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Botswana LGBTI Take Center Stage At First Gay Film Festival

in BOTSWANA, 14/02/2013

The Botswana LGBT film festival will today highlight the experiences of LGBTI persons in Botswana as it comes to a close Friday after entertaining and provoking audiences in the southern Africa nation.

The Batho BaLorato film festival, organized by a group of LGBT volunteers and LEGABIBO, an LGBT organization in Botswana, has been running from the 12th February at the University of Botswana Library Auditorium.

The film festival has featured a number of LGBTI movies and documentaries.

A panel discussion was also part of the highlights with debates on homosexuality and inclusion taking center stage.

Lesbians, Gay and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) said the film festival does not seek to promote homosexuality, but rather seeks to create awareness and promote love, respect, tolerance, compassion and appreciation between human beings.

"Thanks to the media of film, we can experience a wide variety of informative, emotive and sometimes amusing stories during this festival," they said in statement issued at the start of the festival.

The Batho BaLorato film festival seeks to help Botswana discuss issues surrounding human sexuality in an open forum, LEGABIBO further added.

According to their statement, the heterosexual community rarely gets an opportunity to hear the stories of people affected by homophobia and transphobia; of parents who have a gay child in their family; of people who are transgender or intersex; or of people who are gay or lesbian and Christian. The films, LEGABIBO says, have been specially selected to help straight people learn more about LGBTI issues.

Some of the documentaries and films include Voices of Witness Africa, a documentary in which LGBT Africans talk frankly about their lives and their relationships with God and the church; Difficult Love, a highly personal take on the challenges facing black lesbians in South; Scars On My Body which is part of the “Exquisite Gender” series commissioned by Gender Dynamix in South Africa.

The documentary Anyone and Everyone about coming out to one’sis also featured. Brother Outsider which introduced millions of viewers around the world to the life and work of Bayard Rustin—a visionary strategist and activist who has been called “the unknown hero” of the civil rights movement was also part of the line up.

Others include Life Experiences of LGBTI in Botswana, a documentary of LGBT persons in Botswana while Pariah offered an insight into a young black lesbian’s journey.

According to LEGABIBO, the film festival was made possible through the efforts of Gender Dynamics South Africa, Rainbow Identity in Botswana, Out In Africa and Focus Features and The Envisioning LGBT Human Rights Project who produced the first short film, Life Experiences of LGBTI in Botswana.

The short documentary explains the origins of the group LEGABIBO, explores the life of LGBTI in Botswana and briefly touches on the one court case in the country's history where a man was prosecuted for homosexual acts.

Life Experiences of LGBTI in Botswana will be aired on Valentine Day.

For anyone who will be in Gaborone, Botswana around this time and wishing to get involved, you get in touch with the organizing committee on +267 3932516 - LEGABIBO or email legabibo@bonela.org

This is the third LGBTI film festival in the African continent after South Africa's Out Film Festival and Kenya's Queer Film Festival.

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