In the first of this two-part series, Stephen Fry reflects back on just how much has changed for gay people during his lifetime. He meets Elton John and David Furnish, the couple who inspired Stephen to be open about his sexuality as well as many others.
This episode, Stephen travels to Uganda, where the government is considering a new law that would make homosexuality a capital crime – putting gay people to death for their sexuality. Stephen meets the men and women targeted by this proposed law and finds out the impact it is already having on their lives.
Stephen also travels to the USA to explore ‘reparative therapy’, which claims to offer a ‘cure’ for being gay. Whilst in the states, he looks at how Hollywood deals with the gay issue by talking to Neil Patrick Harris, an openly gay man who continues to land leading roles.
A documentary premiering today at the Sundance film festival explores the evangelical campaign to change African culture with values imported from America’s Christian Right. The film follows American and Ugandan religious leaders fighting "sexual immorality" and missionaries trying to convince Ugandans to follow Biblical law. A statement from its director reads:
I thought about following the activists-brave and admirable men and women-who were fighting against these policies. But I was more curious about the people who, in effect, wanted to kill me. (According to the provisions of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, I could be put to death or imprisoned.) Notably, almost every evangelical I met – American or Ugandan – was polite, agreeable, even charming. Yet I knew that if the bill passed, there would be blood on the streets of Kampala.
What explains that contradiction? What explains the murderous rage and ecstatic transcendence? In the well-known trope about Africa, a white man journeys into the heart of darkness and finds the mystery of Africa and its unknowable otherness. I, a black man, made that journey and found – America.