July 27, 2017

Gay Actor, Writer, Director, Feels LGBT Rights Are Eroding

Actor, writer and director Mark Gatiss – one of the most high-profile and powerful gay men in British TV – has voiced his concerns about the erosion of gay rights around the world.
As the BBC’s Gay Britannia season begins, Gatiss tells this week’s Big Issue that there is still an “awful lot to fight for” with LGBT rights, especially given the current political climate.
It is frightening how swiftly things could go back. With one sweep of a fountain pen they can undo laws
“In the metropolitan bubble, we can imagine that everything is straightforward and easy,” says Gatiss, who counts Doctor WhoSherlock and The League of Gentlemen among his TV credits.
“The world is a very different place. That is one of the things I find frustrating about the splintering of the gay movement. We have arguments about tiny aspects of our privileged experience while halfway round the world people are being set on fire for being gay. 
“There is a lot that has been gained and an awful lot still to fight for,” he continues. “It is frightening how swiftly things could go back. The things that have been exposed by the Brexit vote, and people feeling enfranchised to say things they would not have dared say even a couple of years ago, is just horrific. “Then look at Poland, look at Turkey – and as a result of Donald Trump, that sort of thing is echoing around the world. With one sweep of a fountain pen they can undo all this stuff. It is only a law.
“It has felt more politically charged of late because so many of those victories feel like they are slipping through our fingers.”
Ben Wishaw in a Queers monologue
As part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, marking half a century since the Sexual Offences Act, Gatiss was asked to curate a season of monologues charting life for gay men in the 50 years before and after the legislation.
From Ben Whishaw’s soldier (above) returning from the First World War trenches (10pm, July 31, BBC Four) to Alan Cumming reflecting on gay marriage in the present day (10.20pm, August 3, BBC Four) the Queers monologues, many by first-time writers for television, showcase a range of stories.
“I love monologues as a form,” says Gatiss. “Alan Bennett is a huge influence on me and he is a master of them. I thought this was so exciting – the opportunity to do something good and important.”

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