Kuwait bans horror film featuring trans actor

AFP , Monday 7 Aug 2023

Kuwait has banned a horror film featuring a transgender actor, authorities told AFP on Monday, despite the movie screening in other parts of the conservative Gulf region.

(Photo: AFP)


The film titled 'Talk to Me', which is currently in theatres in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, features transgender Australian actor Zoe Terakes but no explicit LGBTQ references in any of its scenes.

Kuwaiti authorities have "banned the screening of the Australian film, Talk to Me" which was scheduled for release last week, Hisham Alghanim, vice chairman of the Kuwait National Cinema Company, told AFP.

The reasons for the ban "are unknown until now", he said.

Kuwait's information ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Gulf Arab states, including Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia -- all of which outlaw homosexuality -- routinely censor films that contain LGBTQ references.

Most recently, they banned the latest Spider-Man animation in June, reportedly over a scene that includes a transgender pride flag.

Terakes on Sunday criticised the move to ban the film in Kuwait, describing it as "dehumanising".

"Our film doesn't have queer themes," Terakes said in a statement posted on social media.

"I am a trans actor who happened to get the role. I'm not a theme. I'm a person," added Terakes, who identifies as non-binary and previously appeared in the acclaimed TV series Nine Perfect Strangers.

"Kuwait has banned this film due to my identity alone," Terakes said, adding that the move "is targeted and dehumanising and means to harm us".

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