The Altern Podcast
The Altern is an LGBTQ history podcast by LGBTQ young adults and for LGBTQ youth and young adults (and everyone else who wants to listen!). Our podcast has quick, under-10-minute history episodes called This Month in Queer History (TMQH), and longer-form discussions of those history episodes.
Our goal is to make LGBTQ history more accessible for youth/young adults who have never taken a queer history course and might be starting with no Information, or even misinformation. That being said, we weren’t always a history podcast. This is the story of how we got here, and what we have to look forward to in the future.
The idea for the podcast was born during a conversation about youth engagement in January 2021 among Barbara Antlitz (then Youth Program Leader at CAMP), Wesley Ingram of NAMI Delaware, Brent Wedman of Journey Wellness, and me. A couple ideas were thrown out—doing a zine with youth artwork, starting an Instagram page—but it was Wes who had the idea to start a podcast.
Our original idea was a talk podcast: we would bring on youth and talk about relevant topics like school, coming out, and GSAs. Alongside our talk episodes, I suggested we have mini episodes that were history focused, called This Month in Queer History (TMQH). Sandwiched in between each normal episode, these episodes would be a way to introduce some more obscure and interesting pieces of LGBTQ+ history. I suggested the name, The Altern, as a play on the words “alternative” and “subaltern.” Wes, Brent, and I would co-host.
So, we started an Instagram page (@thealternde), and by July we had our first episode out. Our early episodes included coming out, school experiences, queer language, and body image. We released regular episodes until October, when scheduling became an issue for us. Unfortunately, scheduling remained an issue for Brent, so when we regrouped and discussed the future of the podcast, we agreed that it would continue with just Wesley and me.
Down a co-host, we decided to rethink the concept of the podcast. We liked the history episodes, so we concluded that we would continue with the smaller episodes for TMQH, and do longer episodes in the form of discussions of the TMQH episodes. We started releasing episodes again in February of this year, and we’re working toward getting a regular schedule going. For now, we’re releasing episodes once every two weeks.
Which brings me to the more exciting news: we’re bringing guests on to our episodes! Our episodes for the end of April and beginning of May are with Dr. Scout of the National LGBT Cancer Network, and are about the 1993 March on Washington, the largest ever queer march on the Capital. Scout was a co-chair of the march, and we discussed the exhilaration of being a part of something so groundbreaking. We had an awesome conversation, and we’re really excited to share it with you all!
To keep up-to-date on new episodes, you can follow us on Instagram @thealternde, and listen to the podcast on Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms.▼
Julian Harbaugh (they/them) is the Youth Peer Leader at CAMP Rehoboth. When they’re not writing, they can be found teaching their four rats new tricks, walking their dog, and roaming garage sales looking for antique philosophy books.