AfterBuzz TV Introduces LGBTQ&A: Where Queer Voices Have a Platform
By: Kelsey Juntwait
Between hosting AfterBuzz TV shows for “The Fosters” and “The Flash,” Jeffrey Masters realized there was something missing in this online broadcast network that covers almost every television show you could possibly imagine. He realized they needed a show that “specifically talks to LGBTQ+ people” where queer voices have their own platform.
Masters describes queer stories as “peppered throughout other shows,” lacking an exclusive place of celebration, which “allows for a limited view of us.” Enter LGBTQ&A – the newest AfterBuzz TV show that is premiering September 7th and coming out every Wednesday on both iTunes and YouTube. Described by Masters as an “interview show highlighting different members of the LGBTQ+ community- artists, activists and lawmakers,” this show finally offers a “single place on the internet for all of our stories.” Masters asserts, “We are one community. There’s not any one way to be gay or lesbian or transgender.” So, along with AfterBuzzTV, they are igniting a movement to give every one of those stories a voice.
Inspired by those who have strong influence in the fight for the queer community, Masters looks up to Janet Mock (transgender rights activist), Larry Kramer (LGBT rights activist) and Kate Bornstein (gender theorist). He notes that “some of the most important people in LGBTQ+ history are alive, today,” and dreams he can eventually sit down with many of them.
Ali Liebegott, the first guest on LGBTQ&A has a fascinating story of her own. She stars in and is writing for “Transparent,” a television series about a family discovering their father is transgender, and is using her voice and talent to allow positive representation of transgender in the media. Masters explains, “I don’t see butch women represented in media ever […] without it being the punch line of a joke.” Liebegott has previously been told she “wasn’t seen as being palatable to an audience” and is now speaking out to change that. Masters hopes to showcase other inspirational stories like this on the show.
The goal is for a new show to be released weekly, around Wednesday. Unlike other AfterBuzz TV shows, these won’t air live. This means there will be no audience participation, but it makes it easier for an interview to flow. Masters notes they’re “definitely striving for consistency, but luckily, this isn’t TV so we have some leeway.” The main priority is booking as many interesting guests as possible. “The rest will come!” he adds. He doesn’t want to spoil much but mentions Peter Paige, co creator of “The Fosters,” and Arisce Wanzer, a model on Oxygen’s “Strut,” as two faces we’ll definitely get to see later on.
This show, of course, is not exclusively for the queer community. Masters hopes it can be enjoyed by anyone – people of all identities. He hopes that viewers can see how diverse, talented and thought provoking this community is. He adds, “As Kate Bornstein says, ‘It’s impossible to hate someone if you know their story.’” The show does though incorporate all aspects of LGBTQ+ yet isn’t necessarily committing to one topic. Masters explains, “I’ll be engaging them in conversations about our community and discussing whatever I think is the most interesting thing about them. I know that sounds a little bit pompous, but hey, it’s my show!” This allows for broader conversation. “I’d like to talk about their art, what they do with their lives, etc. If they have an interesting story about when they came out, I definitely want to hear it but I’m not intending on this just being a collection of coming out stories. I don’t think that’s often the most interesting part of a person,” he adds. Recognizing the queer community has more to offer, he’s interested in an array of other issues: “How many genderqueer or gender non-conforming (GNC) people have you seen on television? What are their stories? What is it like to be gay and still participate in church? How do you reconcile those two different, often conflicting, parts of yourself? Why are transgender women so visible in pop culture, but not transgender men? Why does bisexuality still freak people out?” Masters, along with AfterBuzz TV, realize this is new and are going into it open-minded and adaptable. Although this show will features people in the queer community, he recognizes they have so much more to offer than the story behind their sexual identity and he wants to share that.
Filling a much-needed niche in the TV world, LGBTQ&A has the opportunity to tell stories, explore silenced topics and, ultimately, change lives. Masters mentions, “I hope it shows young queer kids that there isn’t any one way to be gay or bi or trans or whatever.” So, tune in, tell your friends, tweet about it, post about it and blog about it. Maybe, just maybe, one of those friends is a “young queer kid,” questioning where to go from here and this show will give them the answer they’re looking for. These stories and voices deserve a large audience.