108 episodes

Your Queer Story is an LGBT podcast. Join us as we laugh, learn, and discover the history of the LGBT community and the people and events that shaped our society. We also cover religion, sexuality, politics, personal stories, civil rights, and much, much more.

Your Queer Story: An LGBT Podcast Evan Jones & Paul Hobbs

    • Sexuality
    • 4.8, 55 Ratings

Your Queer Story is an LGBT podcast. Join us as we laugh, learn, and discover the history of the LGBT community and the people and events that shaped our society. We also cover religion, sexuality, politics, personal stories, civil rights, and much, much more.

    106: F**k You Aaron Schock

    106: F**k You Aaron Schock

    Today’s minisode is dedicated to a special person indeed and perfectly addresses a long-standing issue in the LGBTQ+ community. In March of this year, former representative Aaron Schock came out as gay. The name may be familiar as the politician made quite a name and a scandal for himself in the brief 5 years he was in Congress. And in fact, we have discussed him before in the past during one of our “I’m not gay, YOU’RE gay” episodes. Aside from the corruption charges for spending fraud, the former Republican Congressman has long faced rumors of being gay. And the word ‘rumors’ is an understatement as they’ve been backed with photos, video, and everything short of a confession from Schock. Yet for whatever reason, the politician did not see it beneficial until now to come formally out as gay. Perhaps the success of Pete Buttigieg’s campaign inspired him. Or perhaps he has found a new angle he can work.



    Before we get to his coming out statement, let’s learn a little bit more about Aaron Schock. He was born in Minnesota and spent the first several years of his life on a farm before his family relocated to Peoria, Illinois. In high school, Schock became interested in business and bought his first piece of real estate. He was ready to start his life and requested permission to graduate early but the school board denied his request. So upon his graduation, Aaron Schock decided to run in the school board election. He won his seat by a 57% vote and became the youngest member on the board. He would work his way up the board and become the young school board president in Illinois history.

    Even though the school board had blocked him from early graduation Schock had enrolled in his local community college anyway and took dual courses in high school and college. He obtained his Bachelors degree just two years after his high school graduation. And two years later he ran for Illinois State Senate at the age of 23 and four years later he ran for a U.S. Senate seat. Upon winning that election, at 27 years of age Aaron Schock became the youngest senator in the country. He was a rising Republican star and a darling of the Conservative right. There was certainly speculation about how such a successful, handsome, and fit young man would still be single. The rumors had swirled since his state election in 2004. But for many years there were just whispers.

    During his time as a U.S. senator Aaron Schock voted against extending federal hate crime law to cover LGBTQ+ people, he voted against the Employment Discrimination Amendment which would cover LGBTQ+ people in the workplace. The same law that was threatened by the Trump administration and recently upheld by the Supreme Court. Schock voted against the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which would allow gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly.  He voted to block funds that attacked DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). Instead, upholding the program that directly blocked gay Americans from accessing federal recognition of same-sex marriage. All of which should have come as little surprise as he took a hard, open stance against gay marriage during his campaigns. 

    In 2014, the Human Rights Campaign gave Aaron Schock a zero percent rating for his voting records on LGBTQ+ equality. Ironic as the man was currently living with his “male roommate” and showering the so-called roommate with gifts. A fact brought to light that same year when journalist Itay Hod revealed Schock’s roommate to the world and the fact that the anti-gay senator spent quite a good bit of his free time visiting the D.C. gay bars. Essentially, Hod outed the senator who had previously strongly denied the long-standing rumors that he was gay. In his coming out statement, Schock states that once this truth was exposed, he planned to come out. But then was faced with a more d

    • 28 min
    105: The AIDs Crisis Part 2

    105: The AIDs Crisis Part 2

    We are continuing our coverage of the AIDS crisis during the 1980s. If you have not listened to part 1, we strongly encourage that you do so. We begin in 1983 when the crisis is finally gaining widespread medical attention. By now, the mystery disease had gone through several name changes. Starting with the misdiagnosis of pneumonia and the cancer Kaposi’s sarcoma, changing to the offensive ‘gay cancer/gay plague’, and finally landing on the well-known acronym of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). At the dawn of 1983, 900 people had been officially diagnosed with AIDS, and time would later prove that this number was woefully inaccurate. Doctors in New York, San Francisco, Miami, and several other large cities had been treating patients for 5 years. Thirty states reported cases and 52 worldwide cases in 15 countries had been recorded so far.



    There were many reasons why the number of deaths was so underreported. For one, the very nature of AIDS made it difficult to diagnose. Because the virus breaks down the immune system, the individual usually dies of a different illness. And because there was not a lot of knowledge of AIDS at the time, many people who had died in previous years had a different cause of death marked on their medical record. Another reason the numbers were so deflated was due to the stigma around AIDS. Many patients who had AIDS requested a different cause of death be marked on their death certificates. As one wealthy businessman told a nurse, “Better to die of cancer than to die of AIDS”. 

