An Investigation Into Yaounde-Based Secret Video Club For Gay

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Photo credits: France24

The club is secret. You have to know someone who will guide you to the address — off a busy street in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde, down a dingy alley to a door with the unwelcoming message in chalk: “No entry.”

Inside is a rectangular room, dark and humid.

The flickering light of a video screen illuminates faces of young men sitting on benches — members of a video club catering exclusively for gay men, a haven in a society where it is dangerous to be same-sex attracted.

“We opened this place in 2016 to give young people somewhere where they can just breathe for a while,” says Jean-Pierre, 51, the founder of the club who prefers not to give his full name.

“In the afternoon, we show documentaries about the gay community, with comedy series in the evening and later in the night, films of a sexual nature,” he explains.

Maxime, 30, and his companion come several times a week.

“It’s vital to be able to find our own kind, to talk with people who are like you, who understand you.”

When his family rejected him, Maxime found refuge at Jean-Pierre’s club.

“I lived in this room for nine months, I had no place else to go,” he says.

On another bench, a young man is sleeping peacefully, a sheet drawn over his body and part of his face.

A few feet away, two men openly flirt.

“This is also a place for those who have no home, where they can meet,” Maxime says.

– Beatings and detentions

In Cameroon, having sexual relations with another man is a crime punishable with up to five years in prison.

Convictions are rare, but illegality makes gays easy prey for racketeers and homophobes.

Despite its secrecy, the refuge has become known to policemen of malicious intent.

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The premises have been raided at least four times this year, Jean-Pierre says, adding that he had recently been held for two weeks at a police station, where he said he was tortured.

“They told me, ‘confess you’re the queers’ godfather, you homo,’ and beat me on the soles of the feet with the flat of a machete blade,” he says.

Criminals claiming to be plain-clothes police sometimes show up to extort gays, Jean-Pierre says.

Between films, he will often instruct the audience “what to do in case of arrest, to know their rights.”

One night Maxime endured a terrifying experience.

“They burst in here, put us in their truck, stripped us of all our things — money, cellphones and clothes as well — then they threw us out naked on the far side of town,” he recalls, his eyes looking at a spot on the wall.

First published on France24 [click to read complete article]
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I am Arrey Bate Arrey I am a blogger, digital journalist, Online Marketing consultant & digital entrepreneur who has been featured on the BBC World Service, British Council and other international media. 6 years as a communicator, I am one of Cameroon's best digital communicators and listed among British Council's Top 100 Young Journalists Worldwide in 2019. My blog was nominated at Infinity Blog Awards USA among top 200 blogs from 3,000 submissions worldwide. With a deep knowledge of social media, I founded Arreyb Media, an online media in advertisement, digital branding and blogging with more that 100,000 monthly views on our website . I have built an insight driven online advertising and digital advertising skill serving 500+ brands and running even online presidential election campaigns. I have a deep insight-driven & customer-centered knowledge consulting and developing successful B2B and B2C go-to advertising/marketing ideas and was the first blogger to organize a national tour in Cameroon. The ARREYB Media national tour (ABNTour) was a series of 7 conferences held in 7 towns in Cameroon to train young entrepreneurs & media persons on digital branding and building a band, business or career via social media . Always smiling, I report as a journalist, consult as a media expert I am the founder of the AB Afrikpreneur Awards, an African award to celebrate entrepreneurial bodies & systems across Africa and the author of the book "How To Make Money, Build Right Relationships With Social Media" Through our media prowess, my team and I have been able to help several business owners, brands and institutions make more money and enjoy the beauty of business. I can do same for you ! I believe you have what it takes to change the world and live the life you’ve always wanted. The question is, are you ready to take your business or brand to the next level and start making more money ? I am one click away & anxious to help you []