Sprouts:Connecting gay elders with youth - interview with Christopher Z. Hobson 
Series: Title: Sub-title:
Sprouts  Connecting gay elders with youth - interview with Christopher Z. Hobson   
Producer: Program type: Broadcast Restrictions:
Sprouts  Interviews  For non-profit use only. 
Summary: Featured speakers/guests:
A generational gap in the LGBTQ community is leaving many young LGBTQ people in the dark when it comes to the history of the LGBTQ rights movement. As young people strive and often struggle to accept themselves, this lack of knowledge can be extremely harmful, potentially leaving them isolated and more prone to self-destructive behaviors, including suicide.

There are several reasons for this gap. Consider how history gets passed down from generation to generation. Mainstream history is formally taught in schools. Family history is passed down through stories told by parents and grandparents. It's easy and natural, as it should be.

But these pathways don't exist for passing down LGBTQ history and experience. First with rare exceptions, LGBTQ history is erased from public school curricula.* In many states, ending this exclusion would be politically difficult if not impossible. Second, LGBTQ youth are almost never born into their own tribe; they are usually born into straight families and must strike out on their own to find their own community. LGBTQ elders, if they exist in the family, are often not talked about, and so this pathway also does not exist in many cases. And finally, it's often seen as taboo for LGBTQ elders to talk to younger LGBTQ people.

On this edition of Outcasting, we begin an irregular series connecting LGBTQ youth with elders and providing all listeners with a look into the experiences of people who have participated in the LGBTQ rights movement. On this week's program, we talk with Christopher Z. Hobson, a gay elder and activist. Hes also a professor of English at the State University of New York at Old Westbury.

Coming of age in the 1950s, Chris struggled with his sexuality and went through years of psychotherapy before eventually coming to accept himself. In this episode, Chris speaks to the generational divide and teaches us what it was like to be gay throughout his lifetime. He also discusses his life as an activist and his perspectives on how young people today deal with their sexual orientations and gender identities.

Chris is a son of the late author Laura Z. Hobson, who wrote the novel Gentlemans Agreement, subsequently adapted as an Oscar-winning film in the late 1940s. More pertinent here is her 1975 novel Consenting Adult, a powerful book based on her experience in gradually coming to accept Chris's sexuality.


* California is an exception. Several years ago, State Senator Mark Leno sponsored a bill, later enacted into law, that ended the erasure of the history of LGBTQ and disabled people from public school curricula in California. We spoke with him about the bill in an earlier edition of OutCasting, available at

Christopher Z. Hobson 
Notes: Credits:
We apologize for the less than stellar audio quality; this interview was recorded in Chris's NYC apartment and we had to be fairly aggressive with the noise reduction.  OutCasting youth participants Travis, Alex, Jamie, Callie, Adam, Brianna, Sydney, Sarah, Dhruv, Dante, Shirin. Assistant producer Alex Mintz. Executive producer Marc Sophos 
History | Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Trans | Sexuality / Romance | Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans  
Version 1:   
Total Length (HH:MM:SS)
Transcript, Announcer Script Location Recorded Release Date Language
View Script  NYC  03-21-2017  English 
Segment Length
File Info
sprouts  128Kbps mp3 (26.67MB) Mono 
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