From October 25th to October 31st it’s Asexual Awareness Week! Because of this, this episode is all about our Ace pals including our latest guest: Pancake, founder of action group Aces NRW. Like your dear podcast host, this non-binary hero is moving through activist spaces. However, Pancake is taking it a step further. Through an organisation x stands up for all ace people throughout the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Pancake describes xself as late to the party, which funnily enough seems to be a recurring issue. Both the realisation of a queer identity and developing x’s own taste in music were things that happened later in life. Unfortunately, this came with the problem of getting into My Chemical Romance after they split up. Frank Iero eventually pulled Pancake over the threshold of social anxiety into a live music environment. Maybe MRC could have managed the same thing if only those paths had crossed sooner.
In a weird way Pancake feels like a German counterpart to me. It’s not quite like looking into a mirror, but the similarities are piling up. We’re both on the Asexual spectrum, both non-binary, we both found a sense of self in emo-culture. You get the point. The list goes on and on. As a result, I tend to share my own stories instead of actually interviewing. Sorry for that. Nevertheless, I sure am glad I’ve made a friend though this podcast I can share these experiences with.
Flashback Track: My Chemical Romance – I’m not Okay Queer Artist Spotlight: CSS – Music is My Hot Hot Sex Best Live Experience: Bury Tomorrow – Black Flame Recent Discovery: Rina Sawayama – XS
Vera Siemons is a DJ at the Dutch radio station 3fm and hosts a women-loving-women media podcast called The Lesbian League, freely translated. However, she hasn’t always been this open about her sexuality. This was in part because of some very persistent toxic thoughts, which are damn hard to unlearn.
In fact, it took a while for Vera to come to terms with being a lesbian but music was there every step of the way. At first there were some hints towards her liking girls. For example something that, with the power of hindsight, could be labeled as a crush on Avril Lavigne. Everyone who went through an alternative fase in the early aughts can relate to that, probably. A few years later there was a fateful night that showed the power living your truth. Finally, in there here and now, she’s using her platform at Dutch public radio to get more queer artists on air.
It’s been some time since I had a Dutch person on, so I figured it might be time to look for a guest closer to home. Thankfully, Vera was kind enough to give her thoughts on meeting new people, insight into her musical development as well as some reactions to her work. In case we’re completely wrong about what the US equivalent to 3fm would be, don’t hesitate to get in touch through the link below. Also, feel free to drop a line with your favourite radio stations, no matter where you’re from.
CW: Misogyny, Internalised homophobia
Flashback Track: N.E.R.D. – Maybe Queer Artist Spotlight: Arlo Parks – Eugene Best Live Experience: King Princess – 1950 Recent Discovery: 070 Shake – Morrow
Jeesh I was nervous. Can you tell? The idea was to talk about queer pop divas, a history dating back to the 60’s, if not further. If anything, this experience shows that Fabian and I don’t have what it takes to truly shine on stage. But why should it matter, right? Every now and again you should get out of your comfortzone a little bit.
Now, in case you’re thinking, why does the name Fabian sound so familiar? Well, that might just be because you remember him from Episode Five: Vaporwave and the Trans Experience. In this show he’s back for a continuation of our conversation about hyper pop., but also to share some updates on his own series of online queer parties and spill his thoughts on pop divas throughout the ages.
That being said, I’d like to thank everyone who came out to the Dutch Podcast festival, checked the show through the live stream and interacted on Instagram and Twitter. You can check out the other shows, panels and workshops they put together through Podcastfestival.nl. Don’t forget to leave some feedback. You can find the link to the contact from below.
Song 1: Diana Ross – No Matter What Sign You Are Song 2: Carly Rae Jepsen – Run Away With Me
As a gay boy growing up in the countryside, fabulous cartoons and musicals made his childhood. Because he had to deal with homophobia and a severe lack of media representation, it took Kenyth a couple of years longer to realise who he is as a person than would have been the case if he were brought up in a supportive environment. By extension his expectations for the future got very confusing. Luckily, that all changed throughout the years. Partly, because of music!
As trope-y as it may seem, Kenyth Mogan left his home state Montana with a twinkle in his eyes and a song on his lips. In LA he didn’t manage to become the big-shot pop star he set out to be, but he did find a place in which he can unapologetically be himself. Along the way he got the occasional reminder that having fun is the most important part in making music which can eventually lead to praise from your biggest idol and inspiration.
As a kid from the 80’s, his musical choices reflect the time in which he grew up. However, he’ll always pick the side of the underdog. Be prepared for an episode that stands up for underappreciated artists, whether that’s do to public image or just because of how bad, yet fun their music is. Kenyth might be the first white cis gay man on this podcast, but don’t let that be an excuse to accuse him of not having an interesting and fun story.
CW: homophibia, drug use.
Flashback Track: Jem & The Holograms – Jem Theme Song Queer Artist Spotlight: Marilyn’s Boys – Hot Stuff Best Live Experience: Tiffany – Open My Eyes Recent Discovery: Alexz Johnson – Living Colour
Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile might just be one of the most prolific queer Motswana in the world. Whether you found out about her through her ARTivism or her TED talk, there is always more to discover about her. You’d be surprised how many stories related to music this amazing person holds, too! From her love for 80’s pop divas to some sidesteps into musicals and emo.
