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Let’s Talk About Gay Stuff

Local podcast puts a charismatic twist on reporting LGBTQ history and current events.

Let’s Talk About Gay Stuff hosts Tony (l), Kendall, and Thomas

Even if you haven’t been binge-listening to the Let’s Talk About Gay Stuff podcast during the quarantine, you should check it out now. The show is hosted by three gay men—Thomas, Tony, and Kendall—who talk about LGBTQ history and politics while keeping it entertaining.

“Like our tagline says, we set out to kiki and have fun,” says 40-year-old Thomas. The podcast is sponsored by the LGBTQ-owned local business BakedBones, a company that sells CBD-infused dog biscuits.

Tony, also 40, explains how the podcast came about. “We were at the bar chatting about history and politics,” he recalls. “We wanted people to learn and have fun while bringing together the community. We also wanted to keep old stories alive. We often hear from listeners that they forgot or never knew about some of these stories.”

Let’s Talk About Gay Stuff is now a year old and has more than 50 episodes you can listen to.

Within the last month, the podcast has prioritized covering politics and life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For me, there are many similarities in the initial reaction to COVID-19 and the early reaction to AIDS,” says Kendall, 37. “One of our recent topics was on the first documented case of AIDS in the U.S. in 1981. In doing research for the show, it was interesting to see how the gay community was initially blamed for the virus—it was even called GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) for years because it seemed to be affecting mainly the gay community.

“This really reminded me of how some people call COVID-19 a ‘Chinese Virus,’ and many Asian people are being blamed for the pandemic. Hopefully, our stories about how the LGBT community was affected by AIDS in the past can give lessons on how not to place blame and hate on an entire group of people.”

The podcast’s hosts say they survived the April stay-at-home order with the help of dogs, long walks, and Zoom happy hours. But they are all looking forward to life after the virus.

“As we’ve learned from the moments and pioneers we discuss in our podcast each week, this is a moment in time that is challenging us, and with principles and persistence we will persevere,” Thomas says. “The LGBTQ community historically has faced, and continues to face, a number of challenges: it’s been illegal for us to marry, have sex, live our true identity, and today we can still be legally fired from our jobs and lose our housing because of our sexual orientation or gender identity. It may look bad now, but we will be better going forward!”

Regarding the quarantine, Tony adds: “I feel there will continue to be some negative impact—like I’m sure Pride celebrations will be canceled this year. Even though we should be getting back to normal [this summer], I think it will be a slow process. But I do feel it has made most of us reassess priorities and realize what is important. It has also brought many of us closer together. Personally, I chat with some friends and family more now via Zoom than I saw them in person, pre-coronavirus.”

As for Kendall, he also feels that the community is very resilient. “You can’t log into Facebook without seeing a drag queen performing in an empty room for Venmo tips—and I say ‘Good for them!’ There are so many heartening examples of people adapting and people looking out for each other during this. It’s still important to reach out to check on friends. A Facetime call or a text can really turn someone’s day around.

“I think the gay bar and club scene will be bigger than it’s been in years after this. Our nightlife is more than drinking White Claw and slurring karaoke; it’s been a place to meet people with similar life experiences, meet future life partners, and to see the creativity of drag artists,” Kendall notes. “We will come out stronger. I bet my little gay heart on it!”

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and, among others.
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