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TROY – Bradley Traynor’s life was spinning out of control.
“I worked at Target full time, and would party on the weekend,” he recalled. “Then, slowly but surely, it became party on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And then, low and behold, there I was on a Monday night with, like, the three other drunks at the bar.
“I was totally a bar person. I spent most of my time at the bar. Then it got old. I started having consequences. Friendships or relationships were not as important. Financially, I was a train wreck.”
Then Traynor had a vision. He had come from a meeting at work and saw a cop standing near his car, his ticket pad in hand. Minutes later, Traynor’s car was towed for having expired tags.
“I just sort of had this flash of me being in jail,” Traynor explained. “I thought, I’m really lucky that the only thing that’s happening in my life is that I’m getting a ticket for this. I just really felt like I was done with just not being alive. On the inside it was like complete and utter despair. There was nothing worth living for.”
The vision was enough to help Traynor turn his life around. Today, the 31-year-old Minneapolis resident works for Lavender Media as only the second, full-time paid lgbt podcaster in North America.
“I was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time a little bit after the birth of podcasting,” said Traynor. “I was there pretty early, and I got see how people reacted and it really took an effort to educate people. People would say to me, when is your show on? I had to frequently educate people that you don’t have to be there, you can listen whenever you want.”
Traynor hosts two different podcasts, Big Gay News (http://biggaynews.com) and Lucky Bitch Radio (http://wandawisdom.com). The latter is actually hosted by Traynor’s alter ego, Wanda Wisdom.
“I used to sit in the audience and watch the drag queens and think, ‘wow, that’s amazing what they do,'” recalled Traynor, who blogged as Wanda long before he was seen out in public as her. “I have learned over the years to kind of adopt a lot of that stuff. First it was a written voice and then it was a spoken voice, which was a whole process of learning what that voice was. Now that it’s become more popular, I’ve had to develop this physical persona, which is still in the works.”
Many times, Wanda is asked to host and emcee events in the Minneapolis area, events that are often held in bars.
“I don’t find myself drawn to the booze behind the bar,” he said. “There’s just this sort of feeling you get when you’re sitting in a bar and you’re looking around and you’re not really talking to anybody. It’s kind of sad. There’s just a lot of sort of lost hope.”
Wanda is very outspoken about being sober, which from time to time has been known to cause a little uneasiness among certain patrons of the establishment he’s in.
“You know who has a problem with it, the people who probably shouldn’t have a drink in their hand,” he said. “I usually find that it’s people who are probably three sheets to the wind. It’s like this weird mirror that I see.
“I was in a situation not too long ago and somebody was like, ‘it’s really great that you’re sober,’ and this person was slurring their speech. Some people are uncomfortable. Some people think that I just shouldn’t be talking about it. To me, it’s too important to show people. It’s not like I’m on some holy crusade to save people, but it’s important to show people that you can lead a healthy and productive life, and even party and have fun without the aid of substances – and certainly without abusing them. So I don’t mind if it ruffles some folk’s feathers.”