Dr Ranj has discussed the importance of ‘looking out for our international family’, as LGBTIs continue to be persecuted in Chechnya, Brunei and beyond.
‘It’s really, really worrying,’ he said, speaking to GSN in London yesterday. ‘We do know there are still countries around the world, several of them, where being gay is punishable by death.
‘All we can do is put pressure on these nations. Either politically or campaigning, to try and change some of these views.’
He furthermore added: ‘It’s really sad that a nation as beautiful as Brunei has some very archaic views on certain things. I hope they’ll be able to see past that and change the direction they’re going.’
Asked if he’s boycotting the Sultan of Brunei’s hotels, Dr Ranj said: ‘I have been, because I fundamentally don’t agree with what he’s done. I think that’s one of the ways we can show our protest.’
The Sultan’s famous properties include London’s The Dorchester and The Beverly Hills Hotel in LA.
TV personality Dr Ranj was speaking at The Auction, the annual London fundraiser for HIV and sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, where RuPaul’s Drag Race UK judge Graham Norton was also in attendance.
‘We have an obligation’
Dr Ranj also recently gave his support to GSN’s campaign to support LGBTIs in Chechnya, where queer locals are being terrorized and executed.
‘It’s time we came out of that era,’ he said. ‘We need to move on. We have an obligation as LGBT+ people to look our for our family internationally; to speak on their behalf when they can’t. That’s why I recently did a video with Gay Star News highlighting what’s happening in Chechnya.’
Dr Ranj – whose new cookbook Save Money Lose Weight (‘it’s about about maintaining a healthy weight on a budget’) is out soon – of course competed on last year’s series of hit BBC1 show Strictly Come Dancing. He was the sixth contestant to be eliminated.
He has also appeared on This Morning, Good Morning Britain and of course the BAFTA-winning CBeebies show Get Well Soon.