Scene: lunch with some coworkers (all female).
— I have a friend that would be perfect for you.
— Yeah, he’s amazing.
— Thanks but I’m not gay.
This is one of the many occurrences of people mistaking me as gay. It’s not something that offends me even though people think it should(?). I am a white, straight, CIS male who only has sex with women who all look the same; maybe I should dive into why with my therapist. That’s beside the point.
The point is: I connect a lot with the LGBTQ community. Not just because people assume I’m gay. For numerous reasons. The official synopsis of my favorite podcast Nancy explains it best.
BFFs Kathy Tu and Tobin Low are super queer, super fun, and ready to take over your podcast feed. Join them for provocative stories and frank conversations about the LGBTQ experience today. Because everyone’s a little bit gay.
Everyone is a little bit gay. Me, my sister, my parents, my friends. Even you, my manly macho conservative acquaintance who hate-reads my blog.
That’s what makes the queer-centric podcast so terrific. Even though Tu and Low focus on LGBTQ issues, the spectrum they cover goes so much further beyond that.
I first caught onto the podcast in June after it was recommended by a friend. The first episode I listened to was “#13: It’s Really You.” Part of it involved the story about a youth in rural Alaska who wants to be a drag queen. His favorite queen? Who else other than RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Alaska.
Another episode highlighted how being out in the military remained difficult even after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed (“#19: The Pentagon’s Gaggle of Gays” ). The two hosts invite a rotation of producers to explore stories like these. While the two episodes I mentioned resonated with me, there is a topic Nancy focused on over the course of numerous episodes that really pushed this show from top-notch to the best.
Over the course of the latter half of 2017, the show started discussing being out at work. “#22: Does Your Boss Known You’re Gay?” unofficially kicked off their Out at Work series. It was about how twenty-eight states lack employment protections for LGBT people and Slate LGBTQ writer Mark Joseph Stern is invited into the discussion. In the episode, the podcast started asking listeners to call in and share their stories about being out at work. It resulted in an enthralling and sometimes heartbreaking episode (#33).
Nearly 3,000 listeners participated in the survey. Nancy decided with their data (52% out at work / 13% aren’t out / 35% somewhat out) that there could be six categories of being out at work. These range from “professionally queer” which would be someone whose sexual identity was apart of their job, like working at an LGBTQ non-profit or hosting a queer-centric podcast. Then there was “out and proud” and “people can tell.”
It gets murkier though. There are complications and irrelevance to sexuality at work. The final category was simply people not feeling comfortable to come out at work for numerous reasons. One example is safety.
These categories are interesting to me because it circles to the assumption I was gay at work. I’ve started noticing things about how people assume others are straight and how non-queer employees more frequently discuss their personal lives than LGBTQ coworkers. Maybe I’m making an assumption, but it’s something to notice.
Either way, Nancy is fabulous.