"A rich, heartwarming homage to a groundbreaking series."
Until the period drama Gentleman Jack first aired in 2019, English landowner, world traveler, prolific diarist, and unapologetic lesbian Anne Lister was a well-kept secret. So was Ann Walker, the wealthy heiress who married her—in 1834. Now, the true story of how these two daring souls rose above 19th century social conventions is an inspiration to others yearning to be their most authentic selves.
HBO/BBC’s ground-breaking 2019 television series electrified women worldwide and vaulted Anne Lister, aka Gentleman Jack, to lesbian icon status. It also prompted epic transformations among its fans, documented in Janet Lea's engaging collection of dozens of first-person narratives about what she calls "the Gentleman Jack effect."
This illustrated anthology details how a TV show about a adventurous 231-year-old lesbian inspired women worldwide to embrace their sexuality, discover love and friendship among the burgeoning Gentleman Jack fandom, climb the same mountain Lister was the first person in the world to conquer, morph into history detectives, and embark on pilgrimages to Halifax, Lister's hometown in northern England and now the new lesbian mecca.
The Gentleman Jack Effect chronicles how a prime time television drama spurred the creation of an international community of gay women and their allies, sparked a movement to update queer history, and emboldened women, regardless of whom they love, to throw off society’s restraints to live fearlessly and fully be themselves. Its timely lessons in risk-taking and self-acceptance are relevant for every woman today.
Janet Lea has sold hula hoops, organized armadillo races, and been suspected of being a CIA spy. She’s lived in a VW van with a beagle puppy, dodged military checkpoints in Tibet, and camped out on the Great Wall of China. There’s a rumor that Misadventure is her middle name, but it’s actually Marie.
A native Texan and a fan of big, as an ex-advertising executive she once brought the world’s largest seat belt to stretch around the Alamo, and her inspirational stories for public service causes were featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show…twice. Having done her bit to make the world a better place, Janet now writes full-time. The Gentleman Jack Effect: Breaking Rules and Living Out Loud is her first book. She and her wife live in Santa Fe, New Mexico near a dry stream bed inhabited by a coyote they call Sneak.
PRAISE & REVIEWS
Janet Lea’s interviews with Gentleman Jack
fans vividly capture the huge impact that
Sally Wainwright’s drama has had on their lives. Many say time can be measured as BGJ (before Gentleman Jack) and AGJ (after Gentleman Jack).
Author, Female Fortune
This compilation of stories from women across the globe is an absorbing read, each story initially depicting the struggles of lesbian women to live a life of concealment or social shaming because of their sexuality. But, once Gentleman Jack exploded on to our screens, the effect on the lives of these women, and thousands more, was transformative. The book is a joyous mosaic, a celebration of the power which the words from one woman of a distant era can echo down the years and provide inspiration, validation and courage to generations of women.
Author, The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister
The Gentleman Jack Effect is a terrific resource for those who wish to understand more about lesbians and the challenges they face—and for anyone trying to figure out their own same sex feelings. It’s an important read, highly approachable, friendly, and full of compelling stories that many will relate to.
Lead Organizer, Anne Lister Birthday Week