Viceland's Gaycation follows actress Ellen Page and her best friend, filmmaker Ian Daniel as they make their way across the world exploring LGBTQ cultures. The Juno actress who came out after years of "lying by omission" now ventures to Japan, Brazil and Jamaica and other countries where she meets with people of both sides of the issue – homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people trying to find acceptance society as well as people who still find it difficult to accept LGBTQ people.
Coming out in Japan
In their first episode, Ellen and Ian head to Japan where they get friendship-married at a Buddhist temple and enjoy a party at the world's smallest gay bar. They also meet with straight female fans of gay-male erotic manga who explain the thrill of watching something taboo. They even accompany a young man when he decides to come out to his mother, one of the highlights of the episode.
Gay killers in Brazil
Travelling to Brazil for episode two, Ellen describes the country as being one "with some of the most progressive equality laws in Latin America that also has the highest LGBTQ murder rate in the world". In Rio de Janeiro around the time of the Carnivale, they meet with a famous transgender activist and later, after getting drunk at a lesbian bar, come face to face with a police officer who boasts about having killed gay people because they are "worse than animals".
The Gaycation team also sets up an interview with Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, who Ellen describes as "a major voice in the anti-gay movement in Brazil". After getting off to an uncomfortable start, the politician explains, "I believe that for the majority of gay people it's a behavioral issue. When I was young, talking about percentage, there were few [gay people]. Over time, due to liberal habits, drugs, with women also working, the number of homosexuals has really increased."
He also indicated that he believed that non-gay people are influenced to "turn gay" when they hang out with "certain people with a certain behaviour".
Page patiently listens to Bolsonaro's explanation and before ending the interview says, "As a gay person, if I can make you feel any better about this fear you seem to have; I don't want anyone to be gay who's not gay. I want gay people who are suffering and in the closet and suicidal to be OK and to love who they are. But I don't want people who aren't gay to be gay. Except for maybe Kate Winslet."
Jamaica's existing buggery law
Ellen and Ian head to Jamaica for episode three of Gaycation where they meet with a Rastafari leader who explains that in the Rastafari religion, homosexuality is frowned on. From then, they continue to learn why the country is so anti-gay. The Freeheld actress also cites a survey that says that 80% of Jamaicans think homosexuality is immoral.
On meeting Leighton Mullings who organises LGBT travel packages they realise that class plays a big role in being accepted as gay. They later meet with a bishop for a conversation about the sexual practices of homosexuals and then the Minister of Justice Mark Golding who seems to be sitting on the fence when it comes to the subject of the "buggery law" that makes sodomy punishable by prison time. A large percentage of asylum seekers from Jamaica have fled the country because of its homophobic culture.
Along with showcasing the bleak situation that the country's LGBTQ community face, Ellen and Ian also focus on Jamaica's first gay pride parade which takes place without any attacks.
Gaycation airs on Viceland every Wednesday at 10pm EST or 9pm CST. Previous episodes can also be viewed online on the TV channel's website. The latest episode requires a cable login.