Film poster for "Born This Way" with man standing in dark alley.
Film poster for "Born This Way" with man standing in dark alley.
Risking everything — gays and lesbians in Cameroon


Regular price $249.00


​HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Educational Media Reviews Online | HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Video Librarian | "Affecting and memorable" - Library Journal | BEST DOCUMENTARY - Outfest

LGBT Studies • Sexuality Studies • African Studies • Human Rights • Religion • Diversity

Date of Completion: 2014 | Run Time: 55 minutes​​ | Language: In French with English Subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript & Study Guide | Directors: Shaun Kadlec & Deb Tullmann

    BORN THIS WAY is an intimate portrait of the underground gay and lesbian community in Cameroon— where more people are sent to prison for homosexuality than any other country in the world. This award-winning documentary follows several LGBT youth both inside and outside the walls of The Access Center, a safe haven for LGBT Cameroonians, located in an unmarked building on Doualaʼs busiest street. As the locus of gay rights advocacy in Cameroon, the Center functions as a site of hope, culture, and celebration for those living with the constant fear of losing their job, home, and family. Without stereotyping the African gay experience, BORN THIS WAY tells the unique stories of LGBT Cameroonians with candor and dignity. The film elucidates an African country at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, while also highlighting the struggle for universal human rights, the desire for companionship, and the necessity of community.

    Library Journal David Gibbs, Library of Congress
    "Recommended for any collection concerned with LGBT issues, African studies, or human rights."

    Educational Media Reviews Online | Johnnie N. Gray, Christopher Newport University
    "While there are quite a few documentaries on human rights in African nations, this particular examination of homosexuality in Cameroon is an essential part of understanding how many African nations view being gay. It is one of the few to recently come out depicting being gay in Africa. In this film, the character portraits show real people dealing with serious issues in their country. At the end, the viewer sees that they must make a choice or perish."

    Video Librarian
    Aud: C, P. (P. Hall)
    "Homophobia is not unique to Cameroon, of course--the African continent at large is notorious for its visceral hostility to the LGBT world—but this country holds the ugly distinction of sending more people to prison for being gay or lesbian. Offering a disturbing and harrowing look at institutionalized intolerance, this is highly recommended."

    Huffington Post | Jill Robinson
    "Born This Way lifts documentary into art. There are few documentaries which draw you in so deeply.”

    Carleton College Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
    "It does a great job portraying the role of community based organizations and of the heroic lawyer, Alice Nkom."

    Best Documentary Outfest
    Golden Butterfly Amnesty International
    Best Documentary Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Madrid
    Official Selection | FRAMELINE International Film Festival
    Official Selection | Human Rights Watch Film Festival
    Official Selection | Berlin International Film Festival
    Official Selection Durban International Film Festival, South Africa

    Download the Study Guide

    Shaun Kadlec began his documentary filmmaking practice during a Fulbright fellowship in Sri Lanka where he studied peace and reconciliation through the arts. He spent many years making short-form documentaries and commercials around the world. This led to directing his feature-length documentary debut, BORN THIS WAY, a verité portrait of the LGBTQ+ community in Cameroon. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and received many honors, including the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at Outfest.

    Shaun’s newest documentary, POSSIBLE SELVES (about teenagers living in the foster care system), launches nationally on PBS in 2024. Shaun has received artist residencies at Yaddo and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. A gay, first-generation college graduate, Shaun grew up between small towns in Alabama and Central California and now lives in Los Angeles.