63 episodes

A podcast about evil and complicated queers in history. Why do we remember our heroes better than our villains? What can we learn by focusing on the dark side of queer history?

Bad Gays Hosts: Huw Lemmey & Ben Miller

    • History
    • 4.9 • 43 Ratings

A podcast about evil and complicated queers in history. Why do we remember our heroes better than our villains? What can we learn by focusing on the dark side of queer history?

    US Tour!

    US Tour!

    Our UK tour has been fun -- and the US is next! Ben (sadly Huwless) will be stopping in San Francisco, LA, Chicago, New York City, and Boston in the back half of June. All the events are available for RSVP and booking –– many with great discounts on copies of the book and swag included! –– so visit badgayspod.com/book to get your spot before they're gone, as most of our UK events have sold out!

    • 3 min
    Eugen Sandow (with Ruby Hann)

    Eugen Sandow (with Ruby Hann)

    Happy Pride! We invited Ruby Hann, who completed her MA in History in 2020 and her MSc in History in 2021, both at the University of Edinburgh, to talk about Eugen Sandow, the bodybuilder who spread the cult of muscle around the world. Her research is focused on masculinity, sexuality, and the body in early twentieth century Britain. Ruby is not currently in academia, but she still occasionally writes, lectures, and attends conferences. You can follow her Twitter @RubyVolunteers to find her work. 

    Our book is available at badgayspod.com/book along with tour dates in the US and the UK!


    Budd, M. A. The Sculpture Machine: Physical Culture and Body Politics in the Age of Empire. New York: New York University Press, 1997.

    Chapman, David. Sandow the Magnificent: Eugen Sandow and the Beginnings of Bodybuilding. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

    Dyer, Richard. White: Twentieth Anniversary Edition, 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2017.

    Waller, David. The Perfect Man: The Muscular Life and Times of Eugen Sandow, Victorian Strongman. Brighton: Victorian Secrets Limited, 2011.

    Waugh, Thomas. Hard to Imagine: gay male eroticism in photography and film from their beginnings to Stonewall. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

    Brauer, Fae. ‘Virilizing and Valorizing Homoeroticism: Eugen Sandow’s Queering of Body Cultures Before and After the Wilde Trials’, Visual Culture in Britain 18:1 (2017), 35–67.

    Conrad, Sebastian. ‘Globalizing the Beautiful Body: Eugen Sandow, Bodybuilding, and the Ideal of Muscular Manliness at the Turn of the Twentieth Century’, Journal of World History 32:1 (2021), 95–125.

    Elledge, Jim. ‘Eugen Sandow’s gift to gay men’, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 18:4 (2011).

    Mullins, Greg. ‘‘Nudes, Prudes, and Pigmies: The Desirability of Disavowal in "Physical Culture"’, Discourse 15:1 (1992), 27–48.

    Snow, K. Mitchell. ‘Does this fig leaf make me look gay? Strongmen, statue posing and physique photography’, Early Popular Visual Culture 17:2 (2019), 135–155.

    Watt, Carey A. ‘Cultural Exchange, Appropriation and Physical Culture: Strongman Eugen Sandow in Colonial India, 1904–1905’, The International Journal of the History of Sport 33:16 (2016), 1921–1942.

    • 1 hr 29 min
    Our UK Tour! (US Coming Soon)

    Our UK Tour! (US Coming Soon)

    Our book, Bad Gays: A Homosexual History is now available for pre-order from Verso –– and we're making many, many stops across every corner of Great Britain (Northern Ireland, we're sorry and we'll be there soon) to promote it, including three stops in London and stops in Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol, and Cardiff. All the events are available for RSVP and booking –– many with great discounts on copies of the book and swag included! –– so visit badgayspod.com/book to get your spot before they're gone.

    • 4 min
    Jeffrey Dahmer

    Jeffrey Dahmer

    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.



    ABC News. “Jeffrey Dahmer Hero Charged With Homicide.” ABC News. Accessed March 15, 2022. https://abcnews.go.com/US/jeffrey-dahmer-hero-tracy-edwards-charged-homicide/story?id=14853608.

    Barron, James. “Milwaukee Police Once Queried Suspect.” The New York Times, July 27, 1991, sec. U.S. https://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/27/us/milwaukee-police-once-queried-suspect.html.

    AP NEWS. “Dahmer Case Raises Complaints of Racism With PM-Dahmer Confession, Bjt.” Accessed March 15, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/6452017abebdb9eaa87e90817bf59b7e.

    AP NEWS. “Dahmer Tells Judge He Blames Nobody But Himself With PM-, AM-Dahmer Sentencing, Bjt.” Accessed March 15, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/49045923cf0d3c1a0ffc82eda398b935.

