Pan-African Queerness

Pan African Dumi

Botswana decriminalised same-sex relationships in 2019, on June 11th, but that doesn’t mean all is good and well now. Dumi and the African Queer Youth Initiative fight for the Pan-African rights of Queer people. Because even though a lot of progress have been made in the past, there is still a long way to go. To put it in broad terms, there’s more to be achieved through working together than by navel gazing and figuring it all out yourself. Something obvious like an AGM (Annual General Meeting) can already be a huge help to boost morale as well as a fun way to exchange ideas.

Unfortunately, the show did not end the way we’d hoped. It’s been a challenge to get this recording going on, but not everything always goes as planned. In this case, the internet connection on Dumi’s end was not quite ideal. However, we still had quite a long conversation so here’s what we ended up with.

Something we were not able to talk about was why some tracks got picked. For example, Dumi picked a life track instead of a personal concert experience. Simply because they were not able to go to shows, despite being a performer themself. Feel free to share your own favourite concert experiences! Get in touch through the QueerSounds socials or the contact form below.

CW: suicide, violence, genocide, abuse

Flashback Track: Choir of St. John’s College, Cainbrigde – Silent Night
Queer Artist Spotlight: Brenda Fassie – Nomakanjani
Best Live Experience: Aretha Franklin – Nessun Dorma
Recent Discovery: Letta Mbulu – Not Yet Uhuru

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Related Episodes

Asexual and Anxious

Ace and anxious

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

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A Lesbian Sense of Confidence

Vera: a lesbians sense of confidence

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

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The Queer Pop Divas’ Live Show

Live Queer Pop Tunes

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

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The Gay Singer-Songwriter Trope

Gay singer songwriter Kenyth Mogan

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

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Alongside your Queer Identity

Queer ARTivist Kat Ai Kol KEs

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

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Healthy, yes. In shape, no.

Healthy yes, In shape? no

Stigmas are stacking up for Yannick. First of all, she’s a black woman in the United States, secondly, she’s trans. On top of that all, she has also been diagnosed with HIV/ Aids. Subsequently, people tend to underestimate how healthy she actually is. Of course a diagnosis like this one influences her life, but the biggest health concern is how she actually ought to go for a run more often.

In order to cope, she found a collection of creative endeavours as a way to vent. They’re also a method to disprove any misconceptions surrounding any aspects of her person. From an extensive back catalog on YouTube, to decent a collection of fun Euro-dance pop songs and a podcast called Conversations with the Priestess. She’s been finding ways to keep herself busy and quite successfully at that.

Unfortunately, something we hardly even talked about in the episode is the way Yannick presents herself. Obviously, gender expression does not equal gender identity. So, to her as a woman, this means she’s still comfortable appearing somewhat androgynous. Drop a line with your own coping methods or thoughts on gender expression through the link below!

CW: Transphobia, Racism, HIV/Aids

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

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Go For The Gusto

Diamond Go for the gusto

My next guest is a feisty one. Diamond Styles has always done whatever it takes to power through any bad situation. Though some descriptions can get quite graphic, she doesn’t let any mistreatment slow her down. Like she says in the episode: Go for the Gusto.

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.

As you might notice, Diamond likes to sing. Never has this podcast seen so much actual live music in one episode. I was almost worried I’by how much content had to be cut in order to adhere to the music licencing QueerSounds uses. In case you can’t get enough of her voice, check out the links below. In the meantime, let me know your favourite sons to sing along to!

CW: Racism, Transphobia, Transphobic violence, HIV-Aids, Police Brutality.

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

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It Makes Sense Now

Leigh, It makes sense now

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

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Written in Sharpie

CW: homophobia, Racism

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

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