Groundbreaking documentary series makes for excellent television. The two-time Emmy-nominated series “Gaycation,” which premiered on Viceland, has been on an unknown hiatus since late 2016. The show is hosted by Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page and filmmaker/writer Ian Daniel, who have the incredible opportunity to showcase the adversity and love the LGBTQ+ community experience around the world.
Beginning in March of 2016 as part of Vice’s new programming launch, the series, with its various cultural perspectives, exposes the political discrimination, hatred and violence many in these minority communities experience. The show’s accurate reflection of current present-day issues has left audiences stunned and gasping for more.
“Gaycation” originated when Spike Jonze, co-president of Viceland and friend of Page, asked for input on possible show ideas. Page told Deadline, “There have been many moments in my life, continuing through a society that oppresses LGBT people—whether travelling, or needless to say, in my day to day life, or growing up in a place like Nova Scotia—so it just seemed like an interesting way to use the format of the “travel show,” investigating this reality that people live through and comparing it to the situation in America.”
The small traveling team of around eight have put themselves in numerous and uncomfortable situations to advocate the motivation and need for a series of this kind. Having worked around the clock to present two seasons in one year, the team reveals issues that have been going on for a long time but have never been talked about on a wider platform.
The show is a journey to uncover more about LGBTQ+ history and culture and what it means to be a queer person around the world. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been word of a Season 3, and it’s been over a year and a half.
The last episode, a special on Oct. 2, 2016, premiered in response to the presidential election. The 45-minute show looked at how the Trump administration could affect the LGBTQ+ community. A new season should be implemented since the political climate has changed so much not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well including Kenya, Russia and South East Island.
Co-host Daniel explained the purpose of the show to Deadline, “The intention of the show is to look, universally and globally, at how people are discriminated against and oppressed—to understand why that happens and our collective role in that, our collective responsibility. I don’t think we can really separate ourselves from each other.” The show, with or without its current hosts, should continue to look at more countries facing queer adversity.
Many cities have had the opportunity to be showcased. Cities such as France, Ukraine, Japan, Brazil and Jamaica all have contributed impactful episodes on the shows current run. The show has had multiple episodes which suggests that big countries like the United States and Canada have an opportunity to stage a loving and tolerant environment but waste it by being in denial of their own history.
On the other hand, by producing a show like this, the U.S. is making a statement and heralding a new era for modern television. Keeping “Gaycation” on air is what will help those in the LGBTQ community get closer to acceptance and tolerance. By seeing Page and Daniel travel to gay-specific areas in other countries, audiences are able to see and learn about the free-loving spirit of foreign queer communities.
In Japan, the hosts went to Ni-chōme, the gay district in Tokyo, and then Kyoto, which houses a Buddhist temple where symbolic same-sex wedding ceremonies take place. In another episode, the team visited a lesbian bar in Rio, but in other places like Jamaica, gay bars don’t exist.
The apparent cultural differences between the countries helps to demonstrate the reality for a lot of the citizens in these communities. “People in the LGBTQ community, the Latinx community, people of color community are facing hatred and violence and death at a high rate, and it’s only growing because that’s what’s being presented, and that’s what’s in the media,” said Daniel.
“Gaycation” puts forth a brave face that shouldn’t be taken for granted. The show has exemplified strong human ethics while visiting multiple dangerous places. Additionally, their conversations with conservative individuals makes the show worthwhile and empowers audiences.
The results of the show have been incredible as countries have begun to take a greater stand for their queer communities. It is a shame, however, that like other shows that focus on queer communities, “Gaycation” has seemingly been cut short before ever reaching its prime.
The reality is that these programs have to work harder than the typical show. Taking a break, however brief it may be, might come across to some as backing down.
The LGBTQ community is one that has always been around and is here to stay. No matter the location, the queer community needs an outlet in order to raise awareness and inspire change. If Season 3 ever happens, “Gaycation” is just the show that could continue doing that for them.