The first trailer for Ellen Page's new Viceland Docu-series 'Gaycation' dropped yesterday and my news-feed went ballistic because VICE!!!! ELLEN PAGE!!!
'Gaycation' intends to follow Ellen Page and her best friend Ian Daniel across the globe - or as far as Brazil, Jamaica and Japan anyway - as they take a look at what lives are like for LGBTQ individuals around the world.
'Gaycation' will hopefully be an honest look at the challenges faced by the community outside of North America, and shed a little light on that one, single fact that we have always known: there are gay people EVERYWHERE.
As someone who currently lives and works in Japan, the portrayal of the realities for LGBTQ individuals here in the Land of the Rising Sun is of particular interest.
In 2009, Japan gave its denizens the right to marry visiting same-sex couples of foreign nationalities where same-sex marriage was legal. However, it was only last year that real traction began to be made on the issue of marriage equality for Japanese citizens themselves. In 2015, Shibuya and Setagaya Wards in Tokyo legalised same-sex partnership agreements (think civil union), with Takarazuka in Hyogo Prefecture, and Iga in Mie Prefecture allowing the same from this year.
It's a small step (and one possible fueled by Tokyo 2020), but a significant one in a nation that landed 104th on the World Economic Forum's 2014 gender gap report, and who's LGBTQ population - in spite of steadily growing numbers of Pride festivals and attendees - still remain predominantly underground and heavily closeted out of fear of discrimination in the workplace and the home.
Japan, although home to some creative subcultures, continues to be a nation which rests heavily on traditional patriarchal values. Discrimination here is quiet and insidious. You won't see Westboro Baptist Church picketing the memorial services of predominant queer figures, but you will see people quietly passed over for promotions in spite of their work performance, and its that which continues to keep Japan's LGBTQ population fairly quiet.
How this will be portrayed on 'Gaycation' remains to be seen, but one can only hope Page and Daniel managed to dig a bit deeper into queer Japan than simply dressing in Hakama and taking a trip to Shinjuku Nichome - Tokyo's prominent gay district.
As Page herself said, "We want to join the celebrations, document the struggles, feel the love and the hate, and bring home every human story we encounter along the way."
Here's hoping that's what she does. 'Gaycation' premieres on March 2 on Viceland.