Photo series challenging domestic abuse in the LGBTQI+ Community titled “Its Really Complicated” debuts
In a continued effort to raise awareness and increase representation of LGBTQI+ issues in Botswana media, local blogger and creative director Tanlume Enyatseng has debuted a photo series on his website bananaemoji.com titled ‘Its Really Complicated’. The series of images explore the rarely spoken about domestic violence amongst gay men with a one line description, stating; “Why didn’t you just punch him back?”
According to Enyatseng the photo series aims to promote the appreciation of LGBTQ+ cultural issues, to be taken seriously, decrease stereotypes and hopefully incite appropriate help in the form of counseling and intervention from both law enforcement and the community.
Speaking on the body of work, the photo series’ creative director said, “Being gay, you face the risk of the same types of abuse in your relationship as others do in theirs. It could be harder to deal with considering you may feel even more ashamed or embarrassed, especially if you are struggling with your sexual orientation or gender identity. Gay men in abusive relationships may fear outing themselves, or their partners, if they tell someone about the abuse. There is also a lot of fear that no one will believe them because the thought of one man abusing another is still taboo. One may suggest ‘why didn’t you just punch him back?’. With this photo series we set out to shed a light on a prevalent issue that not many wish to discuss to hopefully start a conversation around these toxic behaviours.”
The six (6) image photo series illustrates a violent encounter between two young men in an intimate bedroom setting, with some nude shots. Male nudity is an artistic fixation that dates back in to the Italian Renaissance. Enyatseng took inspiration for the series from “Contempt”, a 1963 French-Italian New Wave drama film written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The series stars two young Batswana models namely Drake Selwe and Colo Tau and was photographed by local creative Giancarlo Calameo Laguerta.
“Conversations around LGBTQI+ lives and rights will always be uncomfortable and seem controversial for some, however using queer creativity to ask and answer questions using queer imaging in personal ways, in cultural ways and political ways is a step in the right direction. We are fighting social stigmas with art, which is to say, in order to bring awareness about queerness we have to tell the stories using its mediums,” Enyatseng concluded.