Sunday, October 20, 2013

Valuable Educational Resource: Stephen Fry's BBC Series "Out There" Now at YouTube

Earlier in the week, I posted a video in which Stephen Fry interviews "ex-gay" therapist Joseph Nicolosi, founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). That video was a snippet from a much longer two-part series that Fry did for BBC. The series looks closely at how gay folks are received in various cultures of the world. To be precise: it focuses on the objections that people have to accepting or tolerating gay persons in some societies in the world.

The video at the head of the posting is the first program in this two-part series. The second installment is here (link will open to a video). Points that strike me as I watch:

1. Though they represent different cultures and religious persuasions, the homophobic activists Fry interviews have a number of things in common. To a man, all of them clearly hunger and thirst for control of others. That's what all of these men are about primarily: lust for control of others. And gay folks are useful instruments as they attempt to seize and exercise control.

2. There's a commonality to their bugbear arguments: gays are after your children. Gays want to recruit your children. Gays want to molest your children. Gays are dirty and diseased and will infect you and your children.

3. Another argument that keeps cropping up: this is the moral line in the sand we have to draw, if we want any kind of morality at all in our societies--to exclude and persecute those who are gay. Let that line be crossed, and everything in the world will fall apart.

4. Need I point out that the homophobic activists Fry interviews are all men? What's that about, the propensity of men rather than women (though women can be every bit as hostile to gay folks as men can and every bit as bent on control of others) to want this kind of control via stigmatization of a targeted minority?

5. The places in which he meets many of these men: boxes; rectangles; sharp angles; offices; places in which the symbols of authority valued by these men desiring control are prominently displayed. By their very arrangement, they aren't places conducive to productive conversations. They're places conducive to having an authority figure talk down to those who have no power. They're places conducive to the control that these men want to exercise over others.

6. So many of the faces of the gay and lesbian people Fry interviews strike me as so human. So many of the faces of the homophobes strike me as the opposite of human--as inhumane, in fact.

7. I wonder: would impartial observers see spirituality in the faces of these men ranting about sodomy and disease? In the face, for example, of former Catholic priest Hon. Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo, the Ugandan Minister of Ethics and Integrity? Or would they see spirituality, instead, in the face of Dr. Dennis Wamala, the doctor sponsoring a clinic in Uganda for people infected with HIV? 

8. How is that we've come to the point, as a human community, that people who so obviously do not represent the ideals of spirituality in most religious traditions of the world in any viable way at all imagine that they uniquely embody those ideals, even as they betray them in how they mistreat those who are gay?

And as long as I'm recommending videos about these matters to readers today, let me recommend in closing today's heartwarming New York Times video coverage of the story of Mr. Duckett and Dr. Jones, who have been together for over 46 years and who married this past year (link will open to a video).

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