Histories of gay men, lesbians, queer and trans people often focus on the heroic, the pioneers who blazed the trail and on whose shoulders present-day queer lives stand. But what about the cast of gay characters who were not so heroic and righteous, whose impact on history was far more ambiguous, or complicated, or out-and-out bad?
That’s the question asked by Ben Miller and Huw Lemmey in their hugely successful podcast Bad Gays. Now in its sixth season, the podcast focuses on what its hosts describe as evil and complicated queers in history, with subjects ranging from Emperor Hadrian to Ronnie Kray, from Alexander the Great to Andy Warhol.
Now Ben Miller and Huw Lemmey have taken their exploration to a book: Bad Gays: A Homosexual History. Ben and Huw sat down with History Workshop’s Rosa Campbell to discuss the project of the book and the podcast – what those complicated lives can tell us about the dynamics of queer history and the formation of sexual identities.