Must-See TV: Gaycation

Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, hosts of Gaycation. Photo courtesy of the Vice Channel.

Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, hosts of Gaycation. Photo courtesy of the Vice Channel.

You don’t realize how lucky you are to be an LGBTQ person living in the United States until you watch “Gaycation,” a new travel show on the Viceland Channel.

Every Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern newly out actress Ellen Page and her friend, art curator Ian Daniel, check out LGBTQ life in different nations. So far, they have visited Japan, Jamaica and Brazil.

At first I thought this was a breezy travel show visiting gay hot spots around the world. But this program has a serious side and packs and enormous emotional punch. Watching it is truly sobering.

For instance in Japan there is no religious culture that overtly condemns people who are LGBTQ. However, despite having bustling gay districts in places such as Tokyo, being gay is still considered abnormal. And Japan’s conformist, conservative culture discourages open conversation about sexuality.

Ellen and Ian interviewed a gay man who had entered into a marriage of convenience with a lesbian so he could save face with his family. Sadly, he said even if gay marriage becomes legal in Japan he will never come out of the closet.

Ellen Page talks with gay homeless youth in Jamaica have been run out of a lot where they had been squatting. People driving by in cars had pelted them with rocks and one man had been stabbed. Most said they wanted to leave Jamaica.

Ellen Page talks with gay homeless youth in Jamaica forced out of a lot where they squatted. People driving by in cars  pelted them with rocks and stabbed one man. The men said their only hope of living a fulfilling life was to leave Jamaica.

In another scene in Japan a man hired a person to pretend to be his friend so he could muster the courage to admit to his mother, who had raised him alone, that he was gay. When his mother burst in tears and ran from the room it was heartbreaking to watch.

In Brazil gay marriage is legal and Brazilians celebrate gay culture during carnival. But Brazil is still deeply machismo and homophobic and the South American nation has one of the highest murder rates of people who are LGBTQ.

One of the most affecting scenes in Brazil was when Ellen and Ian talked to the mother and lover of a man murdered simply because he was gay. Despite acting as an objective journalist Ellen burst out crying as she embraced the grieving mother and lover.

And the most chilling scene was when Ian and Ellen interviewed a masked, former policeman who murdered people simply because they are gay. This  man was angry because he came home and discovered his son in bed with another man.

He accused his son of deceiving him and decided to take out his rage on other gay people. Fortunately his son ran way from home to escape his father’s wrath.

In Jamaica being gay is a class-based thing. If you are middle or upper class you can get away with it. But in poorer  neighborhoods gay men and lesbians, especially those who are too feminine or butch to hide their sexuality, risk beatings, “corrective” rapes, torture and death.

Yet in Jamaica, despite its reputation as one of the most homophobic countries on the planet, there was a glimmer of hope.

At the end of the episode a small group of brave lesbians and gay men held the country’s first Pride gathering. They went through with the event, dancing in a public square, even though they risked beatings or even death.

Despite lingering hate in the United States we take for granted the rights we have here as people who are LGBTQ. After watching Gaycation I will never take these rights for granted again.


11 thoughts on “Must-See TV: Gaycation

  1. Attention all readers. There is a new webshow called ‘ABOUT HIM’ on youtube on the youtube channel: signal23tv. Go to youtube and type in: About Him Episode 1 Suspect Behavior. Enjoy!
    This show is also a must see.

  2. I would love to watch this, hats off to actress Ellen Page. A.k.a. Juno, I loved that movie by the way. It really takes courage to live in one’s destined truth.

  3. Gaycation exceeded my expectations. I like Vice, and figured the show would be interesting. But i saw a preview and only saw Ellen Page amd thought it would mostly focus on lesbians. Wrong! So far I’ve only seen the Japan episode, but i cant wait to see more and would recommend it

  4. When I first saw the previews, for Gaycation I thought, is this what it has come to, for Ellen Page. I haven’t seen her in much, since Juno and coming out. So I thought, is this the only gig she can get, a show about hot gay spots around the world. Kinda like when Tara Reid hosted a show about hot party spots around the world, after her acting gigs dried up. However, after reading your post, I understand I was completely wrong about, about the show. I got to say, I’m not any more likely to watch the show now. Even though it sounds very educational, informative, and moving. It sounds like it would depress me…a whole lot. I may change my mind, down the road.

    Now a month ago, I came across the “About Him” teaser. I think I didn’t even finish it. I did though tell myself I would check it out later.
    Oh but thanks Anonymous, because I forgot all about it. It got me hard as a rock! I was a little worried the second episode, would lose the boner, with the dying mother previews. I might have soften up a bit, but the end of the episode, brought me right back to full hardonage. Am I the only one, who is scared, that the brother will kill somone, by the end of the season? Plus, who is the “him” in the “About Him,” the main character, the brother, or the brother’s best friend?

    • The Blog Artist Formerly Known as YB&DL please watch Gaycation if you can. It’s very good although I understand seeing all the oppression and ignorance can get you down. In Jamaica they interviewed Beenie Man. I love his work but some of the stuff he said was stupid as hell, like gay people should not embarrass Jamaica and should just stay silent and oppressed. Meanwhile I looked at who he was hanging with and it was nothing but young boys. I didn’t see not ONE woman in his hang-out group. Get da fuck outta here. From what I have seen gay people are the whipping posts for other oppressed people. They can always say, “Well, I’m better than those evil faggots.”

      Oh and YES!! About Him is hot as hell. Do those guys ever put on shirts. The friend of his brother who seduced him is hot as hell. But is he really bisexual? It will be interesting to see where it goes!

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