Nancy, a podcast for queer folks, explores LGBTQ culture
Podcasts are all the rage these days, and there’s something for pretty much everyone—even us queer folks. Channeling out of New York is WNYC Studios’ “Nancy,” a new podcast that brings together queer BFFs Kathy Tu and Tobin Low. On “Nancy,” they approach provocative stories and frank conversations about the LGBTQ experience today with humor and grace. We caught up with the dynamic duo to get their take on everything from pronouns, queer voices, marriage, cocktails and best wedding dance songs.
What was the seed that started NANCY?
Kathy Tu and Tobin Low: Probably our friendship. We both wanted to continue working together after leaving our radio program, and we thought about the things that interested us the most. That turned out to be an intersection of our queerness and our love for narrative storytelling. Somewhere along the way WNYC Studios’ Podcast Accelerator came along, and we were on our way to creating Nancy!
What can our readers expect from it when they listen?
Kathy and Tobin: Readers can expect to hear a range of diverse queer voices speaking for themselves on topics that matter to them. And they can also expect to hear us as hosts and best friends who like to goof around and talk about the things that matter to us. We also have great producers and sound designers working with us, so we like to play around with story structure and the sound of the show. We’re hoping that all adds together to create a uniquely queer listening experience.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, preferred pronouns, how you identify, favorite cocktail, what you do as a day job…
Tobin: Well, I grew up in Northern California before heading east for college. My preferred pronouns are he/him. Before I got into radio, I worked as a professional cellist in New York City. Before Nancy, I made stuff for Marketplace and then More Perfect, which is Radiolab’s spinoff about the Supreme Court. These days, Nancy is my full-time gig. And as far as a favorite cocktail…I’ll go with a Manhattan.
Kathy: I grew up in Southern California. Preferred pronouns are she/her. I actually went to law school hoping to become a human rights lawyer, but abandoned those goals for radio after graduation. I’ve freelanced in audio production for a couple of years before working with Tobin on Nancy.
What’s your take on marriage, relationships and commitment in general?
Kathy: I believe in trust, honesty, and communication as the foundation of the relationship. Anything beyond that—where to live, relationship type, compromises, etc.—has to be rooted in those three things. I want a long-term partner who I can share my life with. Tobin’s a little luckier in that respect at the moment.
Tobin: I shy away from thinking of a relationship as an achievement. That being said, I do enjoy the stability of a solid relationship. And while I appreciate that marriage is right for some, I feel like as long as my partner and I are communicating and happy, it feels low on the priority list for now.
Have you attended many or any LGBTQ+ weddings?
Tobin: Actually, funny enough, I played at a lot of LGBTQ+ weddings when I was a cellist.
What’s stood out to you at those weddings in comparison to hetero weddings?
Tobin: They were always so much FUN. I think because a lot of them happened right after the Supreme Court ruling, there was generally such a spirit of joy at the weddings I attended. Folks felt like they were celebrating so much more than just that particular wedding.
What’s your view on the importance of preserving LGBTQ culture as we continue to earn more rights as a community and as individuals?
Tobin: I think about this a lot especially as mainstream culture begins to accept (and co-opt) LGBTQ culture. It’s important to know the history of where in queer culture things come from, and to maintain safe spaces. There’s a reason you hear a lot of queer people saying, “Know your history.” It’s something I’m trying to work on, and am always trying to be better about.
Favorite song to dance to at a wedding reception?
Kathy: My favorite is “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. It gets everyone dancing. EVERYONE. Except the party poopers.
Tobin: I’m going to say “Do the Hustle,” because if you know how to do the Hustle like me, it really becomes a moment to SHINE.
Best relationship advice you’ve ever been given or heard given?
Kathy: I once heard someone say that every relationship comes to an end, whether that’s an agreed upon end, a devastating breakup, or the death of a significant other. I went through a breakup recently, and at first I felt like I died a little inside. But I’m making a conscious effort to embrace the end of things, whether that’s a relationship or the end of a movie. Things are constantly changing. Holding on to something and hoping it won’t end isn’t helpful for anyone. At least, that’s where I’m at right now.
Tobin: I’m going to go ahead and quote Oprah when she said, “Love is in the details.” In my early dating life, I think I spent a lot of times hoping that someone would come along and sweep me off my feet with huge romantic gestures. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to look for the quieter, day-to-day kinds of gestures that tell you about who a potential partner really is.
Maintaining close friendships after getting married seems to be a challenge for some people. Any tips on that?
Kathy and Tobin: First of all, neither of us are married so it’s possible that we’re just giving out bad advice. But we think that maintaining close friendships has to be an intentional thing after getting married (or in any long-term relationship). Things probably get more complicated when kids are involved and free time is rare, but if people are more intentional about how they spend their time, and make a conscious effort to prioritize themselves and their friendships, we think it can be done. But again, we might be talking out of our butts here.