University of the Fraser Valley

Student-led podcast celebrates 2SLGBTQIA+ community at UFV

Student-led podcast celebrates 2SLGBTQIA+ community at UFV

Podcast host and UFV student, Bethany Zimmerman

Fourth-year UFV Digital & Graphic Design student Bethany Zimmerman is shining a light on student voices. Her podcast, Let Me Be Perfectly Queer, celebrates and educates by sharing the stories of 2SLGBTQIA+ community members in the Fraser Valley.

“I think storytelling is really important for building empathy and understanding, especially with all of the anti-queer protests that have been on the rise recently,” says Zimmerman. “I just thought it was really important to start doing the work of building that empathy and understanding through giving a voice to queer people at UFV.”

After previously serving as secretary and vice president of the UFV Pride Collective, Zimmerman (a long-time podcast fan) created Let Me Be Perfectly Queer to address a need for more representation through long-form storytelling. She uses her platform to hold casual conversations with guests who are either from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, from UFV, or both. With videography assistance from CHASI’s Jeff Mijo-Burch, episodes are recorded in UFV’s CIVL Radio recording studio and discuss each person’s background, their experience with self-discovery, their passions and personal interests.

The podcast host wears many different hats. On top of classes and work, last summer saw Zimmerman hosting, sourcing, booking guests and recording space while editing, managing and monitoring the podcast’s social media posts.

“I’m the kind of person where, when I’m really passionate about a project, I want every little detail to be perfect. So, I really put my time into those episodes. I wanted them to be well crafted, and I didn’t want to rush them and make something that I wasn’t proud of,” Zimmerman explains.

Though she never imagined she would create a project like this, Zimmerman quickly found her feet. She started by practicing with more short-form interviews and bringing friends in to star in the episodes. “It was just like chatting with a friend, basically. And there just happened to be a camera,” she recalls.

“I had so much fun filming each and every one of them. It made our friendship so much stronger, and that was really special too. Because not only am I giving a voice to these people for their stories to be shared widely, I also get to learn more about them. And that’s something that I try to do in every area of my life, is ‘How can I connect the most deeply with the people around me?’”

The audience response has been powerful; listeners have reached out to her to share how much they’ve learned, or how they enjoyed listening and want to tell their story as well. She hopes the podcast will help people in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community feel more comfortable at school and in the Fraser Valley.

“They see that there are these other queer people who are thriving, and who may have had hardships in their past, but now they’re doing their best and they’re having a good time and they’re on a podcast,” she says.

Zimmerman recommends new listeners start with episode three or four. The show’s current hiatus ends soon, with new episodes tentatively scheduled for release this summer. Find Let Me Be Perfectly Queer on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Youtube.