I love a podcast. I first got into them a few years ago when a friend recommended me The Guilty Feminist, a comedy podcast celebrating women, which coined the infamous line ‘I’m a feminist, but…’. My latest obsession is The Friendship Onion, where we listen as Dominic Monoghan and Billy Boyd recount Lord of the Rings stories, correct their producer’s quizzes, and generally sit for an hour chatting as old friends.
As I explored the world of podcasts I found it interesting how broad and incredibly niche they can be. You want a podcast about neuroscience? Have A Neuroscientist Explains, from The Guardian‘s Dr Daniel Glaser. Scriptwriting? Scriptnotes from John August and Craig Mazin, which has over 500 episodes of very informative (if slightly obnoxious) advice. A light hearted discussion where friends get each other to try new (and sometimes ridiculous) things? What Have You Got to Lose? from Devin Tupper and Beth Russell has you covered. An entire 100-episode podcast about 80s cartoon She-Ra, which became suddenly relevant when the show was recently rebooted to critical acclaim? Whether you want it or not, She-Ra: Progressive of Power is there for you. Then there’s the hundreds of podcasts dedicated to the surprisingly-not-niche subject of real crime.
You may have noticed that these are all non-fiction examples: there is a wealth of fiction podcasts out there, including heavy hitters such as The Magnus Archives, Hello from the Magic Tavern, and PodCastle. I like these podcasts, as well as some cult indie hits, but I love me some non-fiction, so that’s where we’re going today.
Here are my Top 5 queer non-fiction podcasts to give you a little inspo boost.
1. Out with Suzi Ruffell
This interview-style podcasts comes to you from the comedian Suzi Ruffell, as she chats with guests (some celebrities, some not) all about their lives, recounting tales of coming out, homophobia, and such incredible drive and determination that you can’t help wanting to be a better person by the end of it.
Recommended Episode: S2 EP13: Jessica Fostekew: Suzi talks to The Guilty Feminist collaborator Jessica, who gives a wonderfully self-aware account of realising your sexuality later than most.
This informative podcast from Kathy Tu and Tobin Low discusses modern queer culture through provocative stories and scintillating conversation.
Recommended Episode: Poor Unfortunate Souls. The hosts are joined by Meredith Talusan and other guests to discuss the queering of villains – both fictional and all too real.
3. Rose and Rosie: Parental Guidance
The hit Youtube couple Rose and Rosie share with honesty their adventure of starting a family. They interview friends, chat with a few famous faces (including Suzi Ruffell), but most of all leave all caution to the wind as they candidly explore the difficult process of starting a family as an LGBTQ+ couple.
Recommended Episode: 8. Are gender reveals outdates? Feat. Jamie and Shaaba: Rose and Rosie chat with fellow vloggers Jamie and Shaaba about gender roles, parenthood as a couple with one trans half, and their hopes for their future children.
4. She-Ra: Progressive of Power
I told you podcasts went niche, didn’t I? Well, here I present 100 episodes dedicated entirely to the 80s cartoon She-Ra and its beloved queer reboot, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. This podcast began before the reboot existed, so there’s a lot of nostalgic nerding happening early on. Where it really gains its footing is in discussion of the modern show as it premieres, including guest appearances from voice actors, writers, and the creator himself, Noelle Stevenson. This is the only podcast here with cis-het creators, but the queer content more than makes up for it.
Recommended Episode: “The Battle of Bright Moon” with Noelle Stevenson: Noelle discusses the Season 1 finale (with minimal spoilers) and recounts the difficulty of sneaking gay content into cartoons in a Trumped-up USA.
5. History is Gay
Historians, archaeologists, hell, probably some chemists, have long found ways to obscure and explain away queer history. See the Lovers of Modena, two 1500 year old skeletons found holding hands, who put the archaeological world in a bit of a tizzy when it was discovered they were both men. ‘Researchers believe the two might have been siblings, cousins or soldiers who died together in battle.’ (The Guardian, 2019.) But here comes this podcast to remove all doubt: readers, listeners, history is so gay. From the likes of Alan Turing and Sappho to the Publick Universal Friend, who during the American War of Independence presented as a genderless spirit from God, this podcasts stretches across the years to bring you delightful queer tales of the past.
Recommended Episode: 32: Stealing Horses & Hearts: Trans Vagabonds of the Wild West. Because seriously, who doesn’t want to hear about trans cowboys embodying the sentiment of ‘be gay, do crime’?
I don’t think I can top that one, so we’ll leave it there. What do you think? Did I miss out any heavy hitters? Do you have any podcast recommendations? Let me know in a comment below!