Nigeria's first lesbian love story goes online to beat film censors

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Ife tells the story of a whirlwind lesbian romance. (Photo: Pamela Adie/ Supplied)
Ife tells the story of a whirlwind lesbian romance. (Photo: Pamela Adie/ Supplied)

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 LGBTQI+ 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. LGBTQI+ people usually meet in secret or online as living openly risks stigma, family rejection or even stoning under Sharia law in the north.

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