If you thought that the Seychelles were only about sun, sea and sand, it might be time to think again. The beautiful archipelago in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of east Africa, has so much more to offer. Notably, LGBTI Seychelles has launched the islands’ first LGBTI film festival, where short and feature films are being screened to mark Pride Month.
The festival was launched at a ceremony on 1 June at Résidence de France, home of the French Ambassador to Seychelles, Dominique Mas. Over four weeks, people in Seychelles will have the opportunity to view films offering a wide choice of themes addressed by French, Namibian, British and American filmmakers. Screenings will take place at different locations, including the main cinema in the capital Victoria, Deepam Cinema, and two other tourism establishments on Mahe Island.
The opening film was a French feature film, 120 Battements par Minute (“120 Beats per Minute”), which received the Jury Grand Prix at the Cannes film festival in 2017 and a César for the best film in 2018.
In 2016, consensual same-sex relationships were decriminalised and the law revised in 2021 when the latest Civil Code came into force. Although the old sodomy law had been in place since the time of the British colonial administration, it had not been used against same-sex couples in recent history. In 2022, LGBTI Seychelles continues to work on hate crime legislation that will include, but is not limited to, legal protections irrespective of a person’s gender or sexual orientation.
The chairperson of the non-government organisation that advocates for sexual orientation and gender identity rights in Seychelles, Naddy Vidot, said:
“By making this an annual event, we want to create a safe space of inclusivity not only for those around us, but for the LGBTI community around the world that want to visit Seychelles.
“Let us show those who have reservations about coming to Seychelles that Seychelles is a safe and welcoming space for LGBTI persons.
“It is with the hope that we can be recognised around the world as an LGBTI-friendly nation, where we can all love and be loved without legal or social barriers.”