Hello and welcome to a series on Proudly dedicated to sharing the stories of a range of influential LGBTQ+ content creators from all walks of life. This series will enable us to showcase their experiences in the industry to inspire future content creators from our community.
For today’s article we interviewed comedian, TV and radio presenter and columnist James Barr and leading British radio producer Dan Hudson, who together host the podcast A Gay and A NonGay. James identifies as a cis-gender gay man while Dan identifies as a cis-gender straight man and their podcast challenges their differences to show that gays and nongays can be the best of friends. They cover a range of topics from day to day life, differences in perceptions, homophobia, coming out, mental health and lighter topics like dating and Dan learning all about douching.
James and Dan spoke with us all about their podcast, A Gay and A NonGay; from where it began, to the pressure of being the best; their first ever UK tour (keep your eyes peeled after Rona), their work, and some advice for aspiring LGBTQ+ content creators and journalists.
The power of the podcast – and where it all began?
In the 21st century, the use of the podcast is rapidly on the rise. In September last year, it was found that around 7.1 million people in the UK now listen to podcasts each week… an increase of 24% from the previous year. So, yes, podcasts are pretty powerful. And James’ and Dan’s podcast is especially powerful, winning the bronze award for best comedy podcast at the 2018 British Podcast Awards. But where did it all begin?
Dan’s girlfriend, Talia, went to New York for a while, leaving him and James alone to fend for themselves, Dan tells us. She suggested them doing a podcast together, although they didn’t have much in common or like each other very much. But that’s where it all began! Talia was right and she is now the executive producer of the podcast. James affirmed Dan’s words by saying they hadn’t met before that and weren’t friends. It’s funny how things change, isn’t it?!
James and Dan are now the best of friends, working together constantly on this award-winning podcast, learning what it’s like to be ‘Gay’ (James) or ‘NonGay’ (Dan). So, props to Talia! Without her we wouldn’t have this wonderfully unique podcast A Gay and A NonGay!
The pressure of the podcast – being the best
So, we’ve established that the podcast is definitely powerful. However, we also asked them about the pressure that comes with it. Like anything in the public eye (or in this case ear!), there’s pressure to produce frequently – their podcast is released every Wednesday at 6AM (GMT)– and to a high standard. After winning the award for best podcast, they must maintain this high standard, piling on the pressure even more.
When discussing the pressure of their podcast, James said that “because we’re both just living our lives, when we come together, we have a lot of different things to talk about…So a lot of our stuff just happens naturally.” However, he did say that there’s a lot of admin, but because it’s made out of them being themselves it “becomes quite easy”. He also stressed that they’re so lucky to be doing what they’re doing and have met “so many amazing friends” from their podcast. They have a listener group on Facebook and James said: “it’s beautiful to see a community shine from something we’ve helped to create”. Dan agreed that there’s some pressure, but they can’t complain, particularly considering the current climate. Talking about the current climate, that’s what we can blame for them having to cancel their first ever UK tour together…
First ever UK tour together
Yes, unfortunately, thanks to Rona, James’ and Dan’s first ever tour is cancelled. But, don’t worry, Dan reassures us that they’ll be back! He also tells us what to expect from the post-Rona tour, including features called Things Dan Cannot Say to NonGay-Eye. In Things Dan Cannot Say, Dan is given a safe space to speak about the LGBTQ+ community and ask questions without getting cancelled. Then in NonGay-Eye he offers he offers his perspective as a straight man.
Keep your eyes peeled (post Rona) to hopefully see the same acts that were confirmed for the cancelled show, including Sophie from the Cock Destroyers, the ‘Gogglebox gays’, Divina de Campo, Dr Ranji and our very own Yshee Black plus many more! In James’ words “Rona needs to do one” because we’re all as excited as you are! However, they are planning a virtual show this summer – keep an eye on their Instagram for more info!
James’ and Dan’s recommendations
James and Dan have recorded over 200 podcast episodes. So, we asked them what they felt their most meaningful episode was so far – yes, we love a tricky question!
Dan discussed a three-part documentary called ‘From Gay To NonGay’? that they made for BBC Radio 1/1Xtra on gay conversion therapy in Northern Ireland. They met a conversion therapist and some extremely brave people who had been through a lot. It got an unbelievable reaction and they ended up promoting it on BBC News.
James said that Dan had the idea to meet spokeswoman Megan Phelps-Roger who used to be part of the Westboro Baptist Church, a hugely homophobic organisation in the states. He was unsure at first as “I would never normally give someone that had caused me so much pain the light of day. However, I’m so glad I did.” Megan has now completely changed her opinions and uses her voice to fight for LGBTQ+ acceptance every day. He explained that his friendship with Dan has helped him realise that people can change and made him realise that the shame of being gay is actually other people’s problems to deal with. What a beautiful bromance they have!
Be yourself and own it
When we asked for any advice they’d give to any aspiring content creators and journalists, James said to be your authentic self and own it.
“Tell your story and inspire others to do the same… [because] your most authentic self will always be your most successful and fulfilled self.”James’ words of wisdom
We love James’ words of wisdom and we hope you do too! Be yourself and own it.
Overview – Get involved
As mentioned previously, Proudly.blog will be taking an insight into various LGBTQ+ creators to help inspire the young and upcoming journalists of today. If you have a story you would like to share or think you know someone who would like to share their story. Get in touch and get involved.
A huge thank you to James and Dan for sharing their story and advice for others.
Writing Contribution: Chloë Morgan
Chloë is a recent English graduate from Loughborough University who is currently seeking employment in the journalism industry as a content writer. She is extremely passionate about her voice in a positive way to help others. For work enquiries, her contact email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and her LinkedIn.