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Profiles in LGBTQ+ Courage
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Profiles in LGBTQ+ Courage

Author: Rick Koonce

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This podcast program, produced by Huntington Northstar Productions of Hyannis, Massachusetts, in collaboration with PFLAG Cape Cod, explores the lives of PFLAG Cape Cod members, including members of the LGBTQ+ community and their families, who have dealt with issues of sexual identity/orientation, gender transition, and social acceptance.

Many episodes offer moving and intimate portraits of individuals wrestling with their sexual/gender identity, and the path they have taken toward wholeness and healthy self-acceptance. Other episodes profile the parents, family members, and allies of LGBTQ+ individuals on their own journeys toward understanding and acceptance of loved ones.

Profiles in LGBTQ+ Courage is intended both to educate listeners about the challenges facing those who identify as LGBTQ+, and to help anyone struggling with issues of orientation and sexual/gender identity to find the resources and social support they need to lead happy, fulfilling lives.

Rick Koonce (Host, Interviewer and Producer) is a former print and broadcast journalist and author or co-author of seven books. A board member of PFLAG Cape Cod, he was a commentator on Public Radio’s popular business program, “Marketplace” for five years, and has conducted hundreds of interviews with people from every walk of life over the course of a 25-plus year long career in business and print and broadcast journalism.
14 Episodes
Bisexuality... Even among members of the LGBTQ+ community it’s a concept and reality that often is not fully understood – or appreciated. As a result, bisexuals sometimes feel marginalized and rejected, even among people who identify as members of other sexual minorities. And that means being bisexual can be a lonely and misunderstood place to be. So says Deer Sullivan, a bisexual educator and counselor who, over the years, has had long-term relationships with both women and men. In this revealing interview with PFLAG Cape Cod’s Rick Koonce, Deer talks about the realities of being bisexual in a world that tends to see sexuality in binary – black and white – terms. "I don’t like to put people’s sexuality in boxes," says Deer. She goes on to say, with a combination of both passion and good humor, that there are a lot more people in the MIDDLE of the sexuality continuum than we commonly imagine. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2021 PFLAG Cape Cod
Dr. Maureen Osborne is a psychologist and gender therapist who has spent over two decades serving the needs of transgender clients. In this fascinating interview with PFLAG Cape Cod’s Rick Koonce, Maureen talks, in depth, about her work with a variety of transgender men and women over the years. She describes the human anguish, confusion, and shame transgender people often experience, when they feel trapped in bodies that feel alien to them. And, she offers both compassion and hope to anyone who either thinks they might be transgender, or who has embarked upon the difficult path of gender exploration and transition. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2021 PFLAG Cape Cod
Ali Sands is an author and professional speaker who writes and speaks frequently on the topics of love, relationships, intimacy, and gender expression and identity. They’re topics she knows a lot about. Married for 23 years to a straight man, and mother of two children, in 2002 Ali began a relationship with a new partner, who, at the time, inhabited a physically female body, but who soon told Ali that they were, in fact, transgender. Thereafter began an epic 10-year journey, as Ali accompanied her partner, who took the male name “Rhys,” as he embarked on the emotionally and physically painful transition to become a transgender man, a story Ali tells in riveting day-by-day detail in her book, I Know Who You Are but What am I? As Ali tells PFLAG Cape Cod’s Rick Koonce, in this moving and wide-ranging interview, the journey Ali took with her partner was one that taught her a great deal, not only about love, intimacy, and gender expression, but also about perseverance, courage, her steadfast commitment to the love of her life, and the simultaneous search for her own identity. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2021 PFLAG Cape Cod
Dirk Correia is a twenty-something transgender male who identifies as nonbinary -- meaning that they don't identify with being either entirely male or female, as society typically understands those terms. As Dirk explains to PFLAG Cape Cod's Rick Koonce in this illuminating interview, their journey to accepting themselves as nonbinary has been a long, and at times, difficult process -- one that has required courage, grit, and a steadfast resolve and self-reliance to be something that society today doesn't yet fully understand, appreciate or embrace. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2021 PFLAG Cape Cod
Lori Duron | Ep #10

