Fry has written two books about Greek mythology.

In a digital talk given at the Hay Festival, Stephen Fry has praised the way that Greek mythology presented same-sex relationships as something that wasn’t “anything particularly special.”

Fry made the remarks when he was asked about the way that Hollywood had been representing ancient Greek LGBTQ characters. “We are aware that Hollywood is unlikely to spend too much time over that nature of things, and yes that is a pity, but on the other hand, the beauty of Greek culture is that it didn’t make anything particularly special about LGBT relationships,” he responded.

“What was special was love – physical love and spiritual love, all the different types of Greek word for love. But it didn’t make them ‘the story’ because it was natural.

“And that very ease with which Greeks talked about male-male and female-female love is what is so glorious. It didn’t make a thing of it.”

Noting that things were different now, with same-sex love stories often being a focal point, he said: “We need to make a thing of it because we have grown up in a culture of suppression and dislike and so on – homophobia. We make a thing of it.

“The glory of the Greek civilisation is just that it is nothing, it’s just part of the joy of life.”


He added: “It almost sounds almost if I am betraying my own people here. I think LGBT people, we also have a habit of overstating, if you like, the absolute fact of this character’s queerness and so on.”

Earlier this week, Stephen Fry was part of a host of LGBTQ celebrities who delivered a message to LGBTQ people suffering during the current pandemic. The messages were organised by the British LGBT Awards and It Gets Better UK as part of the #InThisTogether campaign.

Other celebrities involved included Caitlyn Jenner, Lena Waithe, Duncan James, Dustin Lance Black, Bobby Berk, Dr. Ranj Singh, Mark Feehily, Mae Martin, Shelley King, Adele Roberts and Tom Read Wilson.

In his message, Stephen said: “We will get through this. We have to stay positive, if we can, and look towards brighter days ahead. And there will be brighter days ahead.

“I’m sending love to you all: stay safe, and snug and comfy and cosy, and confident. Lots of love.”

Related: Stephen Fry opens up about the “guilt and shame” he felt after suicide attempts