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CHRISTANIA: Hello, if you don’t already know who I am then I suggest you go back and listen to the last nine podcast episodes. But just in case it is your first time here my name is Christania.

ALEXIS: And hello from me, Alexis, insert cheesy joke introduction line that subtly makes a point but is also self-deprecating!

BOTH: Welcome to the final episode of Qmmunity!

CHRISTANIA: I can’t believe we have reached the end of the road. It has been one hell of a ride but also an incredible learning experience. Lex and I will be sharing or best bits from the series and what we’ve learned about what it means to be LGBTQ plus in this day and age. But before that - how did we end up here?

ALEXIS: A piece of behind the scenes gossip, Christania and I are both about to turn 30 - I know, you’re shocked, you think we sound so youthful - we realised that at 29, we’re standing on that cusp of not being young young, but also not being fully old, and we’re asking ourselves questions about who we are. And we realised, we had way more questions than answers - this is where Qmmunity came from. There are lots of conversations behind had about the LGBTQ identity, spread out in different parts and pockets, and we wanted to try and find some common ground between the ever more segregated and segmented parts of our family. It was about expanding our story and understanding of our own identity, having a look in the mirror and asking questions of ourselves. But Christania and I are just two people, and while we have different experiences and lives, just two people cannot and should not speak for such a wonderfully wide ranging, colourful, nuanced and diverse group of people that make up our rainbow.

CHRISTANIA: And that’s where the panel shows came in - we needed to bring together different people from across the entire LGBTQ spectrum, across race, across class, across gender, to talk together and listen to each other. It’s something we discussed way back in episode one - but In the age of algorithms, we tend to only hear from people exactly like yourself, or from people similar to those that you already follow.

ALEXIS: And while that’s great for allowing people to find like-minded folk and develop online support networks...it can also make us more cut off from each other. When we’re cut off from each other, and we stop taking time to engage with different people...we can be driven apart, we can lose our solidarity. That’s why with each panel show, and the one on one interviews we’ve held we’ve tried to bring in as many different perspectives and lived experiences as possible

CHRISTANIA: It hasn’t been perfect - while all of our live panels were perfectly gender balanced, unfortunately due to cancellations we haven’t heard from enough women in our interviews.

ALEXIS: This short episode is us just having a little look back over the series, joining some dots, and also including a few great soundbites from the live shows that we didn’t have space for.

CHRISTANIA: It feels like yesterday that I was having heart palpitations about speaking in a room full of strangers. I still can’t believe that I got on stage without having to be dragged up there and I didn’t vomit on the audience from nervousness.

ALEXIS: Oh god, I think I was actually shaking with nerves. I thought we would have a few good friends turn up, but then when the shows started selling out...I didn’t anticipate that. But a huge, huge thank you to everyone who did come, and who did get involved - each night our audiences were fantastic, so keen to ask questions, the discussion afterwards and seeing people make new connections was wonderful.

CHRISTANIA: Our first panel was on Monday 10th September and we were discussing what it means to be LGBTQ+ in 2018. One thing that we didn’t really discuss in depth during the series was coming out. In the last recent years there have been campaigns from different LGBTQ plus organisations telling people to come out of the closest but one thing that I’ve noticed is that we aren’t talking about what happens once these people come out.

ALEXIS: For me the common thread - and this will be the third time that I quote Cher in this series - there’s just not enough love and understanding. So, here goes my attempt at summarising all that I’ve learned during this series:

  1. We have a shared, unique experience and history, and we will all be poorer if we lose it. We protect that by talking about our history, having conversations between people of different ages, and keeping these stories and memories alive.

  2. Get. In. Volved. I cannot emphasise this enough. We’ve heard from brilliant people throughout this season who have done fantastic things for our community because they gave up their time and they got involved. As Susie and Lee said in EPISODE INSERT - it doesn’t matter how little time you have to give, there are charities that want and need your help.

  3. We have all been hurt, and rather than passing that hurt on to others...we need to reflect on our behaviour, deal with our shit, and be better and kinder to each other. But it really starts at home - we all need to look in the mirror, be honest with ourselves about who we want to be, how we want to make people feel - and work to improve ourselves. By being kinder to ourselves, we can be kinder to others, and by improving ourselves...maybe we can improve our community.

Aaaaand that’s enough from me.

CHRISTANIA: I think that the main things that I learnt from the live panels and being a part of this podcast is that the LGBTQ community is fragmented and I’m not sure what the solution is to bring us together. We can all agree that being LGBTQ can be incredible and having a queer family can at times be better than having a blood related family. but the community is full of negativity. Like you’ve said before Lex, the hate is coming from inside the house and until we learn to get along things will continue to get worse. So remember to look out for your queer siblings.

Another thing that this journey has reinforced for me is is that trans people need our support, the world is a very scary place right now but of all the members in our family trans people are receiving the bulk of the attack and we need to lift them up and continue to amplify their voices and fight for their rights. Let’s also stop erasing bisexual people from the community and just respect their sexuality because its valid.

On a more positive note I want to big up everyone in the Qmmunity team, Lex and I could not be more different if we tried but it has been one hell of a ride learning from you and discussing this queer life. Thank you to every single person that bought a ticket for the live shows, downloaded the podcast episodes and shared it on social media. We could not have done it without you!

ALEXIS: Similar - thank you so much for coming on this journey with us, our first series of the show has been far from perfect, and we know we have left so many stones unturned and there are so many more stories and topics to explore. So thank you for listening to us week by week, putting up with me, my bleedingly obvious observations & crap jokes. Christania, thank you for sharing with me, challenging me, teaching me, listening to me - it’s been a privilege.

And that my lovely listeners...is a wrap on series 1 on Qmmunity. Thank you for listening, keep sharing and subscribing, connect with us online...you’ll be hearing from us soon.