This episode sees Stephen visit Brazil, home to the largest gay pride celebration in the world and a place that has some of the best legislation on the planet for gay equality. But it has come at a price. All of the advances have brought about a violent backlash against gay people; on average, one gay person is murdered every 36 hours in Brazil. Stephen sees how this is impacting on the lives of gay men and women there and also confronts the politician leading the fight against gay rights.
Stephen also visits Russia, where gays are now worse off than they have been for a long time. Their rights are being constantly eroded by a conservative government, backed by the disapproval of the Russian Orthodox Church. Stephen then travels to India, where the old British laws that criminalised homosexuality have just been overturned. Modern India is now looking to Hindu traditions as it forges a more positive way forward for its gay citizens, including its once celebrated transgender community.
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.
Blog reader Lucas mailed us this: Kyoto Animation (the studio responsible for the animation of K-on, Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and others) released a teaser trailer this past March showing off the animation studio’s quality. Instead of showing clips from pre-existing series, this advertisement features sexy young male swimmers and showcased them doing various activities in and around the pool.
The advertisement has become so popular that anime fans have dubbed it "Swimming Anime" and it even has fan sites and artwork popping up for it all over the internet. Crunchy Roll, an online Anime Streaming service, even has an online petition urging Kyoto animation to expand the trailer into an actual series.
There are plenty of animes tackling subjects like being transgender in a rather creative way (Sailor Moon comes to mind) and there are even more about cross-dressing. Western cartoon on the other hand rarely ever dare to go anywhere near this. Until now. The Canadian/Australian co-production SheZow features the animated adventures of a twelve year old boy who becomes the worlds finest female superhero.
Twelve year-old Guy Hamdon is a natural cut-up who fancies himself an extreme dude with his own macho catch phrase, “It’s a GUY thing.” Guy lives the dream of every rough-and-tumble boy when he discovers an awesome power ring which transforms him into a mighty superhero! Pretty cool, huh? Well, there’s just one tiny catch… the ring that gives Guy his amazing super powers was only meant to be worn by a girl and the result is absolutely she-larious! Guy must use his super powers to battle mega-villains while sporting an outrageous female superhero costume… which actually ends up helping him tremendously on his own personal journey toward becoming one heck of a super man.
SheZow has more she-puns than you can shake a she-stick at, she-seriously. SheZow which is currently only available in the Australian television market on Network Ten with select episodes on the show’s official YouTube channel, is a new animated superhero show aimed at children in the 6-11 year old range. SheZow features the main characters of Guy with his twin sister Kelly and their best friend Maz, who explore the world of SheZow when Guy and Kelly discover that their aunt Agnes now passed, was the legendary super-heroine herself.
Kelly who is the president of the SheZow fan club and self described biggest SheZow fan and expert on the planet is excited at the thought of becoming the next in the long line of famous women to wear the SheZow ring. Her dream is dashed when Guy takes the ring and jokingly puts it on to taunt his sister, not knowing that anyone who wears the ring can never take it off until they pass away. Suddenly Guy is transformed into the super powered and over feminized SheZow, with his/her superpowers including but not limited to, sonic scream, super strength, light-saber lipstick, super slap, vanishing cream (which turns him invisible) and super speed in high heels.
Combined with a super smart computer named She-la and endless bright pink gadgetry, Guy as SheZow and Kelly as his coach on all things girly fight to save the world from an assortment of villains who spout just as many bad puns as they do.
In the past few years more and more TV shows have included gay characters, which is a very good thing. Game of Thrones, True Blood, Glee, Modern Family, Smash, Pretty Little Liars, American Horror Story, and many others. But of all those shows, the only one most kids are allowed to watch is Glee.
But if you want to give kids positive role models and the certainty that your feelings and that part of your identity are normal well represented and accepted in our society you’ll need more than just Glee. From a kid’s point of view there’s actually a severe lack of queer characters in the shows and films they get to see. All the Disney princesses marry princes. Pixar movies have married people, moms and dads, all over the place. Even the robots are matched up in obviously opposite-gender pairs. All the preteen sitcoms have girls chasing after boys and vice versa. If there is a character who has stereotypically "gay" mannerisms, that character is used for a laugh and not a lot else.
