Meet some of MPR's Equalizers, our employee resource group of GLBTQIA (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersexed and Ally) colleagues.
#WeAreMPR! Meet Brad Althoff, Managing Producer, CMS Nat'l Programs, Classical ______ Celebrating Pride: I celebrate pride through BBQs/potlucks with friends, hanging our rainbow flag on the front of our home and going to the parade. . Two GLBTQIA people I admire: Ellen DeGeneres - she was fearless during the highly homophobic '80s and did the most courageous thing anyone could do at that time by simply saying "I'm gay." Dan Savage - he was the first proud and intelligent gay man that I became aware of back when I was in college. His syndicated column "Savage Love" provided me with a perspective I could identify with that didn't exist anywhere else. . On coming out: I came out late in life - when I was 29. I had always known I was gay, but grew up in a conservative environment where being gay was simply not an option. By the time I was 29, I had been married to a woman for 6 years and suffered from cyclical bouts of depression. I knew that not being truthful in my marriage was causing it, so I got divorced and came out. Best decision ever. As Anais Nin wrote: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. . Fave podcast: The Economist . How it gets better: Happiness. Finding friends, your tribe, people who you love and love you in return happens much more easily when you're true to your identity. My tweens were not easy for me, and to have that stress or burden fall away has been incredible. . #MPR50 #Pride
#WeAreMPR! Meet Margaret Bresnahan, Digital Media Coordinator, Broadcast Operations ___ Best way to celebrate Pride? Pridefully! Out loud. Everywhere you go, with everyone you interact with. . Favorite artist: ONIKHO, onikhomusic dot com . How does it get better? It gets better because, no matter what, everything changes. That's one guarantee we've got. And we have the power to be positive agents of change in our own lives, whether it's through self-care, choosing a community that lifts us up, or choosing an attitude that helps us own the day. . #MPR50 #Pride
#WeAreMPR! Meet Justin Levy, Associate Producer, Events & Performance Programs. . On celebrating pride: I think the best way to celebrate Pride is doing what is best for you. Some years I'm out at all events possible, I'm at the park walking around, and I'm at OR in the Parade. Other years, I've taken Pride to mean self care and retreat to the north woods. It's looked different every year. . A GLBTQIA person Justin admires: Because I am reading their new book and listening to their new podcast - Janet Mock. She is an advocate, activist, pop culture expert, and a wonderful trans woman living her truth. She's inspired me to examine my own identity as a gay Jewish person, and be the best ally to my trans, bisexual, lesbian, gender-nonconforming and queer family. . Coming out! When I was 15, I had quit football because of homophobia, and I joined theater. A year earlier, I had come out to myself. One morning at school, I started telling my friends before classes start. After a few folks had thought I was joking, I looked at the date and it was April 1st. I immediately stopped telling people, and waited a couple days. But at that time, it had already spread through the whole school. A week later, I told my parents. 13 years later, I'm still coming out. . Some favored listens: I can't do favorite music because I have so many, but right now, I'm loving the album "CTRL" SZA. Podcasts, loving Nancy from WNYC and Never Before with Janet Mock. . How does it get better? This is a hard question. It's hard because for a person who isn't in that space of "it's gotten better", it sucks. Your feelings are valid. What you are going through is hard, and nobody should have to doubt who they are completely. What I will say, is that 13 years after coming out, I am on a journey of self love, and each day, it feels lighter. To anyone waiting for it to get better, there is a whole world out there that sees you for you, and will never ask you to question your identity. . #MPR50 #Pride
#WeAreMPR! Meet Kate Moos, Executive Producer, Content Initiatives, Newsroom . Who is a GLBTQIA person you admire and why? A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Lily Tomlin. I'd seen "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" decades ago, and have worshipped at her temple ever since. She was in town for a show at Orchestra Hall on the eve of Pride, and Euan Kerr invited me to come along on his scheduled interview with her, knowing what a fan I was. She was really gracious. I hardly ever let my fan girl show that much but I couldn't help it. . Coming out: I came out to my parents in the late 70s. I was living in south Minneapolis working at the Wedge Coop on an all-women produce crew. We drove a big truck down to farmer's market at 4:30 in the morning to buy wholesale vegetables from local farmers. It was a wonderful thing to do for a living. South Minneapolis had a large, welcoming lesbian community at that time. Weekend dances at the collectively-run A Women's Coffeehouse in the basement of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Amazon Bookstore. There were hundreds of out lesbian feminist women who were figuring out how to make community. But to the larger culture, we were invisible. . Music: I was struggling hard with my identity in 1975 when Patti Smith's "Horses" came out. That album was very clarifying for me. More recently I've fallen in love with Bedroom Community. . It Gets Better: Now I come out every day to someone, as a matter of course. The dental hygienist, the clerk at the grocery store. It never stops, but it rarely, for me, feels dangerous these days. Of course that's speaking as someone who has a lot of safety based on my race and age and professional and social status at this point. I've been partnered for 27 years and married since 2006. We ran up to Thunder Bay, Canada without telling anyone. Thunder Bay is not a gay mecca, by the way. It was February and we caught the front end of a nasty winter storm driving back, calling everyone to tell them we had eloped. . #MPR50 #Pride
#WeAreMPR! Meet Jeffy Hnilicka, Co-Director, Events and Performance Programs ______ Best way to celebrate pride? I always try to stop by the Quatrefoil Library booth in Loring Park. They are an awesome community-run LGBTQ library and they always have some treasures to be found. . Admirable GLBTQIA people: My sister Liv and my brother Dan are sooooo fierce and fun. I feel so lucky to be a Queer person with a large chosen family and a significant Queer family of origin. They are both unapologetically themselves and are dedicated to our community. . Jeffy's coming out story: I came out in high school and basically wanted to be Ricky Vasquez from My So Called Life. Recently, I've been exploring the more femme parts of my identity and have loved starting to wear more daytime make up. Navigating that sort of visibility has felt a bit vulnerable and has reminded me of coming out. . A fave artist: One of my favorite artists is Arthur Russell. I highly suggest exploring his entire catalog - from funk and disco and house to new wave, folk, and more experimental albums - he truly did so much in a short career. . How does it get better? Hmmm.. I'm not quite sure if it does - but often I feel more stable, supported, and wise as I get older. But I think there is so much excitement, experimentation, and raw power that intersects youth and queerness. To me, being Queer is about finding ways to push back against the systems that fall short of defining us. Being older means I have more experience with it, but also more battle scars and I'm a bit more tentative to take a risk. #MPR50 #Pride
As part of our 50th anniversary, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the many people who make MPR happen every day. Throughout the year, we'll be sharing the stories of MPR Members, staff and volunteers here and on our social media channels, and featuring some of those here.