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Inside Out LGBT 2013: ‘Born this way’ informs, offends and touches deep

Inside Out LGBT 2013: ‘Born this way’ informs, offends and touches deep


Born this way
Directed by Shaun Kadlec & Deb Tullmann
2013, Cameroon

This documentary follows Gertrude and Cedric, two LGBT people from Cameroon who share their experiences and opinions as they attempt to shed light on the extreme homophobia in their country. Also followed is Alice Knom, a human rights defense lawyer who’s often the only person is willing to defend LGBT people in Cameroon. Her story revolves around defending two women being pursued by the state on the basis of their homosexuality. The films ability to inform and then reinforce is extremely effective and probably the most striking part. Early on its stated that homosexual acts are illegal in Cameroon and are punishable up to 5 years in prison. It is also stated that regardless of the actual outcome of the case people accused of being homosexuals face the wrath of their community. It’s one thing to be told but to actually witness the trial and to hear the complete ignorance in the arguments of the prosecution as well as the bigoted chants of an angry mob attending the trial brings an uncomfortable new dimension of realism.

Gertrude, Cedric and the two prosecuted girls all tell stories that are really touching, honest and revealing. The main issue is that these stories are only connected in theme, never coming to any consensus on the issues. Cedric for example seems to believe the problem lies in fundamentalist religion, where Gertrude rejects this and believes local cultural superstition is to blame. Certainly, the varying opinions are useful in gaining perspective on the issue but even so a heavier debate on the root causes and possible solutions would have been much appreciated.

All things considered Born this way is an enlightening and touching look at how ignorance and homophobia harm people’s lives everywhere.

– Taegan J. Brown

Toronto Inside Out 
takes place from May 23 – June 2nd. Visit the official website for additional information.

2013 toronto