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New podcast 'Be Seen' explores Wisconsin’s LGBTQ history

"Be Seen"
"Be Seen" podcast logo

Starting May 23, a six-episode podcast, called Be Seen, will launch that explores Wisconsin’s LGBTQ history.

The podcast is a partnership between the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project and Radio Milwaukee. Each week, Be Seen will answer questions that explore different historical milestones, events and businesses that have fostered an inclusive community.

The podcast integrates the present along with the past through archived audio as well as hearing from community members and leaders who can directly speak to these experiences.

Michail Takach is the curator for the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project and Nate Imig is the director of content for Radio Milwaukee. Together, they host the podcast.

Imig shares how the partnership developed: "We actually had the chance to work together on the 60th anniversary of the Black Nite Brawl, which is our very first episode in the podcast. And, when we met Michail, we just knew there was so much more to the story and so much more to Wisconsin's LGBTQ history than we could jam into one segment, or even one episode."

Michail Takach/Nate Imig
Audrey Nowakowski/Erin Bagatta
Michail Takach/Nate Imig

As for the episodes themselves, each one starts in the present. "We've talked to present day business owners, we talk to people who are leading efforts for HIV prevention in Milwaukee. Now we talk to current drag performers who are out in the scene and past performers, too. So it's been really great to integrate the present right alongside the past," Imig adds.

Takach adds that's he's very grateful for the people who have shared first-hand testimonials.

"As more and more of our primary sources, as more and more of our LGBTQ elders from the pre-Stonewall generation are disappearing, the risk we run is this colorful nostalgia for a past that may or may not have been better," he says.

Takach says he's inspired that this podcast will become a part of the living record and that they have the potential to connect with an audience that needs to hear these stories. From Takach's perspective, he says that people don't really understand that this history and heritage exists.

And, that connection to LGBT lineage, he says, could really help with the national epidemic of teen self-harm and suicide rates. "I think that this will really help people feel more self-assured, more validated, more confirmed in their own identity, and perhaps help them learn something about, you know, who they too could be in the future," says Takach.

Audrey Nowakowski is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Kobe Brown was WUWM's fifth Eric Von fellow.
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