Representation of Queer People in Kenyan (and Afrikan) Movies Matters!

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We need to realize that we need representation in the media, we need something to reflect to and realize we are not alone, that there are people just like “me”out here. Remember, they don’t teach this kind of love out here so we have to be patient with ourselves.

Here are some films in a queer Kenyan context and we are sure many more will follow.

(I AM SAMUEL) Samuel grew up on a farm in the Kenyan countryside, where tradition is valued above all else. He moves to Nairobi in search of a new life, where he finds belonging in a community of fellow queer men where he meets and falls in love with Alex. Their love thrives even though Kenyan laws criminalize anyone who identifies as LGBTQ, and together they face threats of violence and rejection. Samuel’s father, a preacher at the local church, doesn’t understand why his son is not yet married and Samuel must navigate the very real risk that being truthful to who he is may cost him his family’s acceptance.

(RAFIKI) Who can forget Rafiki when it first made airwaves all over the nation. Kena and Ziki live very different lives in Nairobi. Kena works in her father’s shop and awaits the start of nursing school, while Ziki passes the days hanging out with her friends and making up dance routines. Their paths cross when their fathers run against each other for seats in the County Assembly, and they find themselves drawn to each other. Soon their interest grows to affection and the girls find ways to love each other despite the ever-watching gaze of the neighborhood.

(STORIES OF OUR LIVES) Stories of Our Lives is a Kenyan film, released in 2014. Created by the members of The Nest Collective, a Nairobi-based arts collective, the film is an anthology of five short films dramatizing true stories of LGBT life in Kenya.

Honorable Mention to (PEARL OF AFRICA) A Ugandan transgender woman struggles and prevails as she lives in an actively transphobic environment.

Credits to the Gay And Lesbian Coalition of Kenya.

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