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Girlish' Cohosts Name Gainesville, Florida-Based Curia on the Drag as Spotify and Anchor's Next Making Space Podcasting Location


Photo credit: Lexi Read

As trans content creators, Gage Adkins and Olivia Noel know firsthand the power of storytelling in digital spaces. Around 2015, both women started separately producing video content on YouTube about their transitions. They each slowly built up online support networks, and then found each other. But when they started searching for podcasts on trans identity, they couldn't find any. So they created Girlish in 2019 as an attempt to tell their stories, create space for trans listeners and creators, and bring awareness to their experiences.

Over three years later, Girlish is still holding strong, and the number of LGBTQIA+ podcasters has grown. But it's still not enough. When we first started our podcast, it was really overwhelming because we lived on opposite coasts of the U.S. and had no equipment to make a professionally recorded podcast, Gage told For the Record. I think our first episode was recorded using our phone audio, so it was pretty bad. But there are so many people out there with really good ideas who want to share their voice, but just don't know how to go about it.

Spotify believes that the audio industry has a responsibility to increase access to podcasting knowledge, equipment, and materials for marginalized creators. We are continually looking for ways to nurture and develop emerging voices through tools and programs that make podcasting possible for anyone, anywhere. Making Space, our latest creator program, aims to elevate underrepresented voices by providing free, studio-quality podcasting gear to communities. We started by setting up South Carolina-based plant shop Savereign with an in-house podcasting studio. Next, we're outfitting Curia on the Drag, a caf close to Olivia's heart, in Gainesville, Florida.

Curia defines itself as an urban oasis, Olivia explained. The experience you have there feels very much like a community-centric business. They have a plot of two-and-a-half acres of land where they have a plant-based coffee shop along with a plant-based food truck. They have a little retail store with local artists' jewelry, clothing, art, and stickers. Overall, it has an ambiance that gives you the feeling of being safe. You can tell the community means a lot to them when you walk in and see flyers stapled to a cork board at the register with local resources for the LGBT community and marginalized groups. If you told me when I was 15 that a drag brunch was going to be a thing that was popular at a coffee shop near where I lived, I would have laughed. But I'm so thankful that this place exists, because it's crucial.

Oliva Noel and Gage Adkins at Curia on the Drag

Curia stands to prove itself as a comfortable and reliable podcasting studio for new and existing creators, but its promise of safety and security for members of the Gainesville and surrounding area community makes it the perfect hub for stories of all kinds to be shared.

When you're queer or trans in the South, you find safety in the smallest things-whether that's Pride flags on storefronts or a friend of a friend of a friend with a trans aunt, said Olivia. Curia stands out because they provide security through their messaging and actions. Making Space further highlights an area to those around in the neighboring towns so that people like newly out college freshmen can find a community that supports them. It's silly, but Florida really is like that-you have to find these little pockets and areas where you can go and be yourself.

The Making Space launch also marks a moment of transition for Olivia, who has been living in Seattle for the last few years and is now returning to uncertainty in her home state of Florida. Within the South, it's important to try to locate your community near you, whether that's support groups or local organizations trying to fight for your cause. It's super important and we have to bring attention to it. You are not alone in this. There are so many of us, and we're going to fight for our rights.

Gage grew up in Seattle and now lives in LA. I had a really different experience, she explained. It was really easy for me to access health care, and people around me were not outwardly trying to harm me. Making Space enables us to support those who want to find community in a state or area where there doesn't seem to be one. Even if people aren't necessarily interested in podcasting, I think it's always important to try to find a safe space.

As important as Gage and Olivia both know that Curia will be for LGBTQIA+ podcasters in Florida, they also want to encourage queer podcasters everywhere to take to the mic without hesitation. You'll get there if you put in the work and you're consistent, explained Gage. That takes precedence over what type of microphone you have, or what type of camera you have. It's more about the passion and the direction and the way you're using your voice.

I'm hoping this initiative highlights an area where people can go to be themselves, added Olivia. I hope one day the entire state can be our oasis, and not just Curia.

Check out Gage and Olivia's Anchor podcast, Girlish, and look out for future podcasts coming from Curia on the Drag soon.
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