Fully Qualified Homosexual Josh Thomas On His New Podcast How To Be Gay

In his just-released podcast, 'How To Be Gay', comedic darling Josh Thomas reflects on his experience being a young, queer advocate in the Australian media landscape.

Josh Thomas

Now 35 and living in West Hollywood where he “sometimes forgets straight people exist”, Josh Thomas says he’s started to forget how challenging being gay can be for those living outside queer bubbles. 'How To Be Gay' is Josh’s invitation for listeners to join him in rediscovering that sense of urgency through reflections, confessions, and interviews sharing unique perspectives on queer life.

“In my early 20s,” Josh explains, “all gay advocacy was focused on suicide and homelessness. Like, I was on 'Q&A' spouting suicide and homeless stories, and I felt it was very much us trying desperately to make everybody understand that homophobia was an emergency and we needed to make changes in our society.

“It was awful to be in a group where everyone’s just talking about suicide and how awful it is to be queer. It’s also not true! Being queer is a lot of fun. It’s a lot of dancing, and a lot of kissing strangers (for me, anyway).

“So as a reaction to that, I made 'Please Like Me', which was aggressively positive and didn’t face up to a lot of queer issues until later seasons because I wanted it to focus on ‘queer joy’, which wasn’t a term we had back then when we needed it.”

Then Australia achieved marriage equality just two years after 'Please Like Me' finished. Josh says he felt exhausted by the sudden, sharp decline in public interest that followed, and began to question his role in advocacy given the enormity of this new challenge.

“I feel a lot of people thought ‘oh, we did it! We can get married now, so we’ve achieved what we needed to achieve’. Especially privileged people like me. But I was like ‘that’s not quite true’. There needs to be balance, actually, between suicide [awareness] and queer joy. And there’s still a lot of problems that need to be solved, and there’s still a lot of people going through difficult times. So I wanted to reset.”

Now Josh aims to provide space for diverse voices to add their own, lived experiences to wider conversations on queerness. What he’s rediscovered, and what you can expect to hear for yourself, is that we don’t have to look too far outside our communities to see real challenges that need to be addressed.

“I forgot being gay can be challenging and weird and interesting. So I want to go back and remember what it was like at the beginning for me, compare notes with a diverse range of people, and see what their experience was. [...] This podcast was very much a chance to have these conversations and listen to people, and to look outside my bubble and reconnect with how weird it is to be queer.”

From writers and comedians to sports stars, surrogates to asylum seekers, as well as people in Josh’s life who watched him come into his queerness with an external lens, 'How To Be Gay' uses interviews and confessions to remind listeners how queer people continue to negotiate themselves around adversity.

“It opens with Tom Ward, my best friend since I was 12, talking about how f...ing gay I was in high school. A lot of that stuff I’d forgotten — like, I forgot I went to Valentine’s Day dressed as Cupid in pink tights.

“And then there’s people who’ve had more unique experiences. We talk to Wade Davis, who was a professional NFL player while closeted. We talk to this guy who is Black and was adopted by two white lesbians in the '70s, and his adoption case went to the supreme court. We talk to this lady, Shelly, who’s been a [paid] surrogate for four different gay couples. And we talked to Angel Joy, who was tortured in Chechnya for being gay. So there’s a wide range of stuff.”

Josh Thomas’ Audible Original podcast, 'How To Be Gay', is out now and is only available on Audible. The podcast is free for Audible members.


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