Dominique Jackson, Alex Newell, Leslie Jordan and Ross Mathews will be celebrating Pride Month with Discovery+ this year. The four have been announced as guest narrators for the upcoming docuseries “The Book of Queer,” set to launch on the streaming service June 2.
The upcoming special event series — which has its first-look featurette above —will feature five episodes, each of which tells the story of multiple historic and groundbreaking queer individuals throughout history. The subjects of the episodes span people that have lived across thousands of years, and include politicians, artists, activists, scientists and world leaders. Some of the names include: ancient Greek poet Sappho, Alexander the Great, King James, Joan of Arc, Akhenaten, Lenardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Alan Turning, Josephine Baker, Stormé DeLarverie, Sylvia Rivera, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gilbert Baker, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Ma Rainey and Bayard Rustin.
Each episode features reenactments and recreations of several subjects’ lives, featuring an entirely queer ensemble cast portraying the roles. Announced cast members include Miss Vanjie, GOTTMIK, Chris Olsen, Tell Williams, Rob Anderson, Riley Westling, Alejandra Cejudo, Bennie Oldham, Donzell Lewis, Nikcoma Lee Mahkewa, Griffin Kelly, Jasmine Raphael, Dennis Renard, Nate Timmerman, Jill Bennett, Ryan Simantel, Gracie Cartier, Bri Giger, Marval Rex, Marlon Meikle, Ashlei Shyne, Sayrie, Juliana Joel, Lina Green, Sheena Georges and Eliza Blair. The show will also feature talking head interviews with historians specializing in queer history, including Prof. Susan Stryker, Prof. Lillian Faderman, Prof. Jenn Jackson, Blair Imani, Prof. Michael Young, Prof. Stephanie Larson, Kevin Quin, Miriam Kamil, LZ Granderson, Prof. Mar Hicks, Prof. Kara Cooney, Souksavanh Keovorabouth, Dr. Christine Axen, Prof. Thomas Balcerski, Prof. Gary Ferguson and Prof. David Green. Dr. Eric Cervini serves as the main curator for the series.
Jackson, Newell, Jordan and Mathews join previously announced Margaret Cho in narrating a single episode of the series, providing a bridge between the segments. In addition, each episode will culminate in an original song and music video from an openly queer artist, including Betty Who, Vincint, Shawnee Kish, Mila Jam and Kaleena Zanders.
“To celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, we are setting the historical record straight and introducing ‘The Book of Queer’ right at the top of Pride Month,” Howard Lee, president of TLC streaming and network originals, said in a statement. “We couldn’t be any more excited to have Margaret Cho, Leslie Jordan, Dominique Jackson, Alex Newell, Ross Matthews as well as an impressive and talented group of historians, actors and musicians spilling the tea alongside us.”
“The Book of Queer” will stream weekly every Thursday throughout June. View first-look images and a complete list of episodes below.
“Kings & Queens,” featuring stories about Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Akhenaten and Bayard Rustin. Narrated by Alex Newell. Premieres June 2, 2022.
“Sashay It Forward,” featuring stories about Lenardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Ma Rainey, Alan Turing, Sally Ride and Lynn Conway. Narrated by Margaret Cho. Premieres June 9, 2022.
“Queens’ Work Makes the Team Work,” featuring stories about The Sacred Band of Thebes, Alexander the Great, Glenn Burke, the Rainbow Flag, Gilbert Baker, Harvey Milk and José Sarria. Narrated by Ross Mathews. Premieres June 16, 2022.
“Gay to Z,” featuring stories about King James, Sappho, We’Wha and Harry Allen. Narrated by Leslie Jordan. Premieres June 23, 2022.
“Pride or Die,” featuring stories about Josephine Baker, Joan of Arc, Stormé DeLarverie, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. Narrated by Dominique Jackson. Premieres June 30, 2022.