Culture

5 podcasts breaking down the gender binary

From “NPR on poppers” to the coolest college-funded research project.

Hannah Ongley

Facebook.com/GenderBlenderPodcast

Podcasts are not having a moment — they’re soundtracking our every move. Rip out someone’s earbuds on the subway (actually don’t) and you’ll be as likely to find them blasting Michael Barbaro as Miley or Vic Mensa. But it’s not just about tuning in and dropping out. The best thing about podcasts is how they help you engage with the world — and the people — around you, popping bubbles and broadening horizons with diverse voices. Gender-nonconforming voices, in particular, are particularly important in an increasingly non-binary culture. Yet while more young people are challenging the gender binary, society is still largely unclear what exactly it means to do so. These five podcasts are shattering the binary in ways that are hilarious, heartfelt, inspiring, and educational — about everything from preferred pronouns to Mariah Carey’s Vine account.

They/Them
Genderqueer friends Whooping Cough and Moon Poet are as idiosyncratic as their names suggest. They/Them brings some LGBTQIA+ perspective to the issues other progressive media outlets often bypass. A pre-Halloween episode titled “Teenagers Scare the Living Shit Out of Me” addresses the perennially adolescent antics of: Morrissey, mainstream Puerto Rican media, and themselves, as 20-something queer people who experienced a delay in self-acceptance. Whooping Cough and Moon Poet’s repartee could easily carry the show on its own, but one of the loveliest episodes is an interview with their FTM friend Al. They talk about acquiring male privilege and butt hair.

Gender Rebels
Does TG stand for “Thanksgiving” or “transgender”? The gender dissidents behind this fun podcast both ask and answer the questions we all want to know. When Faith and Kath — a trans and cis female couple — aren’t baking pies, they’re hosting Q&A sessions about gender across the spectrum. How can I be a trans ally without being the Rachel Dolezal of gender? Is it problematic to complement trans people on their looks? What curveballs should I expect after starting hormone replacement therapy? Faith and Kath answer questions from curious listeners their own circle of LGBTQ friends, while soundtracks come courtesy of their favorite female-identifying punk bands.

American Sex Podcast
This R-rated offering is hosted by the cream of the queer podcasting crop: writer Ken Melvoin-Berg and self-described “pleasure advocate” Sunny Megatron of Showtime’s best sex ed show. Sunny and Ken break down political legislation with deep insight, uncover awkward sex stories in approachable ways, and have an intuitive sense of what makes a great guest. Last month they interviewed internet legend Auntie Angel, a.k.a. “Grapefruit Lady,” of the infamous fruit-themed foreplay technique. American Sex’s more serious episodes include a conversation with Bill Clinton’s former surgeon general Joyce Elders — who was forced to resign from the White House in 1994 after encouraging masturbation education.

Gender Blender
Tai Jacob launched their pod project after winning a Renaissance Award from McMaster University. Financial aid secured through the honor allows them to travel around the Northeast exploring the complexities of gender through thoughtful interviews. The fourth year Arts & Science student identifies as “a queer, non-binary, genderfluid Toronto Jew,” and often draws on their cultural heritage as a first-generation Indigenous settler. Tai’s most recent interview subject is Ignacio Rivera — a queer, trans, two-spirit, Black-Boricua Taíno who has spent over 20 years fighting for economic justice, anti-racist anti-violence, and anti-imperialism, as well as mujerista and LGBTQ movements. The conversation is educational and inspiring AF, touching on everything from polygamy and kink to their project HEAL (Hidden Encounters Altered Lives) which aims to end child sexual abuse.

Food 4 Thot
Okay, so this audio show is not strictly about gender identity. As the multiracial hosts sum up their beloved pod, “Dennis, Fran, Joseph, Tommy forged a beautiful friendship over their shared love of literature, rosé, and butt-stuff.” Think Sex and the City but more radical, diverse, and overall delectable, or if Carrie’s side hustles included science and Insta-feuding with Frankie Grande. Dennis even has an expansive poncho collection. The pods are a delectable smorgasbord of menu items comprising Nietzsche discourse and 90s R&B trash talk, but they’re really resonating in an age when LGBTQ rights need to be fought for harder than ever. Food 4 Thot just forged a partnership with Grindr, and recently sent busloads of activists to D.C. to protest President Trump. Season 2 is coming soon.