Queer History

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102: The Anthems of Pride

We’ve officially launched into the most magical time of the year and even though this year will look a lot different than usual, we can still make June as queer as possible. In order to honor the struggles of those before us, we will be covering some grim yet necessary parts of our LGBTQ+ History this month. Before we explore the pain and struggles of our people, we want to start off with a celebration of the music and anthems that have marched us through our darkest times. 

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100: Valerie and Andy; Muderous Rivalry

Well, folks, we made it to 100 episodes and we wanted to give you what your love best, queer true crime. Today’s story is the infamous rivalry between lesbian, feminist Valerie Solanas and gay, artist Andy Warhol. Which culminated in the attempted assassination of Warhol by Solanas in 1968. But who was Solanas and what led her to shoot one of the most prominent artists of the time? We’re so glad you asked.

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99: Agender Visibility

Next week on May 19th, we celebrate Agender Pride Day. So today we want to recognize Agender Visibility and discuss the spectrum that is gender. We’ve had a lot of people reach out and ask us questions about gender and requested an episode on what it’s like if you fall in the middle of the gender spectrum and not on the ends. While we have touched upon this subject numerous times in our episodes – check out Billy Porter, The Public Univeral Friend, Chao Xiaomi, and our many episodes on transgender icons – today we want to delve further.

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98: Well of Loneliness; Lesbian Visibility

Let’s begin with a passage from our topic today:

She broke off abruptly, and they stared at each other.

‘Do you know what you’re saying?’ Angela whispered.

And Stephen answered: ‘I know that I love you, and that nothing else matters in the world.’

Then, perhaps because of that glamorous evening, with its spirit of queer, unearthly adventure, with its urge to strange, unendurable sweetness, Angela moved a step nearer to Stephen, then another, until their hands were touching. And all that she was, and all that she had been and would be again, perhaps even tomorrow, was fused at that moment into one mighty impulse, one imperative need, and that need was Stephen. Stephen’s need was now hers, by sheer force of its blind and uncomprehending will to appeasement.

Then Stephen took Angela into her arms, and she kissed her full on the lips, as a lover. [1]

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96: Tiger King; Carole ******* Baskin

Carol Baskin was born on an Air Force base in Bexar County, Texas on June 6, 1961. Like Joe, she didn’t have an ideal childhood and ran away from home at age 15, hitchhiking from Florida to Maine. She slept underneath cars until she could afford her own truck and then slept in the back of that with her pet cat. At age 17, Carol got a job at a department store and fell in love with her boss, Michael Murdock, who seems to have been several years older than Carol. The two were married soon after they moved in together because Carol feared the consequences of living in sin. BUt Mike beat her regularly and obsessively tracked her moves, going so far as to track the odometer on her car. The one solace Carol had was her animals, and soon she began to rehabilitate injured bobcats.

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95: Tiger King; an Exotically Queer Tale

Today we cover a docuseries that has captivated the nation and the world at large for its sheer audacity and bizarre twists and turns. And while there are so many reasons to love, or love-to-hate, Tiger King, we here love it mostly because it is so damn queer. Along with a gay protagonist, who weds two bisexual lovers – at the same time – and hires several LGBTQ staff members. We also see a series of other queer characters and polysexual people. In fact, it seems one can’t be a ‘big cat owner’ unless they’re willing to be in an open or polyamorous relationship. We want to throw out a spoiler alert, and if you haven’t seen the docuseries then you might be tempted to believe we’re making all of this up. We think you’d probably enjoy our episode better if you have seen the series, but it is doubtful that we could ruin the experience that is Tiger King. 

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92: Chao Xiaomi: Chinese Trans Activist

Today we are headed to China to cover one of the most inspiring transgender activists of our time. An individual who is defying gender binaries in a country that has done very little in the way of LGB rights, and even less for trans and gender non-conforming folks. Despite this, activist and business owner Chao (Chow) Xiaomi (Shou-me) is not one to be deterred. Though she identifies as gender fluid, she uses feminine pronouns and has a feminine expression. And though she has lived openly for the last 15 years, it is only recently that her work has drawn any attention. To understand Chao’s (Chow) predicament, we must understand the climate between China and its LBGTQ citizens.

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91: Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady In Love

Today we cover one of the most well known feminist icons of the 20th century; First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. She was by far one of the most influential and active partners of any sitting president. She also held the title of First Lady longer than any other individual since her husband was the only president to ever serve more than two terms. Due to their power, prestige, and 12 years in the White House, the Roosevelts have long been viewed as a form of American royalty. And with their distinction follows the usual amount of rumors and gossip which people have passed along for decades. While we may not have kings and queens in America, we still love to speculate and dish on the rich as much as any other nation. And few families have ever provided so much fodder for the gossip columns as the Roosevelts. 

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90: Barbara Smith; Literary Legend

Today we address a feminist icon, civil rights legend, and queer revolutionary, Barbara Smith, one of the longest and most committed activists to freedom and justice for all people. She’s 73 years old today but age has hardly slowed her down. As she is still actively sought after by people from all walks of life. Smith’s 50 plus years of social justice advocacy makes her one of the most knowledgable and qualified civil rights leaders in the world. An incredible feat for anyone, but especially a black lesbian born in the middle of the Jim Crow era. How did she manage to become the fierce leader she is today? Well, let’s start back at the beginning.

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89 Billy Porter: Pose Star, Fashion Queen

Billy Porter has come to redefine the industry and shatter every boundary and binary in his way. Though he’s been in the industry for over 30 years it’s only in the last few that this incredible star had been getting the recognition he deserves. A conscious choice made when Porter chose his authenticity over fame; a decision few would have had the tenacity to follow through on. But today his hard work, dedication, and unwavering moral stance have earned him the role of a lifetime. Starring as the enigmatic Pray Tell on the hit TV show Pose, Porter serves us Ballroom Culture realness as he emcee’s the nightly challenges. But before we get to that, let’s start back at Billy’s childhood. *And before we start. We do want to add a trigger warning as we will be discussing sexual abuse and trauma*.

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