Episode 5: Stars from a Bi-Gone Era

In this very special episode, hosts Leigh & Gretchen travel to the red carpet and the silver screen to hear stories about queer actors from the golden age of Hollywood. Along for the ride is a room full of queer people who came to listen to the podcast being recorded live at TGIFemslash, a convention dedicated to the queer ladies of media, the ladies who love them, and the fans who love them. Join us and a room full of big gay nerds as we discuss the early years of film, the sexploits of the rich and famous, and other favorite queermos from history!

Outline

0:00 – Pre-show announcements
2:25 – Introduction
4:44 – Game: Silver Screen Sexploits
10:54 – Word of the Week: Lavender Marriages
12:54 – More Stars of a Bi Gone Era: Why Do We Think They're Gay?
 17:15 – How Gay Were They?
 22:20 – Group Discussion: Favorite Queermos from History
 45:15 – Closing and Where to Find us Online

For awesome nerdy queer merch like buttons, shirts, necklaces, and other fantastic things to deck your femslash loving self out in, please check out our amazing friend’s shop mentioned in the show, Glorious Weirdo! They make stuff for nerds, fangirls, feminists, queers, geeks & other cool people. Their designs celebrate the things we love, and we hope you'll love them too.

For a full list of sources and bonus content, visit our Notes page! 

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Episode 4: Bulldaggers & Lady Lovers: The Bisexual and Lesbian Blues Legends

In this episode, your hosts Leigh & Gretchen take a stroll down Jungle Alley and bring you stories of the vibrant black lesbian and gay subculture of the Harlem Renaissance and the blues legends who sang of its glory. With wild parties, bathtub gin, clandestine orgies, and crooning bulldaggers, the lesbian and bisexual blues legends of the 1920s and 1930s were definitely not as straight as you think.

Outline

0:00 – Introduction
3:46 – The Harlem Renaissance, Cultural Context, and the Language We Used
10:42 – Bio Time!: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, Gladys Bentley, Ethel Waters (& Ethel
            Williams), Alberta Hunter, & Lucille Bogan
39:13  – What Do You Mean They're Not Straight?
      39:28  – Evidence from Historical/Cultural Context: Queer subculture & performance in
                    Harlem nightlife
      44:06  – Word(s) of the Week: Rent Party & Buffet Flat
      48:56  – Evidence from Their Personal Lives & Music
1:04:41  – Pop Culture Tie-In: Bessie (2015)
1:05:29  – Takeaways
1:07:55  – How Gay Were They?
1:08:31  – Closing and Where to Find Us Online

For a full list of sources and bonus content, visit our Notes page! 

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Episode 3: Mei Ai Hold Your Hand? Homosexuality in Imperial China

As your hosts return to examine the unexplored corners of history to highlight overlooked queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies, they bring a conversation about homosexuality in Imperial China. They will discuss the unique tradition of male homosexuality present for over 2500 years, what made it possible, and how tragic it’s loss is for modern China. And don’t worry, even though female homosexuality doesn’t have the same strong literary tradition, there are plenty of delightful stories, and a new ‘word of the week’ related to queer lady experience!

Outline

0:00 – Introduction
3:55 – Main Topic: Homosexuality in Imperial China
      13:38 – Social Context: Confucianism, Daoism, and Conceptions of Sex
      22:46 – Social Context: Different Kinds of Sexual Relationships Between Men
      23:41-24:36 - CONTENT WARNING: pederasty mention
      30:23– Examples!
1:10:30 - CONTENT WARNING: pederasty mention
1:11:50 – Word of the Week: dui shi (“shared eating”)
1:17:33 – Takeaways
1:20:14 – How gay were they?
1:23:06 – Where to find us online

For a full list sources and bonus content for this episode, visit our Notes page!

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Episode 2: Cloistered Queers

In this episode, your hosts Gretchen and Leigh continue to examine the overlooked and underappreciated queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies in the unexplored corners of history by traveling to the cloisters of Medieval Europe. They’ll uncover unique views of sex and sexuality that made the practice of ‘brother making’ possible both within and outside the monastic community but also made it hard for medieval theologians to understand sex between women. Come slake your thirst for Jesus queer poems and love letters because guess what? There are lots of monks and nuns with a strong desire for “special friendship” with each other.

Outline

0:00 – Introduction
1:31 – Word of the Week: Adelphopoiesis and Affrerement
6:30 – What do you mean they’re not straight?
     6:40 – Social Context: Medieval Views of Sex & Sodomy
     10:15 – Social Context: Sex Between Women in the Middle Ages
     26:00 – Social Context: Escaping Heteronormativity through Monastacism
     33:35 – Homoeroticism Among Female Mystics
40:40  – The Lives and Love Letters/Poems of Gay Monks and Lesbian Nuns
     1:10:00-1:19:21 – CONTENT WARNING for discussions of sexual violence
1:23:17 – How gay were they?
1:26:40 – Where to find us online

For a full list sources and bonus content for this episode, visit our Notes page!

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Episode 1: Were Some Pirates Poofters?

In our first episode, your hosts Leigh & Gretchen begin their series examining the overlooked and underappreciated queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies from the unexplored corners of history with a discussion of the high seas. Meet Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Calico Jack Rackham, and Pierre “the pansy pirate” Bouspet, a quartet of pirates from the golden age of piracy with a flair for the dramatic and some very interesting lifestyle choices.

Get at us on twitter @historyisgaypod, tumblr at historyisgaypodcast, and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts! Up Next: Cloistered Queers. 

Outline

0:00 – Introduction
2:55 – The Golden Age of Piracy
5:33 – Brief Bio: Anne Bonny, Calico Jack Rackham, Pierre Bouspet, and Mary Read
28:09 – What Do You Mean They're Not Straight?
28:52  – Evidence from Historical/Cultural Context: Gender Code Switching, Situational Gayness, and Piracy vs. the British Royal Navy
43:08 – Evidence from Their Personal Lives
53:52 – How Gay Were They?
1:02:34  – Closing and Where to Find Us Online

For a full list sources and bonus content for this episode, visit our Notes page!

Apple Podcasts  |    Google Play    |    Stitcher    |    Download

Introducing History is Gay!

Introducing History is Gay, a new podcast where your hosts Gretchen & Leigh examine the overlooked and underappreciated queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies from the unexplored corners of history. Whether shining a light on queer pirate adventures, emo lesbian Sappho, or your other faves from the pages of textbooks you never knew were queer, it’s time to bring our stories out of the shadows. Because history has never been as straight as you think. 

Get at us on twitter @historyisgaypod, tumblr at historyisgaypodcast, and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts, launching January 1! New episodes every other week. 

Outline
0:00 – Introduction
0:50 – What are we doing and why?
4:19 – Discussion of sources, historical context, and projected schedule
6:50 – Sneak peek of Episode 1: “Were Some Pirates Poofters?”
9:10 – Where to find us online

Apple Podcasts  |    Google Play    |    Stitcher    |    Download