Those cartoons that actually should have gay characters have been effectively "straight-washed." The popular comic X-Men has had gay characters for quite a while, but when it’s adapted to television, none of the characters is anything but heterosexual. When Mystique and Destiny are included, they are no longer long-term lovers but "best friends." Northstar isn’t portrayed as gay, even though he was one of the first out LGBT characters in American comics.
Even the cartoons brought over from Japan and marketed to children have been "straight-washed" for Western audiences. In Dragon Ball any mention of the orientation of the gay character, General Blue, is censored. And Sailor Moon, which has no less than seven queer characters in the original version, has none in Western version. Some characters’ genders have actually been changed, and the lesbian couples are now "cousins," an old classic. The only LGBT character you could find that made it through was a minor character in Dragon Ball Z.
Many queer adults know what it was like to grow up with no media representation. It created feelings of isolation. It reinforced the notion that they were "other." And many thought that because they weren’t mentioned, they must have been something secret, something bad. Nowadays kids are coming out younger and younger. It’s increasingly common for them to come out at 12 or 13 years old. And what does TV present them? Only Glee.
But maybe that’s about to change. ParaNorman (trailer below) is making a first step at least. It’s a stop-action movie with witches and zombies — all things my kids love. The movie is about how no one is totally what they appear to be….
Spoiler ahead… the chubby, silly kid is the bravest and most courageous of the bunch; the zombies aren’t bad guys; and the big, muscled jock, Mitch, is gay. That character’s orientation is only mentioned at the end of the movie, almost in passing. One of the female characters asks Mitch if he’d like to go to the movies with her, and Mitch says, "Sure." He then adds that he thinks she’d love his boyfriend. The girl looks disappointed, and the movie moves on to other things.
To some people this may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Here’s this character, who is basically the stereotypical jock, but in this movie, this kid’s movie, he’s also gay. It isn’t presented with a "very special episode" vibe. It isn’t something hidden. It isn’t something Mitch is in turmoil about. It just is.
While stories of coming out and dealing with bullying are important for kids to see, they are not the only stories for LGBT characters. ParaNorman is a movie about a group of kids, and one of those kids just happens to be gay. I would love to see youth-oriented television and movies follow this example and expand upon it. Imagine what it would have meant to gay adults (who were all once gay kids) to have had a gay character on Saved by the Bell, Facts of Life, or He-Man, a gay character who was just one of the gang and a regular part of the story. Why can’t iCarly or Drake & Josh have a gay kid in the mix? I think they should, because visibility matters.
And of course conservatives in America are already jumping on it because, as Towleroad put it, the makers of the film dared to make the gay character a normal guy, not a twisted, pathological villain or eccentric outsider.
(via Gay Voices)
Glee creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk present their new TV series American Horror Story on Wednesday and while some of you may think that Glee has turned into a horror story this season, there are no Lea Michele or Darren Criss show tune numbers in Murphy’s new serial. Promos for the new show have been pretty hard to avoid and have focused on stars Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Taissa Farmiga, Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy.
Now, the first five minutes of the show have been released, and while it doesn’t feature any of those stars, it does feature a set of twin bully redheads getting their comeuppance.
Sex Crimes and the Vatican is a documentary film by Colm O’Gorman, who was raped by a Catholic priest in the diocese of Ferns in County Wexford in Ireland when he was 14 years old. Father Sean Fortune was charged with 66 counts of sexual, indecent assault and another serious sexual offence relating to eight boys but he committed suicide on the eve of his trial. Colm started an investigation with the BBC in March 2002 which led to the resignation of Dr Brendan Comiskey, the bishop leading the Ferns Diocese. Colm then pushed for a government inquiry which led to the Ferns Report.