Bad Gays

A podcast about evil and complicated queers in history. Why do we remember our heroes better than our villains? Hosted by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller. Learn more: www.badgayspod.com

Listen on:

  • Google Podcasts
  • Podbean App
  • Spotify
  • Amazon Music

Episodes

Tuesday Mar 15, 2022

For white, suburban, heterosexual middle America, Jeffrey Dahmer, like AIDS, was the natural, even the righteous, consequence of homosexual promiscuity. He remains one of the exemplary constructions of the supervillain serial killer, the perfect subject of a true crime story. Today’s episode is about Jeffrey Dahmer as man and metaphor: about the phenomenon of the serial killer-monster, about the ways in which homophobia, racism, and the various true crime myths Dahmer helped reify ironically impeded his arrest and enabled his crimes, and about the twisted, slap-happy identification with Dahmer pursued by some gay men.

Tuesday Mar 01, 2022

It's a dog day afternoon: today's episode profiles the bank robber John Wojtowicz, who infamously (and as memorialized in Sidney Lumet's 1975 film DOG DAY AFTERNOON) held up a bank in 1972 to pay for gender-affirming surgery for Elizabeth Eden, his trans girlfriend. Or did he? We take a look, using the story to think through 1972 as a fault line for emerging attitudes about homosexuality and trans femininity, Wojtowicz' surprising involvement in early gay liberation activism in New York City, the DOG DAY AFTERNOON phenomenon and what it says about growing distinctions between gay men and trans women and how they were represented and compensated, and the ethical complications of Wojtowicz as a figure in history and in historical memory.

Tuesday Feb 22, 2022

Unusually for this show, which normally focuses on long departed historical figures, today we’re going to talk about someone who’s still very much in the news. Until last week, she was the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, London’s police force, and was the first woman and the first LBGTQ person to hold the rank, Dame Cressida Dick. Today, part two of two: we discuss Dick's tenure at the Metropolitan Police, the extrajudicial murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, Dick's cynical deployment of her identity to deflect critique, the spy cops scandal, the botched investigation into gay serial killer Stephen Port, the Met's dismal record on race, and the protests that finally forced Dick out.

Tuesday Feb 15, 2022

Unusually for this show, which normally focuses on long departed historical figures, today we’re going to talk about someone who’s still very much in the news. Until last week, she was the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, London’s police force, and was the first woman and the first LBGTQ person to hold the rank, Dame Cressida Dick. Today, part one of two: we begin telling Dick's life story and then delve into the history of the Met, its relationship with LGBTQ people, and the conflicting strands of LGBTQ politics that emphasize conflict vs collaboration with the police. Next week: more on Dick herself and her checkered career in the force.

Tuesday Feb 08, 2022

For a time, one of the world's most famous rock stars – singer of stadium rock anthems that still signify foot-stomping machismo – existed as an avatar of the most exuberant, feared, liberation-era forms of homosexuality: going from a 1970s long hair in skin-tight leotards cut to the navel to a Castro clone with a handlebar moustache who wore fisting T-shirts in his music videos. If the legacy of Mercury and his music often seems to smooth his work, and that of his band, Queen, into a sort of middle-aged, KISS FM everyday normality, here we lean into the contradictions of the charismatic man and the nuances of queer life in the 1970s and 1980s.

Tuesday Feb 01, 2022

A very special opera queen episode profiling an opera queen gone wrong: the Italian opera and film director (of 1968's famous Romeo and Juliet) who fought fascists as a partisan in the hills over Florence, mingled with Visconti and Cocteau and Marais and Chanel, and directed Callas in many of her mid-career triumphs before beginning to harden his style from lush realism to a celebration of set decoration above all. Zeffirelli, born at a time when the last composers whose works still fill the grand opera repertory were dying, faced, like all practitioners of the operatic arts in the 20th century, a choice between making living theatre or dead, ten-ton museum pieces. He chose the museum-piece approach and in so doing did tremendous artistic damage. CONTENT WARNING: THIS EPISODE DISCUSSES CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE AND RACIST LANGUAGE.

Tuesday Jan 25, 2022

Are you ready to have your timbers shivered and your mainbrace spliced? Today’s subject is a mysterious one, a historical figure whose life and reputation are confused by propaganda, romance and mythology: the Irish pirate Anne Bonny. We'll use her story to discuss gender, race, and class in the Golden Age of Piracy. Visit www.badgayspod.com for an episode archive, a link to pre-order our book, and more information about the show.

Tuesday Jan 18, 2022

The "Eulenberg Affair," a series of media scandals about homosexual behavior at the highest levels of the German Imperial court, dragged on in the press for years as it made and broke careers in journalism, sexology, and the court while helping define both Imperial Germany’s relationship to masculinity and the emerging homosexual emancipation movements. Plus drag ballet, Wagnerists, extremely racist paintings, songs about roses, and moustaches with names.

Tuesday Jan 11, 2022

This Nazi diplomat was assassinated by the Jewish activist Herschel Grynszpan –– and his death became a pretext for the murderous pogroms of Kristallnacht. Grynszpan's lawyer, the flamboyant anti-fascist Vincent de Moro-Giafferi, pioneered in this case what was perhaps the first –– and only morally good –- use of some version of a 'gay panic' or ‘gay blackmail’ defense. But was vom Rath actually gay?

Tuesday Jan 04, 2022

The eccentric inheritor of an enormous oil fortune and gender non-conforming-lesbian-trans man (we'll talk about it!) who dated Marlene Dietrich, raced speedboats, and turned their private Bahamian island into a domain over which they ruled over native people with an iron fist while allowing themselves and their guests every possible eccentricity and pleasure. All this accompanied by their lifelong companion: a foot-tall leather doll named Lord Tod Wadley.

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

Podcast Powered By Podbean