In 2016 we launched a global social media campaign and asked our global network to help us find inspiring people who are using culture to promote freedom and equality, who are provoking debate, or are risking their lives to promote the rights of LGBT people in their society or country. We’re inspired by our fiveFilms4freedom 2016 Global List and hope you will be too.
fiveFilms4freedom 2016 Global List
Inspiring individuals promoting freedom and equality
The fiveFilms4freedom 2016 Global List – 33 inspiring people from around the world promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights every day.
Bisi Alimi – Nigeria
Bisi is a Nigerian gay rights activist, public speaker, blogger and HIV/LGBT advocate. He gained international attention when he became the first Nigerian to come out on national TV.
Joko Anwar – Indonesia
Joko Anwar is one of the most celebrated filmmakers in Indonesia. He has won several awards, including the Citra Award for Best Director and the Citra Award for Best Screenplay. His films have also been screened at international festivals, including Venice and Toronto. With almost one million Twitter followers, he actively speaks out about LGBT issues.
Almass Badat – UK
Almass Badat is a freelance director, presenter and writer. She is passionate about creating meaningful content for young audiences and is an advocate for Queer People of Colour (QPOC) equality. Her documentary, Hijra's Hustle, co-funded by One World Media, tells the story of Bangalore's transgender community.
Paul Burston – UK
Paul Burston is an author, journalist and founder of @polarisalon who has worked tirelessly for the LGBT community for over 25 years. He is former editor of the LGBT section for Time Out.
Jim Chuchu – Kenya
Jim Chuchu is a Kenyan film director, singer-songwriter and visual artist. He directed Stories of Our Lives as part of the Nest Collective, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
Kate Dolan – Ireland
Kate Dolan is a young Irish filmmaker who promotes LBGT rights and issues through her work. Her latest short film, Little Doll, explores the experience of discovering you are gay as a child. Kate was active in the successful Yes Campaign for gay marraige in Ireland.
Jess T. Dugan – USA
Jess T. Dugan explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community, photographing within LGBTQ communities. She is committed to the transformative power of photographic portraiture.
Manish Gandhi – India
Manish Gandhi is an Indian theatre director and stage, film and TV actor. In 2011, Manish directed, produced and acted in Mike Bartlett's Cock. Even though homosexuality was at that point decriminalised in India, LGBT issues rarely made it to the mainstream. In 2015, Manish performed Brown Shakespeare, promoting equality in the arts and was featured on the BBC World Service.
Jake Graf – UK
Jake is a director, film-maker and activist. He is the first trans man to appear on the cover of QX, Vanity Hype and GNI magazines, and has been a constant advocate for trans and gay rights.
Manny de Guerre – Russia
Manny founded Russia’s Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival and oversees its direction and management. She received the GLAAD International Advocate for Change Award in 2014.
Mahmoud Hassino – Syria
Mahmoud Hassino started the first Syrian LGBT online magazine, Mawaleh, and the first Mr Gay Syria competition. He also raises awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees.
Koyuki Higashi – Japan
Ms Higashi is a key campaigner raising awareness of LGBT rights in Japan and the author of four books. She and her partner held the first same-sex partnership ceremony at Tokyo DisneySea.
Irwin Iradukunda – Burundi
Irwin is an African queer youth activist and poet from Burundi, where he works as an activist within a local LGBTiQ rights organisation. He was on the editorial board of Walking the Tightrope, Poetry and Prose from LGBTQ writers from Africa, published in 2016.
Florence Khaxas – Namibia
Florence Khaxas is a feminist poet and writer from Namibia. She works with Y-Fem, The Young Feminists Movement of Namibia and is founder and curator of the Mondesa Art Museum, Namibia.
Thami Kotlolo – South Africa
Thami Kotlolo is President of the ANC LGBTI League and Founder of the Feather Awards – South Africa’s first LGBTI Awards. The Feather Awards bring together entertainment, fashion and advocacy to create a platform to raise awareness of LGBTI issues. The Annual Awards show is broadcast on SABC 1 – South Africa’s national broadcaster.
Geng Le – China
Geng Le is the founder of China’s leading LGBT web portal and social media app Blued, which currently has 27 million users. He is one of China’s most successful gay business leaders.
Dr Frank Mugisha – Uganda
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Dr Mugisha is Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a human rights network raising awareness of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
Tiffany Kagure Mugo – Kenya
Tiffany is an Open Society Foundations Youth Fellow and co-founder/curator of HOLAA!, a Pan Africanist Womanist hub that advocates for and tackles issues around African female sexuality.
Kevin Mwachiro – Kenya
Kevin is a journalist, storyteller and activist from Kenya. His book, Invisible – Stories From Kenya’s Queer Community, is about Kenya's queer/LGBTI community.
Javid Nabiyev – Azerbaijan
Javid Nabiyev is an openly gay Azerbaijani political activist, and founder and president of Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan. He organised the first Azerbaijan Pride in 2014.
Awuor Onyango – Kenya
Awuor is a writer, visual artist, photographer and budding film-maker from Kenya. Her practice is concerned with claiming public space disallowed to people considered black, woman and other, whether the space is intellectual, physical, in memory or historical. Her work was included in Walking the Tightrope, Poetry and Prose from LGBTQ writers from Africa, published in 2016.
Pepe Julian Onziema – Uganda
Pepe is an LGBT activist from Uganda. His human rights work began in 2002 and has twice led to his arrest. He was voted Hero of the Year at the 2014 Stonewall Awards.
Pablo García Perez de Lara & Marc Serena – Spain
Pablo García and Marc Serena co-directed the award winning feature documentary Tchindas about a Cape Verdean community preparing for Carnival – an untold story of trans inclusion and teamwork.
Charles Radcliffe – Australia/UK
Charles Radcliffe is Chief of Global Issues & Intergovernmental Affairs at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York. He leads the UN’s work on the protection of the rights of LGBT people and directs UN Free & Equal – a global multimedia campaign against homophobia and transphobia that has reached an estimated two billion people globally since 2013.
Sridhar Rangayan – India
Sridhar Rangayan is an Indian filmmaker, writer, activist and festival director who makes films with a focus on LGBTQ themes. His latest film documents the history of the Indian LGBTQ movement.
Iram Sana – Pakistan
Iram Sana co-directed the first documentary theatre production based on the research of Dr. Claire Pamment with the transgender community in Pakistan – The Third Tune (Teesri Dhun).
Bilge Tas – Turkey
Bilge Tas is the director/co-founder of Pink Life QueerFest in Ankara, and is involved with the international network of queer film festivals. Pink Life QueerFest launched in Ankara in 2011 and is the first LGBTI festival in Turkey. The festival is a space for LGBTQI individuals and artists to raise awareness of LGBTQI issues. The fifth edition took place in January 2016.
Daniela Tomasino – Italy
Daniela Tomasino has run Arcigay Palermo, one of the largest Sicilian LGBT rights associations, since 2009 and has co-organised the Palermo Pride since 2010. In 2015 Daniela was recognised as a Human Rights Defender by Amnesty International Italy.
HlaMyat Tun & Billy Stewart – Myanmar
HlaMyat and Billy are the co-founders of &PROUD, Yangon’s LGBT Film Festival set up in 2014 to bring the Myanmar LGBT community together and raise awareness of LGBT rights issues in Myanmar.