Pride: 11 top LGBTQ+ podcasts to listen to for queer history and laughs

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

June is Pride month, a time when a lot of people delve deeper into LGBTQ+ issues and take time to learn more about queer history.

One of the best ways of learning more about the history of queer communities is by listening to podcasts – and from intimate chats between friends, to panels with scholars, to comedy shows, there’s something out there to suit everyone.

So settle in for a barrel of laughs and a whole lot of thought-provoking chat along the way, as we select 11 of our favourites from the bunch.

This Queer Book Saved My Life

A lovely concept: every week one guest comes onto this GLAAD Award-nominated podcast and discusses one of the books that shaped their lives. Great for book discoveries as well as moving tales, guests run the gamut from playwrights and musicians, to attorneys and poet laureates.

TransLash Podcast with Imara Jones

Political journalist and transgender activist Imara Jones started the TransLash Podcast in order to discuss news and stories related to Trans lives and issues through a non-violent lens. “Our lives are defined by so much more beyond hate,” said Jones. “In almost every area of society, trans people are innovating, creating new futures and thriving – and this is the story I want to tell.” The award-nominated podcast has recently covered Caitlyn Jenner’s outrage at Trump’s guilty verdict, and the attempted ban of trans women and girls from participating in certain sports.

Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang

It’s no real wonder that Las Culturistas won Outstanding Podcast at the GLAAD Awards this year: SNL star Bowen Yang and comedian-actor Matt Rogers are bawdy and clever as they chat to their starry guests – Dua Lipa, medium Tyler Henry and singer Mandy Moore have all sat down in the studio – and devour pop culture and discuss their formative cultural experiences. The pair self-describe as culture consultants, and the show is a total riot.

A Gay and a NonGay​

Winner of best comedy at the 2018’s British Podcast Awards, hosts James Barr and Dan Hudson talk openly about their respective experiences, from consent to burnout.

In 2020 the show launched a new two-part series examining the search for an HIV cure. Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Podcast Awards fund, James and Dan chatted to AIDS activists and Professor John Frater to discuss the science behind HIV and the aim for a cure.

Queery with Cameron Esposito

Each hour-long episode of standup comic Cameron Esposito’s hit show Queery features different stories from actors, writers and comics which often cover topics including identity, personality and sexuality. Recent interviewees include paragliding world champion Galen Kirkpatrick, Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE (America’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group) and poet Kris Kidd.

The show wrapped up once and for all this February, but there are loads of excellent episodes to go back and listen to; Esposito’s relaxed manner brings out the best in her guests.

The Dorothy Project

‘Friends of Dorothy’ has long been a euphemistic term to describe gay men – but what does it mean, and who was Dorothy? In The Dorothy Project, DJ and LGBTQ+ activist Alice Beverton-Palmer explores the history of the expression (clue: it has something to do with Judy Garland) as well as activism, queer art and more, with funny interviews with both famous names and unsung heroes.

The show ended in March 2022, but there are 33 fantastic half-hour episodes to get your teeth into. There is even a specific LGBTQ+ history month episode, in which Beverton-Palmer talks to Dr Fern Riddell, a historian of sex.

The Log Books

Launched in 2019, The Log Books offers a unique look at queer history in Britain by exploring the archives of Switchboard, a helpline which provides information, support and referrals for anyone in search of further advice around sexuality and gender. With the help of a Switchboard trustee, each episode centres on the log book entries made by the volunteers who staffed the phones over the course of the organisation’s history.

The podcast wound down in February 2022 after hosts Tash and Adam reached the last page of the Log Books, but there are still three series for new listeners to catch up on. Episodes cover LGBTQ+ issues running from 1974 to 2003, and topics include the 1999 bombing of the Soho gay pub The Admiral Duncan, anti-gay legislation in Britain, and a look back at how HIV/Aids was presented in newspapers.

Like-Minded Friends

In this weekly podcast, “two homo comedians” Tom Allen and Suzi Ruffell natter about life, love and culture – and it’s rather like being enveloped in a wonderful hug. The episodes run for around 40 minutes and cover random topics that are usually related to something that’s happened in the duo’s life, which simply makes you feel like you’ve got a seat at a table with some very funny friends.

Out with Suzi Ruffell

Comedian Suzi Ruffell also had a second podcast, which went on hiatus last November. Billed as being “all about the inspiring lives of LGBTQIA+ people”, Ruffell spoke to a range of guests, including journalist Owen Jones, Dame Kelly Holmes, activist Jake Graf, and Sink The Pink and Mighty Hoopla founder Glyn Fussell, about their lives. The conversations, at once intimate, revealing, entertaining and moving, are well worth going back and listening to.

Some Families

Some Families is a 2021 podcast dedicated to all matters surrounding LGBTQ+ families, which makes it a standout series. Hosted by lesbian mum and journalist Lotte Jeffs and gay dad and film publicist Stu Oakley, the duo discuss everything from their own experiences as queer parents to parenting-relating stories. Along the way, they bust plenty of parenthood myths.

They also have guests on the show who have spoken about issues such as fostering, IVF, raising disabled children and how to approach the matter of gender in the modern day. Although a couple of years old now, its episodes remain online as a bit of a treasure trove for those looking to hear more about these topics.

Call Me Mother

In Call Me Mother, journalist and The Transgender Issue author Shon Faye, who is known for writing about LGBTQ+ issues and mental health, delves into queer experiences and history by exploring the stories of older generations of queer people. Faye talks to a range of inspiring people who have been active in some way in the LGBTQ+ community, and topics range from faith and sexuality to morality and resilience.