Lori Duron | Ep #10


She calls herself “a fierce Mama bear” when it comes to safeguarding the rights and safety of her two boys. So says Lori Duron, author of Raising My Rainbow, a book that chronicles her family’s adventures raising a gender creative child named C.J., a boy who, from the age of just two and a half, displayed clues that he wasn’t like other kids. While Duron’s older son, Chase, grew up as a sports-playing boy’s boy, even as a small child, C.J. enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls, and twirling around in a pink sparkly tutu. As Duron tells PFLAG’s Rick Koonce in this interview, raising C.J. and his brother Chase, hasn't been easy. Over the years, she’s had to become a fierce advocate of C.J. with teachers and psychiatrists. On playgrounds, she had to sometimes face down other, non-approving parents. And at home and on social media, she and her family have been targets of hate mail and angry tweets. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2021 PFLAG Cape Cod
Rabbi Elias Lieberman has been Rabbi of the Falmouth Jewish Congregation on Cape Cod since 1990. In that time, he’s been a steadfast champion of LGBTQ rights, signing on early to support same-sex marriage when it first became law in Massachusetts, and later, becoming an outspoken advocate of transgender rights as well. His congregation also served as the host location for meetings of PFLAG Cape Cod for many years. For Rabbi Lieberman, social justice efforts are all in a day’s work, and in keeping with Reform Judaism’s focus on “repairing the world through a commitment to social justice.” A concept referred to as Tee Koon oh lahm. As he tells PFLAG’s Rick Koonce in this interview, the roots of Rabbi Lieberman’s commitment to social justice run deep, and have been a constant in his life, since his boyhood years in Baltimore, when his family gathered for the observance of Shabbat, often welcoming others to their Friday night dinner table. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2021 PFLAG Cape Cod
You might call Joanne Hush a social pioneer. It’s probably not a label she would ascribe to herself. But, Joanne is the mother of a gay son and a lesbian daughter, both of whom came out to her (and her husband Paul) decades ago –- in the 1980s and early 90s -- when having openly gay or lesbian children was far more controversial and uncommon than it is today. Joanne learned her son was gay in the late 1980s, at the peak of the AIDS epidemic. Back then, there wasn’t a good public understanding of how the disease was transmitted. There was, however, widespread fear and stigma associated with AIDS; factors that Joanne, her husband, and their two straight children had to deal with. There was also the challenge that Joanne and her husband faced in “coming out” themselves -- as the parents of gay children. As Joanne tells PFLAG’s Rick Koonce in this moving interview, it was through her involvement with PFLAG Cape Cod, beginning in the mid 1990s, that Joanne and her husband Paul found a community of support and encouragement among other parents of gays, lesbians, and transgender youth. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2021 PFLAG Cape Cod
36-year-old Alex Smith knew, from an early age, that he was different. But, as a child, he didn't have the vocabulary to describe his feelings, or the psychological maturity to understand the emotions that stirred in him. Born female, it would be years before he realized he was, in fact, transgender. In this revealing interview with interviewer and PFLAG - Cape Cod member Rick Koonce, Alex describes his decades-long journey in search of himself, a journey that was both colorful and insightful, affirming and sometimes mind-blowing, but which ultimately laid the foundation for Alex's happy life today. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2021 PFLAG Cape Cod
Susan Smith is the mother of a 36-year-old transgender son who she raised with her husband, Roger, on a rural Pennsylvania farm. Back in the 1980s and 90s, sexuality wasn't a topic that even most progressive, open-minded parents eagerly discussed with their kids. But from an early age, Susan realized that something was going on with her daughter. The event became a turning point in Susan's dawning awareness that her daughter was transgender. In this touching interview with PFLAG's Rick Koonce, Susan talks about how she came to discover that her child was transgender, how it impacted her parenting style, and how the journey toward accepting her child for the person he truly is, was a transformative, life-changing experience for her and her entire family. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2020 PFLAG Cape Cod
Max Archer | Ep #5

