LGBT+ coffee table books are the centerpiece of all my best dinner parties. Not only do they make perfect Christmas presents for your LGBT+ friends and family, but they’re also fabulous queer collectables.
Picture this: you’ve invited a number of friends over for dinner but one of your friends has a partner with questionable views about gay men (that frequently read as homophobic). What better way to open a conversation than by handing them an LGBT+ coffee table book rich with content that challenges the status quo?
We have collated 7 fabulous, queer and collectable coffee table books. Each of these intentionally provocative books places the lens over topics like LGBT+ symbolism, nudity, counterculture and combatting toxic masculinity.
We’ve also included a healthy dose of our beautiful coffee books of naked men (stripping down in aid of Sport Allies). Hands up if you’re ready to start flipping through breath-taking images of naked rowers and athletes!
The essential addition to your coffee book collection for 2020. Did someone say naked athletes, naked rowers, naked men getting their kit off for LGBT inclusion in sports?
Manifesto is a pictorial journey through 5 principles of the Worldwide Roar – principles that have been developed through the ten years of the WR project. The fifth coffee table book by Angus Malcolm unpacks the graduation of Warwick Rowers to become The Worldwide Roar: Find out more about The Worldwide Roar. As we know in the LGBT+ community, sometimes a rebellion begins with a rebrand.
Featuring previously unseen shots of some of your favourite Warwick Rowers as well as new material with WR20 stars. Manifesto is an essential piece for every LGBT+ coffee table book collection. You can get your copy of Manifesto here - there’s even a signed version of the book available here.
This book and The Worldwide Roar’s entire project consider what healthy masculinity looks like and highlights how much the heterosexual male gaze continues to dominate our culture.
Expect a strong narrative of ‘rules to live by’ including our favourite:
Queer X Design is an incredibly novel book to add to your LGBT+ coffee table book collection. In their own words, “Queer X Design is the first-ever illustrated history of the iconic designs, symbols, and graphic art representing more than 5 decades of LGBTQ pride and activism”.
Andy Campbell, Ph.D., the curator of this coffee book is an art historian with more than a decade of experience in museum institutions. Campbell’s projects focus on the juncture of identity-based political movement, visual culture, and art’s histories.
A telling visual tapestry of an emerging LGBT+ identity including highlights like: Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag, hand-sewn for San Francisco’s 1978 Gay Freedom Day celebration; California’s blue and white all-gender bathroom signage from 2017. Available to purchase here.
The 2019 edition (or fourth chapter) of the Warwick Rowers Book is a fabulous addition to every coffee table book collection. A wonderful series of nude photography that makes the perfect exploration of the male natural form. The rowers surrender their naked bodies to their environments in an offering to the LGBT+ community for inclusion in sports.
This book compiles images from unique locations that combine natural and cultivated beauty to create something even greater. Malcolm explains, “This is not a struggle between the natural and the built, but a magical fusion of the two. The rowers demonstrate their commitment to that principle by offering themselves to us as nature has made them and as discipline has refined them.”
If you haven’t spotted yet, we are a little bias when it comes to the LGBT+ Coffee Table. Though, who doesn’t want 5 fantastically visual coffee books of naked men from award-winning producers?
WR18 is the third edition of the Warwick Rowers Coffee Table Book and it lives up to Angus Malcolm’s usual spectacular standard. He states, “The challenge to patriarchal heteronormative culture has taken various forms – from the suffragettes of the early 20th century through 60s feminism and 70s LGBT liberation to the 21st-century redefinition of gender as an expression of total identity greater than the hashtag of biological sex. All part of a quest for what is rational and natural – to become who we really are instead of allowing ourselves to be recast in crude, ungainly, artificial forms for the needs of society. The rowers understand the need for rules – without them, they could not function as a team. But they also know that being the best version of yourself must start with the truth and continue with integrity.”
WR18 is another wonderful addition to the LGBT+ coffee table collection and all profits from the book go to Sport Allies. You can buy WR18 here or you can even buy a signed version of the coffee book here.
If you’re looking for a good way to introduce modern queer culture and vast lgbt history, The Queeriodic Table is a good choice from prominent lgbt books for you – though it is a little on the small side in comparison to our other choices.
The book gives an introduction to some of the essential elements that helped sculpt the LGBTQ+ community like the amazing stories of queer pioneers like Marsha P. Johnson.
The Advocate Magazine said, “a delightful little book that is small on size but big on content... In essence, this celebratory book is a fascinating overview of queer culture in a small, colourful, and inviting format.” Available to purchase here.
Looking for a liberated piece of LGBT+ art that will sit perfectly in your book collection? Warwick Rowers Freedom is for you. The second instalment of the Warwick Rowers coffee book is a bold advancement from the pioneering piece.
Despite enormous progress towards gender equality and LGBT+ rights, we remain a culture that privileges masculinity and heterosexuality. To take an example that is very relevant to this book, our culture still prioritizes the needs and desires of heterosexual men both in public and private.
Malcolm notes, “Many straight men, and quite a few women, have said to me that the penis is inherently unattractive. I do not believe that. The penis is naturally on display, and nature is not that cruel. Rather, I believe that our cultural perception of the penis has been shaped by men. Specifically, by men who have no interest in satisfying the needs or desires of others, and no intention of opening themselves up to scrutiny - or indeed temptation.”
Warwick Rowers Freedom pushes the boundaries of nude art on the LGBT+ coffee table collection and all profits from the book go to Sport Allies. You can buy Freedom here.
In 2016 Angus Malcolm and The Warwick Rowers made history with their first coffee table book. This book shook the ground beneath the LGBT+ coffee table and sent waves of magnificent controversy through gay networks around the world.
Nudity remains a potent form of magic in our culture. Even in the blasé, over-sexualised era of the internet, the naked body retains its historic dual powers to disrupt and delight. For a group of university athletes to stand naked in front of the world as a protest against homophobia in sport is a compelling and entirely appropriate use of both of those powers.
Malcolm states in his introduction to the book, “Homophobia is, among many other things, a wish to deny the happiness of others. The Warwick Rowers challenge that in the most meaningful way possible. They offer us their naked bodies both to draw attention and show their commitment to their cause and to prove that it is possible to embrace the sexuality of others with generosity, grace and style.”
The first Warwick Rowers Book paved the path to a world of magnificent coffee table nudity which make for phenomenal lgbt collectables. The profits from this book help in the fight for LGBT+ inclusion in sports through Sport Allies. You can purchase a copy of WarwickRowers 16 here.