Harvey Fierstein's Voice

Born in Brooklyn in 1954, Harvey Fierstein came out at age 13. He loved going to Saturday matinees on Broadway, and even play-acted in drag as Ethel Merman.

Harvey graduated from Pratt Institute in 1973, aspiring to become a painter – but soon turned to playwriting. His award-winning show, Torch Song Trilogy, was first presented off-off-Broadway in 1981 – with him in the lead role. The awards were piling up, especially after hitting Broadway.

Harvey has long been a champion of LGBT rights. Brought into sharper focus by Matthew Shepard's murder, he spoke out with his characteristic husky voice – rallying the community to speak out, to vote, and to boycott.

In one inspiring speech, he reached out to the community, saying, "We are not different, we are extraordinary."

This Rainbow Minute was read by Sonia of Disappear Fear.

The Rainbow Minute is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 3:59am, 7:59am, 9:59am and 12:29pm on WRIR - 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It's also heard internationally on over 200 radio stations.

Backing Gay Equality, Former President Gerald R. Ford

While historians and news commentators have credited Ford with uniting the U.S. in the wake of the Watergate scandal, few have mentioned his statements on equality for gays.

In an October 2001 interview with lesbian columnist Deb Price of the Detroit News, Ford called on fellow Republicans to join him in supporting equal treatment for gay people.

The Republican Unity Coalition – which advocated making homosexuality a non-issue for the party – invited Ford to join their board of directors. He accepted, becoming the first U.S. President to join the board of a gay rights advocacy organization.

When asked by Price if gay couples should receive full marriage equality, Ford said, "I don't see why they shouldn't. I think that's a proper goal. I think they ought to be treated equally. Period."

This Rainbow Minute was read by John DeBoer.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

Environmentalist, Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson was born in Pennsylvania in 1907. Starting her career as a writer, she became a marine biologist, culminating in her 1962 book, Silent Spring. With its stark warnings about the dangers of DDT and other chemical pesticides on the food chain, it helped ignite the environmentalist movement.

Carson was by this time a national celebrity, having written two other books about marine life. But her third was the charm, prompting the federal government to take measures against water and air pollution, and turning everyday Americans into ecologists.

In 1953, Carson began an intimate relationship with Dorothy Freeman. They spent summers together for the rest of Carson's life, and when apart, kept in touch with letters.

They eventually destroyed hundreds of letters, so the intensity of their bond would forever be a closely-guarded secret.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Janice Browne.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

NBA Player John Amaechi Scores By Coming Out

Born in the United States and raised in England, John Amaechi started his basketball career at Penn State. He played for four NBA teams in five years.

In February of 2007, he was the first male pro basketball player to come out, making him the sixth male athlete in major U.S. pro sports to come out, ever. Despite the ensuing controversy, Amaechi remained focused, saying, "I'm resilient enough, eloquent enough, and outspoken enough to try and open some minds." He became a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign's Coming Out Project, and published his autobiography, Man in the Middle.

Openly-gay tennis star Martina Navratilova praised Amaechi's forthrightness, declaring him a role model for kids.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Dustin Richardson.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

Gian Carlo Menotti, Italian Child Prodigy

Gian Carlo Menotti, one of the premiere classical composers of our time, was born in Italy in 1911. He composed his first opera at the tender age of eleven.

After his father's death, he moved to America and attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. There, he met fellow composer Samuel Barber, with whom he was partnered, outside the closet, for over thirty years.

In the 1940s and 50s, Menotti wrote four operas that appeared on Broadway, establishing his reputation as America's most popular opera composer. His 1951 Christmas operetta, "Amahl and the Night Visitors," is his best-known work.

In the 50s, Menotti received two Pulitzer Prizes.

One of his most successful ventures was "The Festival of Two Worlds" in Spoleto, Italy – a cultural collaboration of America and Europe, embracing all the arts.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Tom Miller.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

The Fate of We'wha, Part 2

The Native American Zuni tribe revered its people with traits of both genders. One such person, We'wha, was welcomed as a diplomat in Washington, D.C. in 1886. Heralded as the Zuni "Princess," no one knew she was actually a man.

We'wha's visit to the nation's capital was a diplomatic coup for the Zuni Nation, since they feared U.S. domination. But six years later, enraged by interference in their culture, the Zuni battled with U.S. troops. Zuni leaders were arrested, and We'wha was imprisoned for a month. Four years later, she died at the age of 49.