Max Archer | Ep #5


Max Archer is the 38-year-old father of an adult daughter and three school age boys. A nurse by training, he works from home for a major health insurance company, and in his spare time, volunteers for several justice organizations on Cape Cod. So, what makes Max different from many other single parents? Max is a Trans man. In this revealing interview with PFLAG's Rick Koonce, Max describes the many twists and turns in his transition from female to male; what he's learned about life, family, and the subtleties of human sexuality in the process, and why he identifies so closely with the Klingon character of "Worf" on the hit TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2020 PFLAG Cape Cod
Robyn Keating | Ep #4

Robyn Keating | Ep #4


Robyn Keating is a 26-year-old transgender woman. Born into a male body, she knew, from an early age, that she didn't identify with boys, but did identify with being a girl. While her mother (Dina) was always supportive of her being whoever she felt herself to be, Robyn was afraid of her father. Consequently, she remained in the closet for years, until, one autumn day, in 2017, at the age of 23, she told her mother she was transgender. From there, mother and daughter began a journey together. Today, Robyn thinks of her mother as "my best friend." And while Robyn's journey has had rough patches, her mom continues to be a source of love and support. In this interview with PFLAG's Rick Koonce, Robyn explains the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity. She also describes her life today as a transwoman: her transition; the challenges of navigating a world that treats sexuality as binary; dating as Trans during COVID; and, her career as a successful attorney. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2020 PFLAG Cape Cod
Dina Guarino | Ep #3

Dina Guarino | Ep #3


When you have a child who comes out as transgender, it can be an emotional rollercoaster to deal with. You can also feel like nobody in the world understands what you’re dealing with. So says Dina G. of Cape Cod. In 2017, Dina’s 23-year-old son shared with her that he was, in fact, a woman. Since that time, both Dina and her daughter, Robyn have been on a journey of exploration, discovery, and acceptance together. At times, that journey has been a difficult one for Dina, as she tells PFLAG's Rick Koonce in this interview. A parent who learns their child is transgender struggles with issues of confusion, worry, isolation, and self-doubt. And it’s often important to find a support group whose members understand what you’re going through, she says. Still, the love she feels for her child has never waivered, since her daughter first came out to her on a crisp, autumn day while the two were mowing the lawn together at Dina’s home. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2020 PFLAG Cape Cod
Paula Degree | Ep #2

Paula Degree | Ep #2


Imagine being in your mid-sixties, married (for the second time) and discovering you’re transgender! The life of Paula Degree is a compelling story of courage, self-exploration, long sought answers, and fearless personal honesty. Married twice and the parent of three children, Paula says the day she realized, in her therapist’s office, that she was transgender was a life epiphany, and a moment that FINALLY set her free. In this interview with PFLAG’s Rick Koonce, she describes a life full of pain, confusion, unresolved feelings, and unusual turns. But also insights that led her to discover who she truly is. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2020 PFLAG Cape Cod
Joey Morisset | Ep #1

Joey Morisset | Ep #1


Courage is a quality we usually associate with age, wisdom, and years of lived experience. But what if you’re just 18 years old, full of vibrant enthusiasm and energy, and a young gay man who’s already found his voice when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights? You’d be describing Joey Morisset, a young gay man from Cape Cod who is already a profile in LGBTQ+ courage, and the First Place Winner of The 2020 Anne Toran Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded annually by PFLAG -- Cape Cod to a graduating high school senior from the Cape, for demonstrating support and advocacy of the LGBTQ+ community. In this interview, conducted with PFLAG’s Rick Koonce, learn more about how Joey became an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, and discovered who HE is, in the process. For more information, visit the PFLAG Cape Cod website: © 2020 PFLAG Cape Cod
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