Africa is one of the worst places in the world to be openly gay. Homosexuality is a crime in at least 36 countries on the continent, forcing LGBTQ individuals to form communities in the shadows.
London-based The NEST Collective‘s Toronto documentary “Stories of Our Lives” is an attempt to bring those voices to light. But the Kenya Film Classification Board has barred the film from ever being seen in the country, where homosexuals face a potential 12 year prison sentence.
The board, which regulates exhibition of film content to the public, cites that the doc “has obscenity, explicit scenes of sexual activities and it promotes homosexuality which is contrary to our national norms and values.”
Filmmakers Jim Chuchu, George Gachara and Njoki Ngumi plan an appeal to retract the decision, and NEST has responded: “Does the film transgress ‘national norms and values’? ‘Stories Of Our Lives’ is a film about people, it’s about co-existence, it’s about finding love and belonging. We made this film to open dialogue about identities, what it means to be Kenyan, and what it means to be different. By placing a restriction on this film, the Board has chosen to delay this inevitable conversation.”
“Stories” is the first feature film from NEST and while it has been silence in the country of its focus, the film will find an open-armed audience. The world is ready to talk about this issue. Here’s the trailer: