On the show today is Reverend Chris Jorgensen with The Urban Abbey which is a faith based community housed in a coffee shop in Omaha’s Old Market. The Urban Abbey is a non profit dedicated to making a difference one cup of coffee at at time and they believe everyone should have a place at the table. There have been many changes over the years when it comes to churches and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ Community. Right here in the midwest there was a group of churches who came together back in 2011 and issued The Heartland Proclamation which was a public apology to the LGBTQIA+ Community for the way the Christian Church has treated us in the past. And they made a promise going forward to being Open and Affirming just as The Urban Abbey believes. If you are looking for a faith community you may find one there but you may also listen to this interview and find a great deal of comfort in what Reverend Jorgensen shares about what The Urban Abbey is up to! She shares more about The Queer Faith on Campus Initiative too! I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did! Thank you for tuning in to Speaking Of Happy!
If you don’t see the player click here and listen to the episode on PodOMatic.
Today on the show we sat down with Joshua Mullady, Director of COCK which is in it’s final weekend of performances! If you are looking for a thought provoking, prevocative, word fight and battle for love then this play is for you! Written by Mike Bartlett, COCK will challenge your views of love, sexual identity, to cheat or not to cheat, and you the notion if something is worth loving it is worth fighting for!
If you do not see the player above click HERE and listen to the episode on podomatic.
I personally saw the show and felt the acting was brilliant! The central character, who by the way is the only character with a name, is John and he is in love with M but they fight a lot and have a number of differences which don’t always leave John feeling like an equal. On a break John meets W and as they dance with their dialogue he begins to find himself falling for W! But, he can’t stop thinking about M. As the story unfolds it becomes a duel to the end. No death occurs, but perhaps the metaphorical death of outdated notions of sexual identity! So, challenge yourself! Listen to the interview as you run over and buy tickets for the show!
Or as you listen go check out SNAP! Productions website for more information about the diverse theater productions they bring to Omaha. And then after you are done listening to this show go and listen to our interview with Michal Simpson, Artistic Director of SNAP! by clicking here.
On today’s episode of Speaking Of Happy we chat with Marilynn Barner Anselmi, a playwrite, who’s play Mama’s Girls, was just beautifully produced by SNAP! Productions here in Omaha. Marilynn came to see the play on the last day of the run and we sat down to chat with her about what the inspiration for the play was along with how she became a playwrite. Anselmi is a gifted writer and shares some very personal stories about her life. The episode originally aired on RadiOmaha earlier this year. We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did!
Anselmi and the cast of Mama’s Girls!
Anselmi gets interviewed by Chloe the young actress who played Sammy in Mama’s Girls
If you do not see the player click HERE and listen to the podcast on podomatic.
Our guest today is Andrew O’Donnell, they are a senior in high school, an author, Editor in Chief at The Progressive Teen, State Chair at High School Democrats of Nebraska, and an all around great young human! Andrew shares about the struggles they have had growing up with adversity and does so with great eloquence and clarity! They give me a great deal of HOPE for our future!
If you can’t see the player above click HERE and listen to the episode on pod-o-matic.
On the show today I sat down with local photographer Joshua Foo! Prior to this interview I had never met Joshua in person. I saw some of the his photos on Facebook and instantly fell in love with his work
so I decided to send him a friend request. Considering we had so many friends in common I hoped he would accept my request and he did! I also liked his photography page on facebook so I could stay up to date with his work.
He has a crazy awesome imagination and has created some amazing images that are whimsical and fun!
But what really had me take notice was when he started posting photos of people with a front and a side view of each person. The people are not smiling and appeared to be randomly plucked off the street. I watched as he posted them one after another and I started to notice something. Each of them were amazing and alluring. I wanted to learn more about the people he was posting as well as about the man who was capturing these incredible images!
A Photo Series by Joshua FooInstagram: @joshfoolovesyouFacebook: Joshua Foo Photography
So we sat down on the back patio at Caffeine Dreams, which is where he discovered the backdrop that would become a key element in his series! I was even honored to have my photo taken that day!
So here it is the full interview with Joshua Foo, my new and amazing friend! How many times does a person get to have their very first conversation with a person be recorded for all to hear and to live on forever right here on Speaking Of Happy! Thank you Joshua Foo!
We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did, and if you don’t that’s ok, we at least hope you learn something new!
If you can’t see the player above click HERE and listen to the show on PodOMatic.
Joshua is not only an amazing photographer but a human being extraordinaire and we talked about his photo series As You Were along with what inspires him and why he chose to become a photograper. Josh is a compassionate and amazing human being and I am so very grateful to now be able to consider him my friend.
