Pronouns and Poppers: A Queer History Party

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S1: Hello and welcome to the October edition of Outward. I’m Brian Lauter, editor of Outward, and this is your annual PSA, not PSL PSA. That pumpkin is not a flavor. If you don’t believe me, try eating the unseasoned flesh of your Jack-O-Lantern and get back to me.

S2: Not a flavor. I would think it is a flavor. It’s just not a flavor anyone would actually put in a latte. It tastes like Earth.

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S1: I learned this because I tried to make a syrup once for the pumpkin spice latte and involved actual pumpkin, and it was the nastiest thing in the world. So yeah, you’re like,

S2: all right back to just cloves. Yeah, I’m Christina Cutter Ritchie, a senior writer at Slate, and I too have a PSA. Actually, I want to remind our Queer fam that Halloween is straight pride. So, you know, watch yourselves out there. They’re going to be flaunting their sexuality. They’re going to be getting trashed in public. They’re going to be getting in messy street side fights with their exes. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to respect their culture. So, you know, give them their space, leave them be and let them have their pride.

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S1: That’s very generous of you, Christine. I appreciate

S2: that. I think you. So this is where we would normally have a third host chime in with their adorable and witty banter. But we’re still looking for a third listeners, if you know of any voices who you think would be a good fit for the podcast. You can definitely reach out and share them with us at Outward Podcast, at Slate.com and on our social media at Slate Outward on Twitter. We’ll be posting a job description in the next week or so. So look out for that and we’re really excited for you to hopefully meet a third once we find them next month. Brian, tell us about what we’re doing this month.

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S3: Absolutely.

S1: So as our listeners probably know, October is Queer History Month, and it is our custom here at outward to mark that occasion with a history themed show. But hold on if you think you’ve heard about as much as you can stand on Stonewall or the Manhattan society, those sorts of things stick with us. I can almost guarantee that you will leave this episode having learned about aspects of queer history that will be totally new to you, I would say that much of the segments we are doing today were new to me completely. So that’s very exciting. First up, we’re going to consider Pauli Murray, a pioneering writer, lawyer, poet, activist and Episcopal priest whose life and woefully under acknowledged work is the subject of a new documentary out this fall. In addition to architecting groundbreaking legal ideas and being generally ahead of their time truly on issues of social justice, Murray also sought to live their gender identity outside of the confines of their mid-century milieu. But are they rightfully thought of today as a butch or non-binary or Transmasculine? And what are the politics of those choices? We’ll be joined by writer Jude Doyle to discuss all of that. Then we’ll turn to Poppers. That’s right. The smelly sex aid and 70s dance floor drug that, as Adam Zmith shows and his wonderful new book Deep Sniff, has wafted in and out of queer life for the past hundred and fifty years or so in ways that almost no one appreciates. So we’ll crack open a bottle with the author today and try to correct that. But first, it’s time for our usual round of pride and provocations. Christina, how are you feeling this month?

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S2: I’m provoked this month, so this might be like a sort of mini theme in my provocations, which just to remind our listeners we’ve named for, you know, Bette Porter’s seminal art exhibition In The Outward. I’m provoked by all the excitement around certain kinds of LGBTQ firsts. So the one that’s provoking me this month is there’s a fellow named Bretman Rock. Are you familiar with this person? I’m not so apparently is 17 million followers on Instagram. He’s a known quantity to many people. OK. Not to me. You know, through the gay media, I learned, you know, he’s he’s an influencer who has a reality show on MTV. And he recently became to much fanfare, the first openly gay man to appear on the cover of Playboy. So this is a it’s a digital cover, whatever that means, you know, not a print one, right? Which I don’t think Playboy even produces print covers anymore.

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S1: Yeah, I think you’re right.

S2: But so, you know, we’re all celebrating him in the LGBTQ at the LGBTQ community. And he told Playboy for Playboy to have a male on the cover is a huge deal for the LGBT community. My question is, is it really like I didn’t? I don’t remember voting on that motion. And it actually reminded me of something that happened over the summer when Lena Bloom became the first trans model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. And there were all these headlines celebrating it. Lana tweeted, This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment. We’ve waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder. So, you know, is the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue particularly known for depicting people as full humans?

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S3: Yeah, questionable.

S2: So I want to say I fully understand that people, especially trans women, who belong to a demographic that is denied most of the time, like the full privilege of being seen as sexual, being sexually attractive, it might feel revolutionary and satisfying and maybe even empowering. You know, these are all arguments that have been made for cis women, straight cis women who haven’t been seen as traditionally sexually attractive. But I feel like both Lena Bloom and Bretman Rock are inventing significance or like a Queer victory where none really exists. And I would question their desire to find that sort of empowerment within these specific institutions that have made their name like degrading women, being homophobic, reducing women to sex objects, causing them body shame, perhaps promoting the kinds of narrow views of sexual beauty that have excluded these people in the first place. And that I don’t think it’s subversive or even progressive to be asking for access into these sexist institutions.

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S1: Yeah, my thought was certainly that it is retconning like dignity.

S2: Oh my god, yes.

S1: Yeah. Important end to the institutions

S2: like, yes, actually.

S1: You know, I would hazard to say that probably the public relations teams or editors of these magazines see it that way. To some degree, it’s like not we’re doing this Queer representation, which makes us in retrospect, seem somehow on the right side of history, even though most for up until today or recently. Anyway, that wasn’t the case. So, yeah, yeah, that’s very tricky. You want to give people their props and they feel like they’ve done something important, but the context does matter.

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S2: Right? And, you know, very, very limited shade to, you know, Bretman Rock in this situation. Yeah. Because, yeah, I hope this show does really well. I want all LGBTQ people to get their money. But to your point, and this is a question I always ask myself when a traditionally sexist or racist or homophobic transphobic institution does something that’s putatively good. The question for me is who is getting more out of this us or that, you know, queer people or playboy? Mm hmm. It’s so Playboy clearly gets to look really progressive, possibly opening its doors to some more queer readers and queer people. Get to be on Playboy and to to now be like lending our cultural capital to an institution that has caused a disproportionate like it has been disproportionately responsible for the suffering of women and queer people. I don’t know. It provokes me. I’ll say

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S3: that. Yeah, it’s provoking for sure. How are you feeling?

S1: I am feeling a great deal of pride this month. I don’t know if our listeners have encountered this and I have to. Actually, I want to thank ally of outward and friend my friend Kelly for sending this to me because I wouldn’t be aware of it either. But Reba McEntire has put out a album called Revived, Remixed and Revisited, which includes many of her songs from her illustrious career as a country singer. And on it of a particular importance is a new cover of our new rendition, I should say. Does he love you? Including Dolly Parton as her duet partner? Oh wow. This song I don’t do you know what, Christina?

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S2: Sing a little bit for me. I might recognize it.

S1: Does he love you like he loves me? It’s like there’s one man who their best ones, like the wife and one’s like the other woman. And it’s like a, you know, a duet between these two man classic country song and the classic video. Actually, back from the 90s when it was originally done, in which Reba shows up in like full Lawrence of Arabia drag like in the back of a bar, like looking at the other woman and then spoiler alert at the end of the movie, she actually blows up the other woman on a speedboat. It’s a Rob Reiner directed music video. It’s insane camp classic like worth watching. Just for that and this new version. Dolly Parton is the drought partner. I think it was. Linda Davis was the original one, but Dolly, which of course, is exciting on its own and gay on it. So you just have gay interest on its own, but it’s a beautiful duet. Also on this album are like six club remixes of Reba country songs.

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S2: I’m sorry, six six.

S1: I believe like club remixes, including my go to drag karaoke performance. No fancy that you may now put to like a kind of it’s kind of a. Bob, honestly, I’d like to this crazy like like club it, but incredible, incredible work, and so I’m just proud of the existence of this thing. But I am also proud of the gays that were surely, surely involved in the making of it. I didn’t even bother to do research on this because I just knew it. I knew it in my soul that there were gays around

S2: like, you’re risking like a defamation lawsuit here. If there were only stripped, that’s how confident you are.

S1: Gay is no longer defamatory because, you know. But yes, I would risk it if it were defamatory to be gay, because I’m just so certain that there’s gay magic behind the creation of this insane album. So listeners of you know, you’re into country music or club music at all. Check out Reba McIntyre’s remixed, revisited and whatever I said revived, remixed and revisited. It is on Spotify and other places, and it is really something special

S2: that’s really fun.

S1: The usual approach to doing Poppers, the small bottles of quasi legal vaporous chemicals, like I said, you know, try that many gay men and others uses an aide in the bedroom, and a buzz on the dance floor is to carefully unscrew the lid, take a short half and quickly seal it again so that the heady stuff inside doesn’t spill or go stale too quickly. But in his new book Deep Sniff A History of Poppers and Queer, futures writer Adam Smith smashes the bottle and allows Poppers to diffuse across his pages and throughout Queer history, much as they’re rumored to have done to the air ducts at Studio 54. As he follows the musky scent, he blends a rush of Queer insights on everything from masculinity to pleasure to capitalism, death and most excitingly to me.

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S3: What Utopia might look like.

S1: And he offers up an amazing set of stories and research. Besides, I’m not even totally done processing this book, and Deep Sniff is already one of my favorite books of Queer thought, so I’m thrilled for Adam to join us today.

S3: Welcome, Adam.

S4: Thank you very much for having me, Brian. What an introduction. Wow, I’m getting a rush just from that.

S2: Yeah, that was so lyrical.

S1: Yes, good. Well, that’s how we like to start it up. So I thought it would be fun just to start with how Poppers the thing came into your life initially. And then, you know, from that how you determined that they were something that could work as this historical lens and metaphor and sort of analytic tool for looking at Queer history?

S4: Well, I think Poppers came into my life in a threesome.

S1: Uh huh..

S4: Yeah, but I didn’t know anything about them. I didn’t know what Poppers was. I just turned up to what I thought was a regular hookup. And then he suggested inviting someone else. And so that happened. And then one of them too had Poppers and I didn’t Sniff that night. They both did, and I didn’t know what it was. I hadn’t heard of it before, and I was just like, Now I’m pretty overstimulated as it is. This is I’m enjoying this and I’ll leave that be. So I had a good night and then obviously I must have investigated and found out more about it and bought some myself because I had them in the house when I was alone at home. One New Year’s Eve, which was when I first would say that I got into Poppers because I was just basically cruising around porn sites on New Year’s Eve by myself and I came across some porn that had quite heavy Poppers in it. And it was like those instructional videos that show lots and lots of like orgy clips to you and tell you when to Sniff your Poppers. And I did that.

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S1: Poppers Trainer Poppers Trainers videos.

S4: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So very helpful. And the fireworks are going off outside as well, you know? So, so yeah, that was when I kind of really got into Poppers as part of my solo sex life.

S1: And so from there, you sort of ascertained what their pleasures can be in that context. How did you then? Yeah, go on to realizing that they were something you could use to write about all of these subjects that you write about in the book? Well, what I

S4: discovered was that Poppers ubiquitous among gay and queer subcultures like everyone knows what Poppers are, even if you don’t use them. So I just found that among like the queer community that I’m part of and sexual community that everyone knew Poppers, but no one really knew what they were and what it was, where it came from. And it’s interesting how they’re quite stealthy in that regard, and they’re were also stealthy in relation to the mainstream. So like, I think it’s probably safe to say that most people don’t take cocaine, but everyone knows what cocaine is. And everyone has seen cocaine a million times in TV and films, and they they’ve got cultural associations with cocaine and yet Poppers in the mainstream just don’t have that at all. Or if they do, it’s just something like a joke or a giggle or something. You know, that’s what people think about when they think about Poppers. So that was just interesting to me that like even among the people who were doing them, there wasn’t very much information. So that was, I guess, is a right that was just a call to action, really. I was just like, OK, I’m going to look into this.

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S1: Yeah, a hole to fill as it were.

S4: Well, you said it. Oh, stop,

S1: stop, stop.

S2: Don’t stop.

S1: If the book the book encourages this kind of wordplay, so the book is somewhat chronological in the sense that you began with some figures in the mid-19th century and sort of move up to present day from there. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about two gentlemen. I’ll read a passage here from that early period. What links these remarkable triple named men Thomas Lauter Brunton and Karl Hendrik Oelrich is that in the same year, they both saw the potential of our bodies to be eased from suffering and to live fuller lives. Brunton and Oelrich were innovators who have especially helped Queer souls to enjoy their bodies individually and with others. I love you to tell our listeners about who those guys are, if they don’t know and what you mean by that last beautiful sentence there.

