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Pamela Adie. Image from DN Legal and Style.

The Nigerian activist Pamela Adie has released her documentary Under the Rainbow: Nigeria’s first about being lesbian. The feature follows her discovery of herself and coming to terms with her sexuality, and the consequent alienation from family and friends.

Written, directed and produced by Adie, shot by the cinematographer and Hell or High Water director Asurf Oluseyi, and scored by August Wilhelmsson, the documentary is promoted by the LGBTQ+ advocacy NGO The Equality Hub and premiered on June 28, at a private event at the British Deputy High Commissioner Catriona Laing’s residence in Lagos, one attended by Nigerian human rights activists, media entrepreneurs, and entertainers. “As part of its efforts to diversify the conversation around equal rights and acceptance of female sexual minorities in Nigeria,” Kito Diaries reports, The Equality Hub has planned multiple screenings, mostly across Nigeria but including one in Accra on August 2, ahead of its digital release on its site.

Here is an excerpt from a profile of the release in Africa Is a Country:

Another reason that Under the Rainbow stands out is that it highlights narratives of queer success without denying queer vulnerability. Adie talks about how at age 25 she married a man (whom she describes as a “true gentleman”) because she felt that that was what she was supposed to do. She talks about ending the marriage and her depression and the liquid that looked like gutter water that her mother asked her to drink as part of a spiritual cleansing. But she also talks about returning to Nigeria in 2014 (the same year the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act was passed) and getting a job as a senior campaign manager for All Out Africa. She discusses her role in getting homophobic pastor Steven Anderson banned from South Africa and the UK and also kicked out of Botswana. She also mentions her attendance at the 2017 World Economic forum in Davos and her selection as one of 200 Obama Foundation Leaders in the Africa program. Despite, or perhaps because of, her struggles, Adie has been able to be an out, vocal leader in her community.

Towards the end of the film, Adie mentions how she tried to get other LBQ women to appear in the film but that they were concerned for their security. She then asks, “who is providing security for me?” What is fascinating is not the threat of violence that lingers behind the question but rather that she does not seem overly concerned by it. The film, helped by Oluseyi’s beautiful score and cinematography, conveys Adie’s self-acceptance as so steadfast that she seems to be saying that whatever happens (and nothing has so far) will have been worth it.

Watch the teaser below:

For more information on Under the Rainbow, follow The Equality Hub on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Brittle Paper congratulates Pamela Adie.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he got an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies and English & Literary Studies. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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