Nigerian activist Pamela Adie has released a documentary titled ‘Under the Rainbow’; a visual memoir that details her experiences and struggles as lesbian in Nigeria.
According to reports the feature was created with the aim of fostering awareness and accelerating acceptance of the LGBTQI+ community in a nation where living as openly gay is not only dangerous but highly stigmatised.
The Net summarised the documentary as, “A narration of her (Adie’s) journey of self-discovery in a powerful story of love, rejection, loss, and triumph set against the backdrop of a deeply homophobic society. Driven by the findings of a recent study in which 83% of Nigerians say they would reject a family member who is LGBT, and believe that LGBT people should not have access to public services like education and healthcare, Under The Rainbow aims to increase visibility and create a more positive perception of LGBT Nigerians”.
Africa Is A Country details the contents of ‘Under the Rainbow’ saying, “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”.
Adie talked about her motives in the film saying, “We’re at a point in Nigeria where, as a movement, one of our immediate goals is to change hearts and minds”.
She also emphasised to Africa Is A Country in an interview that she hopes her story shows that being queer is not a phase or learned, and even more so challenges the notion that homosexuality is “un-African”.
The documentary was written, directed and produced by Adie, shot by cinematographer and ‘Hell or High Water’ director Asurf Oluseyi and promoted by the LGBTQI+ advocacy NGO, The Equality Hub. It premiered on June 28, at a private event at the British Deputy High Commissioner Catriona Laing’s residence in Lagos.
The Equality Hub has planned multiple screenings, mostly across Nigeria, “As part of its efforts to diversify the conversation around equal rights and acceptance of female sexual minorities in Nigeria,” Kito Diaries reports.
‘Under the Rainbow’ is not the first LGBTQI+ project out of Nigeria. Last year a collection of testimonials by queer Nigerians titled, “She Called Me Woman” was published.
The books synopsis describes the project thus, “These true stories are beautifully told, the pain and honesty and hope and joy in these accounts is strong like a song” – Stella DuffyThis stirring and intimate collection brings together 25 first-hand accounts to paint a vivid portrait of what it means to be a queer Nigerian woman. These beautifully told stories of resistance and resilience reveal the realities of a community that will no longer be invisible. From the joy and excitement of first love, and from childhood games to addiction and suicide, She Called Me Woman shows us how Nigerian queer women, in all their multitudes, attempt to build a life together.She Called Me Woman challenges us to rethink what it means to be a Nigerian ‘woman’, negotiating relationships, money, sexuality and freedom, identifying outside the gender binary, and the difficulties of achieving hopes and dreams in a climate of fear.”
All of these stories work to counter narratives that erase, undermine, and stereotype queer voices in Nigeria by insisting that queer Nigerians exist and matter. They highlight narratives of queer success without denying queer vulnerability.
About the Creator
Pamela Adie is the co-founder and Chief Servant/Executive Director of The Equality Hub. She is an LGBTQI+ rights advocate and is passionate about expanding the rights of female sexual minorities in Nigeria.
According to her profile, her stories have featured in various LGBTQI+ anthology series, and she has spoken at multiple public forums in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, she serves on the Application Review Board of the LGBT Community Fund with The Initiative for Equal Rights, and is a serving board member of the Bisi Alimi Foundation.
Pamela spoke at the inaugural “Meet Leading LGBT Rights Activists” forum at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where she and other activists made the business case for LGBT inclusion in the workplace. She is also listed on the LGBT Rainbow List of Social Media influencers.