    But the final reason the numbers weren’t reported was due to medical and professional refusal to acknowledge AIDS in any person who was not a homosexual. Even though the very thought of a virus targeting a person because of their sexual orientation defied all science and medicine, officials insisted that only gays could get AIDS. Gays and Haitians anyway – another group that politicians and medical leaders didn’t mind slapping the stigma upon. It was frustrating that officials ignored the studies of doctors such as Dr. Rubenstein, who by now had recorded close to 20 cases of AIDS in children, and Dr. Guinan who had been tracking AIDS in drug users since 1981. 

    But most alarmingly, it was incredibly dangerous to ignore that heterosexuals could get infected. Since 1982, several physicians had warned that AIDS could be transmitted through blood transfusions. But blood banks were not interested in the news. If they acknowledged that AIDS could be passed by transfusion, then the banks would be between a rock and a hard place. Either they spent millions in bolstering and pre-screening blood donations, or they banned all gays from donating blood which tanked their annual donations by 7%. Ironically, while public health officials seemed to care little about the lives and well-being of queer people, they still needed their blood. And again, the stigma of believing that AIDS was a ‘gay disease’ allowed for plenty of heterosexual and ‘straight passing’ individuals to continue donating blood with no screening. 

    As the crisis approached the mid-1980s, two large obstacles seemed to stand in the way of proper AIDS education and safe sex promotion. The first obstacle being the obstinancy of public health officials to see AIDS as anything other than a gay exclusive virus. While the second obstacle came from the queer community itself as LGBTQ leaders refused to confront the rampant, rubber free orgies that took place in the bathhouses night after night. Any person who attempted to suggest the bathhouses should take a safer approach to sex was decried as a nazi with internalized homophobia.

    Yet even though people claimed they didn’t believe in safe sex, their bravado fell away when no one else was around. A survey of 600 gay men in San Francisco found that 2/3rds of respondents had changed their se

    • 1 hr 11 min
    104: The ADIS Crisis Part 1

    104: The ADIS Crisis Part 1

    Today we present the first half of our two-part series on the 1980s AIDS Crisis and the way the epidemic unfolded in America during the first five years it was uncovered. There are few moments in history that have been darker for our community than the decade between 1980 and 1990. Almost every single LGBTQ+ person connected to the queer world watched someone they love die of the disease and most people watched countless of their siblings suffer. As if the horror of the disease itself were not enough, the way the crisis was portrayed to the world only stoked the fires of homophobia and created a bias that blocked medical help and prevented research funding. 

    Before we continue, we want to add a trigger warning and even encourage you to return to this episode later if you are not in a good mental health state. We are continuing on with our coverage of the AIDS crisis as it is long overdue and we want to remind everyone of, not only why we celebrate, but why we march. We want to remind others of why we rally, and protest, and riot, and fight to be heard and seen. As important as it is to dance and parade down the streets, it is equally important to remember where we came from. And to acknowledge the work we still have to do. In many respects, 2020 PRIDE much more resembles the early PRIDE years and not the celebrations we have taken for granted. 

    As a last piece of business, we would like to acknowledge three of our main sources upfront. The most influential reference of our research was the 1987 And the Band Played On by gay journalist Randy Shilts. Shilts lived and reported throughout the AIDS epidemic and his book is widely credited for helping to turn the tide of silence surrounding the disease in the 1980s. It is emotional and raw in some parts yet equally thorough and pragmatic in other places. Most importantly, And the Band Played On expresses the anger and outrage of those who watched the epidemic unfold and yet saw that no one would listen. And no one knew this better than Shilts who lived in the queer community and was the only journalist in the entire Nation to report on the epidemic full-time. On the day Shilts submitted his final draft of the book he was officially diagnosed with HIV and would die of AIDS 7 years later on February 17, 1994. The book itself would go on to become a best-seller and later turned into the widely popular HBO movie created under the same title.

    However, despite its monumental achievements and lasting legacy, the book was written in the height of the crisis. Therefore, it did not have the benefit of hindsight nor the gift of time which allows for better understanding and perspective. Because of this, Shilts inadvertently created the myth of ‘patient zero’ which not only affect people’s perception of the AIDS epidemic and the Gay community but also has affected the way we have viewed and classified disease outbreaks ever since. A hunt for “the outbreak patient” or “patient zero” creates a misconception of how illness actually travels and infects a group of people. There are other claims made in Shilts book that reflected the science and medicine of the time but that since have been disproved. A response to these issues was published exactly 30 years later and is the second maid reference for our research. Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic by Richard A. McKay is used as our backup source on much of this information. 

