My Reaction To Stephen Fry’s “Out There”

It has been a good while since my heart has truly ached from viewing a TV documentary. I mean I cry at animated cold and flu adverts so it doesn’t take much, but this 2-part programme on homosexuality presented by openly gay and fabulous Stephen Fry, really wrecked my head. Not just as a gay woman but as a human being. In fairness my friend did text me beforehand to say “Shem… DO NOT watch this!” because she knew I would act like a crazy person as a result. And sweet baby Jesus she was right…

I had no words to articulate the numerous emotions I experienced during and after watching this BBC documentary back to back, but I still felt compelled to pick up my laptop and bang away. My first attempt at writing this post I deleted in full because the explicit language count had surpassed anything I had ever written before! So alas… here is my second attempt to try and comprehensively break down the assault on my eyes and ears.

Coming from a black family originating from the Caribbean, I understand the level of homophobia one can be disgracefully expected to receive from the black community. The comedian Stephen K Amos who also happens to be gay, made a Channel 4 documentary a few years ago called “Batty Man” which successfully investigated homophobia amongst black people. The island of which my parents are from outlaws homosexuality with up to 10 years imprisonment, however I do not think it is the prospect of jail time the gay folk fear… but it is the homophobic violence they can be subjected to if caught. THIS documentary however took the intensity of homophobia up a notch because it not only highlighted the hate campaign being enforced by radical scumbags on the street, but by their own mother sucking government!

Over a period of 2 years, Stephen Fry bravely travelled to a few different countries to try and understand the ideology, culture and politics of homosexuality. He focuses on what was, what is and what has yet to come. Yes there has been vast progress for the gay community over the years, but where some countries are moving forward… many are at a standstill or simply regressing.

From all the people he met on his travels I was left heartbroken by the story of a young lesbian in Uganda, a country that is rife with homophobic attitudes... and may I add… complete bullshit! This young lady at the age of 14 was a victim of what is called ‘corrective rape’, where a man rapes a woman or in this case a child in order to ‘fix’ them of their sexuality. It was from this traumatic event that she fell pregnant… was forced to have an abortion and then later found out she had HIV. All the while her family offered no support and were of the idea that her hideous sexual assault by an older man was the ‘natural’ way boys and girls should have a relationship.

*At this point of the programme I wanted to wrap myself up in a rainbow flag and execute the foetal position for comfort*

My sadness soon dispelled and curdled with pure unadulterated rage with the views from various politicians and ‘men of God’ who wanted to pass anti-gay laws. From Uganda to Brazil to Russia… men of power and influence were hell bent on the idea of a ‘traditional family’ whatever the feck that means, and saving their children from being recruited by evil gays! Fry interjected many times with shouts of “homosexuals have no interest in making others homosexual, but homophobes are interested in making others homophobic.” However this fell on the deaf ears of the ill-educated upholders of all that is wrong with the world. The Ugandan minister of ‘integrity’ was far more interested in sodomy and buggery… and how gay men attack other men with “their penis in the anus!” And an American doctor specialising in reparative therapy, not only claimed he could reverse homosexuality… but he also blames the family for creating the giant queers we are today! So… mum and dad… thanks for making me awesome!

The accounts of homophobic abuse left my heart in tatters and my brain fizzing from a drag queen being kicked so hard she lost a kidney, a Russian lesbian who was jumped by skinheads with the police refusing to help her… to the tragic 14 year old Brazilian boy who was tortured and murdered for simply walking down the road with his gay friends. It was almost impossible to absorb how and why these atrocities were happening in society today.

Love cannot be controlled, and homosexuality is not an illness that needs adjusting for your viewing pleasure. Hate is born from fear and I can only imagine the vile men in this documentary secretly worry that a penis may be quite delicious!

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