Speak its Name! Quotations by and about gay men and women

Speak its Name! Quotations by and about gay men and women: cover

Edited by Christopher Tinker
With an introduction by Simon Callow

A collection of moving, amusing and inspirational quotations by and about prominent gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, from Oscar Wilde to Tom Daley, Radclyffe Hall to Sandi Toksvig, illustrated with images from the National Portrait Gallery, London.


Publication Date: 27 October 2016
Format: 152 x 194mm (landscape)
Extent: 336pp
Illustrations: 160+
ISBN: 978 1 85514 725 6
Price: £16.95 Hardback
Category: Gifting/Social History/LGBT


This collection of quotations by and about gay people is a celebration of the advances in LGBT rights in the UK over the last half-century and a demonstration of the battle against oppression and prejudice that led to them. A diverse range of people from the worlds of entertainment, sport, fashion, business, science, politics and the arts share their thoughts on coming out, equality, homophobia, love, sex, promiscuity, fidelity, bullying, labels and marriage.

Amusing observations by Noël Coward, Tallulah Bankhead, Quentin Crisp, Boy George and Alan Bennett are interspersed with extracts from revealing interviews with Dusty Springfield, Ian McKellen, Freddie Mercury, Clive Barker, George Michael and William S. Burroughs and diary entries by Kenneth Williams, Joe Orton, W.H. Auden and John Maynard Keynes. John Gielgud and Alan Turing’s disturbing accounts of their arrests at a time when homosexual acts were punishable with a prison sentence contrast with touching love-letters from Violet Trefusis to her lover, Vita Sackville-West, King James I to his favourite, George Villiers, Marquis of Buckingham, and between Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears.

Contributions by Oscar Wilde, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, John Wolfenden, Field Marshal Montgomery, Lord Arran, Margaret Thatcher, Waheed Alli and David Cameron demonstrate the enormous developments in gay rights in Britain in recent decades. Also included are the reflections of Julie Andrews, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins, Liza Minnelli, Eartha Kitt, Madonna, Elisabeth Welch, Grace Jones and other ‘gay icons’ – that select group of individuals who, regardless of their sexuality, LGBT people have taken to their hearts.


Christopher Tinker is the Managing Editor at the National Portrait Gallery, London, where he has edited Vogue 100: A Century of Style (2016), David Bailey’s Stardust (2014) and Lucian Freud Portraits (2012). Before joining the Gallery he spent twelve years at BBC Books, where he edited Jeremy Paxman’s The Victorians (2009), Jonathan Dimbleby’s Russia (2008) and commissioned The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn (2008), a collection of early colour photographs.

Simon Callow is an actor, director and writer. He has appeared in many popular films, including Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Maurice (1987), A Room with a View (1985) and Amadeus (1984). His stage work includes the one-man plays The Mystery of Charles Dickens (2012), Being Shakespeare (2011) and The Importance of Being Oscar (1997). His books include a biographical trilogy on Orson Welles, Oscar Wilde and His Circle (2013), Charles Dickens and the Theatre of the World (2012), My Life in Pieces, Charles Laughton (1987) and Being an Actor (1984).