This is the last day of the year. The last time in 2015 that I can say, I accomplished X or I did Y in 2015. What does that mean really? Well for me this year brought with it a great deal of firsts and a whole lot of transition. Transition in how I view myself along with who I choose to share with the world! Today I choose to share the real me authentically, but it took many years to get to this point. Many ups and downs. Much heartache and pain as well as triumphs. When I look back on the last 50 some odd years of my life I can honestly say I have accomplished more than I ever believed imaginable.
The greatest accomplishment is surrounding myself with people who are willing to love me unconditionally for me. To accept the me that I am sharing with them and to help me learn to love myself unconditionally too. Believe me, this has not come easy. I have had friends say some of the meanest things to me, needless to say, they are no longer my friends. And I have had complete strangers want to tear me down for sharing myself authentically with the world. But I am here to say that did not and will NEVER stop me from sharing me. From telling my story or from sharing the stories of other local LGBTQIA heroes I know.
Today marks a day I can sit back and reflect on with great pride. In the past year, I have accomplished more than I could have ever imagined to include this website. Creating a space where I get to share so many wonderful things about our world, things that make me happy but I am finding they make other people happy too! This website would not have been possible without the love and support of so many wonderful people to include the incredible love of my life Kira! The woman who has stood quietly by my side and supported my journey without hesitation. She has not only helped teach me to love and accept me for me, but to also shine a bright light into the darkest parts of myself in order to find true peace and appreciation for who I am and what I have to offer this world.
She was a stand that I stop saying mean things to myself. And she would call me on it at every turn. Eventually I began to see that how I treated myself and the things I said when I thought no one else could hear were hurtful. You see no one could ever hurt me more than I had been hurting myself. As I slowly began to peel away the rough exterior layers of the person I had become I started to realize and acknowledge the truly wonderful things about myself. I could no longer allow the things I disliked about me to stop me from telling my story or from sharing my journey! And as those things began to fall away I started to realize the me, that is truly me. And acknowledging it out loud and proud to the people in my life has made all the difference in the world for me. Her love is the fuel for my fire and knowing she is by my side and loves and accepts me for exactly who I am helps give me the courage to continue on this journey.
The other person I need to thank as I reflect on this year is my dear friend Alyssa. Once I began to share my transition with the world and introduced myself as Eli, she reached out to me and asked how she could help me realize my dreams. She asked me what I wanted to accomplish in sharing my transition with people and I told her. And then she did the most amazing thing. She said, I would like to coach you! No one has ever offered me such a gift and together we put a plan in place that helped me over the roadblocks in my way in creating Speaking Of Happy the website, the blog, and the radio show! With her guidance I put a plan in place that inspired me to accomplish tasks one at a time and before I knew it the website was created and I was publishing content I am proud of consistently and having a GREAT time doing it!
In three months I fully launched the website, produced, recorded, and edited 11 episodes of the radio show, produced shot and edited 3 videos (one that shared some personal stories of my life which has yet to be published to the page), wrote 3 blogs as well as had one guest blogger, and produced a One of A Kind comedy show and fundraiser that premiered my video 1976, my stand up comedy, plus I had more than 50 pieces of my photo art on display and for sale!
donated their time and talents and sang their hearts out at the show too so please go and support them and their music! And certainly last but not least I took some of the biggest steps on my journey to having my outsides express the man that I believe I have always been. I began my hormone treatments which has opened me up to a world that has been truly amazing and at times a little scary as I navigate these waters. On December 21, 2015 and with the amazing support of Kira, I ventured on the next step in my journey and had top surgery. As I type this I have an amazing freedom today. I look in the mirror and I see the me that had been there all along. A friend asked me, “what is it like, do you miss them?” I said, “My breasts?” He nods yes. I respond, “I don’t miss them at all, you see this is what I have always felt was me. I feel free and alive in a way that I have never experienced in the Fifty years of my life and I am awake and ready for the next 50!”
Also, if accomplishing the above wasn’t enough, with the love and support of many wonderful friends, I am also writing a book. I have finally found my voice and believe me, I will continue to shout with pride from the roof tops today and every day! I may not be the most prolific writer, comedian, blogger, or videographer in the world but I tell you this much, I am on the court of life, playing with everything I have to give and when I go to bed at night I sleep more soundly than I have all my life and awake and greet every new day with inspiration and determination to continue to do what I can to make a difference in our world!
I am truly blown away at what I have accomplished and fully believe 2016 will be one of my greatest years yet! My dear friends. If you take anything from what I have written here please know that allowing yourself and those around you be who they are and share their gifts with you, we all get to be GREAT together. So go, sing, dance, write, produce, support, and applaud yourself/others and all our successes! Let’s all have an amazing 2016!
I will be making my photo art available very soon so stay tuned!
Today on the show we sit down with Brody Ray, Kearney, NE native, who is working hard to make his dreams become a reality! He recently released his first EP Detour worldwide! He has an upbeat alternative rock sound that is full of life and energy! On this episode we talk about how Brody became a musician along with some wonderful stories about his growing up knowing he was different.
Brody’s life started out different from most. Brody, born female, new that his body didn’t match what he felt on the inside, as young as a toddler. Brody’s mother remembers him kicking the back of her seat in the McDonald’s Drive Thru until he got the boy toy in his happy meal, and jumping around in diapers and cowboy boots with a guitar singing at the top of his lungs.
I happen to think Brody is an incredible talent as well as being an amazing human being! He has a heart of gold and a deep desire to make a difference in the world with his music and I believe he is well on his way! He has performed at numerous Pride’s around the US along with performing right here in Omaha for Heartland Pride! Be sure to check out his website at www.brodyray.com and BUY HIS MUSIC which is also available on iTunes.
Brody also sang live in the studio for us and we shot a little video footage for your viewing pleasure!
If you can’t see the player above click HERE and listen to the show on PodOMatic.
Today on the radio show we sat down with Kate Parrish. She is the president of the River City Gender Alliance, also known as RCGA. Since 1986 RCGA has been a support organization that provides peer support, friendship and understanding for crossdressers, transgenderists and transsexuals.
The mission of the RCGA is to provide support for all persons who experience any form of gender identity issues. We welcome all persons with gender identity issues and also their spouses, partners and family members.
To fulfill the mission of the RCGA the objectives will be:
Monthly support meetings
Provide educational assistance and resource referrals.
Develop self-confidence/self-esteem in all members.
Network with other support groups.
Provide outreach activities that positively reflect our lifestyle.
Provide outreach to helping professionals who are interested in our lifestyle.
Hold social gatherings.
Recently RCGA provided Talk Back Panels for the play “Mama’s Girls” produced/directed by SNAP! Productions. The panels ranged from youth members of the trans community sharing their experience to longtime members of RCGA sharing their knowledge and personal stories about being Transgender in the Midwest. Powerful conversations where conducted and we are sure many people left the theater with a greater understanding and compassion for the Transgender community. GREAT work by Kate Parrish and RCGA in provided this support.
On our show Kate shares her experience in discovering her own gender identity and becoming the woman she is today. We hope you enjoy the episode! Do you want to be on the show? Do you have a local organization that supports the LGBTQIA Community or a personal story that you feel is important for others to hear? Please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to talk!
If you can’t see the player click HERE and listen to the podcast on PodOMatic.
On a special episode of the podcast we sit down with Kate Parrish, President of the RCGA (River City Gender Alliance), and she shares about TDOR Omaha and what is happening along with how RCGA is supporting the play Mama’s Girls produced by SNAP! Productions and showing now at the Shelterbelt Theater. Click HERE to buy tickets to the show before they sell out!
Transgender Day of Remembrance is this Friday, November 20th.
TDoR Omaha presents the 4th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance at the beautiful First Unitarian Church of Omaha, 31st and Harney. TDoR is a day that we gather in community to remember those who have died in the name of transphobia, share the living history of the transgender community, and to celebrate the transgender community.
We couldn’t be happier to have today’s podcast go live! We sat down with Ferial Pearson who is an educator, activist, public speaker, human being extraordinaire and she shared how The Secret Kindness Agents became a reality!
Taken from their facebook page:
Moved by the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, Ferial Pearson wondered if a simple act of kindness could change a life. She thought of the school where she taught and the students she guided every day and wondered, what would happen if we started secretly carrying out small acts of kindness in school? Could a modest act of compassion really change the course of a life? She posed the question to her students. They didn’t have the answers but they were willing to find out. And so they became the Secret Kindness Agents. They not only changed the lives of those they met, they changed their own. Their hope, their hearts, and their hunger for happiness will inspire you to change your small corner of the world, in your own way, for the better. Let them show you how they did it, and how you can do the same.
Ferial Pearson, a native of Nairobi, Kenya, is a national award-winning high school teacher and college instructor. For her dedicated work in education and human rights, she has earned the National Education Association’s Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights in 2012, and the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network’s Educator of the Year Respect Award in 2011. She is an Instructor and Instructional Coach in the Teacher Education Department at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Buy a copy of Secret Kindness Agents by clicking here. Follow the Secret Kindness Agents on Facebook by clicking here.
If you don’t see the player you can click here and listen to the podcast on Pod-o-matic! Thank you for listening!