Billie Jean King by Louis Staples

THE TENNIS STAR: “I was daydreaming about my little tiny universe of tennis, and I thought to myself: ‘Everybody’s wearing white shoes, white socks, white clothes, playing with white balls, everybody who plays is white. Where is everybody else?’ That was the moment I decided to fight for equality and freedom and equal rights and opportunities for everyone. Everyone. Not just girls. Everyone.”

Illustration by Elena Durey 

Quentin Crisp by Mark Moore

THE DANDY: 'Mr Crisp came from the early part of the 20th century where I’m sure he felt the full brunt of the agony of being queer, so I get why he felt the way he did in his brave, ironic and self-deprecating way. However, the timing of The Naked Civil Servant on TV – just before the punk revolution of 1976 – was serendipitous. Mr Crisp’s mix of narcissism and self-loathing, his ability to upset those who wanted him to tow the PC line, the shock tactics and the nihilism, it was all very punk.'

Illustration by Fernando Monroy ​​​​​​​based a photograph by Andrew MacPherson

Interview: Sir Ian McKellen Part II

‘When you come out you become politicised because you start making connections with other people. So we don’t know each other but we’re intimate because we’ve both been on the same journey, different sorts, but it’s been the same journey. It’s the same if you met somebody in South Africa or Moscow. You become an internationalist and you begin to see that the local laws here don’t fit in with your view of human nature and what it can be. Then life becomes really exciting, thrilling and in changing your own life you’re changing the lives of other people.’

Illustration by Fernando Monroy

Interview: Sir Ian McKellen Part I

'But everyone’s frightened society’s gonna collapse, can you imagine? People having children and then having affairs with the opposite gender, how does that work? Well let them work it out. Did you want to become mainstream, did you want to get married, did you want to behave like a straight person even though you were gay, or did you want to change society and make it different and encourage all the straight people to be like us? Have sex with whoever we wanted, whenever we wanted, however we wanted. A whole new world.’

Illustration by Fernando Monroy

ARCA by Dan Guthrie

THE QUEER UPSTART: “What queerness is as a word, what it represents, is ideological. The word itself is trying to define something that is undefinable. The word queer has shifted meaning because it's allowed it; it's whatever doesn't fit in.” - Alejandro Ghersi

Illustration by Fernando Monroy

Joan Nestle by Meghan Walley

THE ARCHIVIST: Nestle was an iconoclast. Beginning in the 1970s, she wrote erotica, which not only had Women Against Pornography calling for the censorship of her stories, but drew criticism from some factions of the lesbian community. In her writing, she focused on butch-femme relationships, with the intention of showing that “the butch and femme relationship isn't just some negative heterosexual aping.”

Illustration by Elena Durey

S. Bear Bergman by Meg-John Barker

THE ADVICE GIVER: 'When I was asked to write about Bear for Queer Bible I assumed that I’d focus on how he’s inspired me as a genderqueer trans-masculine person, as a writer, and as an advice-giver - probably the three key aspects of our lives that we share. But I actually think that the biggest thing Bear gave me was that hope that I would be able to find my own family...'

Illustration by Elena Durey

Hart Crane by Rob Nowill

THE POET: 'I discovered Hart Crane because of an arrow. Specifically, an arrow painted in the bottom-right of Periscope, a Jasper Johns painting that I’d seen at an exhibition, aged nineteen. A perfunctory note explained that the arrow was a tribute to Crane, a modernist poet who’d ended his life by throwing himself from the deck of a steamer ship.'

Illustration by Sam Russell Walker

Peter Hujar by Harald Smart

DOWNTOWN PHOTOGRAPHER: 'Subversive, charismatic and vehemently true to himself, Hujar walked an unconventional path, chronicling the precarious lives around him with a brilliant eye, until his premature, AIDS-related death at the age of fifty-three.'

Illustration by Fernando Monroy

Call Me By Your Name and The Folding Star by Jon Malysiak

'Alan Hollinghurst's The Folding Star and Andre Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name, are essential reading for the queer community, 'These two novels – both products of the very different years (2011 and 1994 respectively) in which they were written – represent the best of what “gay literature” has to offer us.'

Illustration by Fernando Monroy

Divine by Nick Levine

Remembering Divine on the 30th Anniversary of her death, 'I love Divine because she was a drag queen like no other: fabulously fat, fearlessly confrontational, effortlessly funny. Divine died nearly 30 years ago on March 7, 1988, at just 42 years of age, but her legacy lives on in every queen who busts out of the mould and stomps right across the line of good taste.' 

Illustration by Severus Heyn

Queer Cinema Starter Pack by Seán McGovern

'And as the world we live in seems increasingly strange and ominous, comfort yourself by remembering that only last year a tiny film about black queer kids was the Best Picture at the Oscars. And that this year, an LGBT film where the greatest threat to the characters lives is heartbreak, could do the exact same thing.'

Illustration by Joshua Osborn

Candy Darling by Aimee Armstrong

'Trans role-models, in art, film and music come few and far between. Sure, they exist, however as a child I had no outlet. I had conflicted feelings. I knew I was different. I felt detached from my body and had no means of articulating that...' 

Illustration by Fernando Monroy 

Richard Bruce Nugent by Cakes Da Killa

The Harlem Renaissance Man: 'Black people invented swag! This is an undeniable truth that is not up for debate. With that said, around the world our history along with our impact and influence on culture, commerce and art is usually or completely swept underneath the rug. As an African-American I couldn’t tell you much about my culture if I solely based my knowledge on what I was taught in the American public school system.'

Illustration by Fernando Monroy