    Finally, our third major reference will be used mostly in the second half of our two-part series.a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20100821072159/http://www.blackaids.org/image_uploads/article_575/08_left_behind.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    103: Black Lives Matter

    103: Black Lives Matter

    #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, Black Lives Matter is winning immediate improvements in the lives of people of color.



    Books:

    “As a woman of color, I find hope in this book because of its potential to disrupt the patterns and relationships that have emerged out of long-standing colonial principles and beliefs. White Fragility is an essential tool toward authentic dialogue and action. May it be so!”

    —Shakti Butler, president of World Trust and director of Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible



    “An engrossing and relentless intellectual history of prejudice in America…. The greatest service Kendi [provides] is the ruthless prosecution of American ideas about race for their tensions, contradiction and unintended consequences.”―Washington Post



    “Many critics have cast doubt on the proclamations of racism’s erasure in the Obama era, but few have presented a case as powerful as Alexander’s.”—In These Times





    Most people will tell you that racism is all about hatred and ignorance. In How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi’s follow-up to his National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning, he explains that racism is ultimately structural. Racism directs attention away from harmful, inequitable policies and turns that attention on the people harmed by those policies. Kendi employs history, science, and ethics to describe different forms of racism; at the same time, he follows the events and experiences of his own life, adapting a memoir approach that personalizes his arguments. This is a very effective combination, fusing the external forces of racism with Kendi’s own reception and responses to that racism—the result will be mind-expanding for many readers. Kendi’s title encompasses his main thesis: simply not being racist isn’t enough. We must actively choose to be “antiracist,” working to undo racism and its component polices in order to build an equitable society. To read this book is to relate to the author as an individual and realize just how much we all have in common. As Kendi writes: race is a mirage, assigning an identity according to skin color, ignoring the individual. —Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review





    “A novel that puts its finger on the very pulse of the nation that we live in today . . . a fantastic read from beginning to end, as can always be expected from Picoult, this novel maintains a steady, page-turning pace that makes it hard for readers to put down. It also allows for conversations to be had and for people to sit back and look at their lives, actions (past and present) and wonder how they will move forward. This is a fantastic book not only because it addresses something that happens in America and around the world every day, but it also shows us that change is possible too.”—San Francisco Book Review



    Resources:



    * https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

    • 34 min
    102: Pride Anthems

    102: Pride Anthems

    We’ve officially launched into the most magical time of the year and even though this year will look a lot different than usual, we can still make June as queer as possible. In order to honor the struggles of those before us, we will be covering some grim yet necessary parts of our LGBTQ+ History this month. Before we explore the pain and struggles of our people, we want to start off with a celebration of the music and anthems that have marched us through our darkest times. 



    We do have to point out that many of these songs and artists were not queer themselves. This was due to society’s rejection of the LGBTQ which prevented record labels and radio stations from signing and playing queer musicians. However, music speaks to all people regardless of who they are or even the message intended. Despite the pushback and open hostility of those around them, our people still sang, still danced, still marched along to the rhythm with PRIDE. So let’s dive into a list of the most notorious and rousing anthems of our past. 

    Of course, we must start with the song that launched it all, 1939’s  Somewhere Over the Rainbow. There are countless “brick roads” that lead us to the reasons the rainbow has become a symbol of queer pride, but one of the strongest theories is tied to the ‘Friends of Dorothy’. A term coined in the late ’40s and used especially during the 1950s and 60s by gay men who wanted to reveal their orientation without fear of being arrested or beaten. A similar term was used in England except the British used the term ‘Friends of Mrs. King’, a wink at the term Queen which was already known as a reference to a gay man. 

    Queers in America chose the phrase ‘Friends of Dorothy” due in part to the LGBTQ popularity of the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and due to the extreme fandom in the queer community over Wizard of Oz star, Judy Garland. The actress had a huge following of LGBTQ supporters for many reasons. For one, she kept marrying gay men and didn’t seem that bothered by their affairs with other men. For another reason, she was known to support queer artists and even managed a few and had them open for her act. 

    But there were plenty of personal reasons why the LGBTQ community related to Judy. She was one of the first actresses to be mercilessly dragged through the mud by the media and tabloid magazines. Her mannerisms were considered too masculine and her weight was too heavy. Many lesbians related to the scrutiny and Garland’s defiance of traditional beauty standards. Queer people as a whole related to the tragedy around her life. No matter how hard she tried, Judy was consistently rejected by society, maligned, and misunderstood. 

    Eventually, her depression ended in suicide. She died just days before the Stonewall Riots in 1969, and some have even attributed the queer communities grief over Garland’s death as fuel for the fires of anger and unrest that had swept Greenwich Village. It was because of her death and her life that Somewhere Over the Rainbow became a cult classic in LGBTQ circles and is largely responsible for the rainbow becoming our symbol of hope and PRIDE.

