At the start of 2022, we began developing what would become Making the Case, a podcast highlighting the strategy and impact of Lambda Legal cases. We had two things working in our favor as we drafted the show concept. The first, a nearly 50-year history of groundbreaking case work. We’ve been making the case for equality since we became our own first client back in 1973. The second, a deep roster of talented and thoughtful attorneys to interview.
Next came host Alex Berg. A journalist and creative director, Alex brought the necessary curiosity and knowledge to conduct meaningful interviews around each case.
With all 10 episodes now available across all podcast platforms, we sat down with Alex to reflect on season one and what we hope audiences take away from the show.
Q: Reflecting on this season, how was hosting Making the Case for you?
Q: Why was a podcast the right format for reinvestigating these cases?
Alex: Podcasting is the right format for these cases because it allows you to both go really in depth and nerd out on a topic, and you don’t have to worry about being really general for an audience. It allows you to hear directly from the people in the middle of these cases. And then, also, I think it allows you to reach your audience. One of the things I love about podcasting is that you can really find anything that speaks to your interests.
I think podcasting is a really great medium because you get to hear first-hand from these attorneys as they take you back into that moment and everything that they were doing and prepping and their observations. It really allows you to unpack a lot of the context.
One of the things I enjoyed about the podcasting format is being able to pull sound bites from plaintiffs or from politicians or from people who were somehow connected to these cases because it adds a level of texture, and it really helps take listeners back into that moment.
Q: What did you learn from this season?
Alex: One thing I learned is how these cases really build on one-another and they also utilize discrimination protections that haven’t necessarily been applied by LGBTQ+ people up to that point. I’m thinking about a particular housing case that used the Fair Housing Act to help an LGBTQ+ couple in a clear-cut housing discrimination case against their landlord.
I think, as a journalist, you’re not always thinking about the intense strategy that goes into these cases. A lot of the time, you’re reporting on this when all is said and done and there’s actually a decision on these cases. So, hearing about how these lawyers are really digging into past decisions and also taking these decisions on these cases into the future with them was one of the big things I learned.
Q: Did anything surprise you from the interviews?
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Q: What do you hope listeners take away from this series?
Alex: I hope listeners have the experience of learning something new about these cases. I think, again, with this incredibly fast-paced news cycle, it’s really nice to be able to have this kind of meditative experience and it’s really wonderful to do these interviews. I enjoyed listening back and catching things that I didn’t catch when I was first talking to these attorneys,
I hope that [listeners] see that all the issues we’re dealing with right now around bodily autonomy and attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, about how they’re all so connected. For so many of these cases, even though they were in sort of different realms, whether related to discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs and fertility or around barring people living with HIV from serving in the military, to same-sex marriage, they’re all connected because they have to do with the autonomy of LGBTQIA+ people, just getting to live our lives like everyone else. Getting to make the same decisions as everyone else. Getting to have the same rights as everyone else. I hope [listeners] learn that all these things really are in this continuum and connect it to everything that is happening right now, too.
And then, I really hope that people walk away with a sense of comfort and hope. In learning about all these really brilliant attorneys who are doing so much work fighting for the community every single day, and also, in all these cases we talked about the victories. It’s really easy to get caught up in the losses right now, it’s understandable. We should be able to live in our fear and pain about this moment. But, I also think it’s really important for us to remember that the whole point in talking about these cases and engaging in activist spaces and covering LGBTQ+ issues is because we do believe that this progress is possible. I hope people remember that has happened before and will continue to happen and that these attorneys are there fighting for us, too.
A massive “thank you” to Alex for hosting this season of Making the Case and to all our guest attorneys for taking us back to some of those landmark wins over Lambda Legal’s history.
Interested in listening to Making the Case? Find season one here or wherever you get your podcasts. Read more about the series here.
If you’d like to learn more about Lambda Legal, please visit lambdalegal.org.