The Queerstories podcast is a breath of fresh air in the saturated Australian market of podcast variety.
Like its namesake – ABC’s Australian Story – Queerstories provides a platform for voices often unheard to express their life experiences.
In doing so, the definition and diversity of community in LGBTIQ terms is explored (or Quiltbag as host Maeve Marsden put it), and it’s so refreshing to have the variety of people and lives encompassed by that term represented.
With 70 episodes available, and a new one released weekly, the back catalogue may seem daunting, like a dreaded Netflix-binge of a show already five seasons in.
The beauty of Queerstories is that, unlike many podcasts which are either a continuing narrative or at least require an awareness of an established dynamic, every episode is completely self-contained – so you can jump into any back episode with an interesting title of even just start from now.
Also a blessing is the length of episodes – ranging from 10-20 minutes, there’s no time commitment needed, perfect for the commute or the laundry or however you listen!
But the stories themselves are the biggest drawcard.
Australia’s ethnically diverse population offer insight into coming out in a Middle Eastern family or to a Chinese grandmother who speaks only Cantonese (eat your heart out, Pauline Hanson).
There are stories about using camp as a shield and the self-loathing that comes with weaponising your fabulous self and repressing the true (relatable? It was to me).
Gay conversion therapy, family dynamics, religious oppression, media attention, overseas travel, and obviously political turmoil – the range of experiences that the hosts want to discuss mirrors the nature of what diversity truly means in our community as queer Australians.
Indeed, the eclectic individuals, so disparate in tone and experience made me question the nature of community – but the voices are united in common purpose – to ensure that their/our stories are heard.
The episodes are recorded stand-up style in front of a live audience, so there’s an appropriate and ever-present vulnerability for the hosts, but there’s also warmth, self-deprecating humour, relatability or new insight into another’s life (depending on the story) and always a poignant tinge that our people, so often on the fringes, are richly drawn and complex individuals.
These people and their lives and stories are definitely worth exploring.