    While Over the Rainbow is no doubt the most famous of the early queer songs, it did have its predecessors and competitors. Das Lila Lied (German for The Lavender Song) is considered the first explicit, ‘Out’ anthem. And was written in response to Magnus Hirschfeld’s launch of the Institute for Sexual Science. Some of the lyrics, translated into English, ask dramatically:

    Why the torment

    to impose

    morals of others on us?

    We, listen to this,

    are what we are,

    even if they want to hang us.

    The final lines however have a much bolder and proud stance. Declaring:

    Then we will have contended successfully for our rights

    we will not suffer anymore, but we will be tolerated! [4]

    • 38 min
    101: Being An Effective Ally To The LGBTQ

    101: Being An Effective Ally To The LGBTQ

    Today’s episode drops just 5 days before the launch of Pride Month. That special time of year that rejuvenates us with hope, confidence, and glitter. One of the best parts about Pride today is that so many companies and organizations show their open support online, in their media, and through rainbows plastered on the front of their merchandise. While we certainly enjoy the stand of solidarity, often these gestures come across as hollow. Specifically when one examines the LGBTQ+ diversity, or lack of queer diversity and inclusivity, adopted within these companies. So today we want to discuss how to keep the Pride going long after the last sparkler fades.



    While this episode is meant for businesses during Pride Month, parents, loved ones, teachers, and community workers can learn a lot as well. The most important thing to remember is to LISTEN to your LGBTQ+ loved one. Do your own research, read some memoirs, set aside times to ask questions, and reach out to a support group of others in your shoes. Don’t put the brunt of your education on your queer loved one. They have enough to deal with. Google is a wonderful tool, and while you can’t trust everything on the internet, you can learn a hell of a lot. So utilize it. As for those of you who run a business, a group, or an organization, the following tips are for helping make your workplace a more effective Ally. 

    First – Create LGBTQ+ Specific Policies – As great as it is to see a rainbow outside one’s workplace, it doesn’t mean much if that individual isn’t protected once they’re inside those walls. Most companies have a non-discrimination policy as it is federally required, but that doesn’t allow for public accommodations or many medical needs that are specific to the queer population. More importantly, by not specifically addressing LGBTQ+ employees, companies are not recognizing the fact that queer populations face additional barriers and needs. By instituting policies that specifically address LGBTQ issues, a company shows they are committed to queer employees, customers, and clients, every day and not just during Pride Month. By the way, the overwhelming majority of Fortune 500 companies have policies in place. If you want your business to thrive, queer specific policies are essential.

    Second – Institute Regular Trainings and Make Sure They Are Queer Lead – Like many minority groups, we continue to evolve in our language, our goals, and our understanding of ourselves. So a standard curriculum developed 20 years ago and repeated once a year isn’t going to cut it. In fact, curriculums created 10 or even 5 years ago will definitely need to be updated or thrown out altogether. In order to be an effective Ally it’s important to develop with the times the same way your business or organization continues to evolve if it wishes to grow. So training should regularly be reviewed before it’s presented and training around minority issues should be administered often. Especially if the company is growing or has high turnover.

    Additionally, these training sessions should be led by an LGBTQ+ individual. An Ally with good intentions just isn’t going to cut it. A queer person will have insights and be able to address questions that others cannot. The same way a person of color can speak to the effects of racism far better than a white person ever could. Furthermore, you don’t want the training to become ‘other’ focused, meaning ‘those people’. Rather, by having a peer representative, the subject becomes more personal and tangible. If you don’t have a person within your organization that is qualified to host this training, then you can always outsource and pay a local organization to send a qualified representative. Or maybe ask how you don’t have a single LGBTQ+ employee that could lead a training.

    Third – Small Signs Go A Long Way

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
55 Ratings

55 Ratings

PlantBasedSquirrel ,

Incredible!!

This podcast is so funny, informative, creative and laid back. Evan and Paul do such in-depth research on a wide range of topics and explain them in a funny, engaging way. I love listening to these episodes whenever I’m in the car!

70million ,

This is my everything

I love these two. I think that taking a comedic, sarcastic route to spread important information about our history is incredibly important. I’ve learned sooooo much from them, and I find so much comfort in being able to dive into queer stories that I’ve never heard before. Thank you so much for dedicating yourselves to such an important and largely ignored part of the world history that every queer person needs to learn. I look forward to every single episode, so keep it up please! :)

SpectralGaia ,

Hilarious and Informative

I just want to start out by saying that I never write reviews but this one deserves the extra mile. This is BY FAR my favorite podcast! I’m just recently catching up, so I’ve gone all the way back to the beginning and begun re-listening to previous episodes. Evan and Paul are funny and engaging, and I find myself laughing out loud to myself at their wittiness, while also touching on really important and in-depth topics. I recommend Your Queer Story to everyone I come in contact with and will be a lifelong subscriber, for sure!

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