Throughout this season of the StoryCorps podcast, we’ve been sharing LGBTQ voices, with an emphasis on stories from elders. But for our last episode, we wanted to hear what the next generation has to say.

First, we’ll hear from two families with transgender kids — Gabe López and Kaysen Ford — on how to be yourself, even when that’s scary.


We also asked a few LGBTQ teens who hang out at the Magic City Acceptance Center in Birmingham, Alabama to listen to a few stories, and then respond on the StoryCorps App.

Our first story comes from Walter Naegle, who fell in love with the iconic civil rights leader, Bayard Rustin, in 1977. As Bayard got older, they decided to formalize their relationship the only way they could back then: Bayard adopted Walter. Afterward, you’ll hear teens Sophie and Skyler weigh in on Walter’s story.


Growing up in the 1980s in Camden, New Jersey, Darnell Moore didn’t yet know he was gay, but he knew he was an outcast. At StoryCorps, Darnell sat down with his friend Bryan Epps to remember his teenage years. Friends Elliot and Emily then respond to Darnell’s story.


We’ll also hear a man reflect on a dark moment in LGBTQ history. On September 22, 2000, Joel Tucker was out with friends at a gay-friendly bar called the Backstreet Cafe in Roanoke, Virginia, when a man entered with a 9mm gun. Joel was one of six people who was injured. A few days after the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Joel came to StoryCorps with his friend Gordon Blake to remember that night in Virginia. We’ll then hear from friends Rae and Gabby after listening to Joel’s story for the first time.


Finally, we’ll hear from a mother and son, Rita Fischer and Jay Fischer, as they talk about how Jay first came out to her back in the 1980s.


Top photo: Artwork by Michael Caines.
Second photo: Chris López and her son, Gabe López, in Tuscon, AZ in 2016, and Jennifer Sumner and her child, Kaysen Ford, at their StoryCorps interview on April 17, 2015 in Birmingham, AL. By Camila Kerwin and Christina Stanton.
Third photo: Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle, courtesy of Walter Naegle, and Ericka Naegle and Walter Naegle at their StoryCorps interview on March 17, 2015 in New York, NY. By Nadia Reiman. 
Fourth photo: Bryan Epps and Darnell Moore at their StoryCorps interview on July 28, 2014 in New York, NY. By Von Diaz.
Fifth photo: Joel Tucker and Gordon Blake in an undated photo.
Bottom photo: Rita Fischer and Jay Fischer at their StoryCorps interview on October 2, 2009 in New York, NY. By John White.

Released on July 30, 2019.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
“Overture” by Patrick Wolf from the album Sundark and Riverlight
“Sage the Hunter” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Landsman Duets
“Step In Step Out” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Crab Shack
“Cast In Wicker” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Aeronaut
“Two Dollar Token” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Warmbody
“We’re From Near And Far” by Ending Satellites from the album And so sing the black birds
“Photosphere” by Charles Atlas from the album To the Dust: From Man You Came and to Man You Shall Return
“Towboat Theme” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Towboat