Jack Guinness breaks down how and why you should immerse yourself in Queer Culture this Pride

Jack Guinness has just launched The Queer Bible, a collection of essays by his queer heroes, elevating, amplifying and celebrating the voices of the queer community...

'The person I am today has been shaped and influenced by so many queer heroes. We stand on the shoulders of giants.'

Words by Jack Guinness

Queer culture is all around, whether you realise it or not - and no, I'm not just talking about Drag Race slowly taking over the world.

It has shaped our culture and history - from the music we dance to, the sports we watch, the books we read, to OBVIOUSLY, the clothes we wear! Yet for too long, LGBQT+ narratives have been hidden, for people's own safety, or forcibly erased. Just look how national hero Alan Turing was treated, his legacy until recently, straight-washed.

It gives me so much joy to see projects like the television show Gentleman Jack reveal the hidden lesbian history of Anne Lister, or Pose teaching younger generations the story of the Black, Latinx, gay and Trans communities’ struggles and triumphs during the AIDS crisis.

The Queer Bible, edited by Jack Guinness

The Queer Bible is about bringing those stories out in the light to be celebrated.

The book contains essays written by my queer heroes about the trailblazers who changed their lives - from the famous, like George Michael, to unsung heroes like intersex campaigner Pidgeon Pagonis (did you know that globally there are a similar amount of intersex people as red heads? I didn't!).

I come to The Queer Bible as someone that wants to learn more about my own community’s history - to learn about people different from me, and explore what we have in common. I want queer people to not just survive, but to thrive, knowing that they walk in the footsteps of the bravest, fiercest, most inspiring people to walk the face of the planet.

Jack Guinness courtesy of Elite Model Management London

The person I am today has been shaped and influenced by so many queer heroes. The soundtrack to my life has been queer culture: laughter with my first gay best friend Kele, solace in the writings of James Baldwin, Walt Whitman’s magic words made me fly, Bronski Beat released my tears, Audre Lorde gave me strength, I sung karaoke to George Michael’s 'Freedom', I worshipped the stars of 'Paris Is Burning', I drank with Drag Queens till sunlight when I ran off to New York aged eighteen.

In these politically unstable times, with LGBTQIA rights under threat the world over, this book and celebrating queer culture couldn't be more necessary - connecting us through our shared history, and allowing people to tell their own stories in their own voices.

Jack Guinness c. Sam Russell Walker

From the outset, I saw The Queer Bible as a platform to elevate, celebrate and amplify the voices of our community. It is also, most importantly, a celebration! These stories will make you laugh, cry and want to blare your favourite queer tunes out and dance! Pride started as a protest, but it is also about celebrating despite those that would silence us.

I’m so happy that this collection shines a light on members of our community who so often aren’t given the attention or accolades they deserve. I hope that the range of voices, the varied stories, and the memories shared speak to the richness and diversity of our global queer community. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

RuPaul c. Adam Johannesson 2021



First up, here are a few of my favourite LGBTQ+ books:

Orlando by Virginia Woolf - way ahead of its time, an exploration of gender, sexuality and personal continuity over time. If you want to just watch the film, Sally Potter's version starring Tilda Swinton and Titanic's Billy Zane is genius.

The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs - this book saved my life. Downs explores how growing up queer in straight world damages you and offers a path towards healing and self acceptance. Reading this book just makes you a better person.

The Book Of Queer Prophets - Ruth Hunt’s collection of essays reconciling and wrestling with religion and sexuality.

Me by Elton John - my dream-come-true Queer Bible contributor charts his epic life in this brilliantly written memoir. This man has LIVED. The story about hiding from Andy Warhol made me wet myself a little bit. Add in his work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation and you've got yourself a living legend.

Divine c. Cheyne 2021


Go and visit your favourite queer venue - support your local drag queens!

My favourite venues are The Glory, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern and The Queen Of Adelaide. I can't wait till we can dance again on a sweaty dance floor.


Watch Queer Bible contributor Mae Martin's Feel Good on Netflix - hilarious, important, and brilliantly written. Plus, it has Lisa Kudrow in it.. doesn't get better!

THE QUEER BIBLE, edited by Jack Guinness, is published on 17th June in hardback, eBook and Audio Download (HQ, £20)

Maria Coole

Maria Coole is a contributing editor on Marie Claire.

Hello Marie Claire readers – you have reached your daily destination. I really hope you’re enjoying our reads and I'm very interested to know what you shared, liked and didn’t like (gah, it happens) by emailing me at: maria.coole@freelance.ti-media.com

But if you fancy finding out who you’re venting to then let me tell you I’m the one on the team that remembers the Spice Girls the first time round. I confidently predicted they’d be a one-hit wonder in the pages of Bliss magazine where I was deputy editor through the second half of the 90s. Having soundly killed any career ambitions in music journalism I’ve managed to keep myself in glow-boosting moisturisers and theatre tickets with a centuries-spanning career in journalism.

Yes, predating t’internet, when 'I’ll fax you' was grunted down a phone with a cord attached to it; when Glastonbury was still accessible by casually going under or over a flimsy fence; when gatecrashing a Foo Fighters aftershow party was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy and tapping Dave Grohl on the shoulder was... oh sorry I like to ramble.

Originally born and bred in that there Welsh seaside town kindly given a new lease of life by Gavin & Stacey, I started out as a junior writer for the Girl Guides and eventually earned enough Brownie points to move on and have a blast as deputy editor of Bliss, New Woman and editor of People newspaper magazine. I was on the launch team of Look in 2007 - where I stuck around as deputy editor and acting editor for almost ten years - shaping a magazine and website at the forefront of body positivity, mental wellbeing and empowering features. More recently, I’ve been Closer executive editor, assistant editor at the Financial Times’s How To Spend It (yes thanks, no probs with that life skill) and now I’m making my inner fangirl’s dream come true by working on this agenda-setting brand, the one that inspired me to become a journalist when Marie Claire launched back in 1988.

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