The Queer Bible edited by Jack Guinness

A beautiful, heartfelt book about inspiration, creation, fame, and feeling less alone, The Queer Bible is a love letter to the celebrities who have given hope to generations of confused kids, scared teens, and lonely adults. Divided roughly into sections, it’s a book of essays, each written by a current LGBTQ public figure about their respective LGBTQ celebrity hero and what the celebrity’s work meant to them. It began as a lovely website, QueerBible.com (which is still going strong, so if you like this book make sure to check it out) but has been well-translated into an illustrated print form.

I learned so much reading this book! There was a ton of history and cult classic media that I never knew about, or didn’t understand in its full context. The essayists in this book did a fantastic job of not only explaining a lot of that history, but also examining why it mattered to them and matters now. More than that, I loved the tone of this book; none of the writers shied away from talking about how hard their experiences were, and how difficult others had it, but at the same time they all circled back to a place of defiant hope in the face of adversity. The grief and horror of the AIDS epidemic figures largely throughout the book, but it doesn’t diminish the joy of community and self-expression that is the other major theme.

The other fantastic aspect of the book as a whole was the introduction of LGBTQ figures, past and present. I knew some of the famous faces that wrote or were written about, but others were completely new to me – making my reading experience a fascinating journey of discovery. Helpfully, every essay ends with a profile of its author, so you not only hear their voice describing their hero, but you also understand who they are and what they’ve done as an LGBTQ icon themselves.

All in all, this is a vital LGBTQ text, and a great read if you’re looking for a memoir omnibus, a cultural history, and/or a meditation on why media and representation matters.

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