Note: This short reflection is airing worldwide this week on This Way Out(TWO), the syndicated LGBT radio show in honor of its anniversary of fifteen hundred episodes. Click here to hear the entire show.
This is Janet Mason.
I’ve been writing and recording commentary for This Way Out for almost two decades. I’ve long been intrigued by the intimate nature of radio. I have memories of being shaped by the radio — whether in the car, in the house or early in my life as an adolescent, alone in my room in my parents’ house but connected to the world through the magic power of radio.
It was through radio that I heard the voices of my favorite writers — often people I would come to read, and sometimes — when I was lucky — people I would later meet and on at least once occasion take classes with. As a child, I discovered the world through books. It makes sense that I would want to keep those worlds alive by writing and recording commentary on literature, particularly literature that reflects queer life.
When I first came out — or a few years before — I would listen to my local lesbian-feminist radio show. Yes, I said lesbian-feminist. It was that long ago. A lot has changed. But some would say the more things change, the more they stay the same. Occupying queer space on the radio airwaves is as important now, as ever, to the LGBT community.
It has been my privilege to work with This Way Out, to provide you with queer literary commentary over the years. Every now and then I hear from a listener and always I am moved. Not only do I get to be part of a very important worldwide LGBT news wrap and vehicle for queer culture, but I get to be part of the listener’s world also. In being connected to the world-wide LGBTQ movement, I feel larger than myself. In the words of the great gay bard Walt Whitman, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”