Weekend Edition Sunday

Conceived as a cross between a Sunday newspaper and CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles KuraltWeekend Edition Sunday features interviews with newsmakers, artists, scientists, politicians, musicians, writers, theologians and historians. The program has covered news events from Nelson Mandela's 1990 release from a South African prison to the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Weekend Edition Sunday debuted on January 18, 1987, with host Susan Stamberg. Two years later, Liane Hansen took over the host chair, a position she held for 22 years. In that time, Hansen interviewed movers and shakers in politics, science, business and the arts. Her reporting travels took her from the slums of Cairo to the iron mines of Michigan's Upper Peninsula; from the oyster beds on the bayou in Houma, La., to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park; and from the kitchens of Colonial Williamsburg, Va., to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In the fall of 2011, NPR National Desk Reporter Audie Cornish began hosting the show.

Every week listeners tune in to hear a unique blend of news, features and the regularly scheduled puzzle segment with Puzzlemaster Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times.

Weekend Edition Sunday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States and around the globe via NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

A new report by Human Rights Watch details the dangers Afghan journalists face from the Taliban. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Najib Sharifi about the government's failure to protect journalists.

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Shane Fairchild (left) tells his friend Sayer Johnson that his late wife, Bl...
Shane Fairchild and his late wife, Blue Bauer, were "the mama and the papa of the trans community," says their friend Sayer Johnson.

StoryCorps' OutLoud initiative records stories from the LGBTQ community.

Shane Fairchild's wife, Blue Bauer, was "very rough around the edges," he says: "Blue was 6-foot tall, weighed about 230 pounds, had red hair and brown eyes, had been a trucker all of her life," Fairchild tells their friend Sayer Johnson during a StoryCorps interview in St. Louis, Mo.

"If I'd get to drinking, and I'd get a little redneck, and I'd get in somebody's face, Miss Blue would step in. And I'd be like, 'Really, I don't need you to take up for me.' She's like, 'Yes you do, shut up and sit down,' " Fairchild remembers. "She'd also been a biker. Blue was in an all-male motorcycle club, and they had never had a woman, ever. So Blue was the first."

Blue, a transgender woman, made the transition when she was 54 years old; Shane is a transgender man.

"The way that I know you is, you and Blue were sort of the mama and the papa of the trans community," Johnson says. "Did you and Blue intentionally do that?"

"Well, Blue was having problems. Her sisters weren't accepting her," Fairchild says. "Her son wasn't, and then when her grandchild was born, they wouldn't let her see the grandbaby, so yeah, I think it was a lot to do with what Blue was feeling."

"I saw so many people coming to your home, trans folks, when your Blue was home and she was dying," Johnson says.

"The day that she died, she had been comatose the whole day, and she kept fighting for every, every breath," Fairchild says. "And then it dawned on me. Three days before, she was on the couch, watching TV, and she started crying. And I said, 'Baby, what's the matter?' And she said, 'I promised you when we got together, I'd never leave you — not even death was gonna take me.' "

On the day she died, Fairchild thought, "Is that why she's fighting so hard? And so I whispered in her ear, 'You're really not leaving me, I know that.' And she took one easy breath, and was gone."

Blue Bauer died of lung cancer on April 12, 2013, at their home in St. Louis.

Her motorcycle was next to her casket at her funeral. "What she wanted was to be embalmed and set on her motorcycle," Fairchild says. "And I'm like, 'No, I'm not gonna do that.' "

"She was dressed how she wanted to be dressed," Johnson says.

"She had her t-shirt on that said, 'You never seen a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrist's office.' She had her combat boots on. So yeah, she was good," Fairchild says.

"She's the only person I ever met that ever treated me like I was me," Fairchild says. "You know, they say there's always that one person, your soulmate. And I think Blue was mine. I really do."

Produced for Weekend Edition by Allison Davis and Nadia Reiman.

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to leave a legacy for future generations. Learn more, including how to interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org.

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The Super Bowl is one week away. What would we be talking about if we weren't talking about deflated footballs? Mike Pesca of Slate.com joins NPR's Rachel Martin to answer that question.

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