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The longest-running queer news radio show is headed to the Library of Congress

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A piece of living LGBTQ history is heading to the Library of Congress.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

The independent radio show "This Way Out" has covered the global queer community for more than 30 years. Now its archives are moving to the nation's library as part of a radio preservation program.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THIS WAY OUT")

GREG GORDON: Welcome to "This Way Out," the international lesbian and gay radio magazine.

MARTIN: "This Way Out" debuted in 1988 on Pacifica station KPFK in Los Angeles. Co-host Lucia Chappelle says that in the '80s, mainstream media coverage of queer people mainly focused on the AIDS crisis.

LUCIA CHAPPELLE: There was just nothing else about our lives. They talked about our deaths but not our lives. That was the breakthrough, I think, with "This Way Out."

MARTINEZ: The show documents the fight for gay and lesbian rights all over the world, and it examines the culture wars at home with journalistic accuracy and a biting sense of humor.

CHAPPELLE: We are a queer voice, and so we have that edge, that special something, an insightful piercing of the status quo.

MARTIN: A 1992 broadcast marked the 15th anniversary of Anita Bryant's anti-gay Save Our Children campaign in Florida. Gay and lesbian activists organized to defeat the conservative Christian effort, targeting a new anti-discrimination law in Dade County.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THIS WAY OUT")

GORDON: Florida orange juice huckster Anita Bryant probably did more to advance the cause of lesbian and gay rights than any single activist when she fronted a similar religious fundamentalist campaign to repeal the lesbian and gay rights ordinance in Dade County, Fla.

MARTINEZ: Today, "This Way Out" is the longest-running radio news program by and about queer people. And while there's now plenty of LGBTQ media on the internet, co-host Greg Gordon says the program remains a lifeline.

GORDON: I can tell you, based on responses - email and letters - that there are a lot of kids, and even older people, still in the closet with no discernible way for them to make any contact with the community. And we are very often that sort of lone voice in the night telling them that they're OK to be who they are.

MARTIN: "This Way Out" airs on more than 180 community radio stations around the world. And with its archives set to be preserved, the program will be accessible to researchers, historians and to the public for years to come. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.