S4: Well, Thomas later. Brunton is the Victorian daddy doctor who is responsible for giving us every Poppers hate we have. Today, and if you google his name, you’ll find a picture of him, which I recommend you doing because he’s pretty handsome. And he was just a doctor in Scotland who was interested in converting scientific research into medical practice, which in the 1850s, 1860s was. It was not brand new the idea, but there was quite a lot of trial and error going on and a lot of mess going on. And he was like, You know, look, there’s a lot of scientific research that’s going on into the basic functions of lots of substances. And we, as doctors know that there are certain problems in the body that requires certain substances with functions that can correct those problems in the body. And so we need to convey the first thing over into solving the second thing, right? So he was sniffing around research papers reading about amyl nitrate, which was one of these basic substances that had been synthesized but did not have a use. And he also knew from those papers that it dilated blood vessels lowered blood pressure helps blood to flow more easily into the heart and into the brain, which is why you get a bit of a rush when you Sniff it. And he had angina patients. That was his main area of practice and research when he was in medical school, and he knew that angina pain was caused. When there’s not enough blood, getting to your heart and your heart kind of cries out, and that’s the that’s the pain that you feel. So he put these two things together and said, Well, you know, I’ve tried giving my patients brandy, and that sometimes works. Sure. But now I’m going to make them Sniff this amyl nitrite. And because I know that it reduces blood pressure and makes blood flow more easily through the body. So that was what he did. So that was the medical use of Poppers. Well, what we now call Poppers, that was the medical use of amyl nitrate on that side. And obviously, then at some point it tripped over into becoming a recreational thing. And then also people realize that it opens you up some holes, which is great if you’re going to have sex there. So things like that that was later on and then Carl-Henric. Oelrich was a lawyer in Germany, doctor and a lawyer, and Climate Choleric was a lawyer in Germany, and he had been involved in some of the political campaigns around the unification of Germany and the resistance to an expanding Prussia. And what he was worried about was that an expansion of Prussia would lead to more anti-sodomy laws in the different kingdoms in Germany. And he was in Hanover, and so he was resisting that on the political level, and he was thinking, basically he was he was having bomb sex himself. He he was breaking that law and he knew that people would make his life difficult. And in fact, they did because he got fired from his job in the Ministry of Justice. Mm-Hmm. And there’s an interesting kind of side note here to us people because one of the founders of the American mid-century gay rights movement, Frank Kameny, was also fired from his government job for being gay in the 1950s. But, you know, a hundred years before that happened to call Heinrich Oelrich in Germany, and then in 1867, he stood up and gave a speech to a bunch of lawyers to say, We need to resist this law. This is persecuting people who have bum sex. He didn’t use that word, and bomb sex is fine, actually. And also, I do the bomb sex, and that was like, that was like a beat that was like, can you imagine, like, that’s such a big deal to do that it could possibly be the first ever coming out, actually, and it happened to a conference of lawyers. Wow. Yeah. So in 1867, these two moments happened. Brunton gave someone Poppers to Sniff and Oelrich stood up and said, I have done sex and we need to change the law.

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S2: What a lovely little confluence of historical moments.

S3: I love that. Yeah, it was

S4: one of those things when I was researching the book and thinking about how to write it and what a history of Poppers could be and how it was linked or could be linked to gay history and Queer history and Queer exploration. You know, I just noticed that the year that they both did, that was the same, and I was like, Okay, great, that’s all I need. You know, I just I’ve just I’m going to make that connection. These two people did not know each other, but in my little, you know, Netflix sci fi time-Traveling series, they absolutely know each other and they absolutely had sex with each other. And they absolutely shared a bratwurst in a park in Berlin, for sure.

S2: So, you know, before reading this book, I had definitely thought of Poppers, which are often, you know, advertised to escape regulation as like video had cleaners or whatever room deodorizer?

S1: Yeah, yeah.

S2: I sort of thought of them in the same category as oysters like who was the first person who thought that could be a good food or like a sex drug, you know? Yeah. Explain how this went from like an angina pain treatment to a thing that helps people have sex?

S4: Well, this is the great mystery, Cristina. And unfortunately, like, you’re going to have to fire me because I do not have the answer to that. So the earliest that I’ve heard of this happening is in the 1930s. By this point, Ammonite was and had been for decades, a regularly prescribed medicine. For the relief of angina, pain and also other discomforts, it was also recommended for relieving seasickness and period pain, among other things. I’m not sure how much it was prescribed for that purpose, but definitely for relieving angina pain. But there was already nitroglycerin that was on the market, and that was in many ways better at doing that job. And so among nitrite was probably waning. But the earliest that I’ve heard of and this is just a rumor is that some point in the 1930s was when medical students started to use it recreationally. Now, that would make sense because they would obviously have access to it. And also, we know what students are like the Randy Little Fockers. So it’s possible that that happened for sure. We know by the 1960s, probably in the 50s, when you know more and more gay people were concentrating in places like San Francisco, in New York and Daphne by the 60s, of course, by the 60s, everyone was doing anything and everything.

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S3: So there’s quite a big period

S4: of time there where it’s unclear and we can’t pinpoint the moment or the place or the person when Poppers were used for bomb sex for the first time. But I actually quite like that mystery. I quite like the fact that it’s a sort of ephemeral thing. You can’t hold it. We know that it happened, but we don’t know where and when, and it was probably in lots of different places, roughly around the same time as these things tend to be. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t accept a research grant to actually do the work and find this real information out, but we can’t pinpoint to. Exactly, and there’s something in there about the fluidity of history and our bodies and how we use things.

S1: Yeah, we need coins for that research. So if anyone’s listening wants to get out.

S2: Yeah, this is a pitch for both a grant and a Netflix series and

S1: the Netflix series. Exactly. So since you brought us up to sort of the 60s 70s, I love for you to talk a little bit about how Poppers came to be branded and marketed sort of back to, you know, the community that maybe started using them without needing that sales aspect. But certainly some business people took advantage of the desire. And I’m thinking also that you could talk a bit about like the bottles themselves, how they looked and what you write really well about in this period, the 60s and especially the 70s, the emergence of a kind of gay masculinity that is built around Tom of Finland image but built around Poppers. And a lot of ways I have this bottle of blue boy here.

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S3: Blue Boy original. Are you going to take

S4: a hit, Brian?

S1: Not right now. Not on the air. But this is a this is a newer one, and I noted that they’ve changed the design. It doesn’t have any of the kind of masculine, you know, like Big Bicep or whatever it would have had in the past, which is interesting. But tell us about how Poppers began to be marketed with this sort of patina of masculinity around them in the mid-century?

S4: Well, the concentration of gay men, especially in places like San Francisco, New York and London in, you know, rich countries like us in the UK meant two things, I suppose. One is that there was an ever increasing assertion from that community that, you know, we’re here and we’re Queer and will live our lives. And also we could run the coffee shops. We can teach kids, we can. We can be the lawyers. We can just we can do everything, you know. And anyone who’s seen the film, Milk knows how that sort of happened in San Francisco, and that was something that Harvey Milk specifically talked about. And obviously, that is very much in the Castro, in a very concentrated gay community. And obviously also within that is a sex culture as well. You know, we can all have sex with each other and also we can define what a relationship means for us and we can have multiple sex partners and no one’s going to stop us now. Obviously, things changed dramatically in the 80s. Yeah, but the 70s is that hot moment of concentration of people who were living their lives in the way that they wanted to. And then obviously that’s easier for for white people. And it’s not the same for people of color and for trans people and various other things like that. And we always have to remember that, you know, we always have to remember that cause I think sometimes we’re quite nostalgic and rosy about the 70s, you know, and it’s very much like, well, OK, it’s OK if you were like a cisgendered white guy, you know? So that was the first thing. And the second thing which comes from that is kind of business people thinking, Ah, OK, here’s an opportunity. Here’s a demographic. It’s self-defining. It wants its own products and services that are directed to them. And of course, you know, in many cases, there are gay business owners that are recognizing the potential and they’re being entrepreneurial and all of those things. And of course, these places that I’m talking about San Francisco, New York, London, deeply capitalist, deeply entrepreneurial places, and they have that tradition. And so Poppers were just one of many products that appeared in that time. Obviously, Poppers had existed long before when they were actually things that popped when it was a medical device, Apple and appeal that carried the vapor that popped when you crushed it to get the vapor out. That packaging of it had fallen away and people were now starting to sell them in little bottles. But they still kept the name Poppers, or some people call them amall or Sniff, I think, or aromas, which we still use the word aromas now sometimes. So, yeah, so companies basically started producing this. Once you’ve got the set up, it’s relatively cheap

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S3: to produce and it’s got a high

S4: margin. It can be quite dangerous actually. To get it set up is highly flammable and you have to do some chemical reactions. I’m not going to give you a recipe about how to do it, cause I don’t even know now. In 1976, I think it was a particularly crucial year because it was the year that some of the main companies that produce Poppers, the Pacific Waste Company, started operating, and there were two very, very famous brands at that time Roche and Locker Room. And they those brands, those brand names still are in existence today, as well as as I say in the book brand names like Starbucks and Microsoft, which were also founded in 1976. So if we think about the history of, you know, like Western 20th century capitalism and business and branding, I think that there was a particular hot moment there.

S2: I want to talk to you about the function of pleasure and what Poppers can tell us about pleasure. So as I was reading your book and you know, I don’t use Poppers and I’m not a gay man, so I don’t have the same sort of feeling that they’re like a ubiquitous part of this culture. So maybe this book was even more revelatory for me, but it occurred to me that if Poppers allow our bodies to do things that they couldn’t do on their own, that lead us to greater sexual enjoyment like this seems to fit into or confront, I guess, a culture that is suspicious of anything that helps people attain more sexual enjoyment. You know, I think about, for instance, people are often including, you know, feminists like pooh poohing erectile dysfunction medication, right on the other side, doctors will, you know, brush aside like sexual side effects for women from antidepressants or something like that and thinking that sexual pleasure is not vital and that things that help us attain more sexual enjoyment are suspicious somehow or are cheating. How do you think Poppers can help us expand our vision of the function of pleasure in our lives?

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S4: Well, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Sexual pleasure is often seen as an indulgence, right? And I think that we definitely saw that in the UK during the pandemic lockdowns in 2020 and going into 2021, when none of the official government information that we had about what was permitted and what was not permitted even mentioned sexual pleasure. And also most of their cultural conversations that we had and that politicians were talking about and health experts were talking about was whether or not you could hug your granny or whether or not your kids could play in the park with other kids. You know, these were the things that were seen as a human right, which were either being taken away or being taken away for good reason. And all those things and no one talked about, Well, what about the friend that lives around the corner that I go and have sex with every so often? You know, that was just not even on the table. There was no one even campaigning loudly for that. And I think that I think that that moment last year in these lockdowns really showed up the fact that we see sex as an indulgence. And it’s not even something that’s worth campaigning about when all of our contact with other people is taken away from us. And that’s notwithstanding, you know, my views on whether I think lockdowns were the right idea or not to do, you know, like I think they were. So that’s a kind of proof, if you like, of your idea that Christie knew about it being a sex being an indulgent thing. And I think that Poppers something that are just uniquely amazingly wonderfully placed to relieve us of the inhibitions that we put on ourselves. And obviously, lots and lots of drugs do that. Alcohol is one of the most famous like sex drugs, right? And it removes your inhibitions. The problem with alcohol is that like, it’s it, you know, you don’t really have great sex on alcohol

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S2: yet helps you in one sense and inhibits you in another sense.

S1: Yeah.

S4: Yeah, it helps you get into bed and then you’re like, Oh, this is shit, really, isn’t it?

S1: There’s a Shakespeare line about that. Yeah.

S4: So, yeah, so alcohol is like the world’s most famous sex strip, but it’s not really very effective, in my opinion. But I think that Poppers are uniquely placed number one because they they do remove those inhibitions by relaxing you and relaxing your muscles. And those inhibitions can be physical in the sense of muscles, especially if you’re having sex in your bum. And that’s the thing that Poppers are famous for, but they also relax everything else, and that is also very, very useful and powerful in having sex. And they also there’s some magical thing in Poppers that just makes you like, supremely horny and desire the other person if you’re worth it, if you’re with another person or desire people in general, if you’re having sex with yourself. And I just think that’s amazing that they allow you to access this like horny animal inside yourself. Yeah. And I think that the fact that that exists anyway inside you and that Poppers just helped to. Be the midwife to that is the thing that shows us just what is possible with our bodies. I guess that begs the question then well, what is it about me? What am I carrying either emotionally or physically or even politically like? What am I carrying around me that is holding that back most of the time? Yeah.

S1: Well, I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk a little bit about how Poppers have been scapegoated, especially as starting in the 80s and as you sort of mentioned a minute ago, Adam. But, you know, going up until now, I think probably a lot of our listeners maybe even have like bad associations with them because of this. This is not in the book, but I just read an interesting article or excerpt, I guess, from Peter Staley, the act up activist’s new memoir about how an original script for Dallas Buyers Club, the movie Poppers. There’s going to be a scene where, like one of the characters does Poppers and then like, dies, like has a nosebleed and dies on the floor. And Peter fought to have that taken out of the movie because it was such a true love of AIDS discourse back in the day that, you know, Poppers aids. So I wanted to just talk about how a little bit about how they’ve been, you know, maligned unfairly over the years.

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S4: Well, yeah, there’s two things, really. The first is the example from Dallas Buyers Club, which didn’t happen in the movie. Like you said, that often in popular culture, Poppers are represented as a poison. I mean, it can be a poison if you use it wrongly,

S1: if you drink it. Yeah, yeah, exactly.

S4: It’s represented as a poison or a murder weapon, or it’s represented as something that’s filthy because it’s to do with sex and especially in certain kinds of sex. So that’s often the way that it’s represented, and the only place that you can find it usually represented with pleasure in the same scene is in pornography. Thank you, Paul. And the second thing is more dangerous in a way, which is that in the early days of the HIV aids epidemic, Poppers were correlated with the infections for obvious reasons because, you know, people that Sniff Poppers had a lot of sex and also people that had a lot of sex obviously had a higher incidence of HIV in the early days before we even knew that it was a virus and all of those things. So it started to be correlated. And then that kind of took off as an idea in a moment of panic. And it’s understandable that there was a moment of panic about HIV for for a good few years in that period when no one was caring and no one was paying attention. You know, everyone was looking for a culprit, a

S3: cause, right?

S4: And Poppers kind of took off as this culprit for a few years. And I think that that has hung around quite a lot in our cultural memory long after we’ve realized what actually causes HIV and AIDS.

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S1: Well, that is about all the time. We have to talk about this. There’s so much more that we could talk about that’s in this book and that just ideas that Adam uses to use as Poppers to sort of get us access into. I mean, it’s it’s really fantastic. I cannot think of a better book for you to pick up for Queer History Month.

S3: It’s called Jude Sniff,

S1: a history of Poppers and Queer futures. It’s available everywhere. And Adam, thank you again for joining us. This was really

S4: fantastic. Thanks so much for having me. I love the conversation and I hope everyone enjoys the book.

S2: Do you know who Pauli Murray is? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Murray’s absence from mainstream histories of the women’s rights and civil rights movements is basically the entire premise of a new documentary. It’s called My Name is Pauli Murray. It’s streaming on Amazon, and it’s a pretty straightforward biography of a lawyer and activist who deserves a lot more credit for what they did, which was making the 20th century’s most important legal arguments against discrimination on the basis of race and sex. Pauli was also Queer and likely trans, but historically their relatives and biographers and almost everyone else who talks about them has gender them as a woman. They lived for the most part as a woman. Transgender identity was not well known or understood, much less accepted in the time before their death in the 1980s. And usually, historians will try not to use words or ascribe labels to dead people who didn’t use those words or those labels in their time. There’s a pretty strong aversion in academic circles, especially to saying that gender nonconforming people from history who never called themselves trans or non-binary were trans or non-binary. The writer, Jude Alison Doyle, argued in a blog post recently that Polly’s case is different. We’re so happy to have Jude on the show this month to talk about why that might be Jude. Welcome to outward.

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S5: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited

S3: to be here, so I want to start

S2: by establishing what we know of Pauli Marie’s gender identity, which is actually explored pretty deeply in the documentary. What do we know about how they perceive themself, right?

S5: Pauli Murray, when they died, left a ton of archival material, including a folder that was specifically labeled sexuality. So we have so much more information on their specific journey around self-identification than we would have for most other queer people in history. Pauli identified pretty strongly as a man, but did so very privately. They had a really strong sense that something was up with their body, that they should have been a boy because they didn’t have a lot of context. They assumed that this was a physical thing. They at some points submitted to exploratory surgery just to find undescended testicles to figure out if they might have been intersex. But there were repeated hospitalizations for intense depressive episodes. There was a really scary incident where they became distraught and told a police officer they self-described at that point as a homosexual on hormones, even though they weren’t on testosterone at that point in time, and they were locked up in Bellevue with a potential for permanent commitment on the basis that he believed. It’s hard to say the phrase they believe they were a man. He believed you as a man. Mm hmm. So that was something that he kept private. By the time you know they were a well-known and well regarded civil rights figure read Erickson was out, Christine Jorgensen was out, Walter Benjamin’s clinic was open. And at that point, they didn’t go. And it was, you know, there are a lot of arguments for why they might not have gone. Among other things, they were so well known they were being considered to head the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It would have been really, really hard to transition with that level of visibility at that point in time. But Pauli had a long documented feeling that he was in fact, a man, you know, and I think that we should honor that and remember that when we talk about him,

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S2: yeah, I found very poignant the way you described in your essay, how Pauli came to the conclusion that they needed to transition almost in a vacuum with no real examples that were known to them, no knowledge that it was even possible. You know, how would you describe the way they sort of invented this concept of what they thought they needed to do?

S1: I just want to add to that just for our listeners, like there are letters that show that they almost invented, like the idea of hormone replacement therapy. Like it’s like they knew to ask for testosterone, even though it wasn’t a procedure yet. So it’s just a testament to how incredibly insightful this person was, right?

S5: Like, that was a long, sad intro, but this is a brilliant person. Right? And Rosalind Rosenberg describes how they just went to the library and read every book they could on sexology and figured out, Well, OK, here are all these sort of case studies of cis men who are not maturing properly. And the thing that helps them is testosterone. And that clearly seems to be what would help me. And I mean, they just came up with the idea that there is some. Thing going on with me that I am a man and I don’t look like one, and the thing that makes men look like men is testosterone, so why don’t we just take me to the doctor and see if they’ll try this? You know, their correspondences with doctors are really moving, you know, because there’s just this aura of a person really trying to maintain sort of a chipper like, Hey bud, let’s see if we try this with me. Are you in an experimental mood? I mean, this is someone who, you know, just because they were exceptionally brilliant, you know, because we are still unpacking all the layers of their thinking just in terms of legal implications and Supreme Court victories being won on the basis of their works. You know, last year, they just sort of figured out without any confirmation from the outside world who they were and what they needed. And they just happened to have landed in a place in time where nobody else was ready to understand what he had pieced together, basically out of nothing out of going to the library.

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S1: Yeah, yeah. How do you I mean, this is a kind of big and perhaps unknowable question, but I’m curious and I’ll ask it nonetheless. How do you think that this experience of sort of frustration in this way inflected the work? I’m curious if you see any connection between those two things.

S3: Right? I mean,

S5: it’s so clearly it is reflected in the work. It’s, you know, it’s not something that they talked about really overtly, but there’s that statement when they were excluded from Harvard on the basis of having been assigned female. Just wrote back like, look, I would gladly change my sex to meet your requirements, but I cannot do that. You need to change your mind the ways in which feminism and trans experience sort of intertwine. They’re really interesting to me, just as someone who’s sort of started out as a feminist writer before they figured out everything about themselves. And you can see that Pauli frustration broadened out their empathy considerably in law school. There are all these stories about them feeling like nobody is listening to me in class because of my voice. If I had a deeper voice, people would listen. You know that this sort of obsessive dysphoric feeling that their voice doesn’t sound right? Also sort of bumps up against the fact that like, well, cis women with these voices don’t get listened to, either. So there’s always a sense that, you know, Pauli found gendered and racial categories pretty arbitrary, pretty random, and their own sense that they were just because of, you know, some accident of nature, which is how they describe themselves as not a very nice way to describe yourself, but that’s how they said it. Their own sense that they were just randomly, arbitrarily not being perceived as a man and subjected to the same unfair treatment. Women were obviously that deepened their empathy, and that made them more likely to drill down on exactly how these categories were arbitrary and unfair and unreasonable ways to make judgments about people.

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S2: I feel like we’ve talked about this on the show before. The idea that trans people, non-binary people and the politics of trans identity are really compelling arguments against sexism and about the social construction of gender. And in your essay, you write about how Pauli can be sort of a corrective to these ahistorical depictions of second wave feminism as like, hopelessly anti-trans. Can you explain your argument there, which was a little bit of like an aha moment for me, right?

S5: I mean, what we need to understand is that second wave feminism did have some really virulent and terrible transphobia in it. That was a conscious pushback on some levels to the fact that there were trans people in these movements. And Robin Morgan gives this famously horrifically transphobic address at the 1973 West Coast Lesbian Feminist Conference. Robin Morgan was pretty clearly trying to whip up violence against a trans woman who in most accounts, said This is like it’s Beth Elliott, and she was a singer songwriter and she was attending, but Elliot was not attending that conference. Beth Elliott had organized that Fox Friends that was like her friends, that Robin Morgan came in and tried to throw her out. Sandy Stone, who worked at Olivia Records, the women’s lesbian feminist, you know, music label that she was harassed out of that job. There are horrific stories from this time where, like women were hiding under tables in clubs because the Turks had come in with weapons. But that was a takeover of a movement that was not and need not be Transmasculine. Sniff and its principles when a lot of contemporary turf rhetoric, you know, is like, well, women’s sex based rights, women’s sex based oppression and the idea that sex is a specific site of unfairness. You know, I don’t know the UK history, but in the U.S., the idea of sex based discrimination is kind of Pauli Morris thing. You know, that is Pauli. Marie decreeing that sex is an arbitrary category that does not tell you anything about that person. That’s a trans and say, Yeah, well, you know, and that’s that’s a pretty fundamentally trans insight that being assigned a certain way at birth doesn’t say who you’re going to be. You know, he he was able to come to a pretty radical understanding of that. And I think that, you know, it concerns me that feminism can kind of seem like a leaky boat at times, right? And it seems that way, particularly at this moment where there are, you know, obviously anti-feminist currents everywhere in the political landscape. But there are also a lot of people claiming to be the true representatives of feminism, telling young queer people over and over, This is not for you. This is averse to you. There are detransition or groups who are specifically working on young Transmasculine people. Kai Chavez is spoken to Slate for this about, you know, using the principles of radical feminism to convince young trans men and Transmasculine people to live in the same kind of pain that Pauli Murray did. Just be gender nonconforming, don’t actually do anything that would make you happy, except that you are a non stereotypical woman. It bothers me that there has been a takeover of a movement and a history that, when viewed in its proper light and in its historical context, was always Queer has always depended on the work of queer people, and if taken to its logical conclusion, necessarily pretty often leads explicitly to trans supportive, you know, thinking that just acknowledging that, hey, polyamory existed and they were almost certainly a trans man. And, you know, now that’s performative, and that might make us feel better. What I really am interested in is going back and seeing that, like these arguments are inherently and deeply trans, and there is no reason that they should be taken away because there’s been a malignancy in the feminist movement that has twisted this logic and used it to harmful ends. Yeah.

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S1: At the top of the segment, Christina laid out, I think the consensus around how we’re supposed to think about referring to people in the past in terms of pronoun usage specifically, but also other terms. And you already begun to talk about this. But I’m curious specifically if you could talk about what are the stakes of using he with Pauli in the documentary that we’re sort of riffing on here that is not done at all. And there’s a little tiptoeing around the. But I’m curious why you feel it is so important that we do this right?

S5: You can probably hear it, you know, in the awkwardness of this interview that there have been different arguments for how we talk about Pauli. So I think in the documentary, Raquel Willis makes a really compelling argument that Pauli is best referred to as day or as Pauli, which is a respectful way to deal with someone who never got the chance to tell us how they would like to be referred to. And I mostly read that I’m also interested in the argument made by a scholar named Naomi Simmons Thorne, which is just that the persistent use of this, she is like this sort of historical denial to see what we are seeing. This is a giant file folder filled with records of someone deeply needing to and wanting to medically transition Pauli left out for us. Mm hmm. Pauli wanted us to know that and to factor that into the story of who Pauli was. And I find it really awkward like that. If I read, for example, Rosalind Rosenberg’s biography, which is beautiful and wonderful and a treasure trove of information which also uses she insistently, I start to miss gender Pauli in my own speech, right? That it it seeps in. And I kind of think that this is one of those polyamory things where they had a tendency to land really far ahead of history. Yeah. One of their famous quotes is that I have lived long enough to see my lost causes found like everything they wanted to accomplish seemed impossible and stupid and

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S2: got chills a little bit there.

S5: Yeah, yeah. You know, so I think that this is one of those ones where, like, maybe, you know, Pauli didn’t live quite long enough to see this one found, but we can find it. Mm hmm. You know that this was a rope thrown out to the future leaving those documents. And when we make these arguments like, Oh, we can’t be really sure, I mean, how who really knows how Pauli would identify these days? That then becomes turfs online, furious that anyone is even using them for Pauli because she was perfectly fine with being a woman towards the end of her life. Oh, she wasn’t. She was, you know, they weren’t. He was. See, it happened.

S1: Yeah.

S5: Yeah, it you know that historical erasure of someone where we have so much evidence telling us how they would want to be seen. To me, it begins to seem more like a refusal to reckon with Pauli then and then a desire to be respectful or to give Pauli, you know, space and not project ourselves onto them.

S2: Yeah, I mean, do you think there’s a feeling among some feminists who might not consider themselves trans exclusionary? But do you think there’s a sense of, you know, we don’t want to let go of Pauli as like one of our own? I’m making scare quotes here.

S5: Yeah, I mean, I think that there is almost a sense of loss that some people might feel that like there aren’t that many records of, you know, for example, brilliant black women in history. Mm hmm. You know, and for someone who substantially prefigured the theory of intersectionality, you know, Kimberlé Crenshaw did that work. But Pauli is Jane Crow kind of came several decades beforehand for that person to to be labeled a man that might feel like, Oh, what are we losing? But you know, on the other hand, what are we gaining? What are we gaining if we understand that, for example, it’s fairly essentialist to say that dudes can’t and don’t and won’t ever get this stuff, you know? You know, we’re gaining an understanding that gender fluidity and a complicated experience with the gender binary can and does necessarily create ideas that everyone benefits from.

