by Lorie Lewis Ham
This month we are highlighting LGBTQ+ authors, activists, artists, and more in honor of Pride. Recently we chatted with Brian Poth, who is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Source LGBT+ Center, about his podcast Queer Goggles. He hosts the podcast with Nick Vargas, who is co-founder of The Source LGBT+ Center and is their Director of Development and Strategy. The Source is based in Visalia, California.
KRL: Why did you decide to start a podcast and how did it come about?
Brian: We wanted to highlight what it is like to be LBGTQ+ in a rural conservative community. We initially interviewed our youth in our Leadership Academy to talk about their experiences of accessing sexual health services at different clinics in Tulare County. It has since turned into much more.
KRL: When did it start and how often do episodes go up?
Brian: March 8, 2018, was our first episode. We could be better about a schedule, but we have gotten better over time. At least once a month, sometimes more. We tend to work in spurts. We are aiming for 12 this year in our 3rd season.
KRL: Where did you come up with the name Queer Goggles?
Brian: We wanted to convey the idea of looking through queer eyes or through the lense of LGBTQ+ folks. This was what we landed on. We thought it was catchy.
KRL: It’s a great name. What is the podcast about?
Brian: It’s about queer leaders in our community. It’s’ about humanizing our experiences. It’s about visibility, connectedness, and progress.
KRL: Do you have a specific goal with the podcast?
Brian: Outreach, education, and visibility. We also have the opportunity to record our queer history in real time. It’s so important. Especially for youth folks. Many of our kiddos have no idea what our LGBTQ+ pioneers went through to gain the rights we have today. There aren’t that many spaces where we can share multigenerational stories. This does that.
KRL: How do you decide whom you are interviewing?
Brian: It’s organic. We usually talk to a guest, and through their interview, they will mention someone important to their journey and history. We then use that as a tool to talk to the next guest. It’s very much like connecting dots. And of course, there are celebrities we just want to talk to, like Cleve Jones and Wilson Cruz. We have been lucky enough to get them.
KRL: The interview with Wilson Cruz was a lot of fun. Who are some of the other guests you have had?
Brian: Cleve Jones, Ruth Corker Burks, Drag star Juanita More!, Priscilla McNamara, Robin Johnston McGehee, Peter Robertson, Jeffery Robinson, and students from our Youth Leadership Academy.
KRL: I know the podcast description says that you interview local people, but you mentioned that you also interviewed actor Wilson Cruz from Star Trek Discovery-how did that come about?
Brian: Wilson and I are longtime friends. We were on West Wing together, and he has always been a great friend and supporter to The Source.
KRL: What are your future goals/plans for the podcast?
Brian: Natural, organic, growth. It will be what it is meant to be. 🙂
KRL: Where can people listen to the podcast?
Brian: Anywhere you get your podcasts. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.