BBC Three explores what it means to be queer in Britain in 2017

BBC Three today announced a brand new series, Queer Britain, presented by YouTuber and journalist Riyadh Khalaf. Starting Sunday 7 May on BBC Three’s iPlayer and YouTube channels, the weekly series consists of six episodes which aims to get under the skin of queer culture and shine a light on the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

Published: 11 April 2017
The series pulls no punches and goes straight to the heart of the issues facing LGBTQ+ people in the UK today.
— Riyadh Khalaf

Riyadh - who has a Middle Eastern and Irish heritage - uses his own personal experiences to explore issues affecting many 16-35 year-old LGBTQ+ people across the UK. Across the series, Riyadh meets those sleeping rough as a consequence of their sexuality, those who are shunned by the LGBTQ+ community to going behind the scenes with performers from the highly successful club night, Sink The Pink.

Riyadh Khalaf says: "I’m incredibly excited for Queer Britain to be released. This was a real passion-project which has moved, inspired and educated me in more ways than I ever could have imagined. The series pulls no punches and goes straight to the heart of the issues facing LGBTQ+ people in the UK today. At times it’ll make you feel uncomfortable, shocked and maybe even upset, but overall I think you will see the beauty and diversity of this community in its full glory. This is a raw representation of modern Queer life - the highs, the lows and the high heels!"

Max Gogarty, Executive Producer for BBC Three, says: "This is an exciting series that offers a distinctive, contemporary and colourful look at what it means to be young and queer in Britain today. Launching a formidable new talent in Riyadh, a diverse and young team behind the camera, plus brilliant short-form for social around each episode, I'm sure it will have real impact with audiences and the wider community."


Episode synopses

The series explores everything the queer landscape has to teach about identity, acceptance and equality, with episodes including...

Episode 1: Does God Hate Queers?
Raised as Catholic, with a Muslim father, Riyadh has his own take on religion and being gay. He meets people who have lost their religious communities, found salvation in a new inclusive religious family, or found an unconventional route to having the best bits of their gay and faith identities.

Episode 2: The Search For The Perfect Body
Having himself felt the pressure to ‘masc-up’, Riyadh sets out to explore the fundamentals of masculinity in a bid to understand the growing trend of gay men suffering from increased levels of body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and self-harm. From the drag scene and femme-shaming through to taking part in a cover shoot for a gay magazine, Riyadh will be looking at where the pressure for masculine perfection is coming from.

Episode 3: Out On The Streets
Around a quarter of young homeless people in Britain identify as being LGBTQ+ - but once homeless, their sexual identity is overshadowed by the stigma of homelessness. If home is where the heart is, Riyadh asks, why do so many queer people find themselves without a home?

Episode 4: Are Gays Racist?
From a mixed-race household with Middle Eastern and Irish heritage, Riyadh with his unusual name and fair complexion knows first-hand how judgemental the gay community online can be. With his perceived ‘white privilege’, he explores the casual racism in the LGBTQ+ community and asks, when does preference become prejudice?

Episode 5: Porn Idols
Riyadh immerses himself into the world of pornography. In an age when the average teen is getting their sexual education online, Riyadh wants to get under the skin on what’s on offer. He’ll be looking at why gay men are fetishizing ‘chavs’, the difference between lesbians porn and queer porn, and what it our pornographic appetites tell us about sexual identity.

Episode 6: Queer And Proud
Riyadh gets to grips with all things ‘Queer’. A once pejorative label, reclaimed by academics and activists in the 80s, it has now become an all-encompassing identity. So, what does it mean to be queer in Britain in 2017?

BBC Three