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S2: And in fact, gives a special insight into those categories that, you know, I’ve just heard this from so many trans people that gaining access to spaces that have been traditionally assigned to another gender gives like extraordinary insight into how gender is used to oppress people.

S5: Right, exactly. I mean, I think that when we own Pauli in all of the complexity, you know that Pauli possessed, and I’m not even getting to all of it in this interview, right? Like I am a white trans person, and Pauli considered their experience as a black person to be central to their work, right? You know, they co-founded now and then. They quit now because it was white feminism and they wanted nothing to do with it. You know, this is someone who existed. At the intersection of many, many different historical injustices and was brilliant on all of them, and I think that when we reduce historical figures to someone who is like, how do I pull you over to my team? No, no, no, you’re on my team. I think that that’s the wrong way to deal with it. What we really need to think about what reconstitutes maybe our relationships and our arguments is thinking about who we are. Right? We can say, you know that Queer people white Queer people. Oh, tremendous amounts to Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson. We can say that feminists owe to polyamory in a really direct way. Ruth Bader Ginsburg built her career on arguments first made by Pauli. You know that when we think about this in terms of a debt that draws us into a better and maybe more useful historical relationship, because then it’s like, Well, I cannot just take from Pauli. I must necessarily as a white queer trans feminist person, I need to work harder on white supremacy because that’s I need to unlearn that. I can’t just take from Pauli and not give anything back to the other people the Pauli was working for.

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S2: I want to raise something that doesn’t explicitly have to do with Pauli, but has to do with the question of how we remember Queer historical figures. So there is a sense in some historical analysis. I know I’ve read books about queer and trans people in history, not necessarily famous historical figures, but like the fact of queer and trans existence in history, where some of the analysis has been that some women or people, you know, assigned female at birth have dressed as men in the past or posed as men just to access male privilege, which in their time meant everything meant, you know, like entire sectors of the economy, the ability to own property like and build a life with another woman. That’s obviously not the case with Pauli Murray, but I wonder how you would think about how we remember people who lived in other times who maybe didn’t leave us a file folder but exhibited some evidence of trans identity?

S5: Right? I mean, I think there are other people doing this work and that the question of how we construct trans history is it’s fraught because I think sometimes when we want to say, well, there was no contemporary language there, just we don’t have any understanding of how they would identify in the present day. Like maybe we don’t, and my own sense of my identity has certainly evolved along with the language that has been accessible to me. Yeah, right. But we can also say that I think the analogy I’ve used elsewhere is that, like the planet, Neptune is a fairly recent discovery in that we didn’t see Neptune until I think the 1920s, and we didn’t necessarily know anything was out there. But the planet Neptune did not blink into existence when we first sighted it through a telescope. Right? That trans experiences have always been there. We, the medical establishment, didn’t know how to treat Pauli, and there wasn’t a common language for someone like Pauli. Pauli had to invent their own in many ways. But Pauli was always a person who identified pretty clearly and consistently as a man and sought means to live as a man publicly. And so the experiences have always been there, and they are no less valid just because we didn’t have language or that person themselves might not have had language. Yeah.

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S1: Mm hmm. I love that metaphor so much. Also, because like you know, Neptune was exerting gravity on the rest of the Solar System, including the right there. Like, what is it now? I mean, and I think that works like it’s yeah, these people with even without the sighting, as you put it nonetheless, are shaping everything around us. I wanted to hear you talk maybe in a slightly more to my more personal note. You start the essay discussing a scene in the documentary where we see Pauli in his cassock, which is a vestment of the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. And you say it made you gasp. I would love to hear you just talk about the emotion behind that scene for you.

S5: I was so happy, and it’s partly about Pauli story that there and Pauline was really super affirming and called them my boy girl, but Pauli had to present in a feminine way to go to church. Mm-Hmm.

S1: Basic dress on Sundays. Yeah, the

S5: dress on Sundays. And I love the you know, this was a big thing for them to just dive out of their life. As to recognized law professor Rini, the woman they spent their life with that just died and they were just, you know, they took it to God and they found a way to honor where they came from and the fact that they came from a family with Episcopal priest in it and it got touted as this feminist. Victory, you know, like, oh my gosh, they’re finally ordaining people assigned female, but it’s also like Pauli found a way to go to church and close like this. It’s it’s, you know, it’s it’s a big win. You know, next time I come in here, I’m going to be given the sermon. And I also just gave me this sense of extending backward in time because I also come from, you know, very religious background. And my mom was a Catholic convert. So we were like more Catholic than the Catholic. Yeah. And I also really wanted to be a priest when I was a kid. And, you know, I am really glad that I’m not a Catholic priest at this moment. I’m still here. But the sense that other people had asked the same questions throughout history and that other people had come up with solutions, you know, maybe even better solutions. That I think is something that we deny to ourselves, to trans people, to queer people when we refuse to acknowledge our own history. Just the idea that someone else had gotten really mad because they couldn’t be a and they’d gone through this whole life arc of being a feminist and then finally found a way to be a priest. The idea that my own questions aren’t unique or strange, and I don’t have to just flail around and make up my own answers, you know, that’s for me. I mean, I’m someone who’s transitioning in their thirties, which is not late, but it’s not, you know, like, I’ve had a whole use of this and I live in upstate New York. So there aren’t that many other trans people around me, and I’m fortunate enough to have trans people in my professional life. But it’s still this where I’m at in my life right now contains a lot of isolation. And to know that the history is there to know that there are people that you can learn from, I think is a really profound consolation because it means that you actually you get you get to exist. You get a history just like everybody else in the world has a history and it’s there for you to learn from

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S2: a little cheering up there. Yeah, yeah. I’m so grateful for polyamory and so grateful for you for joining us. Jude Thank you.

S5: Oh, thank you so much.

S2: Jude Alison Doyle writes a blog at Medium-. The essay we’ve been discussing is called We’re Still Not Seeing Pauli Murray. That’s about it for this month, but before we go, we have your usual monthly updates to the gay agenda with two bonus entries from our guests. You’re going to have a really stocked and stacked month ahead of you. Lots to do. Yeah, Brian, what have you brought us?