The Zuni Nation viewed We'wha's death as a calamity inflicted through witchcraft by the U.S. government. With that charge, the U.S. viciously attacked the Zuni to establish its authority over the Zuni Nation, once and for all.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Tall Feathers.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

Oh Revered One With Two Spirits - We'wha, Part 1

In many Native American cultures, males displaying feminine characteristics at an early age were apprenticed to the holy man of the tribe. They were considered two-spirited, assuming the female gender yet possessing the strength of a man. By tribal sacrament, they were honored as healers and prophets.

A prime example was We'wha of the Zuni Nation. In 1886, she traveled east to Washington, D.C., at the urging of anthropologist Matilda Stevenson.

Nicknamed Princess We'wha, she gained instant celebrity. Her social circle included government officials and the local elite. She worked with anthropologists at the Smithsonian Institute, even demonstrating Zuni weaving on the Washington mall. All the while, no one knew she was a man.

Learn more about We'wha's fate in the next episode of "Rainbow Minute."

This Rainbow Minute was read by Tall Feathers.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

164 = PD

Walt Whitman, the Father of Modern American Literature, was one of the first modern writers to incorporate homosexual desire into his poetry. But afraid to explicitly assert his own homosexuality, he substituted the vague phrase, "the love of comrades."

He was even secretive in his own journals, to hide the identity and gender of a significant person in his life. It's clear from his manuscripts in the Library of Congress that the pronoun "him" was erased, and "her" written over it. In addition, the name was written as 164 - a simple numerical disguise. The 16th letter of the alphabet is P, the 4th is D, revealing the name Peter Doyle.

Whitman and Doyle in fact shared a significant relationship for over twenty years, and in 1873 Doyle lived with Whitman, and attended to him daily while the poet was recovering from a stroke.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Michael Hinerman.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, Prominent German Activist

Born in 1868 in Prussia, Magnus Hirschfeld began a career in medicine with an emphasis on human sexuality. He believed sexual orientation was naturally occurring, and that laws against homosexuality should be changed for the betterment of society.

Hirschfeld founded the world's first organization to end the social and legal intolerance of homosexuals, called the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. He is also credited with amassing a huge number of books, papers, pamphlets and manuscripts on the subject. He worked to repeal Germany's anti-gay law, Paragraph 175.

In 1933, Hirschfeld was forced into exile when the Nazis came into power, raided the Hirschfeld Institute, and burned the priceless contents of the library.

Regardless, Hirschfeld had effectively defined gay activism, for the many that would take up the cause through the course of history.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Tom Miller.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

Craig Rodwell - Gay Rights Mogul

Craig Rodwell was born in Chicago in 1940. He came out early in life and moved to Greenwich Village in the 1950s.

He became a radical figure in the early gay rights group, The Mattachine Society. Later, he formed the Mattachine Young Adults, to increase gay visibility.

From 1964 to 1969, he participated in picket lines in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia every Fourth of July, to inform passers-by that gay Americans still lacked basic human rights. In 1965, he helped organize a protest against the exclusion of gays from federal employment and the military.

He is best known for opening the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, the country’s first gay bookstore, in 1967.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Reverend Robin Gorsline.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

Edward Carpenter, England's Charismatic Visionary

Carpenter was born in Brighton, England in 1844. He later attended Cambridge.

Upon receiving a copy of Walt Whitman's book of poems Leaves of Grass, his life was changed. He said, "I would and must somehow go and make my life with the mass of the people and the manual workers." Thus his legacy to the socialist and cooperative movements began. But it was his writings on homosexuality that made him unique.

In 1908, he wrote The Intermediate Sex, the first book of its kind in England – that gave information, hope and support for gays. Some even considered his books their lifeline.

His works are credited with inspiring many authors and activists that followed him.

Carpenter shared his life with George Merrit for nearly 40 years.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Jon Klein.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

It's Only Natural

Zookeepers who have long observed homosexuality in caged animals believed that stressors such as confinement, unnatural living conditions and diet were at work. But when behaviorists began reporting the presence of homosexuality in animals in the wild, it was found to be not only common, but even more prevalent than in humans.

Homosexuality has been observed in more than 1,500 animal species. Giraffes, penguins, beetles, parrots, whales and dolphins engage in pair bonding that's as committed and long lasting as with heterosexual pairs. Homosexuality has also been identified in 130 species of birds and bees.

But this isn't just a recent phenomenon. Apparent homosexual behavior among hyenas was observed 2,300 years ago by the Greek philosopher Aristotle.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Dustin Richardson.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.