Veil of Silence


While many African countries consider homosexual acts illegal with anti-gay bills looming in parliament, in a rather unpredicted move Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni recently opposed the anti-gay bill passed by lawmakers. Contrary to Uganda, the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill that criminalizes same-sex relationships.
The said bill which prohibits couples from entering into either marriage or cohabitation, and membership into gay rights groups could lead to jail time of up to 14. A bill said to be raising eyebrows of gay rights activists and many others. While evoking and forcing the visibility of the underground gay world that exists not only in Nigeria but also other parts of Africa, with same or similar laws.

It seems, young-gay-Africans, for the most part, live precariously in hiding. But their stories –mostly by what seems like “new” western interest– are emerging, as in the latest Newsweek “Ethiopia’s War on Homosexuals”. Besides the western reporting, as of recent, Africans are beginning to narrate and document the lives of gays on the continent.

Habeeb Lawal, a Nigerian-born New York-based director’s upcoming new documentary bespeaks the Veil of Silence. The documentary, shot in Nigeria, takes on the matter in question, the anti-gay bill and the effects on the gay population and citizens at-large.

The synopsis:

Young group of sexual minorities in Nigeria defy all odds in the pursuit of happiness In the midst of all, their strength, resilience, vulnerability is brought to fore in this informative and mind-blowing documentary.  

The trailer unveils the silence by those that have come forward to share their stories, “Voices that must be Heard,” affirming, evoking, questioning human rights; a plea to cultural consideration stirring contemplation of kinds with avowals such as:

There is nowhere on earth where it is not right not to defend human rights.

I’m Nigerian and I’m gay, and I’m proud to be gay. We don’t want to be forced to turn in to refugees…

The same time when you can be very proud of who you are, the same time you’re depressed.

…You should build more prisons to take more people to jails, is that what it means?

These depth-filled and vulnerable words are anchored by powerful subheadings like: “Voices that must be heard”, “Stories that much be heard”, “Silences that must be broken”, and “Can you handle the truth?”

Veil of Silence is due to be released sometime in 2014, via VOD. Below, you can check out the trailer:


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