- In an effort to subvert homophobic censorship, Ife, Nigeria's first lesbian love film is moving online.
- However, the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) said Nigeria's laws make no allowances for queer content.
- In most Nollywood films, LGBT+ characters are mentally ill or possessed.
- A 2014 law criminalising gay relationships is being used to prosecute 47 men for same-sex public displays of affection, after Nigerian police raided in 2018 what they said was a gay club.
Two naked women lie in bed, stroking each other’s hair and talking about coming out to their parents in Nigeria, where they could be jailed for 14 years for having a lesbian relationship.
The trailer for Nigeria’s first lesbian feature film, “Ife” - which means love in the Yoruba language - has been watched thousands of times since its was uploaded to YouTube in July, with viewers commenting on their excitement over its release.
“In Nigeria, there has never been a film like ‘Ife’,” said its producer Pamela Adie, one of Nigeria’s most prominent LGBT+ activists, who has been a World Economic Forum speaker and won recognition from the Obama Foundation as a young African leader.
“No film has had the impact it will have, or already has in Nigeria... The reception to the poster and the trailer has been mad. We expect that it will be madder when the full film is released,” the 36-year-old told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Nigeria is a deeply religious country, where millions reject homosexuality as a corrupting Western import. LGBT+ people usually meet in secret or online as living openly risks stigma, family rejection or even stoning under Sharia law in the north.
A 2014 law criminalising gay relationships is being used to prosecute 47 men for same-sex public displays of affection, after Nigerian police raided in 2018 what they said was a gay club. The men said it was a birthday party..