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Strange or obtuse; a stinging homophobic slur; a radical political rejection of normativity; a broad term encompassing every and any variation on sexual orientation and gender identity: the word 'queer' has a multifarious past and complicated present. This is just a fraction of it.
Tracing the word's movements are Kathy Tu and Tobin Low from Nancy podcast, Eric Marcus from Making Gay History, and historian and author Amy Sueyoshi, with cameo appearances from Katie Mingle from 99% Invisible, Katie Herzog from The Stranger, and Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye.
Content note: this episodes contains discussions of sexuality and sexual acts, as well as some problematic terms.
- Nancy and Making Gay History are two of the podcasts appearing at the Big Queer Pod Fest in NYC on Saturday 16 June.
- Short but thorough two-part history of ‘queer’ by Cara Ciaimo, who writes a lot of great pieces about words.
- Need a primer for queer theory? Read Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker of the Meg-John and Justin podcast and cartoonist Julia Scheele.
- The Keywords Project considers the word's dictionary citations.
- Amy Sueyoshi writes about the Baker St Vice Ring.
- About the ‘Lavender Scare’ that conflated homosexuals with communists. Gay spies did not have it easy.
- The initialism.
- Worried about getting terminology right? The staff of the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center at UC Davis has compiled a glossary, and GLAAD steers you away from offensive terms.
- Read Queer Nation’s 1990 pamphlet ‘Queers Read This’.
- The New York Times reports from 1991 that “Militants Back ‘Queer’”.
- Listen to this marvellous episode of Still Processing, in which hosts Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris compare the queer culture of today to that they grew up with.
- The 'P.D.I.D.' episode of Criminal details a landmark legal case for transgender people being detained by police.
- And 'A White Horse' by The Memory Palace, about the longest running gay bar in America, is absolutely gorgeous.
- Pride Month is a good time to revisit the episode about how 'pride' became the word for the movement. (Also contains the surprising etymology of 'lesbian'.)
- Listener Brady has designed a Queer Pride flag.
- The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/queer.
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YOUR RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Eric Marcus is the host of the podcast Making Gay History. The book of the same name, an oral history of 45 years of the struggle for equal rights for gay and lesbian people, is being reissued this month.
- Kathy Tu and Tobin Low are the hosts of Nancy podcast from WNYC; find it at all the podcast-finding places.
- Amy Sueyoshi is the interim dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. Her latest book is Discriminating Sex, about sexuality, gender experimentation, and the Asian American experience in San Francisco in the 1890s.
- Also appearing in this episode are Katie Mingle, Katie Herzog, and Jonathan Van Ness from the podcast Getting Curious, and the TV show Queer Eye, the new season of which will be on Netflix worldwide from 15 June.
- The music is all by Martin Austwick, who writes and sings songs as Pale Bird.
- This episode was produced by me and Matt Collette. Thanks to Colin Anderson at Earwolf, Caroline Crampton, Dan Hall, Dave Pickering, Phoebe Judge, Eleanor McDowall, and Gerard Koskovich and Nalini Elias at the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco.
- Find me on the socials: facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/helenzaltzman and instagram.com/helenzaltzman.