Queer podcasts you should already be listening to
“Do you only listen to gay podcasts, then?”
Both the best and worst thing about long car journeys is the capability for one passenger to bestow-slash-inflict their auditory taste on a captive audience.
Sharing a car to Scotland last month, I took the opportunity to play some podcasts to my parents. I’ve listened to podcasts almost every day for the last 10 years – but my parents are podcasting virgins.
About three episodes into the journey, Mum asked the question at the top of this post, and I realised, I sorta do only listen to gay podcasts.
I mean, I listen to a whole range of shows. Some of them are about design. Some are about economics. There’s one about food, and one about sound design. There’s one about words, and another about wittering. And one dedicated to deciding whether a succession of objects or concepts are robots or not.
But, in the last few months, I added three new podcasts to my roster, and they’ve been absolutely fascinating. And the thing they have in common is that they’re about LGBT life.
I’ve been riveted by them. And I think—whether you identify as LGBT or not—if you give them a try, you will be too.
The most straight-laced of the three (though that isn’t saying much) – Matt Cain, editor of the UK gay magazine Attitude, interviews a selection of notable LGBT personalities. We’re talking Ian McKellen, Paul O’Grady, Russell T Davies, Mark Gatiss – giants of British LGBT culture.
Cain has a professional but fluid interviewing style, which straddles the line between inquisitive journalism and a friendly gossip down the pub. But the star of the show is… well… the star of each show. Each guest has a fascinating story to tell, and by the time the hour-long episode is up, you’ll find yourself wishing you could spend all day hearing from these people.
As far as LGBT podcasts go, Homo Sapiens is the new kid on the block.
Hosted by pop star Will Young and his film director friend Chris Sweeney, the show is cut from the same cloth that made podcasting so infectious in the early 2000s: a loose, chatty structure, recorded on cheap equipment by two close friends, full of hilarious banter and heart-felt discussion in equal measure. Podcast veterans will detect tones of The Dawn And Drew show here, in the chattiness of the two protagonists, and the lovely way they draw their listeners into the show.
Aside from the anecdotes, in-jokes, and letters from the listener, Chris and Will also manage to squeeze an interview into each episode. Think Attitude Heroes, but with less predictable guests and, inevitably, the noise of Will eating in the background. In fact, why they choose to record their interviews in either the noisiest coffee shops or the most echoey front rooms in London, I’ll never know. But regardless, you’ll find yourself hooked within the first few episodes.
An article about podcasting wouldn’t be an article about podcasting unless it mentioned at least one American show. The US dominates British podcasting, and Nancy is one of the best.
Hosted by friends Kathy Tu and Tobin Low, there’s so much to like about this show. Americans do up-beat, infectious friendliness better than anyone else, but even after you’ve been hooked by the hosts’ relationship, you’ll stay for the absorbing NPR-style exposés and interviews about all aspects of LGBT life. You’ve got summer camps, coming out to your first-generation-immigrant parents, being gay at work, and fighting ‘butch’ stereotypes as a lesbian. And much more.
It’s also notable that they’re two Asian Americans, which—in a podcasting landscape dominated by white, straight men—simply cannot be underestimated.
In the end it’s a delightful mix of the brazenly spunky and the beautifully heart-warming. Give it a try!