A major fashion magazine says it's "gender fluidity" when a (heterosexual) celebrity couple swaps clothes occasionally, leading to a backlash then an apology. Delving into the thorny topic of 'essentialism' within queer communities in the first part of a two-part episode, Benjamin and Simon wonder what is gained (and maybe lost) when we locate even an idea like gender performance within particular and essential identities.
'Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik are part of a new generation who don’t see fashion as gendered', by Maya Singer: http://www.vogue.com/article/gigi-hadid-zayn-malik-august-2017-vogue-cover-breaking-gender-codes
'Vogue apologizes for Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik 'gender-fluidity' cover story': http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/07/15/vogue-apologizes-for-gigi-hadid-and-zayn-malik-gender-fluidity-cover-story.html
Even though we all would have preferred otherwise, "allies" were in the spotlight during this year's Pride Month, raising the question: what role should allies play within queer activism, and even within queer communities themselves? Simon and Benjamin pit pragmatism against idealism in a discussion about how far we should go to be inclusive.
'To Abercrombie & Fitch: No, The Pride Community Isn’t ‘Everybody’', by Alex Hollander: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/to-abercrombie-fitch-no-pride-isnt-for-everybody_us_59420ad9e4b0d99b4c921155
'Gym brand explains LGBTI alphabet in stunning video - but leaves out asexuals', by Stefanie Gerdes: https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/watch-gym-brand-explains-lgbti-alphabet-stunning-video-leaves-asexuals/
Tired of heavy podcast topics, week after week? Benjamin and Simon have the podcast for you, delving into pop culture to find meaning in queer cultural representation and asking the big questions, like: did your parents ever catch you watching Queer as Folk? And have you ever urinated next to a minor celebrity?
Homonationalism: it's a big word and kind of a complex idea, but with LGBTI rights increasingly a flashpoint for cultural conflict around the globe Simon and Benjamin decide to wade in. At this international intersection of colonialism, racism and queerphobia, is it even possible to make a positive difference?
From marriage equality to Safe Schools, it seems like everything our communities are fighting for at the moment involves the state granting either recognition or protection to queer people. Benjamin and Simon go head-to-head with the state in a discussion that asks: why should we critique the status quo? And more importantly, where might that leave us?
The furore over a star-studded letter calling for a version of the Safe Schools anti-bullying program Australia could "tolerate" was a flash in the pan, but it raised some questions about queers' capacity for disagreement. Simon and Benjamin wonder what's served by robust debate within our communities, and question the value of all of us just getting along.
The original letter and petition has since been removed, but here's a news story: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/may/02/troye-sivan-guy-pearce-and-missy-higgins-push-for-safe-schools-replacement
Ben Grubb's apology: https://medium.com/@bengrubb/an-apology-4c5c530d4a8d
The recent arrest of a journalist charged with offences relating to child pornography gets Benjamin and Simon thinking about the long-standing association made in public debate between queers and pedophilia. Are we as past this sort of fear mongering as we'd like to imagine, or has the moral panic never really gone away?
News story about Ben McCormack's arrest: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/a-current-affair-reporter-ben-mccormack-charged-over-child-porn-allegations-20170406-gvf2rx.html
Sarah Schulman Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.schulman.56/posts/10158279914035188
When it comes to political debates, queer communities are increasingly framing ourselves as "vulnerable". In the face of an often hostile world, Simon and Benjamin wonder what is gained (and perhaps what is lost) when we talk about ourselves as vulnerable communities in need of protection.
'Religion versus queers' has reared its ugly head again in the debate over the Coopers beer boycott, so Benjamin and Simon decide to dive into that most inappropriate of dinner-party conversation topics: religion. How do we weigh the rights of LGBTI communities against religious freedom? What does it even mean to ask that question?
Although "born this way" has become a rallying cry for queers, Simon and Benjamin are pretty sure it's the wrong way to fight for the political change we want. But when you feel like you were born this way, what happens when our politics crash headfirst into our experiences?