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A Lesbian Affair
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A Lesbian Affair

Author: Jess W.

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A Lesbian Podcast Social brought to you from a basement somewhere in London. ​Each episode features talks with a selection of guests who discuss everyday life topics, share anecdotes or reflect on their individual life experiences. No flannel shirts were harmed in the making of these recordings.
22 Episodes
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Surprise - we've reached the Season One Finale of 'A Lesbian Affair' and it just so happens to be Christmas, too!So let's have a look at what makes Christmas good and how we can also talk about its associated challenges. What's love got to do with it and what about family traditions that are unique to each and every one of us? Jess explores these and other personal questions in a celebratory round-up of conversations with Diana Souhami, Mia, Fen & Kerry, Miriam, Sarah and Fae. Trigger warning - this episode features some serious 'grinching' but also more reflective and joyful moments. Thank you for listening and see you all in the next year for Season 2.Things mentioned in this Episode:St Lucy's Day, Stollen, The Happiest Season,  The Priory of the Orange Tree (Book), The Marshmallow TestSpoiler Alert: Don't Listen to this Episode in front of minors 
Episode 019 - Anna & Teresa

Episode 019 - Anna & Teresa

2020-12-1501:28:11

What's it like to find love, and dance into a relationship that comes with its own challenges... such as navigating a 20 year age-difference? Meet Anna and Teresa, who have learned to deal with just that.In this episode, they generously let us in on their lives; their coming out stories; how they got to know and love each other, and also what the prospect of marriage and commitment means to them individually.  We hear about Teresa's activist work during the Aids Crisis and what it was like to be a nurse for the National Health Service during less accepting times. In turn, Anna tells us about her relationship to her parents, her experiences in college, food in relation to health and culture, personal agency, and what it means to embrace Teresa's Chinese heritage. This episode features the couple's personal experiences with Covid-19.Things mentioned in this episode:Amanda Burton, The 'Ice Berg' Advert, London Lighthouse
Episode 018 - Fae

Episode 018 - Fae

2020-11-1001:19:47

What's it like to join the circus and identify as 'not straight'? In today's episode, Jess is joined by Fae who discusses her journey into the performing arts sector and her relationship with the queer community. There is common ground as both explore historic German geopolitical issues and the impacts of those on family life, personal values and outlooks. There is talk about what it means to have been raised by parents who experienced pressures from a socialist regime and also what integrating, belonging and persevering looks like to this day. Fae talks about coming out, the legacy of her choices in life, as well as what it might have been like to be gay in the GDR.Things mentioned in this episode that might be of interest:Cyr Wheel (circus apparatus); Charlotte von Mahlsdorf; LGBT Rights in the GDR; The Lives of Others; The Stasi
Episode 017 - Sandra

Episode 017 - Sandra

2020-10-0701:01:52

This week's episode features Sandra - a singer, writer, and bibliophile from London. In many ways, this podcast recording is about her story, talent and extraordinary level of resilience as she reflects on adverse childhood experiences, the stigma of abuse, as well as her relationship to the world and people in general. She deliberates on what it means to reach a level of confidence and authenticity, the act of triumph that can be achieved through coming out but also how difficult the journey to finding oneself can be. There are thoughts on the concept of freedom, what it means to be safe, the importance of music and the power of remembering...This week's episode comes with a trigger warning as it contains graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse (skip 6:45-8:33 if affected).Things mentioned in this episode:Randy Crawford 'Don't Wanna be Normal'; Whitney Houston 'I Have Nothing'; Nina Simone 'I Wish I Knew (How it Would Feel To Be Free)'
Episode 016 - Krisha

Episode 016 - Krisha

2020-09-1801:31:26

Does Tinder work in Kyrgyzstan?... Meet Krisha who might be able to tell you just that as she navigates life and dating within Kyrgyz society. In this episode, we discuss experiences around breakups, what it means to be at home in different cultures and to inhabit the linguistic mentalities that may come with them. Additionally, there are also explorations around the topics of nature vs. nurture (why are we gay?); the taste of horse milk, and what it means to experience a safe space within a setting that is not legislatively accepting of LGBT people.Things of interest:Kyrgyzstan; Sky Burial (book); Isabelle Eberhardt
Episode 015 - Katie

Episode 015 - Katie

2020-09-0301:01:35

In this episode, Jess talks to Katie who is currently weathering the impacts of the pandemic at home in Canada, having recently completed her university degree. There are explorations of her personal academic journey (having studied Gender Politics), her value systems around dating and marriage, her passion for the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategies, as well as deliberations on the political concepts of intersectionality and certain strands of feminism. This episode is particularly of interest for those of you who would like to hear more about why it is absolutely okay to be a 'Princess Pirate'.Things of interest in relation to this episode:Katie's Blog  
Episode 014 - Fen & Kerry

Episode 014 - Fen & Kerry

2020-08-2301:12:19

What does it take to be a radical bookseller? Well... meet Fen & Kerry, two women who have earned a reputation as just that. Both work for 'Letterbox Library' in London and also happen to be a lesbian couple. In this episode, we explore historical shifts within the community, and also how the terms 'queer' and 'lesbian' have changed in what they signify depending on generations. Fen and Kerry reflect on their relationship, how it all started, coming out, and why certain friendships can at times be testing.There are also reflections and stories about lesbian experiences at the doctor's office; dental dams and the debunking of sore throat myths...Things mentioned in this episode:Letterbox Library; Spacegirl Pukes; Plenty of Hugs; Patrice Lawrence
Episode 013 - Robin

Episode 013 - Robin

2020-08-0654:09

In this episode, Jess introduces Robin who joins her for a discussion about coming out and explores why staying in the closet on a selective basis can be a matter of self-protection. She talks about how being a daughter to Chinese parents in an American setting shaped her. There are talks about love, heartbreak, endings, death, but also her first romantic experiences. Additionally this episode contains autobiographic reflections on the power of communication and what it means to avoid certain topics that might present certain cultural taboos.Things that are mentioned that might be of interest: The Farewell (movie).
Meet Kate Charlesworth, an award-winning illustrator, artist and graphic novelist who has recently brought out 'Sensible Footwear: A Girls Guide'. In this episode, she explores how her autobiography lent itself as a framework for the graphic novel and why re-telling lesbian and queer history is of more importance than ever. She reflects on her personal and professional life, non-monogamy, the institution of marriage, coming out, activism, and working in a male-dominated environment within the creative industry. There is also discussions about what is easier to draw: Kids, dogs or cats... Things that are mentioned in this episode that might be of interest: Kate's latest graphic novel - 'Sensible Footwear'; Jackie Forster; Sappho (magazine)
Episode 011 - Sarah

Episode 011 - Sarah

2020-07-1401:04:53

Meet Sarah - a retired recruitment professional and hypnotherapist. In this episode, she explores what it means to come out late in life, how coming out changes us but also whether it impacts the ways in which we conduct our relationships. There is also talk about health taboos, Sarah's own experiences in relation to the 'butch-femme' dynamic and the implicit pitfalls of socialisation. Jess and her also discuss what the practice of hypnotherapy entails, and reflect on the importance of friendship.Things mentioned in this episode:Gay's the Word Bookshop JustGiving Campaign; Hypnotherapy within the UK
Episode 010 - Samara

Episode 010 - Samara

2020-07-0253:55

In this week's episode Jess talks to Samara, a creative professional from London. Discussions revolve around early experiences of difference, societal pressures in relation to gender expression and 'femininity', as well as how cultural representation within the community can be experienced. In addition to this, the discussion also involves reflections on what it means to live a double life, and why representation matters. There is also talk about the importance of having older women as role models and reflections on our relationships to hierarchies and freedom.Things of interest that relate to this episode: Pride of Arabia; Appropriate Behaviour (film); Reconstructing Womanhood (book); the concept of 'positive' and 'negative' freedom.
Episode 009 - Angie

Episode 009 - Angie

2020-06-2101:11:30

Meet Angie who for decades has been dedicated to the formation and nurture of lesbian community. She is an advocate for animal welfare, women, lesbians, and pacifism. In this episode, we explore stories and themes of Angie's life which include reflections on her personal relationship to her parents, her coming out, tales of squatting in Chelsea, her experiences during the AIDS epidemic, as well as what it means to find love. Watch out for anecdotes on anti-bourgeois balcony sleepovers...Things that are mentioned in this episode and might be of interest: The 'Battle of Brightlingsea'; Guardian article on the closing of 'First Out'; Activism at Greenham Common
Episode 008 - Sandi

Episode 008 - Sandi

2020-06-0101:22:431

Sandi is a student from London gearing up to become an Osteopath. In this episode, she talks to Jess about her personal experiences in relation to coming out and touches on the individual values and principles that helped her in this respect. There are also conversations about Sri Lanka, spirituality, the idea of radical acceptance, unity and difference,  the impact of colonisation, and the importance of cultural heritage. Further discussion points include reflections on how the process of coming out might improve our lives and health.Things mentioned in this episode that might be of interest:Dalai Lama Interview; The Effects of Stress on the Body; Stress & Fight or Flight; Sri Lanka's Penal Code in relation to Colonisation
This episode features Erica and Alex. Discussions revolve around how they met, their sexual identities, coming out, experiences of discrimination in the UK and abroad, as well as thoughts on whether being gay or queer in the US is any different. Erica also reflects on her journey into academia, particularly in relation to LGBTQ+ youth literature, and her work as a bookseller at Gay's The Word. Additional talking points include deliberations on why the fictional character Orlando (as penned by Virginia Woolf) would have been a good lover and why Brandi Carlile is a great queer gateway drug.Books that are mentioned in this episode that could be of interest: The Miseducation of Cameron Post; Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe; Carol (also available as a film adaptation)
Episode 006 - Diana Souhami

Episode 006 - Diana Souhami

2020-05-1401:05:56

Jess is joined by the award-winning author Diana Souhami who has just published a new book titled 'No Modernism Without Lesbians'. Discussions in this episode centre around personal anecdotes and experiences, Diana's unique take on history and lesbian characters, as well as musings on what a post-pandemic future might look like. There are also reflections on the notion of identity and how labels such as, for example, the idea of 'Jewishness', 'Germanness' or 'Queerness' play into this. Links relevant to things mentioned in this episode:Milgram's Experiments / Obedience Study
Episode 005 - Miriam

Episode 005 - Miriam

2020-05-0501:05:08

This episode is all about Miriam, a lesbian artist. Jess talks to her about her first experiences and crushes and what it meant to be attracted to women from an early age. She explores stories highlighting personal struggles in relation to internalised homophobia and shame, questions whether lesbians can objectify women as already often exemplified in heteropatriachial ways, and discusses issues around neurodiversity. There is also a discussion about the perception of intelligence in today's society, as well as why Queen Christina of Sweden would have been a great 'Sugar Momma'. Things of interest that are mentioned in this episode:Queen Christina, Garbo as Queen Christina, Ellen Page on Coming Out
Episode 004 - Lara & JJ

Episode 004 - Lara & JJ

2020-04-2701:07:11

Jess talks to Lara and JJ. about their relationship to LGBTQ+ labels, investigates how they met, what their personal experiences in the community are and how these shaped their identity. Additionally, this episodes features musings on the nature and/or nurture debate, the subject of discrimination, as well as deeper thoughts on the lesbian appeal of Dusty Springfield.Links to talks and things that are mentioned in this episode:Vera Birkenbihl - Die Vielfalt der Geschlechtsentwicklung (German Lecture):https://youtu.be/8eEjnqsxlnIHow Many Seconds to a First Impression? (APS):https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/how-many-seconds-to-a-first-impression
Episode 003 - Keira

Episode 003 - Keira

2020-04-1051:16

Jess talks to Keira about life in lockdown, her relationship to the label 'lesbian', the concept of marriage, certain mental health taboos within the community and society in general, our relationship to food and alcohol, as well as the treatment of women in fiction.We also mention our donation campaign for Gay's the Word bookshop in this episode. If you would like to support them so that they can re-open after the pandemic lockdown is over, then check out this JustGiving page.
Episode 002 - Victoria

Episode 002 - Victoria

2020-03-3059:13

Victoria, a trainee psychosexual therapist, talks with Jess about labels, as well as the notions of 'sex addiction' and 'lesbian bed death' and whether they actually exist in reality. There is also a discussion on poly relationships, bisexuality, as well as common desire 'accelerators' and 'breaks'. We also mention our donation campaign for Gay's the Word bookshop in this episode. If you would like to support them so that they can re-open after the pandemic lockdown is over, then check out this JustGiving page.
Jess, Sam and Danielle discuss women and their relationships with their bodies, as well as stereotypes of lesbian/queer sex. There are also reflections on feminism, heteronormativity in the bedroom and anecdotes on first lesbian experiences.
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