142: Pattie Gonia/Mother Natch

Wyn Wiley, December 2020. Photo: Owen Tozer

It isn’t difficult to understand why this week’s guest Pattie Gonia, the ‘queer environmentalist bringing drag outdoors’ alter ego of photographer Wyn Wiley, struck such an immediate chord. ⁣

The outdoor and action sports industry can be an extremely conventional and heteronormative environment, so a talented communicator like Pattie was always going to stand out. Especially given how effortlessly she enables discussion on what can often be challenging and complex topics. Our episode 142 conversation, in which we talked about everything from the history of drag to the divide between our public and hidden selves, is a brilliant example. ⁣

Photo: Tozer

I’m often asked how I judge the episodes – one surefire way is how much I enjoyed the actual experience of chatting to the guest and this one was right up there. Sometimes, these things just unfold and leap off in different directions so quickly that I can’t really keep up, and this was one of these occasions. ⁣

I’m hugely grateful to Wyn/Pattie for the generosity, thoughtfulness and kindness with which they approached this episode. Listen to the episode below:

Connect With Pattie

Show Notes

  • The importance of letting a story unfold.
  • Wyn’s Kendal talk
  • Ego as an enemy for advocacy and creativity.
  • Creatively having nothing to prove and everything to give
  • The art of collaborating
  • Wyn’s creative foundations
  • The universalism of drag
  • ‘Being yourself is an invitation for others to be themselves.’
  • Sexuality as a spectrum
  • Dual identities: the conflict between our public identity and our private identity
  • Non-representative mainstream outdoor films
  • Masculinity as an easy sell
  • Big wave surfing: “the ultimate boys club”
  • Creating the community you want to see
  • Facing hate for being yourself; ‘people don’t like to see other people being happy’
  • The duality of being a queer drag queen and a straight passing white middle class man
  • Acting as a bridge between the old and new worlds of the outdoor industry
  • The idea of brands being at the top of the power pyramid
  • How brands are realising that it’s the communities that they need to survive
  • The industry isn’t the activity
  • Standing on the shoulders of greats
  • The importance of community
  • “Do the work that’s available to you…”
  • Allyship – ‘do unto others as you would do unto you’
  • Realising how important your voice and personal tools are.
  • “What work can I do?”
  • Turning away from ‘straight drag’
  • Having the ‘dream job’ but living an empty life
  • Pattie
  • Recognising privilege.
  • Passing the mic and providing a stage
  • The gatekeepers to allyship
  • “It is not my place to police anyone else”
  • Lateral oppression
  • Needing a new playbook
  • There is love, community and acceptance on the other side of the political fence
  • It’s easy to judge and to feel safer for doing it
  • Advocacy and being a life-long learner
  • The duality of being a marginalised person and carrying extreme privilege.
  • Weaponised cancel-culture
  • Are you doing this to be part of the club or to grow?
  • “Be careful who you give your power to”
  • The people behind Pattie
  • Bringing drag back to its roots.
  • Drag history in the fight for equality
  • The Trash Dress
  • Looking in the mirror and seeing the other gender
  • The gender bend
  • Personality, gender identity and being influenced by the environment
  • Nature is Queer
  • Be in the outdoors as yourself

People Mentioned

Companies/Brands Mentioned

  • Kendal Mountain Film Festival
  • Instagram
  • Black Diamond
  • Brave Trails

Places Mentioned

  • Kendal
  • Nebraska