Bad Gays: A Homosexual History by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller
Too many popular histories seek to establish heroes, pioneers and martyrs but as Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller argue, the past is filled with queer people whose sexualities and/or dastardly deeds have been overlooked. We all remember Oscar Wilde, but who speaks for Bosie? What about those 'bad gays' whose un-exemplary lives reveals more than we might expect?
Part-revisionist history, part-historical biography and based on the hugely popular podcast series, Bad Gays subverts the notion of gay icons and queer heroes and asks what we can learn about LGBTQ history, sexuality and identity through its villains and baddies. From the Emperor Hadrian to notorious gangster Ronnie Kray, the authors excavate the buried history of queer lives. This includes fascist thugs, famous artists, austere puritans and debauched bon viveurs, Imperialists, G-men and architects. Together these amazing life stories expand and challenge the mainstream assumptions of sexual identity. They show that homosexuality itself was an idea that emerged in the nineteenth century and that its interpretation has been central to major historical moments of conflict from the ruptures of Weimar Republic to red-baiting in Cold War America.
Amusing, disturbing and fascinating, Bad Gays puts centre stage the queers villains and evil twinks in history.
Why must liberatory history be populated by heroes? And what if it isn't? Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller confront the shadowy side of queer history, a seamy underworld populated by evil twinks and psychopathic villains. Delectable gossip aside, this revelatory book is really an account of toxic power relations, always with an eye to a better, stranger, wilder future. -- Olivia Laing, author of Everybody
A wry, rigorous account of centuries of gay villainy. Lemmey and Miller's historiography sparkles with salacious details and delights in showing us that there is nothing new under the sun. -- Shon Faye, Author of The Transgender Issue
A smart, funny (and, just occasionally, catty) tour through the darker side of LGBTQ+ history. Far from being an excoriation, this book is a sign of confidence in a community that no longer has to present its antecedents as saints and martyrs but as real people: some of these gays were well-meaning but flawed; some of them were complicated; and some of them were just bloody awful. -- Juliet Jacques, author of Variations
Imprint: Verso Books
Publication Date: 31 May 2022