8.07.2013

"Born This Way" - A Documentary on Homophobia in Cameroon

Yesterday I wrote about the stigmatization, discrimination, and violence towards Cameroon's LGBT community. As I mentioned yesterday, there are more arrests for simply being homosexual in Cameroon than in any other country in the world. 

In order to avoid such outright violence and discrimination, many of Cameroon's LBGT community have to hide from the laws against them. I found out about a a new documentary (thanks for the tip Tyler Paziuk!) that has been released which follows four young, gay Cameroonians to illustrate their day-to-day life and the discrimination and hardships they regularly face.

The film, however, goes beyond merely following the lives of these Cameroons. Rather, it aims to change the government and Cameroonian populace's attitudes towards homosexuals. The directors state their goal perfectly:

"Although the situation for LGBT people in Cameroon is grim, when asked at a press conference in January 2013 about his country’s high prosecution rate for homosexuality, President Biya said, “There is no reason to despair. Minds are changing.” One month later, American Ambassador to Cameroon Robert P. Jackson invited President Biya to the premiere of Born This Way on behalf of the U.S. State Department. President Biya did not attend, but his ambassador to Germany met with the filmmakers and the American Ambassador to Germany and had a very open discussion about sexuality in Cameroon.

Nearly absolute power rests with Cameroon’s president, and we believe that he is opening up to the idea of dropping his country’s anti-homosexuality law. If it does change, the LGBT community will be able to work openly toward dispelling common homophobic stereotypes (that homosexuality is imported from the West, that it is a form of demon possession, that it is contagious). In fact, our friends in Cameroon say that public attitudes have already started to shift over the last few years. Some of them are comfortable enough to be out publicly now. They believe the public is ready for this message, and Born This Way is poised to be a tool for awareness-building and sensitization about this crucial human rights issue."

Stay Tuned with ‘Born This Way’: Twitter || Facebook

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