In my hunt for queer-themed podcasts for review, I come across many variations on a theme; either the white gay guy duo/trio/group discussing contemporary experience (sex and pop culture feat. a lot of giggling), or various genders and sexual identities seriously discussing intersectionality, feminism, and queer struggle.
Individual personalities and friendship dynamics are present, but whether superficial or driven by topical political agenda, these podcasts almost always emphasise broad social issues.
Isn’t it ironic then, that for an international community committed to advancing marginalised voices, that even now, 30 is often referred to as the ‘gay death’?
Of course, it can be argued that queer youth saturate podcasting because they’re more familiar with technology, but that makes An Older Gay Guy Show all the more important.
While marketed as ‘an LGBT podcast aimed towards 40+ guys’, I find it refreshing and insightful – despite being (well!) under 40.
Unlike most podcasts which rely on distinct personality dynamics, host and personal trainer Joey Hernandez flies solo for most of the episodes, musing on his experiences and perceptions of the world.
Each episode covers relatable topics (especially for gay men), including gay-on-gay bullying and exclusion, coming out later in life, dating and monogamy, relationships with food and healthy body image and mental illness. Despite the deeply personal intensity of the content, Joey’s anecdotal style keeps the podcast engaging and enjoyable.
In fact, I prefer the inclusivity of his ‘personal experience of relatable themes’ than the angry militancy and dogged use of alienating terminology that often accompanies discussion of queer experience as collective social activism.
Further, Joey is (now) 60 years old and in one episode, describes first clubbing in 1973 – only 4 years after the Stonewall riots. While clientele knew where to find clubs in the underground, the venues had blacked-out windows and no signage.
To reflect on the knowledge that members of our community possess within their living memory is both humbling and fascinating.
The youth-obsession that the LGBTIQ can often perpetuate (particularly among gay men) often focuses on the immediacy of social injustice – marriage equality or transgender bathrooms and visibility.
These are vital issues, but allowing the voices of our elders to be heard offers us perspective on our own lives, and respecting and valuing those voices and stories contextualises our place in the ongoing struggles and battles to come. Indeed, the return of Will & Grace dedicated a whole episode to precisely this issue.
Yet Joey doesn’t lecture on ambassadorship; that’s the whole point. His warm and friendly style is about human connection and lived experience, he’s just one person talking to another person through a device.
Some episodes even include interviewees, either experts on specific subject matter or those sharing their own life stories very different to Joey’s.
Our obsession with youth overshadows the contribution and knowledge of our community elders, but hearing their stories combines an awareness of times inaccessible to youth with commonality of purpose as a community tracking our own progression – all through the fun lens of one regular gay guy.
An Older Gay Guy Show is available via the iTunes Podcast app and all other podcast platforms.