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A Nollywood Film about Two Women in Love Faces an Uphill Battle in a Country Where Homophobia is Rampant

A new film about love is creating waves in Nigeria.  ‘Ife,’ which means love in Yoruba, tells the story of an amorous relationship, but what makes it controversial, is that it’s between two women.  Filmmaker Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim decided to make the film to provide an honest portrayal of LGBT lives in Nigeria and hopefully shift attitudes in a society that is very much biased against such relationships. In the West African nation where homophobia runs rampant, Ikpe-Etim is an advocate for the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) community. Nollywood has always had a problematic relationship with its queer characters, portraying them as mentally ill, under the influence of witchcraft or troubled. LGBTQ characters are described poorly in Nollywood and are viewed in problematic roles that encourage violence or judgment from viewers, Ikpe-Etim says.