    AP NEWS. “Dahmer Tells Judge He Blames Nobody But Himself With PM-, AM-Dahmer Sentencing, Bjt.” Accessed March 15, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/49045923cf0d3c1a0ffc82eda398b935.

    Davis, Donald A. The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 1991.

    Gage, Gabriella. “True Crime’s Deceits: The Genrefication of Tragedy.” Los Angeles Review of Books, June 21, 2021. https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/true-crimes-deceits-the-genrefication-of-tragedy/.

    Masters, Brian. The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1993.

    O’Brien, Brendan. “Homeless Man Who Escaped Cannibal Serial-Killer Jeffrey Dahmer Gets Prison Sentence.” National Post, January 24, 2012. https://nationalpost.com/news/homeless-man-who-escaped-canibal-serial-killer-jeffrey-dahmer-gets-prison-sentence.

    Sarah McGonagall. “Did You Know? In 1991 Officer John Balcerzak Was Fired after Handing 14 Year-Old Konerak Sinthasomphone Back to the Man He Had Just Escaped from despite Two Bystanders Begging the Officer Not to. Later That Night, Konerak Was Tortured and Killed by That Same Man - Jeffrey Dahmer.” Tweet. @gothspiderbitch (blog), June 19, 2020. https://twitter.com/gothspiderbitch/status/1273785359869116421.

    Toofab. “The Racist Reason White Cops Handed a Dying 14-Year-Old Back to Jeffrey Dahmer.” Accessed March 15, 2022. https://toofab.com/2020/06/19/white-cops-handed-a-dying-14-year-old-back-to-jeffrey-dahmer/.

    Tithecott, Richard, and James R. Kincaid. Of Men and Monsters: Jeffrey Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997.

    Our intro music is Arpeggia Colorix by Yann Terrien, downloaded from WFMU's Free Music Archive and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Our outro music is by DJ Michaeloswell Graphicsdesigner.



    • 1 hr 4 min
    John Wojtowicz

    John Wojtowicz

    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.



    Thanks to listener Ziz for pointing out that trans actress Elizabeth Coffey –– one of the legendary ensemble of Dreamlanders who starred in the films of extremely good gay John Waters –– was up for the role of the character in Dog Day Afternoon based on Eden and was turned down for looking ‘too feminine.’ This adds important context regarding the filmmakers’ transphobia and questions of representation and compensation in the film.


    Check out trans historian Zagria’s three part series on Eden and Wojtowicz, with links to some fantastic digitized primary sources at the end:
    Zagria,  "Liz Eden and Dog Day Afternoon,” (three-part series), Gender Variance Who's Who. 
     -  https://zagria.blogspot.com/2020/08/liz-eden-and-dog-day-afternoon-part-i.html

    - https://zagria.blogspot.com/2020/08/liz-eden-and-dog-day-afternoon-part-ii.html

     - https://zagria.blogspot.com/2020/08/liz-eden-and-dog-day-afternoon-part-iii.html


    Check out Morgan M. Page’s show One From The Vaults, you might want to start here with her three-part series on Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries:

    Morgan M Page, “OFTV 3: STAR House, STAR People,” accessed March 1, 2022, https://soundcloud.com/onefromthevaultspodcast/oftv-3-star-house-star-people-1.

    Anthony Macias, “Gay Rights and The Reception of Dog Day Afternoon (1975),” Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal 48, no. 1 (2018): 45–56.

    Arthur Bell, “Littlejohn & the Mob: Saga of a Heist,” The Village Voice, Vol. XVII, No. 35, August 31, 1972, https://www.villagevoice.com/2011/03/11/the-bank-robbery-that-would-become-dog-day-afternoon/.

    “The Boys In The Bank,” LIFE Magazine September 22, 1972, LIFE Magazine 

    Garance Franke-Ruta, “The Prehistory of Gay Marriage: Watch a 1971 Protest at NYC’s Marriage License Bureau,” The Atlantic, March 26, 2013, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/03/the-prehistory-of-gay-marriage-watch-a-1971-protest-at-nycs-marriage-license-bureau/274357/.

    Lisa Photos, “The Dog and the Last Real Man,” Journal of Bisexuality 3, no. 2 (March 1, 2003): 43–68, https://doi.org/10.1300/J159v03n02_04.

    Liz Eden Papers, Collection 6, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center Archive, New York City, New York (digitized) Morgan M. Page, “It Doesn’t Matter Who Threw the First Brick at Stonewall,” June 30, 2019, https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/trans-black-stonewall-rivera-storme/.

