“The Pearl of Africa,” a Documentary Series About Transgenders in Uganda

Currently, one of the worst places to be gay or transgender is Uganda, whose anti-gay bill punishes homosexuality with lifetime imprisonment (with lawmakers still trying to pass a bill that will make it punishable by death). Shortly after the bill’s passing, a major Ugandan tabloid outs more than 200 gay Ugandans on the front page of the paper. Cleopatra Kambugu, a 28-year-old transgender woman, is one of the people outed. After losing her job, she’s forced to go into hiding to avoid beatings and death threats. “It was like being a living dead person,” she explains.

Produced by Swedish filmmaker Jonny von Wallström, The Pearl of Africa is a documentary series split into seven episodes, with each episode being published weekly. “For me, The Pearl of Africa is about acceptance,” Wallström says. “It’s crazy that we still have such a hard time accepting differences in people.” If you want to show your support, you can donate to help pay for Cleo’s gender reassignment surgery, or support the film itself through its Indiegogo campaign.

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