city that doesn’t explicitly embrace its queer citizens.

“I’ve endured discrimination in the school system, on social media, from other people who also live in Southern Indiana,” he says. “I’ve come to the realization that there is a need right now to make progress in Indiana.”

Stoner has not only asked the Jeffersonville city council to consider a nondiscrimination law, but he’s also organizing that city’s first-ever Pride Festival, to take place this summer. He joins us to talk about his efforts and the reactions of the community.

Our other guest this week will be familiar to longtime listeners and reality TV fans. Wil Heuser joined us in 2012 to talk about representations of LGBT people on reality TV, shortly after his stint on the show “Big Brother.” Now he’s back in Louisville full-time, working as the creative director of Modern Louisville magazine.

_J1C3337editJ. Tyler Franklin | wfpl.org

The monthly magazine focuses on local LGBT issues and society events. And this month’s issue features our own Dr. Kaila Story breaking down issues of bisexual identity and erasure. Friend of the show Chris Hartman — director of the Fairness Campaign — graces the cover, and Jaison Gardner appears in Hartman’s list of 2015’s biggest moments.

Chatting with Wil and Evan was a great way to start 2016. They’re both doing important and creative work that makes our community better, and we can’t wait to hear about their accomplishments throughout the year!

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects.