Stephen Fry’s documentary Out There will be a springboard for a panel discussion on the state of LGBT rights provincially, nationally and internationally.
Fry, a popular British actor, broadcaster and writer, explores what it means to be gay by telling the stories of people he met in North and South America, Africa, India and Russia. Airing Sept 10 and Sept 17 on TVO, the documentary will be paired with a panel discussion on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on Sept 11 and Sept 18.
“Viewers will see the doc and then we’ll continue the conversation the following night,” says Stacey Dunseath, broadcast series producer for The Agenda. “I think a lot of Ontarians are thinking about [LGBT rights]. WorldPride certainly brought these issues to the forefront.”
The panel discussion airing Sept 11 will include Andrea Houston, human rights advocate and former Xtra reporter; Graeme Reid, director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch; Fred Litwin, president of the Free Thinking Film Society; and Maurice Tomlinson, a lawyer and LGBT activist from Jamaica.
“Right now, one of the big things [Tomlinson] is doing is challenging the anti-sodomy laws in the Caribbean, not just in Jamaica,” Dunseath says. “He’s been working at that to convince parliamentarians to adopt our charter of rights, as opposed to their anti-gay laws that they’ve brought in that are really quite harsh.”
Reid brings the perspective of someone who travels the world and is knowledgeable about countries where being queer or trans puts your life in danger, but also recognizes there are battles left to be won in our own backyard, Dunseath says.
Litwin, whose blog Gay and Right explores being gay and conservative in Ottawa, will bring a unique perspective to the panel.
“He remembered being out protesting the police raids on bathhouses,” she says. “He’s not ‘big C’ conservative; that’s not who Fred Litwin is. He’s kind of like the Log Cabin Republicans in the States. They’re progressive while being conservative.”
Panellists will discuss their take on the state of LGBT rights provincially, nationally and internationally while questioning why some countries are becoming more progressive, while others, like Russia, are becoming more oppressive, she says.
Viewers can join the conversation on Twitter under the hashtag #AgendaTVO and on a live chat.
The Agenda’s Sept 18 episode will focus on trans rights. So far, Cheri DiNovo, NDP MPP for Parkdale–High Park, is the only confirmed guest for that episode, Dunseath says.
“She’s really tried to bring a lot of policy changes and legal changes [for trans rights], so I think she’ll be a good guest,” Dunseath says. “We could very easily use some of the same guests [from Sept 11’s show], but we’re going to broaden it. It’s always good to bring on fresh perspectives. We’re chasing quite a few people.”