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Playlist: Audacious Women's History Month

Compiled By: Connecticut Public (WNPR)

 Credit:

Episodes of Audacious with Chion Wolf highlighting women's stories and accomplishments. This playlist also features our Gracie award winning episode on life after having a mastectomy.

The game changers: Female referees in chess, boxing, and softball

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

On this episode of Audacious, meet three female referees in the world of boxing, chess, and softball, including one who was punched in the face (and it wasn't the one in the boxing ring!).

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When you imagine an umpire, a chess arbiter, or a boxing referee… do you picture women?

In this hour, you'll hear stories from three women in the sports world who are thriving in those particular positions of power.

GUESTS: 

  • Kristi Howard: 11-year veteran softball umpire in Mississippi. After getting punched in the face by an angry parent, she is advocating for laws to classify assaults against umpires and referees as felony aggravated assault.
  • Martha Underwood: National Tournament Director for the U.S. Chess Federation, and an advocate for the non-profit 9 Queens
  • Sparkle Lee: First female boxing ref to be licensed in New York and New Jersey, the first woman to ref in the NY Golden Gloves boxing tournament, the only woman to ref a match at Yankee Stadium, and she was the first referee ever to be inducted into the International Women Boxing Hall of Fame

The declassified life of former CIA agent Valerie Plame

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

On this episode of Audacious, hear about how undercover CIA operative, Valerie Plame, was outed by members of the Bush administration in 2003, and what life has been like since.

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Until 2003, very few people knew her name, and that was exactly as she liked it.

She was an undercover CIA operative working to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - specifically, nuclear weapons.

But then, when members of the Bush administration leaked her identity to a journalist, all hell broke loose.

Hear about why she became an undercover agent, what exactly happened when her identity was exposed in 2003, and what life has been like since.

She is hosting the conference, "Spies, Lies, and Nukes" in Santa Fe, New Mexico from November 10-12.

GUEST: 

Conception deception: The fight for transparency in the fertility industry

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

On this episode of Audacious, what if you found out that your sperm donor was not the man your parents chose... But their fertility doctor? Two women talk about changing the laws around fertility fraud.

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Imagine you found out when you were a teen that your father was not your biological father. That is what happened to both of our guests on this episode of Audacious.

One woman, Eve, then found out that her biological father was not the sperm donor her parents chose, but their fertility doctor. This is called “fertility fraud“. It is only illegal in 12 states (not including Connecticut), and not at all illegal on the federal level.

Another woman, Laura, developed health issues that were inherited. After finding half-siblings who were also struggling with similar issues, she asked her donor to disclose his medical records. He has refused. And there are no laws forcing him to comply.

Laura and Eve are now advocating for legal protections and changes to regulations in the fertility industry.

Find support groups for people navigating donor conception at Donor Conceived Community.

GUESTS: 

  • Laura HighA New York-based comedian who is trying to get medical records from her biological father after developing a benign brain tumor and hormonal disorders
  • Eve Wiley: After finding out that her biological father was not the donor her parents chose, but their fertility doctor, Dr. Kim McMorries. She was part of the advocacy effort that led to Texas making fertility fraud a felony with punishment of between six months and two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000

Views from the end: Lynda Bluestein, medical aid in dying, and the importance of humor every day

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

On this episode of Audacious, meet Lynda Shannon Bluestein who changed medical aid in dying laws, began a wind phone project, and made people laugh every day.

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We first met Lynda Shannon Bluestein when she was in palliative care back in May of 2022.

She was fighting for medical aid in dying (MAID) to be legalized in Connecticut. Frustrated, she sued Vermont to allow non-residents of the state to use its MAID laws.

In the meantime, she worked to install "wind phones'' in Connecticut, eventually starting a nonprofit called Lynda's Phones. An idea originating in Japan, old rotary phones are installed in public spaces which people can use to imagine that they are speaking to loved ones who have died.

Because of her lawsuit, Vermont became the first state in the country to change its law to allow terminally ill people from out of state to use its medical aid in dying law.

Lynda died in Concord, Vermont, on January 4, 2024.

Correction: A previous version of this episode incorrectly reported the town where Bluestein died. It was Concord, Vermont. Not Brattleboro. The episode has been updated.

GUESTS: 

  • Lynda Shannon Bluestein: Successfully sued the state of Vermont to allow out-of-state residents to use its medical aid in dying law. She is the creator of LyndasPhones.org, which installs wind phones across the state of Connecticut, allowing people to feel as though they are connecting with their loved ones who have died

  • Jacob Shannon: Lynda’s son and trustee of LyndasPhones.org,  funding the design, construction, and installation of wind phones 

  • Dr. Paul Bluestein: Lynda’s husband and an advocate for medical aid in dying in Connecticut 

'I Will Always Love You': Jada Star’s musical bond with her aunt Dolly Parton

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

What's it like being related to someone super famous? Like… Dolly Parton! Singer-songwriter Jada Star talks about shining bright in her aunt Dolly’s light.

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Growing up as Dolly Parton's niece has its benefits, including a genetic predisposition to write poetry and put it to music.

Jada Star is the niece of Dolly Parton, and she joins us to talk about life in her light —and the music that means the most to her.

For a transcription of this episode, click here.

GUEST: 

  • Jada Star: Singer-songwriter whose debut album is called Tell Me I'm Your Angel. She also starred in the ABC reality series Claim To Fame.

