Originally Heard on the John Selig Outspoken Podcast
As friends have learned about the “John Selig Outspoken” podcast I have been asked the question, “What made you decide to do a podcast?”
For some time my husband, Rodolfo, has been an advocate of podcasts as a great new tool to keep up with a variety of interests. We have enjoyed dinner conversations about the shows he has listened to and he has mentioned that podcasts are both easy and inexpensive to produce.
“A huge motivation for podcasters,” Rodolfo explained, “is that they can focus on topics of interest without being beholding to corporate management for content approval.” As I have listened to Rodolfo talk about podcasts the idea of a podcast focusing on the GLBT community began fermenting in my mind.
I have always felt a need for GLBT role models. Most of us weren’t raised with gay role models. Even as adults it is empowering to hear from people we admire and who inspire us to lead more fulfilling lives. Growing up in today’s world is not easy for any adolescent but it is orders of magnitude more difficult for GLBT teens. Most aren’t able to talk with others as they begin their journey of awareness of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The large number of suicide attempts and completions by GLBT teens is alarming. By providing role models if I can provide hope to those who are coming out or who are facing life challenges then the effort in putting together “John Selig Outspoken” is worth it.
I have been fortunate through my activism and writing to have the opportunity to get to know some remarkable people and through them others. Some have been well known leaders in our community; others haven’t been, but they’ve been fascinating, each in their own way. Being somebody who has never known a stranger I’ve always been able to draw others out in conversation. I want to share these people with you. Podcasting is an easy way for me to do this.
So, the first goal of doing my podcast is to enable others to get to know GLBT leaders and role models.
With the decrease in the number of GLBT books being published and the decline in the number of gay and lesbian bookstores I’ve become fearful that our history and culture are becoming less visible. Sure, with the explosion of the Internet ad the abundant growth of GLBT websites a new portal has emerged. Still, the information bursts one consumes via the Internet are somehow different than written material that one consumes more leisurely. I view the new information provided via the Internet more as an exciting new supplement than as a replacement. When I came out in 1990 books were the major information source that I consulted as a navigational tool through what it meant to be gay.
So, a second goal of “John Selig Outspoken” is to feature discussions with writers, publishers, media and organizations concerned with the written and spoken word.
Yet another goal is to share some fun and stimulation to the artistic side of our brains. It was sheer chance that my life–long friend, Les Moore, reminded me that we shared a mutual friend from our hometown, Jeffery Reid Baker, a piano virtuoso and electronic music pioneer who had his own recording label. I was thrilled that Jeff agreed to allow his music to become part of “John Selig Outspoken.” I look forward to featuring Jeff’s music and his incredible insight into the music world.
No doubt, the podcast will evolve and we will bring in additional insight into other facets of the world of creativity. The greatest contribution of humankind has been the gift of our creativity. Most of what we do with our lives involves the providing of safety, food and shelter which all species strive for as best they can. But the joy of painting, poetry, dance, a symphony or a rock concert, an aria, a fireworks display, a captivating novel, a hand woven piece of cloth, a cartoon, a swimmer breaking the world record or the Boston Red Sox beating the crap out of the Yankees are mankind’s greatest achievements. I know, I know, I was raised in New York but I’ve always hated the New York Yankees! I was a Mets fan.
So, “John Selig Outspoken” will feature the creative side of life when time permits, just to celebrate the joy of life.
Finally, the podcast will include a commentary from yours truly, John Selig. I cannot resist the temptation to take advantage of the opportunity to share my viewpoint about the world around me by opening my big mouth. After all, New Yorkers never have been accused of being shy about expressing our opinions! Although I have lived in Dallas, Texas for twenty–two years, you know the old saying, “You can take the boy out of New York but you cannot take New York out of the boy!”
The activist side of me will encourage you to do something, anything, each week even if it involves a time commitment of only five or ten minutes. It can be as simple as signing a petition, calling an elected official to voice our concerns, writing a letter to the editor, volunteering for a GLBT organization, mentoring a young person or coming out to a coworker or the person sitting next to you on a bus, train or airplane. All of our efforts are required to overcome the obstacles preventing gays from obtaining equal rights.
In closing, listeners’ comments have been that “John Selig Outspoken” has an NPR feel to it. If that is the case, I am thrilled as that was my aim. My overriding hope is that “John Selig Outspoken” sparks thought, encourages discussion and, most of all, puts a smile oh your face.
© 2007 John R. Selig. All rights reserved.