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Tom of Finland

director dome karukoski

Dome Karukoski is one of the most successful directors in Finland. His six feature films have all become blockbusters in his native country and he has more than 30 awards to his credit.

He’s currently in post-production on a major biopic of Touko Laaksonen, the celebrated gay artist known to the world as Tom of Finland. In a major triumph, the film will be presented this year in the official program of Finland’s centenary as an independent country.

Of major significance to LGBT+ history, Tom’s homoerotic drawings were instrumental in transforming thousands of gay men’s lives throughout the 70s and 80s due to their unabashed depiction of gay sex as something to be celebrated, rather than something shameful. His impossibly handsome hunks, engaging in explicit gay sex, became the visual embodiment of the burgeoning gay liberation movement and led to a revolution in the way that gay men presented themselves to the world, as they consciously adopted Tom’s ‘macho’ signifiers in public – moustaches, flannel shirts, uniforms, boots and the like. His images of bikers, cowboys and leather-clad men stood apart from mainstream culture – they were untamed, strong and self-empowered.

“I’ve heard countless stories of men telling how they felt when they first saw Tom’s drawings and how that changed their lives,” Dome tells us. “Many said they left their previous lives to start afresh, often in LA or San Francisco. I can only imagine the self-empowering moment and the strength the drawings must have given to these men.

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In our TV and Travel issue, Benidorm’s boy wonder Danny Walters returns to flaunt his new physique and to talk about his Hollywood ambitions. Elsewhere in the issue, the launch of GT Travel: Curated Experiences for Men; Hong Kong's endless culture, world-class food and vibrant gay scene; the natural beauty of Michigan; and tips for finding the best gay-friendly accommodation when travelling. Jack Falahee, of How to Get Away with Murder, on ‘coming out’ as straight; Layton Williams on taking on the iconic role of Angel in RENT; and foul-mouthed drag legend Lady Bunny on bringing her new show, Trans-Jester, to British audiences. Finally, don’t miss our tribute to George Michael, where he talks with grace, humility and humour about his own self-acceptance, coming out and the great loves of his life.
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