Kenya bans gay movie I Am Samuel because it is “demeaning towards Christianity”
The Kenya Film Classification Board has banned “I Am Samuel” because it says the film’s gay themes could “expose vulnerable groups, including children, to inappropriate content.” (YouTube / Bohemia Media)
Kenya banned gay documentary I am Samuel because the film is an “affront” to the constitution of the country.
Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) announcement Thursday (September 23) that he banned a documentary titled I am Samuel, which depicts a Kenyan homosexual’s struggle for acceptance and his relationship with another man.
According to the KFCB, the film was “unacceptable and degrading to Christianity”, claiming that the film contradicted Kenyan values and the country’s constitution.
Christopher Wambua, the boss of the board, said in a statement that the film is an “affront to Article 45” of the constitution, which “recognizes the family as the basic unit of society and defines the marriage as between two people of the opposite sex ”.
“In addition, our laws, our culture as well as the belief of our society are based on the sacrosanct institution of the family,” said Wambua.
He added that analysis of the film board found I am Samuel “Propagates values which are in dissonance with our constitution, our culture, our values and our standards”. Wambua claimed that the documentary “could easily expose vulnerable groups, including children, to inappropriate content.”
Human Rights Watch (HRW) a condemned the ban, asserting that the fight for the rights of LGBT + people in Kenya will not be silenced.
Neela Ghoshal, associate director of HRW’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights program, asked how the film goes against Kenyan values. Ghoshal said LGBT + people have “taken their place” in Kenyan society, “fighting discrimination and claiming their rights”.
“During my years in Kenya, the values that I saw in action every day included caring and kindness, tolerance and openness to difference,” Ghosal said. “Kenya is diverse in every way: geographically, ethnically, religiously and, yes, in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity. “
Ghosal said that the KFCB’s “weak” attempts at censorship I am Samuel will not succeed because “censorship rarely succeeds”.
She added that “Samuel’s story will be seen by Kenyans who will make up their own minds.”
“In trying to force blinders to deny the existence and rights of LGBT people, KFCB is on the wrong side of history,” Ghosal wrote.
I am Samuel Filmmaker Pete Murimi said in a statement on Twitter that the film is important because it will allow Kenyans to have a “constructive dialogue on LGBTQ rights in Kenya”.
“The film shows how much we have in common,” said Murimi. “We all fall in love, we all face the expectations of family… the biggest difference is that, Samuel, our main character also had to deal with homophobia and violence.”
PRESS RELEASE: Kenyans will not be allowed to view the critically acclaimed documentary film “I Am Samuel” as it has been restricted by @InfoKfcb #KFCBbansGayFilm #Iamsamuelfilm #Love is love pic.twitter.com/wYgieSyfWk
– I’m Samuel Documentary (@IamSamuelFilm) September 23, 2021
He also thanked Samuel for inviting filmmakers into his life and allowing them to “share it with the world”.
The LGBT + community in Kenya faces persecution and discrimination. Kenyan law criminalized homosexual intimacy under section 162 of the country’s penal code, making it punishable by 14 years in prison.
Article 165 of the same penal code declares that “indecent practices between men” are punishable by five years’ imprisonment, according to NPR.
In 2018, the KFCB banned a film titled Rafiki which portrays a lesbian love affair and was the first Kenyan film to premiere at the Cannes film festival, AFP reported. The prohibition of Rafiki was later overturned in court and the film received overwhelming box office support.