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Friday, March 31, 2023

In ‘The Book of Queer’, Eric Cervini sheds light on the LGBTQ people who changed the world

Eric Cervini wants viewers to turn away from his new documentary series, “The Book of Queer,” which takes a more critical look at the history of the LGBTQ community and the world at large.

“I expect people to question what they know or think they know, what they have been taught or not taught,” the author and historian told HuffPost. “I want people – whether they are gay or trans, straight or cisgender – to really ask themselves: ‘What preconceived ideas do I have about myself, about history, about the country, about persecuted groups? Huh?'”

“The Book of Queer”, which premiered on Discovery+ on June 2, is not a typical documentary. The five-episode series is a thoughtful, if cheeky, look at the LGBTQ people who changed the world, as reimagined by current-day queer stars like Dominic Jackson, Leslie Jordan, and Alex Newell.

Rainbow Flag creators Gilbert Baker and Marsha P. There are sections dedicated to Johnson, who is known as one of the first people to protest police brutality during the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Others dive into the legacy of World War II code breakers Alan Turing and Harvey Milk, who in 1977 became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.

Watch a clip from the first episode of “The Book of Queer” below.

YouTube video

Each of these historical figures is depicted in colorful vignettes featuring musical numbers, campy humor, and modern lingo. (Joan of Arc, celebrated for her willingness to break the gender norms of 15th-century France, is referred to here as “Head Bitch in Charge”.) Screen presence, presenting “footnotes” in each episode. To do the period appears disguised.

Still, the most compelling moments in “The Book of Queer” will raise a few eyebrows. The show’s premiere episode, for example, attests that Abraham Lincoln had many romantic relationships with men.

Although “The Book of Queer” is not the first outlet to offer evidence of this theory, Lincoln’s alleged sexuality has been hotly disputed by historians for years. Cervini insisted whether the former president would have self-identified as gay or bisexual during his lifetime is largely irrelevant, given that such labels existed as a social construct until decades later. were not. As for the legitimacy of Lincoln’s rumored relationship, however, he believes the historical documents speak for themselves.

“We wanted to surprise people,” he said. “If you’ve worshiped Abraham Lincoln all your life and then you find out that he slept with men more often than he slept with women, it could tell you about the diversity of human sexuality, intimacy, and experience.” could.”

With Eric Cervini (Left) &Quot;Glee&Quot; Actor Alex Newell, Who .  Describe The First Episode Of &Quot;Queer'S Book.&Quot;
Eric Cervini (left) with “Glee” actor Alex Newell, who narrates the first episode of “The Book of Queer”.

Monica Schipper via Getty Images

Cervini, 30, has made LGBTQ storytelling a cornerstone of her career so far. The Texas native’s passion for queer history began after watching 2008’s “Milk,” the Oscar-winning biopic about Harvey Milk, during his first year at Harvard University. It was then that he began to realize “how infinite a past is the past of what kind of community, and yet the general public has never learned about it.”

Shortly after, Cervini began researching another leading figure in the LGBTQ rights movement, Frank Kameni. A former Department of Defense astronomer, Kameni sued the federal government after he was fired in 1957 because he was gay. Although his case was unsuccessful, it was the first civil rights claim based on a plaintiff’s sexuality or gender identity to be pursued in a US court.

In 2020, Cervini published “The Deviant’s War: The Homosexuals versus the United States of America,” an acclaimed book on Kameni that includes eight years of research that began with her senior thesis at Harvard. The book became a 2021 Pulitzer Prize finalist and a New York Times bestseller.

“I can’t tell you how many times I heard: ‘There’s no market for this.’ So it was fun to be proven wrong,” Cervini said. “It’s a really funny thing to prove people wrong, especially if they have no basis to say that other than homophobia.”

“People want to know what’s kept from them, not just within the LGBTQ community, but across America,” he said. “If you say to people in any part of the world, ‘This is history they don’t want you to learn,’ they will want to consume it.”

Each Episode Of &Quot;Book Of Queer&Quot; Embraces The Camp With Musical Numbers, Sexy Twists On Period Costumes, And Modern Lingo.
Each episode of “The Book of Queer” includes musical numbers, sexy twists in period costume, and camp with modern lingo.

The success of “The Deviant’s War” was instrumental in helping Discovery+ develop “The Book of Queer”, which was based on “The Magic Closet”, an Instagram video series Cervini produced from the closet of their Los Angeles home. The new title, he said, was to prevent the show from being confused for a home design program: “For us, the metaphorical closet comes to mind first. But for 80% of America’s people, they think, ‘Oh, What a nice closet in that house.'”

The season finale of ‘The Book of Queer’ will air on Discovery+ on Thursday. Although the show’s second season has yet to be announced, Cervini has a Hollywood project in the works. Last month, Amazon Studios and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment announced plans to adapt “The Deviant’s War” as a limited series. Matthew Lopez, who won a Tony Award for Broadway’s “The Inheritance” and is directing the film version of another queer favorite, “Red, White and Royal Blue,” will write the screenplay.

And although Cervini couldn’t have predicted the current wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation that has been sweeping across America in recent months, he hopes viewers can use the lessons of “The Book of Queer” and “The Deviant’s War” as a single. Will do it as an incentive. agitate against it.

“I had no idea how widespread this systematic attack would be on our history, our education, our existence in Florida, Arizona, Alabama — everywhere — and unfortunately, I wish it didn’t,” he said. “But we’ve gone through similar attacks before. So I think if we use our history as a guidebook and learn how we succeeded, but also how we got people out Gave [like] Trans people of color…we’ll build alliances we forgot about and be able to make even more progress by defeating it back.”

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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