The Lost Year in Argentina (Ep. 67 - 80s Pop Songs)

This Week's Guest: Gustavo

Many of us grew up with some kind of authority who kept us from exploring gay culture -- it might've been a parent, or a priest, or school. Now imagine if that authority was a military dictator. And imagine what you'd do the day that dictator fell.

My guest this week grew up in post-Peron Argentina, living under a military junta until a war ended their rule. Seemingly overnight, Gustavo's country was opened to international arts and culture, and he discovered an entire world he'd been missing -- a world to which he instantly knew he belonged.

Gus has several Spanish-language podcasts you should listen to!


This Week's Recommendations

Many of us have had to undergo a process of discovering that we're different, putting a name to that difference, and hoping against hope that there might be someone, anyone, else out there like us.

As lonely as it was to be gay in decades past, there was a certain magic to discovering that there existed an entire community waiting to welcome you. And one of the ways that we discovered that community -- and still do -- are through clues that we leave for each other in pop culture. Like chalk marks hidden in plain sight, those of us who've found our tribe leave hints that others might follow.

The songs that Gustavo mentioned are perfect examples, and they don't stop there. Over on Facebook and Twitter, I asked folks to recommend more songs that were coded messages for queers, and I got a ton of great suggestions, from It's a Sin to The Boys of Summer to I'm Coming Out to everything The Smiths ever sang.

I've gathered up as many of those suggestions as I could, and those are my recommendations this week. We have hours of queer-coded music videos from the 1980s embedded below. Some of these songs are just on the edge of queer and open to some debate -- like I Think We're Alone Now -- and others are a little plainer, like Go West.

But of course everyone's experience is different, and we're all putting together the pieces of different puzzles -- so the shapes that make sense to some of us might not make sense to others. Together, though, these songs paint a pretty amazing portrait of gay life from one end of the decade to the other. From being an outsider all alone to finding an inner strength to declaring your existence and resilience and survival, it's all there. If you know where to look.


Clips of Stuff we Talked About


Parisian Kevin MacLeod (
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