    “The Man Who Robbed a Bank for Love,” BBC News, February 16, 2015, sec. Magazine, https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31457718.

    Regan Reid, “Talking To the Directors Who Made a Doc About the Real Guy Behind ‘Dog Day Afternoon,’” Vice (blog), August 18, 2014, https://www.vice.com/en/article/bn3pd5/talking-to-the-directors-who-made-a-doc-about-the-real-guy-behind-dog-day-afternoon-342.

    Susan Stryker, Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution second ed., (New York: Seal Press, 2008).

    Our intro music is Arpeggia Colorix by Yann Terrien, downloaded from WFMU's Free Music Archive and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Our outro music is by DJ Michaeloswell Graphicsdesigner.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Cressida Dick (Part Two)

    Cressida Dick (Part Two)

    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.



    Ramzy Alwakeel, “I Covered Stephen Port’s Murders. I Know Cressida Dick’s Departure Isn’t Enough,” OpenDemocracy, accessed February 22, 2022, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/cressida-dick-resignation-met-police-stephen-ports-murders/

    Anonymous, “Gangs Violence Matrix and Black Londoners,” Text, Mayor’s Question Time, December 10, 2018, https://www.london.gov.uk/questions/2018/5242

    Jason Bennetto, “We Are Still Racist, Police Chief Admits,” The Independent, April 21, 2003, sec. News, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/we-are-still-racist-police-chief-admits-116145.html

    Owen Bowcott and Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent, “Jean Charles de Menezes: Family Lose Fight for Police Officers to Be Prosecuted,” The Guardian, March 30, 2016, sec. UK news, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/30/jean-charles-de-menezes-police-officers-shouldshould-not-be-prosecuted-echr

    Graham Bowley, “Police Erred in Shooting in London, Report Finds,” The New York Times, August 18, 2005, sec. World, https://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/18/world/europe/police-erred-in-shooting-in-london-report-finds.html

    Caroline Davies, “Stephen Port Laptop Not Inspected until He Had Killed Three Times, Inquest Told,” The Guardian, October 13, 2021, sec. UK news, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/13/stephen-port-laptop-not-inspected-until-he-had-killed-three-times-inquest-told

    Vikram Dodd and Dan Sabbagh, “Daniel Morgan Murder: Inquiry Brands Met Police ‘Institutionally Corrupt,’” The Guardian, June 15, 2021, sec. UK news, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jun/15/daniel-morgan-met-chief-censured-for-hampering-corruption-inquiry

    Jamie Grierson and Jamie Grierson Home affairs correspondent, “Met Carried out 22,000 Searches on Young Black Men during Lockdown,” The Guardian, July 8, 2020, sec. Law, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/jul/08/one-in-10-of-londons-young-black-males-stopped-by-police-in-may

    Mark Hughes, “Seven Mistakes That Cost De Menezes His Life,” The Independent, December 13, 2008, sec. News, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/seven-mistakes-that-cost-de-menezes-his-life-1064466.html

    Marina Hyde, “Farewell, Cressida Dick, the Met Chief Only Interested in One Thing: Ignoring Bad Coppers,” The Guardian, February 11, 2022, sec. Opinion, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/11/farewell-cressida-dick-the-met-chief-only-interested-in-one-thing-ignoring-bad-coppers

    Paul Lewis and Rob Evans, “Secrets and Lies: Untangling the UK ‘spy Cops’ Scandal,” The Guardian, October 28, 2020, sec. UK news, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/oct/28/secrets-and-lies-untangling-the-uk-spy-cops-scandal

    Ben Quinn, “Macpherson Report: What Was It and What Impact Did It Have?,” The Guardian, February 22, 2019, sec. UK news, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/22/macpherson-report-what-was-it-and-what-impact-did-it-have

    Alex S. Vitale, “Cressida Dick Isn’t the Problem. The Police Are the Problem,” OpenDemocracy, accessed February 22, 2022, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/cressida-dick-metropolitan-police-alex-vitale/

    “Trapped in the Gangs Matrix” (Amnesty International, May

    • 1 hr 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

jolybean1832 ,

love this show!

the NUANCE is so GOOD! i really appreciate historians’ researched takes on the many bad gays of history. it’s important that we remember ALL of those who came before us.

Snowbirdpat ,

Appreciate the history

Love the attention to detail, but get tired of Ben coming off as angry or annoyed all the time. Somewhat superior.

Manuel Dextre ,


Morrissey has never been a racist, you totally misinterpreted his lyrics and interviews... by the way, Moz has always loved latinos and latinos have always loved Moz, he is part South American culture and he is proud of it, so put that in your pipe in smoke it

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