Episode 202: The Impact Of Anti-Racism Protests On Pro Sports; What Historical ‘Female Husbands’ Teach Us About Gender And Sexuality

As protests continue over racism and police violence, some professional athletes in New England are not staying on the sidelines. This week on NEXT, how protests could impact changes in pro sports. And when courts put eviction hearings on hold amid the pandemic, some landlords in Rhode Island resorted to shutting off utilities to try to push out tenants. Plus, connecting the history of “female husbands” to our modern understanding of gender and sexuality.

How Will Protests Shape What Pro Sports Do To Make Change?

football players new england patriots take a knee national anthem

Several New England Patriots players kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass. in September 2017. (Michael Dwyer/AP File)

As protests continue across New England over racism and police violence, some local and state officials are taking heed of calls for reforms. In Hartford, Conn., and in Boston, elected leaders are considering decreasing funding to police departments, and Vermont’s attorney general is urging the state’s legislature to consider adopting new standards to limit police use-of-force incidents. Athletes in the region are also getting involved, including Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Celtics guard Jaylen Brown.

“First and foremost, I’m a black man and I’m a member of this community and I grew up on this soil,” Brown said in a video on Instagram.

Sports have always been intertwined with politics. WGBH Radio‘s Esteban Bustillos looks at how sports leagues, teams and athletes are responding to the death of George Floyd and what’s different this time around.

Connecting ‘Female Husbands’ To Our Modern Understanding Of Gender And Sexuality

For nearly 200 years, the term “female husband” was used to describe an individual assigned female at birth who chose to live fully as a man. Historian Jen Manion, a professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts, said the British and American press wrote about female husbands in a mostly salacious and sensationalized way from the 1700s to the early 1900s. And when their assigned gender was revealed, they were usually detained by police and run out of town. Manion captures these lives in “Female Husbands: A Trans History,” a book that came out this spring. Manion spoke to NEXT about the treatment of female husbands over time and how that connects to our modern understanding of gender and sexuality.

Trump Rolls Back Protections On East Coast’s Marine National Monument


A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration photo of corals on Mytilus Seamount off the coast of New England in the North Atlantic Ocean. (NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research/AP)

While visiting Maine on June 5, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation he says will remove restrictions on the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean. The monument, prized for its biodiversity, is almost 5,000 square miles of submerged canyons and mountains located more than 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. It’s been closed to most commercial fishing since 2016, when President Barack Obama designated it as a conservation area. Now, Maine Public Radio’s Fred Bever reports, a legal battle is expected.

Self-Help Evictions Surge In Rhode Island As The Pandemic Pushes Landlords, Tenants To The Brink

Tenant Brandon Bradley and his mom, Tina Allen, prepare to file for a temporary restraining order. (Sofia Rudin/The Public’s Radio)

When Rhode Island courts put eviction hearings on hold in mid-March in response to the pandemic, lawyers saw a big spike in complaints of landlords pushing tenants out without going through the District Court. According to Rhode Island Legal Services, calls reporting self-help evictions more than tripled.

Brandon Bradley said his landlord shut off his utilities in an attempt to force him out of the apartment.

“The reason for me not leaving is because I have nowhere to go at the moment,” Bradley said. “I have no family that can take me in.”

The economic downturn has both landlords and tenants struggling to make ends meet, Sofia Rudin reports for The Public’s Radio. For renters living in already unstable situations, the disruption can push them to the brink of homelessness.

NEXT Wants to Hear From You:

On June 7 during a protest in Burlington, Vermont, Travon Groves had this message for white activists:

“I don’t want people who are here for the clout and because it’s the cool thing to do. Because on May 24, before George Floyd was killed, were you guys ready to stand up and protest for us then? Me and my brothers and sisters, we wake up and fight this battle every single day.”

This call-out for personal action has been on our minds. So NEXT wants to know: What can you be doing right now to help dismantle systemic racism? What reforms would you like to see? Leave a voicemail on our comment line: 860-275-7595. Or send us an email at next@ctpublic.org. We look forward to hearing from you.

Also On This Week’s Show:

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at Connecticut Public Radio
Host/Producer: Morgan Springer
Executive Editor: Vanessa de la Torre

Senior Director: Catie Talarski
Contributors to this episode: Esteban Bustillos, Fred Bever, Sarah Gibson, Sofia Rudin, Jane Lindholm and Elspeth Hay.
Guest: Jen Manion
Music: Todd Merrell, “New England”  by Goodnight Blue Moon, “Brain Disease” and “Golden Hands” by Anjimile, “Sandbar Inn” by Wren Kitz, “Chalkboard Balladeer” by Chris Ross and the North and “Prologue” by The Mallett Brothers Band.

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