S1: OK, I brought you honestly in my like, maybe most favorite thing in the world right now. Oh my god. Yeah, it’s like in gay world anyway. And I hope I’m like introducing a whole swath of people to something they don’t know about before, because this this is very exciting to me. It is a new quarterly magazine, Journal of Ideas compendium of brilliance called Errands Quarterly that is Errands like I have Errands to run this Saturday. Like around town, it started this summer. It’s put together by a person called Derrick Smith. And if you want to just go ahead and give you the Instagrams, you can look it up. It’s at Errands magazine. But what it is is a full on like glossy magazine about Errands and the subjects of the summer issue, for example, where a disquisition on whether this is the summer of Len Briscoe, there was an article on his elbow macaroni camp. There was a series of power poses for running errands when you’re out and about in the town and perhaps get photographed, but you would want to look like, Oh my God, a consideration of Albert from the birdcage and his famous scene of Errands running. So that was a summer issue. A default issue has just been announced, and it is going to focus on the Hours film, which has some famous flower buying Errands ins, among other things. So I just want listeners to know about this. It is a really funny, campy project. You can get it in a glossy magazine. You can also just look at it online, of course, digitally, and the proceeds from the donation you sort of make to get especially the glossy one go to various Queer charities. The money is going to a good cause, as well as giving you this really hilarious magazine, so check out Errands quarterly on Instagram.

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S2: Wow, I’m going to immediately subscribe. Yeah, I do feel like it’s very Queer to elevate something as simple and everyday as Errands into like something worthy of a magazine and worthy of posing.

S1: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

S2: Exactly. I appreciate that. Speaking of Lambert’s go before I go into my recommendation, I want to recommend a wine called Frauen Power. Oh, it’s sort of they call it a German Lambrew show, but it doesn’t fully taste like when Bruce go, but it’s a sparkly reddish wine from a woman. Van de la Gamba is the winery, and it also will look cute on your shelf or in your refrigerator. So I’m going to quickly recommend that before I get into my recommendation, which is season two of work in progress. The Showtime series starring Abby McEnany as a clinically depressed dyke in Chicago. I try to recommend this show to everyone I can. I feel like I probably feel similarly toward this, as you do toward Errands Brian, in part because it took me a minute to watch season one because it sounded like a real downer of a show like, oh, a suicidal Queer with OCD. Like, exactly? You know what? I’m in the mood to click on all the time, but it’s so funny she came up through comedy and improv I fell in love with last season. It was really ambitious and covered a lot of ground. You know, Abby started dating this hot, younger trans guy, and there were a lot of like generational issues to work through. She confronted and kind of befriended Julia Sweeney, who played the, you know, historically offensive character Pat on SNL. Abby has called it a coming of age story for a forty five year old, and that’s really what it felt like. So this season, the second season is a little more focused and honestly a little more claustrophobic, but not in a bad way, just because a lot of it takes place during the pandemic. It’s kind of the first show I’ve seen to cover what it was like the first couple of months of the pandemic and going into the racial uprisings of last summer. And I’m just I continue to be amazed at how funny and sweet the show continues to be, even as it really explicitly focuses on Abby’s mental illness in addition to all of the other things I covers. I also want to shout out Celeste Paco’s, who plays Abby’s best friend, Campbell. She’s tremendously charming, and they’re Dikeh. Friendship takes the place of a love story this season, and it’s really about their friendship, which doesn’t happen a lot in TV show. So I’m just so excited to see where this show goes and what else Abby can do. This was sort of her big time debut. I hope it has a third season, and I really encourage everyone to watch both seasons one and two.

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S1: Amazing. Yeah, that sounds great. You’ve been recommending that for a while, so I’ve got to get on it. I’m behind.

S2: Yeah, you really do. Adam Zmith Yes. Give us your gay agenda item.

S4: My gay agenda item is a little yellow book called the Appendix Transmasculine Joy in a Transphobic Culture. It’s by Liam Konemann. It’s published in the UK by a publisher called 4r4 Inc. And Liam. Started to collect transphobic media stories and news stories in a document things that were giving him like stress and anxiety when they were coming up in his feeds in the UK right now. I think perhaps less so in America. Fortunately, but definitely in the UK, we have quite a lot of transphobia in the public debate right now and in the media. It’s a huge problem. And Liam had started to collect all of these. He’s a writer. He writes a lot about music and he’s written a novel which is coming out next year. He’s an amazing writer and thinker about these things. And he started to collect what he called the appendix, which is just a list of these stories in the media. And he didn’t really know what it was in Appendix two, but he just felt like, Oh, it kind of has a weight to it, a seriousness to it. And maybe it’s a bit journalistic by collecting these things. And then that appendix itself became this book. And so he ended up writing a book, which is basically as of an antidote to that transphobia like it’s called Transmasculine Joy in a transphobic culture, and he’s explored his own experience of being trans in relation to this transphobia that we’re seeing quite a lot of at the minute. It’s a really, really great book, very practical way of thinking about these things. And here’s a favorite quote that I’ll leave you with, which is the truth is, I’m delighted to be Queer. It feels like I’m getting away with something. It feels as if I found a secret door and slipped through it. And now I’m looking through like, does everyone know about this? Why isn’t everyone Queer when it feels like this? So that’s Liam Konemann book the appendix. I love it.

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S1: I love that.

S2: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for bringing that to us.

S4: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

S2: Jude What is your gay agenda item for us?

S5: All right, I have one. Speaking of intersections of trans authorship and feminism, we are watching Eliza Bright Buy a house worth is I draw this book so much. It’s, you know, it’s heavy air. It’s a Gamergate novel. It’s about online harassment and misogyny and the ways these sort of sinister internet collectives can sort of gang up on a particular person to ruin their life. It’s written in a collective first-person pronoun. It’s written as we are watching Eliza Bright, and it’s just so smart and nuanced, and often deeply just dark and horrifying about how these things operate. And I think I think everybody should be reading it. You’ve probably heard it recommended everywhere, but I think it’s, you know, it’s worth a read.

S2: I actually don’t think I’ve heard it. Recommend it everywhere. So I’m so glad to hear it recommended from you. Thank you for that. Oh, that’s it for this month. Sorry to see you go, but please continue sending us your feedback and your topic ideas at Outward Podcast, at Slate.com or on Facebook or Twitter at Slate Outward. We have a new producer, Myron, joining the team. This is their first episode. So welcome, Myron. Welcome Iran. June Thomas is the senior managing producer of Slate Podcasts and the Amyl Nitrate to our angina. Oh, that sounded really weird. I hope June take blessed

S1: relief

S2: compliment. It’d be like outward. Please subscribe on your podcast app, tell your friends about it and rate and review the show so that people can find it. We will be back in your feeds on November 17, just in time for my birthday in Sagittarius season. Oh my god, Brian, that’s for you. By Brian 16A Stage Everyone they.