Bad Gays: A Homosexual History

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By: Huw Lemmey, Ben Miller

An unconventional history of homosexuality for readers of The Deviant's War by Eric Cervini

We all remember Oscar Wilde, but who speaks for Bosie? What about those 'bad gays' whose un-exemplary lives reveal more than we might expect? 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 dastardly deeds have been overlooked.  

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 anthropologist Margaret Mead and notorious gangster Ronnie Kray, the authors excavate the buried history of queer lives. This includes kings, fascist thugs such as Nazi founder Ernst Rohm, artists, and debauched bon viveurs.

  • Hadrian
  • Aretino
  • James I and VI
  • Frederick the Great
  • Jack Saul
  • Roger Casement
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • The Bad Gays of Weimar
  • Margaret Mead
  • J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn
  • Yukio Mishima
  • Philip Johnson
  • Ronnie Kray
  • Pim Fortuyn

  • 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.

    Bad Gays is a passionate argument for rethinking gay politics beyond questions of identity and the search for solidarity across boundaries.