Stephen Fry is a British national treasure and if you asked random people on the street to name five famous gay men he’d get a lot of mentions, but like many people from the LGBT community it wasn’t easy for him to come out as gay to his parents, friends, and other relatives. He was actually inspired to come out by Elton John and his partner David Furnish, two other high profile gay British men.
Attitudes towards homosexuality have of course changed massively in the United Kingdom in the intervening years, as it has in most other developed countries, but there are still places in the world where just being gay is seen as a sin or taboo, or even illegal. Stephen Fry: Out There is a two part 2013 documentary produced by the BBC which follows Stephen Fry as he explores attitudes to homosexuality in other parts of the world. Both episodes are available to watch here on Documentary Vine.
Fry travels to Uganda where the government was considering introducing a new law which would make homosexuality a capital crime (punishable by death). In 2014, the year after this documentary was screened, that proposed new law was actually implemented. He also travels to the USA, where there are still many ultra-conservative religious groups, in America he explores ‘reparative therapy’ or ‘conversion therapy’, where homosexuals undergo therapy in an attempt to ‘cure’ them of their sexual urges.
In the second episode Stephen Fry visits Brazil where a gay person is murdered for their sexuality every 36 hours, and interviews a Brazilian politician who is anti-homosexuality, he also meets an elected Russian politician who is anti-homosexuality, and then on to explore the shunning of transgender people in India known as ‘Hijra’.