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Culture Dose | The Queer Bible | Rūrangi | Homo Sapiens

What to Read, Watch and Listen to Now

RuPaul and Sandra Bernhard illustrations in the Queer Bible

Read: The Queer Bible: Essays by Jack Guinness

In 2016, model and queer activist (and named by British GQ “The Coolest Man in Britian”) Jack Guinness decided that the LGBTQ+ community desperately needed to be reminded of its long and glorious history of stardom.The following year, Queer Bible was born, an online community devoted to celebrating queer culture. “So much queer history is hidden or erased,” says Guinness. “The Queer Bible is a home for all those personal stories and histories.”

Now there’s the book – a fully illustrated collection of twenty essays celebrating the queer community and the individuals that shaped its history. “It’s a simple premise: I ask my heroes to write about their queer heroes!” writes Guinness.

Contributors include Vogue columnist Paris Lees (writing on Edward Enninful), singer and songwriter Elton John (writing on Divine), comedian Mae Martin (writing on Tim Curry), author Joseph Cassara (writing on Pedro Almodóvar), and many others, honoring timeless queer icons such as Susan Sontag, David Bowie, Sylvester, RuPaul, and George Michael through illuminating essays paired with stunning illustrations.

The Queer Bible is a funny and intimate essay collection of gratitude, and an essential, enduring love letter to the queer community.

We stand on the shoulders of giants. Now we praise their names.

Watch: Rūrangi

Rūrangi was almost not made. The producers were afraid they’d not be able to cast all the trans characters with trans actors. Yet they did and euphorically get trans representation right. No Dallas Buyer’s Club Jared Leto here! And the filmmaker goes one step further: some straight roles are taken by trans actors as well. And are a large part of the crew.

Lead actor Elz Carrad paints a vulnerable yet confident Caz Davis. A trans activist who returns to rural New Zealand after a ten-year absence. With a father, who doesn’t recognize him at first, still angry that Caz wasn’t at his mother’s funeral, an ex-boyfriend who begins to question his own sexuality for still feeling something for Caz even after his transition, and an ever-closer environmental crisis that threatens the entire farming community, his sense of self crumbles.

This is a film where the character details, made of beautifully nuanced moments, lived performances, translate to a cathartic and emotionally fulfilling (if fairly conventional) ending. Offering a warmth and optimism we’re in short shrift of these days, it’s something to celebrate this Pride Month.

Listen: Homo Sapiens by Spirit Studios and Christopher Sweeney

Alan Cumming + Christopher Sweeney

For the name alone, isn’t it worth a listen? But seriously, this is one pod talk (and talks) with QUEER ICONS of the queer community– best listened to while prepping for dinner parties (or dining alone).

Alan Cumming (dare we say the most perfect Cabaret M.C. ever, did we mention he won a Tony?) riffs alongside co-creator Chris Sweeney and guests weekly. From Hannah Gadsby to Margaret Cho, PattieGonia, to irreverent reverends discussing Holy Homosexuals and questions about if God Loves the Community.

According to Cummings, it’s an eclectic and idiosyncratic list of people:

“We’re not used to the notion of celebrating our past and our elders and our achievements, because so many of our stories are about secrets. It’s so true that our history is ingrained in secrecy. And some of the older generation really like that. But the younger generation is totally opposed to that, and I think that’s fascinating.”

Sweeney takes it a step further. “The other thing that’s gone around in my mind is this idea that queer people are on the margins. But if you look at so many areas of life, the frontrunners are queer people. So I thought that was a nice mesh. We never wanted to separate ourselves, because what’s the point?”

We couldn’t agree more. Listen to at least one (there are four seasons to choose from). We promise you’ll be hooked.

Listen on SPOTIFY

KL Dunn

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