Thursday, April 7, 2016

GAYCATION

I'm not one to watch much television. I watch maybe four shows on the regular networks, and then I have about 6 shows from BBC on my public tv network. But when I was flipping channels the other night I came across a network called Viceland, that seems to have many cutting edge docu-series. Pretty interesting shows. But the stand out was a show titled Gaycation.
Imagine that you live in a country where every day, someone like you is murdered, and the average life expectancy in your community is only 30 years old. This is what it's like to be gay or trans in Brazil, which has the highest number of murdered transgender people in the world. And this is why actress Ellen Page decided to create a docu-series with Viceland called Gaycation, so she could travel to these very places and show us what we urgently need to see. Actress Ellen Page, who first made a name for herself when she earned an Oscar nomination for her role in 2007's Juno, has thrown herself into LGBTQ activism since she came out as a lesbian during an inspiring speech at the Human Rights Campaign's Time to Thrive conference. Page has promoted LGBT rights in her feature film work, too, co-producing and co-starring alongside Julianne Moore in last year's Freeheld, which told the story of a lesbian couple battling for equality.  She didn’t necessarily imagine herself using a television series to educate and enlighten—not until she had a conversation with Spike Jonze, the co-president of Vice's new cable network Viceland. So Page suggested she host the series with her best friend Ian Daniel, a documentarian. The rest is history... Page and Daniel packed their bags and began production on the series that takes them from Japan to Jamaica.
Page and Daniel find themselves in some pretty intense situations, and one of the most startling encounters is seen in an episode devoted to Brazil that aired in March—Page and Daniel conduct an interview with a former cop turned hitman, who, in disguise, casually talks about killing gay people, even running them down with his car because he hates them so much. Watching the interview is disturbing, but it drives home the point about how dangerous life is in Brazil for members of the LGBTQ community in a way that simply telling the audience that the country has the highest LGBT murder rate in the world doesn't.
 
In the episode of Gaycation devoted to Japan, we see that although the LGBT community there doesn't face the same level of violence present in Brazil, societal pressures do keep people in the closet. Page and Daniel meet one young man who decides to come out to his mother. Sadly, he doesn't have a real friend to be there with him, so he makes the declaration to his mother with a rented "friend"—yes, you can rent friends in Japan—sitting by his side to offer moral support. Page and Daniel are also there observing the emotional moment.
 
In another episodes of Gaycation , they focused on parts of Canada, Jamaica and the United States. Page, a native of Canada who lives in Los Angeles, says it was important to shoot an episode in the U.S. so that it didn't appear as though they were traveling the world passing judgment on everyone else. Beyond that, there is plenty of material right here at home. She said in one show "There is so much to celebrate in the United States—the recent Supreme Court decision, is one of those amazing things, but trans community of color have a life expectancy of 35, which is absolutely horrific; and 40% of homeless youth are LGBT; and in 31 states, we can be fired or denied housing just for being a member of the community," Page points out.
 
While Gaycation isn't at all preachy, Page does hope that the series will make anyone who is complacent realize that a lot of work still needs to be done so that LGBTQ people everywhere can live in peace and equality. "We want to help people understand what the situation is, and if that means you take action, amazing. If that makes you treat people in a more kind way, or look at situations differently, or you look at the rhetoric coming from certain politicians and understand that it is really destructive, great," says Page, who famously had an exchange with Republican senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz about gay rights at the Iowa State Fair last year that was seen on the U.S.-themed episode of Gaycation.
 
Did she ever go head to head with Cruz. I absolutely loved what she said about politicians too. " Were surrounded by so much homophobia, I don't have time for some conservative dude who's running for President, spewing his shit, which is responsible for this, which it is. You can't tell me that it's not. You have so much influence...and you are perpetuating  a society that is homophobic and transphobic....Don't discriminate against people, just don't. Don't say now gay people are the bigots cause we want equal rights. It's now acceptable. Can we just move pass this? And if the politician's don't makes these issues disappear, then their going to disappear."
 
Another thing I thought was great is Gaycation's more subtle triumphs: highlighting a type of relationship that has been intrinsic to queer history but that is never truly depicted in media. A love between a lesbian and a gay man that is exactly that: love. It's great and rare to see a gay man and lesbian being such close great friends. We are, after all, one community. If you have a chance to see this series it is so well done, all why educating.

15 comments:

  1. I actually did catch this, and almost thought it was going to be about gay travel locales. But well a eye opening and purposeful show. I have deep respect for Ellen Page. She’s the face of a new generation and she’s bringing that perspective around the world. Win-win in my book.

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  2. I don't think I get the network, but Im happy to see it on demand. I only caught the first two shows and I am very impressed by Ellen Page’s courage in this series. She has evolved from actress to activist, and I think we’re going to see her do great things.

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  3. It sounds like a very interesting show. I hope it plays on a channel I get. Thanks for the heads up. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

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  4. A really good premise, and sadly there will be no shortage of places where they will encounter oppression and discrimination. I saw it and really enjoyed it. A real eye opener, and what a way to go yet.

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  5. We have it better than most here in the US, but still have so far to go. I note that Page and Daniel did not make it to any Muslim countries. I’m sure it’s much too dangerous. But there is a second season coming It will take a very long time for LGBT people to secure their rights in such places. I also wonder did you watch on Viceland Weediquette? It shows legalization of marijuana and the reasons for it. And Balls Deep is a pretty interesting show to with Thomas Morton.

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  6. I have nominated you for the most prestigious Music and Words award!
    https://fearsomebeard.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/award-winning-beard/

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    1. What!?!? I will be over and thank you dear Fearsome for such a kind honor.

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  7. Powerful stuff - - and it takes an immense amount of courage and determination to reveal it.

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  8. I'd heard of the show -- I seriously thought it was about gay vacations and I wasn't really that interested -- and I'd even seen it in the listings on the DVR, but now, thanks to you, I'm gonna look for it.

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    1. I think you'd enjoy the show. It a very poignant and Ellen and Ian do such a great job. Some very touching scenes and hard to swallow content.

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  9. I will too have to look for this. While were very lucky for our rights and what we have over come, we too have a long way to go yet, and we should count the blessings we have so far....it could be worst, like so many in our neighboring communities.

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  10. I love Ellen Page! She's from Canada, you know -- the Maritimes. Anyway, this series sounds great. I'll watch for it on our GLBT station here, I'm sure they'll show it eventually.

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  11. I'm not sure I get this network, but I have to see this show. I'll need to look for it this weekend.

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  12. I must find this network!
    We've got a homeless shelter for LGBT kids - it's always full. Always!! It breaks my heart...they get my donations whenever possible. We brought one to our house - it was my wife's idea. We fed him, he showered, and we gave him clean clothes, and a bunch of food for his knapsack when he wanted to leave. Offered to take him to the shelter, he didn't want to go so we dropped him at the strip mall of his choice.
    I wonder if the network is connected to Bill Marh's show "Vice."
    Anyway, Happy Friday, mistress!! (And, we're the same size! LOL.)

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  13. Thank you for this post, Maddie. It is disturbing, troubling and disheartening, but important to keep in the public eye. You're the best.

    Heterosexuals certainly have it good; everything fashioned and orchestrated toward their comfort. The majority may contain those who express outrage at discrimination and violence against those who are different, yet they still turn a blind eye when it comes to things like the Olympics, which were held in anti-gay Russia, and are now coming up in Brazil.

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Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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