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Strange Fruit: What's It Like To Be LGBT In a Rural Community?

Frankfort, Kentucky - State Capitol Building
Henryk Sadura
/
Frankfort, Kentucky - State Capitol Building

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We've been proud of how cutting-edge Louisville is on LGBT rights issues (and can brag that its Fairness law included transgender protections even before New York's did). But what about the rest of Kentucky?

We went to the Rural LGBT Summit this month in Lexington to find out. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been holding these summits throughout the U.S., both to shine a light on issues faced by rural LGBT Americans, and to make sure those same folks know about the assistance they can get from the USDA. We can't deny our status as city slickers (though we temporarily daydreamed about gay farmers), so the summit was a great learning opportunity for #TeamStrangeFruit.

Jai and Doc co-hosted a panel featuring folks who are "champions of change" in their communities, and we bring you an excerpt of that conversation in this week's show. Stay tuned to our Soundcloud page for the whole thing.

Also in this week's show, we go about as far from rural as you can get: Broadway, in New York City, where "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" is closing early after poor reviews of Taye Digg's performance in the title role. Are white audiences resistant to a black man playing an iconic part like Hedwig? Did Broadway fans turn against him after he reportedly broke Idina Menzel's heart? Or ... was he just not good in the show? We discuss.

One artwork that seems like an unmitigated success is "Hell You Talmbout," the protest anthem released last week by Janelle Monáe and the Wondaland Arts Society. The verses of the song recite the names of black victims of police shootings. Half vigil, half battle cry, it's already finding its way into protests all over the country, and we listen to a group of trans rights activists adapt it to commemorate trans victims of violence.

And finally, "Straight Outta Compton" came out, and it made a ton of money. We haven't seen the film yet, but we talk a little about claims that it erases the abuse of women perpetrated by its subjects.

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Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.