Picture the scene: it’s 6 PM and you’re leaving work, about to hop on the [insert chosen means of transport]. You’re exhausted, both physically and mentally (thanks, capitalism), and find yourself in desperate need of some inspiration, knowledge, humour, or really, just a way to pass the next half hour doing something marginally more useful than just staring out the bus window. Enter your old best friend, podcasts.
Podcasts have come a long way since their emergence in the mid-2000s, and these days, there is a veritable deluge of content available to listeners of all ages, identities, backgrounds, beliefs, and interests.
Depending on who you ask, the number of registered podcasts varies from anywhere between 2 to 4 million worldwide (as of early 2022) – a staggering number testament not just to the popularity of the genre, but also to the growing ease of access provided by audio apps like Apple Music and Spotify (this latter being more than slightly problematic, but let’s chat about that another time).
Anyway, that’s enough background. Today, we try and answer the much more interesting, albeit just as complicated, question of “how on earth do you select your queer girl favourites from those 2.4-4.2 million outlets”? Well, you ask a friend to guide you; someone who has religiously listened to podcasts for several hours a day since the age of 20, totalling an average of 35,000 minutes, or 580 hours, of audio per annum.
Still not convinced? That is 24 days in total.
Let’s get started.
The Way We Are with Munroe Bergdorf
Hailing from Essex, Munroe Bergdorf is a model and activist who, realistically, needs no introduction to anyone familiar with queer circles in the UK. In her podcast, Munroe interviews guests about their life, mapping out their journeys from birth to adulthood and looking at what they hope to achieve in the future. Through these retellings of unapologetically unique stories, something much bigger emerges: an overarching, collective narrative, as well as a beautiful experience of togetherness, which is as moving and powerful as the sum of its parts. Munroe facilitates honest conversations, inviting listeners to partake in the intimacy she shares with guests who, more often than not, are her real-life best friends. This one will make you feel at home.
Start here: S2E11, “Being Perfectly Imperfect with Shon Faye”
Let’s talk about sex, baby… We know, cringe, right? Maybe, but it doesn’t need to be. Generally speaking, the language we use to talk about sex isn’t the most comfortable or inclusive. We’re not telling you anything new when we say that historically, female pleasure has been hugely misrepresented, verging on non-existent, in mainstream media. The world is even more behind when it comes to transgender or non-binary pleasure, which has been practically absent from public discussion until very recently.
The tide is (ever so slowly) turning, with the release of Netflix’s The Principles of Pleasure (2022) an important step towards better social dialogue. Podcasts also play an important role in creating safe spaces for sex talk without any drama and only minimal awkwardness. In Safeword, sex therapists Casey Tanner and Kamil Lewis discuss sex and relationship through anonymous listener questions, giving tangible advice while also opening up about their own sexual experiences. It’s an equal parts heartfelt, equal parts saucy listen that’ll also improve your sex life. What’s not to love?
Start here: Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes, Pelvic Floor
History buffs, we’ve got you. If you like revisiting old stories and digging up the complicated truth behind the veneer of fakeness, this one’s for you. Queer as Fact was launched in 2017 by a Melbourne-based group of people with a background in, and an undying passion for, history. They publish hour-long, heavily researched, information-rich, deeply compelling episodes about queer historical and contemporary figures – as we know them, and as they truly were. Think The Crown, but with queer people and far more interesting backgrounds (sorry, royals).
Start here: 2018 February – Tove Jansson
Don’t let the title fool you. Despite what the tongue-in-cheek guidance might suggest, JBU’s hosts offer loving, thoughtful advice to everyone who writes to them. Essentially, it’s Agony Aunt, but if it was two queer Gemini best friends talking about relationships of all kinds- incredible. For over four years, Sierra DeMulder and Sam Blackwell have answered hundreds of letters from people battling with heartbreak, friendships, boundaries, non-monogamy, parenthood, families, and everything in between.
Though they’re not qualified relationship therapists (and they tell you this at the start of every episode, in their “surgeon general’s warning”), their own experiences have armed them with the ability to talk beautifully about life in all its cruelty and kindness. They’re also deeply involved in activism and host a separate interview series with guests tackling body positivity, radical honesty, interracial relationships and many other topics. JBU is a real source of hope, inspiration, and community, with new episodes dropping every Monday, giving you a good reason to look forward to the start of the week. You’re beyond welcome x
Start here: Episode 143: Uncomfortable Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Unsafe
Another British classic. Comedian Suzi Ruffell sits down with a guest to discuss their relationship with their sexuality, identity, and (you guessed it) their journey to coming out. Each story is so different and so moving in its own way, and the warmth, compassion, and humour Suzi brings to the table makes it feel incredibly alive. Her podcast was launched at the start of lockdown in an attempt to make people feel more connected, and while the pandemic might have eased slightly, the original goal remains as important as ever. If you’ve ever struggled with self-acceptance and anxiety around your identity – aka, if you are a human that is alive on this Earth at this moment in time – you will feel uplifted and welcomed into the space Suzi and her guests create with this podcast.
Start here: S5 EP6: Self Esteem / Rebecca Taylor
Want more amazing queer things to listen to? Check out our rundown of everything you need to know about BBC Radio 6’s Queermas this year.
Team Nonchalant x
Last Updated on 29th November 2022 by Nonchalant Magazine