Part-Time Justin, a rare gay voice on the radio, wants to encourage LGBT kids in the South

Part-Time Justin talks about his voice on radio as a member of the LGBTQ community.
Part-Time Justin talks about his voice on radio as a member of the LGBTQ community. amccoy@sunherald.com

Part-Time Justin is used to being the butt of the joke.

The 23-year-old Dallas man captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of listeners who tune into The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show, a popular radio broadcast that's played on mainstream stations across much of the U.S.

Part-Time Justin started working for the station as a social media intern and worked his way up to full-time. He often is featured on the morning broadcasts with permanent co-hosts Kellie Rasberry, J-Si Chavez, Big Al Mac and Jenna. And when Justin's on air, people are usually laughing.

"Basically it's just pop culture, fun, what's going in our lives ... we'll play stupid games," Part-Time Justin, whose real name is Michael Justin Chavez, said during an interview for "Out Here in America," a podcast by the Sun Herald and McClatchy that explores what it's like being LGBT in the Deep South and in America's heartland. You can subscribe now on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

While Justin isn't a permanent member of the on-air cast, a lot of people wish he was. He's one of the few gay voices on nationally syndicated radio, and there was even a petition to give Justin a full-time spot with Kidd Nation.

Off the air, Justin is more than a punchline. Growing up in different cities across the United States, Justin and his family wound up in the South, where he found it challenging to be honest about his sexuality.

“Middle school is so rough if you grow up being gay… better not come out, you know?” Justin said.

Now, Justin hopes his voice on the radio will encourage other people in the South to be themselves.

In this episode, you'll hear:

  • About Justin's bits on "Kidd Kraddick" and what he likes most about being on the radio
  • Justin's coming out story
  • Why he likes watching TV shows with LGBT characters
  • The first time he experienced Gay Pride in Texas
  • Why he waited until college to come out to his religious family
  • Which Kardashian is Justin's favorite

Have an idea for "Out Here in America?" Send your suggestions to Justin Mitchell.