In this two-part documentary, Stephen travels across the globe to find out what it means to be gay. Visiting Uganda, America, Russia, Brazil and India, Stephen encounters some of the most notorious homophobes on the planet to try to understand the origin of their beliefs, and meets victims of homophobic abuse.
The first episode sees Stephen’s journey start close to home as he meets Sir Elton John and David Furnish to talk about their experiences coming out, their civil partnership and decision to raise a child together. He also meets a young Iranian man seeking refuge in the UK as he faces the death penalty in his home country for being gay.
Stephen then travels to Uganda – where the government is proposing a new law that would put gay people to death – and meets government ministers and religious leaders who support the bill. He sees the impact this proposed legislation is having on the lives of gay men and women, and has an emotional conversation with Stosh, a young gay woman who was a victim of “corrective rape” by a family friend.
Lastly, Stephen travels to America to explore the workings of Reparative Therapy, a therapy that claims to change people from gay to straight, and visits actor Neil Patrick Harris to talk about his experience of being openly gay in Hollywood.
In episode two, Stephen travels to Brazil – a country that has moved from widespread discrimination to full legal equality for gay citizens in 25 years, and is currently proposing a law to make homophobia illegal and educate teenagers about the damage it causes. Although home to the largest gay pride celebration in the world, the parades conceal a darker side to life in Brazil with the shocking statistic that a gay person is murdered every 36 hours. In Rio, Stephen confronts Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, a politician who vehemently opposes plans for this new law and wants to bring an end to the advances of the gay rights movement in the country.
Stephen also travels to Russia to meet with Vitaly Milonov a politician who introduced a law banning the so-called ‘promotion’ of homosexuality to minors. Looking at the effects of this legislation, Stephen meets gay parents who risk being accused of ‘promoting’ a homosexual lifestyle to their own teenage children. Finally, Stephen visits India where the Victorian laws that criminalised homosexuality during British rule are being overturned. Modern India is now drawing on Hindu traditions to forge a positive way forward for its gay citizens, including its once celebrated transgender community.
Writer and Presenter: Stephen Fry
Series Producer: Fergus O’Brien
Executive Producer: Gina Carter
Executive Producer: Mark Downie