Tuesday 15 October 2013

Stephen Fry: Out There

The ubiquitous Stephen Fry has travelled throughout the world to film this new two-part programme, exploring the realities of modern gay life. I would consider this absolutely critical viewing for everyone, gay or straight, homo-inclusive or homophobic. I doubt that many people who are staunchly against homosexuality will have their views changed by the programme, but it might just stop a few of them and make them think about what they believe, and that's a start. It is not easy viewing, but it is essential.

Life in the UK has become vastly improved for LGBT people over the last forty years, but there are still challenges to face. There are eighty countries and territories in the world that criminalise homosexuality and related behaviour, from Iran, which has the death penalty for homosexuality, to Russia, which has now enacted a law against so-called 'gay propaganda.' In many more countries, such as Iraq, homosexuality is not illegal, but homophobic violence and local religious action against gays is allowed to occur freely.

While in most western countries, life is better than it has ever been for gay people, we must not forget how difficult and dangerous life is for others around the world, and we must continue to fight, protest and have pride, for rights can be taken away as easily as they can be granted.

Watch the first installment, in which Fry visits Uganda and the United States, on iPlayer. The second episode, with visits to Russia and Brazil, will be available from tomorrow. The programme's website can be visited here.

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