You will also hear the voice of Heather Ream, author of "Lunchladies Bought My Prom Dress," East Tennessee native, and Dolly Parton fan. She was a guest on the Audacious episodes about super smellers and nostalgic childhood scents.

Why'd You Do It: I snuck my incarcerated boyfriend out of prison in a dog crate

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

On this episode of Audacious, hear the story of Toby Dorr. She was on the run with John Manard for 12 days after she helped sneak him out of prison in a dog crate.

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In 2006, dog trainer Toby Dorr, made international headlines when she snuck John Manard, who was incarcerated for life, out of prison in a dog crate.

They were on the run for 12 days, until it all came to a crashing halt.

In this second installment of our "Why'd You Do It?" series, find out what went into all the choices Toby made, before, during, and long after the great escape.

Listen to the first installment of our "Why'd You Do It?" series

GUESTS: 

If you are struggling with emotional distress, you can call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. It is free, confidential, and available 24/7, in English and Spanish.

Words over weapons: When anti-war poems go viral

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

On this episode of Audacious, meet three women whose anti-war poetry about the conflict in Gaza, and the violence under Russian president Vladimir Putin, went viral.

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When you think about the history of things that have gone viral, poetry is not usually what comes to mind. But as the latest surges in violence rage across the world, it turns out that poetry is something folks unite around.

Meet three people whose poems about war have gone viral, and find out how it both fed their purpose and made the world think.

GUESTS:

  • Lena Khalaf Tuffaha:  Palestinian American poet, essayist, and translator who has authored three books of poetry. She won the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Poetry for her book “Water & Salt” which contains her viral poem "Running Orders"
  • AnnaLynne McCord: Actress who published a video of her reading a poem about if she had been Vladimir Putin's mother. She is the President of "Together1Heart" which empowers women and children victimized by human-trafficking and sexualized violence
  • Danielle Weisberg: Comedy writer and writer’s assistant who’s worked on CONAN, Krapopolis, and The Simpsons where she was nominated for a WGA Award in Animation. Her work has also been featured in McSweeney’s, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post. Her poem was partially inspired by her mother, a school teacher in Topanga, California, who is currently fundraising for her classroom.

 

Female truckers: Meet the women behind the wheels

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

Fewer than 10% of truck drivers are women, and this episode of Audacious, meet three of them: One drives a tow truck, another owns a CDL training school, and another is a trans woman.

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Fewer than 10% of truck drivers are women, and in this episode, you’re going to meet three of them.

Spend the day with Chion and a tow truck driver, get to know a woman who runs a CDL training school, and hear about life on the road from a truck driver who happens to be a trans woman.

GUESTS: 

Clothing as identity: Two women share their experience with the hijab

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

On this episode of Audacious, hear from one woman who grew up in Iran, and another who is a Muslim in America, about their very different experiences with the hijab.

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For some, the hijab is seen as an oppressive symbol – right now Iranian women are burning their headscarves in protest. But for other women around the globe – the hijab is a symbol of empowerment, beauty, and faith.

On this episode of Audacious, we hear from two women about their very different experiences with the hijab.

GUESTS: 

The meteoric rise of comedian Zarna Garg

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:00

On this episode of Audacious, meet Zarna Garg. As a 40-something Indian stay-at-home mom, she started her comedy career just five years ago. Now she has her own comedy special on Amazon.

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If you told comedian Zarna Garg five years ago that she would have her own Amazon comedy special, she might look at you funny. So to speak.

She immigrated to the United States at 16 years old to leave a difficult family situation. Then, she became a lawyer and a stay-at-home mom.

But in her mid-40s, she began exploring the comedy world, which has been rewarding her greatly ever since.

On this episode of Audacious, hear the lightness behind her dark humor, and how being an Indian woman in comedy is revolutionary.

GUEST: 

Dress to unrepress: Women who dressed like men, broke rules and made history

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:02

This hour on Audacious: A conversation with Tracy Dawson, author of 'Let Me Be Frank: A book about women who dressed like men to do shit they weren’t supposed to do.'

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You may be familiar with Joan of Arc, who cut her hair, wore men’s clothing and, well, led the French army in a momentous victory in 1429…

But what about all the other women who dressed like the men of their times and cultures to get stuff done?

You’ll hear all about them in this conversation with Tracy Dawson, author of Let Me Be Frank: A book about women who dressed like men to do shit they weren’t supposed to do.

GUEST: 

Going Flat, or Building New Breasts: Two Women’s Post-Mastectomy Stories

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | Part of the Audacious with Chion Wolf series | 50:01

This hour, we hear very intimate conversations with two women who go through the process of getting a double mastectomy - the removal of all the breast tissue. One decides to get reconstruction, and one does not.

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Imagine you’ve got breasts. It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine, because most every human being has’ em! And that means that most of us are candidates for breast cancer.

This hour, we hear very intimate conversations with two women who go through the process of getting a double mastectomy - the removal of all the breast tissue. One decides to get reconstruction, and one does not.

I talked to them before the surgery, right after, and then almost a year later. I wanted to find out what it was like dealing with the prospect of a cancer diagnosis - or an actual one - and what it was like losing a part of their body.

Resources on BRCA and breast cancer:

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, and email.

GUESTS: