One example is the Pearl of Africa webseries which follows Cleopatra Kambugu, a Ugandan woman as she transitions. Kambugu is one of the “top 200 homosexuals” outed by a tabloid after Uganda declared homosexuality illegal in 2014. Like many, she lost her job, was abandoned by friends and family and forced to hide in her home behind high walls and barbed wire as mobs threatened to beat her to death.

The Pearl of Africa, a play on Uganda’s nickname, documents Kambugu’s transition after fleeing to neighboring Kenya and highlights her activism. But it also a love story. The poignant scenes of  Nelson (affectionately called Nellie) and Cleopatra’s relationship is juxtaposed with violent news coverage showing public beatings and the homophobic slurs that pass as legislation and church sermons.

“For a long time what gave me strength was the fact that I wanted to disprove people. The more negativity I received, the more resilient I became,” says Kambugu. “But I hope people could come to understand and look back at history and see those superficial divides that have divided humanity and see how unimportant they are. Because gender is just another thing.”

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