“What if the freedom to be yourself all came down to where you live?” That fundamental question guided a very special live episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on Oct 24, when the Queen of Talk explored the theme “Gay Around the World.”
Seemingly designed as a response to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran’s controversial declaration at Columbia University in September that no gay people exist in his country, the hour-long program took viewers into the lives of men and women who suffer and struggle to survive in the lands of their birth because of their sexual orientation.
In addition to a glimpse into gay life in Iran, Winfrey offered interviews with high-profile guests such as Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India, whose coming out last year shocked his country and shamed his family, and former NBA player, John Amaechi, who after his professional basketball career ended, published his memoir, Man In The Middle, in February.
Lesbian spoken-word poet, Staceyann Chin, also appeared and discussed the sexual assault that prompted her to leave her native country of Jamaica and move to New York City. Her moving account cited the homophobia that is most often associated with the country’s reggae music scene, through controversial artists such as Buju Banton and his anti-gay song from 1992, “Boom Bye Bye.”