Ultimately, please remember that you don’t need the approval of UN officials for you to be valid. Kat however, actually went out and got the thumbs up from the late Kofi Annan. Moreover, she became a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum. Not through affirmative action, but simply because she’s a born overachiever. For all details of Kat’s overwhelming resumé you should just go check her Wikipedia page.
Frankly, there’s quite a lot of things we didn’t get to talk about in this conversation. For example, I would have loved to dive into the subject addressed in Kat’s TED talk. In this speech she explained her experiences with getting her past white-washed after growing up in rural Botswana. But sometimes a conversation just goes the way it goes and we’ll have take all other possible topics for granted. Besides, it’s all the more reason to have her back on the show sometime! In case you’ve got suggestions as to what to talk about next time, or if you want to call me out on my ignorance, feel free to drop a line. You can find a link to the contact form below.
Flashback Track: Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody Queer Artist Spotlight: Alsarah & The Nubatones – 3roos Elneel Best Live Experience: Janet Jackson – Miss You Much Recent Discovery: Kwaye – I Go
Stigmas are stacking up for Yannick. Not only is she a Black Trans woman in the United States, but she also has been diagnosed with HIV/ Aids. With all her creative endeavours she has a way to vent and a way to disprove any misconceptions surrounding any aspects of her person.
Flashback Track: Whitney Houston – I’m Your Baby Tonight Queer Artist Spotlight: Bjorn Duphot – Heart of Stone Best Live Experience: Beyoncé – Formation Recent Discovery: Durand Bernarr – Fly on the Wall
Diamond’s resumé is beyond impressive. She’s been building a YouTube career pretty much since the video platform launched, diverted into writing, song writing and podcasting, and she was the first trans woman to attend Jackson State University. One could write an extensive book about her life, but a musical or a podcast that would honour all the songs important to her seem more appropriate.
Flashback Track: Alanis Morissette – Perfect Queer Artist Spotlight: Cameo – Why Have I Lost You? Best Live Experience: Sade – Stronger than Pride Recent Discovery: Tank & The Bangas – Oh Heart
Time for this history nerd to look at their own past. Leigh, host of the History is Gay Podcast dives into some good old pop nostalgia ans when things started to make sense for them. Whether it’s popculture or boybands, they’ve always been part of some fandom. In part because of the music, but also because of a sense of community. After all, the true queer treasure would be the friends you make along the way.
It’s a bit awkward to admit to this, but when I first started podcasting it was Leigh and their then co-host Gretchen who motivated me to start QueerSounds. If they were able to find their niche audience, I should be able to do the same. So this podcast would not have existed without History is Gay. Needless to say, I am super excited to have Leigh on the show.
There’s one point they really wanted to emphasise, though. As a podcaster with a feminine perceived voice, people wrongly approach them as a woman. Please, please, please people: make sure you check what peoples’ pronouns are when you reach out to them. Thank you.
CW: biphobia, internalised transphobia
Flashback Track: Spice Girls – Wannabe Queer Artist Spotlight: Jenny Lewis – Just One of the Guys Best Live Experience: Paramore – That’s What You Get Episode Special: Hey King – Lucky
It’s as important as ever to actively contribute to representation. In Kai Mata’s case, she hopes to shake a wave that makes Indonesian queer people feel seen. Even though this means she’ll need to deal with getting her folksy pop tunes pirated, online bigotry, and the occasional ignorant podcast-host.
Flashback Track: Mumford and Sons – The Cave Queer Artist Spotlight: Mary Lambert – She Keeps Me Warm Best Live Experience: Trevor Hall – To Zion Episode Special: Kai Mata – Where Love Goes
Plenty of queer people hugely benefit from an online community. When Gunneet started to joke about her bisexuality she accidentally became someone providing such a community on Tumblr. She is a true connoisseur of Bisexuality providing knowledge with nice layer of comedy.
Whenever she gets the chance, her comedy moves from a digital environment to an actual stand-up setting. This allows her to really get a sense for what type of humour people may or may not appreciate. For example, performing in general comedy club is very different compared to queer spaces. Most notably, in wholesome queer spaces it’s a lot less likely some prick will groan at properly funny feminist joke. Some people just don’t know how to appreciate good humour, am I right?
It may not come as a surprise, but humour is a very common coping mechanism. Whether that might be in order to deal with depression or coming to terms with being queer. For Guneet, thats’s no different. Bi-facts and the huge amount of positive reactions it set off made her, and a lot of others with her, feel strong and validated in their sexuality. In case you’re not familiar of this blog, you can find it in the show notes below.
Finally, I’d like to recommend Nancie Schipper’s music. She’s another Australian musician in line with those mentioned in the episode. Check out “Comedy Show” or “Take out the Trash” especially.
CW: Depression, Sexism, Biphobia
Flashback Track: Wolf Alice – Space & Time Queer Artist Spotlight: Alex Lahey – Backpack Best Live Experience: Ali Barter – Backseat Most Recent Discovery: Julia Jacklin – Pressure to Party