To launch MQH Now, we were lucky enough to be able to sit down with Queer4Queer’s Molly Pease and Ash Barker. Queer4Queer is a comedy podcast about queer dating and lifestyle. Each episode explores a different aspect of LGBTQ+ relationships, including rejection, self-care, and helping.
Molly is a queer, cis writer from Georgia. She received her MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage. After grad school, she did a lot of long-form work; long scripts, full-length plays, movies. “This is something I can make every week. We can do something together,” said Molly. Ash says Queer4Queer is the first project the two were able to do together. Ash Barker, a trans/nonbinary musician and artist, says the podcast allows them to experiment, especially as they’ve shifted to interviewing other queer artists on the show.
We talked about queer role models, or lack thereof, growing up. Ash mentioned Laura Jane Grace, citing her as the reason they felt comfortable and able to come out. They also feel inspired by visual artists on Twitter, and Rebecca Sugar, who Molly jumped to credit with as well. Molly additionally named Lin Manuel Miranda as an inspiration. “I always liked fantasy...weird novels and miniseries,” Molly added.
Their biggest inspiration for starting Queer4Queer, however, was their relationship. Ash was listening to 30-40 hours of podcasts a week. They started doing comics in January of 2018 and had already released eight music albums, so they had the experience needed. Ultimately, they wanted to make something together. Ash says, “We experiment and do weird stuff. It’s a good first podcast.” Molly says they almost did a Digimon podcast, but she didn’t want to do a fancast. Creating something that is just about being queer is so different from the art they both do in their everyday lives.
When asked about their hopes for the future of queer media, they had similar hopes. “I think people getting paid to do it and have the resources. We’re lucky. People will try something and only get ten listeners,” Ash said.
Molly added, “My hope is to have queer people thriving, empowered, joyful.” We spoke about the tropes plaguing queer media. While there’s space for trauma, it’s all that gets funded. Ash mentioned that they hope we can focus the work that is being made. Freedom of content—of different, diverse content—needs to be uplifted and encouraged. There is more than tragedy. Molly went on to say, “Writing is creating the future.”
Ash offered some advice to fellow queer creatives. First of all, do it. Everyone’s afraid no one will listen or care; in six years, they might. Molly agreed. “Yeah, just do it. If you’re a kid, social media can be stifling. Just write, do, get better. Practice making.” Ash stressed the importance of being positive, especially when interacting with your audience and fellow creators. It’s not only off-putting to be overly competitive or negative, but it can also cost you your audience.
Molly encouraged community building. “It’s a community effort. Work with different people doing different things...nihilism is just as boring as too much optimism. It’s an absolute. It’s boring.” Ash added, “There’s space to do plenty of things.”