LGBTQ Archives - StoryCorps
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Flower Farmers Find A Love To Outlast Anything, Including Marriage

In 2010 Mimo Davis and Miranda Dushack met at an office job. Both had the dream of owning a flower farm. They fell in love and began that quest together.

They founded Urban Buds, a flower farm in the heart of St. Louis. 

Miranda Duschack and Mimo Davis and at their flower farm in St. Louis, MO. Courtesy of Miranda Duschack.

Mimo Davis, Miranda Duschack, and their son August at their flower farm in St. Louis, MO. Courtesy of Miranda Duschack. 

Mimo and Miranda came to StoryCorps to talk about the many twists and turns in their relationship, and the love they have for farming and each other.

Top Photo: Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack at their StoryCorps interview in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2023. By Delilah Righter for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired February 9, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“It’s Like This Invisible Golden Lasso.” A Son Reflects on Coming Out, and His Mother’s Love

Corey Harvard has dedicated his life to advocating for LGBTQ+ youth in Mobile, Alabama through his organization Prism United

He was raised in Mobile, and grew up in a deeply religious home. But in middle school, he realized he was queer, and struggled to come out to his parents. 

Corey and Lisa Harvard at a skating rink in Columbus, Ohio in 1996. By Benjamin Harvard, courtesy of Corey Harvard.

Above all he worried it would change how much they loved him. But it didn’t.  At StoryCorps, Corey sat down with his mother, Lisa Harvard, to reflect on that time.

Lisa and Corey Harvard out to dinner together in Mobile, Alabama on May 3rd, 2016. By Jennifer Clark-Grainger, courtesy of Corey Harvard.

Top Photo: Corey and Lisa Harvard at their StoryCorps interview in Mobile, Alabama on October 29, 2023. By Chapin Montague for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired January 26, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

At The Lesbian Switchboard, Empathy Was On The Other End of the Line

The Lesbian Switchboard was a helpline for queer women that operated from 1972 to 1997. Denise Tuite volunteered to spend hours at night sitting in the cramped offices of the Switchboard, taking calls from women with no one else to talk to about their sexuality.

Some of these calls were casual, asking where to meet women in NYC. Others were from people in need of advice and consolation.

But through all of them, Denise could recognize the same emotions she’d once felt..

At StoryCorps, Denise shared what brought her to the Lesbian Switchboard.

Originally aired December 15, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Top Photo: Denise Tuite at her StoryCorps interview in Tinton City, NJ on November 1, 2023. By James Eustace for StoryCorps.

Helping The Dogs Of Chernobyl

When the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, exploded in 1986, dozens died, and hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from a 1,000 square mile radius. 

But people’s pets were impacted as well. Dogs, cats, and other domestic animals were killed or abandoned, and for more than 30 years those that survived have continued to reproduce in this radioactive forest. 

Stephen Quandt, an animal welfare worker in New York City, came to StoryCorps to talk about a humanitarian trip he took to Ukraine in 2019, and how the work he does ties back to his childhood.

Top Photo: Stephen Quandt at the Clean Futures Fund clinic in Slavutych, Ukraine—a city built for those evacuated after the nuclear power plant disaster—in June of 2019. Photo courtesy of Stephen Quandt.
Middle Photo: One of an estimated 250 stray dogs living in the forests of Chernobyl, Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Stephen Quandt.
Bottom Photo: Pripyat Amusement Park in Pripyat, Ukraine. Photo by Stephen Quandt.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Originally aired July 28, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“I Knew At That Moment That I Was Hooked:” Reflections On Love And Support

Julianne Larsen was diagnosed with schizophrenia in her early twenties, and she lived for a long time feeling alone in her struggle.

Until one evening, in 2008, when she walked into a support group for people living with mental illness in Logan, Utah. She laid eyes on Mar Fenix Nauta, who had been attending these meetings to manage her bipolar disorder and PTSD. 

They came to StoryCorps in May 2023 to remember that night.

Photo: Julianne Larsen and Mar Fenix Nauta at their StoryCorps interview in Logan, Utah on May 3, 2023. By Delilah Righter for StoryCorps.

 

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired June 2, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

This Couple is Fighting for Equality and Safety For Two Spirit People On Tribal Land

Felipa DeLeon Mousseau Grew up in Manderson on the Pine Ridge Reservation. When she was young she knew a few gay people, including her cousin, and while they were accepted in the community they were not always respected.

Felipa Deleon Mousseau and Monique “Muffie” Mousseau in 2022 at a Two Spirit gathering at Flat Head Lake, Montana. Courtesy of the participants.

When she was in her 30’s Felipa went for out for a night with coworkers to a dimly lit, crowded bar in Rapid City, South Dakota. This is where she first saw Monique “Muffie” Mousseau. Muffie had also grown up on the reservation, but 16 miles from Felipa in a small town called Porcupine.

The hands of Felipa Deleon Mousseau and Monique “Muffie” Mousseau at their StoryCorps interview in Rapid City, South Dakota on January 31, 2023. By Savannah Winchester for StoryCorps.

