Out actor Ellen Page and her best friend, Ian Daniel, who is also gay, are traveling the world for their new documentary series from Viceland, titled Gaycation.
In the latest episode, which is now available in its entirety on Viceland’s YouTube channel, Page and Daniel have traveled to Brazil to “explore a country whose relationship with the queer community is complex and often extreme,” Page explains in the opening narration for the episode. “It’s a country with some of the most progressive equality laws in Latin America, that also has the highest LGBTQ murder rate in the world.”
They arrive in Brazil at the outset of Carnivale, one of the “most sexually liberated parties on the planet,” Page explains. While in Rio de Janeiro, they and their crew meet with a legendary transgender activist who helped secure legal protections for trans sex workers in the city, get drunk at a lesbian bar, and then have a face-to-pixelated-face meeting with a police officer who brags that he has killed gay people because they are “worse than animals.” But that’s not even the most uncomfortable moment of the 45-minute episode.
That moment occurs when the Gaycation team sets up a meeting with Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, who Page describes as “a major voice in the antigay movement in Brazil.”
Page admits that she’s nervous to sit down with the unapologetically antigay lawmaker but also says she’s eager to have “an honest discussion to understand why he has such difficulty accepting LGBT people here.”
With cameras rolling, Page goes straight to the heart of the issue, pointing to Bolsonaro’s previous statements that suggest parents should “beat the gay out” of their children.
“I’m gay,” says Page. “So do you think that I should have been beaten as a child, to not be gay now?”
“I’m not going to look at you and say, ‘I think you’re gay,’” Bolsonaro responds. “That doesn’t matter to me. You’re very nice. If I were a cadet in the military academy and saw you on the street, I would whistle at you. All right? You’re very pretty.”
Page silently stares back at the congressman, stone-faced.
“I believe that for the majority of gay people it’s a behavioral issue,” Bolsonaro continues. “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.”
“I also tend to say if your son starts hanging out with certain people with a certain behavior, he’ll adopt that sort of behavior,” the congressman continues. “He’ll think it’s normal.”
“That’s the problem right there,” Page responds patiently. “You don’t think it’s normal, and you’ve said that you would rather have your son be dead than gay.”
“I won’t fight with you right now and transform you into a heterosexual, and you won’t turn me into a homo,” Bolsonaro concludes. “Let’s move on with our lives.”
But Page has some parting words of comfort for the lawmaker, who maintains that he is not homophobic. Page offers:
“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.”
Watch the entire episode below, with the Bolsonaro segment beginning at the 26-minute mark. Check out every episode of Gaycation on Viceland’s website; a log-in from your cable provider is required.