Stephen Fry has praised the ancient Greek myths for not portraying LGBT relationships as “anything particularly special”.
The actor and author, 62, said modern society “made a thing” of queer partnerships because of homophobia.
Speaking during a live broadcast as part of the digital Hay Festival, Fry said the beauty of ancient Greek culture was in how it had portrayed love.
Fry, who married partner Elliott Spencer in 2015, was asked about the representation of ancient Greek LGBT characters in today’s Hollywood films.
He said: “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.
“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.”
He added: “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.
“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.”
Fry also read from the third book in his Greek trilogy, Troy, about the story told in Homer’s Iliad.
The stream was initially delayed and Fry quipped it was “a Hay tradition to be late”.