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Video: Stephen Fry reflects on travelling to some of the world’s most homophobic countries

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  1. Yes Ugands is one of the worst.

    But Stephen Fry thinks that Brazil, Russia, India and the US are some of the worlds most homophobic countries? Really? What about a country where it is illegal to be gay and you face imprisonment – or one where you face the death penalty.

    Does Stephen Fry not know that it is illegal to be gay in 46 of the 54 commonwealth countries, and if he does, why not make a documentary about that? What about the fact that it is illegal in all of the gulf states to be gay. Why not make a documentary about that? These are the most homophobic countries in the world, not Brazil, Russia, India and the US.

    1. Perhaps he is just focusing on homophobia in countries which could reasonably be expected to know better?

      1. Bill Cameron 11 Oct 2013, 10:43pm

        What cultural relativism! Do you mean that countries like Uganda, Nigeria and Iran couldn’t be “expected to know better”, whereas nice safe US or economically fast-growing Brasil or India could be? The US, which locks people up for a decade without charge or trial in an out-of-jurisdiction hell-hole, or India where women are routinely raped? No, I think Fry’s concentration on the ‘fashionable’ targets, to the exclusion of equally or more atrocious behaviour elsewhere (for example, young men being hung in public from ropes hoisted by cranes in Iran – no necks rapidly broken by a fall, just a slow strangulation as the bound and hooded victims struggle before dying). In fairness, we haven’t yet seen the programmes, so perhaps they won’t be so myopic as this report implies. I hope.

        1. Bill Cameron 11 Oct 2013, 10:51pm

          PS/ Some countries are probably too dangerous even for a gay ‘media personality’ to visit with safety (probably Iran, perhapos Zimbabwe), and I wouldn’t suggest he place himself in personal danger, whereas places like Russia (provided one doesn’t go out of one’s way to offend local sensibilities) probably would. But I hope he will at least mention the more heinous examples – just because he hasn’t visited a country, it doesn’t mean its problems don’t exist.

          1. Precisely this.
            You cannot even film in the Gulf countries without having people following you, ready to arrest and detain you. It doesn’t even matter if it’s on this topic or not, those countries are so utterly draconian Stephen wouldn’t even get off the plane before being arrested.

            There has to be a measure of common sense here. It goes without saying that there are countries which deserve a harsh light drawn on them because of their legalized abuse of their own citizens based on religious insanity, but you can’t seriously expect a BBC crew and a globally known gay British performer and writer to be able to go and talk to the crazies about it!

            This is a two-part series where he talks to vehement homophobes and bigots, if you think he could do that in Iran, China, North Korea, Qatar, Somalia… then you need your head examined.

            Most of the countries you mention would not even issue a visa for him to enter, let alone to film, or talk to anyone there about it.

        2. Ok then, perhaps he is looking at countries where at least some sort of conversation about the possibility of change is possible?

    2. He’s showing countries where there has been recent change (for better or for worse) contrasting them and trying to understand what caused the change, it’s not about showing the best and worst.

    3. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t allowed to travel to some of the worst homophobic countries due to safety reasons, the BBC wouldn’t let him. I guess the point is to make people realize there is still inequality around. I have friends that assume now limited gay marriage has been passed in the UK there is nothing left to fight for or that we don’t have hate crime. This is not true.

  2. Don Harrison 11 Oct 2013, 8:41pm

    If he does not know, he need to be told.

  3. I love Stephen Fry and I’m absolutely looking forward to this 2-part documentary.

  4. Just stop it.w e know the problem but what is the solution? Start a way to get people from anti gay countries somewhere safe. He’s loaded and could pay for a few flights himself

    1. What’s the solution, silence and ignorance? Are we all supposed to just put our fingers in our ears and whistle a happy tune?

      You have a very strange view of this. You can’t just give people money and put them on a flight. Our government does not accept asylum from many of these countries based on sexuality and potential harm because of it. You would need to lobby our government to make it asylum worthy, and then how do you stop it from being abused by people who simply want a better life and aren’t actually LGBT?

      What we need to do is to keep making films like this, every year, embarrassing those countries and showing people what is happening. We have to then force those with power and influence to boycott, to harass, to pressure and encourage change in those countries.

      It makes no sense for us as a people to be in any way supporting those countries.

      1. Yes keep talking as I’ve noticed there is more anti gay behaviour in london today. What I do is donate to jflag in jamaica and the Albert Kennedy trust in the uk. I intend to start a fund to get lgbt people out of anti gay environments. Fry could do a gay live aid type fundraising event with his profile. I wouldn’t mind if I could

  5. Give Fry a chance, I think its a fantastic idea for a documentary. He is ,without doubt, a genius and given the chance to debate with these homophobes will doubtless show them up for the ignorant, bigoted morons that they are. He will also bring the issue to a wide audience of heteros as they all like him too.

  6. Stephen Fry is a national treasure of the United Kingdom and a highly respected figure. These comments about him just observing ignorance and not providing a solution are a load of rubbish. Awareness is a key step in reaching a solution, if people do not know that a problem exists, they cannot contribute to the solution. With such a large audience in the UK, this documentary will help spread awareness of just how truly devastating and international homophobia is.

  7. For goodness sake, give the programme a chance and then start bitching!!!! How do we know he’s not going to make a series, in the future, about the other countries mentioned in this thread? Isn’t it bad enough that we have to deal with homophobia full stop with out having to deal with this ridiculous bitching within our own community??? James, you are a fool if you think just going into these countries and relocating them by giving them an airline ticket!!! Where would you like to relocate these people?? Homophobia is a vile, sick disease practiced by bigots and ignorant idiots but it needs to be exposed especially to people who think that the likes of Gay Pride etc, is a waste of time!!!!

  8. Matthew Waites 12 Oct 2013, 3:22pm

    Dear all, please check out *free online* the first book on sexual orientation and gender identity issues in the Commonwealth: ‘Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change’, data on 54 states with chapters by activists and academics covering 16 states in detail: UK, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago – plus thematic chapters. Please like the Facebook site to follow events and debates, there are videos of the launches in Toronto and London. http://commonwealth.sas.ac.uk/publications/house-publications/lgbt-rights-commonwealth

    1. Matthew Waites 12 Oct 2013, 5:38pm

      More information about the book and its launch on my website at University of Glasgow:
      http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/socialpolitical/staff/matthewwaites/
      Facebook site for the book is here:
      https://www.facebook.com/#!/HumanRightsSOGICommonwealth

  9. It was interesting to see how very short and chubby some of these bully architects of anti-gay laws are, especially Russian Vitaly Milonov who looks like a frightened and very overfed hamster when he is confronted by the towering stature (and intellect) of Stephen Fry.
    Oh and similarly the short and rotund Ugandan anti-gay bully, I think it was David Bahati (there’s only a quick glimpse of him in the trailer).

  10. Edgar Carpenter 22 Oct 2013, 5:51am

    @James! – what country could handle that many tens of millions of gay refugees? It sounds like you don’t have any idea how many of us there must be in the world!

    @Pavlos – yes, it’s really sad that so many stocky, hairy foreign men are homophobes. They look so tasty but say such heinous things. Luckily there are also plenty of Russian gay men who are also stocky and hairy!

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