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

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Episodes

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.

Friday Dec 24, 2021

Francis Bacon was an artist whose radical generosity teetered on the edge of self-obliteration –– and he sometimes pulled others over the edge with him. Many of our listeners will be familiar with Bacon’s work, or at least would recognise his idiosyncratic style if they saw it; sweeps of fleshy paint across black fields of colour, portraying contorted, mangled bodies, racks of hanging meat, and the iconic screaming mouth. But Bacon is almost as famous for the way he lived his life: his raucous partying, brutal barbed tongue, and love of boozing made him an emblem of London’s bohemian Soho scene. What linked his work and his life was an obsession with violence, something that he knew intimately. 

Tuesday Aug 10, 2021

Not a huge amount is known about Pacchierotto, a sodomite who was convicted and publicly humiliated in Florence, Italy, in 1486, but his story tells us much about the changing fortunes of sodomites at the time, and the important role they played in the politics of the time. In this special episode, Huw talks to Max Fox, editor of Christopher Chitty's Sexual Hegemony: Statecraft, Sodomy, and Capital in the Rise of the World System about Florentine sodomy in the Renaissance, and Chitty's groundbreaking new book.

Tuesday Apr 13, 2021

The crimes, trial and execution of Utah citizen and devout Mormon Arthur Gary Bishop seemed to be the manifestation of many of both the public fears and moral panics of the United States in the 1980s. 'Stranger Danger', pornography, homosexuality and childhood sexual abuse became the focus of heated public debate and new religiously-inspired political organisations such as the Moral Majority. Huw is joined by David Eichert, a PhD candidate studying international law, sexual violence, gender and sexuality, to discuss Bishop, his relationship with his Mormon faith, and wider social attitudes towards his crimes. Visit our website for t-shirts, an episode archive, and more.

Tuesday Feb 23, 2021

On the (in)famous author of the George Miles cycle, The Sluts, and many other classic works of radically transgressive gay fiction. Joining Ben to tackle Cooper's work–as challenging to traditional notions of identity-driven and self-consciously pretty gay fiction as it is to the hetero mainstream–is Diarmuid Hester, a radical cultural historian of the United States after 1950, and an authority on sexually dissident literature, art, film, and performance. He is based at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and is the author of the acclaimed new critical biography of Cooper, Wrong.

Tuesday Dec 22, 2020

Violette Morris, a powerhouse athlete with 14-inch biceps, discovered a love for trousers and fast driving while piloting ambulances for the Red Cross during the First World War. But her outrageous and mannish style – she dated Josephine Baker, smoked, and cut her breasts off to better fit behind the wheel of a race car – outraged the respectable upper-middle-class world of women's athletics. And when she was cast out of respectable society, she became a Nazi spy and a sadistic torturer known as the "hyena of the Gestapo."

Monday Dec 14, 2020

Camilla Christine Hall was born on March 24th, 1945, in St Peter Minnesota. Her father was a Lutheran pastor, and her childhood was suburban and unremarkable. Like many of her generation, she would become involved in the anti-war movement and the New Left; unlike many of her generation, she would also become involved in Gay Liberation, and a  strange cult-like organization called the Symbionese Liberation Army, which became infamous for bank robberies, murders –– and the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst.

Tuesday Dec 08, 2020

Gertrude Stein is remembered as a novelist, playwright, poet, and, art collector –– and the hostess of a Paris salon that gathered the cream of interwar modernism, including Picasso, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Matisse. A semi-open lesbian, her books include Q.E.D., one of the earliest English-language lesbian novels, and Tender Buttons, a book of poems full of allusion to lesbian sexuality. But in the last years of her life, as a Jew living in Nazi-occupied France, Stein sustained her lifestyle as an art collector and ensured her safety through the protection of powerful Vichy government officials – part of a pattern of involvement in far-right, antisemitic, and fascist politics. 

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