Remaining Outspoken

Posted on 09 Aug 2007 at 8:39pm
By John Wright Staff Writer

Local LGBT activist known for bombastic style launches podcast



John Selig sits with the equipment he uses for his podcast in the office of his Turtle Creek condominium Monday, Aug. 6. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

One might have thought John Selig had said his piece.

After all, he’s made numerous national TV and radio appearances, written scores of newspaper and magazine articles, and contributed to two books.
But Selig, a longtime local LGBT activist known for his bombastic style, is the first to admit that he simply doesn’t like to shut up.

That’s why he recently launched a Web podcast, Outspoken, from the office of his Turtle Creek condominium. The podcast can be heard at www.johnselig.com/podcast.

“If I never do anything in the community again, I’ve done my share, but I’ve got a big mouth,” said Selig, 54. “I mouth off like crazy.”

The goal of the podcast is primarily two-fold, Selig said. First, he wants to spotlight positive role models for LGBT youth. Because Selig never had such role models growing up, he married a woman and had a child before getting divorced 13 years later.

“We think it’s getting easier,” Selig said. “Tremendous strides are being made, but I think we’ve just basically hit the first couple layers of the onion, and there’s a lot more to go.”

Second, Selig said, the podcast is designed to promote the fledgling LGBT publishing industry. He said books on the subject of homosexuality were critical to him when he finally came out.

“I’m very concerned that the written word is dying and with it some of the history,” said Selig, a freelance writer and photojournalist who also works in advertising and marketing.

“You have bookstores closing all over the place,” he said, adding that he doesn’t feel mainstream outlets ever will carry enough LGBT books. “The concern is the books aren’t going to get published any more.”

Guests on Selig’s podcast, launched July 5, thus far have included Ken Manford, co-chairman of Family Pride’s board of directors; Bob McCranie, founder of the Carrolton Project; Evan Wolfson, founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry; and Harvey Brownstone, the first openly gay judge in Canada. Brownstone married Selig and his husband, 40-year-old Rodolfo Arredondo, in 2004.

Typically the podcast consists of one or more guest interviews followed by a commentary from Selig and recommended “action steps,” such as writing letters to the editor and calling politicians.

“It’s critical that we continue to work, all of us, to garner the rights that we deserve,” Selig said.

The podcast features musical accompaniment from Selig’s childhood acquaintance, Jeffrey Reid Baker, a renowned recording artist.

Selig said he’s developed ample contacts in the LGBT community over the years to maintain a steady lineup of compelling guests.

In 1994, Selig served as consulting editor for the award-winning book “Uncommon Heroes: A Celebration of Heroes and Role Models for Gay and Lesbian Americans.”

In 2001, he became a member of the national steering committee for Stopdrlaura.com, the group that led the fight against the “Dr. Laura” TV show. This resulted in an appearance on “Donahue” and a President’s Award from the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

Later, Selig’s commentary on his marriage to Arredondo would be featured by numerous media outlets, including National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

Selig said the podcast will target a national and international audience but also focus on Dallas from time to time.

“By no means am I turning my back on the gay community here,” he said. “We definitely will have Dallas guests.”

Selig said he spends 40 to 50 hours a week on the podcast, which he creates using $800 worth of equipment and his home computer. It hasn’t generated a ton of hits so far, he added, but that’s just a matter of time.
“I’m going to gain an audience,” he said.

E-mail wright@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 10, 2007

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