|Stephen Fry with Stosh, a victim of "correctional rape".|
Image from the mirror
Last night BBC2 aired the first part of Stephen Fry's new documentary, Out There. It's basically an exploration of what it's like to be gay in different parts of the world. The main thing I discovered by watching this programme is that here in the UK, we are incredibly fortunate. We have Civil Partnership, same sex adoptions, equal opportunities employers. I could go on and on. While being gay in the UK can still come with some problems, our sexuality is no longer illegal or classed as a mental illness. This is something I've contemplated in the past, the fact that 50 years ago, being gay could have seen me confined to a mental asylum receiving all number of hideous treatments designed to correct my so-called "sexual deviation". So yeah, I consider myself lucky that the only things I've had to deal with are insulting comments.
But as Stephen Fry revealed last night, there are those who are far less fortunate. Those like Ugandan lesbian Stosh (pictured above). When Stosh was just fourteen years old, one of the farmhands on the farm where she lived caught her in intimate situations with another girl. His solution was to "teach" her how to behave with boys. He raped her. Stosh was fourteen years old, had been raped by an older man and had no one to turn to. His actions were seen as "correctional rape" an attempt to make her straight. Stosh was left pregnant and infected with HIV. At fourteen years old, her whole life was brought crashing down all because of her sexual orientation.
While in Uganda, Stephen Fry spoke to the State Minister for Integrity and Ethics, Reverend Father Simon Lokodo. Lokodo believes that homosexuality is a mental perversion and is campaigning to introduce an anti-homosexuality bill, which if passed, could see homosexuals executed for their sexuality. He also spoke to Ugandan pastor Solomon Male, a staunch supporter of the anti-homosexuality bill. Some of the opinions that came out of the mouths of these two manically homophobic individuals were disgusting and just downright ludicrous. I mean come on, the idea that you can break your penis or develop appendicitis through homosexual sex is just beyond comprehension.
Despite his best attempts, Stephen Fry didn't really manage to talk any sense into the bigots he was talking to but he did manage to present us with a fantastic expose of homophobia. I really hope that there are some people out there that have been enlightened by the show.