Published On: Sun, Jun 29th, 2014

Stephen Fry : “I’m as proud of being Jewish as I am proud of being gay”

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Legendary British comedian, actor and author Stephen Fry has spoken to the UK’s Jewish News about his pride in being both gay and Jewish, in support of the newspaper’s new LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) section.

“I’m as proud of being Jewish as I am proud of being gay, ” he told the newspaper on Monday. “The identity can never be taken away from me. Sometimes one has to stand up against homophobia and similarly against anti-Semitism. But there is so much to celebrate in each.”

“For Jews not to celebrate gays within their own community would be a schande, it seems to me, a shame and a disgrace.” he concluded.

Fry also recently lent his support to the first ever archive of LGBT Jewish history, which was launched in February at the London School of Economics.

The actor, who in 2005 went on a public quest to trace his Jewish ancestry on the BBC’s acclaimed “Who Do You Think You Are?” docu-series and found that his great-grandfather’s remains were dug out by anti-Semitic vandals, has been a vocal protestor against anti-Semitism and homophobia, often linking the two. Last year he sent a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympics Committee, calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games hosted by Russia, following the Russian government’s decision to impose heavy fines for anyone providing information about homosexuality to people under 18.

“I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s antisemitism.” he wrote on his website at the time. “Every time in Russia a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian ‘correctively’ raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.”

On Tuesday, Fry made another reference to his Jewishness, in this instance with regard to his Jewish identity coinciding with the fact the he considers himself an atheist. It occurred on Twitter, when Julian Storey, one of Fry’s Twitter account followers, wrote, “It puzzles me why any gay person would wish to follow a religion which disapproves of them?”

“Being Jewish is not a matter of religion”, Fry responded. “I’m a Jew, but don’t follow Judaism.”

Stephen Fry began his career in entertainment in the most unlikely setting of Queens’ College, Cambridge, whilst studying English literature. Whilst at Cambridge, Fry’s comedy talents attracted him to join the world-famous Cambridge Footlights, where he formed a long-term friendship and collaboration with well-known TV and film actor Hugh Laurie.

After completing university the duo co-wrote and co-starred in the comedy series “A Bit of Fry & Laurie”, with Fry later taking the role of legendary English butler Jeeves alongside Laurie’s Bertie Wooster in the outstanding hit British TV series “Jeeves and Wooster”.

Over the years Fry’s talents have diversified appearing in a number of classic movies, including being nominated for a Golden Globe award for his role in the life story of Oscar Wilde.

As well as appearing in some of the U.K.’s most popular comedy series and playing in TV dramas, Fry has also shown his serious side by writing and producing a number of documentaries, with the best-known undoubtably being “Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive”, describing his personal experiences battling mental illness, for which he won an Emmy award.





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