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Sat Sep 5, 2015, 06:47 PM

What’s It Like to be Gay in Appalachia?

Burley, Sam Williams -- and their dogs

Across the country, there’s been sweeping change in the last few years in the way the law treats gay people - and how society in general feels about gay relationships. Here in Appalachia, the acceptance of this change has been mixed.

Just this summer, the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal in all states - throwing out bans on same sex marriage in some states...

On a recent episode (9/4/15) of the West Virginia Public Broadcasting podcast Us and Them, host Trey Kay explored these changes from his unique perspective of growing up in West Virginia, then moving away to New York. We’ll hear from Alice Moore, who comes from a strong Christian background and believes strongly that homosexuality is immoral. But first, Trey Kay explores the stories behind one of Charleston’s once-notorious gay bars.

As the podcast points out, LGBT people have become more visible and at the same time, more vulnerable. Sam Williams, a gay coal miner from WV, faced harassment and discrimination in the mines -- and later sued Massey Energy (his story at 30:00). Also listen to the Episcopal priest, Jim Lewis, who blessed gay and lesbian relationships in West Virginia as early as the 1970s (45:45).

The podcast offers important insights into the culture of Rowen County Clerk, Kim Davis, and the lives of contemporary LGBT people in Appalachia. It also asks important questions about national anti-discrimination legislation.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

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