Radio program addresses transgender issues

By Hannah Nusser

Published: Wednesday, October 21, 2009


TransTalk is bringing education and diversity to University airwaves with its discussion of transgender news, history and controversies.

TransTalk is an hour-long radio program that focuses on issues in the transgender community from a transgender perspective.

The show has been airing on WFAL Falcon Radio since October 2008. Starting this semester, TransTalk airs Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. With the departure of co-host Joelle Ruby Ryan, Marlene Bomer hosts the show in its new time slot.

Bomer said her inspiration in continuing the show solo was because it’s “an avocation and a passion” that she continues for the freedom of an independent radio station like WFAL.

The main goal of TransTalk, Bomer said, is to educate and raise awareness about the transgender community.

The show discusses transgender issues, ranging from politics and employment discrimination to academia and public restroom access, all in relation to how it affects the transgender community.

“It’s a show that looks at history, music, news and commentary all from a transgender perspective,” Bomer said.

Bomer said another goal of the show is to let transgender people know there’s a different community for them outside the LGBT community.

“People might listen in and say ‘Oh, I’m not alone,’” she said.

Bomer discusses topics in transgender history, like important dates. She uses a “trans tune” to introduce each topic, which is a song by a transgender artist or about a transgender person. Artists like Namoli Brennet, RuPaul, Culture Club and Girlyman are played between discussion.

In addition to transgender history, Bomer discusses top stories in transgender news each week.

Bomer plans to have guests on the show from Transcendence, the University’s transgender student group, and Vision, the University’s general LGBT student group, on the show in light of upcoming transgender awareness days in November.

Members of Transcendence support the show because it brings transgender issues to the forefront.

“I think it’s cool to have the show — to put some diversity into topics on the radio,” senior Monica Beer said.

Joy Hartwell-Lein, financial aid specialist in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said, “It’s really important to have diversity on the radio waves … I think people can learn a lot.”

Annie Russel, coordinator of LGBT programs and services at the University, said she thinks there should be more shows that represent the LGBT community and educate people.

“They talk about issues that aren’t out in the spotlight,” she said. “It’s really interesting.”

Bomer takes song requests and material suggestions through the show’s Facebook group, Friends of TransTalk. Listeners can tune in any time at