Monday, November 12, 2012

We Will Find You, Dirty Fag! You Are Dead!


Last year my friend Shaun went to Cameroon and made a movie, Born This Way-- you can see a couple minutes of footage above-- about changing antigay sentiments (and laws) in that West African nation. He's close to raising the money he needs to complete the film which follows Cedric and Gertrude, two young Cameroonians, as they move between a secret, supportive LGBT community and an outside culture that, though intensely homophobic, is in transition toward greater acceptance. Shaun:

Cameroon is on the cusp of change, poised to become an example of how tolerance and traditional cultures can coexist in the developing world.

Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon right now, but the penal code is under revision by the government. Our advisors believe that if Cameroon’s leaders see what life is really like for LGBT people in their own country, and if people around the world voice support, they will legalize being gay within the next 1-2 years. This can be a turning point for Central and West Africa, the beginning of the end of legalized homophobia.

It is very difficult to fight homophobia when you can go to jail for telling the story of who you are. If the law changes, outreach and education will become possible. Cameroonians will be able to work more openly to help the public understand that LGBT Africans are just regular people, born differently from the majority-- and that common homophobic stereotypes (that it is imported from the West, that it is a form of demon possession, that it is contagious, etc.) are false.  In fact, our friends in Cameroon say that public attitudes have already started to shift over the last 5 years. Some of them are comfortable enough to be out publicly now. They believe the public is ready for this message, but they cannot do it alone.

When the film is finished, we will launch a dual campaign to engage people outside of Africa to add their voices to the movement for legalization and to contribute funds to support Cameroonian LGBT centers in expanding their support services.
You can learn more about the film and the struggle in Cameroon and you can chip in to help here at IndieGoGo.



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