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.
Last week featured the Nairobi art collective, NEST, and their film “Stories Of Our lives”, giving us a glimpse of what went behind its production, including some of their anxieties the reception their work would get. Only a few days later after posting, The Kenya Film Classification Board banned the film for its depiction of homosexuality. This entry is their response to this ruling.
‘Our work is often not recognized or appreciated considering ”news” is still not considered as a priority area in the queer and sex work movement but thankfully this funding injection will help in professionalizing our work and supporting news of the news and activities we have been volunteering for.”
The DenisNzioka News Agency & Services does an extensive job covering queer news and issues in Kenya and the East African region. They have grown considerably over the years and this week they reported on international support they received from PlanetRomero. If things carry on at this momentum, they could be in a position to be The Advocate for Kenya and the larger East African region.
“Stories Of Our Lives” and the DenisNzioka News Agency give a picture of where Kenya may be going with their fight for equal rights. Apart from this obstacle the NEST collective are facing, the upside is that there seems to be considerable activity bubbling under and potentially leading to something significant while debate around queer people continues to rage in the country.
The idea of ‘real men’ being less inclined to commit violence is problematic, because men who fulfill societal expectations, but commit violence are often overlooked. On the other hand, men who are trans, queer or effeminate are further demonised. This demonisation takes a number of different forms, one of which the emphasizing of marginalized sexuality in apparent perpetrators.
Case in point: Shrien Dewani.
Following South African media’s treatment of Shrien Dewani’s sexual orientation, Sian Ferguson wrote for News24 about some of the troubling ways masculinity is talked about in relation to rape culture. The common sentiment that “real men don’t rape” suggests that certain kinds of masculinity are more likely to commit sexual assault. It shifts the potential in the “real man” to be a perpetrator and onto supposedly deviant kinds of masculinity. The media focused a ridiculous amount of their attention on the fact that Dewani said he was bisexual and Ferguson analyses how the media tried to fit Dewani’s sexuality together with the murder of his wife to suggest that his bisexuality had something to do with it.
“What I’m doing is my own choice. I’m happy that I’m doing it.”
This Tumblr is an extension of the “I am sex worker” photojournalism project that includes a diversity of gender and sexual identities. The project was started by Ian Kwok and Vivian Nguyen with the contribution of Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task-force.