For the longest time, I struggled to get into podcasts. First, I worked in an office, where upbeat music radio played all day long, and I couldn’t listen on my commute (because UK rules are that the driver always picks what you listen to). After leaving that job, I moved into a short but memorable stint in a cosmetics shop that blasted loud bubblegum pop music all day, so all I craved was a silent walk home.
Then I began working from home and, with only a cat for company, I longed to hear another person’s voice during my working hours. The tv was too distracting, talk radio was mostly underwhelming (and male-dominated), and phoning up my friends during lunch was always a long shot that they’d take a break at the same time as me.
Podcasts were the answer and in the past eighteen months, I’ve become quite the connoisseur, and I’m going to share my knowledge with you dear listener. Here are some of the best podcasts hosted by lesbian or bi women (albeit with some straight or male co-hosts) that I’ve discovered and fallen in love with over the past year and a half.
News and Pop Culture
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Best friends and co-hosts Kathy Tu and Tobin Low concentrate on issues that are important to lesbians and gay men (including sex-ed, pop culture, and politics) especially as it relates to their own lives but do so in a peppy manner.
They’ve shared their coming out stories (including what it means to be both Asian and a lesbian/gay) and encourage their guests (like “Master of None” star Lena Waithe) and even listeners to do the same.
Recommended Episode: Multiple Lesbians in Any Scenario: This is Nancy’s podcast about the renewal of The L Word in which Kathy discusses not feeling like enough of a lesbian because she doesn’t consume that much lesbian media.
Do you want to hear some badass women talk about myths, theories, and stereotypes about what it’s like to be a lesbian? Yes? Then you should listen to married ladies Sheena and Tamara as they discuss everything from Lesbian Bed Death to Gaydar to Cat Ladies and look at the empirical evidence behind these rumours.
Why can’t lesbians get any cool myths, something like: lesbians are magical creatures? At least that is based in truth.
Recommended Episode: Can all women have multiple orgasms? I know, your interest is already piqued. Go listen now!
The BiCast- hosted by Lynnette McFadzen (President of BiNet USA), Becca Tsarna, and Amy Lebowitz, among others- aims to amplify the voices of bisexual people and provide them with news and views on what it is like to be bisexual.
Each episode features an interview with a notable bi person, in which they discuss representation, activism, inclusion, and sexuality.
Recommended Episode: Bi Books: The Making of Us by Debbie McGowan: In this episode, Lynette and Amy talk to Debbie, an award-winning bisexual British author and activist about bisexuality and body positivity.
This weekly podcast, hosted by Dr. Kaila Story and Jaison Gardner, examines life at the intersection of black and gay, including episodes on parenting, media representation, and history.
Recommended Episode: Lea DeLaria of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ on Music, Comedy and Identity. In this episode, Lea talks coming out to very Catholic parents, being the first openly gay comic on US TV, and her musical career.
Poetry and Music
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And now for something completely different…
I’ve never been a big fan of poetry or spoken word (which probably explains my D in English) but something about Speaking Of… spoke to me. It focuses on spoken word poetry from lesbians and bi women (as well as gay and bi men and allies).
Recommended Episode: Where Have You Been?: There is a poem in this one about the five stages of breaking up, in which the listener is advised how to cope with a breakup; something that I really needed right now. The key: When the other shoe drops, do not put it back on; walk barefoot for a while.
So far, we’ve been discussing podcasts similar to talk radio, but if you’re like me, you want to discover new music by lesbians and bisexual women (because mainstream radio does little to provide accurate representation). Enter Homoground, where you’ll find the latest lesbian, gay, and bi indie artists, and none of them will be Lady Gaga.
Recommended Episode: #159: While technically, I’d recommend listening to the latest podcast in order to hear new artists, episode 159 features singer Sara Century who once said: “when people ask me how lesbians have sex I just make shit up” and earned my highest respect.
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This mini-podcast, hosted by author Harper Bliss and her publisher wife Caroline, is an incredible look into the behind-the-scenes of the publishing world. A must-listen for all the writers out there (myself included) who want to get their stories read.
Like all media, the world of books is dominated by straight, white men and while some of them are doing their best to include diverse characters, we should also be aiming to have diverse writers on the Bestsellers list. Maybe even you?
Recommended Episode: Staying Sane As A Work-From-Home Writer: As someone who does work from home (and occasionally talks to my cat at 2 pm when I realise that I’ve been alone for six hours) this little list of tips and tricks has helped me immensely.
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As we’re in the month of Halloween, how do you feel about a spooky story? Alice Isn’t Dead is a serial fictional drama about a lesbian long-haul trucker who is searching for her missing wife.
I’m conscious of blurting out any spoilers (because I’m currently working my way through Part 2 and can’t remember exactly what was shared with the audience at the beginning of Part 1) so I’ll just tell you that this is truly a story full of twists and turns and you won’t know who to trust.
If you’re a bit of a wimp, I recommend listening with someone who will tell you that the noise at the bedroom door is just the cat.
Recommended Episode: Part 1, Chapter 1- Omelet- Well, you have to begin at the beginning with a fictional podcast don’t you?
This drama-based podcast tells you short lesbian romance stories designed to make you go “aww” and curl up with your girlfriend/wife afterwards.
Again, I’m wary of spoilers so I’ll just tell you that there are three separate stories (two complete and one ongoing); The Space Story about a spaceship captain and a cyborg, The Blogger Story about a product development exec who has to meet with some bloggers that she doesn’t like, and The Diva Story, about a young woman who is struggling to find her place in the world.
Recommended Episode: Part 1 of The Blogger Story (#14) Again, you need to start at the beginning of any given story and I find the Blogger Story to be the most engaging.
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A recurring theme of this list has been challenging the erasure of lesbians from media, but what about in history? Part of the reason that The Straights™ can paint lesbianism (and by extension every sexual orientation) as a choice is because they have systematically erased us from historical narratives, sometimes by crediting the actions of a lesbian woman to a straight man and sometimes by just painting the woman as straight, and thus it does seem like a modern phenomenon.
Never fear, author and historian Heather Rose Jones is working to correct that by telling the stories of important lesbians and bisexual women throughout history from soldiers to spies to teachers to housemaids.
Recommended Episode: Aphra Behn: This bisexual 17th-century novelist, playwright, and spy was famed for her careers in both literature and espionage in the years after the English Civil War and her story needs to be heard by everyone.
So what did you think of these podcasts? Which are you already a fan of? Which did I leave out? Let me know in the comments below.