What the hell is queer theory? We talk about it all the time, we throw the word "queer" around like it's confetti at a gay wedding, but what on earth do we mean? Simon and Benjamin take a crack at explaining the notoriously difficult idea, fail, then succeed a little bit, then finally land somewhere in the middle of a murky queer mess.
Simon is joined by the writer and author Benjamin Law to discuss his Quarterly Essay 'Moral Panic 101: Equality, Acceptance and the Safe Schools Scandal'. They discuss the causes of the scandal, the dangers of framing queer people as 'vulnerable', and what queers should do after the marriage equality postal survey.
Benjamin and Simon take a look at Benjamin Law's Quarterly Essay on the Safe Schools scandal, and wonder what it says about the ways queer communities engage with problems as 'systemic'. Are some people just bad? And if issues like queerphobia are bigger than anything one person, how can we even begin to break them down?
The campaign for the yes vote in Australia's postal survey on same-sex marriage is in full swing, coming after years of speculation from within queer communities about what a free-for-all public debate on the issue might look like. Digging into the campaign so far, Simon and Benjamin ask whether it's all as bleak as many queers fear, or if this is an unprecedented opportunity to fight homophobia.
When actor Andrew Garfield says he's currently a "gay man right now, just without the physical act", Simon and Benjamin decide to take him at face value and address the question: who gets to identify as queer? In this second part of a two-part episode, things get weird in a discussion of postmodern pornography, the abstract-ness of "identifying", and whether Andrew Garfield is the vanguard of a queer utopia.
A major fashion magazine says it's "gender fluidity" when a (heterosexual) celebrity couple swaps clothes occasionally, leading to a backlash then an apology. Delving into the thorny topic of 'essentialism' within queer communities in the first part of a two-part episode, Benjamin and Simon wonder what is gained (and maybe lost) when we locate even an idea like gender performance within particular and essential identities.
Even though we all would have preferred otherwise, "allies" were in the spotlight during this year's Pride Month, raising the question: what role should allies play within queer activism, and even within queer communities themselves? Simon and Benjamin pit pragmatism against idealism in a discussion about how far we should go to be inclusive.
Tired of heavy podcast topics, week after week? Benjamin and Simon have the podcast for you, delving into pop culture to find meaning in queer cultural representation and asking the big questions, like: did your parents ever catch you watching Queer as Folk? And have you ever urinated next to a minor celebrity?
Homonationalism: it's a big word and kind of a complex idea, but with LGBTI rights increasingly a flashpoint for cultural conflict around the globe Simon and Benjamin decide to wade in. At this international intersection of colonialism, racism and queerphobia, is it even possible to make a positive difference?
The recent arrest of a journalist charged with offences relating to child pornography gets Benjamin and Simon thinking about the long-standing association made in public debate between queers and pedophilia. Are we as past this sort of fear mongering as we'd like to imagine, or has the moral panic never really gone away?
From marriage equality to Safe Schools, it seems like everything our communities are fighting for at the moment involves the state granting either recognition or protection to queer people. Benjamin and Simon go head-to-head with the state in a discussion that asks: why should we critique the status quo? And more importantly, where might that leave us?
The furore over a star-studded letter calling for a version of the Safe Schools anti-bullying program Australia could "tolerate" was a flash in the pan, but it raised some questions about queers' capacity for disagreement. Simon and Benjamin wonder what's served by robust debate within our communities, and question the value of all of us just getting along.
'Religion versus queers' has reared its ugly head again in the debate over the Coopers beer boycott, so Benjamin and Simon decide to dive into that most inappropriate of dinner-party conversation topics: religion. How do we weigh the rights of LGBTI communities against religious freedom? What does it even mean to ask that question?