Focusing on the gay villains and baddies often excised from queer histories, Lemmey and Miller's illuminating account challenges mainstream assumptions of sexual identity.
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.
Publisher: Verso Books
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 286 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
'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
'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
'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
'An antidote to assumptions that anyone oppressed must be the good guy.' - Catherine Fletcher, History Today
'What a great way to do history/think about identity/consider the history of homosexuality. By turns uncomfortable, outrageous and hilarious, this book, taken from the podcast of the same name, was one of my unputdownables of 2022. Looking forward to the next edition already.' - Julia Bell, White Review
'In examining the lives of these notorious 'bad gays,' the authors examine the ways queerness has been perceived throughout history, and gives modern-day LGBTQ+ people an opportunity to see what the possibilities are going forward. (Also, everyone loves a villain origin story, so who can resist?!)' - David Vogel, Buzzfeed
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