A fast and intense love sprung up between them. And it took them on a journey that neither of them could have anticipated. They came to StoryCorps to talk about that night and what came next.

 

Top Photo: Felipa Deleon Mousseau and Monique “Muffie” Mousseau at their StoryCorps interview in Rapid City, South Dakota on January 31, 2023. By Savannah Winchester for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This recording was made possible by a partnership with Uniting Resilience.

Originally aired May 5, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A Navy Yeoman Reflects on Joining the Military During Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

In 1993, the US government passed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. It forced LGBTQ military service members to hide their sexual orientation or risk expulsion.

Navy Yeoman Jacob Tate, who’s gay, joined the military in 2010 when the policy was still in effect. Ultimately, DADT, as it’s commonly known, ended in September 2011. 

As part of the Military Voices Initiative, Jacob came to StoryCorps with his husband, Carson Pursifull, to talk about what that experience was like, and answer Carson’s burning questions about what he actually does for the Navy.

Carson Pursifull and Jacob Tate at The Liriodendron Mansion in Bel Air, MD in April 2021. Photo by Sarandon Smith (Courtesy of the participants).

 

Top Photo: Jacob Tate and Carson Pursifull at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in December 2021. Photo by Sarandon Smith (Courtesy of the participants).

 

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired April 29, 2023, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. 

Two Bartenders Remember the Highs and Lows of Working at Brooklyn’s Historic Starlite Lounge

Sometimes a bar is more than just a business, it’s a part of history. These bars are places where cultures flourish, and often become a second home to devoted customers and a treasured landmark that neighbors proudly claim. For many years that was the Starlite Lounge in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, which was one of the first Black-owned gay bars in the city.

“It was the most welcoming place in the world,” Albert Johnson remembers.

Closing night at the Starlite Lounge in Crown Heights, Brooklyn in summer 2010. Courtesy of Donna Cuthbert.

Albert tended bar at the Starlite for nine years, and in 2010 he came to StoryCorps with fellow bartender Donna Cuthbert to talk about their time working there; the nights of dancing, the beloved jukebox and the eccentric regulars—some of whom refused to go home.

That same year the property owner sold the building, and despite efforts by the local community it was last call for the Starlite. But its legacy as a gathering space for the gay Black community lives on in the memories of its former employees and patrons.

Originally aired December 30, 2022 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

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A Couple Determined to Marry: How Jack Baker and Michael McConnell Became Husbands in 1971

In 1966, Michael McConnell and Jack Baker were introduced to one another by a friend at a Halloween barn party in Norman, Oklahoma. They quickly fell in love and decided to get married, despite the fact that it was illegal at the time.  

In the Spring of 1970, they walked into a government center in downtown Minneapolis, dressed in suits and ties, and applied for a marriage license. A few days later, they received a letter saying that their license had been denied. But they didn’t give up. 

Close-up of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell holding hands, featuring their wedding rings, in Minneapolis, Minn., March 2017. By Jhaleh Akhavan for StoryCorps.

They filed an appeal that went up to the United States Supreme Court. And even though their appeal was dismissed, in 1971 they found a way to become husbands. Jack and Michael came to StoryCorps to talk about their relationship, and how they made the law work in their favor. 

Michael McConnell (left) and Jack Baker (right) in their backyard in Minneapolis, Minn., July 2015.

 

Top Photo: Michael McConnell (left) and Jack Baker (right) with their wedding cake, featuring a two-groom topper, in Minneapolis, Minn. on September 3, 1971. By Paul Hagen. 

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired October 14, 2022 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“Why He Was Unknown Is A Mystery”: Remembering One Gay Man Who Sued For The Right To Work

In the 1970s, Faygele ben Miriam returned from serving overseas in the Army during the Vietnam war, and he settled in Seattle, Washington. Born John Singer, he changed his name to Faygele – meaning “little bird’ in Yiddish – to reclaim its derogatory use for “effeminate gay men.” And to honor his mother, he added “ben Miriam,” literally meaning “Little Bird, son of Miriam.” 

Faygele was an explosive character, and he often challenged his friends and colleagues to think of freedom in everything from how they dressed to who they stood up for, and at what cost. He was willing to put everything on the line – even his own safety – if it meant making the world a better place to live. And he earned the trust of his peers for taking bold, direct action. In 1971, Faygele applied for a marriage license with his friend and lover, Paul Barwick, an act that was unthinkable at the time.

Being so open, he was known for often wearing dresses in public because he was unafraid to proclaim his sexuality, no matter what room he was in. And in 1974, his frankness set the stage for a discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), when they unjustly fired him for his sexuality.

Ronni Gilboa and Patrick Haggerty at their StoryCorps interview in Bremerton, Washington on August 13, 2022. By Bella Gonzalez for StoryCorps.

Faygele died in 2000, at the age of 55. And recently, Faygele’s friends, Patrick Haggerty and Ronni Gilboa, came to StoryCorps to remember the man who left an indelible mark on their lives. 

Top Photo: Faygele ben Miriam at his last Seder before his death in 2000. Courtesy of the University of Washington Library, Geoff Manasse special collection.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired September 16, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition.