No matter what you’re into, there’s probably a podcast out there covering it. Politics, comedy, tech, it’s all out there, only a click away. Bearded Fruit is one of the shows you need to listen to, with a focus on “politics and culture through an intersectional queer lens.” Hosts Cody and Neil Daigle-Orians host conversations on topics ranging from racism, to polyamory from a queer female perspective, to surviving in a post-Trump world.
We chatted with Cody about starting the podcast, what “social justice” really means, and how our scary new President inadvertently saved the show from ending.
Why start a podcast? Where did the idea for Bearded Fruit come from?
Bearded Fruit looks at politics and culture through an intersectional queer lens. I think we’re at a really interesting moment as a community. We’re thinking about how queerness intersects with other identities — race, sex, ability, religion — and we’re redefining (or evolving the definition) of queerness. Our show is exploring that.
It started because I stopped writing plays and needed something creative to do with my time. I love podcasts, so I thought, “Why not start one of my own? It’ll be fun!” And I brought Neil into it, so it could be a fun thing for us to work on together. But it’s turned into something bigger. We have awesome regular listeners, who connect with us and continue conversations from the podcast with us. And we’re getting to showcase some really important voices.
How did you and Neil meet?
True story: we met on Growlr. I was at a theatre conference in Omaha, which is where Neil lived. We started talking on the app, and we hit it off. So we spent a day hanging out. And we’ve been together ever since.
To us, “social justice” just means “caring about everyone and valuing every experience.”
How do you choose the topics you’re going to cover on Bearded Fruit?
Mostly, we try to stay responsive to the things going on in the world. So the news shapes our podcast very strongly. We also look for cultural trends — like racism on the apps or “masc4masc” culture — and we try to respond to them. And we tackle things going on in our life. For example, we did an episode about kink recently, because I had my first paddling/flogging experience at a leather shop in New York. It became an episode. We always want it to be something people are talking about or thinking about.
We also think it’s important that the conversations have a social justice angle. “Social justice” is a term that’s thrown around a lot, and it can sometimes make people cringe, but we think it’s really important to talk about. To us, “social justice” just means “caring about everyone and valuing every experience.” That’s always an important part of every conversation we have on the show.
What’s the process of putting together an episode like?
We’re a pretty DIY podcast. We record the show in my home office. We’ve got mics and I record the show on my Mac. I edit the file, create any extras we need for the episode, then we upload it and it goes out into the world. For our long-distance guests, we use a conferencing service to record their interviews. We typically record the episodes straight through, and I do a little post-editing when necessary. But more story-driven episodes (like an episode we did about Cleveland hip hop artist Jesse Paradice) take a few days to edit together. I like the speed at which we can make episodes, because we can always be responsive to what’s going on in the world.
I’d decided we were going to stop making the show. We’re both busy in our day jobs, and the podcast takes time. But then Trump got elected. And I remember Neil and I sitting in bed, processing that. He turned to me and said, ‘You know, we can’t stop making Bearded Fruit now.”
Have current events, such as the election of a divisive new President, informed the direction of Bearded Fruit?
It had a huge impact. Before the election, I’d decided we were going to stop making the show. We’re both busy in our day jobs, and the podcast takes time. But then Trump got elected. And I remember Neil and I sitting in bed, processing that. He turned to me and said, ‘You know, we can’t stop making Bearded Fruit now.”
We see Bearded Fruit as more than a podcast now. It’s a community of like-minded people looking for ways to make change happen. We’re doing live events now. We have a monthly book club with a live web chat. And we’re starting to build little Bearded Fruit chapters everywhere — groups that will engage in activism in their own communities.
What do you hope listeners take away from Bearded Fruit?
We hope listeners come away from the podcast energized to have these conversations in their own lives. We hope they’re energized to act, even in their own individual spheres. And we hope they come away with a sense of how diverse and beautiful our queer community is. Because our community is incredible. We’re brave. We’re joyful. We’re everything.
What do you see as the big picture, long term goal for Bearded Fruit?
We definitely would love to see the Bearded Fruit community grow. Not just listeners, but engaged members of our community. We would love to see the show grow to include more live events, workshops and classes. We’d love to see Bearded Fruit become a gathering place for queer people to have important conversations and make the world a queerer, more just place.