Queer Common Spaces: Podcast Picks
Find friends who don’t judge you. Find friends who understand you. Find friends who listen to you, help you grow, and commiserate with you when the future seems uncertain. All these qualities can be found in this week’s podcasts, which center on queer creators who are cultivating safe communities for queer folks.
In discussions about relationships, family, politics, literary canons, therapy, and everything in between, these podcasts have something for you to laugh about and learn from. With each podcast maintaining a light and conversational tone, the creators show us that gender and sexuality discourse can be accessible and entertaining.
Here are Women and Hollywood’s latest podcast selections.
“En(ba)by” — Created by Gara, Maggie, and Basil
First airing in 2020, “En(ba)by” is a weekly podcast that covers all things gender. Hosted by Gara Lonning, a trans and non-binary comedian, writer, and performer, “En(ba)by” consciously weaves humor with topics both serious and commonplace. Lonning co-hosts with Maggie Dunleavy and Basil Lee.
No two shows are the same. In episodes that range from 40-60 minutes, Lonning, Dunleavy, and Lee interview guests about topics including gender-affirming surgery, dating, and friendship. The hosts also engage with audiences through a Q&A advice section in select episodes. Listeners can submit questions for upcoming shows through a link in the description of the latest episode.
In “Dear En(ba)by: The Kinsey Five,” which aired in June, the hosts get personal. A listener describes a teammate who made transphobic comments towards them when they opened up about their chosen name and their experiences of gender euphoria. The listener questioned whether or not these issues were even significant enough to bring up, since her other teammates didn’t seem to notice nor take issue with the perpetrator.
The “En(ba)by” hosts listen with empathy and share personal stories that acknowledge and validate the listener’s experience. Lonning has a particularly memorable response, emphasizing, “There’s not a scale of how transphobic something is, it either is transphobic or it’s not transphobic.” The hosts discuss the difficulty of advocating for yourself and your identity.
Even though they deal with some serious topics, every conversation is filled with the warmth and comfort of being in a room with close friends. “En(ba)by” handles sensitive issues with care, but also with levity, making this podcast an easy and fun listen.
Listen to “En(ba)by” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
“Two Twos” — Created by Nana and Rose
“Two Twos” is created by London-based Black lesbian sister duo, Nana and Rose. In hour-long episodes, the siblings speak their “unapologetic truth whilst creating a safe space for people like themselves and bridging the gap between LGBT+ people and cisgender straight people.” From topics like mental health, single parenting, sex and romance, as well as cultivating community for queer people, Nana and Rose leave no rock unturned.
In Episode 128, “‘I wanted to cultivate a home for queer people” ft @drybabe (K),’” the “Two Twos” hosts invite their friend K to discuss the importance of diverse literature. Librarian by day and DJ by night, K recognized a gap in access to inclusive literature in schools. To mitigate this issue, she created PRIM, a database that acts as “a space for Black existence, showcasing the varying mediums used for storytelling in one place.” Not only has K developed this resource featuring visual, aural, and written storytelling, she’s facilitating pop-up events, such as the “It Started With Me” gallery curated by PRIM, which premiered at the NOW Gallery this past October.
In a poignant discussion about libraries, Nana asserts, “It’s about access.” She shares that, as a child, having access to books written by Black authors and featuring characters she could relate to changed her whole life — these books inspired her to become a writer.
K builds on this personal experience. She emphasizes that many schools lack any library facilities at all. But the issue goes further than access to books. K forces us to consider what books are, who they’re written by, and “how much can a young Black girl or Black boy or nonbinary young person see themselves in these books.” She explains that when you acknowledge the diversity in life experiences (or lack thereof) represented in a library, you recognize that it “is not just about providing books. It’s about curating, it’s about making sure you have a wide variety to appeal to what is a very multicultural environment.” It’s necessary to engage with and demand such inclusion.
Listen to “Two Twos” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
“QueerWOC” — Created by Dr. Money
“QueerWOC,” hosted by a relational therapist known as Dr. Money, debuted in 2016. In these biweekly hour-long shows, Dr. Money “unites, ignites, and excites” the queer women of color community through “reimagining healing, identity, and community.” Covering a wealth of topics from capitalism, protests, and feminism to relationship and queer-specific issues, Dr. Money approaches each episode with a joyful warmth and an eagerness to learn alongside her audience.
In Episode 116, which aired November 20 this year, “Every Sapphic I Know,” dives into affordable therapy tips and intense sapphic friendships. However, before she digs into this discussion, Dr. Money begins the show with a regular segment she calls “QueerWOC of the Week.” Dr. Money celebrates Councilwomen Erika Hilton and Duda Salabert, who were recently elected to the National Congress in Brazil this October. Hilton and Salabert were the first openly trans women in Brazil to be elected as federal deputies, is no small feat in a country where 2SLGBTQIA+ people are killed at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world. In 2021, there were 125 reported murders among the trans and gender-diverse population in Brazil.
Dr. Money discusses Hilton’s progressive platform, fighting for education, LGBTQ+ rights, and housing access, noting that the trans community is disproportionately impacted by survival sex, substance abuse, and houselessness due to transphobia.
Salabert ran under the Democratic Labor Party, and made history by amassing the highest number of votes any councilperson in the state of Mines Gerais had ever received. In this landmark election, Hilton and Salabert make huge strides for the representation of women and queer people in government.
With Dr. Money’s “QueerWOC,” you’ll either find yourself nodding along to the sapphic truths she speaks, or learning about something new alongside the host in a compelling and comprehensible way.
Listen to “QueerWOC” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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