Nate Phelps, son of Westboro Barptist Church founder Fred Phelps
Nate Phelps

The pastor of the much-reviled Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, has died at age 84. Phelps' message became synonymous with hatred. The pastor and his family made it a point to carry signs at funerals saying, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” They showed up to events with signs that read, “God Hates Fags.”

Nate Phelps is the sixth of Fred’s 13 children. He describes his father as verbally and physically abusive. When he was 18, Nate ran away from home and from religion.

In recent years Nate found himself publicly squaring off with his father and siblings to reverse their legacy of intolerance. He lives in Calgary, Canada, where he has become a public speaker who champions LGBT rights and raises awareness about the connection between extreme religion and child abuse. He is currently writing a book about his life and is the subject of an upcoming documentary. He spoke with Dick Gordon in 2012. The story, "Son of a Bigot," was featured on

Listen to Nate Phelps' conversation with Dick Gordon from 2012:

Here are some highlights of the conversation:

What was your childhood like?

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men Of The South / Sweet Tea The Play

Television shows like Glee, Will and Grace, and Modern Family portray gay identity as white, northern, and secular. But that was far from E. Patrick Johnson's reality growing up in Hickory, North Carolina. Johnson decided to travel across the South to unearth stories of African American gay men and document his findings in the book Sweet Tea: Gay Black Men of the South (UNC Press/2008).

Yoruba Richen a director, producer, and writer of 'The New Black.'
Luke Rattray


In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. That same night, Proposition 8 was passed in California, banning gay marriage in the state. 

Obama won by an astounding 24 points in California, leading some to ask if the mobilization of black voters was the critical factor in the passage of Proposition 8. 

North Carolina Central University
NC Central

A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Center recently opened on the North Carolina Central University campus. School officials say the goal of the facility is to establish a safer and more inclusive environment for all students. Tia Marie Doxey, Director of Student Life Assessment at the university,  says there have been some emotional moments there so far.

Nikita Gale is the current artist in residence at Elsewhere.
Nikita Gale

Greensboro’s self-defined “living museum” and art space, Elsewhere, has several new projects in store this summer.

This spring, the space launched one of its newest endeavors entitled “Southern Constellations.” The project attempts to bring together a network of experimental multimedia artists from around the south into Elsewhere’s creative space.

A man waves a flag in support of gay rights in front of the Supreme Court building.
Victoria Pickering via Flickr, Creative Commons

Yesterday's ruling on same sex marriage by the US Supreme Court does not open the door for gay marriages in North Carolina. The court ruled individual states can continue to decide whether they will allow same sex marriage. Last year, voters in North Carolina added Amendment One to the state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

So, while gay rights activists across the country celebrated the rulings this week, the gay community in North Carolina faced a different scenario – they're happy for gays across the country, but still can’t get married in their home state.


Aug 8, 2012

The emergence of punk music marked an anarchic change in the sound of rock during the 1980s, and Billy Ingram was there to document its rise.

He was a writer for a gay publication covering the Los Angeles music scene, and he had a front-row seat to a revolution in rock. At the same time, Ingram was coming into his own as a gay man covering punk culture, which he found less-than-friendly toward homosexuals. Ingram joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his experiences as documented in new book, "Punk" (TVParty/2012).

Macky Alston's new documentary film, "Love Free or Die," follows Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. Though the movie is about Robinson’s struggle to be accepted within the church, it’s inspired by the filmmakers’ experience as a gay man who was brought up in a religious family in North Carolina.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is hosting a national conference on girls and women in sports.

The three day event will feature speakers from around the country. Presenters will discuss practices for encouraging girls to be physically active, myths about muscles and strength for females in sports, and the role of nutrition before and after physical activity.