What do you call a group of geese? A gaggle, right? Would you believe me if I told you a group of LGBTQIA+ folks is also called a gaggle? According to the hosts of WNCYC Studios’ LGBTQIA+ podcast Nancy, Tobin Lowe and Kathy Tu, that is exactly what it’s called.
Comraderie can be a huge driver for success, especially of marginalized groups. Relating to someone is beneficial to your psyche in many ways, especially if you are commiserating or bonding over the love of something. This type of strong and beneficial bond can be hard to find, however, especially the older one gets. If only there was a guide for making friends as an adult, right?
For media targeted towards marginalized groups, however, there is such a thing as a guide for finding likeminded individuals that you’d like to spend time with. Possibly you’ll even find someone you can see yourself pooling your money with for a cramped airbnb in a foreign city where you’ll knock knees and make memories of strange occurrences that you claim “only happen to you.” Just as our Girl Gang article, kinship can be kindled online or in person.
The internet only creates more opportunities for “gangs” of all types of to be cultivated. More often in this day and age, you are seeing bonds forming online and continuing offline. For example, Kate Nash’s girl gang that starts online and meets in a city where there are interested women. There was also the Lady Project, which “connected, inspired and showcased amazing women doing awesome things all over.” It grew from Providence, RI, and then into a nationwide “girl gang”.
Society teaches women to do the opposite of what these groups encourage, which is to support and lift up each other. We are socialized to be jealous and talk bad about other women. Joining forces with a girl gang de-socializes us to think and act this way, and creates space in our brain for loving and accepting other women.
Just as important as a camaraderie is for women, it is also incredibly important for the LGBTQIA+ community, especially as many are estranged from their family. The LGBTQIA+ podcast, Nancy from WNYC Studios has provided another rare guide for making friends similar to them, AKA a gaggle. When family is often distant or completely cut off for LGBQIA+ folks, chosen family is super important. Therefore, finding a gaggle of supportive friends is crucial when forming a group of friends.
A gaggle can help queer folks navigate tricky moments that family would otherwise help them with. A gaggle can help them replace unsavory memories and moments from their childhood with happier ones. A gaggle can provide a LGBTQIA+ person a sense of home that they are excited to come home to.
The interactive series took place on both their audio podcast and their newsletter. Each week on their newsletter, hosts Tobin Lowe and Kathy Tu shared a challenge, and by the end of the series, listeners who participated ideally should have the start of a gaggle. They then deep-dived into stories of how their listeners found their gaggles on the show, and how it helped them.
I subscribe to their normal newsletter, but I also subscribed to the list for the challenge because I see the importance of gaggles or gangs for both of my identities- as a queer woman. My experience is definitely backwards from the normal one, I hung out with mostly LGBQTIA+ friends, but through them I was able to come to terms with the parts of myself I had been ashamed of for so long, and was able to come out. Below are the challenges that the Nancy podcast hosts gave to help their listeners find their gaggle:
- Reach out! Whether it’s a text, e-mail, in person, or a message. Approach a fellow queer person either at work or at school.
- Start a dialogue! Once you’ve started conversing, get to know them a little more. As discovery questions to find similarities .
- Gather! Whether it’s over the phone, in person, on Google hangouts or more, get together and spend some real time talking.
- Stay in touch! Get contact information and keep in touch or better yet, make more plans!
Of course, this can call be a little nerve-wracking, even for the most outgoing folks. Nancy even acknowledged, “So let’s start by acknowledging that maybe we’re all a little anxious. When I think about having to find and make new friends, it makes my palms sweaty.” Their formula, however, can work across the board for finding an all-important gaggle or gang.